Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Adapted from, submitted by Tablespoon.

Makes 1 loaf.
I made a couple of slight modifications to the original recipe, and that's what I'm posting here.  A lot of other reviewers had variations that sounded good, as well, so I'll include them below the Notes section of this post.  If you want the original recipe, follow the link above.

2 lemons
5 Tbs. powdered sugar
3/4 cup + 1Tbs. white sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. melted butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 2/3 cup + 1 Tbs. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw)
1 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar

Grate the zest from both lemons.  Put 1 tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl, along with the juice from 1/2 a lemon and the powdered sugar; stir until smooth to make the glaze.  Set aside.

Add the rest of the zest and lemon juice into a medium bowl, along with 3/4 cup white sugar, melted butter, eggs, and sour cream.  Mix until blended.  Stir in the milk.

Whisk together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Remove 3 Tbs and set aside.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture (large bowl) and stir until just combined.

Toss blueberries with reserved flour mixture.  Fold gently into batter.  Pour into a greased 9x5" loaf pan.

Cut butter, brown sugar, 1 Tbs. white sugar, and 1 Tbs. flour together with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake for 60 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Drizzle glaze over top of bread before serving.

Nutrition Facts:
1 slice (1/12 of loaf) + a little drizzle of glaze = 167 calories, 6.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 48.5 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1.5 g protein.

- I'm guessing I used about 6 Tbs. powdered sugar, but I didn't exactly measure.  Just keep adding more until the glaze reaches the consistency you'd like.  However, the nutrition facts posted below are for the amounts I've listed.
- I wanted streusel topping, but it ended up being more of a sweet, crunchy crust.  Still good, but not my intention.  I'll work on that.
- The original recipe calls for poking holes in the bread and pouring the glaze over it straight out of the oven.  I opted not to do that because several reviewers said it made the bread soggy if not eaten right away.

Other Suggestions:
- Use buttermilk or soured milk instead of milk.
- Double the glaze.
- Add vanilla extract (probably 1 or 1 1/2 tsp.).
- Add 1/2 box lemon pudding mix to batter.  (I wanted to try this but didn't have any lemon pudding!)
- Add a streusel topping.  (Again, my plan for this one went awry.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes (Coach's Oats)

Adapted from the back of the package for Coach's Oats.

Yield: about 15 pancakes.
These slightly chewy, heart-healthy pancakes are a great way to eat oatmeal and offer a nice change from the traditional boxed-mix pancakes.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Coach's Oats
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla, milk, and water.  Add liquid to dry ingredients.  Stir mixture until well blended.

Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle.  Cook both sides until golden brown.

- Coach's Oats are 100% whole grain steel-cut oats, and they are delicious.  Buy yourself a huge bag at Costco and be happy.  My son loves them so much that the sample guy at Costco gave him two helpings; we were sold and took one of the bags off of the display table.  Anyway, you could probably make these with rolled oats, too, but I haven't tried it.
- The recipe says it makes 16-18 pancakes, but my batch made 15.
- The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I've started using whole wheat instead.
- You can make these into waffles by adding more liquid--about 1/4 cup each of water and milk if you make the full batch.

Chipotle-Marmalade Chicken

From Simple and Delicious (Jan./Feb. 2010), page 42.

Serves 4.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each)
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbs. cold water

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the broth, marmalade, oil, vinegar, chipotle pepper, honey, chili powder, and garlic powder; pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan.  Bring liquid to a boil.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  Gradually stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve with chicken.

Nutrition Facts:
1 chicken breast half with 1/3 cup sauce = 315 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 95 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 35 g protein.

- I honestly can't say how much  my chicken breast halves weighed, come on!  I cut two big Costco chicken breast halves in half and also used a whole smaller one.
- Just make sure everything fits in your slow cooker according to the directions it came with--who cares if it's exactly 4 quarts?
- This just occurred to me: You add 1 Tbs. canola oil, and then you end up skimming it off.  I bet you could just leave it out of the recipe entirely and be fine.  Next time I'll try that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmon Soft Tacos

Serves: 6-7.

