Saturday, March 31, 2012

Perfect Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This is a great recipe. Really, really yummy, sliceable bread. You can use all wheat, all white flour, or a mixture. You can make anything out of this recipe: loaves, rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust, etc. It has a strange ingredient: soy lecithin. It's good for you- it's made from soy beans. I got it at the store where I bought my Bosch mixer, but I think you can get it in health food stores and maybe even grocery stores. It's worth it. It really makes good bread. If you can't find it, you can substitute vegetable oil.
I like to make 3 loaves of bread using all whole wheat flour except 1 cup of white. With the other 1/4 of the dough, I like to make a dozen rolls. I roll them into rolls, put them on a cookie sheet, and freeze them. When they're frozen, put them in a quart bag. Thaw and bake at 350 when double in size. They bake for about 15 minutes. This recipe makes delicious, light rolls. I've also used this recipe for pizza crust and cinnamon rolls.

Makes 4 loaves

10 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. salt
3 T. yeast

Mix these dry ingredients in a bread mixer or by hand in a very large bowl.
3 T. Lecithin
4 cups hot water

Knead for 5-10 minutes (I do this in my bosch)
Shape into 4 loaves and place into pans.
Allow to rise for 25 minutes.
Bake 25 minutes in a 350 oven.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ken's Luscious Lemon Pie

My husband, Ken doesn't really cook. He makes a few things, but he really isn't a cook- yet. He says when he retires it's something he wants to learn. But, he came home from work one day really excited about a dessert he'd had at an office potluck lunch. He begged the "family recipe" from his employee. She says they have it at every family gathering. He loved it and has made it several times since. I've never made it. I was touched that he made it for a neighbor when she had surgery and took it over to her. I don't think she knew what a treasure that was! I also don't think he told her he made it. Anyway, the recipe is simple and delicious. The original recipe was double this and put in a 13x9 pan with a graham cracker crust. We thought the store-bought crust was easier and a better size for just the two of us.
Luscious Lemon Pie
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 pint whipping cream whipped, with a little sugar added (or 8 oz. Cool Whip)
1 graham cracker crust
crushed graham crackers for the top

Pour the milk into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Pour the lemon mixture into the crust. Spread the whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the top. Put the plastic top from the crust over the top. Chill for several hours.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Empty the Fridge Pizza

I am a really good meal planner. It's one of my talents. I plan my meals for the whole month and I cook, cook, cook. Just yesterday my husband opened the fridge, saw all the leftovers and begged, "Please can we have leftovers tomorrow?" But, every once in a while, just every so often, I find myself wondering what we're going to eat for dinner. That happened a few weeks ago. I opened the fridge to see what we had, and 30 minutes later, we had this pizza. I kid you not. It truly was "empty the fridge pizza." I had two cans of crescent rolls that I opened and spread in a sided baking sheet. I had a jar of pesto, which I brushed all over the crust. I had mushrooms, the end of a box of grape tomatoes from costco, some leftover grilled chicken, and some leftover Canadian Bacon from when I made McMuffin Sandwiches. And I had a bag of mozzarella cheese. Oh, and a can of olives. So, I started chopping and spreading and ended up with some delicious pizza in no time flat. I was very proud of myself and felt very "Chopped-ish." Here's the recipe, in case you want to actually plan to make it:

2 cans crescent rolls
Jar of Pesto
Mozzarella Cheese
Meats and Veggies as desired: Mushrooms, Tomatoes (both of these are essential to me for good pizza), Onions (I like to saute the onion with garlic before putting them on- even caramalize them, if I have time), Olives, cooked chiken, bacon, ham, etc. and whatever else you can think of.
Bake at the time and temperature listed on the crescent roll can. Easy, fast, and yummy. Even the leftovers were good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Costa Rican Rice and Beans

It seems most South-of-the-border countries have their own version of Rice and Beans. All that I've tried are delicious. We went to Costa Rica last summer and on our first morning there (notice I said "morning." Yes, for breakfast) we were presented with complimentary rice and beans to go along with our breakfast. We ate it several times during the week. Always served with this:
This is Costa Rica's pride and joy- Their Lizano salsa. It is delicious. We brought home a big bottle.
I've been craving those rice and beans, so I did an Internet search and found several recipes, all very similar. I kind of combined a couple and came up with a pretty good version of what we ate there. It includes this Lizano sauce. You can order it here . Or, the best way I can describe it is a cross between Worcestershire sauce and Heinz 57. I think you could replace it with either or a mixture of both and get a similar taste. This isn't exact science. I think every Costa Rican family makes this by just throwing together the ingredients, coming up with their own version. You can do the same. It makes a tasty side dish with chicken or fish. Or it's a delicious and healthy main dish. Add some avocado slices on the side. Yum!

