Friday, February 09, 2007

That is so last year!

Have I mentioned that I would like last year to go poof? Because I would. It influences my life weekly, down to the fact that I think cooking or eating certain things reminds me and my husband of last year, and therefore we no longer like them.

Case in point: Balsamic Chicken.
I used to recommend this gem of a dish to anyone looking for a light, not bad for you, tastey chicken dish. I got the initial recipe off of a Weight Watchers webpage, and aside from adding a little more olive oil, I follow the recipe and do not need to doctor it up. But we are done with it. I made it last night, and I think I decided that balsamic vinegar is no longer a necessary ingredient in my house. On salads, perhaps. But champagne vinegar may be the new balsamic. (Honey, it is used in Bernaise sauce. And we LIKE THAT on steaks; you'll be reminded tonight at Hyde Park!!)

Anywho...for some, butternut squash is "so last year". But I got the guts to start cooking with it and sweet potatoes THIS year. Note: a "year" to me, begins in September and ends in June.

I have made: butternut squash soup, butternut squash cream sauce for gorgonzola raviolis, and I put it in a pot sticker wrapper for a squash ravioli. The soup was created this week, along with a laundry list of other things. The list and recipes will follow:

Butternut Squash Soup: I found this on!
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped (I also chopped up a small leek)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed (I used one red potato, one sweet potato)
1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock (I used less than this)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
My herb additions:
chopped sage
1/2t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1 t red curry powder
2T brown sugar

White Bean Dip:
Can of white beans
Blend and dip carrots, red peppers, and celery in it.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:
4 boiled, shredded chicken breasts
equal parts: (In this case, 8 ounces of each)
Franks Red Hot
Cream Cheese
Ranch Dressing
Shredded cheddar on top (amount may vary)
Soak chicken in Franks in the casserole dish that you will use to bake it. Melt cream cheese with dressing, mix. Top the chicken. Top all with cheese. Bake at 375 until it is bubbly melty.

"Why didn't anyone tell me about this" Salsa
Can of chopped tomatoes with garlic and onion
jalapeno (canned) slices
lime juice
BLEND in food processor. This tastes just like the Senor Antonios, Las Margaritas, and La Vaquera salsas!!

Soft Pretzels
1 tsp dry yeast
2 tbls and 2 tsp brown sugar
2+ cups flour
coarse kosher salt
baking soda
shortening or butter (I used cooking spray...with NO problems)
Directions: 1) In large mixing bowl mix 1 tbls HOT water and 1 tsp yeast. Mix until yeast dissolves completely. 2) Stir in 2/3 cup WARM water. 3) Stir in 2 tbls and 2 tsp brown sugar. 4) Slowly add 2 cups flour, stirring constantly. Contuine stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. 5) Lightly flour counter. Dip your hands into extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work) 6) Grease cookie sheet(s) well with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheet(s) with kosher salt. Preheat oven to 475. 7) Using liquid measuring cup fill a large saucepan at least 1/2 full of water. For each 1 cup of water, add 1 tbls baking soda. 8) Divide the dough into 16 equal sized pieces. 9) Using the following 4 steps shape each dough ball into a pretzel shape... 1)Roll the dough into a rope 14\" long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the dough into a U shape. 2) Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips. 3) Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends back, towards the middle of the U. 4) Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly. 10) Bring water into saucepan to a gentle boil (not to many bubbles) 11) Use pancake turner to lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Then lift the pretzel onto the greased and salted cookie sheet (shaking off excess water back into the saucepan). Repeat until all the pretzels are done. 12) Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in preheated oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.

Pizza Dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.


Lisa0007 said...

Mmmm...the soup is definitely something I'll be trying. Do you puree after cooking?

Anonymous said...

Don't both the pretzels and pizza dough go against your cardinal rule of no Yeast in the house. Out out damn yeast?

Kristy said...

Oh savvy anon poster. You have beat me to the "Yeast Dance", where I gloat about yeast finally WORKING in my house.