Saturday, November 8, 2008

Apple and Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

This bread pudding is from Baking Bites. It was really easy to make, and Nick liked it a lot. The original recipe is below with my changes/comments in parentheses.

1 tbsp butter
2 large baking apples (I used Fuji)
4 cups cubed white bread (I used Hawaiian Bread)
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
3 tbsp brandy (I used rum b/c we did not have brandy)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins or pecans

Peel and core apples. Chop apples into cubes, but precision is not required and the pieces can be fairly large.
Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat and add apples and butter. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until apples are light golden and just barely tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, brandy, sugars, eggs, vanilla and spices. Pour onto bread cubes along with apples and raisins (or pecans, if using). Stir gently with a spatula to wet mixture and let stand for about 10 minutes. Pour into prepared pan, spread evenly.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean (a couple of crumbs are ok).
Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Confetti Shrimp and Grits

I found this recipe on Kath Eats Real Food. It is now one of my favorites! The combination of flavors is great. Here is a link to her original recipe. The recipe with my changes are below.

(Serves 3 + probably some leftover polenta)

* 3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
* Handful of spinach
* 5-6 mini carrots, diced
* 1/2 a cup assorted bell peppers, diced
* 2-3 stalk celery, diced
* 1/4 cup onion, diced
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
* Sprinkle Chili powder
* 1 cup quick cooking polenta
* 1 tbsp light butter
* 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
* 2 tsp honey
* 1.75 cups chicken broth, divided
* 1/2 cup almond milk (regular milk would work fine)
* 2 cups water

* Add olive oil to pan (preferably not a non-stick pan) and heat. Place shrimp one by one into pan and don’t touch until brown on one side. Flip and sear until crispy. Remove from pan.
* Add veggies to pan and sautee a few minutes. Stir in Old Bay and chili powder. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth to deglaze plan and steam veggies. Remove veggies from pan when tender.
* Meanwhile, cook polenta as package says (I put 2 cups water, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1.5 cups chicken broth in pot and brought to a boil, then stirred in polenta and stirred constanlty until thickened- approx 7 min)
* When polenta is thick, stir in 1 tbsp butter until melted. Then drizzle on tsp of honey.
* Add veggies to polenta pot and stir together. Pour into bowl and top with shrimp and parmesan.

Salmon, Dill, Tomato Sandwich

12 oz salmon
Whole wheat/whole grain bread (we used whole grain baguette style bread)

Dill Sauce:
1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
1 Tbsp light mayo
2 Tbsp minced onion
1/4 tsp beau monde seasoning
1/2 tsp dill (dried or fresh)

1. Sprinkle salmon with dill, salt, and pepper.
2. Broil salmon until it flakes easily with a fork.
3. While salmon is cooking, mix together dill sauce. (All measurements are approx. so season to liking).
4. When salmon is done, flake into medium size pieces.
5. Assemble sandwich by putting sauce on both sides of bread, layer tomato slices and salmon. Top with second piece of bread.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet Potato Cheesecake

I made the recipe below, but divided it by 3 and cooked in a loaf pan. Nick seemed to like it! Link to Original recipe on Homesick Texan's blog.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake
For the crust:
35 ginger snaps, crushed
1/4 cup of pecans, finely chopped
1 stick of butter (113.4 grams), melted

For the cheesecake:
3 8oz. packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of cooked, mashed sweet potato
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of flour

For the topping:
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. To make the crust, mix together the crushed ginger snaps, chopped pecans and melted butter.
3. Press the crust into a 9-inch spring-form pan, evenly covering the bottom and going up the sides about 1/4 of an inch.
4. Place in the fridge or in near an open window with a cold breeze.
5. To make the batter, using a mixer or a strong blender, throw in the softened cream cheese and eggs. Mix until smooth and combined.
6. Add the sugar, the maple syrup, the sweet potato, the spices and the flour, and blend until smooth. (Don’t mix it too long or too many cracks will appear on top when it bakes.)
7. Pour into spring-form pan, and bake for 45 minutes. Cheesecake will be done when the sides are set and the center is still a big jiggly. Turn off the oven, and then leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door open for about half an hour.
8. To make the topping while the cheesecake bakes, place 1/4 cup of chopped pecans in a heated dry iron skillet, and toast for about five minutes.
9. Mix the sour cream, vanilla, spices, syrup and sugar together. Add the pecans.
10. Take cheesecake out of the oven, spread on the topping, and let sit for another half hour.
11. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours and then serve.
Notes: A 1-pound sweet potato cooked in the oven at 425 degrees for a little over an hour will yield enough for the recipe. Alternatively, you can use canned sweet potato. The topping and crust are purely optional. If you bake without a crust, baking time will be about 35 minutes.

Lentil, Sausage, & Sweet Potato Soup

I found the original recipe for this soup on Kalyn's Kitchen. It was a good fall soup. The recipe with my modifications are below. All measurements are approximate.

8 oz. lb. raw chicken or turkey sausage links (preferably spicy)
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato diced (bite size diced)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil or just cooking spray in heavy soup pot, then saute celery and onions for about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, lentils, sage, thyme, and a bit of fresh ground black pepper, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

While soup is simmering, cut sausage lengthwise and then into slices. Cook in a skillet until browned. Remove from skillet onto paper towels to drain.

After 30 minutes, add canned tomatoes, chopped sweet potatoes, and cut sausage pieces and cook at a very low simmer about 30-60 minutes more (until sweet potatoes are tender). Season soup with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Reese's Cookies

I made these cookies for Blake's birthday. They are quite rich, but good! It was also a good use of leftover halloween candy. Also, you can substitute various Reese's candies such as fastbreaks or caramel Reese's cups.

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. peanut butter chips
3/4 c. chopped Reese's cups
3/4 c. Reese’s Pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, Reese's cups, and Reese’s Pieces.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. ***Let cool for 1 or 2 minutes on sheet before removing, or they will fall apart.***
Makes approx 4 dozen

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Joanna's famous granola

This recipe is from Joanna. It is so good that it is addictive! I made it to send to Josh so hopefully he will like it too.

•4 cups old fashioned oats
•1 ½ cup sliced almonds
•½ cup packed light brown sugar
•1 ½ cup dried cranberries
•½ teaspoon salt
•½ teaspoon cinnamon
•¼ cup honey
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan,
heat oil and honey. Whisk in vanilla. Pour liquid mixture over oat
mixture. Stir with wooden spoon and finish with hands to spread in
15x10x1 baking pan/cookie sheet. Bake for approx 30 min and stir every 10 minutes.
Transfer pan to rack and cool. Add cranberries. Store in airtight

Mini Meat Loaf Muffins

Definitely not the best picture, but don't let it deceive you! These mini meat loafs are delicious! The recipe is from Cooking Light, and it is one of our favorites. I usually serve with roasted potatoes and green beans for a healthy and comforting meal. And of course you can make a meatloaf cupcake, if that's your thing :)

6 servings (serving size: 2 "muffins")

* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 cup finely chopped onion
* 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup ketchup, divided
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
* 1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
* 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 large eggs
* Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Nutritional Information

276 (28% from fat)
8.6g (sat 3g,mono 4g,poly 0.8g)