Saturday, February 27, 2010

vegan shortbread cookies

All of my kids LOVE these and they are easy, prepare well for later use and are safe for my dairy and egg allergy child!

2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks vegetable based butter (can use regular), room temp
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract (can use vanilla or other flavor of choice)

Mix flour and salt in one bowl, set aside and cream butter and powdered sugar with mixer. Stir in extract. Slowly add flour mixture to the butter mixture, gently mix. Place between 2 sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 1 inch thick circle, seal edges of wrap and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes, or until needed. We make 2 batches and keep one in there til the following week!
Remove and place on floured cloth and roll out dough. Easier to break off and do a little at a time. Use a small glass to cut circles, or use cookie cutters. or do bar (rectangle) shape. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and place back in fridge 10 minutes. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let sit 5 minutes and carefully transfer to cool rack.
Variations: Top with uncooked shapes in sugar sprinkles before baking. Or top with icing! We also do these black and white, where one half of the cookie is dipped in white icing and the other side in chocolate!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

homemade pizza

delicious, easy, and addictive!
homemade dough:
(this is the recipe in our breadmaker book)
1 1/3 c warm water
1tsp honey or sugar
2tsp kosher salt
2tbs olive oil
3 1/4 c bread flour
3/4c whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp instant, active dry yeast
(Note: we have been out of bread flour and used all wheat flour and did fine!)
place in bread machine by directions, process takes 1 hour 40 minutes... the machine does the work! OR use above ingredients and mix with hook attachment in mixer and let rise in the mixing bowl, covered for 2 hours or until doubled in size) Take dough out of bread machine or mix bowl and punch down. We separate into 4-5 dough balls and roll really thin... it is delicious as a thin crust and with our family, it goes a lot further! We roll out on a little corn meal, you can use flour. Place on pan and brush a little olive oil over each dough crust.
ENDLESS! We like doing it this way (other than the health benefits!) because we have a daughter with a dairy allergy, she does a small pizza with soy cheese! We use blocks of mozzerella because it tastes better, doesn't take as much and doesn't have all the additives.
(obviously jarred pasta or pizza sauce works...or leftover spaghetti sauce)
1 large can crushed tomatoes (can use hand held mixer to puree)
2 tbs- 1 can of tomato paste, depending on thickness that you prefer!
1 tbs basil, oregano

spread a small amount of sauce on each pizza, sprinkle with cheese and add meats and veggies of choice. Bake 450 10 minutes or until "color" that you like!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

left over bread, hum?!?

We make a lot of bread... having a bread maker is wonderful and dangerous! We always have a few pieces leftover when we make that next loaf, and once it is hot, the previous just won't do! We use the last pieces for a lot of things... bread pudding (I will post that one soon!), for homemade croutons... tear or cut in pieces and place in zipper plastic bag with a little olive oil or melted butter, some sprinkles of parsley, oregano or basil and crushed red pepper, seal and shake and pour on baking sheet, 350 for 5-7 minutes... delicious!, or freeze leftover bread and, when needed, thaw and put in food processor for bread crumb topping, and finally, leftover bread makes really good french toast!

chicken pot pie soup!

Homemade chicken pot pies were a favorite in my family, but they are cream based and my daughters allergy to dairy made the others fear that we could no longer enjoy them BUT we found a new way! These can be served in a bowl with homemade croutons OR served in a bread bowl (made or puchased... we get the panera ones).
4 chicken breasts sauteed (butter, salt and pepper and 1/2 chopped onion) and cut in chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1 large can or box of chicken/veg broth
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut
1 c green peas
1c potato chunks
(can also add leftover green beans, broccoli, corn... you get the picture!)
5 tbs whole wheat flour
1 bay leaf

