Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

I haven't bought bread from any grocery store for 10 months. I vowed after I got my mixer for Christmas last year that I wouldn't ever buy bread again. I am so happy (and a little proud) that I have stuck by this resolution b/c I rarely actually do things that I mean to! I give 100% of the credit for this bread dough to Rebecca Lutter, who demonstrated the recipe when we were in MO together as med-student wives. She now lives in UT and me in MI, but her bread recipe stuck with me. My friend, Ruth Gough showed me how to make it a second time to refresh my memory when I actually got my mixer. I have demo-ed it on numerous occasions to friends and am very proud to do so b/c it is the best bread ever! There are a lot of good whole wheat bread recipes and a lot of people say that their recipe is the best. I have decided that there isn't one best recipe for bread, but a handful that are the ones worth eating. This is one of those.
What I love about this recipe is that it is very versatile. When I make a batch of dough I can very easily make 1 loaf of bread, a pizza crust and cinnamon rolls all at the same time (or bread sticks or Navajo tacos or cinna-balls or scones or dinner rolls...)

Master this recipe then later add nuts, raisins, spices and flavoring for variety.

8-81/2 cups freshly ground wheat- grind super-fine(5 1/2 cups wheat usually makes the perfect amount of flour)
3 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil (I use smart balance omega oil)
1 1/2 T Saf yeast
1 T dough enhancer
1 T gluten
1 T real salt

Grind wheat on the finest setting. In mixer, combine water, honey, and oil. Add 4 cups fresh, warm flour. Add yeast, dough enhancer, and gluten. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Allow to rest 20 minutes until swelled and bubbly. (I have let it stand a lot longer than this before, like an hour, and it was totally fine.)
Add salt (don't forget the salt!) and remaining flour slowly over medium speed-- **use only enough flour to get the dough to clean the bowl and stick together. Mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until dough ball looks smooth, is very elastic and a small amount of dough stretched between your fingers into a square shape does not break, but you can see light through it.
Grease bread pans or bowl for rising if using for something other than bread.
For bread:
Grease (NOT flour) your hands and divide dough into three equal parts. Form each part into bread form and place in greased pan. Cover and allow to rise for ~30 minutes until bread is almost to desired height, about 1 inch above top of pan. Place in cold oven and set to 350 degrees. Allow to cook for 18-20 minutes until bread is lightly browned on top, pan sizzles on bottom when touched with wet finger and bread makes a hollow sound. Butter the top and allow to cool on side for 5 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool before placing in air tight container.

For Pizza Crust:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Grease hands and place 1/3 dough on baking stone. Roll out to desired shape. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Lightly cover in oil and fresh garlic, basil, or other favorite Italian herbs. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Top with desired sauce and toppings and allow to bake until cheese is hot and bubbly.
For Bread Sticks:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Grease hands and place 1/3 dough on baking stone. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into strips. Top with warm butter blended with your favorite Italian herbs, garlic. Spread over the sticks. Top with Parmesan or other favorite Italian cheeses if desired. Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. For dinner rolls: Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Take 1/3 of dough. Roll out on floured surface until 1/3 inch thick. Use round cutter or large glass cup to to cut out even rolls. Place in dish of warm butter then onto roll pan. Allow to rest 10 minutes then bake in 350 degree over for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
For Cinnamon Rolls:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Take 1/3 of dough. Roll out on floured surface into rectangle until 1/4 inch thick. Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, and raisins or walnuts, if desired. Spread mixture evenly over dough's surface. Roll dough and cup with floss or string into 1 inch pieces. Place in 9x13 greased pan, cover, and allow to rise 15 minutes. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and allow to cook 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with warm milk and powdered sugar glaze while hot, if desired.
American Scones:
Allow dough to rise 30 minutes. Roll out 1/3 dough on floured surface into rectangle 1/3 inch thick. Cut into even squares, about 3" x 3" or so. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Cook in deep fryer or in frying pan full of hot oil until golden brown on both sides and cooked through-- about 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then slice one side to fill with taco fillings or honey butter and warm jam.
For Doughnuts:
Follow instructions for American scones, except cut with doughnut cutter and place in mixture of sugar/cinnamon, powdered sugar, or warm milk and powdered sugar glaze straight out of fryer. For Navajo Tacos:Follow instructions for American scones except form dough into large round circles 1/3 inch thick. Fry as directed and then top with southwestern taco toppings (or Katherine Field's Southwestern Chicken)
Number Of Servings: Yields 3 large loafs or any variety of variations...
Preparation Time: 30 minute prep, 30 minute rise, up to 30 minutes to bake

Ice Cream Sandwich Torte

Another really easy dessert that will make people think that you spent an obscene amount of hours in the kitchen. This is a Pampered Chef recipe that I have had for about 5 years and make it when I really want to pop a surprise at someone. I made it for a cooking club once and it won the night's prize. People came up to me and were asking what the crust was made out of and how on earth I got the layering so even. I couldn't help but laugh a little and told them the deep, sweet secret of this ice cream cake. It has wonderful presentation and can serve 20 people comfortably.

