Friday, December 3, 2010

Basic Sweet Rolls or Bread

My Mother-in-law makes these rolls which are, incidentally, found in the cookbook my Mother typed for the church I grew up in during the year in which Joe and I were married.  WOW, that's alot of memories and family tied together in one little recipe.  Seriously, my Mother-in-law is a great baker, and this is the recipe she really uses for all the breads that she makes ... sweet rolls, bread, dinner rolls, etc.  and it's pretty simple, really.

Basic Sweet Rolls
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 pkgs dry yeast

4 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine (NOT hot, just warmed enough to melt)
3 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten

If you're in the 1930s and have unpastureized milk, then heat milk until scalded - if you're making this in 2010, then just warm your milk slightly (like 1 minute in the microwave).  Add sugar and salt to the milk - allow to cool.  Soften 2 packages dry yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.  when the yeast is starting to "grow", add to the cooled milk mixture.  Add 4 cups of flour and cover with a towel - sit in a warm space and let raise to bubbly stage. Add butter, eggs, and the next 3 cups of flour.  Knead in only as much additioanl flour as needed to make a dough that can be handled using small amounts at a time.  Allow to raise to double in bulk (an hour or so?).  Shape into buns, cinnamon rolls, braides, or any type of rolls you want. 
Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

So, for those of us not used to making breads or our own dinner rolls...a few tips. 
to make great "clover leaf rolls", spray each cup in your cupcake pan, pinch off about 1 tbsp dough, using as little extra flour as you need, roll into a small ball, repeat two more times so you have three balls - put into a sprayed cupcake cup, repeat to fill pan  allow to raise, and bake.
cinnamon rolls are a breeze with this recipe - just roll about half the dough (mixing with flour as needed to roll) into a long rectangle, spread with a bit of butter, some brown sugar, and cinnamon to taste, or just use pre-mixed cinnamon sugar.  Roll long sides to long sides making a long tube.  cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick - put on a baking sheet and allow to raise and then bake.
For bread you can just place the dough into two 10 x 13 loaf pans.  again, allow to raise and then bake.

Italian Meatloaf

I've been upping the protein in all that I eat for the past several weeks - and it's helping me in alot of ways.  I've been doing the P-90x workouts that are insanely tough and more than that, they're super long and you do them every day!  That said, I eat alot of protein and my body is changing...finally something that works.  (Catering for two days followed immediately by Thanksgiving was TOUGH on my diet!).  It's nice to be back at the right foods for me.

This is one of the recipes from the p90x plan  - a basic meatloaf.

1/2 cup onion, diced
(1/2 cup finely diced carrots)
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb turkey breast
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup low fat marinara sauce
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried basil)
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried parsley)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
saute the onions (and carrots) in chicken broth until soft
add the garlic and cook until flavorful.
In a mixing bowl, combine the onion and ground turkey, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup marinara, basil and parsley.
form into a loaf and place in an ungreased loaf pan.
top with 2 more tbsp marinara and bake unti cooked through - about 35-40 minutes
drain off any fat, allow to cool for 10-20 minutes before slicing into 8 slices.

Someone my size would eat 2 slices - someone my husbands size would eat 4 slices.  Plan accordingly!

I added the carrots to the recipe - p90x does not.  It's such as simple way to hide veggies, so we should just do it!
(p.s. I labeled this as poultry and beef because obviously ground turkey and ground beef are pretty much interchangeable and won't affect the outcome of this recipe!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lime-Honey Glazed Salmon w/ Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

Barbara - I scream ... can you believe this - so many many many of our favorite foods in this salad of Rachel Ray's. Straight outta her 365: No Repeats. We repeat for you a lime/honey salmon, our fav mix of black beans and corn, and then we throw it in a salad. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OMG so awesome for us. I am super stoked for this tonight - and I can't wait to try it warm. Haven't had the corn/beans mixture warm, but I'm betting it will be perfect for this cold night!

