Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

It was surprisingly difficult to find a pound cake recipe that someone hadn't tried to reduce the fat content in. And I certainly wouldn't want that! So like any  ̶g̶o̶o̶d̶  classic pound cake recipe, this starts with an entire pound of butter.

1 lb butter
3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs

3 c. flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 350

Mix together the flour, soda and salt and set aside. 

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until mixed. Then add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. When the flour is completely combined stir in the sour cream and mix until combined.

Grease your baking pan and bake at 350 for anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes, until the top is a dark golden brown. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run your knife around the edges of the pan and flop upside down on a cooling rack. 


I got 5 smallish loaves out of this, each one yielding 10 slices. 
I'm guessing the pan size was 2 x 5 or 6
We ate one with macerated strawberries and
sweetened whipped cream. 
I think lemon curd also is very tasty with the pound cake,
and lemon curd with strawberries and whipped cream is always good too

The other 4 loaves I wrapped in plastic wrap and then tin foil and froze.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Creamed Potato and Pea Stew

I used to work at a diner in Idaho and they occasionally served creamed potatoes and peas. And they where so good. In my vain attempts to recreate them I have made some pretty tasty dishes, though none have been quite the same as the ones from Rexburg. I decided to add some cooked shredded chicken to make it a complete meal, a complete meal I might add, that everyone loved. 
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 - 3 c. frozen peas
2 - 4 chicken bouillon cubes
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 c. flour, mixed with enough water to make a thin paste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the chicken breasts in the boiling water and cook until the meat is cooked throughout, about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken. Simmer the water down until it is reduced slightly. Add 2 - 4 chicken bouillon cubes (to taste). 

Which together the cream cheese and some of the liquid until smooth. Set aside. Add the potatoes, pepper, and garlic to the boiling water and simmer until tender. When the potatoes are cooked add the frozen peas and simmer until the liquid is heated throughout. Add the cream cheese mix and the flour paste and cook, stirring until thickened. Stir in the shredded chicken and heat through. Taste the sauce and check for seasoning adding more chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, or garlic as needed. I seasoned my plate with my favorite Mortons Nature Seasons.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bread Machine Honey Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. oil
1/3 c. honey
2 c. white flour
2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 - 2 tsp salt
(My page says 2 but I think I only used 1)
1 Tbsp bread machine yeast
1 tsp dough enhancer

Place all the ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed. 

The settings I used where Whole Wheat, 1.5 lb loaf, and light crust.

Hot start and met it do its thing!

This loaf puffed up nicely and was light and fluffy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fruit and Oat Muffins

This was created to use up a whole bunch of different odds and ends in my kitchen, so it's a jumble of flavors. My kids loved them and all had several right away and all of them where gone within the hour.

1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. honey
1 egg
2 brown bananas, whole
3/4 c. white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 oz. apple sauce

Preheat the over to 350

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla extract. When combined, beat in the honey, egg, and 2 bananas.

Next beat in the soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

Then beat in the white flour, whole wheat flour, and oats. Add the apple sauce and mix just until combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners and fill 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350. I only had to bake these for 15 minutes because I used mini muffins. This made 3 1/2 dz. mini muffins.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Candy Easter Eggs

Our first guest recipe from fellow blogger Cecilotta. 

And a picture to help put things into perspective. 

If we were really lucky at Easter-time our mom would make these eggs for us. They are fun to give away, and especially fun to eat, and they look nice on the table while drooling children wait to slice them.

While a little time consuming to make, they really are not hard at all and well worth the effort. Especially if you have people in your house with allergies, you can make sure these are safe to eat.

With Easter only a little over a month now is a great time to start getting ideas together to celebrate.

4 c. white sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. water
1/3 c. - 3 oz (about 3) egg white
(Make sure there isn't ANY yolk in the white or they wont beat right)

Orange - Peanut Butter - 1 c. creamy peanut butter
Blue - Chocolate Nut - 3/4 c. dark chocolate melted + 1 c. walnuts, chopped
White - Coconut - 1 c. flaked coconut
1/4 - 1/4 c. melted white chocolate
Splash of coconut extract
Yellow - Maple Nut - 1 Tbsp. real maple extract + 1 c. walnuts, chopped
Pink - Fruit and Nut - 1 c. candied fruit + 1 c. walnuts

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook syrup to 261. Remove from heat, let stand until bubbles stop.

Meanwhile beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Slowly add, in a thin stream, sugar syrup and beat until gloss is gone. Fold in desired flavor. Shape into eggs, you can make them small or large. Let cool, chill.

Coat with chocolate by dipping the egg into melted chocolate and use your hands to coat. Place on a tray lined with wax paper, place a confection flower in to top to indicate what flavor it is. Let set up at room temperature and then chill to firm.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Delicious and Fluffy Pancakes

I don't ever really like pancakes all that much and I like these. 
They are slightly dense, but also still very light.

1 c. flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c. half-an-half
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, very soft but not melted
1 - 2 Tbsp. Da Vinci English Toffee Italian soda and coffee syrup
1 tsp white vinegar

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 

In a separate bowl combine the half-an-half, egg, butter and syrup. Mix the liquid mixture into the flour and stir well to combine. Stir for 2 minutes to get rid of the lumps. Stir in the vinegar just until combines. 

Cook in a hot nonstick pan over medium heat until dark golden and easy to get the spatula under to flip. Cook on the other side until done.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

 This was taken from Baby Center. Next time I think I am going to broil the chicken right after I add the sauce for a minute to get the sauce really sticky. All the ingredients in this freeze, just throw everything in a bag with the raw chicken and freeze. I haven't done it though so I have no idea on cooking time if you don't thaw it first.

