Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie w/Cornbread Crust

I got this recipe from an episode of Oprah. It is so delicious, and super easy.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Onion , chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped Roasted Chicken
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet petite peas
  • 1 potato , diced and boiled
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped, cooked carrots
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • Dash of Tabasco® sauce

  • 3/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
To make filling: Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and unsalted butter together. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add in flour until blended. Slowly stir in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, whisking well. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, potato, carrots, salt, pepper and Tabasco®. Pour into a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish coated with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly.

To make crust: In a bowl, stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir milk, egg and canola oil until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter evenly on the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

This yogurt turned out great. If its a little tart reduce the amount of incubation time. You can add sugar, honey, fruit or granola

Homemade Yogurt
Click to Print This Recipe


• 3-3/4 cup warm tap water
• 1-2/3 cups instant nonfat dry milk
• 2 to 4 tablespoon store-bought, plain yogurt with active yogurt cultures (read the label to be sure)"I used non fat plain yogurt"

In a large saucepan combine the tap water and dry milk powder. Stir it very well, and let it sit a few minutes. Then stir it again. All of the dry milk should be dissolved. Heat the milk over medium low heat until it reaches 180°. This kills off any competeing bacteria so that the yogurt will respond better to the acidophilus cultures. Remove from the stove and allow to cool to 115°. If the milk is any hotter than this then it will kill off the yogurt cultures. Add the store-bought plain yogurt to the warm milk. Stir well. Allow it sit for a few minutes and stir a final time. This should dissolve the store-bought yogurt completely.

Carefully pour the mixture into a very clean, quart-sized, wide-mouthed canning jar, or another clean, quart-sized container.
Incubate the yogurt in a warm spot for 6 to 8 hours, or until it is set almost as thick as store-bought yogurt. Chill and eat.

Each cook develops her own way of incubating home made yogurt through trial and error. I am going to describe my method, followed by some other common methods and ideas. But first there are a few things you need to know. Yogurt is cultured from acidophilous bacteria, which you can sometimes buy in powdered form at the health food store. I have never actually seen it, but I've heard tell about it.

Yogurt can also be cultured from store-bought yogurt which contains "active yogurt cultures" or live bacteria. Read the label and it will tell you if the yogurt contains active cultures or not.

I always use prepared yogurt as my culture. I buy a large container of plain store brand yogurt from the store. I bring it home and scoop it into a couple of icecube trays. Then I freeze it. When it is completely frozen, I take the frozen yogurt cubes and pack them in a plastic freezer bag. Each time I make yogurt, I use one cube as the starter. You can use your own fresh yogurt as a starter too, but eventually it loses it's power due to the introduction of foreign bacteria, usually after using it about 3 or 4 times. I like to use a new frozen yogurt cube each time I prepare yogurt. I've had my best results this way.

When making yogurt with powdered milk, it is good to use more dry milk powder than you would to just make fluid milk. For instance, normally I would use 1 1/3 cups of dry milk powder to make a quart of milk. When I reconstitute milk for yogurt, I add an extra 1/3 cup of dry milk powder, using 1-2/3 cups of dry milk powder for a quart of yogurt. This makes the yogurt thicker and also higher in calcium. Even when preparing yogurt from fluid milk, the results are better if you add a little extra powdered milk for thickness.

There are lots of ways to incubate your yogurt. I prefer to do it in my electric oven. I set the stove dial half way between OFF and 200°, or at approximately 100°. The light which signifies the oven is on, pops on for a moment, and then pops off when the temperature is reached. I set my jar of yogurt in the oven and leave it for between 6 and 8 hours, usually overnight, or while I'm out for the day. I take out the yogurt when it is thick. This method works every time for me. My yogurt has a very mild flavor, which the kids like better than the sour stuff we used to get from the store.

There are many other ways to incubate your yogurt. Some people pour the warm milk combined with the starter, into a large preheated thermos and let it sit overnight. Other folks set the yogurt on top of a warm radiator, or close to a wood stove, or in a gas stove with the pilot operating, or on a heating pad set on low. Sometimes I have placed the jar in a pan filled with warm water, to keep the temperature even. This worked pretty well when I incubated the yogurt next to the wood stove. It kept the yogurt at a uniform temperature, even with occasional drafts from the front door opening and closing. The heating-pad method is supposed to be pretty reliable. You set it on low and then cover the heating pad with a towel, place the yogurt on top of it, and put a large bowl or stew pot upside down over the yogurt. This makes a little tent which keeps the heat in. I don't have a heating pad, and have never actually used this method myself, but a good friend swears by it. Another friend uses a medium sized picnic cooler to incubate her yogurt. She places the jars inside the cooler and then add two jars filled with hot tap water, to keep the temperature warm enough. After 4 hours, check the yogurt to see if it is thick enough. If it isn't then refill the water jars with more hot water, return them to the cooler, and let the yogurt sit another 4 hours. When I tried this method, it worked very well. It took a full 8 hours, but the yogurt was perfect, and I liked not having my oven tied up during the day. Also, there was little danger of getting the yogurt too hot while it incubated, and drafts weren't a problem because of the closed nature of the cooler. You should try to disturb the yogurt as little as possible while it is incubating, in ensure you get good results.

