Saturday, November 28, 2015

Turkey Chili, 21 Day Fix Approved!

For years and years and yeeeears, I've just used a bagged mix to start my chili.  I know. I should know better.  I do/did.  BUT the problem was that I just loved this mix so much that I couldn't pull myself to try another.  Well, in comes Autumn Calabrese and her 21 Day Fix program along with her FIXATE cookbook and BAM!!!  I'm hooked on a new chili! This version is a twist on Autumn's and I {HEART} it!!!!  It's ridiculously fast and easy and DELICIOUS! And the feta cheese and cilantro...well, don't knock it 'till you've tried it! I'm completely SOLD!!!
{turkey chili}
    Modified from FIXATE by Autumn Calabrese
        Makes 6 servings, approx. 1 1/2 c. each

Coconut oil spray
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 lb lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 15oz can  diced tomatoes, no salt added, WITH juice
2 1/2 tsp. Chili powder (may use full Tbsp if you like more heat)
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 c. Low sodium Beef Broth
Feta Cheese

Coat large dutch oven with coconut oil spray.  Cook ground beef or turkey.  Drain and rinse off excess grease.  Set aside.  Coat dutch oven with coconut oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion & bell peppers; cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.  Add, beef/turkey, beans, tomatoes, chili powder, salt, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Divide evenly between six serving bowls; top with cilantro and cheese.

Container Equivalents: 1/2 Green, 1 yellow, 1 Red, 1/2 tsp.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seasoned Cornflake Chicken

Ever have that need for a quick-prep dinner that packs an amazing flavor punch in your mouth? If so, then this is your recipe!

Since having baby number four (4) in January, I've been in survival mode in the kitchen.  If it takes too long to prep, then it's off my list. I need fast, easy, delicious and kid-friendly.  This chicken may resemble giant chicken nuggets, but don't be fooled.  They're infinitely better!!!
Ignore the freezer burn.  I didn't notice it till after the picture and really, there wasn't enough to affect the flavor.
Set up your dredging stations.
1. Buttermilk
2. Cornflake seasoning mixture
3. baking sheet
Place chicken onto foil-lined cookie sheet with wire baking rack.  You will be so glad you did when your chicken comes out crispy on all sides!
I bought our chicken at Costco this time. The breasts were so big I cut them in half.
Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 min or until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees. 
Yes, I know this is 10 less than you're supposed to bake chicken breasts to, but here's my little secret. Bake your meats to 10 degrees less and then let them sit foil-covered on the counter for 5-10 min. They will continue to cook and reach that magical done-ness full of juicy goodness.
Check out this golden, crispy deliciousness!

Yes-sir-ee! This is definitely a family favorite chicken recipe!

{seasoned cornflake chicken}

2 c. cornflakes, crushed (yields about 1c. crushed)
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese (not the green tub kind if you can avoid it)
1 packet of ranch dressing mix powder
1 c. buttermilk
2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut chicken into desired portion sizes. Set aside.  Combine cornflakes, parmesan cheese and ranch dressing mix.  Set up dredging stations. One container for buttermilk. One container for the cornflake mixture.  Prepare your baking sheet for the chicken.  Dredge chicken in the buttermilk coating all sides. Then dredge in the cornflake mixture taking time really coat every side. Place chicken onto baking sheet.  Repeat.  Any leftover cornflake mixture put onto the tops of the chicken to give it a little more oomph.

Bake for 45-60 min or until chicken reaches 170-180 degrees.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

**UPDATED 12/30/2013**
Every year in my family we have a tradition.  A sugar cookie tradition.  We will get together one Sunday in December and make a TON of cookies...frosted and decorated, too.  This year, I perfected my recipe. Seriously.  It turned out UH-MAZing!  I've always felt um, snobbish towards sugar cookies....and this is why!

{sugar cookies}
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 c. flour
 1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (you can sub. vanilla here if you have to)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift together first three dry ingredients.  Set aside.  Combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add Almond extract. Combine.  Beat in one egg at a time until just combined.  Add dry ingredients.  Mixture will be slightly crumbly.  Form into one large disc or two smaller discs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 min.

Roll out dough, cut out.  Bake 8-10 min. Cookies will be done when it no longer has a shinny look to it.

*I prefer mine more chewy so I bake for about 8 min.  If you prefer yours more crunchy, bake for 10 min or more...but NOT until golden. Just until they don't have a glossy shine anymore and don't slide when you hold your cookie sheet at an angle.

