Friday, May 30, 2014

Flour's Cheddar Scallion Scones

I grew up eating a cheesy onion bread made from Bisquick, and it was one of our family's favorite things.  This reminds me of that bread, and I think this was even better, although not everyone else agreed with me.  Aaron gave these a 5, Owen gave them a 7, and Noah and I gave them an 8.  I thought the cornmeal was a little bit distracting, but I liked everything else.  This comes from Flour's cookbook, and again, that is such a great cookbook!  Each scone was 351 calories, and it makes 8 scones.

1 3/4 c flour
1/2 c medium-coarse yellow corn meal
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cumin
3 oz cheddar cheese, diced
5 green onions, minced
1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
1/2 c cold buttermilk
1/2 c sour cream
1 cold egg
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350.  Using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cumin, cheese, and scallions on low speed for 10-15 seconds.  Scatter the butter over the top and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is broken down to grape-size pieces.  Whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and the whole egg until thoroughly mixed.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and beat for about 30 seconds.  Turn the dough several times in the bowl to pick up the extra flour.  Dump the dough onto a baking sheet and pat it into an 8 inch circle about 1 inch thick.  Brush the egg yolk evenly over the entire top of the dough circle.  Cut the circle into 8 wedges, then bake for 40-50 minutes or until the entire circle is golden brown.  Cool for 30 minutes, then cut and serve.

We spread ours with some butter, and ate with our dinner.  Yummy!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Meat and Onion Turnovers

I can't clearly explain how amazingly good these things are.  These pies from Cook's Illustrated Best International Recipes cookbook, similar to pasties, are just so full of flavor, the pastry is perfectly flaky, the ease of being able to eat them at any temperature and have them still be delicious, all adds up to a perfect 10 from all of us here at the Tunell house.  While not super simple, these can be made at any time of day, so make them when convenient and they will taste great.  Each Forfar Bridie, the Irish name for them, is 651 calories, so a full meal with a small salad, but worth the calories.  Everyone begged me to make them again soon, which I did :)

3 3/4 c flour, plus more for the work surface
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
12 T butter, cold, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 c ice water

2 T unsalted butter
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 t dried mustard
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 T flour
1/4 c dark beer, such as Newcastle Brown Ale (use beef or mushroom broth if prefer)
1/4 c heavy cream
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg, beaten

For the Pastry:  Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 4 pulses.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse, about 16 pulses.  Transfer the flour mixture to a mixing bowl, sprinkle 1/4 c of water over the dough and stir using a rubber spatula.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide into 2 equal parts, and make 2 6 inch discs and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour.

For the Filling:  Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and flour and cook, about 1 minute.  Stir in the beef and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the cream and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.  Off the heat, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate mixture to cool.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  Remove 1 disk of dough from the fridge, and roll out the dough to a 15 in ch square.  Cut 6 inch rounds.  Transfer the rounds to a prepared baking sheet, then cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Repeat for the second disk.
Heat the oven to 425.  Fill the rounds of dough with 1/4 c filling, then seal and crimp the dough, using water to help the dough stick together, into half moon shapes.  Transfer all the pies to one baking sheet covered in parchment, and brush all of them with egg.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through (I did 15 minutes, then 15 minutes, and mine came out perfectly).  Cool 5 minutes, or cool to room temp before serving.  Also, refrigerate, then serve later at room temperature or warmed.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Recipe Girl's Beef and Lentil Stew

This was a great crockpot meal, and I found the recipe in The Recipe Girl's cookbook.  It was easy, and it tasted so good, which sometimes can be a challenge for a slow cooker.  I loved how flavorful this was, and the boys and I gave it a 9, while Aaron gave it an 8 because it had spinach :).  Each serving was 266 calories, so we had this with some bread, which is delicious all on its own ;).  Here's the recipe with my changes:

3 T olive oil
1 lb stew meat, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/3 c dry red wine or beef broth
1 c chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 t minced garlic
3 c beef broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 c dried lentils
1 bay leaf
3 c spinach
1 T chopped fresh rosemary and thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat 1 1/2 T oil over medium heat and brown the stew meat.  Add the wine/beef broth to deglaze the skillet, then pour the whole thing into the slow cooker.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 t olive oil, and cook the celery, onion, and carrots, cooking and stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.  add the garlic, then add the whole mixture to the crockpot.  Add in the broth, the tomatoes, lentils and bay leaf.  Cook for about 8 hours on low, then when ready to serve, remove bay leaf and add the herbs and spinach.  Season to taste and serve.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flour's Pumpkin Muffins with Candied Pepitas

These are really good muffins, and the pepitas on top make them really interesting.  They are moist, and full of flavor, but somehow instead of the 12 muffins the recipe said it made, I made 34 muffins, so close, right ;).  Anyway, it makes it less calories, only 167 per muffin, and these are great, so try them soon!  I am loving this Flour cookbook, everything I have made we have enjoyed.  Aaron gave them an 8, and the rest of us gave them a 9.  Here's what to do:

3/4 c pepitas
1 egg white
1/4 c sugar

3/4 c unsalted butter
2 c sugar
3 T molasses
4 eggs
3/4 c fresh orange juice
16 oz pumpkin puree
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves

Line a small tray with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, stir together the pepitas, egg white, and sugar to make a loose slurry.  Pour the seed mixture onto the prepared try and leave out, uncovered, to dry overnight.  The next day, using your fingers, break apart the pepitas in to separate pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line the muffin cups with paper liners.  Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and molasses on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides intermittently.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to combine the eggs and butter sugar mixture thoroughly.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once more.  ON low speed, add the orange juice and pumpkin and beat until combined.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.  Dump the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and fold carefully just until they are well combined.  Fill the muffin cups, and sprinkle with the pepitas.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown on top and spring back when pressed in the middle.  Cool and serve.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chili Lime Garlic Shrimp

This recipe started out from Picky Palate, but I made a bunch of changes, so we have a different recipe that turned out really well.  Aaron, Noah and I gave the shrimp a 9, and Owen gave it an 8, since he doesn't like the spice :).  This was fast and easy, and I'm glad it turned out so well.  Here's what I did:

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 t chili powder
2 T butter
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper and garlic salt to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet.  Sprinkle the shrimp with chili powder, salt, pepper and garlic salt.  Add the garlic to the butter, then add the shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through.  Serve with cheesy quesadillas and fresh veggies for a great dinner!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Picky Palate's Reed's Beef Enchilada Bake

Here is an easy weeknight dinner that is filling and pleases just about everyone, but it is not my favorite.  Whether it is the canned soup taste, or the lack of real enchilada taste, this just didn't hit the spot for me.  Luckily, everyone else liked this :).  Everyone gave it an 8 except for me, and I gave it a 6.  Picky Palate had this in her cookbook, and I changed it a little to meet our needs.  Each serving, and there were 10 servings, had 395 calories.  Here's what I did:

3/4 lb chorizo, cooked
1 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t garlic salt
15 oz enchilada sauce
14.5 oz diced tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
about 30 olives, chopped
12 corn tortillas
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 can corn, drained and rinsed

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Heat the chorizo and spices together, then add in the enchilada sauce, tomatoes, and soups and olives and corn and stir to combine.  Tear up the tortillas, then add them to the pot.  Transfer it all to a baking dish and top with the cheddar cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

As you can see, we served ours with avocado and tomato.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Flour's Vanilla Cream Filled Donuts

This was a triumph for me.  I haven't ever made donuts before, and I am rather averse to frying, but donuts are something I can definitely get over my frying dislike for ;).  These are fabulous, full of flavor, and after I figured out how to properly get enough cream into the donuts, these turned out great.  I made more donuts than the recipe called for, and since I can never give exact calories for fried foods, I will estimate.  Each donut, for 12 donuts, was around 600 calories, but these are worth the calorie bomb, I promise!  These took a little while to make, but it was a fun experiment.  Next time, I will try to make them lighter, because they were a little heavy, but I think they would be better with practice :).

We all gave these a perfect 10, how can you go wrong with fried yeast dough and pastry cream ;)?  Anyway, here's what to do:

2 1/2 t active dry yeast
2/3 c milk, at room temperature
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 t salt
3 eggs
7 T butter, room temperature, cut into 6-8 pieces
Frying oil

6 T heavy cream
2 c pastry cream

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk.  Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast.  Add the flour, 1/4 c of the sugar, the salt and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute.  Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2-3 minutes to develop the dough.  Add in the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5-6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
Lightly flour a baking sheet.  On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch square about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out 12 donuts, arrange them on the baking sheet, and cover them with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 2-3 hours, or until they are doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
Heat 3 inches of oil to about 350 degrees, then in batches, fry the doughnuts for 2-3 minutes on one side, flip, then fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel lined plate, and let cool.  Toss the donuts into the remaining 1 c sugar, then return it to the tray to cool completely.  
Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, then fold it into the pastry cream.  
When the doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in each one.  Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the pastry cream mixture.  Make sure to squirt the filling all inside the donut, then serve.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Sizzling Shrimp In Garlic Sauce

Another Best International Recipe hit, this was so easy and delicious.  Aaron, Noah and I gave this Sizzling Shrimp a perfect 10, and Owen gave it a 9, because it is pretty spicy.  This is traditionally a tapas, served with other food too, but we used it as a main dish.  This takes about 10 minutes total, and it is super delicious.  Make sure to have some crusty bread to dip into the oil, and we ate this with a big salad and it made a great meal.  Here's what to do:

2/3 c olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 1/3 T red pepper flakes (the source of the heat)
1 1/3 T minced fresh parsley
1 lb large shrimp
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 500.  Pour the oil in a shallow casserole dish, I used an 8 inch pie plate.  Add the garlic, the bay leaves, the pepper flakes, and the parsley, and bake about 2-4 minutes, making sure the oil is sizzling.  Add the shrimp to the sizzling oil and continue to bake, stirring once, about 2-3 minutes until shrimp are cooked through.  Remove the dish from the oven and discard the bay leaves.  Season the dish with salt and pepper and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Picky Palate's Smoky Black Bean Pasta

This Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Pasta in Fire-Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce from Picky Palate is one of those meals that is better the next day.  The day of, the flavors were rather bland, but they developed over night and it was better the next day.  We didn't love this meal, but it was easy and not bad, so Aaron and I gave it a 6, and the boys gave it a 7.  For eight servings, each serving was 336 calories, and here's what I did, which is a little different from the original recipe.

1/2 lb bow tie pasta, cooked and drained
1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 T minced garlic
3/4 lb chicken breast, diced and seasoned
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 14 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/4 c heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1/4 t garlic salt
1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion and stir until tender.  Add the garlic, and the seasoned chicken, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Add the beans, corn and cilantro, stirring until heated through.  Add the tomatoes and pasta to the chicken mixture, then the cream, salt, pepper and garlic salt.  Add the cheese and stir.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cook's Illustrated's Queso Fundido

Cook's Illustrated Best International Recipe cookbook brings another hit for our family!  I wish I had gotten a better picture of this, because it is so good, and it doesn't look as appetizing as it really is in this picture.  Oh well.  Noah liked this so well, he asked for it for his birthday meal, and it is super delicious and easy.  Queso Fundido, or melted cheese with poblano and chorizo makes four servings with each serving being 339 calories.  If you want to use it as an appetizer, just make the portions smaller.  Serve this with warm tortillas and you are set to go!  Owen gave this an 8 because it is spicy (a little), and Aaron and I gave it a 9, and Noah gave it a perfect 10.

4 oz chorizo
1 medium poblano chili, sliced into thin strips (remove seeds and ribs if desired, we did)
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese (don't use the preshredded kind)

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook the chorizo, then add the poblano and onions and cook until the veggies have started to brown.  Spread the cheese evenly in an 8 inch pie plate, top with the chorizo mixture, then transfer it to the oven.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Orange Vanilla Fruit Salad

Isn't that a pretty sight?  I love fresh fruit, and this was a great fruit salad.  Pick your fruit, and make this simple syrup from the Pioneer Woman.  Each serving, and we made six, was 154 calories with the fruit I chose.  Aaron and I gave this a 9, and Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10, a great way to get Owen to eat fruit besides apples :).

1/2 c sugar
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c water

Add all the ingredients to a pot, and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes until thick.  Chill the syrup, then pour over fruit when ready to serve the salad.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy ;).

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pork and Apples go together really well, and this is another example of that pairing working.  Cook's Illustrated came up with a winner again, like usual, and although Aaron doesn't love pork chops, he still gave this a 7.  Owen gave it an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 9.  For 1 serving, the calories are 312, and we made six servings for this recipe.  This was found in my Cook's Illustrated International Best Recipe cookbook, our favorite :), and this is what I did.

3 oz bacon, chopped
2 T oil
2 T flour
1 3/4 c apple cider
3 bone-in pork chops (we cut them in half for our servings, they were really big)
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin wedges
2 T water
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 t minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves

Fry the bacon until crisp, leaving 2 T of bacon fat in the pan.  Gradually whisk in the flour until smooth.  Whisk until the mixture is a light brown, then whisk in the apple cider.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then set aside and cover.
Salt and pepper the pork chops.  Heat 1 T of the oil in a skillet until smoking.  Brown the pork chops on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, then set aside.  Add the onions, apples, water, 1/2 t salt, and the remaining T of oil to the same skillet.  Scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and stir until the onion is softened.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook, about 30 seconds.  Return the chops to the skillet in a single layer along with any juices and the cider sauce.  Cover the chops and onions and add the bay leaves.  Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pork is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove the chops, increase the heat of the skillet to medium high, and simmer the sauce, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Discard the bay leaves and serve with the chops, apples, and onions and reserved bacon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Picky Palate's Parmesan Chicken Tenders

These chicken tenders were super easy and super yummy.  The boys gave them a perfect 10, and I gave them a 9 because of the calorie count.  Picky Palate's cookbook is definitely not low calorie, but I love the simplicity and flavor of her recipes.
This was a 15 minute dinner, so just what I'm looking for on a busy weeknight, but like I said, they are high in calories. Each tender was 299 calories, and I made 5 tenders out of the recipe.  Here's what I did, and it was a great dinner.

5 chicken tenders
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c buttermilk (I didn't use all of this, but I wanted the ratio of egg to buttermilk to be correct)
1 egg
1/2 c flour
1/2 c Italian flavored Panko bread crumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t dried thyme leaves
3 T olive oil

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the buttermilk and eggs together and whisk to combine.  Add flour, salt and pepper together in another dish and whisk to combine.  In a third dish whisk together bread crumbs, cheese, and thyme.  Dip the chicken first in the buttermilk, then in the flour, then back in the buttermilk, then into the bread crumbs.  Cook the tenders in the pan with the hot olive oil, and then serve.

The  boys had theirs with ketchup, I had mine plain.