Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Everything Bagels - and Salt, too!

These were made by my husband's request - we typically always have bagels in the freezer, store bought, not even from a good bakery or anything.  Since I've discovered how easy making bread is (really it is!) he put in a special request for everything bagels.  And they are just as easy as any bread I've made at home so far!  

I use instant yeast, so it's a matter of throwing all of the ingredients into the bowl of my stand mixer and mixing/kneading with my dough hook until everything is combined and it pulls away from the sides.  It takes about an hour for the dough to double in size, then it's cut into equal pieces, rolled into balls and a hole poked through the middle. 

A little egg wash will help your toppings stick and give them a nice, golden sheen when they come out of the oven.  My everything bagels had poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped dried onion and salt.  This recipe can easy be cut in half if you want to make a smaller batch.  

So I made our two favorite types of bagels - both of which I introduced to my husband.  He was (and still is for the most part) a cinnamon raisin man.  I couldn't tell you the first time I ever had a salt bagel or what made me try it, but I am hooked!  I'm also not partial to butter or cream cheese, toasted or untoasted.  It's whatever I'm in the mood for.  Hope you enjoy these as much as my family did! 

Makes 16 bagels

Everything Bagels - and Salt, too!

2 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons instant yeast
7 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons salt

For the toppings
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons dried chopped onions
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons sea salt 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients needed for the dough.  Mix on low until all the flour is incorporated, then turn up to medium speed and mix for about 5 minutes.  Turn the dough out (the dough should have completely pulled away from the bowl and sides should be pretty clean) and spray same bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Return the dough to the bowl, giving it turn or two to coat in oil.  Let rest, covered with a clean dish towel for about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 16 equal pieces.  Roll into a ball and use a finger to press and stretch a small hole through.  Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil.  Spray an 11 x 18-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place each one of the bagels (2 -3 at a time depending on how big your pot is) into the boiling water for 45 seconds to a minute on each side.  Remove and place on prepared baking sheet.  Do this until all the bagels have been boiled. 

For the everything bagels:  combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt.  Brush 8 of the bagels with the beaten egg and sprinkle topping on each one.

For the salt bagels:  combine 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and sea salt.  Brush 8 of the bagels with the beaten egg and sprinkle topping on each one.  

After the toppings are on, bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  Enjoy immediately or store in a airtight container for 4-5 days.  Or freeze to enjoy for longer!  

(Source:  dough recipe adapted from A Beautiful Mess)

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Lighter Penne Alfredo

I typically shop for the week and try to plan most of my meals, but sometimes things come up and you need something quicker and easier - or maybe your just in the mood for Alfredo!  We have a tight grocery budget, so I'm also a big believer in using what I have available and not rushing out to the store just because we were in the mood for something that I didn't plan for.  In this case, I already had the penne and the rest of the ingredients because I am always using them - especially the milk and butter, but also the cream cheese and Parmesan.  I'm sure you have a "stock" list of items that you consistently use too.  

So, what I'm trying to say is that feel free to use the ingredients you have on hand - a different pasta or 1%  milk, heavy cream instead of half & half (after all, it only calls for 2 tablespoons).  You can also add a cup of frozen broccoli to your cooking pasta a few minutes before it's done to get a veggie in there!  Just drain right along with your pasta and toss it in the sauce too.  

Serves 4
Lighter Penne Alfredo

1/2 box of Penne pasta (8 oz)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons half & half
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (heaping cup full)
2 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

Cook pasta according to directions on package.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Once fully melted, mix in flour and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes.  Gradually add in a little milk at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.  Stir in half & half, salt and garlic powder.  Continue cooking sauce until mixture thickens and begins to gently bubble, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  

Reduce heat to low and add the Parmesan and cream cheese; stir until cheese has melted.  Drain pasta well, reserving a little liquid in case your sauce is too thick.  Add pasta to sauce and toss evenly to coat, adding a splash of the pasta water if needed to thin out.  Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper and more Parmesan cheese.  

(Source:  Adapted from Cooking Classy)

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

If you've heard of Paula Deen, you've probably heard of her Gooey Butter Cake.  Her variation includes using cake batter as a crust with a topping made of cream cheese, powdered sugar, eggs.  Almost like a cheesecake on top of a cake!  I love chocolate chip cheesecake so I decided to make my version with chocolate chips.  

I'd say my family enjoyed it quite a bit!  1/2 the pan gone before I could take my pictures...

You can also sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.  It's suggested that it's served at room temperature or warm.  I have this habit of keeping most of my baked goods in the fridge so I did the same with this and ate it cold.  Tasted just fine to me!  

Serves 6-8

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake

1 package of yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted 

For the topping
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted
1 (16 oz) box of powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine the cake mix, egg and butter and mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. 

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla and butter and beat together.  Add the powdered sugar and mix well.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.  Spread over cake batter and back for 40 to 50 minutes.  The center should be a little gooey so do not over bake.  

(Source:  Adapted from Paula Deen)
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ranch and Jalapeno Pinwheels

This is such a quick and easy recipe to throw together as an appetizer for game day.  I'm all about fun food for game day!  You can double this recipe and use 4 12-inch size tortillas.  They will be bigger around and a more substantial bite - I would definitely do this if I was having a party or taking them over to someone's house.

Spread the cream cheese mixture to the very edges of the tortilla - you can see that I didn't even follow my own instructions!  It makes a difference, because it will help seal the ends.  