{buttercream frosting}
1 1/2c. salted butter, at room temperature
5-6 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 c. whipping cream

Whip butter until light and airy.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixer and whip until thoroughly combined.  Spoon frosting amounts into bowls for food coloring separation.  I use the Wilton food coloring in the jars.  You can find them at most craft stores in the baking/cakes isle.  They will give you a deeper more true color than the grocery store tubes.
 Be sure to have ample sprinkles and decorations to top your cookies with.  As you can see, in my family there is no such thing as too many red hots.  They're the FAVORITE!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Which Egg Are You?

Have you ever seen Runaway Bride with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts? Remember the part where Richard Gere's character accuses Julia's, that how can she know who she is if she doesn't even know how she likes her eggs? I do. Romantic Comedy nerd right here!  I know what kind of egg I like. Poached. (With Hollandaise when I really want to be naughty.) I've been making it in my small 8" pan with water and a makeshift lid for like F.O.R.E.V.E.R.! Then comes along this handy dandy kitchen gadget...
Our toaster broke, so I went shopping for a new one and came home with this. I'm not gonna lie. I was skeptical at first.  Now I'm completely and madly in LOVE with it!  I haven't pulled out a frying pan to cook an egg in months!  This makes the most perfect poached egg!  I use the egg feature even more than the toaster!!!  It will poach the egg however you like the yolk from runny to hard.  IF you like your egg yolk perfectly medium, neither runny nor hard, this does it.  And PERFECT every time!

So, my questions for everyone today...1. how do you like your eggs? 2. Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?

I'm hungry now, so I better go make myself an egg!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Club: Baked-Baked Cheese Grits

I'm so excited for Club: Baked this week for two reasons......I'm hosting, and I got to pick a very special recipe in the book (Baked Explorations)......Baked Cheese Grits!  Why is this such a special recipe, you ask?  It's very much my Dad.  He isn't necessarily from the South, but his parents and grandparents were so he was raised on a lot of Southern-type cooking.  Fast-forward quite a few years, and he's passed on the Grits and Eggs breakfast to me and my siblings.  Granted, I'm sure I'm the only one that still makes it, but I don't care.  I LOVE grits!  Of course it also helps that I'm a big-time Daddy's girl.  
 These baked grits remind me so much of that meal my Dad would make Saturday mornings, that it was uncanny.  Definitely a rich and creamy and cheesy and super de-duper fatteningly delicious way to make grits.  It was incredibly easy and a much more refined way to eat my childhood breakfast than the "smash it all together in a kind-of repulsive looking, albeit, delicious mess" sort of way. 
 I really wish I could have found stone-ground grits to use, as the recipe calls for them.  Alas, after going to six different grocery stores and specialty stores, I was out of luck.  Unfortunately, this recipe is using quick grits.  Never fear. My hunt will not end here.  I WILL find stone-ground grits to try someday!  Probably later this week, as Murphy's Law, would have it right!? 
{baked cheese grits}
   "baked explorations" by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

2 c. whole milk
[2 c. water]
1 c. stone-ground grits
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c., packed, grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 4 oz.
1 c., packed, grated Monterey Jack cheese, about 4 oz.
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or, alternatively a similar size baking dish.

Pour the milk and 2 c. water into a medium saucepan, cover, and heat on medium-high until the mixture boils, about 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, add the grits, salt, and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir constantly until grits are the consistency of thick soup, about 8 minutes.  Reduce to a simmer, stirring every 2 minutes, and cook for about 15-20 minutes to let the grits thicken further.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  The grits will be really thick at this point.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3/4 c. of the cheddar cheese, 3/4 c. of the Monterey Jack cheese, and the butter.  Pour the grits into the prepared skillet and top them with the remaining cheeses.  Turn the oven to broil.

Place the skillet directly under the heating element for 203 minutes, or until the cheese topping is melted and starts to brown. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 large servings.

Check out how the other bakers fared this week by going HERE.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Brown Gravy

I'm a sucker for the Food Network cooking shows.  One of my favorites still happens to be Sandra's Money Saving Meals.  That's where I got this recipe from.  I was having a lazy moment catching up on some of my shows over the weekend and happened to watch this episode. It was exactly what I needed as I was/am in a cooking rut again and needed to use up the ground beef in my fridge before it went bad.  I wanted to make a dinner that was fast and easy and delicious.  Oh boy does this one fit the bill!  It was a HUGE hit with my family!  Each person, adult and child, gave it TWO thumbs UP!  I kid you not!

