Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chili Mac and Cheese

Ditch HH boxes and skip the preservatives and ingredients you can't pronounce!

Chili Mac and Cheese

8 ounces pasta (you can use macaroni or here I used GLUTEN FREE penne)
2 pounds ground beef
1 to 2 Tablespoons oil 
3/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water (or pasta water if you can remember to keep it)
8 ounces Mexican blend cheese, shredded

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread Dressing

6 cups corn bread, cubed and staled (I use 2 boxes Jiffy mix baked in an 8"x8" dish)
4 cups Challah bread, cubed and staled
3 cups chicken broth 
2 cups milk (I use 2%)

1/2 stick butter
1 to 1-1/2 cups celery, diced
1 to 1-1/2 cups cup onion, diced
1 Tablespoon dried sage (use can use fresh you need 2-3 T)
(all of these flavors are to taste - use more or less as you like)

3 beaten eggs

To stale the breads...spread bread onto a jelly roll pan and bake at 200 degrees for one hour.  Shut off oven and let sit in oven for another hour.  They should be like dried croutons, ready to soak up liquid.
Combine broth and milk in large bowl and add bread.  Stir gently to be sure every piece is covered.  I let my sit in this while I saute the vegetables.
Saute celery and onions in butter until soft.  Add sage and cook for another minute.
Add eggs and celery mixture to bread mixture. I put the eggs to the side of the hot veggies so they don't scramble.  Stir gently to mix.
Pour into 3 quart baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until lightly browned. Shouldn't be jiggly. (My dear husband cooked this one and it's more brown than when I do it.) It was still delicious!
I had an idea for leftover dressing.  I sliced it and lightly brown it in a little butter in a non stick pan.  It crisps up the outside and leave the inside cream.  I served it with grilled chicken, green, beans, and a little chicken gravy I had.  YUM!!

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

1-1/2 pound recipe for use in a bread machine

3/4 cup 110* water
1 egg
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour (I have not attempted with all purpose)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon water

Add water, egg, butter, salt, flour, sugar and yeast to bread machine.  Select dough cycle.  Let it start its cycle and if it's dry add a little water and if its sticky add a little flour. When the dough is done remove from machine to a surface that has little flour on it.  This bread can be made a couple ways.  You can either make two braids, one to sit on top of the other or just one as I have done here.  Both are pretty. 

If doing two braids: Divide dough into two pieces. One about 1/3 of the dough and the other 2/3 of the dough.  Divide each of those into 10" and 12" ropes respectively. Braid and and then lay the smaller braid on top of the other braid. 

I do one braid.  I am going to cut it up anyway or just eat it so I don't care if it's all fancy. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces and roll out the diagonal length of the greased jelly roll pan.
Braid. To make it easier, pinch the starting end so it doesn't flop around.  I braid under, twisting my hand to the outside so mine looks like this.  Your braid will most likely look different since most people braid inward. Pinch the last end together and tuck under a little to make it look nicer if you want.
Cover and let rise until almost double in size.  I usually wait about 25 minutes.  Brush with egg yolk mixed with the water. This will make it glossy and brown when it bakes. 
Bake at 375* for 25 to 30 minutes covering with foil after 15 minutes to prevent too much browning. 

I can never wait until it's cool to eat so use a serrated knife to cut and slather in butter. 
**If I am not eating it plain I use this Challah bread for my cornbread dressing.