Wednesday, September 20, 2017

5 ingredient 100% Whole Wheat Bread

I use a bread machine for this bread because I haven't a clue how to make bread without it. One thing you need to watch when it first mixes is that it is moist enough or it will turn out dry, so keep this in mind when making the bread in a bread machine. If you make it by hand, you can get a good feel for how moist it will be when you're kneading it.

1 1/2 cups warm water (I usually end up adding another 1/4 cup more)
2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/4 cup honey
4 1/4 cups organic whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp. yeast or 1 packet

Place in the order your bread machine usually calls for ingredients. Set on Whole Wheat setting. Mine calls for wet ingredients on the bottom and takes a little over 3 hours. Remove loaf immediately and watch it disappear.

Make one loaf (1.5 pounds)

Since this has no preservatives, eat it right away or store in refrigerator or freezer after 3 or 4 days, We keep a paper towel in the plastic baggie to keep moisture at bay.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini and Red Peppers

Thai food is so delicious and healthy. This is a meal I love to make when we need a little bit of spice and coconut oil in our diets. You can use almost any vegetable in this recipe. I used zucchini because it reminds me a little bit of Thai eggplant, but if you have access to Thai eggplant, by all means, buy them and use them instead! You can use regular eggplant, broccoli, green beans or even cauliflower instead of the zucchini. You can also make it much spicier by adding more hot chili peppers. I just love Thai basil too, but if you can't find that, use fresh Italian basil as it gives it a delicious fresh flavor that only basil can impart. It's a very quick meal -- maybe takes a half hour at most to prepare. I hope you enjoy it!
2 Tbsp good coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 jalapeno, diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 Tbsp green curry paste
1 can coconut cream
1 can light coconut milk (or you can use two can's coconut cream)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced (about 1-2 Tbsp)
2 zucchini, cut in half and then sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 pound chicken breast, cut into thin strips
20 large basil leaves (Italian) or about 1/4 cup Thai basil
Optional: 2-3 Thai chilies (for extra heat)

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onions, red pepper and jalapeno and saute until tender crisp. Add ginger and curry paste and stir until fragrant and well mixed. Add coconut cream and coconut milk and stir well. Bring to a boil, then stir in the remainder of ingredients. Simmer until zucchini is tender and chicken is cooked.

Serve over Jasmine rice.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Best Cornbread in the World

Who doesn't love warm cornbread right out of the oven? It's easy to prepare and takes only a little time to make. Mix and bake it after you get that pot of chili (chicken or beef) simmering. Serve warm for optimal enjoyment. This will serve 4-8 people, but if you're like me, you could eat the entire pan in one sitting.

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil (not olive oil)
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 c. whole milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch glass baking dish.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix oil, butter, honey, eggs and whole milk in another bowl until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well mixed (but don't over mix). Let it sit for a few minutes and the batter will thicken a bit.

Pour the batter into the greased dish and bake 35 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't over-cook. The top will be brown and crispy and a few cracks will appear on the top. Check with a toothpick, which should come out clean. Do not overbake!

Allow to cool a few minutes, cut and serve warm with butter and extra honey. Or just eat it without anything on it -- it tastes great with chili or with ham and beans.

This is the most moist, sweet, and fluffy cornbread you'll ever eat!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Yet Another Way to Make Pasta

I made this the other day and we loved it, but I forgot to take a photo of it! This recipe is simple, yet tasty. There are so many ways to make pasta and this is just another way to make it! If you're a computer "geek," you might get the joke.

12 oz Campanelle noodles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup sweet onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 c. white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)**
1/2 tsp-1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used the mixed variety)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
(pasta water -- up to 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
Extra black pepper
Extra Parmesan Cheese

Cook noodles al dente, saving 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining it.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large frying pan with high sides. Saute' onion and garlic until soft and a little caramelized. Add wine, crushed red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for about a minute. Add cherry tomatoes and cover. Turn heat to medium low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and skin begins to crack (about 10 minutes).

Once they are soft, you can smash the tomatoes (carefully) to pop them open. Stir until everything is mixed together. At this point, the sauce should be fairly thick, Add the warm pasta, cheese, and pasta water (start with a small amount of water and add up to 1/2 cup). The sauce should be a little thin, but creamy. Stir the pasta well to coat with the sauce.

You can add more cheese or pasta water to make the sauce as cheesy and creamy as you like. Simmer to thicken the sauce if you get too much water. The sauce should just coat the noodles with little sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top with fresh chiffonade basil, extra black pepper and adjust salt to taste. 

Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on top.

NOTE: To make this a whole meal, add grilled chicken, cut into strips You can also add mushrooms (slightly fried) and/or a fresh green vegetable like peas, zucchini, broccoli, (all pre-cooked or steamed slightly). You could also add spinach and let it wilt slightly just before adding the pasta and cheese.

**Variety: Add juice of 1/2 lemon with the wine and top with zest of one lemon just before serving.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It's Not Hard Being Green Veggie Machine

2 medium to large zucchini, spiralized
10 oz. package fresh English peas (from Trader Joe's)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups broccoli (break into small tips and stems, if stems are peeled)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Basil Sauce
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt
4 or 5 grinds of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Make the basil sauce by placing all the ingredients into a food processor, except the olive oil. After everything is chopped, add the olive oil until incorporated. Remove from food processor. Should make about 1/2 cup. This can be made ahead.

Spiralize zucchini and set aside. You should have at least 6 cups of zucchini for this recipe.

Microwave peas until tender crisp (about 3-5 minutes), drain and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a wok. Stir-fry the broccoli until tender-crisp. Add peas and stir-fry about 3-4 more minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and stir until noodles are just heated, but still tender-crisp. Do not over cook or zucchini will become mushy.

Remove from heat and pour on the basil Sauce. Stir well and place into a large serving dish. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 5 generous helpings.

Zoodles with roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions, and mushrooms

3 medium zucchini, spiralized (if you don't have one, slice thinly)
10 oz. package of grape tomatoes (prefer heirloom)
3-4 medium garlic cloves, diced
1-2 Tbsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 medium onion, sliced in think wedges
12 oz box cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp. oregano leaves, dried and crushed in your hand.
Salt and pepper to taste
10-12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a small pan (I use a pampered chef mini bar pan), sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp of oil on the tomatoes and garlic, salt and pepper and roast for about 10-15 minutes (until the tomatoes start to burst). Remove from oven to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until tender crisp. Add red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomato-garlic mixture and give it a good stir, popping the tomatoes to make a bit of a sauce.

Add the zoodles (zucchini noodles) and mix together making sure the zucchini is heated. Do not overcook the zucchini or it will become mushy. You just want to heat them until they are warm and tender crisp (about 2-3 minutes). Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from pan and place into a serving dish. Top with chiffonade basil. If desired, top with a teaspoon of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 3. If you add a protein, this is all you need for a filling meal.

Calories: 150 (without cheese)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Chicken and Asparagus Alfredo with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Once the chicken is grilled, this dish takes about half hour or less to pull together. I have my husband grill the chicken while I make the rest of the dish. He cuts it up once it has rested and cooled, which means this meal can be on the table from start to finish in under 30 minutes. Serve with a fresh garden salad and you have a completely gourmet meal to eat during the week or serve to guests (and, of course, pass the wine!)

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp. Sunny Spain (Penzey's) OR
1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp each of dried lemon peel, garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
12 oz penne pasta,
1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
Reserve 1 cup pasta water
1/3 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more for serving)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (not in oil)

Heat grill.
If not using Sunny Spain seasoning, mix together the black pepper, dried lemon peel, garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl.  Cover chicken with olive oil and sprinkle seasoning (heavy) on both sides of the chicken. Grill chicken about 10-12 minutes or until cooked over medium high heat. Remove from grill and place on a plate to rest.

Cook pasta to al dente. During the last 2 minutes, add asparagus to boiling pasta. Before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water and reserve for later. Drain pasta and asparagus and set aside.

In a large, deep skillet, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook a minute. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Slowly pour in the milk and half and half, whisking until flour is smooth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.

Once sauce begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Add cream cheese and stir until it is completely incorporated into the sauce. Stir in Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese and sundried tomatoes.

Slowly add the pasta and asparagus, stirring until they are completely coated with the sauce. Add pasta water to pan to make it smooth and keep from being too thick. This could be up to 1 cup, although I used only about 3/4 of a cup, so add slowly and stir.

Cut chicken into strips. Place pasta mixture into a large serving dish, taking care to scrape all of the sauce over the pasta. Place cut chicken on top and top with additional Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Serve immediately.

NOTE: For added flavor, you can crumble 5-6 pieces of crispy bacon on top and about 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, cut into thin strips.

NOTE: You can substitute broccoli for the aspargus -- use about 3 cups of broccoli florets. You can also add mushrooms or substitute sun-dried tomatoes for mushrooms. Be sure to saute the mushrooms ahead of time.