Sweet Challah

I should have made this for Jewish New Year, but I missed the date by about a week.  I was nervous about braiding the dough, but it wasn’t as hard as I was anticipating.  If nothing else, this is a beautiful loaf of bread to create.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, December 2009.

Substitution made, noted below.

challah collage

Sweet Challah

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 c warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
3 tblsp honey
dash of saffron threads, crushed
3 tblsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
14.25 oz bread flour (about 3 cups), divided
cooking spray
1 tsp cornmeal
1 tsp water
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp poppy seeds – I used sesame seeds

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; stir in honey and saffron threads.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add melted butter, salt and egg; stir well with a whisk.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add 13 oz (about 2 3/4 cups) flour to yeast mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tblsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will be very soft).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size.  (Gently press two finger into dough.  If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

challah 2

Punch dough down.  Shape dough into a ball; return to bowl.  Cover and let rise and additional 40 minutes or until doubled in size.  Punch dough down; cover and let rise 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions.  Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 25 inch rope, with slightly tapered ends.  Place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; pinch ends together at untapered ends to seal.  Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine 1 tsp water and egg yolk, stirring with a fork until blended.  Uncover loaf, and gently brush with egg yolk mixture.  Sprinkle evenly with poppy seeds.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.

challah 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Holla Sweet Challah!  Husband said this reminded him of Hawaiian bread.  To me it was similar, but not as sweet.  I would love to serve this sweet bread with a thick rich soup on a rainy day.  (I’m dreaming and ready for fall…)

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Turkey Tenders

I went to four weddings last year;  four beautiful couples, four amazing ceremonies.  And a year later, three out of four of those couples are pregnant!  I pointed this out to the wife of the hold out couple and she just texted me back with ‘O Kathy’.  I tried this recipe thinking it’d be a great protein option for one of my pregnant friends.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, March 2011

No substitutions were made.

turkey tenders 1

Turkey Tenders

1 lb turkey tenderloin
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/3 c egg substitute
3/4 c panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tblsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut tenderloin in half lengthwise; cut into 20 (2-inch) pieces.

Place flour in a shallow dish.  Place egg substitute in another.  Combine panko, cheese, garlic and pepper in another dish.  Dredge turkey in flour; dip in egg substitute, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat, swirling to coat.  Add turkey pieces to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side.  Place turkey pieces on a broiler pan.  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes.  Turn turkey pieces over, and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden.

skillet mac n cheese 3

cartoon-strawberry-9These turkey tenders paired really well with the Skillet Mac n Cheese.  And I liked making my own tenders (chicken would work well too).  Wondering if I could make up a batch of these and freeze them for lunches…

Summer Squash & Corn Chowder

My friends and family in California are dealing with fires and ridiculous heat, meanwhile, I’m making soup for dinner.  But it’s soup with ‘Summer’ in the name, so it’s not as bad, right?

This recipe is from Cooking Light, August 2010.

Substitution made, noted below.

squash corn chowder 1

Summer Squash & Corn Chowder

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 c sliced green onion – divided
1/4 c chopped celery
1 lb yellow summer squash, chopped
1 lb frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4 c 1% low-fat milk, divided – I used 2%
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c shredded extra-sharp cheese

squash corn chowder 3

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 tsp of the drippings in the pan.  Crumble bacon, and set aside.  Add 1/2 cup onions, celery and squash to the drippings in pan; saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside.  Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to the blender; process until just combined.  Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan.  Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/8 tsp salt.  Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tblsp bacon, 1 tblsp onions and 1 tblsp of cheese.

squash corn chowder 4

cartoon-strawberry-9The sweet corn makes this soup.  Know how a good Pina Colada tastes like the beach?  This soup is a tastes like the best of summer produce.  Forget the heat and have some soup for dinner!

Bacon Tomato & Arugula Pizza

Who doesn’t love bacon?  Crispy, salty, rich bacon?  And what better way to have a BLT than on a pizza??

