Sunday, February 28, 2010

French bread rolls

French Bread Rolls

*Makes about one dozen rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth (or greased saran wrap), and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake for 12-13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

*Can freeze the rolls after baking - microwave on high for 2 minutes before serving.

***If you want to make them crusty instead of soft, spray some water into the oven three times in the first five to six minutes of baking and brush them with an egg white/water mixture prior to baking. I personally love a soft roll, so I baked without doing the extra steps and then covered them in delicious butter after they were cooked. SO delicious!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Penne Rustica

You can find the original to this recipe on home based mom. I came across her blog this week and have fallen in love with so many of her recipes! We tried this tonight and it was SO good. MAKES LOTS, so it's a perfect meal to make one for our family and still have a whole dinner to take someone else too. If you want to see the HUGE batch (this doubled) you can find it here.

Here's the recipe with my alterations...


1/2 pound grilled chicken breast
7-8 slices of thick cut bacon
24 oz (1 1/2 boxes) penne pasta
1 large red bell pepper- diced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika

Gratinata Sauce:
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup marsala wine OR (if you don't cook with wine, you can use this as a substitute:
3 TBSP apple juice + 1 tbsp red wine vinegar + enough chicken broth to equal 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp dijon or dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups heavy cream


Chop bacon and cook in large pan. Once it's cooked, remove bacon and drain all but about 1 tsp of grease. Saute garlic in bacon grease briefly. Add marsala wine (or your substitute), mustard, salt, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and heavy cream. Cook pasta according to directions. Slice chicken into medium-bite size pieces. Combine sauce, cooked pasta, diced chicken, cooked bacon, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Spread in 2 - 9x13 pans. Top with chopped rosemary and mozzarella cheese.

Bake @ 475 for 10 minutes. (doesn't need long since it's everything is already cooked)

If frozen, thaw in refrigerator the day of. Cover with foil and bake @ 375 for 1 hour. Remove foil during the last 15 minutes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"healthified" chocolate cheesecakes

I recently came across this recipe in the Eating Better America newsletter and had to try it out when we had company tonight. YUM. :) It was rich and creamy, and just the right portion size for a post-dinner sweet treat. And best of all, it was easy to make!

For the original recipe, click

12foil baking cups
12thin chocolate wafer cookies (from 9-oz package), crushed (2/3 cup)
12oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), softened
2/3cup sugar
2teaspoons vanilla
1/4cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1whole egg
1egg white
1oz bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate, melted

1/3cup fat-free hot fudge topping
Fresh raspberries, if desired (I used strawberries)
1.Heat oven to 325°F. Place foil baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. With back of spoon, firmly press slightly less than 1 tablespoon cookie crumbs in bottom of each foil cup.
2.In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in cocoa. Beat in whole egg and egg white until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate. Divide cheese mixture evenly among crumb-lined foil cups.
3.Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on cooling rack 15 minutes. Remove cheesecakes from pan; cool 15 minutes longer. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled.
4.To serve, carefully remove foil baking cups. Spread fudge topping on cheesecakes. Garnish with raspberries. Store cheesecakes covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quick cheese bread

(this picture is courtesy of

Want a quick, foolproof cheesy bread?? This is for you! I really wanted to make rolls for dinner last night, but didn't want the whole rise and roll mess. I stumbled across this on, and DANG was it good! :) SO cheesy and EASY! Click here to see the original recipe.

3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
3 C (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4-5 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/4 C milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 large egg lightly beaten
3/4 C sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 5 by 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese evenly in bottom of pan.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper to combine. Using a rubber spatula, mix in cheddar cheese cubes, breaking up clumps, until cheese is coated with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (the batter will be heavy and thick). Do not overmix. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; spread to sides of pan and level surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over surface.

Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; invert loaf from pan and continue to cool until warm, about 45 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

****my notes to this...I put too much parm. cheese on mine, so it was a little hard to cut. Now I know, more cheese is not necessarily a better thing. :) I also didn't have cubed cheese, so I had to use the shredded I had on hand. It was still delicious, but I can't wait to make this again with yummy big pockets of cheese. I am sure it will top the charts with this!