Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002

cup coarsely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons bottled ground fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (I like Pataks)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala

Combine onion, ginger, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until minced.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture, sugar, and curry to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and tomatoes; simmer 2 minutes. Stir in spinach, water, salt, and Garam Masala; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.

Serve over basmati rice with plain yogurt and chutney.

Makes about 3 servings.

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls- Half Batch

from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 C whole milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
4 C flour
1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp salt
1 C melted butter
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C cinnamon (or more depending on preference)
1/2 bag powdered sugar
1/4 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp melted butter
1 pinch salt

Mix whole milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald to 150 degrees. Let cool until lukewarm. Sprinkle in yeast and let sit. Then add 4 C flour, stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for one hour. Add 1/2 C flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir mixture together.

Sprinkle surface generously with flour and form into a rectangle, roll the dough thin, maintaining a rectangular shape. Drizzle melted butter over dough. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough toward you. Pinch the seam to seal it. Grease foil cake or pie pans. Cut rolls 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay in greased pans. Cover the rolls and let sit for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 15 to 18 minutes.

Combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Generously drizzle frosting over warm mrolls after they come out of the oven.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pecan Pie with Bittersweet Chocolate

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (try Judy's Flaky Pie Crust for a no-fail recipe)
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup (I like Karo's brown sugar syrup)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (use good quality 60% cacao chips)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place the pie shell in a 9-inch pie plate. Brush with egg yolk, if desired. Set aside for a minute.

Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely toasted, but not burnt.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Stir in the toasted nuts and chocolate chips.

Place the empty pie shell in the oven for just a minute to warm the pie crust. It should be hot to the touch. Pour the filling in, and bake in a 375ºF oven for 35 to 45 minutes. The edges will be firm, but the center will still seem quivery, almost like gelatin. Let cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 cup mayo
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (8 oz) packages Neufchatel cheese (less fat cream cheese), softened
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 or 4 ozs. Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

Put mayo, garlic, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until well-combined. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Pour into a microwave safe dish and heat on high for 3 minutes. Stir well. Heat for another 2 minutes, stir, and continue the process until the dip is hot and gooey and well-combined. Serve hot with sliced baguettes, veggies, or chips.

Can also be heated in a 350ºF oven for about 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Streuseled Sweet Potatoes

Serving Size : 10

2 40 oz. cans sweet potatoes -- drained
2 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts -- or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter -- cut in small cubes

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine drained sweet potatoes, eggs, half and half, salt, black pepper and cinnamon. Mix with a hand mixer on low speed until well combined. Scoop sweet potato mixture into the baking dish.

For the streusel: In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, flour and salt. Mix with a fork. Sprinkle streusel evenly over the sweet potatoes.

Evenly scatter the butter pieces over the top of the streusel.

Place in a 350ºF oven and bake for 1 hour, or until streusel is nicely browned.

Can be made up to one day ahead and reheated in a 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes.

Serves 8 to 10.

Cranberry-Pineapple Sauce

Serving Size : 8

12 ounces fresh cranberries -- picked over and rinsed
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple in syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pinch salt

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add crushed pineapples, lemon juice and salt to the pan, stir well. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until nicely thickened.

Sauce can be served warm or cold, and can be made up to two days ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered.

Friday, November 16, 2007

French Toast Sticks

8 to 10 slices thick-cut bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cut the thick bread slices into thirds so you have 2 sticks per slice of bread.

Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, beat well to combine.

Dip bread sticks into the egg mixture one at a time, and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes. Flip the sticks over halfway through baking time to crisp both sides.

**To freeze, allow to cool completely before wrapping well in a freezer bag. To reheat, pop in a 350 oven for about 8 minutes to refresh. Alternatively, they can be reheated in a microwave for a minute or two, but they will lose their crispness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Impossible Coconut Pie

2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
4 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Bisquick Heart Smart
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes- not toasted

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 10" pie plate or a deep dish pie plate with cooking spray.

Combine milk, butter, eggs, brown sugar, bisquick, and vanilla in a blender. Blend together for about 20 seconds. Add the toasted coconut and pulse to combine.

Pour the blended mixture into the pie plate. Sprinkle the top with the un-toasted coconut flakes. Bake in a 350ºF oven for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Chill before serving for best flavor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Caramel Popcorn

8 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup unpopped)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Sort through the popped corn to remove any unpopped kernels. Place the popcorn in a large roasting pan or other deep pan, place in the oven to keep warm while you make the caramel.

