Monday, January 31, 2011

Bread Machine Bagels

I have a new-found love to share with you--BAGELS! I was looking at new recipes today (thanks so much for the Taste of Home magazine Mom, I love it) and found a recipe for pizza bagel, but there was no bagel recipe. So I looked through a couple cookbooks and finally on-line and found this gem. I've always thought making bagels would be difficult, but it's not and it's so fun. I have also not been getting enough "grains" in my diet, so this is a great way to add some. I got this recipe on, but I made a few alterations that I will note in parenthesis.

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups bread flour (I used 1 cup wheat flour and 2 cups white)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

3 quarts boiling water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal (I didn't have this and it still worked just fine.)
1 egg white
3 tablespoons poppy seeds (use whatever topping you want, I'll give suggestions at the end)

1. Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast (the ingredients from the top section) in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting.
2. When cycle is complete, let dough rest on a lightly floured surface.
3. Cut dough into 9 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Flatten balls. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes (I let mine rest for about 30). Meanwhile, during the last 12 minutes of resting, in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.
4. Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal. Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, turn bagel and boil 1 more minute on the other side. Drain briefly on clean towel (the briefly part is key, I left mine a little too long and bits of dough were left on my towel). Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white, and sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.

At the end of step 4 it says to put on your choice of toppings. I did some olive oil/dried basil (I mixed the 2 ingredients in a small bowl and brushed them on) on a few of them and cinnamon sugar on the others. I think I may do all cinnamon bagels next batch and put a tablespoon of cinnamon in the dough mix and then the cinnamon/sugar on the top. Another fun idea would be to put dried cranberries or blueberries in the mix. I read a review of someone who added fresh blueberries and they said it didn't work out very well so she's going to do dried next time. Another idea is cinnamon/raisin. Again, another reviewer said she added the raisins to the warm water and added them that way (not sure why until I try it myself). Just be creative on toppings. I did the basil so I can make bagel pizzas and thought that would be yummy. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Key Lime Pie

This easy, no-bake pie has been part of our family tradition for years. I remember writing the recipe on a scrap of paper, sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store where my sister, Pam and I had just purchased real key lime juice in Florida. That was years ago, and we've been making it ever since. It makes a quick, delicious Sunday dessert. It calls for KEY lime, but over the years we've learned that really any kind of lime will do- as long as some of the 1/2 cup lime juice is fresh squeezed. This pie is part of every Thanksgiving and many Sunday desserts. Honestly, I haven't made it for years because usually Shonna or Michelle make it for our family gatherings.

1 lime
Key lime juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk (nonfat is fine)
8 oz. whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust

Squeeze the lime into a measuring cup, then add key lime juice(or you can just use all fresh) to make 1/2 cup. Mix in the milk until very smooth. Add whipped topping. Combine well and pour into a graham cracker crust. Chill several hours. Couldn't be easier!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dora Juice

Is it as hard for you to get your kids to eat their veggies as it is for me?!? This fun green smoothie gets at least a couple of servings of spinach into them and they don't even know it! We called it "Dora Juice" just to make it more fun and help their reaction to a green drink go a little more smoothly.
1/2 can Orange Juice concentrate
Vanilla yogurt or a banana
Fill blender with spinach (I smashed it down to fit more). Add OJ concentrate (I used a little less than could probably do a third), vanilla yogurt (I used 1/3 or 1/2 cup) and milk (just enough to help it blend). Blend until it turns green and there are no more spinach chunks. Sit back and watch your kids enjoy their veggies with satisfaction.

Creamed Sausage and Tomato Pasta

I got this delicious recipe from a friend whose 5 children happily eat the spinach and tomatoes in this yummy dish. My family has loved it too.

1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
3/4 lb (or I usually just use 1 lb) sausage
5-6 fresh roma tomatoes, or I use I can diced tomatoes slightly drained
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped (or you can use frozen and just put it in frozen)
1 cup heavy cream (I have used half and half also, and that works)
1/2 tsp. sweet basil
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper --I use 1 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper
1 lb pasta, your choice, we always use farfalle

In a medium skillet melt butter with oil, add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is golden, not browned. Add sausage, and cook through. Add tomatoes and spinach and cook until all warmed through. Cook pasta while you are doing this. Add cream and spices to sausage, do not boil, then drain your pasta and toss the sausage mix with pasta and serve. Yum Yum!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coconut Mud Bars

These are a delicious combination of dark chocolate and coconut.
Bottom Layer:
1 1/3 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of Salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, slightly softened and cut into pieces

10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream

¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp. coconut extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1 ½ cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350; Spray a 13x9 pan

Bottom Layer:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Mix butter cubes in with your hands. Press into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

While it’s baking, make the
ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Pour the ganache over the cooled crust and put in fridge to set for about 15 minutes.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar and extracts and beat well. Add the eggs; beat well. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Drop the topping over the ganache and spread gently. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool; cut into bars.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baked Mexican Fish with Cilantro-Lime Mayonaise

I'm always looking for ways to fix salmon. I have a lot of it in my freezer, I know it's healthy, but honestly, fish isn't my favorite. This recipe is perfect for me, because it's really hard to tell that it's fish under all that yummyness. And it's easy! You can make it with any kind of fish.

Fish fillets (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheese, any kind
1/2- 1 cup crushed corn chips

Preheat oven to 400. Spray or grease a square 9x9 pan. Rinse fillets under cold water and dry with a paper towel. Lay fillets in sprayed pan. Pour salsa over the top and spread evenly. Sprinkle on the cheese, then the crushed corn chips. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until it flakes with a fork. Serve topped with sliced avocado and Cilantro Lime Mayonaise.

Cilantro Lime Mayonaise
1 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
3 T. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (more or less to taste)
3/4 cup mayonaise
Lime zest, just a few grates

Put all except mayo in a food processor or blender. When the cilantro is chopped fine, put in mayo and blend well. Add salt to taste. This is best if made a day in advance and refrigerated, but it's good right now, too.

Delicious served with roasted potatoes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I LOVE Pillsbury crescent rolls. I really think they have a great taste. I don't think I've ever made them as rolls, which is kind of funny, But, I make several things regularly with them including these. They even make these rolls now without perforations, so you don't have the cuts like in the picture above. I tried a recipe with those this week and it works great. Pillsbury has a website with a lot of recipes you can make with them, as well as coupons. I've been trying a few. This one is VERY quick and easy. I've made a few changes and additions to the original to bump up the flavor.
Chicken Pot Pie
1 16 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables (honestly, I don't care for frozen mixed veggies. They always taste dry and woody to me. So if you have time to peel some carrots, celery, potatoes, and add a can of green beans and cook them for awhile, that is going to be better. I cut up several carrots, a couple of stocks of celery- including leaves, an onion, and a peeled potato. I then cook them in water to which I've added a heaping teaspoon of BTB {better than bouillon} If you're using frozen veggies, you can do the same thing.  I'd add an onion, though.)
2 cups cubed chicken- I like to buy a rotisserie chicken and take the meat from that.  It tastes so yummy.  I think it's probably more than two cups.  I've also used 2 cans of chicken or I've boiled chicken and cut it up.  Any of it works 
1 can cream of chicken soup OR (and this is what I prefer) 1 can or bottle of chicken gravy 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Seasoning to taste ( salt and pepper or seasoning salt)
1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls (I've tried bargain brands, and am never happy)
Grated cheese, opt.

In a large bowl, mix chicken, veggies, soups and seasonings. Put in a greased 13x9 pan. Sprinkle on a little cheese, if desired. Unroll dough and put over top.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.