Thursday, February 25, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

Posted by Picasa

I hadn't made these muffins for years! I wanted to make some as a thank-you for a sweet friend,and I decided to double the recipe. Good thing, because the boys love them!

They are super-healthy, especially with the changes I made. They make a great breakfast with a yogurt. And if you want to take something healthy to an office potluck, take these with some honey nut cream cheese.

They do call for a lot of ingredients, so I doubled the recipe (48 muffins!). I'll freeze what we don't eat over the next day or two.

Muffin tips: Use cupcake liners, and spray them and the pan with non-stick spray for easy removal. Start muffins at 500 degrees for the first three minutes, then turn them down to 350 for the rest of the baking time. This will give muffins a nice rise (everyone loves muffin tops!). These muffins are dense because of the whole wheat flour and the vegetable and fruit add-ins, so they will never look like bakery muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins

2 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (I substituted 1/4 c. flax seed for 1/4 c. flour)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded apple
3/4 cup raisins, golden raisins, or Craisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 500°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl. Stir in carrot and next 5 ingredients (carrot through pineapple); make a well in center of mixture. Combine oil and next 4 ingredients (oil through egg whites); stir with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Spoon the batter into 24 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 3 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350 and bake for 15 more minutes, until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

Calories: 150 Fat: 5 g. Fiber: 3 g

Valentine Ice Cream Sandwiches

Posted by Picasa

I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of these! I brought heart-shaped ice cream sandwiches to Ben's preschool Valentine's Party. This picture shows the ice cream sandwich, deconstructed. I made strawberry and vanilla ones, but the strawberry ones were particularly good.

The idea and recipe is from Martha Stewart. You can find a better picture here.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made these for Valentine's Day, so they were heart-shaped, but you could use any shaped cookie cutter - dinosaurs, flowers, etc. - for any occasion.

Makes 24.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 cartons strawberry ice cream, slightly softened (I had some left over)


1.In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla, and sugar. Add eggs and milk, and mix until combined. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

2.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a floured surface; use an offset spatula to unstick the dough every few turns of the rolling pin. Roll dough to an 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough using cookie cutters from 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making sure there is a top and bottom cookie for each sandwich. Use a fork to prick holes all over the surface of the cookies. Bake until firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3.Using half the cookies, spoon softened strawberry ice cream about 1/2 inch thick on each underside. Place matching cookie on top of ice cream, top-side facing out. Transfer immediately to freezer to harden; repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve directly from the freezer. Sandwiches can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 to 4 days.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza

Posted by Picasa

Oh, my. I wanted to make a Valentine's dinner for the family. I've had this cute little heart-shaped springform pan for years, so I decided to try to make stuffed pizza in it. If you've never had Chicago-style pizza (like Gino's East or Nancy's), you are missing something great. It's a deep dish pizza with a biscuit-like, yeasty crust layered with cheese, toppings, and sauce, in that order. The cheese is sliced, not shredded, and it's about as thick as the crust. The sauce is thick and rich, too.

I decided to aim for a Gino's East type of pizza, since I figured there would be some copycat recipes online. I ended up combining a few purportedly authentic recipes, though I did leave out the yellow food coloring that gives Gino's pizza its distinctive color. The secret ingredient is cream of tartar, the additive that gives snickerdoodles cookies their unusual texture.

The verdict? Success on the first attempt (she said humbly). The crust was not as greasy as the restaurant version because I just sprayed the pan instead of coating it with oil or butter. If you want the full effect, have at it.

I had leftover dough because my springform pan was smaller than a 10-inch round, so I just discarded it (it wasn't enough to make another pizza).

Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza
1 cup water
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup corn oil mixed with a 1/2 T. olive oil (just pour a little olive oil in the bottom of your 1/3 measuring cup, then top off with corn oil) I used vegetable oil, but use corn if you can
1 T sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups bread flour
Toppings: vegetables, pepperoni, cooked and crumbled sausage

Cheese: 8-10 ounces of mozzarella, preferably sliced

14 oz. crushed tomatoes (usually come in 28 oz. cans - use half, or double recipe and freeze extra sauce for next time)
1/2 t. olive oil
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. salt
Parmesan/Romano cheese, grated