2 lb. chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
1 c. honey
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
Hot cooked brown or white rice

Combine the honey, soy cause, onion, ketchup, both oils, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour a little into the bottom of your crock pot. 

Trim the chicken of anything you don't want to eat later. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in the crock pot and top with remaining honey sauce. Stir once to coat the chicken in the sauce. 

Cook on high for 1 - 2 hours until the chicken is cooked. Combine cornstarch and enough water to make a thin paste. Remove the chicken from the crock pot leaving the crock pot on. Immediately stir the cornstarch into the crock pot and return the lid. Cook on high for an additional 10 minutes. While the sauce it thickening chop the chicken into bit sized pieces. Make sure the sauce is thoroughly thickened before combining or it will taste chalky.

Toss the chicken with the thickened sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beef Stew (for the freezer)

A traditional beef stew needs a few modifications to be frozen, but it is possible.
The main things are potatoes and flour thickened sauces dont freeze well. 
For the flour I simply didn't thicken it with anything, you can add a flour paste at the end of reheating to serve if you want it thicker, I plan on just serving it as as.
A to potatoes I just left them out. I plan on serving this over rice, baked potatoes, or pasta
but you could boil a pot of potatoes chunks and stir them in at the end. 

10 lb of beef, cubed
8 large carrots, cut into thick coins
4 large onions, diced
10 stalks of celery, sliced
2 family sized can cream of anything soup
1/2 c. dehydrated onions
8 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp granulated garlic
black pepper
6 c. frozen peas
2 can corn
2 disposable turkey sized foil roasting pans
(I used the cheapo kind that where 13 inches x something, not the biggest but the cheapest)

Toss half of the beef, carrots, onions, and celery in each pan. Add 1 can of soup to each pan along with 1/4 c. dehydrated onion, 4 beef cubes, 1 tsp garlic, and black pepper sprinkled across the top. Add 3/4 c. of water and stir everything together. Cover with tin foil and bake at 290 for 2 hours. Stir everything, recover the pans with the tin foil and bake at 350 until the meat is tender, about 2 - 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Stir 3 cups of peas and 1 can of corn into each pan. Let cool to room temperature and divide into serving sized pan. 

I got 6 pans out of this recipe. You can make the portions a little smaller than you think since this is served over something the meal will be bigger than just what is in the pan. Cover the top with tin foil and freeze fat. Once the pans are frozen solid you can stack them on top of each other in the freezer. 


To Serve
Leaving the tin foil on top of the stew, bake at 350 for 1 hour or until the gravy is bubbly. If you freeze in a plastic baking pan or tupperware this can be reheated in to microwave. Cook for a few minutes, stir, and then cook again, stirring every few minutes, until hot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Ravioli

Homemade ravioli can be a lot of fun as long as you know a few tricks to make the process go a lot easier. I work with a hand crank and a Norpro ravioli press.

My pasta dough recipe:
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 eggs
2 Tbsp water
About 3 cups of your desired filling* 
(This is a great place to use leftover cooked meats)

Mix all in medium speed with the paddle, the whisk wont be able to handle it. Let rest, covered, 30 minutes. 

When ready to use split the dough into balls smaller than a baseball but bigger than a golf ball. Make sure the pasta you aren't working with at the time is covered with a damp paper towel to keep the pasta from drying out. Flour the dough on all sides and run through the hand crank on the "1" setting, re flour and then run through again on the "4" setting. Four was the thinnest I could make the dough without it being too thin to hold the filling. Spray the metal part of the ravioli press with no-stick cooking spray (this is really important or you wont be able to get the pasta off the press without ripping the pockets open) 

Press the off-white plate into the dough to create indents in the dough. Fill the pockets with your fully cooked filling. Make sure to not over fill and keeping all the filling in the middle so the edges can seal properly. 

Take a second sheet of pasta and slightly moisten on one side. Place the moistened side down on top of the ravioli press. Roll a rolling pin over the top to cut and seal the ravioli. Remove the excess from the side, flip over and push gently on a couple of the ravioli on one end to release. They should come right out. 

Place on a baking sheet while you finish the rest of the pasta. This recipe made about 8 dozen for me.

To make Toasted Ravioli:
 3/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

Combine the bread crumbs, flour, and cheese. Taste for salt,
You want it a little saltier than you think, the eggs wash doesn't have any seasoning
and the pasta has very little salt, usually you add salt to the water. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and sour cream.
Dip the ravioli in the egg mix and then the bread crumbs. 
Lay flat on a baking tray, spray really well with butter spray,
and bake at 375 for 12 - 17 minutes or until golden. 

Serve with marinara sauce

*For my filling I sauteed 1 medium onion, chopped very finely, in butter until tender. I then added 2 - 3 cups of cooked, finely chopped, pot roast, about 2 tsp. dried basil, 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1 cup of water and a beef bouillon cube. I simmered that for a while then drained off most of the liquid and added about 3 Tbsp italian bread crumbs (to soak up the rest of the liquid) 3 oz. of grated Monterrey cheese (it was all I had, I would have preferred mozzarella or even Asiago) and 3 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese. 
Other fillings I like are chicken, cream cheese and herbs or ricotta and spinach

Freezer Ravioli
To freeze: Lay flat on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. When solid drop in a freeze safe bag. 
To serve: Drop the frozen ravioli into boiling water and cook until they float to the top. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce. 

Presto Pasta Night is being hosted by its founder