Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

This is a very special and “showy” pie that is great for special occasions or holidays.     Today is a special occasion and I made it to celebrate.  This post is my 500th since starting this blog just about 2 years ago.  In that time I have published five posts/week and gained a following of over 300 readers worldwide.  My goal from the beginning, (and still is) is to share with you recipes that are nutritious, mindful of dietary restrictions and special diets, reasonably economical to make with readily available ingredients, and taste fabulous. Whether you are a new-comer in the kitchen, or an experienced cook, there’s always something to learn.  I pass along my trials and errors, my successes and failures, and encourage you to be adventurous with your cooking.   These are recipes that I am proud to serve and hopefully you will be proud to serve also.  By your responses to me, I think I must be succeeding.  So I am very happy to have all of you as my “community” of readers.  Thanks so much for finding this little blog and sticking with me.  Love Ya!!

With Easter just ahead, this pie would make a nice addition to the dessert table.  Besides being so pretty, its also a very luscious pie with two kinds of chocolate and cherries in a creamy white chocolate mousse.  It’s sweet, yet very light.  This is one dessert that will definitely disappear into the crowd…in a good way.

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The surprise, once the pie has been cut, is the layer of dark chocolate that lies between the crust and the light airy filling.   This really makes the pie interesting and the dark chocolate is a nice foil for the white, light filling.  I liked putting some grated dark chocolate on top with the cherry garnish to give a hint of what’s waiting inside.

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Ways to reduce the caloric impact of this pie would be to use low-fat condensed milk, low-fat cream cheese, and sugar-free instant pudding.  I’m not sure if white chocolate pudding mix is available sugar-free, but vanilla flavor certainly is, and makes a good substitute.  In place of whipped cream you could also use “light” whipped topping. Be sure to include the almond flavoring… it somehow adds to the whole taste experience.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY MOUSSE PIE

Yield:    8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, blind baked.  You may use a frozen pie shell or your own favorite pie dough recipe.  Bake the shell until lightly browned and cooked through.  It will not be cooked again.IMG_6892
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 square (1 ounce) or 1 packet pre melted unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, divided
  • 1 jar (10-ounces) maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened.   Low-fat is OK, but not fat-free.
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 package ( 3.4 ounces) instant white chocolate pudding mix (I used Hershey’s brand).  If unable to find, substitute vanilla instant pudding mix.
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • chopped chocolate or chocolate curls, optional

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, over low heat, cook and stir 1/2 cup condensed milk and chocolate until the chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mixture gets quite thick, like fudge.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Pour into pie shell and set aside.

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2.  Reserve 8 whole cherries for garnish.  Chop the remaining cherries and set aside.

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3.  In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light.  Gradually beat in water and remaining milk.  Add pudding mix and remaining extract; mix well.

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4.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Stir in chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Pour over chocolate layer in the pie crust.  Chill 4 hours or until set.  Garnish with whole cherries and chocolate curls before serving.

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It's like eating a cloud!!

It’s like eating a cloud!!

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SOURCE:    Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe

Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Talk about the need for comfort foods…..it continues here in the Northeast where forecasters are predicting more snow.  A blizzard at sea they’re saying with howling winds and snow along the eastern seaboard and islands.  Oh, no!!  Is this an early April Fool’s Day joke??

Luckily I found this recipe to try and keep us warm.  It is just a little different from my usual way of making chili.  It uses ground turkey and includes macaroni, making a hearty, filling, family-friendly meal with enough to freeze for another meal if you want to.  You can crank up the heat with ground red pepper, or keep it mild if there are sensitive palates at your dinner table.

