Archive for May, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Maple Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Doughnuts

I finally caved……about a month ago I purchased my first doughnut pan. I just couldn’t take it anymore. After seeing more and more mouth-watering recipes for baked doughnuts all over the blogosphere I knew I needed a doughnut pan. I bought my pan on Amazon but I’ve seen them in craft stores (in the baking section) if you’re interested in buying one. This particular recipe caught my eye for many reasons. First of all, the name itself screams deliciousness, don’t you agree? Also, I love that this recipe makes 6 doughnuts (the exact number my pan holds!). Most recipes I’ve seen yield 20-30 doughnuts. Even if I cut the recipe in half, it’s still way too many doughnuts for anyone to have in their household ………especially if that household includes a woman who is 7 months pregnant and craving sweets. ;)

These doughnuts are delicious in every way, and since they are baked you feel less guilty eating more than one (or in our case, more than two)! Since they are baked they kind of taste similar to a doughnut and a cupcake in one – still very good, but different from the standard fried doughnut. They are nice and sweet due to the maple syrup and cinnamon in/on them with a very light and fluffy texture. They are best eaten the same day they are made. However, my husband and I split the last one for breakfast the next morning and it was still very good.

Maple Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Doughnuts

Yield: 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (6 oz) container of non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow dish and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. The batter will be thick.

Scoop batter into a piping bag or ziploc bag, snip a bottom corner with scissors, and squeeze out the batter evenly into a doughnut pan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.

Use a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over your donuts and then dip each doughnut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately after coating with cinnamon sugar mixture for best texture.

 

Source: Handle the Heat, originally from Cooking with my Kid

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PostHeaderIcon Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Some things are so much better homemade, and pita bread is definitely included in this category. I have always assumed that pita bead is supposed to taste like cardboard, since that is what the store bought stuff tastes like. I assumed that until I made pita bread at home and fell in love with the results. You have never truly had pita bread until you have made it yourself.

I love baking with yeast. The process can be tedious and time consuming but the results are always well worth the wait. Even though they take some time to make, you can start making these in the morning and have fresh pita bread by lunch time. Also, these freeze so well! I always make a full batch and keep half in an airtight container on the counter and put the other half in the freezer. They taste just as fresh out of the freezer as they do out of the oven – honestly! Just pull one out of the freezer about 30 minutes before eating and enjoy with tuna, egg salad, or anything else you might want to throw in it. One last tip, I highly recommend using a baking stone instead of a cookie sheet when baking these. A baking stone allows the pita bread to cook quickly and evenly, whereas the cookie sheet does not.

Note: As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can also be mixed by hand as well.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Ingredients:
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package active dry yeast)
1 tablespoon honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚- 115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 ¼ cups bread flour, and 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Set an oven rack in middle of the oven. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface once the dough has risen. Punch down the dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal (on parchment paper). Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto the baking stone. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer pitas to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet (May 2003)


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PostHeaderIcon Baked Meatballs

I found this recipe for baked meatballs last week and I instantly put it on my to-make list since I knew my husband would love it. I mean, don’t all men love red meat? I know it’s a huge stereotype but I think it’s pretty true. Don’t you agree? I’m not a big fan of spaghetti and meatballs but I still very much enjoyed this dinner. The meatballs are very easy to make; you just toss all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix together with your hands, shape into mini balls, place over pasta sauce, and bake for 20-25 minutes. I think I checked my meatballs at 22 minutes and they were perfectly done. I love the addition of panko crumbs in the meatballs, it gives them a nice texture. I halved this recipe and I think it made enough for three people, but it depends on your portion size.

Bite Size Baked Meatballs

makes 30-40 mini meatballs

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef

1 egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup romano cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add ground beef, egg, oil, cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and parsley. Mix to combine, gently tossing a few times with your hands. Don’t overmix – it will result in tough meatballs! Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and add 2 cups of pasta sauce. Roll beef into mini meatballs (about a tablespoon of beef) and set in sauce. Once all meatballs have been added, sprinkle additional cheese and breadcrumbs over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with additional sauce and whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

 

Source: How Sweet It Is

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PostHeaderIcon Funfetti Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I recently joined a baking group called What’s Baking?, which is made up of a bunch of food bloggers who love to bake. Each month a different food blogger chooses a theme and the other bloggers can interpret the theme any way they want and bake something delicious while keeping the theme in mind. I am super excited to be joining this group! What a fun excuse to bake new and exciting recipes and share them with my readers and other food bloggers!

This month, the theme was: Bake Something for Mother’s Day. Since my mom and I live hours apart I couldn’t bake her something on Mother’s Day. However, she came to visit last weekend so I decided to bake something for her then! I asked her what she was craving, gave her a few different options, and she picked these lovely funfetti cupcakes! Great choice mom!

I love funfetti cupcakes but I’ve never made them at home. It’s a super simple and delicious cupcake – moist and fluffy vanilla base with sprinkles hidden inside, covered with buttercream frosting, and topped with even more sprinkles. Yum. This cake recipe is a bit different, usual cupcakes start by creaming the butter and sugar, adding the eggs, and then alternating the dry and wet ingredients. However, with this cake recipe you add the dry ingredients with the sugar, then add the butter until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy, and finally add the eggs/liquids. It’s a fairly different technique but the cupcakes came out light and fluffy so I’m not complaining! Just a tip – only fill the wells of the cupcake pan 1/2 way. I filled mine about 2/3 full and they were overflowing when I took them out of the oven. They were still delicious, though! :)

Funfetti Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk the milk, egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts together in a measuring cup.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed briefly to combine.  Cut the butter into 6 pieces and add them to the mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is coarse and sandy.  Add milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating for 20-30 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the sprinkles.

Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the prepared pan – I wouldn’t fill them more than 1/2 – 2/3 full, the cupcakes rise quite a bit in the oven.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Baking Bites

 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: enough frosting for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

2.5 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (10+ oz)

Pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Slowly add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time. I usually start by adding a cup of confectioners’ sugar along with the salt and vanilla extract. Then I add some heavy cream, slowly add in more confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream until all 3 cups (or so) of confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy cream are added. (Do not add all 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar at once or you’ll have a mess)

Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice.

Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: Melissa Bakes Original

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PostHeaderIcon Southwestern Pasta Salad

This was my Mother’s Day dinner and it was everything I could have hoped for; delicious, healthy, filling, and vegetarian. I like to cook meatless meals whenever I eat solo for dinner. It’s not that I don’t love meat, I do. I just think most people, including myself, rely too much on meat as their primary source of protein when there are other great sources out there. Like beans! Black beans are my go-to protein when I’m looking to cook meatless. There are so many great vegetarian recipes that I have tried and loved, this is definitely one of them.

This is a great meal to make ahead since the longer you let the flavors blend together before serving, the better it will taste. Make sure you stir it well and add the diced avocados just before serving. This was the second time I made this dish and the only thing I regret about this meal was not making it sooner. I hate when I find a delicious recipe, make it, love it, and then forget about it. Please learn from my mistakes. :)

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 lb whole grain pasta

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 small can of corn, drained

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

6 oz shredded Mexican cheese

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup olive oil

2 limes, juiced

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cumin

1-2 teaspoons chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

freshly ground salt & pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, diced

Directions:

Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta, do not rinse. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Keep refrigerated until serving. Just before serving, add the diced avocado and stir well.

 

Source: adapted from Cara’s Cravings

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PostHeaderIcon Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend! I was unable to spend my first Mother’s Day (yup, I consider myself a mother since I’m 30 weeks pregnant) with my husband since he had to travel to Sweden for work. However, we spent a lovely Saturday together and he gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. I know, I’m a very lucky woman!

Since he was going out of the country for work I decided to bake him something to bring with him. When I asked him what he wanted he instantly said Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies. So, that’s exactly what I made him. I have tried a few different recipes but I’ve never found the one that we both truly loved, until now. Most of the recipes I’ve tried the cookies spread too much while baking, which resulted in flat cookies. These did no such thing. They baked perfectly and are now my go-to oatmeal butterscotch cookie. I love the combination of oatmeal and butterscotch in this cookie, great choice hubby! You really need to make these. And soon!

Oops, I got a kitty in the picture….. :)

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Yield: About 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashion oats
1 package of butterscotch chips 

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F.

Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips; mix well. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

 

Source: slightly adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

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PostHeaderIcon Salsa

In honor of Cinco do Mayo I decided to share my favorite salsa recipe with you! After trying many different recipes I finally found “the one” salsa recipe that I truly love. I could literally eat this all day and never get sick of it. Yup, it’s that good!

This is super easy and quick to make. Just dump all of the ingredients in a food processor, pulse to your desired consistency, refrigerate, and devour! I love that you can easily make it to fit your taste buds. For instance, you can add more than two jalapenos if you want to really kick up the heat. Also, you can drain the canned tomatoes if you like a thicker salsa. I like to use two jalapenos and not drain the tomatoes. The red wine vinegar is essential to making this awesome salsa so please don’t skip it! This makes a large amount of salsa so be prepared and either buy a lot of tortilla chips (or make your own!) or cut the recipe in half. I usually just buy a lot of tortilla chips. :)

Salsa

Ingredients:
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic.  Process until finely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor.  Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don’t overdo it).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.


Source: slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

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PostHeaderIcon Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’m usually pretty good at coming up with ideas for dinner but a healthy side dish to go along with dinner is another story. I tend to focus only the main dish, then by the time we eat I either don’t have a side dish to go with the meal or I just throw together a small salad. Since salads have become a side dish staple in our household I decided to spice things up with this awesome strawberry spinach salad. I love strawberries in anything so I knew this dish wouldn’t disappoint. Needless to say, my husband and I both enjoyed it.

If you like to make things ahead of time, which I do, you can make the dressing hours before dinner and store it in the refrigerator. I made the dressing using my little food chopper and it worked nicely. Also, I purchased a little bottle of champagne to make the dressing, rather than buying an entire bottle for a tablespoon and a half. The almonds and strawberries are such a delicious combination with this dressing – you must make this soon!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Ingredients:
For the dressing:
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ tablespoon champagne
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
Sliced almonds, for topping
Sliced fresh strawberries, for topping

Directions:
In a blender or food processor, combine the strawberries, vinegar, champagne, sugar and salt.  Process until the mixture is well combined and completely smooth.  Transfer to an airtight bottle or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, portion baby spinach leaves out on salad plates.  Drizzle with the strawberry champagne vinaigrette.  Top with sliced almonds and strawberries.  Serve immediately.

 

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Epicurious

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