Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Shells

I adapted this recipe from a ravioli recipe that was delicious, but way to complicated to make on a weeknight.

6 oz jumbo pasta shells
1-2 C cooked chicken chunks
3/4 C spinach (frozen or fresh)
2 T chopped onion
3 T mozzarella cheese

Cooke pasta according to package directions. Combine the rest and chop fine in a food processor. Add:

3 T melted butter
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t each salt, pepper and nutmeg

Stuff chicken mixture into shells and place in a greased 9X13 pan. Make white sauce and pour over shells:

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C milk
1/8 t salt

Melt butter in saucepan and stir in flour until smooth. Add milk and salt and bring to simmer until thick.

1 C breadcrumbs
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
2 T butter

Combine and sprinkle over shells and sauce. Bake uncovered 20 minutes at 350F or until crumbs are golden.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I got this recipe from allrecipes, but I've tinkered with it so much over the years, it probably doesn't even resemble the original anymore. It makes 4 loaves. I quadruple this recipe and make sixteen loaves about once a month (although I think it was three weeks last time--my boys are growing up). I organized the ingredient list according to steps.

1/2 C cracked wheat (send dry through blender until cracked)
1 C water

1 1/2 T yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 C warm water

4 C warm water
1/2 C canola oil
1/2 C honey
1/4 C cooked cracked wheat

1 C powdered milk
1 C oats (quick or regular)
1/3 C vital wheat gluten (opt)
4 t salt
2 C wheat flour

3 C wheat flour
6-8 C bread flour
2T dough enhancer (opt)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 C water to a boil. Add dry cracked wheat, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 min. (This will make 1 C cooked cracked wheat, and I only add 1/4 C to the bread. You can add more if you want.) Combine yeast, sugar and 1/2 C water in a small bowl and let sit a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast mixture, wet ingredients and first set of dry. Let rest 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour, wheat first, and knead until dough comes off your hands, but still sticky (or until the dough pulls off the inside ring of your Bosch/Kitchenaide). Add dough enhancer and knead a minute more. Cover and let rise 40 minutes.

Grease bread pans with shortening or lard, shape into 4 loaves and let rise 30 minutes. Place a small bowl of water in an oven safe bowl on the bottom rack of your oven. Bake at 375F for 25 to 35 minutes. (Here in Omaha it was 32 minutes in my old oven, I think in Utah it was 28--I now convect bake at 41 min.)

See below for the calzones I make from this same recipe.


Whenever I make bread, it's a 5-6 hour process to get all sixteen loaves, so I try to find ways to use some of the bread dough for dinner. This has been the most successful with my family.

bread dough equal to one loaf (or a little less)

ham or chicken
mozzarella cheese

olive oil
garlic salt

Combine ham, cheese and basil in a food processor and process until finely chopped.

Separate bread dough into appropriate sized pieces for your family (8 large or 16 small).

Spread oil on your working surface and roll each piece into a circle. Place cheese mixture in the middle and fold over, press edges. Sprinkle cornmeal liberally on a cookie sheet and place calzones. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle tops with garlic salt. Cut 2-3 deep slits into each calzone.

I'm still trying to figure out EXACT cooking times, but it's around 375F for 20 min.

Dipping sauce (aka leftover pizza sauce):

1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 t oregano
2 t basil
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t sugar
1 t paprika

Mix together and serve with calzones. This makes enough for 4 pizzas, so plan on having leftovers to freeze later for making pita pizzas.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pitas and/or Flatbread

This is my mom's pita recipe. It is very easy but takes about an hour start to finish with a lot of vigilance. I hate buying pitas because they are expensive and don't last long so these are a great alternative. The first few times you make these you might get more flatbread then pitas, that's OK! If you want them to puff better use more white flour and less whole wheat. The wheat makes it more dense and therefore doesn't puff as well. I prefer flatbread anyway.

Preaheat oven AND pizza stone to 500

2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour (any combination of white and wheat including whole wheat)
2 Tbsp yeast
2-3 cups more flour

Mix thoroughly first 5 ingrdients. Add 2-3 cups more flour until dough doesn't stick to sides of bowl. Knead until smooth. Divide dough into 12-24 balls. Roll on floured surface in a circle. Any creases will not let the pita expand. Back in preheated oven for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully, remove when pita puffs up and is slightly golden. Place in ziploc bag to soften and flatten.

For pizza: Top cooked pita with favorite pizza toppings and bake at 400 until cheese is melted.