Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fail-Proof French Bread

This bread totally and completely lives up to its name. I followed the directions and was ready to start the kneading process, when I realized that my pregnant brain had forgotten to add the yeast! I added it then, thinking all was lost and it still turned out delicious, light on the inside and crusty on the outside, and was so simple! This bread will be making more appearances at our house for sure. Thank you Heather from for sharing this one!

*Note: you do need a good stand mixer for this one. I was fortunate to finally get my Kitchenaid mixer for my birthday last year. This recipe has very specific instructions that contribute to the light texture and I just don't think it would turn out the same if it was mixed or kneaded by hand.

Fail-proof French Bread
1/2 cup warm water
2 TB yeast
Mix and dissolve, set aside.

2 cups hot water
3 TB sugar
1 TB salt
1/3 cup oil
Put in mixer, dissolve.
Add yeast mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat well.

Add 3 more cups flour. Using the dough hook attachment, beat well to form a soft dough. Don't worry if the dough is more soft than normal bread dough.
Let rest 10 minutes. Stir batter down, let rest 10 minutes. Repeat process of stirring dough, followed by 10 minutes of rest until it has been done a total of 5 times. (If you are the forgetful type, like yours truly, put 5 pieces of tape on the edge of your counter top. Each time your timer goes off to indicate the end of 10 minutes of rest, remove a piece of tape until all the tape is gone.)
Turn dough onto floured board and knead only enough to coat dough with flour. Divide into 2 portions. Toll each portion into a 9x12 inch rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style, omitting the air bubbles. Arrange lengthwise on a greased cookie sheet.

Brush tops with a beaten egg while (optional). Slash 3 times diagonally on each loaf.
Cover, let rise until doubles, about 30 min. Bake at 400 for 35 min.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

After a much needed, long vacation visiting both families, seeing Yosemite National Park and welcoming my brother home from 2 years in Argentina, I am back to the blogging world. I made these before our trip when my brother-in-law and his wife were visiting. I was pleasantly surprised with the simplicity and deliciousness of these. And, of course, I always love a good Mexican recipe. Since these are not deep fried like most chimichangas, they are relatively healthy. Serve these with a little guacamole, sour cream, and salsa for dipping and some fresh fruit on the side for an easy week night meal.

This recipe comes from
Beef and Bean Chimichangas
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 can of chili beans, drained
  • large flour tortillas
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • guacamole, sour cream, and salsa for dippinga
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break up the meat into crumbles. Add the onion and garlic as well as the seasonings then cook until beef is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add the drained can of chili beans to the beef mixture and stir until well combined. Set aside.
  • Heat another skillet coated in cooking spray over medium heat. Heat the tortillas in paper towels in the microwave for 20 seconds so they are soft and pliable. Layer the tortilla with some cheese then some beef mixture. Fold in the sides and roll into a burrito, making sure the ends are closed. Place seam side down in the hot skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Enjoy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring Pasta

I love to buy whatever produce is in season and find the best ways to use it all up. I have actually been surprised by the quality of produce I've been able to find here in Colorado. This pasta was the result of a fridge full of fresh spring vegetables. You can substitute almost and veggies you like. And if you leave out the chicken you can even make this vegetarian. I love this fast, fresh, healthy, weeknight meal.
Spring Pasta
about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. whole wheat pasta

-Put a big pot of salted water onto boil. And cook pasta according to package directions. While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, start the sauce.
-Cut chicken in bite-sized pieces and saute in the olive oil until no longer pink in the middle. Season with salt and pepper while the chicken is cooking.
-About half-way through cooking the chicken, add the onion and cook until translucent.
-Add the garlic when the onions are almost done.
-Add the zucchini and cook until tender.
-At this point you can add whatever other vegetables you want. I added half a jar of chopped artichoke hearts that were in my fridge waiting to be eaten and a few chopped sundried tomatoes as well.
-Add the tomatoes, and cook just until a little soft.
-Drain the pasta and add the chicken and veggie mixture to the hot pasta.
-Toss together with a generous amount of parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.
-If the pasta seems too dry you can add a little more olive oil.
Saute the chicken, onion, and garlic,
Add in the zucchini,
Then add the tomatoes and other veggies,
Toss with the pasta and Parmesan cheese,
And serve!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I love these because they are so versatile, simple, and delicious! I serve them for breakfast and dinner. You can fill them with savory or sweet fillings (I usually, ok always, opt for the sweet.) I love to whip up a batch and pull out a counter top full of toppings then mix and match until I'm stuffed silly. Fill them with chicken and a creamy sauce and call it dinner, use a fruity filling and call it breakfast, or use nutella or pudding and call it dessert! Here are some of my favorite topping combinations: butter with cinnamon and sugar, bananas and peanut butter, strawberry jam and powdered sugar, strawberries and whipped cream, applesauce and cinnamon, nutella and bananas or strawberries, yogurt and fruit, etc, etc, etc. I think you get the idea. What do you like on your crepes?

(there are a million different versions out there, but this particular one comes from my cousin Stephanie's Tried and True Recipes, submitted by Shauna White.)

1 cup milk
1 1/2 Tbs. melted butter or vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

In a blender mix the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients. Cook about 1/4 at a time on a well-greased frying pan. Swirl the pan around until the batter is very thin. Flip when the edges start to curl up a little bit. Serve with all your favorite toppings!
Fill and devour!