Other add-ins that would be good too - diced black olives, diced green chilies (instead of jalapenos), green onions.  The pimentos and jalapenos you can find already diced in jars and cans.

 Serves 4
Ranch and Jalapeno Pinwheels

3-4 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1/2 package Ranch dressing mix
2 tablespoons diced pimentos
1/4 cup diced pickled jalapenos

Mix all the ingredients together.  Spread evenly (but generously) all over the tortillas, right up the edges.  Roll and slice.  Store in refrigerator and serve chilled.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Refrigerator Spicy Dill Pickles

I'm trying to learn a bit about canning, but to add to that to my list of projects and hobbies might be a bit too much for me.  For these dill pickles, I took the easy way out - I made refrigerator pickles!  No 10 (or how many it is) step canning process.  No boiling water or worrying if I sealed them right.  Just my style.   

And since these aren't really being canned, you can use plastic Tupperware containers or glass.  Just make sure you have a tight fitting lid.  And they should last for up to 2 months in your fridge - if they don't get gobbled up way before that!

This recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay and uses rice wine vinegar.  It definitely gives them a different, tangier flavor than regular white vinegar.  These are SO good!  Addicting.  

You'll use English, or hothouse or "gourmet" cucumbers (as my grocery store calls them).  They are the kind you will find wrapped in plastic to keep fresh rather than a wax seal.  No need to peel or seed them! 

My canning jars were 12.5 oz and only 4" tall - so I made my pickles mini and bite size.   That also means I filled more jars than if you made them a little longer, like regular pickles.  

Serves 8
Refrigerator Spicy Dill Pickles

4 cups rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 English cucumbers, washed, cut in 1/2 horizontally, then quartered lengthwise (and cut once again depending on height of jars)

Combine the vinegar, honey, pepper flakes, peppercorns, coriander, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 2 minutes; remove from the heat and let sit until cooled to room temperature.  Add the dill.  Place the cut cucumbers in your storage container or jar and pour the cooled vinegar mixture over them.  Refrigerate, sealed tightly for 24 hours or up to 4 days.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.

(Source:  Adapted from Bobby Flay)
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Watermelon Sorbet

Yes, I'm still hanging onto summer a bit...everyone else is posting about fall and pinning pumpkin recipes, and I'm posting something that just screams summer!  Fact is, I was craving watermelon and after cutting up just half of the huge one I purchased, I realized I had enough for us to nibble on for quite a while.  

But, what to do with the rest of the watermelon?  I thought a sorbet sounded mighty refreshing (it's still pretty hot outside after all).  And refreshing it is!  Such a great, light dessert for after dinner.     

Serves 8
Watermelon Sorbet

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
6 cups of diced watermelon

In food processor or blender, puree the watermelon chunks.  Place in fridge until ready to use.  In a small saucepan, add the sugar, water and lime juice and cook over medium until boiling and the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, let cool and chill.

Add the watermelon puree to the chilled syrup and pour into an ice cream maker.  Process according to manufacturer's directions.  Transfer the sorbet to airtight container and place in the freezer overnight (for best results).

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I've been on a making bread kick lately.  We buy so much bread at the store - white bread, wheat bread, French bread, rolls, English muffins, the list is endless!  In a effort to tighten our budget at bit, I've decided to make instead of buy (as much as I can anyway).  Cinnamon raisin toast is one of my absolute favorite breakfast items, but it can be pretty pricey buying a loaf in the store.  I was so excited to find this recipe from Super Glue Mom on Pinterest that I immediately had to try it out.  It's easy and makes three whole loaves!! 

It makes a lot of dough - like I said, enough for three loaves so you'll need a pretty big bowl to let it rise.  It will double in size in about 1 1/2 hours. 

You roll the entire dough out at once and slather on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Roll it up and slice into three loaves.  Into the loaf pans they go and to rise for another hour. 

And this is the heavenly (I'm pretty sure I used that word more than once while we were eating it this morning) finished product.  OMG.  Believe me, you will be so glad you have those other two loaves to fall back on.  We ate nearly 1/2 a loaf for breakfast and the other two are in the freezer.  Probably not long before they make their way out of there!  

 Makes 3 loaves

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1 1/2 cups milk, luke-warm (heat in microwave or stovetop)
1 cup warm water
5 teaspoons yeast
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup raisins
9 cups flour and more for dusting 

For the filling
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water until frothy, about 10 minutes.  Add in eggs, sugar, butter, salt and raisins and mix.  Add the room temperature/ warm milk and slowly mix to combine.  Gradually add flour to make dough (start with 8 cups and add in the last cup as needed).  You may need to add the last cup by hand if your bowl starts to overflow like mine did.   

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth, adding in the last cup of flour if necessary.  Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in, turning it to coat all sides.  Cover with a clean dishtowel and set in a warm place.  Let rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. 

Once again, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a large rectangle approximately 1/2 inch thick (mine ended up being about 27 inches long).  Moisten the dough with the milk and use your hands to rub all over dough.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the dough.  Roll up tightly from the long end - it should be about 3 inches in diameter.  

Cut into thirds,  pinching dough together at the seams.  Place loaves,seams side down, into 3 greased loaf pans and let rise, uncovered for another hour.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from oven and let cool on racks.  After about 20 minutes, turn bread out from pans.  Allow bread to cool before slicing.  Serve toasted with butter or use for French toast!  To freeze, wrap in foil and place in freezer bags.

(Source:  Adapted from Super Glue Mom)
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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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