4 tbsp evoo
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushd red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
salt/pepper to taste
juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp (gobs) honey
1 tsp chili powder
4 6-oz fillets salmon
1 red pepper, chopped
1 10 oz pkg frozen corn, defrosted, or 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
6 cups baby spinach (romaine would work if you're short on spinach)

In a shallow dish combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder - add the salmon fillets to this and toss to coat thoroughly.

preheat medium skillet and warm 2 tbsp evoo. Add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes.

heat another skillet over medium heat with the other 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the seasoned salmon from above to the HOT skillet and cook just until cooked through - roughly 3 minutes on each side.

Now, to the first skillet the one with the onions and spices - add the bell peppers, defrosted or rinsed corn, and cook 1 minute. Ad the chicken stock and cook another 2 minutes. Add the black beans and cook unti they are heated thru. Remove from heat and add the juice of the second lime, cilantro and spinach. Just barely wilt the spinach then plate on four plates. Top with the lime/honey glazed salmon!

serve it up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuffed Chili and Cheese Potato

Haven't done this in a long time - and this one is different from our previous potato bars because it's got last night's chili in it!  Potato bar is SO versatile, and something we should do more often.  The health factor in this dish is in appropriately choosing your potato.  A serving of potato for you is about the size of your fist.  What's right for you is not right for your spouse...choose wisely.  Also, don't dump the bag of cheese onto your potato... it needs a sprinkle, not a bath!

4 medium potatoes
2-3 cups left over white chili from last night
16 ounces frozen broccoli (12 will do if that's what size bag you have)
shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

microwave potato until soft - about 7 minutes for one - probably 15 minutes for all four.  You  can open the microwave and touch your potato - it should be slightly soft when you sqeeze it.  When the potatoes are done, remove them to a plate and cover with an inverted serving bowl to lock in the moisture.  Very important step!!!
warm the chili and the broccoli together either in the microwave or stove top. 
Next cut the potato lengthwise, top with the chili mix, then sprinkle with cheese.

White Chili

This recipe should make Jillian proud - always our goal for Tuesdays!  And, I've made this recipe as a "planned holdover" going with the potato tomorrow.  Nice planning.  Be sure to eat an appropriate amount of chili  - a problem many of us have.  I did take this recipe off the internet because I can't find the one I've made before ... this recipe sounds really good, with a good array of spices to keep it interesting from start to finish.  Sometimes white chilies aren't as "hot" as red, but this one holds good potential... let's see what happens.


1/2 lb white beans, soaked overnight in water, drained (or 1 can cannelli beans & 1can Northern White)
6 cups turkey stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onions, chopped (divided)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeƱo or serrano pepper, stem and most seeds removed, chopped (optional)
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies
4 cups diced cooked turkey
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

Possible Garnishes and extras
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup (loose) chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped (or guacamole)
Chopped tomatoes or salsa
Corn tortilla chips and/or fresh warmed flour tortillas

Combine beans, turkey stock, garlic and half the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 1 to 3 hours or more. (Depending on the type of white beans you are using. Cannelli beans are tender and tend to cook rather quickly. Navy beans take longer.) Add additional water (or watered-down stock), if necessary.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, cook chopped jalapeno (if using) and remaining onions in oil until tender. Add green chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to bean mixture. Add turkey and salt to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes or more (up to an hour) until the beans are thoroughly soft and the stew has thickened.

Serve topped with grated cheese. Garnish with cilantro, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, chopped green onions, and/or avocados. Serve with fresh warmed flour tortillas or tortilla chips.

Serves 4 PLUS about 2 to 3 cups of leftovers.

Here's the blogsite I got the recipe from...but as you've come to expect, I modified it a bit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl

Ah, recipe two from the desktop cleanup!  This picture looks so yummo, and easy!  AND healthy.  Under 500 calories for sure.  Man, I oughta clean the desk more often :-).

Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl.

8 oz whole wheat pasta (spaghetti type)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic
ginger to taste, peeled and grated
2 cups frozen shelled edamame
8 cups frozen stir-fry veggies (buy the ones from Aldi, throw the sauce away!)

4 tablespoons chopped peanuts
scallions or green onions, sliced.

COok pasta according to directions.  In a skillet, saute' peanut butter, lime juice, garlic, and ginger for one minute.  Add adamame and veggies and cook for 12 minutes until veggies are tender.  Pour over pasta.  Top with peanuts and scallions.

