Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sissy's Shrimp Scampi with pasta

One of my Sissy's favorite dishes is shrimp scampi. Since its her birthday today I made it for her for lunch. This is a quick and easy meal, it literally takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

Happy birthday Sissy, I hope you enjoyed lunch :-)

Sissy's Shrimp Scampi with Angle Hair pasta
serves 2
16 large shrimp (21-28 count)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t lemon juice
2 t EVOO
4 oz angel hair pasta
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1/8 t dry Italian seasonings
1 tomato diced
2 T butter

Marinate peeled and deveined shrimp in 1/4 c white wine, lemon juice, garlic, a few pinches salt and pepper, and dry herbs for 15 minutes.

While shrimp marinate bring water to boil for pasta and heat a large stainless sautee pan over med high heat. The angle hair pasta takes 5 minutes to cook so once you put the pasta in the water start your shrimp.

Once sautee pan is hot add EVOO, swirl pan to coat bottom. Add shrimp to pan. Cook 1-2 min on 1st side then flip over, starting with the 1st shrimp you put in the pan for even cooking. Cook 1 min longer. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and remaining wine to the pan, bring to a boil and allow to reduce by half. Add the shrimp back to the pan and remove from heat.

Drain pasta, add it to the shrimp wine sauce, stirring to coat pasta. Top with parsley.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
Shrimp Scampi with angel hair pasta
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 474.4
Total Fat 18.2 g
Saturated Fat 8.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Cholesterol 104.1 mg
Sodium 161.8 mg
Potassium 244.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 51.5 g
Dietary Fiber 6.8 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 16.6 g

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sicilian pizza

The other day my sister and her 2 kids came over for a day of fun. Since it was a day of fun I decided that we'd have a fun lunch for everyone which around here is pizza! Oh my goodness this pizza turned out fantastic. It was so flavorful, the sauce was fresh tasting and had good 'pizza' flavor. Ben, my almost 9 year old nephew, declared that it smelled like a pizzeria in the house and that I needed to open my own pizza shop. See what a good boy he is? :)

If you all don't know this by now I'm horrible at following recpies. Even my own recipes! So this pizza recipe is different than previously posted pizza recipes. And I have to say, this one may be the best one I've made yet, though I'm pretty sure I said that last time too. The sauce was so so SO good! The crust was both chewy and crispy - what more could you ask for? I had an 8 oz block of mozzarella and a touch of Asiago on hand yesterday, when I spread the cheese on the pizza I thought "Oh crap, thats not gonna be enough cheese". I am happy to report that it was a perfect amount of cheese, just enough to hold the whole thing together, the toppings didn't slide off the slice and it was not excessively greasy, an added plus for sure!

This recipe makes 2 pizzas. I cooked one for us for lunch and froze the 2nd. In retrospect I should have doubled the recipe, cooked 2 for lunch and froze the other 2 for future use. The delicious pizza that's frozen in my freezer is taunting me, it keeps saying "Kitchen Witch, you know you want to make me for lunch again today. Kitchen Witch, pizza, its whats for dinner!" I must ignore its siren song so I can enjoy its deliciousness another day when I just don't feel like cooking!

Sicilian Pizza
makes 2 large pizzas
4 c king arthur bread flour
2 t yeast
1.5 t kosher salt
4 t sugar
1 3/4 c warm water

1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 onion
2 t EVOO
Kosher salt
1/2 t minced fresh oregano plus 1-2 sprigs of oregano
(can use 3/4 t dried oregano)

Toppings: (feel free to use whatever you and your family like here!)
8 oz mozzarella cheese shredded, divided
1/4 c Asiago cheese, divided
8 slices salami, divided
4 slices deli ham, divided
2/3 red bell pepper diced, divided

Make the dough:
~*~the dough will need at least 2 hours of rising time before its ready for use - please plan accordingly~*~

Bloom the yeast in 1/2 c warm water and 1 t sugar. Mix the flour, salt and 3 t sugar together in the work bowl of your stand mixer. Once the yeast has bloomed and is foamy and active add it to the flour, add the EVOO and slowly add the warm water.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip~*~ I always hold off on the last 1/2 cup of water when making bread doughs, you may or may not need it all and its always easier to add more water rather than trying to add more flour to dry it up some.

