Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mashed Potato Waffles

After 2 years without a waffle iron, I got a new one for Christmas.  I love making waffles (and my son loves eating them), so I was happy to get a new waffle iron.  I came across this recipe a few weeks ago when I was looking for another recipe in a potato cookbook I've had for about 10 years.  I made mashed potatoes for dinner the other night and saved a few for these waffles.  It's going to be hard not to do this with leftover mashed potatoes every time I have them now.  These waffles were so good!  They had the right balance of flour and mashed potatoes and the batter was really easy to work with. The buttermilk made the waffles nice and fluffy.  Since the waffles were savory, I didn't want maple syrup on them.  Potato pancakes in restaurants are usually served with applesauce and sour cream. I wasn't in a sour cream mood this morning, and applesauce sounded a little plain, so I used apple butter on half of the waffle (just butter on the other half).  The apple butter went really well with the waffle...but they were good with just butter, too!

Mashed Potato Waffles
from Beyond Burlap
yield: just over 4 cups of batter (in my waffle maker, that's 4 waffles)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
8 slices bacon, crisp-fried, crumbled
3 green onions, finely chopped

1) Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
2) Blend the oil into the potatoes in a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk gradually. Add the eggs, beating until fairly smooth.  I used a stick blender for everything in this step.
3) Stir the bacon and green onions into the flour mixture. Add the potato mixture and mix well.
4) Lightly oil a preheated waffle iron. Pour in enough batter for 1 batch. Spread with a spatula (don't skip this step) and close waffle iron. 
5) Cook until the waffle iron opens easily and the waffles are crisp, which was about 4 minutes in my waffle iron. 
6) Top with butter, apple sauce, sour cream, or apple butter. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tortilla Soup

My mom and I came across this recipe when I was 12 or 13.  She has a cookbook called "Creme de Colorado," that had a recipe for Chili Verde in it. I made the Chili Verde for a chili cook-off at church and noticed the recipe next to it, called Sopa de Tortilla. My mom and I thought it looked like a great recipe and decided to make it for Christmas Eve.  We all loved it and it turned into our Christmas Eve tradition.  With the exception of a few years when I've been on the road for Christmas Eve, I've made this soup every year. My husband always looks forward to it.  His favorite part is when I roast the poblano pepper.  He loves the smell! I've made a few changes to the recipe over the years and have started making it in a crock pot.  The first time I made this for my in-laws, I also made some black beans.  My father in law ended up putting the beans in his soup, so now we add a can of beans to the soup.  One year, I had a ton of bell peppers, so I diced one and put it in the an extra bell pepper is a must. I make my soup pretty mild because of the kids. If you like spicier things, go ahead and make it with the full amount of chili powder and poblano (or even jalapeno). I set out extra roasted poblano peppers so people can add some spice if they need it.
I usually go ahead and toast the corn tortilla strips...but this year there was just too much to do. I ended up buying some salad toppers that were multi-colored tortilla strips. They work just fine in a pinch.
For the Kids: Some of the broth with alphabet pasta
Merry Christmas!!

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Creme de Colorado
makes 6 - 8 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups beef broth
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 poblano pepper, roasted, seeded and diced (I only use 1/2 in the soup)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Soup toppers:  monterey jack cheese, diced tomato, avocado, green onions, additional hot peppers, and black olives

1) In a large pot, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes.
2) Add beef broth, chicken broth, tomato juice, cumin, chili powder, poblano pepper, salt, and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.
3) Add chicken and black beans and cook for 15 minutes longer.
4) Heat oven to 350. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.
5) To serve soup: place a few tortilla strips in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle soup on top. Top with desired toppings.

Crockpot instructions: Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in a skillet. Combine with  beef broth, chicken broth, tomato juice, cumin, chili powder, poblano pepper, salt, and worcestershire sauce in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Add chicken and beans for last 30 minutes.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Parmesan Schnitzel

There is a German restaurant in town that we love to go to. I occasionally get bratwurst when we go, but usually I end up with schnitzel. Since it isn't something I make very often, it's a fun treat to have when I go out.  A few weeks ago, pork cubed steaks were on sale.  I knew it would save me the work of pounding meat for schnitzel, so I bought some. I've made this recipe before with pork chops, but I think I like it better with the thin, pork cubed steaks. On the thicker cuts of pork, the parmesan cheese can burn, but this recipe left a nice, golden-brown crust on the pork. The only disadvantage to working with this cut of meat is that it is very, very tender, so it tends to fall apart during the breading process.  I served the schnitzel with oven roasted potatoes and applesauce (store bought). The meal was a huge hit with my husband and kiddos!

Parmesan Schnitzel
Adapted from Food Network

1 pound pork cubed steaks (or pork chops, pounded thin)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup panko
3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese (I used the already grated kind from the specialty cheese section)
salt and pepper
Oil, for frying (I used grapeseed)

1) Set out 3 shallow bowls for coating the pork. In the first bowl, place the parmesan cheese. In the second, the eggs, and in the third both the Italian and panko bread crumbs.
2) Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom about 1/4 inch deep. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3) Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
4) Dip each pork chop in the coating in the following order: parmesan cheese, egg, and bread crumbs.
5) Fry for 3 - 5 minutes on each side. Drain excess oil from pork before serving.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beans, Beans...