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Departing from my usual -make  half a recipe- I made the whole amount with the intent of freezing half of it.  This works well for a future meal when you  are in a hurry.  If you do plan to freeze part of it, be sure that the container you use fits in the freezer and also what you’ll be using to reheat it.  You can also  use a zip-lock bag and lay it flat in the freezer so it will stack nicely with other contents of the freezer.  Include the name of the dish, date made and frozen, and instructions for reheating.  Ideally use within 2 months to avoid freezer burn.  To reheat, first thaw somewhat in the microwave until its pliable,  then pour into a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes to reheat.  Melt some grated cheddar cheese on top for a “just made” look that no-one would suspect had been frozen.

CHILI MAC

Yield:  Serves 8IMG_6921

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces uncooked rotini, spiral macaroni, or wagon wheel pasta
  • 2 cups red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 8-ounce package small mushrooms, chopped
  • 20 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin

    All the seasonings

    All the seasonings

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium marinara sauce
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions:

1.   Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Cook pasta in boiling water until almost al dente.  Drain.  Combine pasta with beans in a large bowl.

3.  While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add onion, pepper, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.  Add to bowl with pasta and beans.

Sauté the vegetables.

Sauté the vegetables.

Add turkey, cook for 5 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble.

Cook the turkey, stirring to crumble.

Cook the turkey, stirring to crumble.

Add seasonings. (cumin through ground red pepper); Stir in marinara sauce.  Bring to a boil.

4.  Add marinara/turkey mixture to pasta and beans, toss to coat.  Pour desired amount into prepared baking dish.  Top evenly with grated cheddar cheese.

All mixed together.

All mixed together.

5.  Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

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Freeze the remainder, as described above, for another meal.

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SOURCE:    Cooking Light

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

The Sunday morning after we change our clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time, I always sleep late.  (We did lose an hour of sleep after all).  As a result breakfast is on the late-side, getting close to lunch. So I combine the two and one meal serves as two, i.e. brunch.

That event took place not long ago, and I ended up making this breakfast sandwich that, served with some fruit, was hearty enough to last us till dinnertime.

I used croissants to make these.

I used croissants to make these.

I don’t know what it is, but we seem to love the convenience of a whole meal in one package!  Or maybe its because these handheld meals are so darn delicious, but I am seeing breakfast sandwiches everywhere.  Whether you choose to use a knife and fork, or just grab them and go, these will certainly make you want to get out of bed and get going!

The Monte Cristo sandwich is an American classic, where you dip ham and swiss cheese sandwiches in egg batter and pan-fry them.  Dust the hot sandwiches with confectioners’ sugar and serve with some jam on the side if you like, or drizzle them with maple syrup for a real treat.

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

Yield:   Makes 4 servings/sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices country bread (I used croissants for mine)
  • swiss cheese slices ( I used Muenster cheese)
  • sliced ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • confectioners’ sugar, if desired

Directions:

1.  Spread mustard on bread.  Layer 4 bread slices with Swiss cheese, ham, and cheese again.  Place remaining bread slices on top.

Layer up the ham and cheese, then dip the sandwich in egg.

Layer up the ham and cheese, then dip the sandwich in egg.

2.  In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat well.

3.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  When butter is foamy, add the sandwiches, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Cooking on the griddle.

Cooking on the griddle.

Second side getting browned.

Second side getting browned.

Serve immediately, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Forgot to dust them with sugar.  :D

Forgot to dust them with sugar. 😀

SOURCE:   Everyday Food

30-Minute Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

This version of the well loved dish, chicken enchiladas, may be quick to make, but is no less delicious than its lengthy and more calorie laden name sake.  Some traditional chicken enchilada recipes can have more than 1000 calories per serving, while this one comes in at under 400 calories per serving.  Yikes!

The points of this recipe that I particularly liked include using part of a rotisserie chicken, instead of cooking chicken breasts for the filling.  You also make your own tomato-based enchilada sauce, so you can control the salt content, and the spiciness, and eliminate all other unnecessary ingredients.  If, like me, you have someone who loves extra spicy and someone who likes it mild, you can serve chopped jalapeños on the side, or some hot sauce.