This recipe is from Cooking Light, October 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

BLT Collage

Bacon, Tomato and Arugula Pizza

1 lb refrigerated fresh pizza dough
cooking spray
5 applewood-smoked bacon slices
2 c grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise – I used 1 cup
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tblsp yellow cornmeal
1/2 c lower-soduim marinara sauce
3/4 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 c baby arugula
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil – I used grape seed oil
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar – I used balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. – I recently read a tip about baking homemade pizzas.  Put your baking sheet or pizza stone into the oven as it is preheating.  This will help to bake the crust evenly and avoid a soggy center. 

Place dough in a bowl coasted with cooking spray; let dough stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon; crumble.  Add tomatoes and pepper to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal; roll dough into a 12-inch circle on prepared baking sheet.  Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Top with tomatoes and bacon.  Sprinkle cheese over top.  Bake at 450 on bottom oven rack for 17 minutes or until crust is golden.  Combine arugula and remaining ingredients; top pizza with arugula mixture.

BLT Pizza 1

cartoon-strawberry-9After a long day at work for husband, this was the perfect dinner, well after he picked off the tomatoes and gave them to me.  😉

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Full disclosure – I wasn’t going to post this recipe.

I’m not a big fan of cooking with ‘cream of ___’ soup.  I miscalculated the cooking time.  The sauce was bubbling up gray during cooking.  I didn’t take any pictures of it.  The whole thing frustrated me.

I took the casserole to potluck anyway and prayed for the best.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, November 2008.

Substitutions made, noted below.

chicken spaghetti casserole

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

2 c chopped cooked chicken breast – I used meat from a rotisarie chicken
2 c (7 oz) uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
1 c (1/4 inch thick) slices celery
1 c chopped red bell pepper – I used a green bell pepper
1 c chopped onion
1 c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 (10.75 oz) can condensed 30% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Cooking spray
1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine broth, salt, pepper and soup in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add soup mixture to chicken mixture, toss.  Divide mixture evenly between two 8 inch baking dishes coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle 1/2 c cheese over each casserole.  Cover with foil coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.  I put the whole thing in a 13×9 pan and followed time listed for baking.

cartoon-strawberry-9As you can see by an empty pan, this casserole went over fairly well. 😉  All the ingredients and flavors came together very well.  It’s a great casserole to feed a crowd, or to bake one and freeze one for later.

Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

I decided to make my own birthday dinner, is that weird? We’ve cut out beef and I had a serious craving for red meat. My mouth was watering just reading this recipe.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, March 2008.

No substitutions were made.

short ribs 1

Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Cooking spray
2 lbs beef short ribs, trimmed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 c cabernet sauvigon or other dry red wine
2 tblsp tomato paste
1 1/2 c (1 inch) slices celery
1 c (1 inch) slices carrot
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 6-inch rosemary sprigs
1 med onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 tblsp all-purpose flour
4 c hot cooked wide egg noodles

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Add ribs to pan; cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Add beef broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen brown bits.

Combine broth, wine and tomato paste in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place ribs, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary and onion in a 13×9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour broth mixture over rib mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 300 degrees for 3.5 hours or until ribs are very tender.

short ribs 2

Uncover dish; strain broth mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid. Reserve ribs; discard remaining solids. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour reserved liquid into bag. Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain liquid into a small saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat.

Add flour to pan, stirring well with a whisk. Place pan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Serve sauce with ribs and noodles. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

short ribs 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Holy Cow. This was just about the best birthday dinner ever. I used boneless short ribs, so total cooking time was 2 hours 45 min. The meat was fork tender. The sauce was rich. And adding grilled asparagus? A perfect compliment.

Pork Tenderloin Medallions & Balsamic Reduction

I like to cook, a lot.  But I don’t know if there’s ever been a time when all four burners on my stove were turned on at the same time.  It finally happened last night.  And since I was trying to keep everything straight and make sure the timing came out, I only took 2 pictures.  I need an extra set of hands or a full time professional photographer.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, July 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

balsamic pork 1

Pork Tenderloin Medallions & Balsamic Reduction

with Grilled Peaches and Wild Rice Salad

1 tblsp oilve oil
1 tblsp minced shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary – I used dried
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 12 slices
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a small saucepan over med-high heat.  Add shallots and garlic; saute 2  minutes.  Add vinegar and next 3 ingredients; cook until reduced to 1/2 c.

Heat a large skillet over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Place pork in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side.  Add balsamic reduction; cook 1 minute, turning pork to coat.