My soil is getting a little tired after 3 years of constant gardening. I decided to rest one side of my garden this season and will be resting the other half in the spring.  I planted a few cabbages, greens, and broccoli, but since they take up so much room, I planted a lot less of those than I have the last 2 years. Between sales on seeds and the seed of the month club I joined, I had a ton of bean seeds.  This fall, we planted empress beans, pencil pod wax beans, royalty purple pod beans, and dragon tongue beans.  After getting off to a rough start with some really warm weather, followed by a ton of rain, then bugs, the beans are doing quite well. I had to apply neem a few times to get rid of the bugs, but they seem to have moved onto other plants. This year, I will finally have beans ready to be harvested on Thanksgiving! Since growing the beans has been a family affair this year, we're all pretty excited about the bean harvest.

Empress and Royalty Purple Pod Beans in my small garden

Royalty Purple Pod Beans (they turn green when cooked)

Empress Beans

Our first harvest

My son has an Earthbox.  He is growing 8 pencil pod wax bean plants and 8 dragon tongue bean plants. The dragon tongue beans are pole beans, so we added a few stakes to the center of the box. We've harvested a few pencil pod wax beans. The dragon tongue beans can be harvested as a snap bean or dry bean. We've decided to be patient and let them turn into dry beans. 

My son's Earthbox with 16 bean plants.

Pencil pod wax beans.

Dragon tongue beans

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Favorite Snack

I've been exercising quite a bit lately and have even added weights to my workout.  I wanted to find a good high-protein snack to have a few times a week.  This snack was inspired by several Facebook friends who recommended Greek yogurt with honey.  As a breakfast, this is very filling and works well after a workout since the potassium from the bananas helps keep away muscle cramps.  I was definitely afraid of plain Greek yogurt at first since I've been a flavored yogurt girl for as long as I can remember.  Once I added the honey and granola, I didn't notice a big difference from the vanilla. The recipe is pretty simple: 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons granola, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 sliced banana.  It's also really good with crunch peanut butter, banana, and honey!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Acorn Squash Soup

After quite a bit of debate (with myself), I decided to include chicken broth in my Meatless Monday recipes. Most of my soup recipes call for chicken broth and not all of them work well with vegetable broth.  I realized that if I already had the chicken bones sitting around in my freezer, it was keeping with the healthy/inexpensive/less wasteful theme of Meatless Monday.
My friend Kayla sent me this recipe.  I love getting recipes from friends...especially friends who are also busy moms! I made this as a lunch for my husband and I last week. We both loved it.  I didn't have any heavy cream in the house, so I used milk.  I think I'll use cream next time, just to make a thicker soup.  You could use any type of squash you wanted for this soup. I used golden acorn squash because it is easier to cut than butternut squash.
Hopefully I'll have more recipes to post this week.  Still getting used to blogging when I don't have both children napping at the same time!

Acorn Squash Soup
2 acorn or 1 butternut squash
2 cloves garlic
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1) Cut the squash into fourths, and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash in a microwaveable bowl and top the squash with butter.
2) Cook on high until squash is tender (it took about 8 minutes for my acorn squash). Scoop the squash out of the skin.
3) While squash is cooking, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the whole garlic cloves, cooking until brown on both sides.  When the garlic is done, use a garlic press to mince the garlic.
 4) In a large saucepan, combine squash, roasted garlic, chicken broth, heavy cream, and red pepper flakes.
5) Heat over medium heat until it comes just to a boil.
6) Turn off heat and blend well. I used an immersion blender, but you could use a traditional blender or food processor.
7) Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chicken Strips

Chicken Strips Tossed in Buffalo Sauce

My kids love chicken nuggets. I prefer to give them the chicken tenders that are whole pieces of chicken, but I haven't found affordable frozen ones that both kids like. I decided to tweak my favorite chicken strip recipe to make it "crunchier" like the nuggets my kids like, and added panko bread crumbs.  I've been hungry for buffalo wings lately, but haven't felt like spending the money on a night out for wings.  I rolled some of the chicken strips in buffalo sauce and made boneless wings for my husband and I. It was definitely cheaper than going out (or buying frozen chicken strips). I even bought organic/free range chicken breasts for the meal. The cost for the chicken and oven fries was under $2 per person (I already had the blue cheese and buffalo sauce in the fridge).  You can't do that at a restaurant. I didn't toss the strips for my kids in sauce.  My son chose to dip his in some homemade apple butter, and my daughter ate hers "naked."

Chicken Strips
serves 4
Peanut oil, for frying
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut to desired size (can also use chicken breast tenderloins)
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
peanut oil
dipping sauces (buffalo, honey mustard, bbq, etc.)

1) Fill a large skillet with 1/2 inch of peanut oil. I used 2 skillets so I didn't have to fry multiple batches. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2) While oil is heating. Set out 3 bowls for breading the chicken. Fill one with flour, one with egg, and one with the panko bread crumbs. 
3) Season chicken strips with salt and pepper and dredge each chicken strip in flour. Dip in egg, then coat with panko. Add to hot oil.
4) Fry each chicken strip for 4 minutes. Turn and fry 4 more minutes. If chicken strips are not browned, fry for 2 minutes more on each side. 
5) Serve with your favorite dipping sauce

Monday, October 31, 2011

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal

A friend of mine posted this recipe last October.  I finally made it at the end of September.  I'm sad I waited so long to make it.  It was easy, my kids loved it, my husband and I loved it, and it was a recipe the kids could help with (that seems to really help my kids try new things). I was never a fan of oatmeal when I was growing up.  I eventually learned to like flavored instant oatmeal, then moved on to flavoring my own quick cook oats.  This was my first time trying steel cut oats.  They were great and I know I will be making them again...especially when there are so many yummy varieties of apples in season!

