Friday, November 20, 2009

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

A thick and creamy soup, wonderful on a cold day and immensely satisfying.

yield: 4 1-1/2ish cup servings

1 medium-large onion, chopped
5-6 cups chopped broccoli
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp dried minced garlic
2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 slices American cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet (or Dutch oven, if you have a nonstick one) coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and broccoli; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken broth and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 10 minutes.
2. Whisk together milk and flour in a medium bowl; add milk mixture, salt, and pepper to broccoli mixture. Return heat to medium-high. Stir mixture constantly until it's been boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses until they melt.

**If you want to, you can blend some (about 1/3 to 1/2) of the soup in a blender to eliminate some of the large chunks. It's not necessary if you chop your broccoli and onions small enough in the beginning, in my opinion.**

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin with a hint of lemon. Yum.

yield: 12 servings

2/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp ice water

1 8-oz block fat-free cream cheese
1 8-oz block 1/3-the-fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups pumpkin
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare crust, combine 2/3 cup flour and 3 tablespoons sugar in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With food processor going, pour ice water through the chute, mixing until blended. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
4. To prepare filling, beat cream cheeses together in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar through pumpkin to cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour cheese mixture over crust. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until almost set (slightly wiggly in center, but not too wiggly). Turn oven off; slightly open oven door. Let cheesecake sit in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Crispy and sweet with a hint of chewiness, these biscotti are better for dunking in hot tea than coffee.

yield: 2 dozen

2 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips
4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour through chocolate chips. In a small bowl, combine oil through eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring until well combined (dough will be very crumbly). Turn the dough out onto a flat surface; knead 7-8 times or until dough sticks to itself. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch long roll. Place rolls on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.
3. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Slice each roll diagonally into 12 slices. Place slices, cut side down, back onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes; turn biscotti over and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

Perfect for an autumn breakfast treat, the pumpkin flavor in these is brought out by pancake syrup. Add a dollop of whipped cream for a special treat!

yield: 8 pancakes

1 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
almost 1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin purée

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour through ginger, stirring with a whisk. Add buttermilk, egg, and pumpkin, stirring well with a whisk until combined.
2. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a griddle at medium-high heat. Cook pancakes 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles form in the batter and steam starts to rise, then flip pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes. If you are unsure if they're done, you can poke the pancakes with a sharp knife to see if it comes out clean.

***If you like chocolate chips in your pancakes, sprinkle about a teaspoon of mini chocolate chips into each pancake after you've poured 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle.***

Chocolate Biscotti

Crunchy, crumbly, and oh-so-chocolaty, these biscotti are perfect for dunking in coffee or hot chocolate.

yield: 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg white

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine flour through salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine vanilla, eggs, and egg white in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until well blended. Divide dough in half. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With floured hands, shape each dough half into a 12-inch-long roll; pat to 1/2-inch thickness.
3. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 12 1/2-inch thick slices. Carefully stand slices upright on baking sheet. Bake biscotti 15 more minutes or until almost firm. Remove biscotti from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chili Enchiladas

yield: 6 servings (2 enchiladas)

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-0z can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz bag frozen soy crumbles, thawed, or 12 oz ground beef
3/4 cup salsa
1/3 cup (3 oz) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 10-oz can enchilada sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in cumin through soy crumbles/ground beef; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add cream cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
3. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spread 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/3 cup black bean mixture down center of each tortilla and roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam sides down, in dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

yield: 8 servings

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups chopped peeled peaches
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar through salt in a large bowl. Add peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice, stirring gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.
3. While filling bakes, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until moist.
4. Remove dish from oven; drop dough onto peach/blueberry mixture to form 8 rounds. Sprinkle dough evenly with remaining sugar. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookies

Moist and light, these cookies are similar in taste to pumpkin bread but have the texture of cake.

yield: 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned or puréed pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
dash of ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine four through salt in a small bowl; stir well.
3. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and butter; beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin; mix again until well combined. Add milk, vanilla, and egg whites; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture; stir until combined.
4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until almost firm. Cool on pans 1 minute; transfer to wire rack; cool completely.
5. To prepare the glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon; stir well with a whisk. Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze. Return the cookies to wire racks and let the glaze set.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michelle's Fantabulous Smoothie

I am a smoothie connoisseur. I love them. I love the fruit and the juice, blended together to create something that tastes delicious and is refreshing and...smooth. However, in all my years of trying smoothies at various places, I have yet to find one that tastes as good as my own. So, it is after much deliberation and consideration that I bequeath unto you all my favorite way to eat summer fruit.

yield: 1 serving

1/2 banana, sliced
1 peach, skinned
1/4 cup blueberries
4 strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

1. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend. Drink. Ahh.

