Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foolproof Pot Roast

1 (3 lb) chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 can condensed French Onion soup
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup water
additional pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Season the roast lightly with salt and pepper, and place in a dutch oven or other roasting pan with a lid.

Pour the condensed soup over the roast (do not add water). Put the lid on the pot and slide in the oven.

Do not disturb for 2 hours. Smaller size roasts will be done around 2 hours- larger roasts may take longer. Check to see that the meat is falling apart- when it does that, it's ready. If it doesn't fall apart, it needs more time- give it 20 minutes increments until done.

Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes- leave the lid on!

Transfer the roast to a serving platter. Pour the juices left behind into a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Combine the flour and water, whisking until combined. Add to the pan juices, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and check for seasonings- I usually find it needs added pepper, but not salt.

Once the mixture has come to a boil, it's done. Pour over the roast and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rotini and Cheese with Broccoli and Ham

Serving Size : 6

4 quarts water
2 cups rotini -- about 8 ozs. pasta
1 package frozen chopped broccoli -- (10-ounce)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups Velveeta Light -- (6 ounces) cubed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup ham -- reduced fat, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add pasta; cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli; cook an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is done; drain.
While pasta cooks, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a medium saucepan; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat; stir in cheese and next 4 ingredients (cheese through pepper). Combine pasta mixture, cheese sauce, and ham.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pina-Colada Bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
7 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almon extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Combine all-purpose flour, pastry flour, brown sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

Press into the 9x13 pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, crushed pineapple with juice, and egg yolks in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice.

Pour pineapple mixture over the hot crust, spreading gently with the back of a spoon.

In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar, coconut, flour, salt, egg whites, egg, and extracts. Mix well.

Using a combination of fork and your fingers, dollop coconut mixture all over the pineapple mixture, trying your best to cover all of the pineapple with the coconut evenly.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until the coconut is beginning to turn golden brown and the bars seem to be set.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. They taste best after being chilled for awhile as well.

Yield: About 30 bars

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup sliced celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 or 4 potatoes — peeled and diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced sugar snap peas
4 ounces egg noodles or 1/2 cup stellini
3 or 4 cups cooked chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot.

Saute the celery, carrot and onion for 2 minutes.

Add potato, basil, poultry seasoning, and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil.

Add sugar snap peas, noodles, and chicken, and cook on low for 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Broccoli Chicken Supreme

adapted from Taste Of Home Feb/Mar 08

4 cups fresh broccoli, or frozen, thawed
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
2 (8 oz) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 TBS butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup half & half (I suspect milk or evap. milk will work well here)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Steam fresh broccoli for 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp tender. Thaw frozen broccoli by running under cook water in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in the butter until tender.

In a greased 13 x 9 x 2 pan, layer the chicken, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and broccoli.

For Sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add the broth and half & half. Bring to a boill cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolkls. Return all to the saucepan, cook and stir until the mixture reaches 160º and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and nutmeg.

Pour the sauce over the layered ingredients in the casserole; sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered at 375º for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


a la Mark Bittman and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/4 cups milk, plus more if needed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for cooking

1. Whisk together all the ingredients except the butter for cooking until smooth; you can do this in a blender. If the mixture isn't quite pourable, add a little more milk. If the time allows, let the batter rest in the refrigerator for an hour or up to 24 hours.

2. Put an 8 or 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and wait a couple of minutes; add a small pat of butter. Stir the batter and use a large spoon or ladle to pour a couple of tablespoons of the batter into the skillet. Swirl it around so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

3. When the top of the crêpe is dry, after about a minute, turn and cook the other side for 15 to 30 seconds. (The crêpe should brown only very slightly and not become crisp at all.) Bear in mind that the first crêpe almost never works, even for professionals, so discard it if necessary, there is plenty of batter.

4. Stack the crêpes on a plate as you make them, and keep them warm in a low oven while you make the remaining crêpes. Even better, fill each crêpe while it's still in the pan, putting the filling in the center of the bottom third of the crêpe. If you want your filling warmed, keep the pan over low heat for a few minutes. Either roll the crêpe starting at the end with the filling or fold the bottom third over the filling, fold in the sides, then fold the crêpe from the bottom up. Slide it onto a plate and serve. Repeat the process, adding butter to the skillet and adjusting the heat as needed, until all the batter is used up.

Chocolate Braids

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup honey -- divided
6 tablespoons butter -- softened
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour -- to 3 cups
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 Ounces cream cheese -- softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter -- cold
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 2 teaspoons honey; let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the butter, egg, cocoa, salt, 1 1/2 cups bread flour, and remaining honey. Beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion into a 12x7 rectangle.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half of the filling over the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with the long side; pinch the seams to seal.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, carefully cut roll in half lengthwise, not cutting all the way through one end. Carefully, turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other, keeping cut sides up. Pinch ends to seal.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts, and sprinkle over risen loaves.

Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over loaves.

"Taste of Home"
"Feb/Mar 2008"
"2 loaves"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tortilla Soup

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas -- chopped
6 garlic cloves -- minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 can diced tomatoes -- (28 oz) undrained
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cooked chicken breast halves -- shredded (about 2 cups) (Or cooked and shredded pork)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro, and onion. Saute 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Add salt and cayenne. Simmer 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and stir in chicken. Reheat.

Garnish with monterey jack, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips and a squeeze of lime

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups milk, plus more for serving if desired
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other berries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine milk, brown sugar, margarine and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, apple, cranberries, and nuts. Add the hot milk mixture and stir well to combine.

Spray a 9x9 square baking dish with cooking spray. Pour oatmeal into the baking dish and bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate and heat up individual portions in the microwave.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Peanut Butter Fudge Cups

from Cooking Light Annual, 2002

Serving Size : 24

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter -- cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold water
Cooking spray
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and salt to peanut butter mixture; cut in flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; toss with a fork until combined.

Shape mixture into 24 balls. Place 1 ball in each of 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Press dough into bottoms and up sides of muffin cups.

To prepare filling, combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and the next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup brown sugar through milk) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons flour and egg until well blended. Divide chocolate mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned; cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Run a knife around outside edges of cups. Remove cups from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 83 Calories; 2g Fat (25.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 37mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bean and Cheese Empanadas

from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more
1/2 cup masa harina, fine cornmeal or more all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups cooked and well-seasoned beans
2 cups grated or crumbled queso fresco, Monterey Jack, or coltija cheese
1/2 cup milk

1. Mix the flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt together in the food processor and process for about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the 1/2 cup shortening and process for 10 seconds. Then, with the machine running, add about 1/2 cup cold water, just enough for the dough to form a ball. Don't add more water than necessary; the dough should be fairly dry. Knead by hand until smooth, just a minute or so.

2. Divide into 12 pieces, roll into balls, and wrap in plastic or cover with a damp towel and let rest for at elast 20 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough overnight; be sure to let it come to room temperature before proceeding.) On a well-floured surface, rolle ach piece into a 6-inch circle, adding flour as necessary.

3. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a couple of tablespoons of the beans in the center of each circle of dough, followed by a sprinkling of cheese, then fold each circle overl seal the seam with a few drops of water and press with the tines of a fork to close. Put on an ungreased baking sheet and brush lightly with milk. Bake until the dough is golden brown and hot, and about 20 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

**The sky is the limit with these empanadas, they will take well to any filling, as long as the filling isn't too wet.