I wanted salmon; Matt wanted burritos.  I think our little compromise came out pretty well.
1 lb. salmon fillets
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. Mexican style chile powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. canola oil
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Marinate salmon in lemon and lime juices for 5-10 minutes at room temperature.

Mix together dry ingredients.  Rub over both sides of salmon.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook salmon 5-6 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cooked (fish will flake easily).

Pull salmon into chunks using a fork.

Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Topping suggestions:
Brown or Mexican-style rice
Sour cream
Black beans
Jalapeno yogurt dip (Skotidakis is a great brand)

- If you don't have special paprika or chile powder, just use what you've got!  (Though I really do love smoked paprika.)
- Don't marinate your fish too long or it will start to "cook."
- We recently discovered the Tortilla Land uncooked tortillas at Costco.  So delicious.  Try some out (I'm sure other brands are good, too!).
- This salmon is really good in quesadillas--that's how my son likes it.  I'm sure it would also be delicious in a salad.

Peanut Butter Bars

From, submitted by Nancy.
Yield: 32 bars.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup + 4 Tbs. peanut butter, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Use a food processor to pulse the graham crackers until fine.  Add the melted butter, 1 cup peanut butter, and powdered sugar.  Pulse until blended and smooth.

Press the peanut butter mixture into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan.

Melt the chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.  Pour over peanut butter layer and spread evenly.

Chill for 30 minutes or until set.  Remove to room temperature for at least 15 minutes before slicing into bars.

- I read a suggestion to use all natural peanut butter, but I didn't try it because I have probably a three year supply of the regular stuff and didn't see a reason to go out and buy more!
- The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups butter, which I'm sure would have made the bars even creamier.
- The finer your crumbs, the smoother your peanut butter layer will be.  You don't have to use a food processor (you can do it all in a bowl or blender), but I recommend it.
- Each bar has about 200 calories in it, so devour wisely.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

From Grandma Larsen.

Prep: 10 min. / Bake: 8-10 min.
Yield: about 100 cookies
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2
1 tsp. lemon juice
4-6 cups flour (I used 6)
Extra sugar for dipping (probably about 1/2 cup)

Cream sugar and shortening.  Add baking powder and salt; mix well.  Add vanilla and eggs; mix well.  Add cream and lemon juice; mix well again.

Add 4 cups flour, mixing well after each cup.  Gradually mix in 2 more cups flour until the dough reaches the consistency you want.

Roll small balls of dough in your hands and place on greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheets, six cookies per sheet.  Dip a cup into a bowl of the reserved sugar and press down on a cookie until it is pretty thin; repeat for each cookie.

Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown.  Remove cookies to cooling racks immediately to prevent breakage.

- My grandma's recipe was a little vague on some things (come on, she probably made these from memory and didn't actually need the written recipe), so I've amended it.  (For example, the original recipe calls for mixing in 3 cups of flour, then turning the dough onto a bread board to "roll or mix" with 1 more cup, then possibly adding more flour so the total comes to 6 cups.  I stuck with my Kitchen Aid (using the paddle) and gradually added flour after the first 4 cups until I thought the dough looked right.  Would you believe it was at exactly 6 cups that I thought it looked good?  Perhaps it depends on the weather.)
- Her recipe doesn't call for mixing dry and wet ingredients separately, so I didn't!  I just added them in the order they're listed.
- Her recipe notes that the cream or 1/2 and 1/2 can be sweet or sour, meaning you can use it even if it's a little old.  (Here's a great way to use the cream you forgot was in the back of your fridge.)
- I found that using a level cookie scoop's-worth (or a little less) was the perfect amount for each cookie. If you don't have a cookie scoop, use about a teaspoon (the table kind, not the measuring spoon kind); if you're picky, it's probably about 1 Tbs. of dough.
- I used a flat-bottomed, 12-oz glass tumbler for pressing my cookies.  My grandma's cookies ended up being about the same diameter as a can of sweet potatoes or pureed pumpkin; mine were about the diameter of a can of Campbell's Chunky soup.
- Before dipping the cup into the sugar, you'll want to rub your hand (after rolling up the dough balls) over the bottom so that the sugar actually sticks to something.
- These freeze really well.  My grandma would make a batch and freeze the cookies in bags so that there would always be some on the counter for us.
- One cookie has about 65 calories.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thick and Fudgey Brownies with Hershey's Mini Kisses Milk Chocolate

From Hershey's Made Simple, page 68.

