Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: light

Favorite Cornbread


With three different cornbread recipes on my blog already, you might think I was cornbread crazed since I’m adding another.  Well, I guess maybe I am.  Growing up, we practically lived off of beans and cornbread during the winter months.  Plain pinto beans with no spices save salt, and whole wheat cornbread that was dry, not sweet at all, and was perfect for absorbing copious amounts of salty butter.  It might not sound particularly tasty, but we loved it.  I think it was the magic of butter, which we surprisingly were allowed to consume without limits since Grandpa deemed it a healthy fat and Mom learned all her health-nut ways from  him.  So we loved our beans and butter, er, cornbread.

This cornbread is the antithesis of the cornbread I was raised on, and truth be told, the first time I made it I was completely aghast that Mel dared to call it cornbread.  This wasn’t cornbread, this was cake.  And her whipped honey butter? The frosting!

But everyone (I brought it for a chili day at work) loooved it.  I didn’t bring the honey butter the first year and at first, some were disappointed, but after tasting it said, “This doesn’t even need butter!”  It really doesn’t.  It practically melts in your mouth, it is so soft and moist.  I noticed when I brought the honey butter last year they barely touched it.  The cornbread is perfect on its own but if you really think you need some sweet butter, go to Mel’s blog for her unique recipe, which includes marshmallow fluff and is very good.

Anyway, after making this for others for two years and taking little tastes, I finally made it just for us for the first time last week when the temps were cooler and I wanted something to go with some ham & bean soup.  I have to say, I’m a convert.  Sorry, Mom.  This is definitely my new favorite and I have to tell you, Dennis is gaga for this stuff and he would never eat any of my cornbread before, not even Jiffy mix, which is similar to this, just not as soft.  The Lighter Northern Cornbread recipe on my blog is also crazy good, but it’s lower in fat and sugar so it’s not quite as melt-in-your mouth.  If you’re looking for some full fat goodness, I gotcha covered.

Favorite Cornbread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ cups (6 ¼ oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (3 oz) corn meal
2/3 cup (5 oz) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with oil; set aside.  Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center. Stir well until mixed (batter will be runny – don’t be alarmed!). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. This doubles perfectly for a 9X13-inch pan, but will have to be baked longer (start checking after 45 minutes-I can’t remember how long it took when I doubled it in previous years).

Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Advertisements

Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Posted on

You can thank The Secret Recipe Club for bringing me out of hiding this week! If it weren’t for being in the club, I’m sure I’d have gone to bed early last night (long day) instead of scheduling this to post.  So hopefully you’re more thankful about that than I am-LOL! ;)

This month I was assigned to The Vanderbilt Wife.  Yay, another blog that starts with “V” (you might not be aware, but we are an endangered blog species, though not as bad off as blogs beginning with  “X” and “Z”)!  Jessie is also a sister in Christ, so let’s give a little HOO-WAH for that too.  Or maybe you could just wait while I do it.  HOO-WAH!  So lovely to meet you, Jessie!

Anyway, my assignment came right after a failed attempt at 100% whole wheat bread.  It was supposed to be the best whole wheat bread ever…but it was not.  So when I saw Jessie’s beautiful Fluffy 100% Whole Wheat Bread, I freaked.

“Dennis, guess what she has on her blog?” I shrieked.

“Light and fluffy whole wheat bread?” he guessed without even glancing over at my computer screen.

(From that you can assume correctly that I had made it very obvious how deeply disappointed I was with the dense and yucky-tasting loaves I’d just made.)

“YES!” I screamed.

And I proceeded to make the recipe.  Three times.  It makes three loaves per recipe, so I made nine loaves of whole wheat bread within the span of two weeks.  Unfortunately, I never got the bread to stay risen once it started baking so those nine loaves weren’t as light and fluffy as I’d have liked.  Each batch started out so high and promising…

only to let me down half way through baking.

