Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I'm baking this week...

Now that I'm no longer pregnant and the temperatures have cooled down, I'm back to baking! Fall is my favorite season and I think pumpkins and apples might be part of the reason why. Here's what's on my plate this week with my own variations and reviews to follow:

Bread Machine Challah Bread
One-Bowl Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
Apple-Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brazilian Cheese Rolls: Pao de Queijo

Bread + cheese = what's not to love, right? I've wanted to try these ever since a friend from Facebook mentioned she made them. This was a little new for me, so I followed the original recipe exactly from Our Best Bites These were quick & easy and very tasty!

I'll share the recipe here as well:

Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls {Pao de Queijo} – Gluten Free!
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch) no substitutions
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C grated cheddar cheese* (preferably medium or sharp)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender and blend until smooth.  Add cheeses and pulse 2 times.  Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn’t non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first*), filling each well about 3/4 full, or just slightly less.  If desired (and I recommend), sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top and/or a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing rolls from pan.  Serve warm. {Que Gostoso!}  These actually don’t re-heat well so I recommend making and eating fresh.

Yield: anywhere from 16-24 rolls, depending on how full you fill your muffin pan. I fill  mine pretty full (a good 3/4 full) and I generally get about 16-18. 

* My Notes: even if your tin is non-stick, spray it anyway, these little things don't want to come loose! I topped mine with parmesan cheese & a little garlic powder. They are absolutely delicious! The perfect blend of light, but also savory. They would be at home on the brunch or dinner table. Do NOT make ahead! They really need to be fresh or else they get chewy and while the flavor doesn't suffer, the texture certainly does.

Around the World: Tex-Mex style!

I love Tex-Mex food, but I can't believe I've never made Chimichangas until now! They are really easy and a fun change from the typical enchiladas, quesadillas & tacos we usually eat. I wouldn't really call these 'healthy' due to the butter, but they could have been worse (like if I had deep fried them!)

Chicken Chimichangas
  • 1 pound ground chicken (you could also use ground turkey)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T taco seasoning mix, or more to taste
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 T distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 (7 inch) flour tortillas
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Brown the ground turkey, onion, garlic, taco seasoning, and oregano in a skillet over medium heat, breaking the meat up into crumbles as it cooks. Stir in sour cream and vinegar until well mixed. Remove from heat, and mix in the cheese.
  3. Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat. When melted, dip each tortilla into the margarine for about 30 seconds, or until soft. Place the softened tortilla onto a baking sheet, and fill with about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture. Fold the right and left sides of the tortilla over the filling, then the top and bottom, making an envelope that completely encloses the filling. Flip the tortilla seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the tortilla is crisp, about 15 minutes. 

Spanish Rice

2 T vegetable oil
1 C uncooked brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow, but any color is fine)
2 C water
1 pint of halved grape tomatoes (you could also dice a large tomato or even use a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes)
2 t chili powder
1 t salt or to taste

  1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Saute rice, onion, and bell pepper until rice is browned and onions are tender.
  2. Stir in water and tomatoes. Season with chili powder and salt. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.


I haven't done a very good job of blogging, but I have been baking! I have a few new recipes to share this week, stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Onion Rings

I've tried a few different beer-battered onion rings through the years, but these are by far THE best (hence the name!)

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 egg, separated
About 3/4 C beer
2 T melted butter
1 t paprika
salt to taste
2 medium/large onions sliced into rings (I used 1 large white onion and 1/2 of a large sweet onion)
Vegetable/canola oil for frying (anything is fine, just not olive oil)

Sift 1 cup flour into a large bowl. In another large bowl, melt butter and then whisk in egg yolk, beer and salt.. Set aside 1/2 cup of flour in a large ziploc bag for dipping the onion rings. Slowly stir the egg yolk mixture into the remaining flour and mix well. Allow the mixture to stand 30 minutes. The mix should have a pancake batter consistency, add more beer if necessary.

Heat about 1-2" of oil in a large pan.  

In a small bowl, stiffly beat the egg white. Gently combine the egg white with the batter. 

Put all onion rings into the large ziploc baggie with flour and shake to coat. Dip each ring into batter.
Deep fry the battered rings, several at a time, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags and serve.If you are prepping in advance or in a larger batch, keep them warm on a baking sheet in the oven at lowest temperature.

Serves 4

And, if you get to the end and you have some onion pieces that aren't really rings or you're just plain tired of standing at the stove dropping onions into oil, just mix all your pieces into whatever batter you have left and dump the whole mess into the oil for a giant fritter that's just as delicious as all the other rings!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weekly Dinner Menu

We had a busy weekend, but better late than never with the menu plan, right?

Sunday: Dinner at my Mom's
Monday: Kid's Choice (after a hectic day of being gone) - frozen pizza
Tuesday: Cheddar Burgers, The Best Onion Rings, Veggie Crudite
Wednesday: Chicken Chimichangas, Rice, Veggies
Thursday: Beef Stroganoff, Salad
Friday: Pizza

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sweet Potato Waffles

I love making a big batch of waffles on the weekend. It just feels like a 'special' breakfast and the best part is that they freeze so well, they make a great quick breakfast or snack during the week. This morning, I was sneaky and tucked a little sweet potato into the batter. The kids didn't even notice. It gives it just a touch of extra flavor. I hope you enjoy!

