Friday, November 28, 2008

Rustic Pan Bread

Rustic is such a fabulously useful word. Have dents and scratches in your furniture? Oh - it's now rustic furniture. Is the landscaping around your house lacking the finesse of the neighbor's? No worries -it's a rustic landscape. Do you have a crappy old pan and only about an hour* to throw something together for dinner? Make Rustic Pan Bread!

I shared this recipe last year, but I feel like it's been buried. I'm re-posting it under a new name - although the "rustic" applies more to the state of the pan I use than the actual bread. Hopefully with the "rustic" title it will be less intimidating for some of you as well. I've found that this bread is kind of hard to mess up. I love that kneading is not required and you can top this bread with all sorts of things. One of my favorites is melted butter and dried rosemary.

Rustic Pan Bread
(mom - is this originally your recipe?)

2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon yeast
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
melted butter

In a bowl dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in flour and salt. Dough will still be quite sticky (see photo).

Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise* until double in size.

Grease a small cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. Spread dough flat onto sheet with palm of hand.

Spread melted butter on top. You can also add Garlic Parmesan Blend, sesame seeds, dried rosemary, or just butter! (hm. Looks like I went a little heavy on the butter this time)

Let dough rise again*. Bake 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

*note: Rising times will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. The last time I made this bread it rose really quickly and it was done and ready to eat in about an hour.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sauteed Green Beans and Garlic

This is my new favorite side dish for week night meals. It's quick to whip up, but looks and tastes like you put some thought into it. You can easily adjust the size of this recipe - I'd say for each two to three servings added, include an additional garlic clove. If you're not a garlic fan, use just one clove. If you LOVE garlic you're on your own. Just be sure and have some mints handy after dinner.

I have to add a disclaimer on my photo. The night I photographed these beans, I had let the pan get a little too hot and the garlic is a little too brown. You get the idea though.

Sauteed Green Beans and Garlic

fresh green beans (enough for 4 people), ends trimmed
2 garlic cloves (3 if small), minced
about 1 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Trim the ends of the beans. Fill a medium to large sized pot with water and bring to a boil. Toss in beans and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Drain green beans and add to skillet. Toss for 1-2 minutes, add salt, pepper and garlic. Continue to toss for another minute, watching garlic so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and serve.

Cranberry Chutney

I had this for the first time last year at Thanksgiving and instantly fell in love. This dish even converted several so-called cranberry haters (including Mr. Dinner's on Me.) Thank you to my sis-in-law for sharing it with me, and thank you to her in-laws for sharing it with her.

This is the best kind of recipe - all loosey-goosey. No exact measurements - just taste as you go and stop when it is delicious. It really is so much better if you can make it the day before.

Cranberry Chutney

2 bags of fresh cranberries
juice of 2 or 3 oranges
zest of 1 or 2 oranges
juice of 1 or 2 lemons
zest of 1 or 2 lemons
about 3/4 cups sugar (maybe more)

Combine all in a food processor (or use one of these on the cranberries.) Do not over process - you want some chunks of the cranberries.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Here...

I'm here! I'm busy - but I'm still here.

See...this is what I did today. I'm still cooking and baking, I just haven't had time to blog about it all.

Cinnamon roll, anyone?

Tomorrow I'll add two posts about some Thanksgiving side dish options: a delicious Cranberry Chutney recipe that I got from my sis-in-law, and some simple yet amazing sauteed green beans and garlic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Week 78 Menu

Monday - Taco Salads
Tuesday - Steaks, Polenta and mushrooms to top it all off
Wednesday - Chicken Noodle Soup & Pan Bread
Thursday - Baked Salmon w/Pesto (something like THIS)
Friday - eat out
Saturday - BBQ Club Sandwiches (we eat these a lot!)
Sunday - Beef Stew & rolls

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Week 77 Menu

Monday - Mom's Potato Soup
Tuesday - Feta Penne, green salad & french bread
Wednesday - mac & cheese
Thursday - Roasted Red Pepper Soup & skillet cornbread
Friday - Ginger Pork Pot Stickers & Fried Rice
Saturday - eat out
Sunday - breakfast burritos & fruit salad

This week's treat: Pumpkin Spice Muffins and/or Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cranberry Upside-Downer

I don't know how I ever found this recipe. Occasionally I go on lengthy searches through the internet to find new and interesting recipes. Sometimes I get lost. This was one of those recipes I came across in my wanderings, and I'm glad I bookmarked for testing. Side note: My recipe testing bookmark list regularly has about 25 recipes on it.

After I tested this recipe (and loved it) I found the cookbook at my local library (LOVE my library). Since then, I've made other baked bits of heaven from the cookbook and loved them all. I believe I'll be asking Santa for my own copy of this huge book.

What did I love about this cake? I loved the size. It makes a one layer 8-inch cake; 6-8 servings. I loved the crunch of the walnuts and the tangy cranberries. They perfectly topped the warm cinnamon cake. I served it about 20 minutes out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Magnificent. Mr. Dinner's on Me thought it would make a good dessert to follow Christmas dinner.

Link to Cranberry Upside-Downer recipe

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Week 76 Menu

Monday - eat out
Tuesday - Pork Tenderloin w/ Sour Cream-Cider Sauce
Wednesday - Spaghetti, bread, green beans
Thursday - Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Carrots
Friday - Pesto Chicken Florentine
Saturday - BBQ Club sandwiches & spinach salad w/poppy seed dressing
Sunday - Chicken tacos