Fluffy French Toast

20130829_162735_resized

 

WOW – all I can say is WOW.  This is the best French toast I’ve ever had.  It was perfectly flavored with just enough eggs, cinnamon, and more.  Be sure to use Texas toast or another thickly sliced toast (Challah, sourdough, etc) for best results.  If you use just the thin sandwich bread it will fall apart before you get it to the griddle.  It turned out beautifully and the rest of it will go in my freezer for later.  It’s a great way to get protein in those anti-protein kids and for us adults, to eat something other than pure carbs for breakfast!  It looked like too much cinnamon while mixing, but it tasted perfect.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 12 thick slices bread

Directions:

  1. Measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated. Cook bread on each side until golden brown. Serve hot.

Zucchini Parmesan Chips

zucchini-parmesan-chips
This is a great, healthy recipe off of Foodnetwork.com.  You simply slice up your zucchini, toss it in olive oil, and then cover it in your mixture of Parmesan/bread crumbs/salt/pepper.  Only at the last minute did I realize that it said freshly grated Parmesan like from a Parmesan brick of cheese.  Since I didn’t have that,  used the Parmesan in the container and mixed in some shredded mozzarella cheese; it still was tasty!  I will try it again with the preferred ingredient.  The near burnt cheese flavor was divine.  I used a metal baking pan with aluminum foil coated generously with cooking spray, nothing stuck!  I had to lessen the time slightly.  I had to make more Parmesan mixture as it wasn’t enough and/or I put too much mixture on, but it was worth it.
Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.

Amish White Bread

20130811_115946_resized

I have a few bread recipes on my culinary ‘must bake list’ and this was one of them.  It was pretty effortless!  I used my stand mixer for the kneading step and it was a waiting game!  It took exactly 30 mins. in my oven!  It makes two 9×5″ loaves.  For best results use stainless loaf pans with ‘PAM with baking’ spray.  The loaves just fell out of the pans easily!  Even though it was baked through the sides of the bread and the inside were perfectly soft!  I usually eat and make only whole wheat based bread products, but this was a nice change!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 2/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 6 cups bread flour

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.Mix salt and oil into the yeast.
  2. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

20130811_133151_resized

 

20130811_151511_resized

Italian Focaccia Bread

P1070262

 

P1070264

I love this recipe.  It’s from a cookbook I don’t use that often, but it’s a great book by Kelly Rudnicki called “The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book: Great Dairy, Egg, and Nut Free Treats for the Whole Family”.  I followed the directions exactly – make sure you drain those diced tomatoes well or you will have soggy bread!  Remove promptly from pan or it’s hard to remove.  At the time I did not own a 14″ round pizza pan so I used two nonstick pans.  Since then I’ve thrown out my nonstick pans (they always had horrible results for me; now I’m all for steel) and bought steel replacements including a 14″ round pizza pan. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (about 110°F)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the warm water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a liquid measuring cup with a wire whisk. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt with a wire whisk, and slowly mix this dry mixture into the water mixture with a rubber spatula.
  3. Stir until the mixture is well incorporated, and then mix quickly for about 2 minutes.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Using a brush, spread 1 tablespoon olive oil on the bottom and up the sides of a 14″ round pizza pan. 
  6. Transfer the dough into the pan, and press the dough into the pan and up the sides.  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with baking spray, and let rise again until doubled in size, 30-45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Using your fingers, poke holes in the surface of the focaccia. 
  8. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over the top. 
  9. Sprinkle with the drained tomatoes, rosemary, and kosher salt, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 
  10. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes or less and cut into slices.

 

 

P1070267

Pork Dumplings

P1100040

This was our first try at dumplings!  We were lucky and they were not that difficult!  I really loved how all the flavors mixed and the green onion and sesame oil are wonderful additions.  I had to halve the recipe and I’m glad I did because otherwise I would have been making dumplings until my arms fell off.  I used powdered ginger instead of ginger root and I reduced the garlic from 4 cloves to just 1.  I did buy the proper Chinese cabbage.  I ended up adding some carrot for color and flavor, which I think helped.  A very good recipe that is a keeper.  If you don’t have a bamboo steamer like me, I used my steel steamer insert for my pan.  BIG WARNING: PAM your steel steamer otherwise every dumpling will stick and it’ll be a huge mess!  After we PAM’ed the next load of dumplings, they came out flawlessly!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Original recipe makes 100 dumplings – I halved this recipe.
    • 100 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers

    • 1 3/4 pounds ground pork

    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

    • 4 cloves garlic, minced

    • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

    • 4 tablespoons soy sauce

    • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

    • 1 egg, beaten

    • 5 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage

 

DIRECTIONS: 

 

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Stir until well mixed.
  2. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water and fold edges over to form a triangle shape. Roll edges slightly to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.
  3. To Cook: Steam dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

P1100042

Grilled Mexican Steak Salad

P1090757

 