3 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
2 T baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
4 eggs
1 3/4 c milk 
1 3/4 c water
1/2 c pureed sweet potatoes (boiled or baked and mashed OR you can cheat like I do and use a jar of baby food!)
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
2 t vanilla

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour batter into lightly-oiled waffle iron and bake until done.

As they are done, I transfer them either to the oven to stay warm for serving or to racks to cool if freezing. This recipe made enough for us to feed 3 adults, 3 children and still have 2 gallon size ziploc bags full of waffles for future meals! They reheat well in the microwave or toaster. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lemon Coffee Cake

My Little Man is 1 today! We have a busy evening planned, so we decided to celebrate first thing before Daddy went to work and big sisters went to school. Plus, this was the perfect excuse for me to try the Lemon Coffee Cake Kate posted recently.

Now, you may be thinking: "What kind of 1 year old wants lemon coffee cake for his birthday?" Answer: the kind with a pregnant mama who's been craving this cake for a week! Little Man eats anything and everything put in front of him, so I assure you, he (and everyone else in the family) thoroughly enjoyed this sweet start to our morning.

Here's my take on the recipe that I've adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

For Streusel:
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. flaked coconut (I used sweetened, but this dish is plenty sweet if you prefer unsweetened)
In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in coconut.

For coffee cake:
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. plain yogurt (I used lowfat, any would work)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T. freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small jar of lemon curd (find this in the jams/jellies section. My jar was 10 oz, so anything close to that would be fine)
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients, except lemon filling, and beat until well combined. This is going to be really thick - think cookie dough instead of cake batter!

To assemble:
Butter and flour a Springform pan. Spread 1/2  the cake batter into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on half of the streusel topping and spread on the lemon curd or filling, to within a 1/2 inch of the edges. Spoon on remaining dough and remaining streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and set. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Remove sides of pan.

For Glaze:
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. water
While cake cools, stir together powdered sugar, lemon juice and water. Drizzle on top of coffee cake and let cool completely.

This is a sweet, rich traditional coffee cake. The lemon and coconut are great springtime flavors that make this every bit as good for breakfast as it is for dessert!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I tried a new whole wheat bread last night and we really enjoyed it. It is not *exclusively* whole wheat so it didn't give in to the tendency to become dry or cardboard-esque. The honey gives it a touch of sweetness making this bread a perfect side to dinner, breakfast or just a snack!

21/4 t Bread Machine Yeast (this is one packet if you're using packets of yeast)
2 C bread flour
1 C whole wheat flour
2 t salt
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 C honey
1/2 C milk, warmed
1/4 C water, warmed
1 large egg, at room temperature

Dump everything into your bread machine in the order specified in your manual. For me, that meant the ingredient list in reverse. Use a basic/standard setting.

Go do something fun - in a few short hours, you'll have warm delicious bread!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Dinner Menu

Sunday: Spaghetti Pie, Peas
Monday: Roasted Chicken, Salad, Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice & Veggies
Wednesday (Happy 1st Birthday Baby Boy!): Tortellini Soup, Brazilian Cheese Rolls
Thursday: Chicken Florentine, Salad
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Party Time! Hot dogs & Hamburgers on the grill, potato salad, macaroni & cheese & assorted munchies.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

When I woke up on this late March morning to SNOW, I felt like adding a little Spring flavor to our breakfast table. I had seen Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins on the So Tasty, So Yummy blog recently and knew I had to make them. They didn't disappoint! My recipe features less sugar, whole wheat flour and more strawberries. It does take a few extra minutes to dice all those strawberries, but the result is so worth it and the yield is great (24 muffins) leaving plenty to enjoy now and freeze for a quick breakfast or snack later in the week. Look for these to appear again this summer with blueberries and lemon zest or maybe blackberries... the possibilities are endless!

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 cup Whole Wheat flour (I like King Arthur White Wheat flour best)
1 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar.  Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Then add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined.  Be careful not to over mix.
The batter will be thick, almost like cookie dough.  Stir in the strawberries.

Spoon batter into a paper lined muffin pan.  Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes,until the tops are golden.  Cool on a rack, but not too long - they are delicious warm! 

Makes 24 muffins.

Am I really doing this?

I have a little habit of sharing what I'm cooking on Facebook. One day, I off-handedly made a comment that in my next life I'll be a food blogger because I love cooking and baking and shopping and eating and... (you get the picture). Well, so many of my fabulous friends encouraged me that I decided to make like a Nike ad and "Just Do It!" So, here I am in the blogosphere where I hope to keep track of what's cookin' in my kitchen. I like to steal share recipes from other websites and blogs and I almost always change them up a bit and give them my own spin. I'd love to know what's going on in your kitchen too!