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a heavy saucepot over medium-high heat. Cook and stir to boiling. Carefully clip on a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to cook and stir to 255º, or hard-ball stage. This should take about 4 minutes.

Remove saucepot from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir gently to coat the kernels.

Bake in a 300ºF oven for 15 minutes. Stir gently, return to oven, and bake for 5 more minutes.

Transfer popcorn to a large piece of foil or sheet pans to cool completely. Break up into clusters. Store tightly covered.

For Nutty Caramel Corn prepare as above, except add 1 1/2 cups peanuts, walnut halves, cashews, or pecan halves to the caramel coated corn before baking. Toss gently.

Spaghetti Pie

6 cups leftover cooked spaghetti (or other pasta)
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian Herb seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, egg, herb seasoning, cheddar cheese and butter. Mix well.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray, put spaghetti mixture into the pan and spread evenly.

In a saucepan over medium high heat, brown ground beef and onions together until nicely browned. Drain any grease. Spread ground beef and onions over the top of the pasta mixture in the pan.

Pour the bottled marinara sauce over the ground beef mixture, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling nicely.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pierogi Dough

2 Eggs
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBS margarine -- melted (I used butter)
4 Cups flour

In a small bowl, mix the eggs, salt, and melted margarine.

Place flour in a large bowl. Add liquid to dough and mix until crumbly. Add enough water to form dough. (About 2 cups of water.)

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes to make the dough smooth and elastic.

Roll out a large piece and cut into 4 inch circles.

Fill with about 2 Tablespoons of filling. Fold the dough circle over itself, making a half- circle.

Pinch edges together and crimp with a fork.

Place in boiling water for about 5 minutes until pierogi float to the top.

"3 dozen"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cranberry Chutney

from The Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Loomis

Cranberries are so full of natural pectin that they are ideal for conserves, and this sweet, tart spread is wonderful. It can be canned or frozen, or kept in the refrigerator for weeks. I like to use it on sharp Cheddar cheese sandwiches, as a condiment for curry, or alongside roast chicken.

1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
I small tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced (I never peel)
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1/2 to 1/2 tsp. dried pepper flakes

1. Place all the ingredients in a large heavy saucepan (using only 1/4 tsp. of the red pepper flakes) and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. The cranberries will pop as they cook. Taste and adjust the pepper flakes.

2. Allow the chutney to cool, then ladle into jars. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months. Alternatively, ladle into sterilized jars and *seal according to mfrs. instructions. Or place in freezer containers, allow to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to one year.

Yield: 2 pints

*Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner
NOTE: I like to add some finely chopped orange rind.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Brown Beef Stock

Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Lightly oil a roasting pan.

3 pounds meaty beef shanks, cut into 2-inch pieces or oxtails, split into chunks, or a combination
1 pound chicken parts, rinsed (backs, necks, wings, legs or thighs)
2 medium onions, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces.

Place everything in the roasting pan and roast, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the bones are well-browned, about 40-45 minutes. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a stockpot.

Place the roasting pan on the burner over medium heat and add about 2 cups of cold water to the roasting pan. Scrape up any browned bits on the roasting pan and then pour the water out of the roasting pan and into the stock pot. Add cold water to the stock pot to cover the meat and vegetables- around 14 cups of water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any scum that forms as it cooks. Reduce the heat and simmer gently- uncovered. After about 30 minutes, add:
1 leek that has been split and thoroughly cleaned, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 bouquet garni, including 1 clove

Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours, skimming of any scum as it cooks. Also, add water if needed to continuously cover the meat and vegetables in the pot. Cook for 4 hours. Strain into a clean pot. Let cool, uncovered, then refrigerate. Remove the fat before using the stock.

Makes about 10 cups stock.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Macaroni with Spiced Beef & Tomato Sauce

from Bon Appetit magazine, 2002

Makes 4 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces large macaroni
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add meat and onions and sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add cinnamon, cayenne, and cloves; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; simmer until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill sauce uncovered until cool, then cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add to sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Oatmeal-Banana Pancakes

2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs -- beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 ripe banana -- mashed with a fork

In bowl, pour milk over rolled oats; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

In another bowl, stir together flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Beat eggs, oil, and bananal together; add to dry ingredients along with milk/oats mixture, stirring just until mixed (if batter is too thick, add a little more milk).

Heat a large greased skillet over medium to med-high heat or a griddle to 350ºF.

Pour in about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbles on top break but do not fill in, and bottoms are golden and set.

Turn over and cook for about 30-60 seconds longer, or until nicely set and golden brown.

Hold pancakes in a 200ºF oven until ready to serve.