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from Mom Makes
Makes 4 servings

1 cup steel cut oats
1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used coconut sugar and it turned out great)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large apple, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1) In an nonmetal bowl with a cover, combine oats, milk brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, and salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

2) Transfer oatmeal mixture to a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of the apples (save the rest for topping the oatmeal). Heat just to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, or until oatmeal reaches desired consistency. If you like thinner oatmeal, add more milk.

3) Spoon into 4 bowls and top with remaining apples. I also added a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar to the top of ours.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

French Onion Soup

I love French onion soup!  Until recently, I had no idea how easy it was to make.  I had some beef soup bones in my freezer, so I bought some oxtail and made some beef broth.  Homemade beef broth is a lot of work, but it is worth it!  I make mine in the crockpot so it can simmer all day.  My favorite recipe is Alton Brown's recipe.  I packaged the broth in a few different sizes and tossed it in the freezer.  I decided to use one quart of it for French onion soup.  I'm so glad I finally made it on my own. It was delicious! My husband and I ate a ton of it (the kids stuck to grilled cheese that night).  I will definitely be making this again!

French Onion Soup
serves 3

2 large yellow onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 quart beef stock
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
seasoned salt, to taste
Sliced white cheese (muenster, swiss, asiago, etc.)

1) Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) While onions are cooking, combine beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt in a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. 
3) Preheat oven to 400. Add onions to broth and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. 
4) Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls. Top with croutons and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemade Energy Bars

My favorite spot to look for homemade energy bar recipes is Enlightened Cooking. I've used her recipe for lara-type bars in the past and they were delicious. A few weeks ago, she posted a recipe for homemade TRIO and KIND bars.  I recently discovered KIND bars, but was not thrilled with the price (anywhere from $1.75 to $2.19 each). I was really happy to see a recipe for these on Enlightened Cooking.  My favorite type of KIND bar has chocolate in it, but all the recipes on Enlightened Cooking were the fruit and nut bars.  I decided to follow the proportions given on Enlightened Cooking and substitute chocolate chips for the dried fruit.  I also added a scoop of peanut butter, just because. The bars turned out great! I enjoyed eating them in the morning with coffee, or breaking one in half and eating it as a snack when I needed my "chocolate fix."  I also made the TRIO bar recipe from her post and used a mix of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and dried cranberries.  They were also delicious.  Most variations can be found on Enlightened Cooking, but I will post my chocolate peanut butter bars, since they were not on her site.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Adapted from Enlightened Cooking 

1 1/3 cups mixed nuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup, honey, or barley malt syrup (honey will be very sticky)
2 tablespoons peanut butter

1) Preheat oven to 325.
2) Line an 8-inch square pan with foil.  Grease well.
3) In a medium-sized bowl, mix nuts, crisp rice cereal, and chocolate chips.
4) Mix salt, syrup, and peanut butter in a small bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until well-mixed. It will be very sticky.
5) Spread bar mixture into pan.  Use a spatula to to make even.
6) Bake for 14 - 18 minutes.
7) Cool for 15 minutes.  Cut into 8 bars, but do not remove from foil yet.  It will be too sticky.
8) When bars have cooled completely, remove from foil.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh rarebit has been on my "to make" list for a while.  I knew my kids would love bread and cheese for dinner, and it is a lot less work than fondue.  I used Alton Brown's recipe and only made one change- I grilled some 5 minute bread instead of toasting rye bread, so I won't retype the recipe.  I also added some sliced celery and apples to dip in the extra cheese sauce.  One of the reviews I read suggested adding a pickle...we love pickles, so I added one.  This was a great, kid-friendly meal. It doesn't look like much food, but trust me, it's pretty filling!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yellow Rice and Chicken

This is one of those meals I love to make because it is simple, I usually have the ingredients on hand, and my husband and kids love it.  I've watched shows on the Food Network about how to do this the authentic way, in one pot, seasoning your own rice, and using the chicken on the bone.  I honestly love my recipe and it's so easy that I don't really want to complicate it.  I remember eating "mojo chicken" and yellow rice quite a bit growing I know why my mom made it.  It is so easy and everyone likes it.  If you don't live in an area that sells mojo marinade (it is usually found on the "ethnic foods" aisle of the grocery store), use a tequila lime or other citrus marinade for the chicken.  If you do not like boneless, skinless chicken breast, substitute your favorite cut of chicken, just make sure you marinate it.  I started adding peas to this recipe when my husband mentioned that he liked peas with it.  He also loves green olives added to it...but green olives are not very kid friendly, so I leave them out.  My favorite side dishes to have with this are fried sweet plantains (recipe coming soon) and a canned black beans.  You can even mix the black beans with the chicken and rice if you are feeling adventurous.

