Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Portuguese Easter Bread

Not just for Easter anymore! I made this one today. I am here at the computer to keep myself out of the kitchen, or there won't be any left of it for our dinner. It is a soft, slightly sweet, rich bread. It smells and tastes amazing. This recipe yields a 1-lb loaf but it rose REALLY high.

In your machine, place in recommended order:
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tbl butter
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Use BASIC DOUGH cycle. This will make a very soft, smooth, wet dough that looks like it didn't rise enough--don't worry! Turn onto floured surface and shape for a loaf pan. Place in prepared loaf pan. Let rise 1 hour (it won't rise too much) and then bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. It will rise VERY high in the oven so leave enough room between oven racks.

Source: Donna German, The Bread Machine Cookbook II, page 100.

Whoever said "Man cannot live by bread alone" never tasted this stuff.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hawaiian Chicken

Serves 4, cooks quickly!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbl minced garlic
1/4 cup pineapple juice

Flour chicken and saute in a little olive oil until brown on all sides. Add sauce. Stir to coat chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring often. Serve over rice, with pineapple chunks on the side.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

3 pounds ground round
3 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
crushed red pepper
garlic powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cans tomato puree, 29 ounces
1 can crushed tomatoes, 29 ounces
3 cans tomato paste, 6 oz
6 cups water

MEATBALLS: Mix meat, egg, bread crumbs, onion and spices. Form into meatballs. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes until brown. Drain with slotted spoon.

SAUCE: Mix tomatoes, puree, paste, water, more of the same spices. (I prefer to use about a tablespoon of jarred minced garlic, instead of garlic powder, in the sauce). Add meatballs. Boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 hours over lowest possible heat. Stir frequently.

Keep cover on pot for thinner sauce, uncovered pot for thicker sauce.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Simple Sandwich Sunday

I just wasn't in the mood to cook a big meal tonight. I often find that this is the case on Sundays. While I love to cook, a day of rest is nice--but I don't necessarily need a meal out to get that rest.

One thing I've been mulling over today is the attempts I have been making for the past few months to let Sunday be a day of rest. And when my husband asked why I didn't want to go to the store with him to find a replacement for our Dead-As-A-Doornail Printer, my answer was:

"I can do the same things 7 days a week if I'm not careful. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, errands. I am trying, on Sundays, not to do the things that can't be done another day." I didn't stop him from his errand, because his schedule is different from mine. But he did understand my reasoning. I need to simplify on Sundays, to make it a different day--in a good way.

It has meant that I put in a little extra on Saturday and Monday, in the cleaning and laundry departments. And shopping will get done if it's a necessary item for a meal not well planned (like today's dinner). But I've been getting better at it.

Tonight we had hot sandwiches for dinner. They weren't too hard to put together and they tasted great. Served with a salad, you've got a whole meal.

For 4 sandwiches:
8 slices cooked roast beef or pot roast (or more if the slices are thin)
1 cup au jus gravy or beef broth
4 crusty rolls, sliced
1 large onion, caramelized
4 slices Swiss cheese

Heat the roast beef in the gravy. Place onto sliced rolls. Top with onions and cheese. Broil for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Honey Wheat Bread

This started out as the Outback Steakhouse bread from the Top Secret Recipes website. I've had this recipe for at least 10 years and have been tweaking it ever since. It's not "Outback bread" anymore, but we love it.

In the bread machine, place these ingredients in the order recommended by the manufacturer:

3/4 cup warm water
1 tbl butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp caramel color (find it in Asian grocery stores)--this is optional
1 cup bread flour
About 1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbl cocoa powder
1/2 tbl sugar
1 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Use dough cycle.
Shape dough into a loaf, and place in prepared pan or on baking sheet if you like your bread "free form."
Let rise 1 hour.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve WARM!


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