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This recipe serves 6 with a serving size being two enchiladas and 1 tablespoon of sour cream weighing in at only 374 calories.  That seems like a great bargin to me.  I made half the recipe for two of us and got seven enchiladas.  The only change I made was to use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas as we like them better,  and I sprinkled on dried cilantro since I couldn’t get fresh cilantro.

30-MINUTE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:

Have all ingredients laid out before starting to put it all together.

Have all ingredients laid out before starting to put it all together.

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  (15-ounce) can unsalted tomato sauce
  • 3 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1  (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 ( 6-inch) corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 3 ounces shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 Tablespoons sour cream

Directions:

1.   Preheat broiler to high.  Coat a 13 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine the first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk.

Beginning to make the sauce.

Beginning to make the sauce.

Bring to a boil over high heat; cook 2 minutes or until thickened.  reserve 1  1/2 cups sauce mixture.  Add chicken and beans to pan; cook 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.

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3.  Stack tortillas; wrap stack in  damp paper towels and microwave at HIGH for 25 seconds.  Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up.  Arrange tortillas, seam sides down, in bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with reserved sauce and cheese.

Rolling up the tortillas with filling.

Rolling up the tortillas with filling.

4.  Broil 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and sauce is bubbly.  Top with tomato and cilantro.  Serve with sour cream.

Cheese topping gets nicely browned under the broiler.

Cheese topping gets nicely browned under the broiler.

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Top with chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

Top with chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

These are really good!

These are really good!

SOURCE:  Cooking Light

Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

Spinach Ravioli Lasagna

If you are looking to make a quick baked dish that is lasagna-like in its layering of ingredients this could very well be it. This is not lasagna in its truest form. This dish uses convenience items like ready-made pesto, jarred Alfredo sauce and frozen cheese-filled ravioli along with a bag of fresh baby spinach.  This makes a very nice meatless meal that is filling and great tasting.

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For added flavor, or to incorporate some meat you could add pieces of cooked chicken, sausage or ground beef.  I thought this was a a great put-together meal for times when you want to have a meatless meal.  We really liked it. and for me, it was another way that I could eat spinach, and not be too aware of what I was eating.  (I am always looking for ways to overcome my aversion to spinach.)  The pesto adds a lot of flavor to this dish.  I used my homemade pesto, but any commercial variety will do nicely.

As I frequently do, I made only half of this recipe for two of us.

SPINACH RAVIOLI LASAGNA

Yield:  Makes 6 – 8 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6827

  • 1 (6-oz) bag fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
  • 1/3 cup refrigerated pesto sauce ( I used my homemade pesto)
  • 1 (15–0z.) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 (25-oz.) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup (4-oz.) shredded Italian six-cheese blend
  • Garnishes:  chopped fresh basil, paprika

Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Chop spinach, and toss with pesto in a medium bowl.

Chopping spinach.

Chopping spinach.

Mixing spinach with pesto.

Mixing spinach with pesto.

2.  Combine Alfredo sauce and vegetable broth.

Mixing Alfredo sauce with broth.

Mixing Alfredo sauce with broth.

Spoon one-third of alfredo sauce mixture (about 1/2 cup) in a lightly greased 2 qt. or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.  Top with half of spinach mixture.

Layering the spinach on top of sauce.

Layering the spinach on top of sauce.

Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer over spinach mixture.

Cover with half the ravioli.

Cover with half the ravioli.

Repeat layers once more.  Top with remaining Alfredo sauce.

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3.  Bake at 375*F for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Bake 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish, if desired.

Super easy to make and so very good.

Super easy to make and so very good.

SOURCE:  Southern Living, 2008

Banana Crunch Cake

Banana Crunch Cake

Banana Crunch Cake

Once Monday rolls around I try to undo the damage(s) I’ve done to my cholesterol, my liver, my saddlebags or my psyche over the weekend.  Mondays’s are for getting back to the fitness program, taking a walk, getting back in the saddle, or whatever it is you do to stay fit and trim(?).  They are for eating kale salads, roast beets and veggies, drinking healthy smoothies and going to bed early.   They are definitely not for banana cake!!  But those bananas on my counter,  being eyed by the fruit flies, are not going to eat themselves.  So it all brought me to this…..