Yellow Rice and Chicken
1 large bag of yellow rice
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup mojo marinade
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1) Marinate chicken in mojo for at least 1 hour.
2) Cook yellow rice according to package directions.  I usually cook my yellow rice in chicken broth.
3) While rice is cooking, saute chicken breast in olive oil until done (about 10 minutes)
4) Cook frozen peas according to package directions.
5) When rice is done cooking, combine rice, chicken, and peas.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

September Menu

Yellow Rice and Chicken

A few weeks ago, I promised to post my menu from September. Quite a bit of the month was spent trying to clear out space in the freezer so that we would have room for our share of some yummy grass-fed beef that will be arriving soon. I only ended up with one meatless meal this month :(  Between cookouts and dinners with friends, clearing the freezer, and some extra hot dogs in the fridge, it wasn't a great month to be a vegetable.  There are a few meals that say "meal co-op" next to them.  Meal co-ops are a great time saver.  For one co-op, I made 4 baked zitis, kept one for myself, and gave the rest to friends. I came home with chicken pie, enchilada casserole, and lasagna rolls.  As long as you have the freezer space for the meals, these co-ops are wonderful! Not all of the recipes have links.  If you want any of those recipes, just let me know and I'll share them. Some of them will be posted soon, so I'll be sure to update the links.

September Menu (Can you tell I don't like to cook on Fridays?)
1: Calico Beans with baked sweet potatoes on the side
2: Out
3: Bean Dip (football game)
4: Grilled London broil, pork chops, and veggies.
5: BBQ with friends
6: Pulled pork tacos (pork cooked in the crock pot and shredded, with taco seasoning added after shredding)
7: Chicken Pie from meal co-op
8: Out
9: Hot dogs with pasta and sauce (I was celebrating a friend's birthday, so daddy cooked)
10: Red beans and rice with grilled cheese
11: Thai chicken burgers with fries
12: Out- original plan was sausage and apple stuffing in the slow cooker, but it burned...
13: Enchiladas from meal co-op
14: Baked delicata squash with hot dogs and cheddar brats
15: Slow cooker stroganoff
16: Out
17: Football game- lasagna made by a friend
18: Out (family trip to Sea World).
19: Slow cooker Asian short ribs with mashed potatoes
20: Cranberry bean and sausage soup
21: Bacon and egg pizza
22: Zatarain's frozen blackened chicken alfredo pasta
23: Out
24: BLT with buffalo blue cheese aioli
25: Birthday party for a friend
26: Welsh rarebit
27: Yellow rice and chicken
28: Chicken parm. from meal co-op
29: Apple cider stew
30: Out

Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Cider Beef Stew

I've been learning to do more with stew meat lately.  Partly because it's not too expensive, and also because we order grass-fed beef in bulk, so I'm learning to cook all sorts of cuts of meat I normally wouldn't know what to do with. I came across this recipe in a slow cooker cookbook and thought it looked delicious.  I ended up tweaking it a little bit based on ingredients I had on hand. I also add more liquid when I use grass-fed beef since I still have a fear of the meat turning out tough (especially stew meat).  I was expecting the apples in this recipe to cook like the potatoes, but they didn't stay firm. They just kind of dissolved in the broth. I will still add them because I enjoyed the flavor they added, even if I couldn't see the big pieces of apple.  I always add more carrots to recipes because my husband and son love carrots cooked in "meat juice." My husband really enjoyed this recipe (so did the kids). It was a nice mix of sweet and savory.  I will definitely be making this again, especially if this 90 degree weather ever changes!

Apple Cider Beef Stew
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 carrots, cut into large pieces
4 red potatoes, quartered
2 onions, quartered
2 apples, cored and quartered
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cups apple cider
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt and pepper, to taste

1) In a large skillet, brown meat in hot oil Drain off fat.
2) In a slow cooker, combine carrots, potatoes, beef, apples, and celery.  
3) Mix cider beef broth, thyme, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour over beef and vegetables.
4) Cook on low for 8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simple Cooking Part 4: Crock Pots

Slow Cooker Goulash
I love my crock pot.  I also switch back and forth between the terms "slow cooker" and "crock pot" quite a bit, so I apologize for any inconsistencies in this post.  Thanks to my mom, who gave me one of her old crock pots, I am the owner of 2 large crock pots.  Her crock pot is at least 10 years older than mine, which is a good thing. The newer crock pots tend to cook things a little too fast, which sometimes leads to a mess and an overcooked dinner (which is supposed to be impossible with a slow cooker).  I haven't posted many of my crock pot recipes because most of them don't photograph well.  Slow Cooker Goulash is probably the pretties thing I make in the crock pot, so I decided to make that my picture for this post. I do have a few recipes posted under the slow cooker tag. Today I am going to post two of my family's favorite recipes that definitely do not photograph well!  I am not even going to pretend that they are healthy. Both recipes are simple comfort foods. Yes, I know that one of them has a can of cream of mushroom soup in it...and yes, I know you can make your own.  But I only cook with this stuff once a month at the most, so it's not a big deal to me to open up a can and dump it in the crock pot.   I hope you enjoy the recipes below as much as my family does!

Many thanks to my friend Krista, who tried a lot of recipes in "Fix-It and Forget-It," and gave me a list of the recipes that were good (and more importantly, the ones to avoid).

Ethel's Calico Beans
Adapted from "Fix-It and Forget-It"

1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
16-ounce can small red beans, drained
14.5-ounce can baked beans, undrained
15-ounce can butter beans, drained

1) Brown ground beef, onion, and bacon in skillet. Drain.
2) Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
3) Cover. Cook on low 8 hours.

 I like to serve this with corn bread, french fries, or baked sweet potatoes.