Costa Rican Rice and Beans
4 cups (or so) cooked white rice (cook 2 cups dry rice to make about 4 cups)

2 lbs. Black beans (you can cook these yourself, or I used 2 cans, drained)
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I freeze peppers from our garden in the summer and mix them in a bag, so I used yellow, red, and green peppers)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp. salt
2 T. Lizano Salsa (or replacement- see above)
A few splashes of Tabasco Sauce or Siracha or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste ( I used Siracha, but I think any of them would work.)

In a large fry pan, heat about 2 T. oil. Add the onion and peppers. Saute til soft, then add beans and a large bunch of cilantro. Stir and heat well. Add salt, salsa and hot sauce to taste. Taste and correct seasonings. Serve over hot rice and top with cilantro.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Insanely Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

We have a cupcake shop in town that makes the most delicious, moist cupcakes. My sister, Pam and I like to go there. We've decided the frosting is delicious and beautiful, but it's the moist, delicious cupcake that makes them winners.
I was out pinterest-ing one evening, and found this recipe for chocolate cupcakes that claimed they were "insanely moist," so I had to try them. They were really yummy and moist, and oh-so- chocolatey. These might measure up to our local shop- especially if I eat them with my sister! The frosting is really delicious, too.

Insanely Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 cup boiling water
8 T. butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Put cupcake liners in muffin tins- 18 of them.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Put the cup chocolate in another mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over the top. Let stand for a couple of minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the butter, then the eggs, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla and sour cream. Now you have two mixtures. Put about 1/3 of the dry into the wet and mix well. Add another 1/3 of the dry and mix well, then the last 1/3 and mix until smooth. Divide the batter into the 18 baking cups. Bake about 20 minutes until done. Press the center of one. It should feel firm.

Cool in pan for a few minutes, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack and cool completely. In the meantime, make the delicious frosting:

Fudge Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
6 T. butter, very soft
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and whisk well. Place over low heat and simmer. Pour into a bowl and cool til baby bottle temperature.
Add the cream to the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Cut the soft butter into small pieces and add to the chocolate, whisking until the butter is melted and blended in. Add the vanilla. Cool until the icing is firm enough to spread. You can put it in the fridge to cool it. I had to add some confectioner's sugar to get it frosting consistency. When it's the proper consistency, spread on the cupcakes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

A friend of mine makes cinnamon rolls for her family every Valentines Day for breakfast. What a fun tradition. This year, somehow I scored a couple of them and fell. in. love. The rolls themselves were delicious, but the maple frosting was to die for. I begged the recipe off of her and made them the next week. I used my own cinnamon roll recipe since I am more comfortable with it and the frosting was the perfect addition. The recipe comes from the and here is the link to the recipe itself:
Sidenote: The Pioneer Woman also adds coffee to her recipe. We substituted caramel flavored hot chocolate. Delish.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies aka Best Food Known to Man

Salty sweets are all the rage now. You've seen the recipes for salted caramel, well, salted caramel everything. It seems people are finally figuring out what my Grandma Peterson taught me years ago: "Always put some salt in sweet things." She also said, "Always put some sugar in savory things." But this post is about the salty sweet. These cookies are so yummy we've dubbed them the best food known to man. I clipped this recipe out of a Good Housekeeping magazine back in 1997. I make only one change to them from that original: If you are going to Hawaii or if you can find them here, the Honey Roasted nuts are even better in this recipe. I discovered that when I ran out of the regular. But either kind are really, really good. Tip: Keep your nuts in the freezer and they last for a long, long time. I'm a little ashamed to say how old the ones in these cookies were.
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
16 oz. white chocolate, chopped
14 oz. Macadamia nuts, chopped (regular, honey roasted, or I have substituted blanched almonds) I also fudge on the amount. 14 oz. is a lot.

Beat the sugar with the butter. Add the eggs, beating after each. Then beat in the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Beat them into the wet. Stir in the chocolate and nuts. Bake on a greased cookie sheet or silpat at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly browned (Do not overbake) Remove cookies immediately and cool on a wire rack. Store in a tightly covered container.
* Tip: Who has room temperature eggs? Not anyone I know. So, when you're assembling your ingredients, take your eggs out first and put them in a bowl of warm water. By the time you need them, they will have warmed. Always do this when baking. It makes your baked goods so much better.