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Archive for March, 2009

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread

So I’ve heard alot of about this no knead bread recipe that’s been going around, seems like everyone’s making it!  I love bread and have been baking lots of bread recently.  I’ve never made an artisan type of bread before and thought it would be a bit complicated.  This recipe has got to be the easiest recipe ever.  I don’t think I’ll be buying my bread from now on!  I made this last week and served it along side with lasagna and we pretty much ate up the whole loaf!  Let me tell you, nothing taste better than a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven.  The only thing is that the proofing time takes a bit of time but you really don’t have to do much while it’s just sitting on your counter.  I highly recommend this bread and once you try it, you’ll never buy bread again!

I saw this recipe on Steamy Kitchen and it was titled, No Knead Recipe so easy a 4 year old can make it!  It had pictures of her son making the bread step by step you should definitely check her page out!

No Knead Bread Recipe from Steamy Kitchen

No Knead Bread Recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman of NY Times who got it from Sullivan Street Bakery. When the recipe first came out, it was the blogging community who took the bread to new heights, especially Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Bread Bible. I followed Rose’s experiments through the weeks and learned from her recipe adjustments and the why’s of how this bread works.

Yield: one 1 lb loaf

3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water

Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel…something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven.  Holding towel, dump wobbly dough into pot. Doesn’t matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes. Best way to eat it? Smear a warm slice with some good butter (Kerrygold and Lurpac are both found in your grocery stores, usually on top shelf)

Loaf

Texture is great..chewy crust, soft interior.

Texture is great..chewy crust, soft interior.

The nice big holes are the results of the long proofing time...yum!

The nice big holes are the results of the long proofing time...yum!

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Lasagna

Lasagna

One of my husband’s favorite meal is lasagna.  He was craving it last week so I told him I’d find a good recipe and make it for him.  I happen to stumble across Pioneer Woman’s site and she had a recipe titled Best Lasagna Ever.  I’ve tried her recipes before and they have all turned out great so I was excited to make this for Brian.  Her webiste is awesome, she has step by step instructions with pictures so it was really easy to follow.  I already had most of the stuff on her ingredient list anyway so that worked out even better for me.  She did use cottage cheese in her lasagna and even though she said that you couldn’t tell a difference, I was still hesitant about it.  I was going to just go with it but changed my mind.  I just used ricotta cheese instead.  I also didn’t use the breakfast sausge.  We had bought some bottom round while it was on sale awhile ago and just grounded that up.  I also couldn’t find slicked mozzerella cheese so I just used the shredded kind.  I must say, this was one of the best lasagna I ever made!  It was very hearty and rich and Brian loved it!  Next time, maybe I’ll try using the cottage cheese instead and see how it would turn out.  I’m sure it would be just as great!

Lasagna by The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (I used 3 lbs of ground bottom round)
1 poung hot breakfast sausage (omitted since I didn’t have any)
2 cloves mince garlic
2 14.5 cans of whole tomatoes (I just used one 28oz can)
2 6 oz can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of dried parsely flakes
2 tablespoons of dried basil (I ran out so I used part Italian Seasoning)
Salt (I used kosher salt)
One 10oz package of lasagna (I just used 8 noodles)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cubs lowfat cottage cheese (I used 24oz of Ricotta Cheese)
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese
4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese (I used 16oz shredded mozzarella)

In a skillet, combine ground beef, sausage and 2 cloves minced garlic.  Cook until brown, draining off half the fat.  Pour in cans of whole tomaotes and tomato paste, dried parsley flakes and dried basil, and 1 tsp. of salt.  Mix together thoroughly and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes stirring occassionally.

In the meantime, boil the lasagna noodles.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil to water.  Cook the noodles “al dente”.  When noodles are finished, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay the noodles flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.

While meat and noodles are cooking, mix lowfat cottage cheese in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs.  Add 1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese, 2 tablspoons dried parsley flakes and 1 teaspoon salt.

Set up your “assembly line”; meat mixture, 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese mixture, and cooked lasagna noodles.  Lay four cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan, overlapping as you go.  Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.

Then lay 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese slices on top of the cottage cheese mixture.

With the spoon, make a line through the middle of the meat mixture so you’ll distribute it evenly.  Spread a little less than half of the meat mixture over the mozzarella cheese slices.  Spread it around until evenly distributed atop the mozzarella cheese slices.

Repeat the layering process…being with another layer of four lasagna noodles top with the remaining half of the cottage cheese mixture, top the cottage cheese mixture with another 1/2 pound of mozzarella, and finish with the rest of the meat mixture.

Top generously with Kraft Parmesan cheese.

Place in a 350-degree over for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Alternately, you could cover and freeze it, unbaked, at this point.  Or cover and refrigerate, unbaked, for up to two days.

