Thursday, February 28, 2013

Naan? Naw. But the best fried dough you'll ever eat!

I enjoy Indian food when I get to the nearest city that has an Indian restaurant, Morgantown, WV, and Mother India.

Because I can't afford to eat out or drive much, I am always looking for ways to make what I crave at home. I found a passable way to make one of my two favorite Indian dishes, Chicken Tikka Masala. And I blogged about it last summer so click the link in the last sentence to find the recipe.

About the same time I was intrigued by this recipe for "Bread Machine Naan." Now, my understanding of naan is a chewy flat bread that's stretched thin and baked in a Tandoor clay oven. This recipe is so delicious I don't care what it calls itself!

My family loves it any time we get a craving for fried dough ... you know, like vendors serve at carnivals. Sometimes it's called Elephant Ears. Or Johnny Cakes. Or fry bread. Eat these plain or with butter and powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar, or spread with your favorite jam. I recently enjoyed them drizzled with honey made by my nephew's bees in Preston County. So good! It's also good dipped in that cooling creamy cucumber-mint condiment called raita or used to sop up the sauces from that Chicken Tikka Masala or other Indian foods.

Shannon Ventresca, Middleboro, Mass., submitted this recipe to Taste of Home magazine, which is where I got it.


6 ServingsPrep: 1 hour 55 min. Cook: 5 min./batch

3/4 cup warm 2% milk (70° to 80°)
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain yogurt
(I have used Greek with good results.)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). 

When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Divide into six portions; shape into balls. Roll each ball into a 1/4-in. thick oval. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Brush tops with water. In a greased large skillet, cover and cook dough, wet side down, over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Turn dough; cover and cook for 30 seconds longer or until golden brown.

Repeat with remaining dough. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
1 naan equals 363 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 502 mg sodium

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Skillet Lasagna

Who needs Helper when this is just as easy to make? I make this when we want lasagna but I don't want to dirty more than one pan and bowl and spend a couple of hours assembling and baking it. This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe from a few years back.
Serves 4 to 6
Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal, sold pre-packaged in many supermarkets. If it's unavailable, use ground beef or Italian sausage removed from its casings and crumbled. Use a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion , minced

Table salt
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix or Italian sausage or ground beef
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles , broken into 2-inch lengths

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 additional tablespoons

Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.
2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
3. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two ways with Beef Stroganoff

Soon after we moved into our house in 1999, my mother-in-law gave me a battered copy of "The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook" that she found at a yard sale. I learned to make Beef Stroganoff from it. But that version is decidedly not healthful at 580 calories per 1/6th of the recipe. I'm including it here to preserve it but also because a little splurge now and then on "the real thing" is not bad. But recently, thanks to Pinterest, I found a lighter version with the same flavors of Beef Stroganoff. It's calculated for Weight Watchers and streamlined for quick preparation as a casserole. I have to thank for it.

1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
butter or margarine
1 large onion, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
beef broth
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream

I wrote a note in the cookbook: Stir-fry the steak, chop and measure ingredients and cook noodles before you begin cooking. The assembly moves quickly and you have to have things at hand to add to the pan.

Trim fat from tenderloin; cut meat into 2-inch by 1/2-inch strips.

In 10-inch skillet over high heat, in 1 tablespoon hot butter or margarine, cook half of meat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute (meat will be rare). Pour meat and drippings into medium-sized bowl. In 1 tablespoon more hot butter or margarine, cook remaining meat; pour into bowl and set aside.

To skillet, add 2 tablespoons more butter, onion, mushrooms, mustard  and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in sour cream; add meat and heat, stirring. Do not boil.