Kneed the dough in the mixer for 10 minutes. Oil a bowl with EVOO and put the dough ball in the bowl, coating all sides of dough with EVOO. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size. Once doubled punch down and kneed again then divide into 2 equally sized balls.

Spread the dough out on a lightly greased sheet pan making the edges slightly thicker than the center. Prick crust with tines of a fork (this is called docking) so steam can release & you don't get big air bubbles.

Make the sauce:
Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the EVOO, onions and garlic. Cook slowly until garlic is golden brown and onion has started to soften.

Add the crushed tomatoes, salt and herbs. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 15 minutes. After 15 min press the garlic, onions and herb bunch against side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir well. Discard any large pieces of garlic, onion and the sprigs of oregano.

Assemble pizza:

Prep the salami - I use salami because that's what we had. It was delicious, it added that pepperoni kind of flavor that pizza loves. Because I like my pepperoni and salami to be crispy I pre fried it. Heat a small sautee pan over medium high heat. Cut salami into pieces (or use pepperoni) and put into the pan. Cook the meat until its crispy and has released a fair amount of grease. Drain before using on pizza. I also put the salami under the cheese so it wouldn't get burned, since is about 80% cooked already.

Spread 1/2 the sauce on each pizza.

Top with salami or pepperoni

Next is cheese

Then the ham

Finally the red bell peppers. Pretty isn't it?

Bake at 500 for 15-20 minutes or until its bubbly and browned and the crust is golden. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Facts
2 pizzas per recipe, each serves 5 people
10 Servings total
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365.0
Total Fat 14.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.7 g
Cholesterol 26.8 mg
Sodium 741.1 mg
Potassium 296.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.5 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 16.3 g

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buttermilk herb salad dressing

Psst. Wanna know a secret? Your creamy ranch salad dressing, its loaded with calories. And fat. And chemicals. Good thing you know a Kitchen Witch. She can show you a way to make your own. That's right, I said make your own ranch dressing. Or a pretty good knock off. And considering it chimes in at 18 calories a serving, oh and a serving is 2 and a half TABLESPOONS and it takes about 5 minutes to make, well you might wanna try it out. :)

This dressing was inspired by my first herbs of the year arriving in my garden - a small handful of chives and a touch of oregano. Seeing the first herbs made me want salad. But a handful of chives does not a salad make. It does however make a nice salad dressing!

The Greek yogurt is used in place of mayo (since I hate mayo) which makes it nice and creamy and very healthy. The little Witch really liked it and kept commenting on how creamy it tasted. Coming from a 3 year old that's a compliment. Its kid tested, but is it mother approved? You bet your butt it is! Where else can you find a creamy dressing at 18 calories a serving, 1.2 grams of fat and no chemicals or anything artificial? Wow! What's not to love?

Buttermilk Herb Salad Dressing
makes 8 servings, 2.5 T each
1/3 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c lowfat buttermilk
1/4 t granulated garlic
1/2 t kosher salt
1/8 t black pepper
2 T fresh grated Asiago cheese
about 15 stems of chives
5 oregano leaves
1 T finely minced parsley

mince herbs together.
mix yogurt and buttermilk together until smooth
add garlic, salt & pepper, stir well
add minced herbs, about 2 T total
add grated cheese
stir well, allow to sit at least 30 min before serving. The longer it sits the more the flavors meld, so let it sit as long as you can (like make it in the morning for your dinnertime salad). This dressing will last about a week in the fridge.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: Don't be tempted to use fresh garlic in this recipe unless you really like a strong sharp garlic bite and flavor. The fresh garlic gets even more intense as it sits so after a bit all you can taste is garlic. I find that the granulated garlic doesn't 'bite' the way that fresh does, it just provides a nice garlicky background flavor.~*~

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
8 Servings, 2.5T per serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories 18.9
Total Fat 1.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 3.4 mg
Sodium 52.0 mg
Potassium 28.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 1.2 g
Protein 0.9 g

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pass it On: Week 1 Roasted Chicken

Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef (FYI, that's a lie, he's not naked, unfortunately) has recently invaded the US and is starting a Food Revolution. In the UK Jamie has helped rehab the school lunch program and he's bringing his talents to the States in an attempt to overhaul our (national) lunch programs. He's got a show on ABC (it airs Friday nights, check your local listings) called Food Revolution that shows exactly what he's attempting to do.