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Eating Well Brownies

Healthy Brownies

I subscribe to Eating Well magazine and I get their weekly emails.  A couple weeks ago, I saw a link to their Dark Fudgey Brownies that looked yummy and it was a lighter version as well!  I was a bit skeptical at first thinking it probably won’t taste as good as a regular brownie.  I decided to try them out anyway and boy am I glad I did!  It really did taste just like a regular brownie and it was so fudgy!  Just the way I like it!  I didn’t really like nuts in mine so I omitted the nuts.  According to their webiste, these brownies were only about 86 calories per serving but I did some recalculations and it was more like 102 per serving so it was off a bit.  They still tasted really good and still a bit healthier than a normal brownie so I would definitely make them again!

Dark Fudgy Brownies by Eating Well Magazine

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, American-style or Dutch-process
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (50-72% cacao), coarsely chopped, plus 2 1/2 ounces chopped into mini chip-size pieces, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup blended with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts (see Tip), optional

1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, letting it overhang on two opposing sides. Coat with cooking spray.
2. Sift flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together into a small bowl. Combine the 3 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate and oil in a heavy medium saucepan; place over the lowest heat, stirring, until just melted and smooth, being very careful the chocolate does not overheat. Remove from the heat and stir in granulated sugar, corn syrup mixture, vanilla and salt until the sugar dissolves. Vigorously stir in egg until smoothly incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts (if using) and the remaining 2 1/2 ounces chopped chocolate just until well blended. Turn out the batter into the pan, spreading evenly.
3. Bake the brownies until almost firm in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out with some moist batter clinging to it, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 1/2 hours.
4. Using the overhanging foil as handles, carefully lift the brownie slab from the pan. Peel the foil from the bottom; set the slab right-side up on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, trim off any dry edges. Mark and then cut the slab crosswise into fifths and lengthwise into fourths. Wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts.

Up Close Brownies

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Light Banana Bread

Light Banana Bread

I have always been a fan of Hungry Girl, she has some really good recipes that are light, easy and quick!  I love banana bread but my usual recipe was really high in fat and calories, it taste realy good but I was trying to eat healthier.  I came across a recipe from hungry girl and decided to try it out.  It uses whole wheat flour, splend and unsweetened applesauce so alot of the fat and calories have been cut out.  I really love the lighter version, it was still really moist and flavorful.  I even let Brian try it and he didn’t mind it all at!  If you’re looking for a lighter version of banana bread that tastes good and is healthy for ya, you really should try this recipe!

Because it uses splenda, the bread didn’t turn out as dark as my other banana bread but the flavor is still really good!

Banana Bread by Hungry-Girl

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Optional Toppings: no-calorie spray butter, Cool Whip Free

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, Splenda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (in other words, all dry ingredients). In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, egg substitute, applesauce, and vanilla extract (all the wet ingredients). Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan (about 9″ X 5″) sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, and then cut into 8 slices. If you like, spritz with some spray butter or spread on some Cool Whip Free. MAKES 8 SERVINGS

Slice of BB

Serving Size: 1 (thick!) slice
Calories: 140
Fat: 0.5g
Sodium: 267mg
Carbs: 31g
Fiber: 3.75g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 5g

POINTS® value 2*

Serving Size: 1 (thick!) slice
Calories: 140
Fat: 0.5g
Sodium: 267mg
Carbs: 31g
Fiber: 3.75g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 5g

POINTS® value 2*

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PB Brownies

I was perusing the site, Tastespotting one day and came across these brownies that just jumped out at me.  They looked so decadent and yummy that I had to try it out.  I love peanut butter cups and brownies so that is a perfect combo!  I made them for our poker game that we were hosting and everyone just loved them.  I love fudgey brownies more than the cake-like ones so these were perfect for me!  The really are rich so one piece is just about right.

The only thing I did differently was that I used mini peanut butter cups instead of the regular sized one becuase I misread the recipe.  I used about 12 mini ones and it still turned out great!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies by The Boastful Baker

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (I just used Hershey’s Cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder ( I didn’t have any so I just omitted it)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 or 9 regular size Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped (I used 12 mini peanut butter cups and chopped them up)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Microwave chocolate chips and butter in microwave for about 45 seconds. If not mostly melted, microwave for 20 more seconds. Stir until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, peanut butter and salt until combined.
  4. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  5. Stir in the flour until just combined.
  6. Fold chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups into batter.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread evenly and level the surface with a rubber spatula.
  8. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes. Brownies will be slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean.
  9. Cool to room temperature for about 2 hours. Cut into 1″ squares. Store in a tightly sealed container, preferably in the refrigerator.

Up-Close Brownie

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