*sob*

Since I couldn’t consult Jessie to see if she had any suggestions (in the SRC, you don’t alert the blog you’re assigned to because it’s meant to be a surprise on reveal day, and I couldn’t ruin the surprise by asking her for help), I never got the recipe to turn out for me,  but it did work for her so please visit her blog to see how light and fluffy her loaves are.  I’m bound and determined to get the same result and will post the recipe on my own blog once I’ve got it figured out.

Since I started out with a yeast bread recipe from Jessie’s blog that I couldn’t get to turn out right, I went with another yeast bread recipe of hers that included some white flour (white flour helps because the gluten develops better and easier than with whole wheat).  I’ve been wanting to try making potato bread for years, interested in how the potato would affect the texture, so I was excited to see she had a whole wheat potato bread recipe on her blog.

Let me tell you, making those nine failed loaves was totally worth it since they eventually led me to this recipe.  (Also, those nine loaves, though deflated, were delicious and still fairly light, and all were eaten by my family who praised it highly.)  This is the lightest, softest bread I have ever made that has whole wheat in it!  It is so soft, in fact, that it’s hard to hold on to it while slicing without smashing it (I used an electric knife after the first slice, and highly suggest it if you have one–it makes the slices nice and even without crushing the bread.)

It is delicious and is perfect for making sandwiches, with a little more nutrition than plain white bread.  Jessie said it made killer grilled cheese sandwiches, so I put it to the test with some pepper jack cheese.  And I concur, KILLER!  I really hope you try this!

Whole Wheat Potato Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 medium potato
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Peel the potato, cut into cubes, and boil in a small saucepan until very soft. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Mash the potato in a small bowl and let cool slightly.

Cream butter, sugar, salt, and egg with an electric mixer. Add potato and mix well.

In a small bowl, put the ½ cup warm water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let is sit for 10 minutes, then add to the potato mixture and beat until combined.

Change beaters to dough hooks and set mixer to 2. If you don’t have dough hooks, you will use your hands from this point forward. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour alternately with the 1 cup cooking liquid*, mixing/kneading well after each addition. Gradually add in the remaining flour until the dough starts to clean the side of the bowl. When that happens, let mixer go an additional 2 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead it in the bowl for about five minutes, or turn out onto a floured surface to knead. My dough was still a bit sticky when I stopped adding flour, but if I picked a ball off and rolled it in my hands, it did not stick to my hands. That is my test to know when I can stop adding flour, even though I really wanted to add more to keep it from sticking as I kneaded. I dealt with it and just scraped my hands off afterward. :)

Once your dough looks a little shiny, you’re done. If it doesn’t look shiny, just let it mix or knead it by hand until it does.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and place somewhere warm. I like to preheat my oven to 350F for one minute, then turn it off and place my bowl in the oven. Let rise for an hour or until dough is doubled.

Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape into loaves by pushing each half into a rectangle, rolling it up, pinching the seam, and tucking the ends under. Place in two greased loaf pans (I slathered mine generously with softened butter). Cover with the towel again and let rise another 30-45 minutes or until doubled again.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and rub the tops with a stick of cold butter. Set on a wire rack to cool

*Notes: Make sure your cooking liquid has cooled to about 115F before adding to the bread dough. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Recipe source: The Vanderbilt Wife

If you’d like to check out the other Secret Recipe Club submissions, click the link below!


Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus

Posted on

Another mouth-watering Mediterranean sandwich, bursting with fresh flavor! This recipe comes from the lovely Debbi, who was inspired by a Panera sandwich. I haven’t tried the original, but I know I like this one!

I messed up my bread (only about half my loaves ever come out right–I’m still learning) and it baked up pretty flat and wide instead of round, but if done properly with enough flour (I’m always scared to add too much), you will have a nice sandwich bread.

I know this recipe seems like a lot of work for a sandwich, but if you break down the process into steps, it’s not so bad. Make your bread one day, and make your hummus while you’re roasting the eggplant the next. Plus, it makes lots of sandwiches!