The show takes place in a small town in West Virginia in a town that's been identified as the "most unhealthy place in the world" based on CDC statistics. I've only seen the 1st episode of this program so far but it was very powerful. Poor Jamie, I don't think he really knew what he was getting into - this town has NOT welcomed him. In fact they are quite hostile towards him and his ideals. The saddest part of the show for me was when he brought a bunch of tomatoes into the lunch room and asked kids what they were. No kids could identify fresh tomatoes. One child got close, calling them potatoes. Close but no cigar.

In addition to rehabilitating the school lunch program Jamie has a "Pass it on" pledge: he will teach 4 people how to cook a dish. They in turn will teach 4 more people. Those 4 will teach 4 more, and so on. Megan at Tomato Tots had a brilliant idea, since so many of us bloggers are equally passionate about healthy foods, cooking and teaching others how to do the same, why not start our own Pass it On program? I LOVED the idea and I'm proud to be a part of this great plan.

Megan owns a few Jamie Oliver cookbooks and she's graciously agreed to host the Pass it On program by selecting one of Jamies recipes and showcasing it on her blog. Anyone who wants to play can then make the recipe with in a week of its posting and blog about it.

This week is our first week, and its a good one folks -- Roasted Chicken! I was tickled pink to see that the Roasted Chicken was this weeks recipe as I had a whole thawed bird in my fridge that I planned on cooking that night anyway! Woo hoo a new recipe to try out! And I got to teach my sister how to cook this meal, so I've already passed it on to 1 person. And now my loyal blog readers, I pass it on to you!

Roasted Chicken
adapted from Jamie Oliver
Makes 1 whole chicken, 8 pieces
1 whole roasting chicken about 3-4 lbs
1 lemon
1 bunch fresh herbs like rosemary & thyme (I used dried as that's all I had)
1 head garlic cut in half
3 stalks leeks (original recipe calls for 2 onions, however I had leeks that needed to be used up)
6 carrots (original calls for 2 but I have a carrot obsessed little Witch to feed)
2 stalks celery
Kosher salt & pepper
1 c white wine
3 c water
3 T flour

Preheat oven to 475.

Cut the veggies into 3 inch long hunks, roughly. Put all the veggies into the bottom of a dutch oven.

Rinse chicken, remove giblets and discard (or use if that's your thing). You can truss your bird if you'd like. Sprinkle chicken with 2 teaspoons kosher salt on all sides, including cavity.

Prick the lemon all over with a fork and put it into the cavity of the bird. Add small fresh herb boquet into the cavity as well. If you're using dried herbs sprinkle them on top of the bird and throw a few inside too. Put the chicken on top of the cut up veggies, add 1/2 c water to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the bird with EVOO.

Put the chicken into the oven and lower the heat to 400. DO NOT COVER. Allow chicken to roast for 1.5 to 2 hours (it took longer at my altitude, and I had to cover it at the end to bring it up to temp as the outside was nice & golden but it wasn't done...grr) adding a slash of water as needed to keep veg from burning.

Once chicken is cooked through (160 for the white meat, 180 for the dark) remove it from the pan, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

In the same pan that the chicken cooked in add 3 cups stock or water and 1 cup white wine. Remove any veggies you want to serve with the meal (in my case the extra carrots). With a potato masher, smash the cooked veggies to release their flavor into the gravy. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce by half. Once the gravy has reduced make a slurry out of the flour and about 1/2 c water. Add the flour slurry to the gravy and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat. Strain gravy thru a fine mesh strainer to remove the spent veg and any flour lumps, producing a smooth gravy.

Sorry there's no pictures of the gravy - we were too hungry to take more photos!

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
8 Servings, 1 piece chicken and gravy each
Amount Per Serving
Calories 162.7
Total Fat 2.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 64.6 mg
Sodium 406.0 mg
Potassium 437.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 2.3 g
Protein 22.7 g

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caramelized Chicken with Garlic Rice

Here's a quick and easy dinner for you all. I found this gem on one of my favorite blogs, Jenn's food journey. Other friends of mine have suggested variations of this recipe as well, so I figured it was time that the Kitchen Witch tried it out. Boy was I glad I did!