This recipe is from “Cook This, Not That” Cookbook (2010), which I got from the library.  This salad is A+!  Instead of T.G.I. Friday’s Sante Fe Chopped salad, which has 1,800 calories!!, they came up with this similar recipe that saves 1,460 calories!  I loved this salad so much I need to make it soon!  Even though I omitted the onion, jalapeno, and the chipotle pepper, I found it so tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • 4 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 8 oz. flank steak
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. canned chipotle pepper (I didn’t find this necessary)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 can (14-16 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins, until lightly brown and crispy.  Set aside.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and half the lime juice.  Set the salsa aside.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan.  Season the steak with salt and pepper.  Once the grill or grill pan is heated, toss on the steak.  Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until firm but yielding.  Let the steak rest for 5 mins before slicing it thinly against the grain of meat.
  4. Combine the remaining lime juice with the vinegar, chipotle, and honey.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to combine.  Toss the lettuce with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat, then divide among 4 plates. 
  5. Top each serving with slices of steak, black beans, avocado, salsa, and a few tortilla strips. 

Greek-Style Grilled Pork Chops with Marinade

greekporkchops

 

I’m not a huge fan of pork, so when I find a pork recipe I love, I really keep it!  This is a recipe I love and I think you will too!  It is so moist and flavorful, especially because of the quantity of oil used, but you can reduce it somewhat.  I could not find white wine Worcestershire sauce, so I used white wine.  I replaced the garlic cloves for 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.  It smelled exactly like a restaurant! 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 pork loin rib chops (about 3/4 inch thick)For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of two large lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Place the chops in a shallow pan or other non-reactive container. Pour the marinade over the chops, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Grill on medium-high heat until desired doneness is reached. On our grill, it usually takes about 6-7 minutes per side. Cooking times will vary. Allow the chops to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting in to them.

Give the chops a sprinkle of coarse salt and a squeeze or two of lemon juice prior to serving.

Pumpkin Bread

 

P1090198

pumpkin-bread-small

I love this recipe, it fills your home with a pumpkin aroma.  I make it year round!  The ingredients below make 2 loaf pans; so I usually divide it in half because we don’t eat that much of it.  It freezes well so you can definitely freeze the remainder!  One time I made it I did not have two eggs, so I used one egg + a heaping tablespoon of applesauce and it came out fine!  So next time I may just substitute applesauce for the two eggs!  For me, the one loaf cooked 90 minutes just like they said! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup water
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two loaf pans.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
    3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugar, oil and eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. While blending the mixture add water incrementally. Pour the batter into two prepared loaf pans.
    4. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 90 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

Orange Cranberry-Nut Bread

20130806_120614_resized

This is my first attempt at anything other than dinner in the slow cooker.  This isn’t a true yeast bread, it’s more of a quick bread, like dessert.  I liked that it wasn’t too sugary.  At first I thought it would be a flop when the sides were cooking faster than the top/middle.  I’m glad I gave it longer to cook, because it tastes great.  I substituted the pecans for the peanuts and it tasted wonderful and the peanuts got soft and warm.  I didn’t have dried orange peel so I grated fresh orange peel and it was fine.  This is definitely a winner for taste and looks!  It’s from my small slow cooker book named “Crock Pot Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes” (2010).  My son helped make it and he loves it!

The recipe says to use a round slow cooker approximately 3 quart.  I have two slow cookers.  One is oval and the other is round and has inserts for 2, 4, and 6 quarts.  I used the 4 quart round insert.  Since every slow cooker I’ve ever owned runs hot, I decided to cook this on the low setting.  

P1100046

Makes 8-10 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or peanuts)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons dried orange peel
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Coat 3 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.  Mix in pecans or nuts, set aside.
  3. Combine cranberries and orange peel in separate medium bowl, pour boiling water over fruit mixture and stir.
  4. Add sugar, shortening, egg, and vanilla, stir just until blended.
  5. Add flour mixture, stir just until blended.
  6. Pour batter into slow cooker.  Cover, cook on high 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until edges begin to brown and cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. 
  7. Remove stoneware carefully from slow cooker, with oven mitts.
  8. Cool on wire rack about 10 minutes, remove bread from stoneware and cool completely on rack.

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

P1100044small

These are my wonderful pumpkin pancakes.  I love, love, love them.  They remind me of fall even if you have them in summer!  Here’s the original Allrecipes.com link.  I will give you the non-doubled recipe below.  I always double it and freeze the remainder in a freezer bag, no wax paper separation needed.  The doubled recipe makes about 28-34 pancakes depending upon the size.  They unfreeze wonderfully.  Either microwave 10 seconds or leave on the counter 5-10 minutes before putting them in the toaster, etc.  If you’re interested in the two-burner pan I use, I got it as a great gift, the link is here.  It’s one of the rare nonstick things I love; I use all steel for everything else.  I usually reduce the cinnamon to 1 tsp for a doubled recipe, I like some flavor but I don’t want it overpowering.  Don’t over-stir in this one!  Finally, don’t do high heat!  They will burn.  Do medium heat. 

P1100043small

 

NON DOUBLED RECIPE: (The recipe says 12, but it could make about 14-17 pancakes, depending on size):

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: 

  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.