Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Overnight French Toast

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and a long weekend off from work. We had a wonderful holiday with our families, and we were lucky enough to have good friends come and stay with us for the weekend. It was a fabulous way to kick off the holiday season! I made new recipes for the holiday, but I did not get photos of any of them. I plan on repeating an appetizer soon, so I will post that recipe once I have a picture.

After spending a lot of time prepping Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't want to miss time with our weekend visitors to be in the kitchen. I had bookmarked this recipe on She Cooks and Bakes a long time ago. It seemed like the perfect thing to make before bed, and then I'd only have to heat in the morning. This recipe did not disappoint. Both the adults and children enjoyed it. I sent Dave to pick up the bread and wasn't specific enough. If I was to make this recipe again, I would get bread that was a bit wider to make a larger serving. These smaller cuts, however, were perfect for our toddler friends.

I omitted a few things from the recipe including added sugar, and it still came out really well. Here's how I made it.
You will need:
*1 loaf soft French bread (or any bread you desire)
*2 tbsp salted butter, softened
*6 eggs
*1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
*1 tsp vanilla extract
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For serving:
*Maple syrup
*Powdered sugar

1. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or lightly oil.

2. Cut 12 slices of bread about 1 inch think. Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread. Arrange bread buttered sides up in one layer in prepared dish.

3. In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt until combined. Pour over bread and cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the toast is cooked the way you like it. Serve with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

This is a recipe that screams fall. We enjoyed it back on Halloween while we were waiting for trick-or-treaters. I have only ever used my pumpkin puree for baking, so I liked the opportunity to use it in a main dish. The sauce was a little bland for me. If I was to make it again, I think I would add some more spices to it. The need for salt is noted in the recipe below, and you must be generous to help balance the flavors. Therefore, this is not a low sodium friendly recipe. It is something easy to throw together, and I recommend it if you are in need of a break from prepping and turkey this week. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart. The only change I made was to use cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar.

*12 ounces short pasta, (I used whole wheat penne)
*Kosher salt
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
*1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1/2 cup half-and-half
*1/3 cup grated Parmesan
*1 tablespoon cider vinegar
*1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish

1, Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.

2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown. This should take1 to 2 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
Carefully (to avoid oil splatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, 1 cup reserved pasta water, and half-and-half to pot. Stir sauce until heated through-About 3 minutes.

4. Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt.

5. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Muffins-Easy and healthy

Tis the season to use up that canned pumpkin! Every year I stock up in ridiculous amounts once I spot Libby's pumpkin puree entering the supermarket. This is an old WW recipe that I make frequently. I've brought these to work, showers, and many other occasions. The recipe is simple, requires little ingredients, and these muffins are guilt free compared to high calorie alternatives. These can be made with a variety of mix-ins such as pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, and so on. The possibilities are endless.

You will need:
*1 box of spice cake mix
*1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
*1 egg white
*splash of water

1. Preheat oven to temperature indicated on the spice cake directions. (Usually around 350)
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on low until combined.
3. Line muffin pans. Pour batter into muffin cups until about 3/4 full.
*Note, I never do this neatly. If you want 'neat' tops to your muffin, make sure your batter is even on top before cooking.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ginger Soy Turkey Burgers

Happy Friday!
These tasty burgers were cooked up on our indoor grill-the Cuisinart Griddler. This tool was what kept us happy in our apartment, but now that we have an outdoor Weber, it was neglected since the move. We are entering the season for this to function regularly in our kitchen again. These burgers were something we both enjoyed. I made a side of kale chips to go with them. I found this recipe on Homemade by Holman.

You will need:
*1 pound lean ground turkey (I used just over a pound-however it comes packaged)
*2 tablespoon sesame oil
*1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
*2 tablespoons soy sauce
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
*4 hamburger buns
*Greens for a topping or side

1. Preheat grill on medium low heat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Add garlic, ginger, and black pepper; stir to combine. Remove about 1/3 of the mixture and set aside.

3. Add ground turkey and bread crumbs to remaining 2/3 of the mixture. Lightly mix with your hands until incorporated (be careful not to over mix). Form into 4 patties.

4. Cook about 5-6 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Grill your buns in the last 2 minutes of cook time.

5. Serve each burger with a drizzle of the remaining sauce. Topp with any greens or cheese if desired. (Originally recipe calls for feta)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Sage

Baby, it's cold outside! Pasta dishes are the ultimate warming comfort food for me. When you make them with multigrain pasta, these pasta dinners become more filling which results in eating a few less carbs. This recipe came together easily, and it was definitely full of fall flavors. The bacon gives this its great flavor. I found this recipe on Koko Cooks who adapted it from Cook's Illustrated.

You will need:
*3 slices of bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
*3 Tbs fresh sage, minced
*1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
*1 Tbs butter
*1 cup thinly sliced scallions, light green and green part only
*¼ tsp ground nutmeg
*2 cups low sodium chicken broth
*1 box of pasta (mine was just over 13oz, I wouldn't do more than a pound)
*2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
*4 tsp lemon juice

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add 2 Tbs of the sage, and cook for another minute. Remove bacon and sage to a plate, keeping as much of the bacon drippings in the pan as possible. Set aside bacon-sage mixture.

2. Turn heat to high. Add the squash in an even layer and cook until the squash begins to brown. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the squash is spotty brown on all sides. This should take from 10-15 minutes total.

3. Add butter and let it melt. Add ¾ of the scallions, nutmeg, and rest of the sage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until scallions are softened, another minute or two. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Turn down heat to medium and cook until the squash is tender, another 3-4 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ c of pasta water.

5. Return pasta to pot used to cook it. Add the squash mixture, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and bacon-sage mixture. Use pasta water to help the sauce adhere to the noodles if needed. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken in Walnut Sauce

It's the dark time of year again. It is dark when I am heading to work and it is dark as I am leaving work. The morning is such a struggle. I am sure each day that my alarm must be wrong. This weekend we turn the clocks, and while I am sad to lose daylight earlier, I need to see some sun in the morning. One positive to these darker, cooler days is my desire to cook us a warm home-cooked meal each evening. Too bad my already struggling food photography turns even worse in the dark dinner hour.

This recipe was another success from Stephanie Cooks. It came together nicely, and we enjoyed this chicken with a side of green beans.

You will need:
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*2 boneless chicken breasts
*1/3 cup finely chopped onion
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
*2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
*1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
*1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (I forgot!)
*1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook several minutes on each side until browned. (Timing will vary depending on thickness of chicken breast)

2. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly. Add walnuts; cook 1 minute or until toasted and fragrant, stirring constantly.

3. Combine flour, cinnamon, and red pepper, and sprinkle over walnuts, stirring to coat. Add the broth with a whisk. Return chicken to pan; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done and sauce is slightly thick.

4. Stir in parsley, vinegar, salt, and black pepper, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Serve immediately.