I didn't have any honey so I used agave nectar. I liked the results, it gave sweetness and helped the sauce glaze nicely. The best way I could describe the flavor of this glaze is a sweet and sour BBQ sauce. It was really tasty and will become a staple in our household for sure!

I had to take a slight liberty with the rice dish, all I had on hand was minute rice. It worked pretty good, though I bet the flavor of a Basmati would be way better. Next time I'll use 'real' rice.

In 30 minutes I had a gorgeous piece of glazed chicken on flavorful garlic rice and steamed asparagus. Its a flavorful, healthy meal for busy days. Who doesn't love that?

Caramelized Chicken
serves 2-3
2 chicken breasts boneless skinless
3 T ketchup
2 T soy sauce
2 T agave nectar (could use 3T honey)
1/2 t hot sauce (Franks Red Hot)

Mix the everything but the chicken and S&P in a small sauce pan. Stir it all together, bring to a boil - boil for 1 minute and remove sauce to a small bowl.

Spray a baking pan (I used an 8x8 pan). Place chicken breasts in the pan and pour 1/2 the sauce over top. Put into a 375 oven and cook 15 min.

After 15 min of cooking, spread remaining half of sauce over chicken and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160* F. (I had to add about 1/4 c water to the pan here as well, my sauce was starting to burn, I blame the cooking vessel)

Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes before serving with garlic rice. Spoon any remaining glaze over chicken.

Garlic Rice
makes 2-3 servings
1 cup instant white rice
1 cup water
1 T butter
1 t EVOO
2 cloves garlic minced
kosher salt

Heat butter and oil in a small sauce pan. Once hot add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring well to coat each grain with oil. Cook rice about 2 minutes then add the water. Bring to a boil, once it boils remove from heat, cover and allow to sit 5 min. Fluff with fork before serving.

Nutrition Facts Caramelized Chicken provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 360.3
Total Fat 2.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 136.9 mg
Sodium 1,370.6 mg
Potassium 642.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Sugars 21.3 g
Protein 55.6 g

Nutrition Facts Garlic Rice
3 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 83.6
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 52.0 mg
Potassium 26.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Sugars 0.0 g

Protein 1.6 g

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beef Stew

The calender may say spring has sprung but here in Colorado, that just means that our snowy season has begun! The day that I made this stew we got 4 inches of snow. With snow in the air stew needs to be on the stove! What's better for the husband to come home to after a long day of work, and even longer drive home in the snow, than a pot of chunky beef stew?

When choosing meat for the stew choose chuck cuts. Do NOT choose 'stew meat'. 'Stew meat' is just scraps left over from the butchery process and that meat tends to be very rubbery & chewy, filled with excess fat & gristle, not my idea of a good stew! Round cuts (top round, bottom round roast) all are very lean but they dry out & get chalky when cooked in stew. Avoid them. Chuck is the best cut for this process, it has lots of beefy flavor and is ideal for long slow cooking processes, that allows the meat to break down & become very tender.

One of my big beefs (pun intended) with stew is chewy flabby flavorless meat. I won't stand for it! The Kitchen Witches' stew is exceptionally tender as a result of the cut of meat, the red wine and the long slow braising process. The red wine is essential: it helps to tenderize the meat, in addition to bringing lots of flavor to the dish. The acids & enzymes in the wine help to break down & tenderize the beef, resulting in nice soft pieces.

Beef Stew
makes 8 servings
3-5 lbs Chuck roast, cut into 1-2 in cubes
Kosher salt & pepper (about 2T salt, if using table salt use 1/2 as much)
3-4 carrots, peeled & sliced
3-4 ribs celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t thyme leaves, dry or 4 stems fresh
3 bay leaves
3/4 bottle burgundy red wine (about 4 cups if you're using a boxed variety like me)
4 c water or beef broth (I used water, out of broth)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2-3 potatoes, peeled & diced
1T oil for sautee