1 pound extra lean ground beef (96/4)
4 cups cooked egg noodles 
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms 
1 large onion , chopped 
3 minced garlic cloves 
1/2 cup dry white wine 
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can of Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup 
1/2 cup fat free sour cream 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat.
  2. Add in ground beef and brown with salt and pepper until done, breaking up.
  3. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic.
  4. Cook and stir until onion is tender, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add wine, reduce heat to med-low and simmer 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in soup, sour cream and mustard until combined.
  7. Pour noodles into large dish, pour meat mixture over, and toss to coat, then pour all into 13×9-inch baking dish or pan that has been sprayed with non-fat cooking spray.
  8. Cover and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.
  9. Divide into 6 equally sized portions and serve.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

7 Weight Watchers Points per serving

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweets for your sweetie: Chocolate-covered Cherries

I wrote this story in December 2002 for The Dominion Post. Chocolate-covered cherries are not only a Christmastime treat. They are perfect to give at Valentine's Day. And they are not hard to make at all.

The Dominion Post
Crafting a holiday confection -- juicy cherries wrapped in sweet, creamy fondant and swathed with semisweet chocolate -- isn't as complicated as it tastes.
Sue Carpenter of Morgantown easily makes chocolate-covered cherries from a recipe she found in McCall's magazine in 1987.
"It said 'easy candy' and they are real simple to make," Carpenter said as she wrapped a thin layer of white fondant around a maraschino cherry at the dining room table in her South Park home.
As a member of the Morgantown Service League, Carpenter makes the cherries as refreshments for the group's annual holiday open house at the Old Stone House Gift Shop. She said she would like to sell them at Valentine's Day to benefit Morgantown Hospice, where she works.
The cherries take a few hours to make, but the steps can be done over several days when the maker gets time.
"You can start and stop at any point," Carpenter said.
The fondant can be mixed and refrigerated until the cook is ready to wrap the cherries. Then the wrapped cherries can be chilled until the cook is ready to dip them in melted chocolate.
"The more you've done it, the faster it goes," Carpenter said. "When you get into a rhythm, it doesn't take too long."
Carpenter has adapted the process as she's found what works better each time she's made the recipe.
"The first time I made it, I used too much fondant (on each cherry) and it was really much too sweet," Carpenter said.
The recipe says to use 1 teaspoon, but she uses a thinner layer of fondant, pressing it out in her hand before wrapping it around a cherry.
"If you didn't pick up enough to cover the cherry, you can pinch off more and add it," she said.
Because she uses less, she gets more cherries than the three dozen the recipe says.
"It's real important to have the cherries drained well," Carpenter said. "If it's juicy, it makes it soggy."
But if the fondant gets too wet, she pats a little more powdered sugar into it before she dips the cherry in chocolate.
"Dipping is really easy. You can melt (the chocolate) over and over," she said.
"One of the things that makes it easier to dip," Carpenter said. "I use more chocolate than it says so I'm not scraping the bowl to get the last cherry covered. Then you can use the leftover chocolate for something else."
She uses the maraschino cherries with stems for ease in dipping.
After the chocolate on the dipped candy has set up in the refrigerator, the cherries can be served at room temperature. Carpenter said she has never had them melt.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 10-ounce jars maraschino cherries with stems, well-drained
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces
2 tablespoons shortening
Line baking sheets with waxed paper. In a small bowl, cream butter, confectioners' sugar, milk and almond extract. If the mixture is too soft, add more sugar.
On a surface lightly sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, knead mixture into a ball. With fingers, flatten 1 teaspoon of dough into a two-inch round. With a flat metal spatula, lift the round; then mold it around a cherry to cover completely (leave stem exposed.) Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Place the chocolate and shortening in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on medium 3-5 minutes, stirring once a minute until smooth.
Holding cherry stem, dip cherry into chocolate, making sure to cover cherry completely and going 1/8-inch up stem. Shake off excess.
Place on waxed-paper-lined tray. Repeat with remaining cherries and chocolate. With spoon, drizzle leftover chocolate over cherries. Place in refrigerator 15 minutes to set. Refrigerate, covered. Serve at room temperature. Makes 3 dozen.
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