Bean Tator Tot Casserole
From "Fix-It and Forget-It"

1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 pound bag frozen green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheese
21-ounce bag frozen tator tots

1) Crumble raw ground beef in bottom of slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2) Layer remaining ingredients on beef in order listed.
3) Cover. Cook on high 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 hours.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bean Dip

I love seven-layer dip!  I really love just about any dip.  The first week of football season, I was planning on making a big plate of nachos for my husband and I.  At some point, I decided just to make a nice, layered dip instead.  This was delicious!!! It is not a true seven-layer dip, but it is fully of yummy stuff and tastes great on a tortilla chip.

Bean Dip
(makes about 6 cups)

1/2 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning, divided
1 can refried beans
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
Sour cream
1 tomato, seeded and diced
6 black olives, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
Chopped jalapenos, optional

1) Brown ground beef over medium heat until cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and stir well.  Drain and set aside.
2) Mix refried beans and 1 tablespoon taco seasoning in the bottom of a greased, oven-safe glass dish. 
3) Add meat to the top of the beans. Top with cheese.
4) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
5) Spread sour cream over the top.
6) Top with lettuce, tomato, olives, green onions, and jalapenos.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Cooking Part 3: Pizza

Black Bean Tostada Pizza
My kids are 2 and 5, so pizza is always a hit in my house. I really enjoy eating at restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen that make creative pizzas and try to "think outside the box" with pizza for my family. We are getting to the point where one pizza isn't always enough for the 4 of us, so I usually make two pizzas.  One pizza is almost always half cheese, half pepperoni! The second pizza is usually a  little more creative...or at the very least has peppers and olives on it (my kids don't enjoy those on their pizza). A few years ago, I would not have classified pizza into the "simple cooking" category because it took too much planning ahead.  Right now, planning ahead is what helps me keep things simple...I'm not in the right stage of life for last minute trips to the store, so I really have to think ahead on our meals. The crust is probably biggest obstacle to making a pizza.  You can purchase store-bought balls of dough, dough in a can, or the already baked crusts.  Another option is to make your own dough. For me, this doesn't require an extra trip to the store, so I make our dough. My usual pizza dough is made with semolina and bread flours and has olive oil in it, to keep it from being too sticky.  One of my favorite things about this recipe is that I can make quite a bit of it at one time and freeze the  extra dough in balls.  I just make sure to take the dough out of the freezer the night before I make the pizza and let it thaw in the fridge.
Once you've found the right crust for you and your family (store bought or homemade), the fun part of picking the toppings comes next.  My daughter loves cheese pizza and my son loves pepperoni pizza! Both of my kids really enjoy white pizza, which could easily be made with store-bought alfredo sauce. Buffalo chicken pizza and black bean tostada pizza are nice for "grown-ups" and more adventurous kids. I really wasn't expecting my son to like bacon and egg pizza (I left the onions off of his side), so I didn't make enough for him when I made it! He was in the middle of a growth spurt the last time I made it and was already eating more bacon and eggs than he usually does. I guess combining them with pizza was the perfect recipe for a growing 5 year old.
I have a few other pizza ideas that I haven't tried yet. The first idea is for Thai chicken pizza, using the peanut sauce from my favorite stir-fry recipe, chicken, shredded carrots, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese.  My second idea is for Cajun chicken pizza. It would use the creole sauce, sausage, veggies, and cheeses from my pasta jambalaya recipe.
Now that you are hungry, go make some pizza! Be creative with the toppings. Trendy pizza restaurants don't have to follow "the rules," and neither do you :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simple Cooking Part 2: Sandwiches

I love a good sandwich! Some sandwiches are a little too much work (or a little too rich) for a quick lunch, so I try to make sandwiches for dinner from time to time.  I've found that sandwiches are a huge help when we are busy and I need to do some simpler cooking.  I love being creative with sandwiches.  One of my favorite things to do is buy some ciabatta rolls, set out meats, cheese, and condiments and let my family pick what they want on their sandwiches, then toast everything in the oven.  One of my personal favorites is spicy honey mustard, brie, and tart apple slices (served open-face). There really are no rules with sandwiches. You can use homemade or store-bought bread. Sandwich bread, bagels, rolls, pita, naan, etc.  They can be packed full of veggies or 3 kinds of meat. Hot or cold.  You can even make breakfast sandwiches for dinner!

Below is a list of previous posts about sandwiches. Some are simple, others are more complicated...but they are all tasty!

Thai Chicken Burgers
Pulled Pork
Croque Madame
Buffalo Chicken Sub (very easy)
Cube Steak Sandwich
Veggie Panini
Fried Pork Tenderloin (good for weekend cooking)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thai Chicken Burgers

I made these recently for the first time in over a year.   Usually when I make these, I use store-bought peanut sauce. I decided to try these with my favorite homemade peanut sauce this time.  They were delicious.  I made them fairly mild so that my son would eat them.  These are a great dish to make when you want something a little bit different.  They are easy and tasty! I will definitely not wait a year before making these again. 

