Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sweet Potato Bread

Be prepared for the BEST bread in the entire world. No matter how many times I make this, it is amazing and delicious! With my Bosch, making bread is the easiest thing in the world. I even shred the sweet potatoes with a food processor.

Every time I have given someone a loaf of this bread, they ask for the recipe. One friend of mine even said that this bread was the ONLY way you would ever see her eating sweet potatoes. Trust me, it's incredible. The recipe comes from the book Low-Fat Living.

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups honey
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
7 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
4 cups shredded sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups unbleached flour

In a large bowl (the one you are going to make the bread in), mix the water and 1 Tablespoon of the honey. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside to proof for 5 to 10 minutes. (This is the key to success - you must proof.)

Stir in 3 cups of the whole-wheat flour. Beat well for 3 minutes with an electric mixer (or beat vigorously by hand). Add the sweet potatoes, salt and remaining honey.

Turn out onto a floured counter and knead in the remaining 4 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour and enough of the unbleached flour to form a workable dough. (Or in your Bosch, make it do all the work. Add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I don't think I've ever added more than 3 or 4 cups.) Knead for 10 minutes (or make your Bosch do it), or until smooth and elastic. Form into a ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with a little oil. Add the dough and turn the ball to coat with oil. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place, allowing the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Lightly oil four loaf pans.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 pieces. Shape into 4 loaves and place in the prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until double in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the loaves are brown on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Remove the bread from the pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Pasta Bake with Sausage, Broccoli and Beans

This recipe is like a melting pot of flavors in your mouth. And it's from Cook Yourself Thin so it's even low in calories! Win-Win!

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large head of broccoli, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into small florets
3/4 pound rigatoni
1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup skim mozzarella, grated, 1/4 cup reserved
3/4 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Romano cheese, finely grated, 1/4 cup reserved
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Lightly oil and 9x13 pan or baking dish.

In a seperate pot, bring water to a boil and add salt and broccoli. Simmer the broccoli for 5 minutes, until softened. With a slotted spoon remove the broccoli to a large bowl and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil, add the pasta, and cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than the package directions suggest.

Meanwhile, in another pan over medium-high heat, add the sausage and garlic. Stir frequently until the meat is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage and garlic to the bowl with broccoli.

Toss the drained pasta with sausage mixture. Add the beans, 3/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese, all of the ricotta, the chicken stock, 1/4 cup Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Gently toss. Transfer to the prepared baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Romano cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, until heated through and crusty on the top.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stuffed Shells

Man, did my house smell good after I made these babies! Yummy! I got this recipe from the show Cook Yourself Thin. It takes some time to put together but is totally worth it. Just don't plan it for a night you want dinner in a hurry.

12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells

For the sauce:
3 - 14 oz cans tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the stuffing:
1 pound bag of baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups (16oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Cook shells according to package directions but for less time. You want the shells to be tender but firm to the bite, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the shells and spread out on a cookie sheet so they don't stick together. Let cool.

For the sauce, pour the tomatoes into a bowl and mash with your hands (or I just use scissors). Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, basil and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Then simmer very gently, partially covered, until thickened (you still want there to be juice), about 20 minutes. Season with pepper.

Meanwhile, add the spinach and the salt in a skillet. Place over medium heat, cover and cook, tossing every now and then with tongs for even cooking, until wilted, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, let cool and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Chop and set aside.

In a skillet, add the zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt with some water and cook. Stir every now and then, until tender and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. (The original recipe tells you to cook it with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, but it's just as yummy cooked in water.)

Add zucchini to the bowl with the spinach. Add the ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, the parsley, pepper and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 1 Tablespoon per shell. Arrange the shells side by side. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, and then sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake, at 350 degrees, until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.

A New Kind of Vanilla Cupcakes

Hmmm...what are the green flecks in the cupcake, you ask yourself? Zucchini!! I am on a quest to find healthier recipes, that are delicious, so I can enjoy food and still lose weight. This recipe comes from the cooking show (and book) Cook Yourself Thin. If you haven't caught the show, I highly recommend it. It is on the Lifetime Network but you can also see all the recipes and shows online. Trust me on these cupcakes, they are delicious and you totally CANNOT taste the zucchini.

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups zucchini, finely grated (I love my food processor! Oh and the recipe says to peel the zucchini. I did not, that's why you can see the green. If you peel the zucchini, you won't even be able to see it.)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds (you can do this in the blender, or buy almond flour/meal)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until light-colored and thick, about 4 minutes. Beat in the zucchini on low speed until fully incorporated. Add the flour, almonds and baking powder and beat of low speed until fully incorporated.

Use a 1/3 cup measure to spoon the batter in muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool.

Chocolate Pudding Frosting

This frosting is AMAZING!! And extremely easy. I love that it doesn't have butter/margarine in it. I found it in the Kraft Foods magazine. I am so amazed at how delicious it is and how it works just like frosting. You could even put it on cookies, brownies or even let the kids put sprinkles or candy on it! Next time, I'm trying it with different flavored pudding.

1 package (3.9oz) chocolate instant pudding
1 cup cold milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8oz) whipped topping, thawed

Beat pudding mix, milk and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in whipped topping. Spread onto cupcakes immediately or store in refrigerator up to 24 hours before using.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been searching and searching for a really yummy oatmeal cookie recipe. I have tried several recipes that I would never try again. In fact, we have been known to throw away cookies in our house lately. But I think I finally found the recipe I'm sticking to. This recipe comes from my friend, Evey.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 bag of chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add the dry ingredients, mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meat Loaf

I must admit, I have made meatloaf for company. Some have had disappointed looks on their faces. Many times people tell me they don't like meatloaf. But when they eat my meatloaf, they usually ask for the recipe. Plus, meatloaf is so simple to make and my hubbie always loves it! Thanks Mom for the great recipe.

1 pound hamburger
2 eggs, beaten
4 inch stack of soda crackers, crushed
1/4 cup ketchup
onion to flavor
salt to flavor

Mix all ingredients together and form into a loaf shape. Place in a 9x9 pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.