Friday, July 19, 2013

Homemade French Bread

We really love having bread with our meals. We used to always just buy bread, but a few years back, when my husband picked up bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, rather than returning it, I decided to give a try to homemade breads. I enjoyed making the bread and the end product so much, that now, I almost prefer to make bread. I have gotten to the point, where I think nothing of putting together a loaf of bread for dinner, even during the week.

I stumbled upon this French Bread recipe on Pinterest, when I was looking for bread recipes about a month ago. The first time I made it, I split it into 3 loaves, like the author but the second time I made an adjustment to 2 loaves. I found that it was a better result for me.

This bread is good on its own, but I really enjoy it with butter, especially toasted with a bit of honey cinnamon butter. I think it would make an excellent French Toast bread and delicious sandwiches for a picnic.

My daughter definitely loves the bread, telling me that I could make this type of bread anytime. My co-workers also enjoyed it when I brought in a loaf to share.

French Bread
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup cold water
6 cups bread flour
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Place 1 c of water in the microwave and bring to a boil, about 3 minutes.

Place 1/3 c warm water in a measuring cup and sprinkle 1 tbsp of yeast over the water. Using a fork, stir into the water until dissolved.

Place 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1 Tablespoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of shortening in your mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash the ingredients together.
Pour the boiling water into the mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of cold water (from the tap) and the water with the yeast to the mixing bowl.

Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Add remaining flour, about ½ cup at a time.
When the dough starts to pull together, dump it onto your well-floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, using the remaining flour as needed, to keep it from sticking. The dough should be smooth with a nice elasticity. The dough may still be a little sticky, but not too sticky.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the dough into two (or three) equal parts. Let it rest another 5 minutes.

Flatten each section of dough into a rectangle with your hands. Roll the long sides in, and then bring up the short sides. Flip the loaf over and smooth the edges, tucking any seams underneath.

Cut three slits in each loaf.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl and using a pastry brush, brush the egg over the top of the loaves, including in the slits.
Place your bread into your 170 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until doubled in size.

Turn the temperature up to 400 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and crispy.

Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool before slicing.
It makes either 3, 1# loaves or 2, 1 1/2# loaves.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Even though it has been busy lately and we haven't been having typical meals, I was finding myself without appealing ideas for dinner this week, so as I sat down to do my menu planning, I clicked around on Pinterest. One meal that I found that sounded very good to me was Chicken Enchilada Pasta, which had been Pinned from The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife.

Much like my Taco Stuffed Shells, I liked how this dish combined to family favorites, Mexican and Pasta. I made it for dinner, incorporating a few minor tweaks to the recipe to lighten it up. By my approximation , there are about 12 servings of the sauce, each with about 140 calories. So, with our typical pasta added, it is about 350 calories per serving. I think the extra sauce would freeze fine and of course, would work well for a leftover meal later in the week.

It was voted a definite keeper by all.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion minced
1 red bell pepper diced
1/2 anaheim pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
20 ounces green enchilada sauce
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup light sour cream


Garnishes: tomatoes, jalepenos, green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese

Cook chicken, chop and set aside.

Boil pasta according to package.

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, and both enchilada sauces. Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.
Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through. Reduce heat. Slowly add the sour cream. Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.

Drain pasta.

Serve pasta topped with chicken enchilada sauce and garnish with desired toppings.