Posts tagged ‘March Challenge’

Easy French Toast

French toast is a really simple breakfast meal that you can make pretty quickly….this is just the basic recipe that I think anybody that has cooked for a while knows… you could make it “pop” a little by adding orange zest, which I think would be a fabulous complimentary flavor.

INGREDIENTS (makes 6 slices)

  • 6 bread slices (can use french bread, regular bread, whatever bread you like)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (approx)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk)


  1. break eggs into a large plate or casserole dish
  2. add whipping cream, cinnamon, and vanilla to eggs and whip well with fork
  3. dip bread slices into egg mixture so both sides are coated
  4. place bread onto lightly greased (using PAM or oil), vented oven pan (the kind that comes with your oven when you buy it) and cook on 500 for about 10 minutes or until bread appears “dry” (instead, you could fry bread in a skillet)
  5. serve with syrup, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and/or fresh fruit

I’ve only made french toast using the oven method described above (today actually) once, but I found the toast to be more moist than the usual frying method…I will probably continue to use this method in the future for making this recipe…

No-Knead Bread

I found this recipe on the NY Times website (from Sullivan St. Bakery in NY) quite a while ago and have made this bread a couple of times. It is fabulous. It is super simple but takes a while to get the end product as it must rise for 12-18 hours before baking. This is a wonderful light bread with a crispy outer crust….wonderful!

NOTE: Some people say that using parchment instead of a towel to allow the 2nd rising is not as messy so I might try that next time. Personally, I haven’t had any problems using a towel – just make sure it’s a tight weave and you flour it really, really well!

UPDATE: I’ve made this at least 5 times now and it is always wonderful…. make sure you let the cooking bowl warm before baking as it really does seem to make for a crispier crust and your bread won’t stick (as much if at all). Also, I’ve made this with 1/2 multi-grain bread flour and 1/2 regular flour and it was great…. and I’ve made it in a regular stoneware loaf pan which also turned out nice.

The original recipe is below:

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.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Quick Pizza Dough

I found this recipe today on the Food Network website (originally from Gourmet magazine) for a quick pizza dough…which was good since I decided about 1 hour before supper time that I wanted pizza!

The claim was that you could make this dough and let it rise for 30 minutes and make your pizza fresh in a jiffy. I have to say, it did only take a few minutes to prep my dough and about 30 minutes later it had doubled as promised.

quick pizza dough with italian seasoning

NOTE: When you take it from the bowl and place in on your pizza stone, just use your fingers to press it out by starting in the center and working your way outwards. Also, pizza dough that has been refrigerated or frozen should be at room temperature before forming into a pie as it will spread on your stone much easier. If you want your pizza a little thicker, just let it rise about 20 minutes once you’ve gotten the FRESH dough ready for toppings. Also, pre-cook your pizza dough for about 10 minutes at 500 to help ensure you don’t end up with a doughy/uncooked pizza crust.

I quickly assembled my pizza with veggies, cheese, and meat and baked it at 500F until the cheese was melted and gooey! While this wasn’t a crust like you’d get from a pizzeria, it was pretty good….we ate it without any complaints!

Original recipe is listed below:

2 to 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4-ounce package fast acting yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl whisk together 3/4 cup of flour, yeast, sugar, and 2/3 cup hot water (130 dgrees F). Stir in the oil, 1 1/4 cups of the remaining flour, and the salt and blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of the remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
Alternatively, the dough may be made in a food processor. In a food processor combine 3/4 cup of the flour, yeast, and sugar. With the motor running, add 2/3 cup hot water (130 degrees F), and turn the motor off. Add the oil, 1 1/4 cups of the remaining flour, and the salt and process the mixture until it forms a ball, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if it is too dry, or more flour, 1 tablespoon at time, if it is too wet. Knead the dough by processing it for 15 seconds.
The dough, prepared by either method, may be used immediately, but for better flavor it is best to let it rise once. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until it is double in bulk, and punch it down. This dough may be used instead of the basic pizza dough.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Grilled cheese sandwiches are such an easy treat, and they can made so many ways!