{salisbury steak with brown gravy}

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) package sliced baby portobello mushrooms (I used shiitake mushrooms I reconstituted and used the "mushroom broth" adding beef bouillon to enhance the flavors)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans beef broth. 


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-hi heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Put 1/2 of the onion in a large bowl and the remainder in another bowl. In the large bowl add the beef, bread crumbs, grill seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and the egg. Mix to combine everything well and form the mixture into 6 oval patties. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until they are well browned, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the steaks and pour off all but 2 tablespoons the fat. (The patties will not be cooked through and will finish cooking in the gravy.)
Put the pan back on the heat, add the mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining onions, sprinkle in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring it to a boil. Return the patties to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened and the steaks are cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Serving Yield:6

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lactation Cookies

Don't let the name of these cookies scare you.  They DON'T contain breast milk.  What they do contain, that's out of the ordinary for cookies, is flax seed meal, Brewer's Yeast and thick cut oats.  All of which are super incredibly beneficial for Mom's that are breast feeding!  This is the perfect desert to add to a post-partum dinner delivery, too!
Why are those three ingredients so magical?
Flax seed meal is full of healthy benefits like omega-3s.  Thick Cut Oatmeal (Thick cut oats are similar to the Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, but MUCH thicker and filled with even more iron) and Brewer's Yeast (both are found at Sprouts or Whole Foods type stores)are galactogogues, which have been linked to increased milk production.  There is no scientific study on the ingredients used, but that does not mean they don't help with milk production.  I personally have experienced great benefits after eating just one cookie!

I've had friends and family try these cookies and they get rave reviews!  Who knew something so delicious could be so good for you, too!!!

{lactation cookies}
    makes about 4 dozen cookies
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. butter very softened (I used butter flavored Crisco since my baby doesn't like it when I eat diary)
1/4c. water
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 c. flour
3 c. Thick Cut Oats
1/4 c. flaxseed meal
2 T. Brewer’s yeast  (MUST be Brewer's Yeast for milk production)
1 cup chocolate chips, or raisins or chopped almonds, butterscotch chips, etc. (I prefer chocolate chips with toasted chopped almonds)  I also used vegan chocolate chips because of the diary issue and they are so incredible you wouldn't know the difference!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together sugars and butter. Then add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Add remaining ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Shape into 2" balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 9-11 min or until edges are browned. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Corkscrew Chicken

I'm stocking up on my freezer meals again.  This one was SUPER easy in both prep and cooking and the taste delivered.  Can't beat that!

{corkscrew chicken}
  serves 6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3T olive oil (spray works too)
2 garlic cloves, minced (less if you don't like garlic as much as me!)
1-26oz. can spaghetti sauce
1 c. chicken broth (omit if you are NOT freezing noodles uncooked)
2 c. rotini noodles (or something similar)
fresh basil, chiffonade cut
Parmesan cheese

Eating night of:  Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.  Saute chicken onion and garlic in olive oil until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in spaghetti sauce and drained pasta and toss to evenly coat.  Heat to boiling.  Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

To Freeze: Saute chicken, onion and garlic in olive oil until chicken is no longer pink.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and chicken broth. Heat just to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in uncooked noodles. Allow to cool completely. Place in gallon freezer bag.  Label and freeze.
  To Serve: Thaw. Place in saucepan and heat to boiling.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Radish Dip

I know I'm late to share this for the big Super Bowl weekend, but I just KNOW that you'll find time to make this dip.  It's bursting with flavors! Green onion. Garlic. Cream Cheese. Radishes. Oh, boy!  It's the kind of dip that makes you want to lick the bowl clean.  I almost did when my friend (thanks Perda!) made this for me.  Thankfully, I did show some semblance of self control.  Only a little. It's THAT good!

{radish dip}

1-8oz block Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 c. Butter, softened (do not use margarine if you can avoid it!)
1 c. finely chopped radishes. About one bunch. (I dry the radishes after chopping with paper towels so they won't turn the dip pink.)
1/2 c. finely chopped green onions
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp season salt (I prefer Lawry's)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cream butter and cream cheese together in medium bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients until well combined.  Chill overnight or for a couple of days for best flavor.  Okay, you can chill for at least ONE hour, but the flavors will taste better if you can plan ahead and let it sit longer.  Trust me on this one.