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Banana Crunch Cake, crunchy on top, moist and tender underneath.  This wholesome treat gets some extra punch from the whole grain combination of wheat and oat flours.  The bananas keep it moist and tender, while the crunch topping provides a nice textural change from the cake.  So maybe I can’t exactly undo the damage caused by the weekend’s splurge, but what I can do is incorporate healthy ingredients into my banana cake.  This makes a great lunchbox treat or a take-along if you’re traveling. Wrap it well and take it for a ride.

This recipe can be doubled easily to make a 13 x 9-inch cake if you’re feeding a large group,  or bake the recipe as given here for an 8-inch square cake.  You can get 16  (2-inch square) servings.

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BANANA CRUNCH CAKE

Yield:  16  (2-inch) servings

For the Cake:

Makes a whole that's better than the sum of its parts.

Makes a whole that’s better than the sum of its parts.

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large, or 3 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt ( I used non-fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate or toffee chips (optional)  I used toffee chips.

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For the Crunch Topping:

Measure and have ready your topping ingredients.

Measure and have ready your topping ingredients.

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

1.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.

2.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

3.  In a large beater bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.

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Mix in half the dry ingredients, stirring until moistened, and then mix in the bananas, vanilla, and yogurt.  Scrape the bowl down, and then add the remaining dry ingredients, the nuts, and the chips.

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Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

4.  In a small bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar until well blended.  Stir in the melted butter until the mixture forms large crumbs, stir in the chopped nuts.

Mixing up the topping.

Mixing up the topping.

Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.

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5.  Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place cake on a rack to cool before serving warm, or cool completely to serve later.

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Oh my, this cake is delicious.  It has a dense crumb with just the right amount of banana flavor.  The cinnamon in the crumb topping is a perfect accompaniment to the other flavors.  Serve it warm to get its full impact.

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SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet from King Arthur Flour

Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

Spicy Roasted Root Vegetables

With yesterday being the first day of Spring, I have high hopes for this cold dreary weather to turn itself into something resembling spring pretty darn quick.  I’m ready for “peep-toe” shoes, cut-offs, short sleeves and blazer jackets.  I’m also longing for some springtime foods, like strawberries, something lemon, rhubarb, grilled chicken and some different vegetables.  I’m dreaming of sunny days, flowers poking up thru debris in the garden, buds on the trees and getting my hands dirty in the dirt–not!!

So I jotted down some things on my foods “to-make” list. Things like lemon meringue pie, baked ham with scalloped potatoes, fresh peas, cupcakes with coconut on them……etc.   Then I made this instead.  I’m sure you understand.  Before you take that dive into forbidden territory, you must fortify yourself, get your system ready for what lies ahead.  So I put all my notes into a “Spring is not here yet, but it’s coming” file, and turned to what is available at hand now.

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What I had on hand was golden beets and sweet potatoes.  Similar colors, different textures and taste, but both are root vegetables.  So I decided to treat them both the same way.   Anyone who knows anything knows that roasting is the way to go when you want to bring out the natural sweetness in vegetables because their natural sugars get caramelized.  Beets and sweet potatoes are  both loaded with natural sugars, and Gwyneth Paltrow suggested that a light drizzle with good olive oil and some spicy seasonings would turn these vegetables into a dinnertime sensation.   You know what?   She was right!

SPICY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

Yield:    Serves 4IMG_6837

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch golden beets, (about 3 med-large size), peeled and cut into wedges.
  • 1 large, or 2 medium sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into wedges or sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, either sweet or smoky
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt).

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Isn't this an interesting pattern in the beet?

Isn’t this an interesting pattern in the beet?

Add cut up beets and sweet potatoes.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Toss lightly to coat evenly with the spices and oil.  Spread into an even layer on the baking sheet.