For the Grilled Peaches:
Heat a grill pan over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 4 peach halves to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side. Cut each half into 3 wedges.

For the Wild Rice Salad:
Cook 1 cup fast-cooking white and wild rice per directions, omitting seasoning. (I did not use the fast cook rice, just regular white/wild rice mix.) Stir in 1/4 c chopped green onions, 2 tblsp chopped dried cherries (I used dried cranberries.) and 2 tblsp chopped pecans.

 

balsamic pork 2

cartoon-strawberry-9There’s a lot of flavor going on with these items, but it all blends together really well.  This dinner also serves beautifully, it’d be great for a small dinner party (everything is set to serve 4).  I’m a fan of balsamic, add in some garlic and I’m over the moon.  This is a new favorite in our house.

Stir-Fried Shrimp w/ Spicy Orange Sauce

I’ve been on a quest to set a grocery budget and live (or die) by it.  Make a weekly menu and buy only to that menu each week.  So  far, so good.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, August 2007.

No substitutions were made.

spicy orange shrimp 2

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce

1.5 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 tblsp cornstarch
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 tblsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tblsp honey
1 tblsp rice wine vinegar
1 tblsp chile paste with garlic
2 tblsp canola oil
1 tblsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c chopped green onions

spicy orange shrimp 3

Place shrimp in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat.  Set aside.

Combine juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add minced ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant.  Add shrimp mixture; stir-fry for 3 minutes.  Add juice mixture and onions; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and shrimp are done, stirring frequently.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 4 servings.

spicy orange shrimp 4

cartoon-strawberry-9There was a suggestion to serve this over udon noodles or rice.  I had vermicelli in the pantry, so I used that instead, and added in some green beans.  I expected this to be more on the spicy side (hence the name..).  There was a good heat, but not an overwhelming spicy heat.  If you have some shrimp on hand and are able to find the chile paste, this is a great dinner!

Nathan’s Lemon Cake

I’m a sucker for anything lemon.  Lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon/honey glaze on chicken.  It’s bright and tangy and makes me happy.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, May 2008.

No substitutions were made.

Lemon Cake 1

Nathan’s Lemon Cake

Cake:
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 c nonfat buttermilk
2 tblsp finely grated elmon rind
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice

Icing:
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 tblsp lemon rind
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
Lemon Rind Strips (optional)

Lemon Cake Collage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper.  Coat wax paper with cooking spray.  Dust pans with 2 tblsp flour, and set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 c flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine 2 c flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat in lemon rind and juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake at 350 for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans.  Cool completely on wire rack; remove wax paper from cake layers.

To prepare icing, combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of icing on top of the first layer.  Top with second cake layer.  Spread remaining half of icing over the top of the cake.  Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired.  Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.  Yield 16 servings.

Lemon Cake 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Anybody out there a fan of Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake?  You know how their cake is moist in an ‘oily’ sort of way?  This cake is on par for taste of Stbux Lemon Loaf, but is moist and light and not oily, and it has TWO LAYERS.  It’s probably my favorite lemon cake to date.  (I’m contemplating making another one tonight…)

Quick Barbecue Chicken

I’m feeling the need to use up all the food in my house before I go and buy anything else.  Or at least to find recipes that fit the ingredients I have on hand.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, September 2008.

Substitution made, noted below.

quick BBQ chix 1

Quick Barbecue Chicken

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 (8 oz) bone-in chikcen bread halves – I used boneless, skinless chicken breast
Cooking Spray

quick BBQ chix 2

Prepare grill.

Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Loosen skin from chicken by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat; rub spice mixture evenly under skin over meat.  Lightly coat skin with cooking spray.  Place chicken, breast side down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30  minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165 degrees, turning twice.  Let chicken stand 10 minutes.  Remove skin and discard.

quick BBQ chix 3

Since I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, here’s what I did.

Using a grill pan, heated to med-high heat.  Brushed spice mixture on both sides of chicken breasts. Cooked breasts in grill pan, for a total of 20 minutes.  Served with sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

cartoon-strawberry-9These spices compliment each other very well, and so easy to throw together.  I made green salad and topped it with the leftover chicken for husband and I the next day.  This rub would also be great on pork chops or steak.