Monday, January 28, 2008

Pineapple-Carrot Muffins

Pineapple-Carrot Muffins Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin tin.

Blend sugar, oil, pineapple, eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine dry ingredients. Add to egg mixture and stir. Add raisins, carrots and nuts and blend well. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine cream cheese and butter, beat well. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Frost cooked muffins.

Options: Yes, I know what you are thinking, "fat and calories", but you can make these muffins guilt-free by substituting egg beaters or egg whites for the whole eggs, leaving out the nuts and skipping the frosting. Or you can "eat just one" !

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

Like I child with a new toy, I love cooking in my Tagine. Last night I made slow-cooked chicken cacciatore served over noodles. This could be done in a dutch oven and/or crock pot also.

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

5 chicken legs (or you could use thighs/breasts)
1 1/2 cups sliced Portabella mushrooms
28 oz. canned plum tomatoes, crushed
4 cloves garlic, whole
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. dried Parsley

I browned the chicken in a little olive oil, drained on paper towels. Add all ingredients to the tagine (or slow cooker) and lay chicken on top. Cover and cook in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours.

Serve over hot buttered noodles or pasta of choice.

If salad greens were in season, they would be a good side dish along with crusty bread.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cran-Apple Spice Muffins

Cran-Apple Spice Muffins Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 medium apples, peeled, cooked and mashed
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Blend oil, egg and cooked apples. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in nuts and cranberries.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with bran. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Root Vegetable Soup

Winter stormed back into NE Ohio with 50 mph winds, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without power ending our brief flirtation with spring-like temps. Soup is on today's menu.

Root Vegetable Soup Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
6-8 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 - 1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 pound spinach or kale
2 cups cooked white beans

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in large soup pot. Add onions and garlic, cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, squash, salt and thyme and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Stir in broth, potatoes and cayenne and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add spinach and beans, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove 3 cups soup and puree in blender. Return to pot and stir to blend.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Whole Grain Muffins

This recipe is adapted from Whole Foods Morning Glory Muffins. When baking or cooking, I generally use what is available in my pantry or fridge, and then follow the recipe loosely. Jean, the Seed Scatterer, mentioned the whole grain muffins she had at a restaurant and they sounded so good I was determined to duplicate them. Next time I bake these muffins I will add some bran and cornmeal, for a grainier texture. These are good just as they are, but who doesn't like to experiment in the kitchen ?

Whole Grain Muffins Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Gala apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in fruits, nuts and coconut. Sprinkle tops of muffins with coconut.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

English Muffin Bread

Our first snow of winter fell last night, leaving behind a half of foot of snow. Good day to stay inside and bake bread. This bread is large-grained with a coarse crumb. Good sliced and toasted.

English Muffin Bread Recipe

1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
7/8 cup warm milk
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. warm water

Combine yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water, let proof. Combine flour and salt. Add to yeast mixture alternating with warm milk. Beat dough till elastic and leaves side of bowl. The dough will be loose and sticky. Cover and let rise in warm place till double in bulk.

Stir down with wooden spoon, add soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. warm water and beat for one minute.

Butter a loaf pan, fill with the dough. Cover and let rise again for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown on top and shrinks away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Cool in pan 5 minutes, turn out on wire rack to cool.