Sautee the chicken and onion with 2-3 tbs butter or olive oil, and salt and pepper to your taste. I sometimes add 1 tsp of garlic. Remove and cool and then cut. In a large pan or crock pot add vegetables and all BUT one cup of the broth. In a glass dish or measuring cup add flour to 1 cup broth and blend with a fork... add to soup mixture and stir well. Water can be added if too thick and IF preparing in a slow cooker, it will need to be thinner. If you need to thicken, remove some of the broth in the dish and mix in more flour and add back to soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and bay leaf and let simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve in bowl or bread bowl.

roasted potatoes

yukon gold potatoes (washed and dried)...we use at least one potato per person
salt and pepper
olive oil
parchment paper

Heat oven to 400... slice potatoes in circles, about 1/2 inch thick and place in bowl of water. After slicing all, remove from water and pat dry and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush and dip in a bowl of olive oil (probably 2 tbs) and brush on each side of potato slices. Salt and pepper top side. Bake 20-30 minutes or until slightly brown... golden. We have a convection oven and do not flip the slices and may take longer in another oven. ALL of my kids love these and we eat them as a side with many dishes! Leftovers can be sent in lunches or cut up and used in soups, like I did the italian vegetable soup. Other potatoes could be used but we prefer the flavor of the yukons, not as starchy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

italian chicken soup... (crockpot!)

3-4 chicken breasts
2 tbs butter
salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic (minced)
1 tsp basil or oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbs jarred sundried tomatoes in oil (optional)
1 potato chopped
1 onion chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
1 cup green beans (frozen or fresh)
4-6 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)
1 can cannellini beans
1 cup noodles (we use rotini or wagon wheel or bow tie!)Cook and add right before serving.

Sautee chicken in butter, salt and pepper and italian seasoning, and garlic. Cut into chunks when cooled and add to crock pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for atleast 3 hours, but can do longer if needed. Serve with salad and bread. Top with parmesan cheese. This could also be prepared in a pot and simmered, in that case boil the noodles a bit before adding! This is a great way to use leftover items in the fridge! The potatoes above are leftover roasted potatoes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

not a dinner, but...banana bread!

We love this fresh out of the oven! It is a good breakfast, snack, good in kids lunches...GOOD!

One of our favorite treats is banana bread...we love using those yucky brown bananas that sit on the counter! Kids help make this one... SO easy! We have altered it some for our daughter who has a milk and egg allergy! (this only makes one loaf, you might want to double!)

3 VERY ripe bananas (brown and smushy work best!)
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
1-2 heaping tablespoon unsweetened applesauce (1 egg beaten if un-vegan!)
1/4 c. veg. based butter melted (regular butter in old recipe!)
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in
1 Tablespoon water
2 c. wheat flour (recipe calls for white, but we altered years ago and kids cannot tell!)
sprinkle of cinnamon

preheat oven 350...mix all in large mixer as listed...pour into greased and sugared 9x5x3 loaf pan...sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top...bake 1 hour. Enjoy! (yield: 1 loaf) We rub a little butter on top right out of oven, vegetable based butter now! This is not low fat, but I have to say it doesn't make you feel as guilty after now!

note: we use 2 Tablespoons of the apple sauce to make it more moist

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

This is a meal that we eat at least once a month and all of the family likes it! We have made it the hard way (dried red beans, soak them over night, rinse, simmer all day...) and below... the EASY way! This is a recipe that we make for friends often and I have shared with anyone I can because it is so simple!

4 cans of red beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tsp garlic in oil
1 package new orleans style andouille smoked sausage (sliced)
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
serve with white rice

Sautee the sliced andouille sausage over low heat with garlic in oil until starts to darken. Add red beans and water and simmer 20 minutes or more. Serve over rice. This can also be prepared and put in the crock pot on low all day. sautee meat and then add it and beans and water to crokpot, use 2 cups water if cooking all day. Or prepare in dutch oven and place in oven or warming drawer on warm while at practices/games. We eat this with a salad and french bread (make or buy). Leftover rice can be saved to add to another meal (if a small amount, save for soup).

Serves a family of 6...prep/cook time- about 40 minutes