Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pretty Penne Ham Skillet

This recipe comes from Taste of Home. I found it just after Easter when we were looking for ways to use up leftover ham. My kids have devoured it. I mean, really devoured it. I had to make it a second time to make sure it wasn't a fluke, and once again we cleaned up the pan. Winner!

1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 large sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add ham, red pepper and onion; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until ham is browned and vegetables are tender. Add garlic and herbs; cook 1-2 minutes longer.

Stir in broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add pasta and cream; toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Black and White Honey Wheat Swirl Bread

Notes: This recipe is from my bread mentor and dear friend, Meg. Not only does this bread look incredible, it's amazingly soft and delicious. My kids can't get enough of it and neither can I! The only thing I do a little differently is I don't use the caramel color (cuz it's hard to find) so instead I use dark cocoa powder to make it extra dark. But neither changes the flavor, just the color, so just use what you have.

2 1/2 c. room temperature water* (100°-110°F)
4 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS caramel color (or water if you don't have caramel color)
1/2 c honey
3 1/2 c wheat flour (100% winter white wheat)
3 1/2-4 c all purpose flour or bread flour
2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBS active dry yeast (I use SAF yeast---it's the best!)
2 TBS vital wheat gluten
2 tsp table salt
cornmeal for dusting bottom
oatmeal to decorate top

1) Combine water, oil, caramel color, and honey in KitchenAid until well mixed. 

2) Add yeast, whole wheat flour, cocoa, gluten and salt, making sure not to dump the salt directly on top of the yeast (salt kills yeast).   Mix until well blended. Use a rubber scraper to make sure the entire contents of the mixer bowl are well mixed. Sometimes ingredients like to hide in the bottom of the bowl and the color doesn't mix in evenly. Give everything one good scrape by hand. 

3) Let mixture rest 10-12 minutes.  

4) Add all purpose/bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Dough will start to climb the mixer.  Stop adding flour when the dough clings to hook and almost cleans the sides of mixer.  

5) Let dough rise until doubled in mixer bowl bowl, covered with a towel. About 30 minutes.

6) (if making swirl bread, Skip step 6 here and use directions below for step 6, returning back to this recipe for step 7. )  Divide in half. Shape into loaves by rolling dough flat on an oiled surface, into an oval/rectangle about 12 inches long x 8 inches wide.  Then roll up sideways into a 12 inch "log", pinching seam and ends together.  

7) Roll bottom side (seam side down, obviously) of loaf log in cornmeal and top side in oatmeal, then sprinkle top with sea salt or a little coarse pretzel salt.  

8) Place loaves into two 3 1/2 x 12 inch metal loaf pans. Cover with dishtowel and allow to rise until big and loafey (yes, loafey), doubled and delicious.  Be patient, it may take about 40 minutes to an hour. (note: less time if it is a very warm/humid day…maybe 25 minutes.)

9) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. The bread top will suddenly turn a little white/dry on top when it's done and the smell, OH THE SMELL, will tell you for sure that it is done. 

10) Cool on wire racks and enjoy with honey butter (see below for recipe). 

Note: instead of  making two 3 1/2 x 12 inch loaves, you can make three 3 1/2 x 8 inch loaves (med standard size) or  a bunch of mini loaves (adjust bake time a little shorter) or  even just throw a lump on a pizza stone and make it like an old fashioned artisan loaf. This recipe is SO user friendly. Get on it and make something amazing!  

Speaking of amazing, see below for swirl recipe:

For swirl bread or marble rye: Yield 4 loaves
Use recipe and directions above except make two batches of the bread recipe. Omit the cocoa powder and caramel color in one batch.  In that same batch, add 2 TBS of wheat flour and (optional) replace up to 1c of the whole wheat flour with rye flour. 

1) Divide each recipe into 4 equal sized dough balls, so you have 4 dark and 4 light colored balls. 

2) Roll loaves out very thin so they are in a 12 inch long x 8 ish inch oval/rectangle on a greased surface.  

Layer rolled dough into a "dough sandwich" as follows: 
Loaf 1: dark, light
Loaf 2: dark, light
Loaf 3: light, dark
Loaf 4: light, dark

3) Press the layers down tightly together with a rolling pin so there are no air bubbles between them.  

4) Roll the entire "sandwich" up into a log and be sure to pinch the seams tightly so that no contrasting dough color is peeking out.  You will have two "wheat bread colored" loves and two "black bread colored" loaves. Follow directions as seen above in step 7. Rise, Bake, etc. 

Honey Butter
Who knew how easy it is to "whip up" some honey butter?  This recipe comes from my friend, Angie, who introduced me to the goodness of honey butter. 

Use equal parts butter and honey (1 lb salted butter to 2c honey). 

Soften butter on countertop for an hour, then whip in kitchen aid until fully blended and nice and fluffy. Store in fridge. Youcan halve or quarter the recipe, but don't. You'll want butter to share when you share all that bread!