We usually have cheddar with tomato slices on our sandwich but tonight I wanted something a little more substantial, so I added mustard, ham, onions, mozza and cheddar and….. it was lovely!


  • shredded ham (honey baked is good)
  • cheese – cheddar and/or mozzarella
  • dijon or other spicy mustard
  • tomato and/or onion slices
  • bread slices, buttered on one side


  1. place your bottom slice of bread in skillet which has been preheated on medium low heat
  2. spread mustard on the slice and top with ham, cheese slices, tomatoes/onions slices and cover with top slice of bread
  3. once the first slice of bread is grilled and the cheese melts a bit, flip the sandwich and grill until the other side is done

Alternately, you could place the assembled sandwich on a mini grill with a lid and cook both sides simultaneously…you wouldn’t have to worry about flipping it then and it would cook up more evenly!

recipe by: r2bcluvs2cook

Sweet Potato Puffs

I was a little skeptical about this recipe since I’ve only ever had sweet potatoes baked or in a sweet casserole form, but this was surprisingly refreshing! I really enjoyed it and think I would even eat it as a light dessert.

I made a few minor adjustments to this recipe (left out the orange peel) and therefore it has 5 or less ingredients and tastes just as good without it as it would with….. Also, I didn’t make it into the little balls, I just put it into a casserole dish and topped with the nuts…AND I used 2 cans of chopped and n0n-sweetened sweet potatoes which really cut down on prep time.

The original recipe is below:


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked — mashed
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg — beaten
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (I left this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans


In a bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes with orange juice, egg, peel, and nutmeg. Mix well. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon potato mixture onto baking sheet in 8 mounds. Sprinkle the mounds with the chopped pecans. Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot in the center. Serves 8.

Recipe Analysis from

Calories (kcal) 135.6 Folate (μg) 19.8
Fat (g) 4.6 Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.2
Protein (g) 2.7 Vitamin B12 (μg) 0.1
Carbohydrate (g) 21.7 Calcium (mg) 19.1
Sugar (g) 0.7 Iron (mg) 0.6
Fibre (g) 3.3 Sodium (mg) 16.1
Vitamin A (μg) 16.8 Potassium (mg) 533.7
Vitamin C (mg) 12.3
Vitamin D (μg) 0.1
Vitamin E (mg) 0.5
Thiamin (mg) 0.1
Riboflavin (mg) 0.1
Niacin (ne) 1

French Onion Soup

This is an easy French onion soup recipe I made up today. It is pretty tasty, especially with some French bread and shaved roast beef.


  • 3 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2/3 cup Sherry
  • salt & pepper to taste (optional)


  1. sautee the onions in a stock pot with PAM on medium heat for about 30 minutes until caramelized
  2. add 1 clove crushed garlic and cook until it turns golden
  3. add the beef stock and cover the stock pot and let simmer on med low for about 2 hours
  4. add the sherry about 30 min before the soup is done

Serve with toasted, sliced French bread covered in mozzarella and shredded roast beef

recipe by: r2bcluvs2cook

Baked Fennel with Parmesan

Since I’m new to fennel, I thought I’d try to find a simple recipe that had some good reviews to ease this new vegetable into our diet. I have to say that while this casserole didn’t have a lot of flavor, aka a little bland, I enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of cabbage casserole and was a pretty good side dish.

I followed the recipe exactly as directed and probably won’t make any changes to it when I make it next time. Overall, this recipe gets a thumbs up!

You can view the recipe here or see below for a copy (for 2 servings) from the original website.


  • 1 fennel bulbs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the base off of the fennel bulbs, and cut a cone shape into the base to remove the core. You can see the core because it is whiter than the surrounding green. This is optional, but helps the fennel cook faster. Slice the fennel vertically (upright) into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, and fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and creme fraiche until well blended. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a fork.