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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Governor Bars

These are almost too rich.  Next time I make them I would do all chocolate chips, no butterscotch, but that's just my lack of adoration of butterscotch- they are perfectly good as written.  They are a nice change from traditional "toasted rice cereal" bars.  The kids loved them!

Governor Bars
Adapted from Pennies on a Platter

6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (or generic brand)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz bag butterscotch chips
1 tsp light corn syrup

Place Rice Krispies and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl.  Do not mix together yet; set aside.

Heat the honey and sugar in a medium sauce pan until it is just boiling.  Immediately remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the Rice Krispies and peanut butter.  Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.  Lightly press the mixture into a greased 13- x 9- inch pan.

Melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl for about one minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon corn syrup.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Spread evenly on top of the Rice Krispies.  Let cool until hardened before slicing into bars.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Pita bread

There's nothing better that homemade bread.  Except, maybe, homemade ice cream.  But this goes better with hummus!  I have been on a kick lately of prepped veggies in the fridge at all times, to encourage healthy snacking.  The pita is a great accompaniment to pretty much anything, from dips, to grilled chicken, to salad- it's very versatile.

Whole Wheat Pita
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally Gourmet 2003

2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap or towel and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed (my mixer the dough hook should never go above speed 2) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.  If you are short on time, you can go straight to the shaping rounds stage and skip this rise without discernible difference.

Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven (I highly recommend if you can) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface or wax paper without flour, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a roughly 7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy. (or 1 hour, if you skipped rise #2).

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Eat the same day or freeze for another day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Banh Mi Salad with Chicken

We are always looking for vegetable full, low fat, low carb dinners.  I always love dinners with some spice to them, too, because it always has a natural way to slow your eating and make you eat less!  I love the rice vinegar on the salad.  It's got  such a nice sweetness.  The original recipe calls for this to be on a sandwich, but we enjoy the salad adaptation.  You could eliminate the spice by eliminating the sriracha mayo, but then- you'd be getting rid of the best part!

Banh Mi Salad
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan in Parade Magazine

Banh Mi–Style Chicken Sandwiches

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sriracha (Thai hot sauce)
2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
1/4 cup sweet red chili sauce
1 to 2 jalapeƱos, thinly sliced
2/3 English cucumber, peeled and thickly sliced
Mint (I didn't have) and cilantro leaves
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Combine  mayonnaise and sriracha. Grill or poach chicken.  Add jalapeƱos, cucumber, and herbs, then to lettuce and carrots.  Toss with the vinegar.  Top with grilled chicken, then drizzle with sriracha mayonnaise and red chili sauce.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Buffalo Wing Dip

This is not haute cuisine.  This...is football food.  It's what buffalo wings would be in a dip. I usually make it with homemade ranch dip, but not this time.  I was in serious crunch time for my little girl's party.  Same thing with the chicken.  Total easy mode.  You could make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken.

This dip is spicy but the spice is tempered by the ranch and cream cheese, but it's still relatively hot.  It's a great one to have around for parties.  My brother in law turned us onto it, and we have made it a bunch of times and haven't gotten tired of it yet!  You could also toss this with pasta for a take on hot pepper alfredo sauce!   We love it.

Buffalo Wing Dip
Adapted from AllRecipes

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup pepper sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot®)
1 cup Ranch salad dressing
2 cups diced cooked chicken or canned chicken breast in water
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and hot pepper sauce until well blended. Mix in the Ranch dressing, chicken and Cheddar cheese. Spread into a 9x13 inch or similar baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Garlic Butter

I love it when my in laws are around.  My husband always eats as if he's on vacation, and I get to do things like serve garlic butter twice in 2 days, and actually have him ask for it on day 2!!

Usually we are being too health conscious to eat butter (gasp!) and white bread (shocking), especially late at night.... but this was a really good blend.  I love the parmesan, the italian seasoning, and the pepper, which are all new to me.  I usually just blend garlic and butter and call it a day.  The originally recipe calls for a pinch of paprika.  Go for it, if you like, I will next time.  It's really delicious.

Garlic Butter
Adapted from All recipes

1/4 cup butter, softened (unsalted)
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespooons cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4teaspoon ground black pepper

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I don't know if any of you read this heartbreaking blog post.  It's the sad story of a young woman who lost her husband to a heart attack, and about how he loved peanut butter pie, and how we should all savor these moments we have with those we love.  And make a peanut butter pie for your family.  For Mikey.