After the yogurt is thick, place it in the fridge. It will stay sweet and fresh for about a week or two. You may prepare more than one jar at a time if you like. I included the method for a quart because this is the size canning jar I use. Narrow mouth canning jars would probably work too, but I prefer the wide mouth ones because it is easier to stick a measuring cup or ladel down inside of it, to scoop out the yogurt. I usually prepare two quart jars at a time. The prepared yogurt is good mixed with jelly, fresh or canned fruit, served with granola for breakfast, or substituted for sour cream in many recipes like stroganoffs. It is also nice pureed in fruit smoothie blender drinks, or stirred into gelatin or popscicles before freezing them. It can also be stirred half and half with regular mayonnaise to make a very tasty low fat mayonnaise. This mixture can be used in just about any recipe which calls for mayonnaise.

Learning to make yogurt is a trial and error process. Most people don't have perfect or consistant results the first few times they make it. With a little practice though, anyone can learn to make it. When you get a little skill at it, the entire process becomes second nature, and you will have sweet fresh yogurt available whenever you like.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Knead French Bread

This bread is so awesome, it makes the most wonderful toast.
4 cups flour
1/4 tea. yeast
1 1/2 tea. salt
2 cups warm water

Stir with spoon or hands, dough will be sticky, let sit in the bowl on the counter covered with foil 18 hrs. With a spatula punch down & fold dough into the center on top of itself going all around the bowl. Spray a counter with water put plastic wrap over it."the water holds the saran wrap down." then put the dough on the plastic wrap and stretch it into oblong shape. Oil a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal using the plastic wrap to help place the dough on the cookie sheet roll the dough onto the cookie sheet. if the dough mis-shapes just stretch back to the oblong shape and then sprinkle with flour. Cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours. Place in a preheated 425 oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes until

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are seriously fabulous. Really. But just make them twice a year, okay?

Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuits (Better Homes and Gardens Complete Book of Baking)

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
2 t. granulated sugar
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 c. shortening
2/3 c. buttermilk

1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with pastry blender. Add buttermilk and stir just until moistened. Knead gently on floured surface only 10 or 12 times. Roll or pat out, and use a biscuit cutter to make circles or a pizza cutter to make squares. Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Homemade granola
from Cookbook Catchall

This granola was sooo good!

6.5 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
2.5 cups unsweetened, desiccated coconut (I used basic sweetened coconut because I had it on hand)
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (or whole, chopped, slivered or a combination - I used slivered)
1 1/4 cups pecans (whole or chopped to the size you like)
1/2 cup high-quality honey
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well to distribute oil and honey evenly. Spread a thin layer of mixture on two rimmed baking sheets (half sheet pans) lined with parchment paper (I used my silpat liners). Bake for 15-20 minutes stirring mixture and rotating sheets half way through until mixture is an even golden brown. Be careful to watch granola: it will quickly turn from golden to burnt and will continue to cook as it cools when you take it out of the oven. Mixture will be moist when it comes out of the oven but will crisp and clump as it cools. Keeps for 1-2 weeks.

• Substitute any of the nuts for other nuts such as cashews, walnuts or peanuts (it's nice to leave some of the nuts whole as it varies the texture)
• Add additional dried fruit such as apricots or dates
• Add 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• For extra-nutty granola increase proportion of nuts

French Chocolate Granola
from Orangette

3 cups rolled oats
½ cup raw almonds, chopped
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (once again, I used sweetened coconut because I had it on hand) 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar Pinch of salt 6 Tbsp. mild honey 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil ½ cup, or more, finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

In a small saucepan, warm the honey and oil over low heat, whisking occasionally – watch out! the oil will want to splash - until the honey is loose. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well.

Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Set a timer to go off halfway through the baking time, so that you can give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and cool completely.

When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) to mix.

Store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 5 cups

Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Knead Bread-Jim Lahey

This bread is so amazing, it makes the best toast. Mike & I loved it.

No-Knead Bread
Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.