Cut the roast into 1-2 in cubes, discarding any excess fat & connective tissues. Pat dry with paper towels, this helps with browning. Season beef cubes with salt & pepper (1T salt & 1/2 t ground pepper) and toss in the EVOO just before sautee.
Heat large soup pan over med hi heat, once hot add beef in a single layer and brown. You'll probably have to do this 3-4 times (kind of a pain but the flavor pay off is worth it). Don't crowd the pan, cubes shouldn't be touching, that causes the meat to steam & not brown, resulting in grey meat. yuck! Once cubes are browned remove & set aside. Repeat with remaining beef until done. Don't worry about the yucky brown stuff on the bottom of the pan, that's your fond, AKA flavor :)

Once meat has been browned, add onions, carrots & celery to pan. Stir. Add wine & scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to release all the cooked on brown bits. Add the thyme, garlic & bay, stir well. Add the beef back to the pan and add 3/4 of the beef broth, stir well. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours. Taste stew hourly for seasoning, keeping in mind the flavors change as it cooks, and the salt tends to cook out somewhat. Add more salt & pepper accordingly.

After 2-3 hours of simmering add your diced potatoes, stir well, recover and cook about 30 min longer or until potatoes are soft.

Add the frozen peas, stir them into the stew and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves, ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cheesy chicken broccoli casserole

This recipe is far from gourmet. What it is, however, is a great way to use up left over soup. I made a batch of creamy broccoli soup for lunch the other day. It makes a TON of soup. I kinda forgot about the soup being in the fridge until today. Wow. 4+ cups of cheesy broccoli soup, what ever should I do with this??

If you answered make a casserole, you'd be spot on! That's exactly what the Kitchen Witch did. Broccoli cheese soup is the base, additional broccoli florettes add color, texture and really emphasize the broccoli in the casserole with chicken, noodles and a crunchy bread crumb topping.

To change it from left overs to a casserole I added a few herbs and spices: poultry seasoning to enhance the chicken and ground dry mustard to play with the broccoli (its not mustard-y in the slightest, the mustard just makes the broccoli and cheese taste better). The result was pretty darn good if I do say so myself. And if you don't believe me, ask my husband. He had 2 plates full and is looking forward to left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole
Serves 6
2 chicken breasts sliced thin
1/3 red bell pepper diced fine
2 heads broccoli, florettes removed (save stems for soup!)
4 cups broccoli cheese soup (homemade)
OR can sub. 2 cans broccoli soup and 2 cans milk AND 6 oz cheddar cheese shredded
1 t poultry seasoning
1 T dry mustard
3 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 c milk
bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup
2 T butter dotted over top of casserole

Mix the soup with mustard powder and poultry seasoning. Add veggies and sliced chicken, stir well. Add milk and noodles, stir to combine. Pour into a sprayed casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and dot top with butter. Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until bubbly in center and browned on edges.

No nutrition on this one folks, it was way to complex for me to figure out but based on my best estimates I'd say that its about 450 calories a serving. Not too bad for a cheesy casserole! If you really need a detailed nutrition information let me know & I'll get it figured out ~ Andrea the Kitchen Witch

Friday, March 19, 2010

Molasses Bread

I created this recipe for molasses bread when deciding what would compliment our St. Patricks day meal of corned beef, Brussels sprouts with bacon (recipe to come in another post) and baked potatoes. The bread needed to stand up to these very intense flavors AND it needed to make an awesome sandwich the next day. Rye was the natural choice but I am not a fan of rye bread, much to my husbands dismay. But the idea of a darker bread intrigued me to cast a spell over browned bread.

At first I thought I'd use some Guinness beer, but I didn't have any on hand so that was out. My next thought was molasses. Molasses, the deep intense slightly bitter flavor would be similar to that of a good stout beer. The aroma of fresh baking bread fills the kitchen, its got a rich molasses and yeast scent. This bread will make amazing sandwiches I'm sure of it. As for now I can't wait for dinner to try it, if its half as good as it smells we're in for a treat!

Kitchen Witch Update: The bread, indeed, is as good as it smelled. The sandwiches are incredible, this bread is a new favorite!! The little Witch likes it too, with jelly :-)

Molasses Bread
makes 2 large loaves
4 cups bread flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 T dry active yeast
3 T brown sugar, divided
1/3 c molasses
3 c water total, divided
3 T butter
1 T kosher salt

Proof yeast with 1 T brown sugar and 1 c warm water. Proofing simply means you're activating the yeast by dissolving it in warm water and a bit of sugar. The yeast will eat the sugar and the solution will foam, indicating to you that your yeast is alive and active and ready to go to work in your bread.

