Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bean and Rice Salad--Toss for fun!

I tossed this easy, healthy and tasty dinner together last night and my family was so happy. I think in the future I will use 2 cans of beans instead of one, maybe one black and one kidney. I should also mention that it has a lot of eye appeal, pretty food gets tried and eaten, with all the colors and textures it appears very festive.
I served this hot but it would be good chilled too. Or wrapped in a burrito. It was just good.
This is what I tossed in this time:
2 cups cooked rice, hot
1 can black beans, heated
1 cup corn
3/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
This is how I did it:
As soon as the rice is cooked and the beans heated through, set a large bowl to the side where you can keep adding the ingredients as you go. I used my favorite pasta bowl. Pretty.
I had to cut my corn off the cob but if you are using frozen corn just cook until tender and drain.
Add to the bowl with the onions,
red pepper,
cilantro, chili powder, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Add the hot beans and rice.
Grab a couple large spoons and toss gently but thoroughly.

Try doing this and taking a photo. Actually, my daughter walked in and tossed while I snapped pics.
So pretty, and when the hot rice and beans hit the other ingredients the fragrance was incredible.
We ate this as our main dish sprinkled with cheese and served with corn bread but it would make a terrific side to grilled chicken.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Zucchini Cream Pasta-Super Quick and Easy

Sometimes we want quick but never do we want to be short changed on flavor, and anytime I can get some extra vegetables into my family it is a good thing. We have this quick pasta dish frequently in the summer when zucchini is abundant and I do mean abundant, two plants can supply a large family and a small neighborhood.
Lots of garlic or just a hint it's up to you, but the tender zucchini amidst the rich cream sauce is a real winner! As a side note, I have used rice pasta and rice flour in this recipe as well as white all purpose and spelt.
Recipe:         Serves 4-6
8 oz. dry pasta (I use Dreamfield's Pasta, it is low carb)
2-3 small zucchini
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour or a pinch of xanthan gum
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 cup cream or half and half
Put the cream into a measuring cup or bowl and stir the flour into it.
Set aside.
Julienne the zucchini and set aside. For the beginners- slice,
 stack the slices
then cut the stack into match sticks.
Fill a large pot with water for the pasta, bring to boiling over high heat.
While water comes to boil, heat a medium to large skillet and add the olive oil and zucchini. Saute until tender crisp, not mush! About 5-7 minutes.
As soon as the water boils add pasta and turn down slightly so it won't boil over. Stir every couple minutes to keep from sticking together.
As soon as the zucchini is tender, add the garlic, salt and pepper, toss gently to combine.
 Pour the cream mixture into the zucchini, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes until thickened.
Turn down heat to keep warm.
When pasta is tender, drain in a colander.
Toss pasta with sauce in large pasta bowl to serve family style at the table or serve individually in bowls or plates.
This could be used as side dish or main dish or whatever you are in the mood for. Pairs well with chicken and/or salad.
Because there is real life happening here, the dog has to go out and my son needs help with his math assignment (right now;), we appreciate quick and easy meals. I hope you enjoy this one.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beer Bread-Light and Crusty!

This bread was so good, the crust was light but crunchy and the interior tender and moist.
Let me start by saying that I don't drink and beer is not a staple in my home, however, every great once in a while someone gives a can of beer (or two this week) to me. I can hear you now, "you don't drink but some one gives you a can a beer" ---Yep ( I have a great vocabulary ;).
A while ago, my neighbor, who knows I don't drink, was coming out of his house with a beer in his hand (it was a very hot day) noticed I was there talking to his wife before picking up their son to come play with our son. Thinking I would decline and hoping to at least have the fun of a look of disdain he offered a cold beer. Having just seen a recipe for "beer biscuits" I told him yes but I would prefer to open it myself. I didn't tell him it would be later. So it was me enjoying his look of astonishment followed by disappointment as I thanked him and took my beer home. Later I took a plate of biscuits over, I think we're okay since he volunteered to tow my husband's car to the shop a few weeks later.
This week I happened upon two, different source. bread.
Beer Bread
3 cups SIFTED flour ( I used spelt )
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1  12 oz. beer
1/2 cup melted butter, divided
Preheat oven to 375F
Mix dry ingredients.
Add 1/2 the melted butter and the beer.
It is very wet and sticky.
Pour into a well greased loaf pan and pour the rest of the melted butter on the top.
Don't be afraid of the butter, it's good for you just eat lots of salad.
Bake for 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 190F.
Perfect. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then loosen the sides and remove from pan to cooling rack.
Try this with a drizzle of honey.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

The last time I made these they started to disappear from the pan before I could frost them. I was so miffed that I never did get a good "finished" photo. I should be flattered that my husband and son like them so much that they couldn't resist an unattended pan of rolls, and that did serve to make the frosting that much thicker on the remaining spirals, hmm, one sounds good right now.
As I set up the mixer, on the counter next to the window, I noticed this little guy sitting quietly on the edge of the window box.
After a few minutes, he picked several strands of the coconut liner off and flew away. I am so glad that Spring is on the way.
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 eggs
4 cups flour plus some for rolling
3-4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
ground cinnamon
Frosting at bottom of page.
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Allow to get frothy.
Add the butter, salt and eggs. Stir until combined.
Mix in the flour, the dough will be very sticky.
Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes. It should be puffy.
Knock it down, which simply means to knead it with your hand until it deflates, then put it on the counter which has been sprinkled with flour.
 Sprinkle the top of dough with flour too.
Roll into a 12x18 inch rectangle.
Brush with the melted butter.
Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Generously, sprinkle with cinnamon.
Carefully, without tearing the dough (if possible), roll the long side.
Cut into 12-18 slices, it really depends on how large you want your finished roll.
Arrange them in a WELL buttered 9x13 inch baking pan.
Cover with the towel again and allow to rise for 40  minutes. Then preheat the oven to 375F.
and bake for 18 minutes or until golden.
Now here is where it gets tricky, you should let these cool slightly before frosting or glazing or it will just run to the low spots. However, the whole house will now be alerted to the fact that there is something wonderfully fragrant in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen this is what will happen before you return to frost them.
I have used a variety of frostings for these and have two favorites. The first is a cream cheese frosting that is both quick and easy.
Into the mixing bowl, put 1 stick of soft butter and 8 oz. soft cream cheese. Beat until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2-3 cups powdered sugar. Beat until spreadable consistency.
Spread generously on top of semi cool rolls.
My favorite frosting is found on Pioneer Woman's website, it is a coffee maple glaze, wow, that's all I can say.
I halved it for a 9x13.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons brewed coffee
pinch salt
Whisk this all together until smooth and pour/drizzle over cinnamon rolls.
Have a cup of the rest of the coffee with one of these, it will make the whole day seem better! Well it did for me.