This cross-section is a little mutilated b/c I cut it when it had been out of the freezer for a while. But you get the idea.

Ice Cream Sandwich Torte
Place 6 ice cream sandwiches in a row on a large square platter (or bottom of cookie sheet lined with foil) to form a rectangle. Place in freezer.
In medium bowl mix:
1 4oz. pkg. chocolate instant pudding
2/3 c. milk
Then fold in to chocolate pudding mixture:
6 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped Oreos
Remove platter from freezer and quickly spread chocolate mixture evenly over ice cream sandwiches. Place 6 more ice cream sandwiches over the filling. Frost with 6oz. Cool Whip (or more), covering all sides of torte. Sprinkle with bits of shaved chocolate or Oreos. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
To serve: Cut torte lengthwise in half. Then cut slices to desired width. Serves 20.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Traditional Chili

My mom made a pot of chili every so often while I was growing up. This recipe stems off of hers. It is a wonderful recipe for a traditional chili that everyone craves every once and a while.
In skillet, cook over medium-high heat:
1 T. oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans peeled, chopped green chilies
In crock pot on high or 5 or 6 quart saucepan on stove top on medium high heat, put above mixture and:
5-6 c. tomato juice (depending on how long you cook it, you may need to add more like 6)
1-2 14oz. can diced tomatoes, your preference
2 t. cumin (or more)
2 t. chili powder (or more)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can chili beans with sauce
1 can whole kernel corn, drained (optional)
cheddar cheese for garnish
chopped onions for garnish
Cook in crock pot for 3-4 hours or on stove top for 1-2 hours (or more) until thickened, dark and to your likin'. Serve with cheese and onions on top, if desired.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

My husband grew up on this casserole. Hence, it comes from my MIL, Jeanine Franson. When I think Chicken Broccoli Casserole I think of a rice dish with a cheddar cheese sauce with chicken and broccoli, of course. This is different! It can be served over rice or mashed potatoes, but served alone in all its glory is a wonderful option too.
Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Prepare and place in 9x13 Pyrex pan:
1 lb. chicken, cooked & chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
In medium bowl, mix with wire whisk:
1 family size can cream chicken soup
1 cup mayo, low fat is fine
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 T. lemon juice
Spread mixture over broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle generously with paprika and grated Parmesan cheese (the more the Parmesan, the better!) Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese on top is crispy and slightly golden. Allow to sit and cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Best Banana Bread

From The Best Recipe cookbook, never fails!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour 1 bread loaf pan.
In medium bowl, mix:
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 t. baking soda
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
In large bowl, mix:
3 very ripe, darkly speckled, large bananas, mashed
1/4 c. plain yogurt (I use any flavor I have)
6 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 t. vanilla
2 large eggs

Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until just incorporated. Bake for 50-55 minutes until top is golden brown and cracked and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An Easy One to Start

Inside-out Oreos
I am SO mad I didn't take a picture when I made these yesterday!!! I made these Oreo bon-bons for our church Halloween party and they looked beautiful arranged on my white rectangular platter. We were in such a rush to get to the party that I didn't snap a photo! Just trust me, this is a good recipe (and one that you can remember while walking down the isles at the grocery store b/c there are only 3 ingredients!)
1 pkg. regular Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 pkg. (or more) white Almond Bark
Crush entire package of Oreos in a gallon-size storage bag. (I use a combination of my rolling pin and the bottom of a glass.) In mixer, combine cream cheese with crushed Oreos until well incorporated. Roll mixture into balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Melt Almond Bark in glass bowl, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval, until melted. Carefully dip Oreo balls into melted Almond Bark, covering each ball completely. Place on sheet of wax paper or foil until melted.
Trade Secrets:
You can also use the dark Almond Bark to cover the balls, or drizzle the dark over the white-covered bon-bons, or vice-versa. Sprinkles make the treat more festive for any occasion.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Alright, I have another blog...

I need a place to store my recipes in a spot where they will forever be safe. I think its kind of weird to post recipes on my family blog for some reason, so voila! Stay tuned for some of my favs.


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