Mix flours, 2T brown sugar and salt together in the work bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter.

Mix the molasses and remaining water together, stirring well to dissolve molasses.

Once the yeast has bubbled and foamed add it to the flour, add 1/2 the water/molasses mix and stir until the liquids are absorbed. Slowly add the remaining liquid, holding off the last 1/2 cup or so. Keep mixing it with the dough hook, dough should be very moist but not sticking to the bowl. If you need to use the last 1/2 c liquid do so, if not toss it.

Allow to kneed in machine for 6 minutes. Remove dough ball to a large bowl that has been coated in oil. Roll ball around in the oil, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise on the counter until doubled in size.

Once doubled remove plastic and gently push dough down. Remove from bowl onto a floured counter top. Kneed dough, adding flour as needed until you have a smooth ball again.

Put it back into the bowl & recover and allow to rise a second time.

Once its risen the 2nd time, remove from bowl, kneed again with flour as needed, roll into a ball and cut in half. Roll each half into a loaf shape and put into a sprayed loaf pan. Press dough into pan so it fills all sides. Cover loosly with plastic wrap that's been sprayed with oil and allow to double in size again.

Once dough has doubled put the loaf pans into a 400* oven. Spray the loaves liberally with water from a spray bottle. The steam will created a dark golden crust and yield nice chewy bread. Spray the bread liberally every 5-10 minutes until bread is done. Bakes in about 45-50 minutes.

You'll know the bread is done when you tap it and its hollow sounding and the crust is nice & hard and deeply browned.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
24 Servings (1 slice ea)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 133.3
Total Fat 2.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 3.9 mg
Sodium 51.8 mg
Potassium 137.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 3.8 g

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quinoa stuffed tomatoes with asparagus and feta

I'm always trying to come up with new, healthy things to eat for lunch. The main stipulations have to be
1. low in mess!
2. low in calories
3. it has to be quick

On the counter I had asparagus and tomatoes that both needed to be used sooner rather than later.

In the summer when my garden is producing tomatoes like they're going out of style I like to stuff them with day old bread and fresh herbs. Its a delightful side dish that compliments pretty much everything! Stuffed tomatoes are wonderful but I was out of bread and bread crumbs.

Being a Kitchen Witch I took a chance with my new BFF quinoa. So far the quinoa has not let me down, but would it be good as tomato stuffing? I didn't see why not! Asparagus, tomatoes, a touch of lemon and feta, well this was shaping up to be a lunch worth blogging about. Low in calories, check. Quick and not too much mess? Check. A new lunch time favorite, check!

Quinoa stuffed tomatoes with Asparagus
serves 2-4 (2 for lunch, 4 for a side dish)
1/4 c quinoa
1/2 c water or broth
1/3 red bell pepper
6 stalks asparagus cut into small rounds
2 plum tomatoes, halved
herbs - dry italian seasoning mix 1/2 t added to the quinoa water
1 clove garlic minced
1 T onion minced
1 t EVOO
1 t lemon juice and a bit of zest if you have it
2 T feta cheese

In a sauce pan heat the EVOO over medium high heat. Once oils hot add the diced peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 min or until onions just start to brown on edges, add water, salt and quinoa, cover & reduce heat to low, cook 10 min. After 10 min add the asparagus, stir to incorporate, replace lid & allow to cook about 5 min longer or until all liquid is absorbed.

Halve the tomatoes across the length and scoop out the pulp. Lightly salt & pepper the tomato shells.

Spoon the quinoa veggie filling into the tomato halves. Top with feta cheese.
2 halves for a lunch serving, 1 half for a side dish

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
2 Servings (2 stuffed halves per serving)
Calories 157.7
Total Fat 5.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 6.7 mg
Sodium 324.0 mg
Potassium 305.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.8 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Sugars 1.5 g
Protein 5.9

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Steak with Red Wine Garlic marinade

New York bone in strip steaks were on sale last week, BOGO so of course I had to get some! I hadn't made steaks since last summer so my husband was pretty happy to see the steaks. What I was looking for was a flavorful marinade that would enhance the steaks great flavor. The inspiration for this marinade came from Jenn at Jenn's Food Journey, a great blog that I throughly enjoy. Jenn made an awesome steak sandwich but it was the marinade that caught my eye most of all.

