Monday, November 28, 2011

Allergen-Free Cookies

Allergen-Free Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen.

These cookies are free of the top 8 allergens, and they taste great too!  The "Top 8" include milk, soy, egg, wheat, peanut, treenut, fish, and shellfish.  I should note that our doctor said that most allergists and dieticians agree that soybean oil and soy lecithin are not considered to be reaction-inducing allergens when it comes to a soy allergy, but some children do react to them.

Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams Sugar Cookie Mix
1/2 c. Soy-free and dairy-free butter substitute -- We use Earth Balance Soy-Free in the tub
1/4 c. rice milk
2-1/2 t. vanilla
Canned frosting -- the Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla I used was free of allergens

Here's the mix:

Prepare cookie dough according to package directions:

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Blend margarine, rice milk, vanilla and cookie mix at medium speed.
3. Roll the cookies into 1 inch balls and place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake 12-14 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Cool 1 minute before removing from your cookie sheet. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
5. Enjoy!

Frost, if desired.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen.

Just when you think you have your go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, you find another one that's wonderfully delicious and gets rave reviews.  Enjoy some cookies, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
Slightly adapted from: Betcha Can't Eat Just One blog

4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 c, unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. plus 3 T. all purpose flour
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and egg.

Sift together dry ingredients and then add them to the butter mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Place a large scoop (about 2 tbsp) on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Serves 4-6.

So you've got company in town for the holiday and you feel like you should prepare an actual breakfast for them on Thanksgiving.  You could set out cereal and milk, along with a hot pot of coffee, and let the troops fend for themselves.  And when YOU'RE the guest, you -- :::gasp!::: -- kind-of, almost (...dare I say it?) prefer that.  But you don't want to do that when you're hosting, because... because... you like to be hospitable and play Suzy Homemaker and put something extra on your already-long to-do list.  I mean, it's not like you have Thanksgiving dinner to prepare or anything.  So if you fall into the category I've just described, consider making this... for the following reasons:  1) You can make it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning.  2) It's easy.  3) It's seasonal.  4) It's "light" compared to most French toast casseroles, which you'll appreciate when you're on your third helping of mashed potatoes and second slice of pie later in the day.  5) It'll help you feel satisfied as you scamper around the kitchen, knowing you've served your guests well.

2 large apples (I used Honey Crisp)
3 T. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 French baguette, sliced and chopped into bite-size pieces
1-1/2 c. Egg Beaters
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 T. honey
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
dash salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (which I forgot to do..)

Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by coating it with nonstick spray.

Peel, core, and chop apples.  In a bowl, toss apples with cinnamon and sugar to evenly coat.  Place mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Spread cubed bread evenly on top of apple mixture.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Pour over bread.  Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until eggs are set and top is beginning to turn golden brown.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Pumpkin Bread!

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves, or 8 mini loaves.

SUPER MOIST is an accurate name for this bread.  It's extremely dense, extremely moist, and all things fall.
Slightly adapted from: AllRecipes

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, coconut milk, baking soda, salt, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Mix until all of the flour is gone. Pour batter into the prepared pans.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cover loaves with foil tightly. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove foil and turn out onto a cooling rack. Tent lightly with the foil and allow to cool completely.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread IV

Makes 3 loaves.

Rave reviews on  Classic bread for the autumn holiday season.  Enjoy this week.  I hope you have a lot to be thankful for.
Source: AllRecipes

3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (mine took 70 minutes). The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dried Cherry Orzo Salad

Dried Cherry Orzo Salad

Serves 6.

A great side dish for almost any meal --- picnic, dinner party, weeknight at home.  Also a great vegetarian option.  My father-in-law gave me a sampler pack of Round Pond olive oils, and I used the blood orange olive oil in this recipe, as suggested.  Only have extra virgin olive oil?  That's okay... this salad would taste great with that as well!
Source: Round Pond Summer Picnic Men.

1 box orzo pasta
1 cup dried cherries
3 handfuls of baby arugula
½ -1 cup feta cheese
¾ cup almond slivers, toasted
Juice from one orange (If blood oranges, you will need 2-3)4-6 Tbsp Round Pond Blood Orange Olive OilSalt & Pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook orzo pasta according to directions on the box. Once pasta is cooked, drain and then pour in 2 Tbsp Blood Orange Olive Oil to help coat the pasta and prevent clumping. Spread orzo on a baking sheet to let cool.

While orzo is cooling, toast almond slivers until golden brown and fragrant. In a large bowl mix cool orzo, arugula, dried cherries, feta cheese, almonds, juice from orange & Blood Orange Olive Oil. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flat Iron Steak

Flat Iron Steak with Roasted Shallots

Serves 4-6.

