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.