Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apple Bread Pudding

I've made loaves of apple bread and banana bread recently, and both times we ended up with a few slices that get dry before we get around to eating them.  I really hate to waste them and throw them away, so I decided to try this bread pudding recipe with the leftover apple bread.  YUM.  This recipe would still be great with sliced bread or French bread, and you could just slice up some apples and add them in the dish for that flavor.  It would also be great with banana bread and some chopped pecans.  It was very easy to put together, and it was decadent and especially delicious with vanilla ice cream. 

Apple Bread Pudding

3 eggs
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cups hot water
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups cubed bread

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Add sweetened condensed milk, hot water, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Stir in bread, moistening completely.  Turn into a 9" square baking pan. 

Bake 55-60 minutes, or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm; refrigerate leftovers. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Southwest Pizza

We do like our pizza, and we love nachos, so this was a crafty way to combine the two.  It was good; just make sure you get your crust nice and crisp.  You can add any other Southwest toppings you want--maybe corn, red onion, or cilantro.  You can also dip it in more salsa, sour cream, or even Ranch dressing.  Yum!

Southwest Pizza

1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 cup salsa
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
1 cup shredded Mexian four-cheese blend

Prebake crust according to package directions.  Spread crust with salsa.  Sprinkle with beans, cheese, and jalapeno peppers.  Bake at package-directed temperature until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Open-Faced Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is a yummy way to jazz up a regular ham and cheese sandwich; it's really good and has ingredients you already have at your house!  Instead of regular sliced bread, we used sandwich buns that were about to be stale.  It was quick and tasty.  We'll make it again.

The recipe below makes 6 servings, so scale it down to fit your family's needs.  Enjoy!

Open-Faced Monte Cristo Sandwiches

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp honey mustard
6 bread slices
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb thinly sliced ham
6 slices Swiss cheese

Whisk together first three ingredients in a shallow dish.  Dip both sides of each bread slice into the egg mixture. 

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add 3 bread slices, and cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove from skillet, and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of butter and three bread slices.

Place bread slices on a baking sheet.  Top each bread slice with ham and cheese.  Broil six inches from heat for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Parmesan Pesto Crescent Rolls

This was the perfect bread to go with our pasta.  (Read: these carbs were delicious with our other carbs.)  It was nice to get so much taste from such little effort.  We'll have these again soon! 

Parmesan Pesto Crescent Rolls

1 can crescent rolls
Basil pesto
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Unroll crescent rolls on baking sheet.  On each unrolled cresecnt, place 1/2 tablespoon pesto and 1 teaspoon grated Paremsan cheese.  If desired, sprinkle extra Parmesan cheese on top of rolls.  Roll up and bake for 11-13 minutes.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pasta Ponza

Okay, this isn't really Giada's recipe for Pasta Ponza, but it's what I based this recipe off of.  It was so easy and so delicious.  I especially love pasta dishes because they're so great as leftovers for lunch the next day, and this was just as good reheated the next day.  

One of the secrets of this recipe is tossing the hot pasta with cheese immediately.  The cheese sticks to the hot pasta, and then the sauce will stick to the cheese.  It was fantastic.  We loved this, and we'll definitely make it again.

Pasta Ponza

Cooking spray
13.25 oz penne pasta (I used whole wheat pasta)
1 cup (or 6 oz) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a shallow glass baking dish with cooking spray, and place the halved tomatoes in the dish.  Drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, and cool for 5 minutes.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water.  Cook until tender but still firm to the bite.  Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. 

Place the hot pasta in a large serving bowl, and toss immediately with the cheese.  Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the pasta, and mix.  Thin the sauce with the pasta water, if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle the fresh basil on top.  Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

On Saturday evening, as I was cooking dinner, I heard a faint noise somewhere in the house.  I couldn't find anything in the living room, so I looked in the dark bedroom and saw nothing at first glance.  It wasn't until I was turning to leave the room that something caught the corner of my eye: Teak lying on the dresser.  That's right.  On the dresser.  I have no idea why.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pollo Loco - Mexican Chicken and Rice

This was absolutely fantastic!  This is just as good, if not better, than the best chicken and rice you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant.  It will have to be a once-a-week meal in this house. 

