Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Braided Hot Sandwiches

I should definitely come up with a more creative name for this most delicious meal. Several years ago a woman from church shared a variation of this recipe with me and it has been a family favorite ever since. Basically it is a hot meat and cheese sandwich with anything extra you decide to throw in.

This past week I whipped up six of these (we were sharing four with another family) in not much time at all.

Braided Hot Sandwich


Make your bread dough (a real simple recipe is just perfect).

2 cups hot water
1 Tab. yeast
2. Tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
optional: 2 Tab. spices (I used this yummy mix from TJ Max called Parmesan Garlic Bread Dipping Blend)

Let rise about an hour (or stick it in your warmed oven if you are short in time until the dough rises to double).


Divide dough up. The dough recipe above will make three Hot Sandwiches.
Roll the dough out so it is a nice rectangle (maybe like 10" X 16")
Next use your pizza cutter or knife and make 1 1/2" slices all down the side of the dough (see below)
Then put all your fillings in the inside. This is where you can great creative.
Here are some ideas that I have tried:

--mustard, ham, cheese
--pesto (mixed with ranch), turkey, cheese
--marinara, ham, peperoni, cheese
--meat, cheese
Then you braid the dough. First you fold down the top of the rectangle a bit and then just start "braiding" the dough. Really it is a fake braid because you are just crisscrossing your dough strips.Gently lift of the braided sandwich and lay it on your greased and cornmeal dusted pan. Don't forget this next step...take one egg YOKE blended with 1 T. of water and brush the tops of all the sandwiches. One egg yoke was enough for all six of my sandwiches.
Let rise for a bit (maybe a 1/2 hour or stick in the fridge if you are not wanting to cook them for a couple of hours). Then Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (probably 15-20 minutes).

They are delicious and look very pretty. If you are a veggie lover you could throw in some sliced olives, red peppers, artichoke hearts, or any other nasty veggie you can think of (just kidding...just I really am just a meat and cheese girl).

Serve with homemade french fries or chips and a tasty salad. Super yummy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

GOOOOOOD Granola!!
(and good for you too I guess...)
Our Enrichment last night was on healthy living (blah blah blah) BUT, I did decide that maybe we should eat less fruit loops and more healthy cereals for breakfast, so I made granola- so yummy! I love it! and you really can't screw it up is the best part...any nuts, dried fruit, seeds, etc make it great! But here's a base recipe to get you started-

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups wheat bran or oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups varied nuts (almond slices, cashews, pecans, walnuts, peanuts)
1 cup coconut

1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 cup veg. oil
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS vanilla

Pour sugar mixture over oat mixture and stir until evenly coated. Dump granola onto 2 foil-lined cookie sheets and bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes...(longer if you like it even crunchier) It won't be hard or crunchy when it first comes out of the oven, but as it cools it will be! When cooled, mix in 2-3 cups dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cut-up apricots, extra coconut, anything!)
Store in air tight container.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bean and Bacon Soup

I wish I was one of those cooks that "created" her own dishes. I'm not. Instead I peruse cooking blogs, magazines and cookbooks and I post my favorites. This one comes from one of my favorite cooking blogs. ( I made a few slight changes to it, but otherwise it's all hers. I decided to make this, because one of my favorite lunches in high school was a can of campbells Bean and Bacon soup with crushed ritz. This recipes brought me back to those days. It was delicious.
4 strips bacon (I used two and it was plenty)
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf (I used two)
3 cans white beans, drained
4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh parsley ( I left this out)
In a pot fry the bacon until crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Let cool and chop.
Over medium heat, saute carrots, onion and celery in bacon drippings. Saute aroudn 5-7 minutes then add garlic and stir for an additional 60 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Add two cans of beans, bay leaf and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer 15-20 minutes or until celery and carrots are soft. Uncover and remove bay leaves. Using a potato masher (or my NEW immersion blender I got for Christmas!) partially mash bean mixture until it thickens slightly. Stir in last can of beans, parsley and bacon. Yum!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Secret ingredient

I've learned from my superb cooking skills (actually I should say eating skills), that cream cheese is always the "secret ingredient" to a yummy meal. When Delina gave my mom this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup, I was excited to find that indeed, cream cheese was in the soup. SO! I decided to try it out!
I began my cooking career 3 days ago with a sandwich thing with mushroom gravy. I kinda wanted to impress my boyfriend- and I hope it worked! The butternut squash on the other hand, was just for me to eat. Have you ever tried to cut squash? Ok, it's NOT easy- I had like 4 different knives going and was yelling and the stupid things and there were squash pieces flying everywhere! Later I learned that I should have actually peeled it with a potato peeler first. Maybe they should make squash-peelers, THEN I would have known. All in all it turned out lovely! The only thing was my cream cheese had those little lumps goin on - and I thinkg that was b/c my cream cheese wasn't room temp. BUT of course I didn't know that it should have been, until AFTER I was done. ok seriously, when I use recipe, EVER LITTLE DETAIL needs to be addressed. Here's the recipe and a pict-
oops! just found another piece of squash on the ground...................
Butternut Squash Soup

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 t. dried marjoram
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/8 t. ground cayenne pepper
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tener. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 min, or until squash is tender. Puree cooked squash mixture in a blender of food processor in batches until smooth. Blend in cream cheese. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.
Cayenne pepper is optional, and the leftovers are great!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Creamy Chicken and wild rice Soup

This is one of our favorite soups. It's not the healthiest soup, but definately a comfort food, and delicious! I found this on Allrecipes.

4 c. Chicken broth
2 c. water
2 cooked and diced chicken breasts
1 4.5 oz quick cooking long grain and wild
rice with seasoning packet.(like uncle ben's)
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
2. cups heavy cream

In a large pot combine broth, water and chicken. Bring to a boil and stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. In a separate bowl melt butter, stir in contents of seasoning packet, stir until bubbly. Reduce heat and stir in flour to make a roux. Whisk in cream a little at a time, until smooth. Cook until thickened. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Stir until combined. These are the directions from the website...I don't like to dirty too many bowls, so I make it all in one pot and it turns out great.