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I kept the two kinds of veggies separate on the baking sheet and also on my serving platter, just for appearance sake.

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3.  Roast for 30 minutes, or until they pierce easily with a knife.   Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve warm.

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More thoughts on the subject:   this is a good spice mixture to have in a little jar ready for use whenever you have root vegetables to cook.  Mix up the combination of veggies.  Think of turnip, parsnips, carrots—I think any of them would be good cooked this way.

SOURCE:    my own imagination

Pear and Pineapple Salad (Sesame Dressing)

Pineapple and pear salad with sesame dressing.

Pear and pineapple salad with sesame dressing.

What gave me the inspiration for this salad was a ripe pear that was sitting on my kitchen counter, and in the refrigerator, the remains of a fresh pineapple.

I had prepared a baked casserole for dinner and wanted a light citrusy, fruity salad to go with it.  So, out of the refrigerator came some lettuce–iceberg and romaine, the pineapple, crumbled goat cheese and from my cupboard, some dried cranberries  because this salad seemed to need a pop of color.

IMG_6773 So, I started by chopping a mixture of lettuces and made a bottom layer on salad plates.  Then I placed a slice of pineapple on top of the lettuce and cut it into wedges.  Over that I put pear slices, arranged in spoke fashion, scattered a few dried cranberries on it, and crumbled the goat cheese on top.  Very pretty!   Now,  what to use for dressing??

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Something with an Asian flavor, I thought.  Thumbing quickly through one of my vegetarian books, I found this recipe for a sesame dressing.  Yes, perfect!   The dark sesame oil, the sesame seeds and rice wine vinegar provided an interesting flavor that paired especially well with the fruits and lettuces.  Sometimes the greatest ingredients just seem to find each other and blend so well.  I’m recording this recipe here so I don’t forget it.  Keep it in mind when you want a light, refreshing, fruity salad with a subtle Asian flair.

PEAR AND PINEAPPLE SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING

Makes 2 salads.  Adjust ingredients accordingly for more.

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 leaves iceberg lettuce, and 2 – 3 leaves romaine lettuce.  Heavy ribs removed, leaves sliced into ribbons.
  • 2 slices fresh cored pineapple cut into wedges
  • 1 ripe fresh pear, cored and quartered, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberriesIMG_6770
  • 2 tablespoon crumbled goat cheese

For the salad dressing:    Makes 3/4 cup

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil, or vegetable oil
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • dash of salt to taste

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar or shaker with a tight-fitting lid.  Shake vigorously to combine and chill until ready to use.  This dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or more.

To assemble the salads,  layer the ingredients in the order given.   Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

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SOURCE;  for the dressing;  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

 

Happy First Day of Spring, Everyone!

(Not your Traditional) Irish Soda Bread

Pull-Apart Irish Soda Bread

Pull-Apart Irish Soda Bread

If you are not someone who normally bakes bread, I urge you to give this super-simple recipe a try.  It makes a densely textured slightly sweet bread with a delicious chewy crust.  It is not the typical soda  bread that includes currents or raisins and caraway seeds.  This is a round loaf of bread (or individual pull-apart servings) that includes some healthy whole wheat flour ( use white whole wheat) and buttermilk to work with the leavening agents to give it its rise.

It is delicious all on its own, especially when spread with whipped salted butter, or even better with a dipping sauce of honey, melted butter and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

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Irish soda bread is so closely associated with Corned beef and cabbage and St. Patrick’s Day, that I fear it doesn’t get much attention at other times of the year.  That is really too bad!!  This bread is just great at any meal but especially with soups and stews.   It is so easy to make you can whip it up in a very short time and be enjoying it with your dinner.  We also love it toasted with corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast.