Serve with either crackers or veggies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asian Pork Wraps

In an effort to achieve one of my New Year's Goals, I'm cooking more at home and eating out less.  Having three kids, one an infant, PTA responsibilities, a part-time job and household responsibilities is severely cutting into my prep time.  When once I loved spending hours in the kitchen cooking and baking, I'm now lucky to steal 30 straight minutes.  Sound familiar?

Enter Asian Pork Wraps.  The combination of Asian seasonings and spices  as well as the juicy mandarin orange slices, crunchy lettuce and toasted almonds are a beautifully delicious light yet filling combination.

Originally written as a slow cooker recipe, it can also be made day-of in 15 min or less, if you pre-cook your meat that is.  Remember when I posted about making Chicken Shreds via Kira Cooks?  Apply the same techniques to pork and you're set!   All you have to do is take one to two bags, thawed, of your pre-cooked and shredded pork, pop it in a saucepan and add seasonings. I use half the seasonings for one baggie.  Combine.  Heat throughout. Toppings as desired. Serve. Easy Peasy!

{asian pork wraps}
  Serves 8-10
2 1/2 to 3 lb. pork shoulder roast
2/3 c. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

Place roast in greased 3 1/2 to 5-quart slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread over top.  Cover and cook on low heat 6-8 hours. Shred roast w/ two forks.

Serve atop warm tortillas (I like 6" round best), with sliced green onion, mandarin oranges, toasted slivered or sliced almonds, and shredded lettuce.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday Supper Roast

Since getting pregnant with, and having, baby #3, we've eaten out so much more than ever.  I know it's partly due to those crazy pregnancy hormones affecting my taste buds and also partly due to the lack of energy.  If you've had a baby, you know what I'm talking about!  Well, upon review of not only my waistline but also our financial goals, I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions goals is to eat out only once per week...if that.  So, I'm working on finding some great FAST, go-to menus that my family loves.  

This is one of those recipes because: 
  1. Both kids and adults gobble it up.  
  2. It's fast to prep and throw together. 
  3. It can cook all day in my slow cooker while I'm at work so I can come home to a delicious smelling house and a meal ready to go! 

Not only does the slow cooker make the meat fall-apart delicious, but the combination of the onion soup, garlic and seasonings creates such a beautiful symphony of flavors in your mouth!  The potatoes and carrots are perfectly tender and the gravy so easy to make, although it is delicious without it, too!

{sunday supper roast}
1 (2.2 oz.) box beefy onion soup (2 env.)
1 (3 1/2 lb.) beef rump roast
2 lb. small red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
5 large carrots, chunky sliced (about 1 1/2" sections)
4 celery ribs, chunky sliced (about 1 1/2" sections)
8 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp. garlic pepper
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans beef broth, separated
1/4 cup flour
Roll the meat in both packages of onion soup. Set aside. In a 5-6 quart crock-pot, place half each of the potatoes, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season with half each of the garlic pepper and thyme.  Tuck the bay leaf into the veggies.  Pour all but 1/2 cup of broth over veggies.  Add the roast and scrape any dry soup mix left on top.  Cover with the remaining veggies and seasonings.  Cover and cook on LOW for 9 to 10 hours.  Remove meat and veggies and keep warm.  Pour the juices from the pot into a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk together the saved 1/2 cup broth and the flour.  Pour slowly into boiling juices.  Stir until gravy is thickened, about 3 minutes.  Pour over meat and vegetables and serve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sausage, Lentil & Kale Soup

  • Did you know that In Italy, lentils are a traditional accompaniment for pork sausages, and are also a required item on New Year's Eve (or day) menus; their shape brings to mind tiny coins and people eat them in the hope that they won't want for cash during the rest of the year!
I don't know about you, but I could really use this good luck, so I plan on eating my way into the New Year with a diet full of lentils! This soup is the perfect way to start it, too!  Not only does it have lentils, but spicy sausage and the amazingly delicious and nutritious kale!  One of my all-time favorite leafy veggies!  Enjoy and have a Happy coin-filled New Year!

  • {sausage, lentil & kale soup}
  •      Serves 4.
  • 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 C. lentils
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced (I used 2oz. shitake I re-hydrated in the soup this time & love the meatiness they provide!)
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • 3 to 4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C. tomato paste
  • 4 C. chicken stock (use 5 if you prefer a little more soupy, like me)
  • 3 C. water
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and discarded, leaves shredded
Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat. add olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage and sauté for 3-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with the back of a spoon or a potato masher as it cooks and browns.