Thai Chicken Burgers
makes 4 burgers

3/4 cup peanut sauce, divided (I made the one from my favorite stir-fry recipe)
1 pound ground chicken 
Optional toppings: peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce, Asian BBQ sauce, sesame ginger dressing

1) In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of  the peanut sauce and ground chicken. Mix well.
2) Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  If you are using ground chicken breast, you may want to add oil. 
3) Shape the chicken into patties. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Cook over medium to medium-low heat for 5 minutes on each side.  Baste with the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut sauce and cook for 2 - 3 minutes per side.  Check to make sure the burger is cooked all the way through.
5) Top with cabbage and your choice of sauces.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taco Seasoning

This is my favorite taco seasoning recipe! I keep a jar of it by the stove and use it on shredded pork, beef, chicken, and beans.  I'll be posting a few "Simple Cooking" recipes in the next few weeks and taco seasoning is a pretty important ingredient to keep around.  Once you are stocked up on the spices, making your own taco seasoning is so much cheaper than buying the small packets of it!

Taco Seasoning
makes about 3/4 cup

3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you like things mild)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a 1 cup jar.

Use 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup for making tacos with 1 pound of ground beef and 2/3 cup water.  If you want the mixture to thicken, add 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch to the meat, water, and taco seasoning.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Simple Cooking Part 1

BLT with Malabar Spinach from the Garden
I really have been cooking quite a bit the last month.  I just haven't had much time to blog about it.  My son started Kindergarten at the beginning of August.  I've also been busy with things at church, swimming lessons, spending time in the garden, trying to keep up with laundry, and a little girl who misses her big brother during the day.  We are actually eating at home more than we were this summer, I am just doing much simpler cooking.  Sometimes this means using more convenience foods than I would like (Knoor pasta and sauce sides, Kraft cooking creme, Velveeta shells and cheese, frozen pizza), but I'm at peace with that because we are all adjusting to a new schedule.  As long as we are eating dinner together as a family I am happy.  Most of the time, though, simpler cooking for me, is doing less labor-intensive main dishes with cut up fruits and veggies on the side.  I've been doing quite a bit of crock pot cooking.  Most crock pot meals don't photograph well, so I'm bad about blogging them.  I promise, I will eventually share them, even if there is no picture. I am planning on (slowly) doing a "Simple Cooking" series on this blog.  Most people know how to heat up a frozen pizza or cooking mac and cheese from a box, but I talk with so many people who want to know more about simple meals that use fresh ingredients.  My hope is to share some of our favorite simple recipes with you.
For now, I will post links to some things on my blog that are simple, fresh, and big hits around my house.  Two simple meatless meals are sweet potato black bean burritos and egg and beans.  My slow-cooker tag has a growing list of recipes.  Two simple recipes that we enjoy are Goulash and turkey soup.  To make the soup in the crock pot, just throw everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  It is up to you if you want to soak the beans overnight or not.  A quick meal with fish that seems gourmet, but is actually very simple is parmesan crusted talapia. To make this meal even simpler, use already grated parmesan cheese.  A final simple recipe is the Pioneer Woman's steak sandwich. I've made this with cube steak and sandwich steak.  It is always good!

I hope that this helps all of you who are adjusting to a new school year, new baby, or any big changes in life.  I will post some more easy, quick meals...and possibly my menu for the month of September :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

BBQ Pork

This is the first weekend of college football! For the next few months, my husband and I will be eating a lot of fun foods on Saturday evenings while we watch Gator football.  One really easy (and a favorite) "football food" is pulled pork. This BBQ pork recipe is from my mom and my Grandma.  It is delicious and the leftovers freeze really well.  Don't worry about buying expensive buns for this store-brand buns are the best, in my opinion!

BBQ Pork

For the Pork:
2 onions, sliced
4 to 5 lb pork roast or fresh picnic ham 
5 or 6 cloves
2 cups water

For the Sauce:
3 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use molasses)
2t prepared mustard
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water

1) Put half the onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Add the meat, cloves, and water. Place remaining onions on top.
2) Cook in crock pot on low for 8 - 12 hours, or overnight.  
3) After it has cooked, remove it the pork from the crock pot and drain all of the cooking liquid. 
4) Shred the meat.
5) Mix all of the BBQ sauce ingredients.
6) Combine shredded pork and BBQ sauce in crock pot. Cook on low 2 to 3 hours. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Asian Chicken Soup with Noodles

I tried pho for the first time this summer when I was in San Diego.  It was amazing.  It made me really want to try and make my own.  I was looking through a slow cooker cookbook I borrowed from a friend (almost a year ago) and came across a recipe called "Asian Chicken Soup with Noodles." It isn't traditional pho, but it was a simple recipe that looked tasty.  I almost had a disaster on my hands a few hours into cooking, so I'm posting the recipe with the changes I will make next time.  The recipe told me to use raw chicken.  I ended up with some foamy, gunky stuff floating in the broth.  I ran everything through a strainer and got the nasty stuff out...but it was a lot of work.  I forgot that boiling raw chicken gives off that yucky stuff. A much easier way to make this is to use shredded or cubed cooked chicken. You could even cook the chicken the night before and just dump everything into the crock pot the next morning.
The recipe turned out great! My husband and I loved everything and the kids like the chicken and carrots. The recipe called for Swiss chard or spinach. I had some chard growing in the garden, so I used that.  I think bok choi would also be really good in this recipe. I added the optional chili oil to my bowl of noodle soup. I was having some sinus troubles and it really helped clear things out.  It's pretty spicy, so don't use too much.

