Friday, April 16, 2010

What happened to Kelly?

Well I have been going through some personal things (I know none of you want to hear about it) but have been trying my best to keep up with house work, yard work, and finding a new job along with interviewing for grad schools. I actually am continuing to cook and make things .. some new, some old .. but never remember the camera.

Recently I made these and gave them to my pregnant friend Brittany who was craving cupcakes and loves chocolate. I'm pretty sure 5 minutes after I left her house I got a text from her saying that they were "divine" (her exact wording). I saved two and gave one to a friend and one to my husband. They both loved them too.

I think that is the only new thing I have made recently but I need to ramp up my cook book collection so that might be my next step .. a trip to Half Price Books. That just might be the motivation I need. I sincerely apologize and promise to have something posted soon!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Banana Berry Muffins

I saw these muffins and just absolutely had to make them! They have berries in them (my favorite thing to eat in this entire world) and something I had always been afraid to use: bran. Oh yes, wheat bran. Trust me, these muffins are even more delicious than anything from a box and double coated in sugar topping. I used a variety of strawberries, blueberries, rasberries and blackberries. Let me just say ... the blackberries and rasberries provided the most flavor and juiciness by far! I am sure you could use your own variety but the different flavors were just amazing. Plus as a bonus, they were the quickest and easiest breakfast for my husband who notoriously wakes up late and skips breakfast. I finally have found a healthy, delicious, quick breakfast for him to grab while running out the door for work! Also the original recipe called for oat bran but per the usual my grocery store ex grocery store didn't carry it.

Banana Berry Muffins
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally Cooking on the Side

Yields 8-10 small/medium muffins

1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
dash salt
2.5 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 medium bananas
1 egg white
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp butter, softened or melted
1/2 cup orange juice
1.5 cups fresh or frozen berries (if frozen no need to defrost)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, bran, salt, milk powder, baking powder and soda. Stir well with a fork and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, gently mash the bananans and egg whites until blended well and frothy. I would highly suggest using the splash guard for this step because it does get messy and I almost had banana covered cabinets! Stir in the honey, butter, orange juice and blend well. Mix in the dry ingredients a little at a time until well blended. Grently fold in the berries. Scoop into muffin trays or cups until they are just below the top of the rim. These will make medium sized (and perfect for snacking or breakfast) muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan and transfer to wire rack to cool another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy fresh from the oven or store in airtight container. If you would like warm muffins in the morning, microwave for 10-15 seconds depending on how hot you would like it. A little goes a long way in there.  ;)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

My husband and I have recently been trying to plan a weekend trip to Chicago, Illinois. One of the many places we want to experience is their famous deep-dish style pizza they are famous for. Thankfully we were able to try it out at home first. This just makes it that much more prudent that we plan this trip. Just so you know, this is not the first homemade pie crust I have made, but it certainly was the softest and tastiest. However, this is the very first deep dish my husband and I have ever had (restaurant or otherwise). Even though we have no comparison, we do know what we like .. and this is it!! It is so weird to put the toppings on the pizza dough and top with the sauce but really it was delicious. It did make the pizza a little unamageable by hand and we ended up with forks, but all in all it tasted fantastic!

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
Adapted from: Annie's Eats, originally Cooks Illustrated January-February 2010

For the dough
1.5 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal *
dash salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast (not quite 1 packet, although next time I will use the entire packet)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water, at room temperature
1.5 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter, softened
For the sauce
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp onion, very finely chopped
pinch dried oregano
dash salt
1.5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can crushed tomatoes (14 oz)
pinch sugar
2 tbsp basil
1.5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch ground black pepper
For assembling and topping
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 oz mozzarella, shredded
2-4 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
pepperoni and sausage (or any other toppings you like)
To make the dough, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Mix for about 1 minute (until well blended) and add the water and butter and mix an additional 1-2 minutes until blended. You may scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium-low and knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough will easily pull off the hook and sides of the bowl. Using hands, coat a medium bowl with 1 tsp (do not use more than this) of olive oil and coat the dough with the oil. Cover bowl with saran wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature. Dough should have nearly doubled.
While the dough is rising, you may prepare the sauce mixture. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds to allow to become fragrant. Stir in tomatoes and sugar and increase heat to medium-high. Bring mixture to a slight simmer and then lower heat to low and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and add basil and oil and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.
To laminate the dough, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface that is slightly floured. Roll into a 8x6 inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over dough surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Starting at the shorter end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder and leave the seam side down. Flatten the cylinder into a 9x2 inch rectangle. Fold into thirds (similar to a business letter) and pinch the seams closed to form a ball. Return to oiled bowl, cover tightly with saran wrap and let rise in the refridgerator until nearly doubled in size (50 minutes).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To begin to put pizza together, coat a 9-inch round cake pan (or we used a 9x9 baking dish, square) with 2 tbsp olive oil. Transfer dough ball to dry work surface that is slightly floured. Roll into a 13-inch disk about 1/4-inch thick and transfer to the pan. Lightly press the dough in the pan, working into corners and 1 inch up the sides. If dough resists stretching you may let it sit for 5 minutes and try again.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese onto pizza dough. Place any toppings you desire on top of that (pepperoni, onion, sausage, etc). Top with the tomato sauce mixture and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. remove from oven and allow to sit 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
* Not sure if it is a real substitute but I used Jiffy's Cornmuffin Mix instead of buying a $5 bag of yellow cornmeal (no thank you). Worked fine for me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Old Fashioned Baked Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit .. just kidding! Every time I make baked beans (almost never) I have to sing that song at least once. It just makes me giggle inside. Yeah, sometimes cooking reverts me back to my 9-year-old immature days. We all know we were once immature. Getting back to the recipe .. my husband had a friend over to go fishing this past weekend and I couldn't pass up this opportunity to try out my moms baked beans recipe. Of course she loves her onion so if this were her actual recipe it wouldn't look like beans in the picture, it would look like onions with a few beans spread throughout (you know I love ya, mom). Well I used just a pinch of onion because my husband doesn't too much care for it and a few other common household ingredients and voila! The perfect side dish for your BBQ or party this summer. I am not sure why I skipped over doing Easter recipes but I really, really, really am enjoying all this unseasonably warm weather we have been having!

Old Fashioned Baked Beans
Adapted from: Kelly's Kitch original (mamma's recipe)

1 can baked beans of preference (1lb) - I chose country style
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dijon mustard (or you can use regular mustard too)

Mix all ingredients in a 9x9 greased baking dish on 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes because beans will be HOT. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Macaroni Salad

With all this unseasonably warm weather we have been having in Central Indiana, my husband and I have been befriending our grill yet again for a long season of cooking! Brachts, hamburgers, hot dogs . . my oh my how they do make me smile just thinking of them all! I am usually a healthy eater and watch my portions well, but when it comes to "baseball food" as I like to call it, it becomes a real challenge to control myself. One thing that helps to fill me up is macaroni salad. I have had several versions and this, by far, is one of the best recipes I have come across. Not only does it not have peas in it (yeah, it's by choice) but it is very easy to make with all things I usually tend to have around the kitchen anyways. This time I had some leftover rotini noodles so why not use what I have, right. Not only does this dish make for a fantastic side to any outdoor grill or BBQ, but it also keeps well at room temperature for camping! I am about to go in a few weeks and cannot wait to blog what we cook there out in nature where there are no computers, blogs or recipes. =)

Macaroni (Rotini?) Salad
Adapted from: Sing for your Supper

1/2-3/4 lb pasta shapes (I chose Rotini), cooked and drained
3 small carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup italian salad dressing
1 tsp dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.