Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday favorites

See my post on 3/22/12 for the best and most requested holiday treat recipes.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.
I'll try to work on getting more of my family holiday recipes on here - the ones I use every year at this time of year.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My favorite two bread recipes - Traditional White and Whole Wheat (1/2 and 1/2)

Whole Wheat Bread
3 c. bottled fruit - pureed in blender (1 bottle peaches = 2 c.)
2 1/2 c. hot water
1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. veg oil
2 T salt
6 c. whole wheat flour, unsifted
2 pkg (or 2 T) dry yeast + 1 tsp sugar
1/2 c warm water
about 6 c. white flour (no more than 7 1/2 c)

In large bowl combine pureed fruit, hot water, brown sugar, oil and salt. Mix in whole wheat flour. Mix well and let sit for 20 min. Soften yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm water for 10 min. Blend into whole wheat mixture. Stir in white flour as needed to make moderately stiff dough. Knead 10 min. Shape into 4 loaves.

Place in loaf pans. Cover and let rise until almost double (1 hr) in bulk. Bake at 350 F for 30-45 min.

Brush with butter. Let cool completely (at least an hour) before slicing.  (Glass pans - 325 F for 45-50 min).

Note: 1/2 batch makes 24 rolls. Bake at 325 F for 17 min. Be sure they double in size in the pans before baking or they'll be heavy.

Traditional White Bread (takes about 3 hrs total)
6-7 c. flour
1 tsp salt
3 T sugar
2 T shortening
2 pkg yeast (or 2 T)

Mix 3 1/2 c. flour and all of the other ingredients in large bowl.
Add 2 1/4 c. warm water.
Beat on low speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.
Bean on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping again.
Stir in enough of remaining flour (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 c.), 1 cup at a time to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up.
Cover and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes (until double).

Put in 2 greased loaf pans. Let rise until double.
Bake at 400 F for 30 min.
(Glass pans - 325 F for 28 min.)
                                                                   Whole Wheat loaf

White loaf
                                                        Comparison with store bought bread

Monday, July 28, 2014

Getting back to beans- Chicken Bean & Rice Nachos

I've gone back to looking at all the research I did on beans over a year ago and am starting to try out some new recipes from those I collected then. Using the crock pot when it's close to triple digits outside is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. It's not just used for cold days around my house.

Here's one we tried this weekend. It doesn't look great, but it tastes wonderful. I'd suggest you stack the rice, then chicken/bean sauce, then cheese on each plate and serve it that way for the best acceptance. The chicken/bean sauce looks odd by itself. I'm glad we didn't add the rice and corn to it. I've added my tweaks in italics to the printed recipe.

Chicken Bean & Rice Nachos
from Taste of Home Slow Cooker Cookbook
by Barbara Schweitzer, Chesapeake, Virginia

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts  (I used 2, 14.4 oz cans of chicken)
1 jar (16 oz) salsa   (I used 8 oz diced tomatoes blended with 8 oz picante)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed (I made my own black beans & froze them in 16 oz portions; used 1)
1 can (7 oz) Mexicorn, drained (we served warmed kernel corn as a side)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed (we used lite cream cheese, didn't make it runny)
3 c cooked rice (done in rice cooker during the last hour before meal)
3/4 c shredded Mexican cheese blend (we used shredded cheddar)
Tortilla chips

Place the chicken in a 3 qt slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the salsa, beans and corn (I didn't add the corn); pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the chicken is tender. (With the cooked chicken, I put in on low for 1.5 hours, then dropped it to warm for 1 hour before serving).

Remove chicken, cool slightly. Shred with two forks and return to slow cooker. (Not necessary if you have the cooked chicken). Stir in cream cheese, heat through. (After stirring thoroughly, this was for about 10 min on the warm setting). To serve, place the rice in a serving bowl, top with chicken mixture and cheese blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: 6 servings  (Those are hearty proportions -this was enough in our family for 10 servings)

Note in cookbook: Why rinse the beans? The liquid that surrounds canned beans is salty, thick and murky. Rinsing the beans in a colander under cold running water will remove the liquid and excess salt. If you don't rinse the beans, the dish can be too salty and have and undesirable flavor or texture.

2 Barley Soup Recipes

Reprinted Recipe - from Winco Foods
Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup
1 lb cubed beef stew meat
1 T veg oil
2 c water
2 T margarine
2 large carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 c water
3 cubes beef bouillon cubes
1/4 c. pearl barley
1/4 c sour cream
Brown small cubes of stew meat in vegetable oil over medium heat until juices become a rich brown color. Add 2 c water and simmer meat while preparing the vegetables, In a large soup pot, melt margarine over medium heat. Saute carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms. Add meat, 6 c water, bouillon cubes, and barley to vegetable mixture. Cook until barley is soft. Adjust liquid and seasoning as desired. Remove from heat, mix in sour cream. Serve immediately.

My original adjusted recipe - no meat and using chicken stock.
Barley & Vegetables
2 T margarine
2 c. assorted chopped veggies - mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, celery, green onions
1 T garlic (or 2 cloves minced)
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 c. water
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. barley
1/4 c. sour cream
Melt margarine in large soup pot. Add veggies and seasonings. Saute until mushrooms are soft.
Add 4 c liquid and pearl barley. Cook until barley is soft (takes about 40 min). Remove from heat. Either drain liquid or leave it and then add sour cream. Serve immediately.

I left the liquid in it and used a slotted spoon to serve it onto my plate as a side dish instead of a soup.

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