(So, here's a meatless version for Barbara - I'm thinking of adding shrimp to mine for protein! - sorry B, gotta do it!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Italian Sausage & Veg Pasta

Cleaned off my desk yesterday - the one in the basement that hasn't been cleaned off in "a while" we'll leave the description of time as that.  I found some cool recipes that I'd pulled uhm before we began this project.  Anyway, this one page had three kickin' recipes that we're going with this week - this being the first of them.

To me this is sort of a justification recipe...see, this is something I would regularly make for the family but usually feel that it's more of a thrown together meal than cooking from a recipe - but now I have a recipe for this, so it legitimizes my method of healthy meal making!  Sweet!

In the picture above I omitted the pasta entirely - part of my reduced carb consumption plan (we don't say diet here in my house!).  I subbed in a bowl full of baby spinach but otherwise followed my recipe.  Calories? as if...

bring together
8 ounces whole-wheat pasta
2 cups spaghetti sauce (of choice)
4 pre-cooked Chicken or Sausage sausages - like Asiago and Spinach Chicken Brats or Sundried Tomato and Gouda or whatever you find/like.
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped zucchini
1/2 cup grated Parmsan cheese (to your liking - this seems like ALOT!)

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Saute the mushrooms, onions and zucchini in a large frying pan over medium heat (sprayed lightly with cooking spray) - after about 5 minutes, add the sliced sausages and garlic, brown slightly - another 4-5 minutes, then add the sauce for the final few minutes until it's all hot and married together and the veggies are really tender.
Top pasta with sauce mixture and sprinkle with cheese!


shopping list

The Aldi Shopping list for the week - and minus the cilantro, jalapeno and ginger, I think it's an all Aldi week!

Peanut Butter
Lime Juice
Chopped peanuts
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Chili powder
Ground cloves (optional)
Cayenne pepper
7 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 pkgs dry yeast

Fresh Parmesan Cheese - grated
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine

2x8 oz whole wheat pasta
2.75 cup spaghetti sauce of your choice
Black beans (1 can)
½ pound white beans which you will soak and cook, Or 2 cans white beans of choice
2 - 4 oz cans diced chilies
bread crumbs

Garlic (loads of it!) (like at least a bulb+)
2 cups mushrooms
5 white or yellow onions
2 cups zucchini
4 medium sized baking potatoes
Green onions (optional)
Red onion
1 red pepper
Baby spinach leaves
Avocado (optional)
Fresh Salsa (optional)

2 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
1.5 lbs ground turkey breast (lean!)

4 Chicken or Turkey Sausages flavored to your liking (I like Asiago & Spinach)
Frozen, shelled, edamame
Frozen stir-fry veggies
4-6oz salmon fillets
Frozen Broccoli
1 bag or box corn kernels

½ cup Chicken stock
3 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 jalapeno pepper

So, Barbara, how much do you trust me to have put your wishes into this menu?  I think you'll like it Babe!

The week after Thanksgiving

And for Barbara - NO TURKEY!
(I'm good for turkey eating for a few more weeks thanks to our 21 pound turkey, but Barbara and her family are out of turkey until next year!).

So, Barbara and I had a super super busy week last week, and we'll get some recipes from last week posted this week - what a rockin' week with two full days of catering followed immediately by Thanksgiving - shopping, yesterday, and now it's Sunday already.  WOWZA!  Our week was so busy that we didn't take time out to get the menu in order... but since it's time to get organized as the four week long insane rush before Christmas begins, here's what I've put together for the week!

Sunday:  Italian Sausage and Veggie Pasta
Monday:  Thai Peanut Noodle Bowl
Tuesday:  White Chili
Wednesday:  Stuffed Chili and Cheese Potato
Thursday:  Salmon with Lime and Honey on Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad
Friday:  Meatloaf ala P90x
Saturday: Sweet Bread - the easiest homemade bread -

so there you be...

(Let us not forget that Advent is a time to prepare and be ready - to cleanse and find our simpler self - and be nicer to those around us!)