While the sausage is browning, pour the lentils out onto a light-colored plate and sift through them. Discard any small stones -- sometimes you find them sometimes you don't, but better safe than sorry.

To the browned sausage, add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, potato, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.

Add the stock and 3 cups of water, turn the heat up to high and bring up to a bubble. Add the lentils and the kale, stir until the kale wilts in then turn the heat down to medium and simmer 40-50 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Dried Cranberries & Red Onion

Quite a while back, I came upon a recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod where every part of the recipe name spoke to me.  This is that recipe.  In years past, I would have snubbed my nose at it because I've never been a big fan of sweet potatoes.  That is until my latest pregnancy.  I couldn't eat enough sweet potatoes. It's happened to me with each of my pregnancies.  My first I fell madly in love with chili and crunchy Cheetos (I passionately hated both before) and my second I became the biggest connoisseur of Powerade on the planet.  Well, this one was sweet potatoes.  I'm so glad it was, too.  Otherwise, not only would I have missed out on the awesomeness that is Rumbi's Sweet Potato fries, but I would have missed out on this incredibly delicious recipe, too!  

Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it's my new favorite go-to meal!  Protein packed quinoa. Healthful-filled roasted veggies. Sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette.  It's like a symphony in your mouth with every bite!

Don't just take my word for it.  Go make it yourself.  You'll thank me for it.  Promise!!!  Thank you Maria & Josh for allowing me to use your photo and highlight your amazing recipe on my blog too!  It's just too good to keep it a secret from anyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Bread

Since the birth of our third child, I've had to modify my diet significantly.  Not for me, but for our little guy.  I've had to cut out dairy, eggs, oatmeal, chocolate, whole wheat and peanuts.  I'm not gonna lie, it's been a rough go.  Thankfully, there are all kinds of options available now both in recipe substitutions and ready-made products at the store.  One I'm most grateful for is Veganase (vegan mayo).  It has been WONDERFUL having that as an option and it tastes exactly the same as regular mayo! Well, because of these changes, I've had to start baking my own bread.  Who knew most breads have both milk and eggs in them!  I know!

Now that I've adjusted to life without so many of my favorite foods, I'm ready to share some of my newly found favorite recipes.  First up...BREAD!  I'm a carb addict and bread is a BIG weakness of mine.  I've even got a loaf rising as I type now!  This bread is DELICIOUSLY moist, holds up great for sandwiches (once cooled completely that is!)and is egg and dairy-free (Vegan)!  Besides, who doesn't LOVE the aroma of freshly baked bread permeating the whole house!!
{basic white bread}
  makes one 1 1/2 lb. loaf

1 c. warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3 c. flour  (mix it up and use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat if you'd like)
2 1/4 tsp. (or one packet) yeast. (SAF instant is my all-time favorite!)

I use my bread machine to make the dough, so the directions are for a bread machine, BUT you can use a mixer just as easily.  I also prefer the traditional shape loaf instead of the bread machine shaped loaf.

Add ingredients in order listed. Turn bread machine on to dough setting. Get your loaf pan ready by spraying it with some non-stick spray.  Once your machine is done with the dough cycle and it beeps, pull out the dough. roll it between your hands just enough to get it long enough to fit into your loaf pan evenly.  Place into loaf pan. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and place in a warm location to rise. Allow dough to rise to where you want it (I like it about an inch above the edge of the loaf pan). Remove plastic wrap and bake 350 degrees for 15 min. Cover bread with foil to prevent it from getting too brown and crusty on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

When it's done and out of the oven, lightly spread canola oil on top of your bread to keep it nice and soft. Allow to cool for 5-10 min., then remove from pan to finish cooling....if you're like me you'll have to start another loaf at this point so you can eat one now and have one for sammies (sandwiches) later!  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cold Weather Cure

I don't know about you and where you live, but here in Utah it's C.O.L.D. Cold!  The bitter cold evenings remind me of my youth growing up in Iowa.  Granted, we haven't had any of the freezing rain, sleet, ice connecting the telephone wires to the ground, but it's cold just the same!  Because of how chilly it is outside, I'm craving soups.   They're the next best thing to warming my insides when I can't have a big mug of hot cocoa!  Here's a list of some of my all-time favorites...and I still have more to share this winter!

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