Asian Chicken Soup with Noodles
serves 4
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I used a mix of oyster, shitake, and portabella from Publix)
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cups shredded Swiss chard or spinach leaves
8 ounces rice sticks or Chinese egg noodles.
cilantro leaves (optional)
green onions (optional)
chili oil (optional)

1) Place chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and onion in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2) Combine garlic, ginger, chicken broth, and soy sauce in a large bowl. Pour over vegetables and chicken.
3) Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Stir in Swiss chard or spinach 5 minutes before serving.
4) Cook rice sticks or noodles according to package directions.
5) Divide noodles among bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Top with optional toppings of cilantro, green onions, and chili oil. Add more soy sauce if desired.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicken Broth

My mom taught me how to make chicken broth when I was 13 years old.  Now I can't throw away perfectly good chicken bones!  I generally do not buy a chicken just to make broth. Instead, I try to save bones from cut chicken pieces, or use the carcass when I make a roasted chicken.  Because of the gelatin in the chicken bones, the broth will seem like jell-o when it cools. That is a good thing! It is full of all kinds of good-for-you stuff you won't find in a can or box of broth.  I am posting the directions using a slow cooker.  If you don't have one, cook on the stove top for a minimum of 4 hours. Feel free to add more veggies or herbs to your broth.  This is the combination that my family likes best.

Chicken Broth
Makes about 6 cups

1 whole chicken carcass from a roasted or grilled chicken (or several breast, leg, back, and neck bones)
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut in half
2 stalks celery, cut in half
Celery leaves from the center of the celery
1 onion, cut into 4 large pieces
1 turnip, cut in half
5 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
8 - 10 cups of water
2 teaspoons seasoned salt 

1) Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 8 - 12 hours. 
2) Pour the broth through a strainer to get any large pieces of  chicken or peppercorns out of the broth. Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.
3) Store covered in fridge over night. If you want to skim off the fat, just remove with a spoon. It will rise to the top.
4) Freeze any unused broth in the freezer. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I planted sweet potatoes a few months ago.  Some of the vines produced potatoes, others didn't.  My first harvest consisted of 3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes.  I wanted to do something fun with them, so I roasted them and served them as a side dish with lunch the other day.  They were really easy and yummy.  They weren't crispy like a french fry, but I've learned that unless you batter and deep fry sweet potatoes, they will turn out soft.  I know I will be making these again soon.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
makes 4 servings

2 or 3 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons sunflower or peanut oil
cinnamon sugar

1) Preheat oven to 400. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into wedges.
2) Toss in oil.
3) Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Toss is salt and cinnamon sugar.

Friday, August 26, 2011

End of Summer 2011

This spring/summer was definitely an adventure in gardening. For the first time ever, I planted everything early in the season.  We ended up having record heat and very little rain this spring and early summer, so a lot of my plants either died or didn't produce.  I even lost 2 eggplants...and those were made for Florida!  I did end up with a ton of tomatoes in May and June.  Nothing beats a homegrown tomato!

Heirloom tomato from my son's garden.

We bought an Earthbox for my 5 year old son this spring.  He planted an heirloom tomato seedling, sunflower seed, small strawberry plant, and a ground cherry seed.  The ground cherry had a little too much shade from the tomato...other than that he had a wonderful garden. I was a little jealous of his tomatoes!

My son's Earthbox

Sunflower from the Earthbox
I had quite a bit of success with my rosa bianca eggplant this year.  This was the only eggplant to survive the freeze from the winter.  I've enjoyed cooking with these eggplants this summer. I also had some beautiful nasturtiums and very productive sweet potato vines.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant


Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet Potatoes (they were delicious)

I had fun with some herbs...but the heat got to them and now the only herbs I have left are some basil and chives.  I'll plant more in a few weeks.

Pineapple Sage

My big flop this year was corn!  I started out with beautiful stalks that produced several ears of corn...then everything just dried up.  I think I may have had more luck if I went for a late summer planting.  We've had quite a bit of rain the last month. 

After a lot of dry weather, followed by a ton of rain, and a few weeks out of town for garden was in bad shape.

I spent a few hours in the garden one day and the hard work paid off. Now my garden is getting ready for fall.  I'll post soon on my plans for the fall garden.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thousand Island Dressing

My mom introduced my son to thousand island dressing a few months ago.  Right now he will eat just about anything, as long as this dip is on the table.  I like to use this dressing on salads, sandwiches, burgers, and as a dip for veggies and french fries.  I made some roasted potatoes cut into large wedges (my potatoes are much prettier in this picture than they were in the roasted potatoes post). I mix this up about once every 2 weeks and we go through it pretty fast.  I really like the homemade because it is much less sweet than the stuff from a bottle.

Thousand Island Dressing
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Mix all ingredients. Store covered in refrigerator.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Christina's Spinach Dip

College football season is 2 weeks away.   That means football food is 2 weeks away! My friend Christina makes this spinach dip for football games and parties.  When I was pregnant, I requested it...and ate a ton of it! My 5 year old son decided that he likes spinach now.  The last time we were at a party with this dip, he ate quite a bit of it. This dip is great for parties, brunches, and baby/bridal showers.  I like to make it the day before so the flavors from the soup mix have a chance to blend in with everything else.  
I'm looking forward to more football-food posts in the next few weeks.  I should probably exercise more if I'm going to enjoy all of my favorite foods while sitting on the couch watching football!