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Tomato Basil Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used AP)

Pesto Hummus
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (water reserved)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled

Garlic-Roasted Eggplant (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. eggplant (about 2 globe or 4 Italian)
Kosher salt
8 fresh thyme sprigs

Make the bread: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in basil, Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, sugar, oil, salt, pepper flakes and 2 cups of flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 – 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Punch down dough, knead for 1 minute. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, cut a large X in top of loaf. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Make the hummus: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients. Add in reserved bean water slowly until desired consistency is reached.

Make the eggplant:
Mix the minced garlic and oil together in a small bowl and set aside. Slice the eggplant into rings and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Place in a colander and allow to drain for 30 min. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Over the sink, gently squeeze the eggplant to extract the salty juice and wipe them dry with a paper towel. Brush each half thoroughly with the garlic olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes-1 hour. The eggplant will collapse and the bottoms will be a deep brown caramel color. Let cool considerably before handling, at least 20 min. Gently turn the cut side up. If serving as a side dish, serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing or drizzle with vinaigrette. If using in other recipes, scoop the flesh from the skin with a spoon.

For the sandwich: Spread two slices of tomato-basil bread with Pesto Hummus, then top with  lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and Garlic-Roasted Eggplant (if using).

Recipe source: adapted from Debbi Does Dinner and Fine Cooking

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Posted on

Grilled cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup seem to be childhood staples in America, but I never had a grilled cheese sandwich until I was a teen, and never with tomato soup until much later.  I remember when I went to babysit my neighbor’s little boy she asked me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich and I meekly asked her how to do it.  She was dumbfounded, needless to say.  That was my first grilled cheese experience, at sixteen, but after that I started making them at home.

No one gave me the memo that tomato soup pairs perfectly with them until a few years later, but I ignored it since I’ve never liked condensed tomato soup.  That is until I discovered Pacific Natural Foods’ Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup.  That’s when I started serving the classic combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I loved that stuff!

This homemade version is thicker and a little tangier, perhaps because I used jarred red peppers and yogurt rather than roasting them myself and adding heavy cream or milk, but it is just as delicious with the benefit of a homemade taste.  Add more or less sugar to your tastes, and if you decide to use peppers you roasted yourself, please let me know how that turns out–that’s how I’m going to try it next!

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with link

1 jar (12 oz) roasted red peppers in brine, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (28 oz) tomato puree/crushed tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium and fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
Croutons, for serving

Combine drained peppers and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you can place them in your pot and use an immersion blender to puree until as smooth as you like. I left some little chunks in mine because I like a little texture. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, or just add it to the pot if your puree is already in it. Add pepper-tomato mixture, tomato puree, chicken broth, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat just to simmering, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt. Return to stove and heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; top each with a few croutons.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving:  139 calories; 2.5 g fat; 24 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3.5 g protein.  (Calories calculated with 4 croutons per serving)

Recipe source: adapted from Family Circle, February 2011.

Lighter Northern Cornbread

Posted on

The civil war may have ended over 100 years ago, but there are still some battles between the north and south that continue to rage.  The cornbread issue, for instance.  It basically boils down to unsweetened (the south) versus sweetened (the north).  (Isn’t it ironic that the issue of the iced tea is the opposite, the south preferring sweetened?)  I was raised on a hearty whole wheat, unsweetened variety, and loved smothering it with butter and eating it with pinto beans during the cold winter months.  But now that I’m an adult and making my own cornbread, I most often make the northern kind since my hubby won’t eat the other.   I’m Switzerland–a fan of both, which is apt since we live in the middle of the US and aren’t really in the north or the south.

For you that enjoy northern-style cornbread, you can find the absolute best recipe here, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, I’ve come up with a great one for you that won’t disappoint!

Lighter Northern Cornbread

Printable version
Printable version with picture

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat milk
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350; grease a 9×9 pan and set aside.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and stir.  Add wet ingredients and stir just until mixed (it’s OK if there are some lumps).  Bake 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cut into rows of 4 x 4 to make 16 squares.