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Instead of baking one big loaf of this bread, try making a version that gives individual servings as I did in these pictures.  You start by making the basic dough, but after turning it out onto a slightly floured surface, divide it into 16 equal pieces and, with floured hands, roll each into a ball.  Transfer the balls to a parchment lined baking sheet in 4 rows of 4, making sure each dough is close to the ones around it.  With the tip of a paring knife, cut a 1/4-inch-deep X on each ball.  Because these pull-apart rolls are smaller than a full loaf, the baking time is cut in half.  Try it!

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P. S.  I love raisins in soda bread, so I added some to my dough by kneading them in at the end, just before forming the balls.  These turned out to be really good, and having the individual biscuits instead of a slice is a good form of portion control.

IRISH SODA BREAD

Makes 1 round loafIMG_6861

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups regular, all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour – brown sugar).  Add the buttermilk.  Stir to combine and form a soft dough.

3.  Turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, knead for  about 1 minute to further blend the ingredients.  Form into a ball and flatten slightly.

4.  Dust with a little flour, and with a sharp knife slash the top into an “X”. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Allow to rest 15 minutes.

Individual portions bake for about 18 - 20 minutes.

Individual portions bake for about 18 – 20 minutes.

5.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and crusty.  Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.  Serve with whipped butter, or a dipping sauce of honey, melted butter and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

So good with a smear of butter or a little honey.

So good with a smear of butter or a little honey.

SOURCE:  My Gourmet Connection

Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Glazed Corned Beef with Root Vegetables

Neither my husband nor I are the tinniest bit Irish, but we love this meal nevertheless.  I have never deviated from the way I first learned to cook it–that is, as a complete meal all cooked together in a large pot of liquid that first cooked the corned beef, then the vegetables that are added in the last hour.  Everything comes out well seasoned because they “borrow’ each other’s flavors and it all melds together.

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This year’s dinner was just a little different.  My piece of corned beef weighed about 3 pounds, and I started cooking it early, so it would be nice and tender.  When I added the vegetables, however, I removed the meat and placed it in a baking dish.  I made a glaze from brown sugar, orange zest, mustard and a pinch of cloves.  I spread that all over the meat and put it into the oven to bake while the vegetables continued to cook in the cooking liquid on the stovetop.  Since the meat was already tender, the baking time in the oven was simply to melt the glaze ingredients and seal the exterior of the meat.  Once sliced, each piece of corned beef got just a rim of the glaze around the outside of it.

The glaze gets all melty and brown in the oven.

The glaze gets all melty and brown in the oven.

I got idea to do this from a handwritten note I had jotted down and tucked away in my recipe box.  So I don’t know what the original source of it was.  I’m just a little sorry that I hadn’t done this sooner.  This new flavor, mild as it is, added a new dimension to the meat, and I think I will continue to do this in the future when I cook corned beef.

GLAZED CORNED BEEF WITIH ROOT VEGETABLES

Yield:   4 – 6 servingsIMG_6878

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of corned beef, about 3 pounds
  • 4 potatoes, ( white or red-skinned), quartered
  • 4 – 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small head cabbage, trimmed and cut into wedges

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Procedure:

1.  Start cooking the corned beef.   I usually allow about 1 hour/ pound of meat;  so approximately 3 1/2 hours or more before your meal, put the meat into a large kettle along with any spices that were packaged with it.  Add cold water to cover the meat and turn the heat to medium.  Bring slowly to a boil, and once boiling, reduce the heat so the meat is just barely simmering.  Maintain this heat and check periodically to be sure the meat is not cooking too fast.

2.  In the last hour of cooking time, add all the vegetables to the kettle, and remove the meat to a shallow baking dish.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   In a small dish, mix together all the glaze ingredients.  With a knife or off-set spatula, spread this mixture all over the surface of the meat.  Put into the oven, and bake for about 1/2 hour.  Remove and let meat “rest” before slicing.  Serve with a mixture of the vegetables around it.

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Served with soda bread biscuits, and Irish Stout. It sure was good!!

Served with soda bread biscuits, and Irish Stout. It sure was good!!

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SOURCE:   Unknown