Christina's Spinach Dip

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
8 oz sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 envelope dry vegetable soup mix

1) Squeeze excess water from spinach using paper towels.
2) In a glass bowl, combine spinach, sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. I like to use an immersion blender to break up large pieces of spinach.
3) Stir in soup mix.  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I went to a baby shower for my best friend over the weekend.  There were quite a few Publix fried chicken tenders left over.  Since I have small children, quite a few of the chicken tenders were went home with my family.  My son started school on Monday, so I wanted to do something simple for dinner on Sunday evening.  We invited another family over and made pizza. I made a cheese pizza for the kids and buffalo chicken pizza for the adults.  It was a good way to use some of the leftover chicken tenders. I sprinkled some ranch dressing on my pizza before I ate it to cut down on the spice of the buffalo sauce.  This could easily be made with sauteed chicken breast pieces instead of leftover chicken tenders.
This pizza was easy and tasted amazing!  I will definitely be making it again.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 ball pizza dough
3 chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup tomato sauce, or less
buffalo wing sauce, to taste (I use Frank's)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I only had sliced)
2 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese

1)Preheat oven to 375.  Roll the pizza dough into a circle. Bake the dough for 10 minutes.
2) Toss the chicken tenders in the buffalo sauce. Let it sit while the dough is baking.
3) Top the pizza with the pizza sauce, chicken, and cheese.
4) Bake for 10 minutes.
5) Optional: top with ranch dressing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shortcut Croque Madame

My friend Shelley invited me over for lunch and a playdate a few week ago.  This is what she made for lunch. My son loved it, so I decided to add these to the menu at our house.  This is not a traditional Croque Madame that you would find in France.  It is a shortcut from the Food Network.  It is also much cheaper than a traditional Croque Madame because it uses Swiss cheese instead of Gruyere. I followed the recipe exactly as it was on the website, so I will post the link instead of rewriting everything.  If you don't keep wine in the house, leave out the white wine.  If your family doesn't like Swiss cheese, any good white melting cheese would work great in this recipe. For the recipe, check out Quick Croque Madames on the Food Network website.

My husband enjoyed this sandwich so much that he offered to make himself a second one.  I was so flattered that I got up from the table, turned on the skillet and oven, and made him another one!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spaghetti with a Fried Egg

I first tried a variation on this recipe a few months ago, after reading about it in Cooks Illustrated.  The article I read scared me.  It went on and on about the importance of timing the spaghetti and the egg just right. I was pretty scared the first time I made it.  It was also a very white meal.  Just spaghetti, bread crumbs, eggs, and parmesan cheese.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm learning that I'm not cooking for gourmet chefs and foodies, I'm cooking for my family and friends...I don't have to follow all the "rules."  I decided to try and make this again and I added some veggies for color.  I left out the bread crumbs because I felt like they didn't really add anything.  I also left out the parmesan cheese because I felt like there were enough flavors in the dish.  My experimenting and relaxing paid off!  It went from something my husband thought was "ok" to something he truly enjoyed and will gladly eat again.  My son even loved the pasta with egg yolk.  I used eggs from a local farm for this.  Since the yolks stay very runny in this recipe, I would recommend either farm fresh eggs or organic eggs.  Feel free to substitute the vegetables in this recipe.  I used up things that were in my fridge.

Spaghetti with a Fried Egg
serves 2

4 oz spaghetti
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 handful matchstick carrots
1/2 bag spinach
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain
2) While you are waiting for the water to boil, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute 10 minutes. Add bell pepper, matchstick carrots, and crushed red pepper. Saute 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach until wilted.  Set aside.
3) When the spaghetti has 5 minutes of cooking time left, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  After 5 minutes, add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter is melted, crack the eggs into the skillet.  Cover, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
4) To serve: place half the drained pasta a bowl.  Top with half of the vegetables, and 1 egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Repeat for second bowl.
5) Break the yolk as soon as you sit down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Asiago Herb Ciabatta

 This is not an authentic Italian ciabatta recipe full of steps.  I've been wanting to make ciabatta for quite a while, but all the steps were a little intimidating.  I don't do well with breads that call for starters or sponges, because something usually happens to distract me.  This is the method from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day, with a few modifications on my part.  I've come to realize that since I am not a chef, I don't have to follow all the "rules" about food, so I did a shortcut ciabatta.  I'm also pretty sure that no one in my family cared that this wasn't an authentic ciabatta loaf.   They just knew it was yummy bread! It had a nice sourdough taste because I left the dough in the fridge for a week.  I want to try it without the asiago and herbs sometime and make a brie, turkey and apple panini with it.  I think my days of spending $4 on a loaf of ciabatta are behind me!
 The dough for this is pretty sticky and wet.  I was afraid that if I shaped it and put it on a baking sheet, it would turn into one large blob of dough.  I have a 10-inch bread pan that I never get to use, so I decided to use it in this recipe.  It worked great and I will use it again.  My 9-inch pan would have been fine, it just would have given me a taller loaf.  This recipe makes enough for 2 loaves.  I made ciabatta with half of the dough and 6 rolls with the other half.

Asiago Herb Ciabatta
Adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
makes 2 10-inch loaves

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/4 cups unsifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup diced asiago cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or dough bucket.  Mix until well-blended. Allow to rise covered for 2 hours.
2) Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 weeks.
3) Cut off one pound of the dough.  With wet hands, shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides.  Flatten into an elongated oval, no thinner than 3/4 inches.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or baking mat. Optional: Place in a well-greased 9 or 10 inch loaf pan.
4) Let it rise, uncovered for 20 minutes.
4) Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, or until deeply browned.