Yield: 24 brownies (or 20 if you cut them like we do).
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups (10 oz. pkg) mini milk chocolate Hershey kisses

Heat oven to 350F (325F for glass baking dish).  Grease 9x13" baking pan.

Stir together flour, cocoa,, baking powder, and salt.  With spoon or whisk, stir together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add eggs; stir until well blended.  Stir in flour mixture, blending well.  Stir in chocolate pieces.  Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut in 2" squares.

- I totally spaced it and cooked my brownies--in a glass dish--at 350F.  It actually ended up taking 38 minutes even then, so I cooking them at 325 would likely take even longer.  My brownies were not burned.
- Instead of milk chocolate mini Kisses, I used the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I definitely think my way was better.
- As I'm sure you noticed, I topped some of our brownies with sweetened whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream beaten at high speed with a tablespoon or so of sugar) and berries.  Yum.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Yield: six 4-5" pancakes.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbs. oil
1 scant cup milk

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl.

Mix together egg, oil, and milk in a small bowl; add to dry ingredients.  Stir until blended.

Cook in 1/4 cup amounts in a skillet over medium heat.

- A "scant cup" is just barely under a cup.  If you don't like your pancakes quite so thick, add more milk. I tend to use probably 1 1/4 cups.
- The recipes calls for cooking these over medium-high heat, but whenever I've tried that, I've ended up overcooking the outside while the middle is left gooey.  Not good for pancakes.  You may want to experiment with the heat you cook these over.  Also know that the first pancake will look totally different from all the rest--it won't get as dark.
- This recipe is from a food storage cookbook that I don't know the name of.

Chicken and Broccoli

From Mom Larsen.

Serves 4-6.
1 lb. chicken, cut in strips
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli (thawed) or 2 cups fresh broccoli pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. chopped pimiento

Saute chicken in oil until tender.

Add soup, milk, mustard, and cheese; cook over medium heat, stirring until smooth.

Add broccoli and pimiento and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes or until tender crisp.  Serve over rice or pasta.

- I probably used 1/3 cup each of cheddar and Swiss cheeses.
- Fresh broccoli will take longer than 2 minutes to cook.  You could always parboil it it ahead of time if you want.

Scrumptious California Salmon

From Healthy Cooking (June/July 2001), page 17.

Prep: 35 min. / Bake: 10 min.
Serves 4.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. minced shallot
1 cup orange juice
3 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. ground ancho chili pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 salmon filet (1 lb.)
2 tsp. canola oil
2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro

In a small saucepan coated with cooking spray, saute garlic and shallot until tender.  Add orange juice and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Stir in honey, chili pepper, salt, and pepper.

In a large ovenproof skillet, brown salmon in oil on both sides.  Brush with 1/4 cup sauce.  Bake, uncovered, at 400F for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Brush with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cilantro.

- Reduce the garlic if you feel so inclined.  Honestly, I rarely use more than 2 cloves in anything.
- Garlic presses are wonderful.  But no matter how tempting it may be to use it for the shallots (they look kind of like garlic, after all), don't do it.  It doesn't work.  Trust me--I tried it.  Oh, and I didn't measure the shallot; I used all of a small section.
- A little teaching moment here (you may know this already): The difference between "3 garlic cloves, minced" and "1 tsp. minced shallot" is that you measure the garlic before you mince it, and you mince the shallot before you measure it.  The same goes for things like "3 cups pasta, cooked" vs "3 cups cooked pasta," "2 Tbs. almonds, chopped" vs "2 Tbs. chopped almonds," and "1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced" and "1/4 cup sliced fresh basil."
- I don't have an ovenproof skillet, so I browned the salmon in a frying pan and then transferred it to a baking dish.
- Before brushing the salmon, divide the sauce into two small bowls: one for pre-baking brushing and the other for after-baking brushing.  Don't use the sauce in the first bowl after the salmon is cooked.

Nutrition Facts:
3 oz. cooked salmon = 317 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 67 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 23 g protein.
Amounts may vary depending on the brands you use.
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