Oops!  I forgot to take a picture with the roasted shallots.  I DID make them, and they were a great compliment to the steak, so don't skip them!
The original recipe called for hanger steak, which I was unable to find at my local grocery.  I substituted a flat iron steak, which worked really well.  Flank steak would be another option, but we have become so accostumed to our standard flank steak marinade, that I was afraid to change things up in the flank steak department.
Inspired by: Round Pond

2 c. prune juice
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar
3 T. fresh thyme (stripped off the stems)
2 T. honey

1½ lbs Flat Iron or Hanger Steak
12 medium shallots
1 cup beef stock
`Salt and pepper as needed

Prepare marinade by combining ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate meat. Submerge trimmed steaks in marinade, preferably overnight. Remove meat and pat dry of excess marinade. Season generously with salt and pepper, then grill over an open flame on high heat, approximately 8 minutes per side. Remove and rest covered in a warm spot.

Peel and core shallots. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast on the top shelf of your grill, tossing occasionally (or in a 325°F oven uncovered). Moisten with a little beef stock and season to taste.

Slice steaks on the bias, plate and garnish with shallots and sauce.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen.

I know it's the week before Thanksgiving and we should have turkey on the brain, but most foodies are probably distracted by thoughts of Christmas cookies.  So here's a classic to add to your to-bake list.  They're good.
Source: Martha Stewart

1 cup cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla, then flour mixture. Mix in oats, then raisins.

Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop (or 1 tablespoon), drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing each scoop about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Trail Mix Cookie Cups

Trail Mix Cookie Cups

Makes 3-4 dozen.

Threw these together with ingredients I had around the kitchen.  And they turned out great!  Loved the consistency from baking them in a muffin tin.

2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened (2 sticks)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. trail mix -- I threw together peanuts, raisins, M&Ms, mini semisweet chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, salt, and soda).  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add vanilla and eggs; beat well.

Gradually mix in dry ingredients until combined.  Do not beat.  Stir in trail mix.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls into a mini muffin tin.  If you do not have a non-stick pan, be sure to grease and flour first. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown and just set.  Cool completely in pan, or at least until cups can be removed without breaking apart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Steak and Potato Salad

Steak and Potato Salad

Serves 2.

I came up with this salad after having roasted potatoes on a salad at a favorite restaurant near my hometown.  It's different... but it's good.  :)  Next time you have a steak dinner, cook up an extra one to use the next day in this salad.

Mixed greens
Your favorite type of steak, cooked and chopped
3-4 small red potatoes
Olive oil
1/4 c. chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
Bleu cheese dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Quarter red potatoes, toss in olive oil, and roast in oven for 45-60 minutes until brown and beginning to crisp.

Meanwhile, cook steak (if needed) and fill two large salad bowls (I use my pasta bowls as salad bowls) with mixed greens.  Top with steak, warm potatoes, red onion, and green pepper.  Serve with bleu cheese dressing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich

Chicken Cacciatore Sandwich

Makes 2.

A melty sandwich with all sorts of wonderful Italian flavor.
Inspired by: Rachael Ray

Olive oil
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. salsa
4 slices Italian bread
2 T. butter
2 slices Muenster cheese
1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add tomato, onion, garlic, and green pepper and cook until vegetables become fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in salsa and heat through. 

Meanwhile, spread butter on bread slices and "toast" in oven for 3-5 minutes.  Add sliced chicken to bread, top with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese melts.  Top with tomato mixture, add second slice of bread, and serve.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Serves 4.

Remember when you ate all that Halloween candy on Monday? 
You know how you've been eating Halloween candy all week?
So you know how you've been eating Halloween candy all month, ever since it was displayed in stores when it was still 90 degrees and sunny outside?  Feeling the effects on your waistline?  I know, I know, my cookie dough post on Monday was not helpful.  My apologies.
Clean up your act with this salad.  Plus, if you lose two pounds before Thanksgiving, you'll feel slightly better about yourself when you gain them back.

4 small chicken breasts
1 c. teriyaki marinade
1 c. green beans, ends removed
8-10 c. spinach
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and chopped
Chow mein noodles
Sesame ginger salad dressing

Marinate chicken breasts in teriyaki marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Grill or pan-fry chicken breasts until cooked through.  Slice and set aside.
Meanwhile, steam green beans until cooked through.  Set aside.

In large salad bowls, arrange equal amounts of spinach.  Top with equal amounts of tomato, red onion, green beans, and chicken breasts.  Finish with chow mein noodles and serve with sesame ginger salad dressing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bacon & Rosemary Chicken

Bacon & Rosemary Chicken

Serves 4.

One of my new favorite recipes.  It's very versatile -- great as a weeknight meal or for entertaining.
Source: Taste of Home

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 bacon strips, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Flatten chicken breasts to an even thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken breasts, one at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Cook chicken in butter and reserved drippings for 4-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Remove and keep warm.

Add the garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes to the skillet; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Return chicken and bacon to skillet; heat through.