Archive for October, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge…Pizza!

This was my first month participating with the Daring Bakers.  I had so much fun!  I usually buy pizza dough or make the jiffy kind and I’ve been satisfied with that…until I made it from scratch!  It was pretty simple, and the pizza tasted wonderful!  As you can see from the pictures, my pizza dough bubbled up a lot.  I must have gotten too many air bubbles in it while trying to toss.  Yes, that was part of the challenge.  We had to try and toss the dough!

Here is my husband Ben’s camera work…I look like I have a black eye, and he didn’t get the dough in the first shot!  Oh well, at least you can see that I tried to be all authentic and everything

The first pizza I made was basic tomato sauce with caramelized onions and mushrooms.  If I made this one again, I would do it with a pesto or garlic sauce instead.  The tomato overpowered the other flavors.

To carmelize onion with mushrooms, coat a saute pan with olive oil until just smoking.  Throw in onions and mushrooms.  Do not add any salt at this point.  It should look like this.

Continue cooking and stirring occasionally.  You will see the onions getting softer, and eventually they will start to turn a caramel color.  Once the onions are tender, add a little beer or wine to the pan.  This will deglaze the pan and give the onions and mushrooms a little more flavor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


 The second pizza was tomato sauce with finely minced garlic, tomato and basil. 

Go to Rosa’s Yummy Yums for the basic pizza dough recipe.  Thanks to Rosa for hosting this month’s challenge.  It was a blast!


October 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm 9 comments

Kentucky Chili

My sister was up for one night this weekend.  We always love to cook together…well I cook and she watches!  We were in the mood for a hearty fall meal, and my cousin Esther’s chili recipe (she’s from Kentucky) hit the spot.  You can add as many veggies as you want to this, I was in a rush and not feeling creative, so I just stuck to the recipe.

1 lb ground beef or turkey (i used turkey)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 box spanish
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can chili beans with sauce
2 TBS Chili Powder
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and Pepper

Prepare spanish rice according to directions. While the rice is cooking, prepare the chili.

Coat the bottom of a dutch oven or large soup pot with olive oil. Add onions and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minutes. Add ground meat and cook until done. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add cooked rice to the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes and taste. Add desired amount of hot sauce. Cook for 1/2-1 hr for flavors to combine. Even longer would be better.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and finely sliced scallions.

October 26, 2008 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Apple Walnut Cake with Cider Sauce

I made this cake for a dinner party on Saturday night.  It was amazingly moist and fits the season perfectly.  The cider sauce gives it an added sweetness and lots of flavor.  It was easy to prepare and was an impressive way to end the evening!

Cake Batter:
2 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 TB oil
1/4 cup apple cider
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp each – cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups flour
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 cups walnuts

Cider Sauce
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 10 in tube pan with removable insert with nonstick spray.

Whisk sugar, oil, apple cider, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until blended (I did this in my kitchenaid)
Stir in flour just until blended. Fold in apples and walnuts.
Pour mixture into prepared band and bake for 1 hour and 10-20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack for 1 hour before removing from the pan.

Cider Sauce
In a medium sauce pan, whisk cider, brown sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Cool in the pan and transfer to gravy boat or other serving dish. Sauce can be served cold or you can heat in the microwave before serving.

October 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm 4 comments

Pumpkin Bars/Cake

I got this recipe at one of my bridal showers and tried it out for the first time last fall. I made this over and over and over again! I took it to work and it was a hit. I made it for my husband and he ate it for breakfast ,lunch, and dinner. Yes I know, there is a lot of butter and oil. If you’re health conscious or trying to watch what you eat, make these for company and send the rest home with them. They’ll be your new best friends if you do.

Pumpkin Batter:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix please)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Throw in a mixing bowl or electric mixer and mix until smooth! Place mixed batter in a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides on it). Spread out the batter and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs milk
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Mix butter and cheese together in an electric mixer. Add vanilla and milk. Turn off mixer, add sugar, and slowly mix together. Mix until smooth and creamy.

Spread the frosting on the pumpkin cake after it has cooled. Cut into squares and enjoy!

October 13, 2008 at 3:43 pm 5 comments

Salsa Verde Enchiladas with Cilantro Rice

I love Mexican food, but I never really step out of my comfort zone when it comes to making it at home.  The usual beef enchiladas and soft tacos are my old standbys.  I decided to try my hand at something different this week.  These enchiladas are fairly easy, especially if you have things prepped in advance.

Serves 4 (i also doubled the recipe for 8 and it turned out great)

2 chicken breasts (i use bone in with skin on…lots more flavor and juiciness)
8 corn tortillas, small size
1 7 oz. can salsa verde (herdez brand if great)
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro, fresh
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chicken broth
3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

Cook chicken at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool, remove skin and bone and shred. Place in bowl with cream cheese. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Turn oven down to 350.

In a blender place, salsa verde, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, onion and garlic. Blend until smooth. Place 1/2 cup of mixture into the bowl with chicken. Set aside the rest.

Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a saute pan. Dip one corn tortilla into the broth for about 10-15 seconds, remove and place 1/4 cup of chicken mixture into the tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
Pour on the reserved salsa verde sauce. Sprinkle with pepper jack. Place in 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.

Cilantro Rice:
1 cup brown rice (i used uncle ben’s)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
handful of cilantro
1 can diced stewed tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 green onions, chopped

Place 2 cups of chicken broth with a handful of cilantro in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a medium pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Place onion in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the cup of rice and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cilantro broth, and drained tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes until broth is absorbed and rice is tender. Add the green onions just before serving.

October 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

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