Per square: 137 calories; 5.5 g fat; 19 g carbohydrate; .8 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Out of curiosity, how do you prefer your cornbread and tea?  Sweet or not?

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted on

Biz from My Bizzy Kitchen has been taunting me with her chicken tikka masala for months.  And months.  It’s my favorite Indian dish of those I’ve had the opportunity to try at restaurants, so I’ve been meaning to make it at home for quite some time.  When Biz changed her recipe to lighten it up, replacing the heavy whipping cream with Greek yogurt, I knew it was time.  And I could not believe that it was even better than what I’ve had at restaurants!  Just like with the dal makhani, it was so good I couldn’t move on and had to bring it back to our menu a second week in a row.  Except this recipe is actually better than the dal makhani, IMHO.  Thank you so much, Biz, for sharing your wonderful recipe with us.  I’m paying it forward to you, my readers, so that you can enjoy it as well.  And you will–it’s simply divine!

Lighter Chicken Tikka Masala

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3/4 cup (6 oz) nonfat, plain Greek yogurt, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 small jalapeno, cut in half, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
6 dried red chili peppers
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce (I use a full teaspoon for more heat)

Mix half the yogurt the chicken, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper. Refrigerate and marinate for one hour. Melt butter in a skillet and add jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons ground cumin, garlic, paprika, curry powder, sriracha sauce and stir for 2 minutes, until nice and fragrant. Add chicken and cook for five minutes, turning pieces half way through. Add tomato sauce and dried chiles and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.  Remove from heat, stir in remaining 3 ounces of Greek yogurt. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 205 calories; 2.5 g fat; 13.7 g carb; 3 g fiber; 29 g protein

Recipe source: barely tweaked from My Bizzy Kitchen

Apple Cake Mabel

Posted on

Before we get to the cake, please remember to head on over to Steph’s Bite by Bite to check out all the wonderful goodies up for auction in the online bake sale, which started at 7 AM today and goes until 9 PM EST.  She’s raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I can’t wait to mail a batch of my Mocha Toffee Brownies to the winning bidder!  Good luck!

OK, now let’s get down to business.  I begged this recipe off my friend, Judy, when she mentioned she had made a sugar-free apple cake that turned out well.  I’m intrigued by anything that is sugar-free that also tastes good, as I have not had a lot of personal success with this.  I discovered that the cake was made with Splenda and shortening and this repelled me on many levels, but also awakened a creative desire to make it healthier with a natural sweetener and not only non-hydrogenated fat, but less of it.  As I mentioned in my post on chocolate chip banana bread, I’ve been experimenting with Truvia, a natural calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia plant’s leaves, so I used that in addition to brown sugar to give a better, more natural flavor.  I didn’t mess with the diet soda in the recipe, but it could easily be switched out for any variety of Zevia (a calorie-free soda made with stevia), or with club soda and additional Truvia.

Now, I’m not sure who Mabel is, or if she was even the one to come up with the original recipe, but I hope that she would be as pleased as I am with my adaptation.  It isn’t as light and tender as a traditional cake, but a little more dense like coffee cake, moist, perfectly sweet & spiced, with tender chunks of apple in every bite.  It is best served the day you bake it as it gets a little dry a couple days later, but it can be returned to it’s former glory with a few seconds in the microwave.

Apple Cake Mabel

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
4 oz cup (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup diet Dr. Pepper or cream soda
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Truvia
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 large apple, peeled & chopped

Toppping
¼ chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.  Beat eggs until smooth & uniform in color, then add in brown sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated and mixture is slightly thickened. Add applesauce, diet Dr. Pepper, canola oil, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the apples, and beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Fold in apples and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the toppings over the top in the order listed and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

*Veronica’s note: I recommend using a sweet baking apple, such as Braeburn, Rome, or Gala.

Makes 15 servings. Per piece: 139 calories; 2.6 g fat; 28 g carb; 1.4 fiber; 3.2 protein

Recipe source: adapted from Judy L.

%d bloggers like this: