Sunday, October 18, 2009

Easy (Divine) Breadsticks

***wow. that's all i have to say about these. that, and i think i ate like 6. (yikes! i did hop on the elliptical that night, at least) between me, rory, justin, and sadie, we had four left out of the whole pan. they are so light and delicious, and tasted similar to the ones from olive garden, which was the plan, since i served them with the zuppa toscana. delicious meal, and it felt like we went out for it! (except i had to do the dishes)

Easy (Divine) Breadsticks
My Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 20-25 breadsticks, depending on how thick or thin you cut them

1 ½ cups warm water

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar

3 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet)

Mix all ingredients (except melted butter) in a large bowl or electric mixer and knead for three minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet. Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, herbs of choice, and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Friday, October 16, 2009

crusty french bread

***this was a major hit. i will definitely be making this again! i doubled the recipe and it made plenty for my big family! barely though. rory WAS there.

Crusty French Bread
from Recipe Zaar

50 min | 20 min prep

2 loaves
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110 degrees) and sugar in large bowl; allow yeast to proof or foam (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour; beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and divide in half.
  7. Shape dough into two long slender loaves.
  8. Grease and sprinkle with cornmeal either a french bread pan or large cookie sheet.
  9. Place loaves in pan and cut diagonal gashes on top of each loaf (I use scissors).
  10. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  12. Note: You can sprinkle or spray water on the loaves during baking if you want a really crunchy crust.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

cheesy breadsticks

these are my favorite breadsticks cause they don't rise for very long. (quick meal is my middle name) it's also my favorite pizza dough, and sometime i will take a picture of my BBQ chicken pizza. so easy! anyways:

Cheesy Breadsticks from parents magazine

3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp ollive oil

In a large bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups flour with yeast and salt, add warm water and oil. Beat with a whisk for 3 minutes. (I usually don't make it past 1.5) Using a wooden spoon, stir in another 1 1/4 cups flour, or enough so mixture holds together. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour-stop once it's lump free. Cover dough and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. (i usually leave it on the oven while it's heating up)

On a greased baking sheet, press out dough into a rectangle, as thin as you like it. Prick dough with a fork lightly. Bake about 8 minutes. Melt butter and garlic salt together. Brush on top of dough and sprinkle cheese on top. (we like mozzerella and parmesan) Bake another 8 minutes or until browned. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
adapted from Life with Little Ones

3 Chicken Breasts cut up into chunks
1 medium onion diced
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 packet taco seasoning
3 cups Chicken broth
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
corn tortillas or chips
cilantro, chopped
shredded cheese, sour cream,avocado- for garnish

Heat the oil in large soup pot to med-high heat. Add chicken, cook until browned. Next, add onions-cook until tender. Add seasonings-garlic, chili powder, taco seasoning. Stir well. Pour in the chicken broth, and cook until boiling. Turn soup down and add the tomatoes, chilies and beans, all undrained. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, cut 7 tortillas into thin strips and bake in a 375 degree oven, or fry until crisp.

Serve soup in individual bowls, top with tortilla strips or chips, cheese,cilantro,sour cream and avocado.


***a few things i did differently: i'd probably add a second can of beans next time, just to bulk it up:)..on the garlic and chili powder i reduced it to just one tbsp of each, and i left out the green chilies cause rory's not a huge fan of them. was delicious! soo scrumptious. the fresh cilantro makes it! (though i'm biased, i loove cilantro) anyways, thanks for sharing, Corey! it was fabulous!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

chicken stir fry

i love this recipe because i love easy and quick meals, and hey-this one has quick right in the title! obviously i swapped rice for pasta, since we had a pasta-filled week. also i used a frozen stir fry veggie mix, but since rory picked out most of those veggies, i think i'll stick with just broccoli. at least he'll eat that!

link here

Speedy Chicken Stir-Fry from kraft

1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (capellini), uncooked
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. each: ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts
COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 to 8 min. or until done, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper; cook 1 min., stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large bowl. Add chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon evenly into 4 serving bowls; sprinkle with peanuts.

Pumpkin Bars

***i love baking with pumpkin. end of story. the cream cheese frosting is super rich and yummy. make sure you have a lot of people to share with, they are very rich! my large family only ate about half, and then i had to send the rest with rory to work, cause i didn't want them sitting around with me at home all day! can you imagine what that would do to my (non existent) figure?! anyways, loved these, and they made my house smell sooo delicious while they were baking!

Pumpkin Bars
from Paula Deen via My Kitchen Cafe

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup oil)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda Icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

buttermilk biscuits

rory and i easily ate about 6 of these (each) last sunday. in our defense, they were breakfast. the reason they look double stacked is cause they were...i rolled the dough out a wee bit too much and wanted them to be taller. thus, stick one biscuit on top of another.

Buttermilk Biscuits from Joy of Cooking

Position rack in center of oven, Preheat oven to 450*. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2c flour
2t. baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cut 5-6 T unsalted butter into flour until largest pieces are the size of peas

Add all at once:
3/4 c buttermilk

(quick trick, mix 1 cup milk to 1 tbsp lemon juice and let it sit while you mix the other ingredients together. that's an easy sub for buttermilk)

Mix with wooden spoon until dry ingredients are moist. With a floured hand, gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead just a bit on flour board and pat dough down gently to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet. Brush Biscuits with milk or melted butter. Bake until golden brown on top and bottom, 10-12 minutes.

turkey chili

***this was fabulous! i loved it. rory didn't like the "chunks of stuff", but that didn't surprise me at all. i changed a few things, these changes are reflected above, the original recipe is via the link. very satisfying and flavorful, i thought!

Turkey Chili
adapted from

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (1 ounce) package chili seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can salsa
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • sour cream
  • cheddar cheese


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble turkey into the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to break apart as much as possible. Season with chili seasoning and tomato paste, and mix until meat is evenly coated with seasonings. Continue cooking, reducing heat if necessary, until turkey is well browned.
  2. Pour in broth, and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes. Add salsa and tomatoes, and kidney beans, and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for ten minutes. Adjust the thickness at any time you feel necessary by adding water.
  3. While chili is still cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and green bell pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and bell pepper is lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper to the chili, and continue cooking at a very low simmer.
  4. Ladle chili into serving bowls. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese, and serve.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

grilled chicken pasta with tomato cream sauce

this is what we had for dinner last night...and it was scrumptious! i've never had a tomato cream sauce before but it was very flavorful and yum. sadie loved it too.

I used half and half instead of heavy cream cause it was a lot less $$ and i am a cheapskate. rory liked it ok. he would be happy if i baked bread every night for dinner though. or pizza. foodie he is not. i'm not either, but i like to mix it up. whatever. it's good, and i'm making it again, so there.

link here

Grilled Chicken Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 pound pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp salt & pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
Rinse chicken breasts in cold water. Layer between sheets of wax paper and pound to even thickness. Season both sides with Montreal Steak seasoning. Preheat grill for medium high heat, lightly oil grate, and grill chicken breasts on medium high heat for 6-8 mins each side. OR heat 2 tbsp butter & 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter and olive oil is nice and hot, add chicken breasts and cook 5 mins each side. Set chicken aside to cool.
In a large pot, boil water with 1 tbsp salt. Add 1/2 lb penne pasta noodles and boil according to package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is tender, but do not let the garlic turn brown (about 3-5 mins). Add the chicken broth to the pan and allow to reduce by half. Meanwhile, slice chicken. Once the broth has reduced, stir in tomato sauce. Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low.
Chop the parsley and basil, add to sauce and mix well. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Stir well to coat. Serve pasta on plates, top with sliced chicken.