I got a little carried away with the decorating.  I read my husband the blog post and started crying.  So sad.  I'm so lucky.

Peanut Butter Pie
Adapted not at all from In Jennie's kitchen

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

P.S.  About the pie.  It's really sweet.  I'm not complaining.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Robert's best brownie

I made these for the students I lecture to.  (clearly, I am not lecturing on grammar).  I whipped them up at 6:30 am in about 5 minutes, baked them, then brought them in the pan to let them cool.

I never got to eat one.  They were gone too fast.  But let me tell you, from the knife crumbs, these are fudgy and well hydrated (for you, L) and they are the darn near perfect brownie.  David Leibovitz.  How could you go wrong there?

Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies Recipe
Adapted from Ready For Dessert

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped if you like em

optional add in: 1/3 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Line the inside of an 8-inch square pan with a single large sheet of extra wide foil or parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment.

3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in the chopped nuts is using (blech.).

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.

5. Let the brownie cool completely in the pan before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mashed Lima Beans

I know what you're thinking.  Lima beans????????

We were tricked into eating these at a neighbor's house for dinner, but they quickly became a favorite.  Now we have them quite a bit, and look forward to it each time we do.  They are very mild flavored, and most of what you taste is the chicken broth.  They are a super healthy alternative to plain white potatoes.  Be adventurous.

Mashed Lima beans
Inspired by Gary and Sharon

1 (10 ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a small sauce pan heat the lima beans, chicken broth, salt and pepper to boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer for a 20 minutes minutes until limas are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Mash or immersion blend.  They should look like green mashed potatoes.  Serve wherever you would mashed potatoes!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken-occoli Ranch pizza

I could literally never stop making pizza.  It's so adaptable.  This recipe pairs the classic ranch and pizza, but skips the dunking, and replaces the tomato sauce with ranch.  I don't know why my household didn't eat ranch with pizza, but we were missing out!  (not too much, mind you.  We did have fried dough for breakfast and a tomato sauce that could double as a dessert.)

Like every generation, I vow to give my kids a better life.  Since I had a great childhood, that pretty much means I cook a lot for them, from scratch, and introduce them to pizza ranch!!!

Chicken-occoli Ranch Pizza
Adapted from Annie's Eats

½ batch of thin crust pizza crust
¼ cup Ranch dressing
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½-1 grilled chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 head broccoli, florets only
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500° F.  Allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes.  In the mean time, cut a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone.   Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.  Gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust.  Spread the Ranch dressing in a thin layer evenly over the unbaked crust.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.  Top with grilled chicken, broccoli.  Sprinkle with shredded cheddar.  Once assembled, carefully transfer the parchment round and pizza to the preheated baking stone and return to the oven.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Let cool for 2-4 minutes, slice, and serve!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chicken Milanese

I love this dish.  I rarely fail to order it when it's available out, but I never made it at home before now.  Ridiculous, really, since it's so simple.

It's lemony, light, and full of veggies.  The goat cheese isn't traditional, but I love it, so we added it. I love pounding chicken breast, it makes it so much more tender.  This is a quick weeknight meal, and is lower carb.

Chicken Milanese
Inspired by Ina Garten

8 oz baby arugula
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 lb chicken breast, pounded thin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs with 3/4 tsp salt mixed in for dredging
olive oil, for pan frying

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp

Whisk together pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice until emulsified (until it binds together in a thick dressing).

Dip chicken breasts in whisked eggs, then dredge in breadcrumb-salt mixture and set aside.

Pan fry chicken about 4 minutes to a side in a thin layer of olive oil in your pan.

Toss arugula with vinaigrette, then top with chicken.  Add tomatoes onto chicken and add goat cheese as desired.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate chip muffins

I made these for a dear friend going through a rough time due to a family tragedy.  She needed something to look forward to in the morning!  These are definitely worth getting up for.  The peanut butter flavor intensifies as they cool, so they are the rare muffin that is actually better the next morning!  They somehow taste like a muffin, not a cupcake, although you cynics may be wondering.  These lend well to popping in labelled freezer bags and giving to new moms, the recently post-op, and anyone who could use a little morning pampering.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip muffins
Adapted from Annie's Eats

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
½ cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup special dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth.  Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.  I use a muffin scoop.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.