**These fruits can be modified to suit one's taste; i.e., you can, if you prefer, experiment with raspberries, blackberries, nectarines, etc. However, I personally think that other berries have too many seeds. Cherries, however, are wonderful in this. The banana and yogurt are crucial, the orange juice helps it not be too thick or too sweet. The recipe is best if at least one of the berries is frozen, because that makes the drink cooler and more refreshing. Enjoy!**

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Flaxseed Honey Cakes

Sweeter than regular pancakes, these will need less syrup than "regular" pancakes. They pack added nutrition from the flax seed and whole wheat flour too!

yield: 4 servings

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp flax seed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp honey

1. In medium bowl combine flours through salt; stir with a whisk. Add egg, buttermilk, oil, and honey, stirring until combined well.
2. Pour batter in 3-inch circles on a griddle over medium heat. Cook until small bubbles form near the center of the pancakes; flip. Cook until pancakes are rising and poofy. Remove from griddle and repeat with remaining batter. Top with syrup and enjoy!

The honey in the pancakes make them burn more easily than regular pancake batter. Have patience and turn the burner to a lower temperature than you usually would when making pancakes. With regular pancakes I usually set mine to "7" or "8"...with these even at "5" I had a difficult time not burning them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles

yield: 6 servings

1 cup thinly sliced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
15 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup shredded queso blanco

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken; cook 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in beans. Add broth, salsa, and green chillies to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
3. Place half of tortilla strips in the bottom of an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of chicken mixture over tortillas; top with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Pour broth mixture evenly over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Cool Creamy Chocolate Dessert

Cold, creamy pudding, cream cheeses, and whipped topping combine for a smooth, delicious, and refreshing dessert. This is the perfect dessert for a party or summer holidays.

yield: 15 servings

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) 1/3-the-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz) fat-free cream cheese
1 8-oz carton whipped topping, thawed
3 cups 1 % milk
2 3.9-oz packages chocolate instant pudding mix
cocoa (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. To prepare crust, combine flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in food processor; pulse 3 times or until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool completely.
3. To prepare filling, place 1 cup powdered sugar and cream cheeses in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Fold in half of whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture on cooled crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Combine milk and pudding mix in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until pudding is set. Spread pudding mixture over cream cheese layer. Spread remaining half of whipped topping over pudding layer. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cocoa if desired.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crock-Pot Chili #2

yield: 4 1-1/2 cup servings

1 lb ground meat (turkey or beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add ground meat and onion; cook until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat.
2. Place onion mixture, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, beans, and salsa in a crock pot; stir. Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Top each serving with shredded cheese.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

German Apple Pancake

Original recipe credit: Cooking Light
yield: 6 servings

1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup egg substitute
1 cup fat-free or 1% milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Apple Mixture:
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup thinly sliced Granny Smith apple

Remaining Ingredient:
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

1. To prepare batter, combine flour, baking powder, 1 Tbsp sugar, salt, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. In a small bowl, combine egg substitute, milk, butter, and vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Add egg substitute mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425°.
3. To prepare apple mixture, coat bottom and sides of a 10-inch ovenproof skillet with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sprinkle evenly over sides and bottom of pan. Arrange apple in an even spokelike layer in pan. Sprinkle apple with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Slowly pour batter over apple mixture.
4. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake an additional 13 minutes or until center is set.

Carefully loosen pancake with a spatula. Gently slide pancake onto a serving platter. Sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into 6 wedges; serve immediately.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tomato Soup

I never liked tomato soup until moving to Poland, and then after moving back to the U.S. find most tomato soup to be bland and texture-less. This soup combines great texture with great flavor. Pair with a salad and baguette or warm sandwich for a great lunch. Thanks to Marci for the recipe!

yield: 6 servings

1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 14.5-oz cans chicken broth (or 3 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Sauté onion, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until tender but not brown.
2. Add tomatoes and broth; heat just until boiling.
3. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches.
4. Return soup to pan. Stir in basil, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Top each serving with cheese.