Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

I know this is supposed to be a place for things we bake, but this chicken was baked in my oven so I'm including it. It was so simple and smelled so good while it was in the oven, I knew it would be a hit. My son refused to try it but after bribing him with milk, he took a bite and polished it off.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tub of spreadable chive and onion cream cheese (I used Philidelphia)
1 TBSP butter
6 pieces of bacon

Flatten chicken breast halves to 1/2" thickness (remember, you need to be able to roll them). Spread 2-3 tablespoons of cream cheese on each breast. Dot with butter and sprinkle with salt (I completely missed this step).  Roll up. Wrap with a bacon strip.

Place rolls seam down in greased 9x13" baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400*F for about 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170*F. Broil 6" from from the heat for about 5 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.

Courtesy of "Taste of Home" Magazine. Fall 2009.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Raspberry Jam

I have never canned or preserved anything in my life but wanted to give it a shot. I figured I'd start with something simple like jam because my kids love it. Also, my dad has an abundance of raspberries in his garden so it was an easy choice. Picking raspberries gave the kids something to do for an hour one afternoon (you need a lot of berries) and my dad was happy his raspberries weren't going to waste. 

Before you get started, make sure you have sterilized your jars. Put your clean jars in the oven for 10 minutes at 225*F. Let the lids and rings boil in a large pot while you are making your jam.  Make sure you are putting your jam into warm jars.

Raspberry Jam
Makes 8 cups 

Preparation of fruit
Crush berries, one layer at a time. I let the kids do this with a potato masher in a very big bowl. You can sieve half the pulp to remove some of the seeds, if desired. We like the seeds so we left them all in.

3 3/4 c. crushed raspberries
1/4 c. lemon juice
6 1/2 c. granulated white sugar
1 pouch of Certo liquid pectin (costs less then $3 for 2 pouches at the grocery store)

In a large saucepan stir together fruit, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in Certo liquid pectin. 

Stir and skim for 5 minutes to prevent fruit floating. Pour into warm sterilized jars (I pour from the pot into a large measuring cup with a spout) to 1/4 inch from the rim. Cover with lids and screw rings on tightly. 

Note: This recipe came from the Certo box. They didn't pay me to tell me how great their jam recipe is, but I would be ok with it if they did.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake or Muffins

A recently brought home a copy of Vegan Yum Yum, so I cracked it open one day and made the Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake. OMG, to die for good! As always, I tinkered with the ingredients to cut out some fat, change up the flours and use a different egg substitute. I decided to try making muffins as it's quite dangerous to have a GIANT pan of coffeecake just sitting around staring at me, taunting me to eat it. So for the sake of my hips and thighs, I decided to make muffins as I can easily freeze those single servings of deliciousness.

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake or Muffins
Makes 16 servings of cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:

3 heaping cups of strawberries (about 1 lb)
6 stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 2 inch pieces, about 3 cups
1 cup sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Cake Batter:

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups soy milk plus 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Earth's Balance margarine
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP chia seeds mixed with 3 TBSP water

Crumb Topping:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup Earth's Balance margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1) Begin by making filling. Hull & chop strawberries into bite sized pieces. Chop rhubarb into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

2) Add strawberries & rhubarb to a large pot. Add sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. Turn heat to low & stir well.

3) Mix cornstarch, lemon juice and water together in a small bowl and add to strawberry-rhubarb mix, which should be liquidy by now, and turn heat to medium.

4) Stir constantly; don't try to multitask just yet. Mixture should be light pink & milky at first but will gradually become thick, dark red & transparent. After it changes, cook for another minute then taste. If it's grainy, stir well & let it cook for few more minutes to fully dissolve cornstarch. If it's smooth, remove from heat & allow to cool. Once cool, you can puree it a bit in a blender or food processor if you choose.

Now for the batter:

1) Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2) Stir flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda together in a large bowl.

3) Combine soy milk & apple cider vinegar in small bowl. Set aside to let it curdle for a few minutes.

4) Cream margarine, sugar & banana together until well combine. Add curdled soy milk, vanilla, chia seeds & water to creamed mixture. Beat until well combined.

5) Add wet mix to dry mix and combine until fully mixed, be careful not to over stir!

6) Scrape cake batter into greased pan, setting aside 1 cup of batter. Pour strawberry rhubarb mixture over top with spatula. Use large spoon to dollop reserved batter over top of filling.

7)Make crumb topping by mixing flour, sugar, margarine & cinnamon together, using your hands, fork or pastry cutter to combine until it is a crumbly texture. Sprinkle over top of cake batter & bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

For muffins:

I discovered that about half of the strawberry rhubarb filling is PLENTY to make 24 muffins. I ended up putting the leftover filling from the first batch into the fridge & just used it for another batch. Same with the crumb topping too. I filled muffin tins about 1/3 full with batter, added TBSP of filling, a tsp of batter on top & liberally sprinkled the crumb topping over each muffin. Bake at 350*F for about 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. These freeze beautifully, so don't be afraid to make a whole bunch and toss in a ziplock bag and freeze so you're not tempted to devour them all at once! ;)

Cranberry Banana Loaf

I figure you can't go wrong with a recipe that calls for bananas. They make for a moist and tasty loaf, muffin, cake or cookie. This recipe was a success and as always, I made my modifications. This is already pretty low calorie (131 calories/slice if you get 18 slices out of a loaf) but substituting applesauce for the butter would lower the fat and calories.

Cranberry Banana Loaf
Makes 1 loaf

1/4 c. butter (or margarine), softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. mashed banana (2 medium)
1 c. dried cranberries (I used Craisins - you could also use fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Beat first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Add banana and cranberries. Stir. Add remaining ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. Spread into a greased or parchment paper lined loaf pan (9" x 5" x 3"). Bake at 350*F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

Adapted from "Company's Coming Cooking at Home".

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Rough" Muffins

I was looking for a muffin that "scratches your throat on the way down", as per my husband. He wanted something substantial, with nuts and loaded with raisins. The kids like them soft and they usually contain bananas and have a different texture then he likes. I scoured my recipe books and found this one, which I modified a little because I always do. This one was a winner and I will be adding it to the rotation.

Morning Glory Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. raisins 
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1 apple, peeled and grated (You could use a large grated carrot as well)
3 eggs
1/2 c. cooking oil  (I will use applesauce next time to drastically lower the fat)
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk remaining 3 ingredients together until just combined. Add to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (don't overmix). I used a bowl and spoon instead of my Kitchenaid. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350*F for 20 to 25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

362 calories, 17g fat, 6g protein, 48g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber (based on using all purpose flour)

Adapted from "Company's Coming Cooking at Home".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pizza Dough

It seems Jenni and I are both bread machine fiends. This is a basic pizza dough recipe I make in my bread machine.

Pizza Dough
Makes a 12" pizza (about 8 slices)

3/4 cup warm water
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour ( white or a combination of the two works well)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast

Add all ingredients to bread machine. Select the dough cycle and press start. Once done (about an hour and a half), roll out into greased pizza pan and top with your favourite pizza toppings. We like mushrooms, ham, and feta cheese. 

Bake in the center of a 350*F oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.