Thursday, May 29, 2008

White Chocolate-Cashew Coffee Biscotti

yield: 40 cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped cashews
Cooking spray
1 Tbsp sugar
3 oz white chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350° .
2. Beat 1/2 cup sugar through egg white in mixer until well blended.
3. Combine flour through nutmeg in bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine. Add to sugar mixture gradually, beating until well blended. Stir in cashews.
4. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface. Knead a few times, until dough is sticking together and not too sticky. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 12-inch-long roll. Place rolls on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; pat to 3/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle rolls with 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes.

5. Remove rolls from oven. Reduce temperature to 325°. Cool rolls on wire rack for 10 minutes.

6. Cut each roll diagonally into 20 pieces. It works best if you cut each roll in half, and then each half in half. Then cut each section into 5 pieces. Stand pieces upright on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 325°.

7. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place chocolate in a heavy-duty ziploc bag. Microwave on high for 10 seconds at a time, removing chocolate from microwave to squish and make sure the bag is not melting. When chocolate is melted, cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let chocolate harden. Enjoy with coffee or hot chocolate!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Banana Bread

yield: 1 loaf

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350° .
2. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk.
3. Beat sugar and butter together in large bowl until blended. Add eggs. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat until just moist. Pour into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Couscous Chicken Salad

A light, garlicky summer dish that's quite satisfying. Perfect for hot, summer days.

yield: 8 1-cup servings

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
12 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 10-oz package couscous
1 cup fresh basil (I used purple), chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup sliced green onions
1 15.5-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1. Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add chicken. Cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pot. Add couscous, remove from heat. Cover, let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.
2. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add basil, oil, vinegar, pepper, and garlic to couscous. Stir to combine. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, onions, and beans. Let cool in refrigerator for 2 hours.

***Note: If you live in Turkey, do NOT use the "cheap" couscous to make this. Splurge and buy the real stuff, don't waste your time with the "couscous" that's actually more like small alphabet pasta. It does NOT taste as good and does not work as well.***

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chickpea, Tomato, and Pasta Soup

A quick and easy soup that uses ingredient probably found in your pantry. Slightly spicy and great with toasted kaiser rolls. Try adding grilled/broiled/boiled chicken for something more filling.

yield: 4 1.5-cup servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper
16 oz chicken broth
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini

1. Heat oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Salt to taste.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No-Roll Pie Crust

Superbly easy, even a crust-phobe can manage this one. The edges may not look perfect, but it tastes just great!

yield: 1 9-inch pie crust

1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold butter
2 Tbsp shortening
4 Tbsp ice water
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400° .
2. Combine flours, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork between each addition.
3. Spray pie plate with cooking spray. Dump flour mixture into plate, pressing up the sides and then into the bottom. Pierce bottom with a fork. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Chicken Parmesan

Balsamic vinegar gives this dish exactly what it needs, setting it above and beyond any other Chicken Parmesan I've ever had. Cheesy and tangy, it almost melts in your mouth.

yield: 4 servings

1 1/3 cups dried orzo pasta
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella

1. Cook orzo pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat broiler to 400°.
3. Combine 2 Tbsp Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 tsp salt in shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
4. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken: cook 3 minutes per side or until done.
5. Combine 1/8 tsp salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in microwave-safe bowl.
Heat until thoroughly heated. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the pan. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and provolone or mozzarella. Broil at 400° until cheese melts. Serve over orzo pasta.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Homemade Pizza

yield: 4 servings

1 pizza crust

1 14oz can diced tomatoes
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Any toppings you desire, but is best with mozzarella and vegetables, maybe pepperoni.

1. Preheat oven to 400° .
2. While dough rises, put sauce ingredients in a skillet and let simmer until sauce has thickened (about 20 minutes).
4. Spread the sauce over the soon-to-be crust. Top with toppings (meat first, then veggies, cheese on top). Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

Pumpkin Walnut Raisin Bread

yield: 1 loaf

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground mace
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350° .
2. Combine flour through mace in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of mixture.
3. Combine sugars and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin, oil, and vanilla: stir well. Add raisins and nuts; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into a bread pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.