Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All Whole Wheat Pita Bread

OK, this wouldn't qualify as quick and easy, but I had to post it because they are so healthy and it turned out so yummy, especially with Ryan's Falafels. I'm always leary about serving whole wheat to Seth, but he took one bite and asked me if these were store bought. They taste hearty and authentic and make a great snack just to eat plain. Best of all--no white flour!

1 pkg yeast (or 2 1/4 t)
1 C warm water
1/2 t honey
2 T olive oil
1/2 T salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C vital wheat gluten
oil for kneading

Pour yeast, water and honey in mixing bowl and proof for at least 1/2 hour, up to 2 1/2 hrs. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead for 6-8 minutes. (Add flour to make the dough if necessary, but do not add too much flour, or it will be dry. Dough should be smooth and elastic.) Cover and let rise for 1 hr.

Beat down and rest for 10 minutes. Turn onto oiled surface (oil your hands as well) and knead for a minute, then stretch into a 12 inch rope. With a sharp knife divide into 6 pieces and role each into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into 6-7" circle. Make them as smooth as possible to allow for puffing. Set onto an oiled surface, cover and let rise 30 min.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 500F.

Place pitas directly on the stone and cook, 1-3 at a time for 3-4 minutes each, until tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and cover immediately to keep moist.

Mine did not puff like my white ones do, but I just cut them in half and used a knife to make the pocket. It worked perfectly. It's worth the effort, I promise!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Super Easy Breakfast

I just discovered a new way to make hard-cooked eggs. You can put them in the oven, right on the rack (I put a cookie sheet underneath just in case one explodes) and set the oven to 325F for 30 minutes--this might be just a bit less in Utah. I made them on Sunday and set the time-bake the night before. We woke up to warm eggs, toast and OJ. Super simple and very hearty and healthy.

I'm never boiling eggs again! When you bake them, they cook more evenly and they are so much easier to peel, even when they've sat in the fridge a few days. They also make much prettier deviled eggs because the shells come off so easily.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pot Roast with Rich Tomato Gravy

We skipped the browning step. The meat was so tender it just fell apart. It was absolutely delicious and very easy. Serve with mashed potatoes.


3-4 lbs beef roast or cross-rib roasts or rump roast, about
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons flour
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 (14 ounce) can condensed beef broth (undiluted)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce


1 Pat roast dry with paper towel.
2 In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
3 Add roast and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes.
4 Transfer to slow cooker.
5 Reduce heat to medium.
6 Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened.
7 Add garlic, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
8 Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir.
9 Add tomato soup and beef broth and cook, stirring, until thickened.
10 Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
11 Pour mixture over roast, cover and cook on LOW for 10 to 12 hours or on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours, until meat is very tender.
12 Remove roast from slow cooker and place on serving platter.
13 Pour sauce over roast or serve in a separate sauce boat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Pot Meatball and Gnocchi Soup

This is so easy and yummy. You can just use more broth instead of the red wine or grape juice for extra zip. I also use a melon baller to form the meatballs and just plop them into the soup.


2 Tbs. olive oil
4 pieces turkey bacon, diced
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks (with leafy parts), chopped
1/2 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, roasted
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 C. red wine, preferably cabernet
1 lg. can diced tomatoes(with liquid)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 C. gnocchi, store-bought or hand-made
4 C. chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C. fresh parsley, minced

Meatball recipe

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juiced and zested


Combine ingredients for the meatball mixture and set aside. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel, set aside. Next add the carrots, celery, onion, roasted garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme and rosemary and let cook another 5-7 minutes.

Deglaze pan with red wine and let cook for 1 minute before adding the canned tomatoes, garbanzo beans, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and begin forming meatballs and dropping them into the soup. Also add the gnocchi and let simmer for 7-10 minutes, until both meatballs and gnocchi are floating to the top. Return bacon to the soup and garnish with fresh parsley just before serving.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dressed Up Veggies

I found this tip thumbing through my Betty Crocker Recipe Book--which has a basic recipe for just about everything. I usually serve steamed veggies as a side for dinner, but I always have to force the kids to eat them. I knew we'd found something good when Jenna and Ethan asked for seconds, and we didn't have to make Sean sit there for an extra 15 minutes to finish.

2 C steamed veggies
1 slice whole wheat bread (about 1/2 C crumbs)
1/4 t italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic salt

I made up the crumbs in my coffee grinder and added the seasonings. Put in a small oven safe dish and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly until crunchy. Sprinkle the crumbs over the steamed veggies just before serving.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Roast Chicken

I found a great recipe for roast chicken that I served on Sunday, and then I lost it. But the basic premis is all you need:

2 whole chickens (about 4 lbs each)
Spices and salt (I used a rotisserie blend)
2 medium onions, quartered

Pat the chickens dry and rub them inside and out with spices. Stuff one onion in each cavity. Place each chicken into a Reynold's oven bag, or wrap with plastic wrap and cut slits to let out steam. Roast chickens at 250F for 5 hours, or until meat thermometer registers 180F.

When I got home from church the chickens were only up to about 160F. (I had used 6 pounders.) So I just turned the oven up to 375 for another 20 minutes or so. They were so moist and tender and I could taste the onion in the chicken. YUM!