I could have done more with the presentation in the photo to wow you, so if the photo doesn't do it for you, please try this recipe anyway.  It was delicious, and the leftovers were great, too!  Thank you, Steph at Plain Chicken, for sharing the recipe!

Pollo Loco

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle Lawry's Baja Chipotle marinade
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long grain rice--not instant (but I used medium grain and it was fine)
1 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
1 tsp taco seasoning
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 container Mexican queso (I used Gordon's cheese dip)

Marinate chicken breasts in Baja Chipotle marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (overnight is best).  When ready, grill chicken until done (165 degrees). 

While the chicken is grilling, prepare the rice.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add rice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden (8-10 minutes).  While rice is cooking, sprinkle with taco seasoning. 

Stir in onion flakes, chicken broth, and tomato sauce; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.   Fluff with a fork. 

Heat cheese dip according to package directions, and set aside.

To assemble the pollo loco, spoon 1/4 of the rice on a plate, top with a chicken breast, and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of queso on top.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes and cilantro, if desired. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Banana Bread Bruschetta

I saw this recipe in a Southern Living cookbook, and since I had just made banana bread, I couldn't help but try it out.  YUM.  This was delicious!  If you want to make your own banana bread, you can of course use the recipe for Almost No Fat Banana Bread, but you could easily just buy a loaf at the bakery.  This would be great at brunch with a mimosa, or you could use it as an appetizer at a party.  It's wonderful.

Banana Bread Bruschetta

1 loaf banana bread
Goat cheese
Apricot or pear preserves

Slice banana bread into half-inch-thick slices.  Cut each slice in half, and arrange on a baking sheet.  Broil 6 inches from heat for 2 minutes.  Spread each slice evenly with 2 tsp goat cheese and 1/2 tsp apricot or pear preserves. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Almost No Fat Banana Bread

Do you like how my natural reaction is to spread cream cheese all over the banana bread that has almost no fat?  I do see the irony. 

The bread really is delicious without any toppings though.  It's very moist and has a great banana flavor.  It's quick to put together, and it smells great coming out of the oven.  I'm sure it would be great as muffins, too. 

Almost No Fat Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs whites (or 1 egg)
1 cup banana, mashed (2 large bananas)
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease and 8"x4" loaf pan.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Add egg whites, bananas, and applesauce; stir until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Turn out onto wire rack and cool before slicing. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ham and Cheese Rolls

Oh my gosh.  You will thank me for these little gems.  They're completely delicious, pretty easy to put together, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a casual dinner.  They're really filling, too; the full recipe makes 12 rolls, but you could cut it to 6 rolls easily.

I slightly tweaked this Southern Living recipe, and I'll definitely make it again.  As the recipe below notes, you can make them in a 10-inch skillet or round pan or a 9-jnch square glass dish.  I tried to fit as many as I could (which was nine) in a 9-inch round pan, and the other three I put in my muffin-top pan.  They all tasted equally delicious, but the ones in the muffin-top pan browned more quickly than the ones in the round pan. 

Ham and Cheese Rolls

12 frozen biscuits (I used Mary B's)
All-purpose flour
¼ cup dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 cup (4oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 (9oz) container deli sliced ham, chopped or torn into pieces
Cooking spray

Arrange frozen biscuits, with sides touching, in three rows of four biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Let stand 30-45 minutes or until biscuits are thawed but still cool to the touch.

Sprinkle thawed biscuits lightly with flour. Press biscuit edges together, and pat to form a 12x10” rectangle of dough; spread evenly with mustard, and sprinkle minced onion flakes on top. Top evenly with the cup of shredded Swiss cheese and then with the ham.

Roll up, starting at 1 long end; cut into 12 (about 1” thick) slices. Place rolls into a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet, 10-inch round pan, or 9-inch square pan. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until center rolls are golden brown and done; cool slightly.