Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whats for Dinner???????????

Roast Chicken over Garlicy Escarole. This has to be one of my top 10 favorite dinners. It's a simple hearty meal that just does it for me everytime. Forget that it's both figure and Diabetic (I am one) friendly, it's just plain goooooooooooood!

Take one whole chicken (3-4lbs) and rub it with just about every and any herb in your cubbord.Salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry, rosemary, complete seasoning..... (what ever you like best) .

Drizzle it with lemon juice and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes. (until the juices run clear or it registers 165 on a thermometer).

For the escarole. Heat some oil (I use canola) in a large pot add chopped fresh garlic, salt, pepper to taste and some additional garlic powder. Saute for a few minutes to soften the garlic before adding 2 heads of washed chopped escarole. Cover and cook until the escarole is wilted but still has a little crunch.

With a slotted spoon place escarole on a large serving platter .(Don't throw away the juice save it and add to chicken stock. I drink it out of a cup OK so I'm strange).Layer the roasted chicken over the escarole and prepare to embark on a flavorful satisfying meal.

Until tomorrow Eat Well, Live Well

Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake w/ Orange Glaze

Feeling a bit restless and craving something this beautiful Sunday morning in New York I decided to bake. I am usually not a sweet eater (I'd rather waste my calories on savory) but every once in a while.........

As I sifted through my pantry I came upon a few ingredients I thought would go together nicely.

Ok I took a bit of help from store bought items but I think this was a winner just the same.

1 box yellow cake mix

1 box sugar free orange jello

1 cup fresh cranberries ( these were fresh cranberries I bought and had in my freezer)

1 /4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup confectioners sugar

orange slices and cranberries (optional for garnish)

Make cake according to box directions. Add the jello, cranberries and mayonnaise.

Place batter into a bundt pan and bake for 35-4o minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check for doneness using the toothpick method.

Cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out on cooling rack and cool completly.

For the glaze:

Mix together the orange juice with the powdered sugar until you reach a thick yet pourable consistancy. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

Garnish with orange slices and cranberries. Serve and enjoy!

For me this hit the spot. It was like a brunch treat. The combination of orange and cranberries was refreshing just enough sweet and tart, the perfect balance. I had a peice with a lovely cup of coffee and satisfied my craving.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebration Bread

Making bread has always been something I love to do though I don't do it as often as I like. I have never used a bread machine, I mix and knead every loaf the old school way; by hand. I find it quite relaxing and theraputic to feel the raw ingredients come to life in my hands.

I have numerous bread recipes in my collection (I even produced some tasty bagels) but my favorite by far would be the "Celebration Bread". This bread is fool proof and has never let me down. Friends and family request it again and again.

I am not sure where this bread recipe came from but it was given to my mother years ago and I adopted it as my own. I even gave it it's name; due to the nature of what this bread was originally used for.

My mother teaches religion classes (for over 20years now) to 7yr olds preparing them to make their First Holy Communion. Every year in the Lenten Season they have a retreat where the children gather for the day and create banners for their Communion Day as well as make bread to symbolize the bread Christ shared with his 12 Apsotles at the Last Supper. Each year I help my mother prepare the bread for the children and to me it was a celebration so everytime I refered to the bread I called it "Celebration Bread" and the name just stuck.

This year my mother was unable to make the bread so I took on the task myself, producing 92 loaves of these little beauties. I make the bread the night before allowing it to rise and then each child is given a piece to shape their own loaf. We bake it and then they get to take it home. It is quite nice for the kids as they are quite proud of what they have produced, excited to share this bread with their famlies.

As I said this bread is fool proof. It comes out perfect every time. You cannot over knead it, beat it, flour it (you should see what the children put it through) so even if you have never made bread before I highly recommend you try this recipe. It even freezes well.
Here is what you will need to yeild
2 loaves of bread (1.25 lbs each) or
6 mini loaves (7oz each) or
18 dinner rolls.

1 packet dry yeast (I have used both rapid rise and regular) both work equally well.
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup skim milk powder
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl combine yeast, sugar , milk powder and water. Mix with a wooden spoon allowing yeast to dissolve and incorporate with other ingredients.
Add salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour. Stir well with wooden spoon.
Now add 2 more cups of flour and continue to mix with wooden spoon until incorporated.
At this point you will be able to turn the dough out onto a floured board. Using the last cup as needed. (depending on the day you may use all 6 cups of flour or not).
Knead the dough until smooth and silky approximatley 5-8minutes.
Place in a warm environment covered with a clean towel (I also use a blanket) and allow to rise. This should take approximately 45-60 minutes.
Punch down, shape into loaves (I free form them) or you can place in a disposable loaf pan and allow to rise a second time. Approx 30 minutes.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so I open the oven and mist the bread with water this creates steam in the oven producing a beautiful brown crispy crust.

This bread is sooooooooooo good just like this, but after doing it for some time now I have expanded on it a bit by adding pesto to the mix or chopping some greek olivesin and even shredding whatever cheeses I have on hand at the time to create a completly different taste. This recipe has endless combinations. It's limited to your imagination.
So go ahead and give it a try. I know you will enjoy it and really be suprised at how easy it is to make. Your family and friends will thank you and think you are a rock star.

Until tomorrow. Eat well, Live well.
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