In a bowl, put water (lukewarm), then yeast, oil, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar. Mix by hand until yeast dissolves. Then, pour in bread flour a little at a time. Mix with by hand or with a dough hook on a stand mixer. Knead it until it gets firm. Add more flour if needed. Knead for 5-10 minutes. Then, roll it into a ball, and put it in a bowl with oil brushed in the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. You can let it rise all day if you want, or put it in the refrigerator overnight for a slower rise.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Mist or brush a 10-inch springform pan or a round cake pan with olive oil or butter. Put dough into pan and press it up the sides of the pan. You'll have to press it up a few times because it will want to slide back down.
Mix sauce ingredients together.
Lay slices of cheese on crust. Layer toppings over cheese. Spread sauce over toppings, not quite reaching the edge of the crust. Sprinkle parmesan or romano cheese on sauce, if desired.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Finish at 425 for 5 minutes to thicken sauce and brown crust. Let pizza rest for a few minutes before removing springform pan sides and cutting.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Indian-Spiced Roast Salmon with Mango Chutney

We used to eat salmon once or twice a week. We haven't eaten it as often lately, probably because we were a little sick of it! But I bought a salmon a couple of weeks ago that had been pre-cut into fillets and then frozen, and it's so good!

If you don't normally buy it, look for wild-caught, not farm raised salmon. Wild caught tastes better, has more protein and less fat, and is better for the environment. It is always frozen or previously frozen, but flash freezing methods are very good. Also, look for fillets that are at least an inch thick and consistent - not a lot of very skinny tail ends. Even though salmon is relatively high in fat, thin pieces will dry out very quickly.

This is one of our favorite recipes, originally from Cooking Light. Unfortunately, it does require a lot of different spices! Though the recipe calls for plain yogurt as a topping, I always serve it with mango chutney, usually homemade. However, I found some great, cheap mango chutney at Your DeKalb Farmer's Market, so I used that this time. The recipe for the salad in the picture is located here.

Indian-Spiced Salmon

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 1/4-inches thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat oven to 400°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a shallow dish. Sprinkle fillets with salt; dredge fillets in spice mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet (oven-proof) over medium-high heat. Add fillets, skin sides up; cook 5 minutes or until bottoms are golden. Turn fillets over. Wrap handle of skillet with foil; bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove skin from fillets; discard skin. Serve with mango chutney.

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 301 (46% from fat); FAT 15.4g (sat 2.7g,mono 7.7g,poly 3.2g); IRON 1.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 111mg; CALCIUM 54mg; CARBOHYDRATE 2.6g; SODIUM 390mg; PROTEIN 35.9g; FIBER 0.3g

Mango Chutney

2 mangoes, peeled and diced

1/4 cup onion, diced fine

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 t. crushed red pepper or to taste

1 T brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat until saucy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Beans and Brown Rice

Here's Martha Stewart's twist on red beans and rice. This meal is delicious - but you really need to put out a choice of toppings. Be sure to check the beans as they cook, because mine were done early.

Jack really liked this; Ben pretty much ate brown rice with shredded cheese and tomato.

8 cups water, plus more if needed
1 bag (1 pound) dried black beans, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 jalapeno chile, halved and seeded
2 medium onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups long-grain brown rice
3 1/2 cups water

Make the beans: Bring water, beans, jalapeno, onions, garlic, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to a simmer in a medium pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.) Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make the rice: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the rice. Cook until rice is slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until rice absorbs water, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with beans.

SERVING IDEA Serve beans and rice with jarred jalapenos, fresh cilantro, diced onion, chopped tomato, cubed avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese, and hot sauce.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Antipasto Pasta Salad

The before pasta, pasta salad. Why put pasta off into the future when you can have it now? I've posted this recipe before on the blog, but it was combined with another recipe, so I'm posting it here to make it more convenient. One of these days I need to take a picture of it! It's really one of my very favorite things in the whole world.

Antipasto Pasta Salad

2 16 oz. packages of cheese tortellini cooked, drained, and cooled
16 oz. diced mozzarella (fresh or not)
4 oz. prosciutto (can also substitute pepperoni - a stick, chopped up, is best, but sliced is ok)
pepperoncini peppers, stems cut off
kalamata olives
red onion, diced
sun-dried tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes
sliced roasted red peppers
artichoke hearts

Mix the above together.

Add dressing. Mix gently and chill.


1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried orégano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Whisk dressing until emulsified. The dressing will be opaque, and there will not be a separation of the oil and vinegar. Pour over all other ingredients mixed in large bowl. This keeps for several days.