Simple on hand ingredients turned an ordinary steak into a special occasion meal. I was very pleased with this marinade, the steak turned a beautiful brown, not sickly grey as some home cooked steaks can do. The red wine caramelized in my screamin' hot cast iron pan which enhanced the steak flavor. Mmmm is really all I can say about this one. It'll be used on many more steaks from here on out!

Red wine marinade
enough for 2 large steaks
1/2 c red wine
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 t dry Italian herbs
1/2 t kosher salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 T Worstershire sauce
1 t soy sauce

2 steaks (NY bone in strip is pictured, about 8 oz each)

Mix everything together in a large zip top bag. Add your steaks and allow to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.

Scrape off garlic slices and pat meat dry before cooking.

To cook steaks:
1. Open a window and a door, its about to get smoky in here!
2. Preheat oven to 400*
3. Heat a cast iron (or heavy bottomed skillet, NO TEFLON PLEASE!) over high heat until it smokes.
4. Place dried off steak in the pan, cover with a splatter screen to mitigate mess and cook about 5 minutes on 1st side or until deeply browned. The wine will caramelize the meat and help you get a deep brown which translates to deliciousness.
5. Flip steaks and transfer to the oven until cooked to your desired level of doneness. For me that was about 4 minutes to get to medium.

That's it!

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings (8 oz NY Strip steak each, only 55 calories are from the marinade)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 552.5
Total Fat 25.7 g
Saturated Fat 9.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Cholesterol 130.7 mg
Sodium 576.9 mg
Potassium 5.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 66.8 g

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pork Green Chili Stew

This recipe was a request from a long time friend and blog reader, Amanda. I hope you enjoy it Amanda!

This stew is better the second day when the flavors have a chance to meld. I really like to use the left overs for breakfast, try topping a fresh fried corn tortilla with scrambled eggs, cheese and green chili and you've got a great breakfast!

Green Chili and Pork Stew
makes 8 servings

1.5 lb pork loin cut into chunks
4 anahaim green chiles, roasted and seeded (if desired) (can sub. 2 small cans green chiles)
2 jalapanos, roasted & seeded (if desired)
1 pablano pepper, roasted & seeded (if desired) (can use bell pepper instead)
6 cups chicken stock
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin, fresh toasted & ground if possible
2 bay leaves
2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
about 1 t kosher salt
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 cup flour

Cut pork into cubes. In a dutch oven heat 1/2 the EVOO over medium high heat. Once its hot add 1/2 the pork, cook until nice & browned on at least 2 sides. Repeat with remaining oil and pork. Remove pork from pan and reserve.

Cook onions and garlic in the same pan, scraping bottom of pan as vegetables release their juices. Once the onions start to brown add the chicken stock, scraping the bottom to deglaze pan. Bring to a simmer.

Puree the peppers in a food processor, adding chicken stock from the pan as needed to create a thick paste of peppers. Add pepper puree to the stock and onions and stir well.

for more info on roasting peppers indoors click here.

Add the pork to the stew mix, allow to simmer over medium low heat for a few hours.

Make a slurry of flour and 2/4 c water. Add the slurry to the pot, along with the diced tomatoes. Cook about 15 minutes to incorporate flavors and allow stew to thicken somewhat.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, tortillas or corn bread.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 252.4
Total Fat 11.7 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.6 g
Cholesterol 60.8 mg
Sodium 911.0 mg
Potassium 492.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 25.2 g

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken Cannelloni

I loved stuffed pasta. I also hate stuffing said pasta. Its really hard to do with out either burning yourself or splitting the pasta wide open. There's got to be an easier way!!!

Have no fear, the Kitchen Witch is here, to ease all of your stuffed (and rolled) pasta needs! All it takes is a little know how and a box of oven ready lasagna sheets. Lasagna? I thought you said we were having cannelloni. I did, you did read right but the secret to the Witches' cannelloni starts with no boil pasta.

No boil pasta sheets, or oven ready lasagna noodles, are designed to absorb the liquid they are cooked in and come out of the oven tender and perfect. I figured that I could pre soften them and voila, I have ready to go pasta sheets!

All it takes then is 'stuffing' them with chicken. That's easy, make a pastry bag out of a zip top bag, squeeze a roll of chicken onto the pasta sheets, roll it up and voila, instant cannelloni.

I top it off with a alfredo type sauce made out of chicken stock and milk, along with garlic and parmesean cheese. This helps save on calories and keep an otherwise heavy dish light.

Chicken Cannelloni
makes 5 servings of 2 rolls each
10 (about 1 box) barilla no boil lasagna pasta sheets
1 lb ground chicken
8 oz mozerella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 c + 2 T parmesean cheese, divided
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 T flour
5 cloves garlic, divided
2 T butter
1 t Italian herb seaoning blend

Boil a pot of water and then pour it into a 13x9 pan. Put the pasta sheets into the hot water and allow to soak for about 5-7 minutes or until soft enough to roll. Drain pasta sheets.

While pasta soaks mix chicken with 1/2 the mozerella cheese and 2 T parmesean, 2 cloves of garlic (minced) and the herbs. Add some S&P to your taste.

Put the chicken mixture into a large zip top bag, squish it all down to 1 end and cut the end off leaving a 1.5 in opening (approx, I'm not that anal LOL).

Take a pasta sheet, pipe a rope of chicken mixture on the short end of the pasta and roll. Put the roll seam side down in a sprayed casserole pan. Roll remaining sheets with chicken and put in the pan. Sprinkle top with remaining mozerella cheese.

Make a roux out of the butter and flour. Cook about 4 minutes until it starts to brown and smells nutty. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and milk. Add garlic and allow to thicken. Stir in the 1/2 cup parmesean cheese, stirring well to mix.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta rolls and cheese. It WILL look like you have way too much sauce, this is OK as the pasta will absorb a lot and you do want a sauce to spoon over top. Bake at 375* for about 45 minutes, uncovered or until its bubbly and browned on the edges.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 511.2
Total Fat 21.4 g
Saturated Fat 9.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 144.6 mg
Sodium 927.0 mg
Potassium 261.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Protein 46.8 g

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

The Kitchen Witch first made this dish as a teenager. I've since had many, many, many years to perfect it. I've taken it from a long slow cooked (over cooked in retrospect) dish to a quick and easy 30 minute meal. Hows that for progress?

Cacciatore means "hunters stew" in Italian, so basically it was made with whatever they had around, traditionally chicken, tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms. I was out of mushrooms (and not much of a fan of them anyway) so they were omitted this time around.

Serve this with pasta, rice or quinoa along with a salad and dinner's served!! Even my picky nephew Ben feasts on this dish, as a matter of fact is one of his favorite Aunt Kitchen Witch dishes :) I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does.

PS the photos on this one aren't as good as I'd like. But I was hungry and honestly, photo quality was not real high on my list of priorities, sorry about that :)

Chicken Cacciatore
makes 6 servings
2 chicken breasts
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 onion sliced thin
4 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper julienne strips
1 t dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 c white wine
1 t EVOO

Prep work first, of course!
~slice chicken thin against grain, 1/8 in thick
~slice onions thin
~slice red bell pepper into julienne strips, then into 2 in lengths
~mince garlic or use garlic press to smash to smithereens

Heat a large skillet and the EVOO over medium high heat (DO NOT USE CAST IRON HERE, the acid in the tomatoes will cause a reaction and make your food have a funky metallic flavor, not good). Cook chicken until it just starts to brown, add the onions. Cook until onions and chicken are browned and you've got a good build up of brown stuff (fond) on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, cook 1 min longer then deglaze with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes with juices and herbs, S&P. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with cooked pasta, rice or quinoa. A little parmesean wouldn't be remiss either.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 132.6
Total Fat 1.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 43.8 mg
Sodium 326.4 mg
Potassium 401.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 1.8 g
Protein 18.6 g

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

One day the Kitchen Witch was craving sweets badly. Trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle (and having over ripe bananas on the counter), I found myself creating a new cookie that's a touch easier on the figure. I can't say that I was overly impressed by this cookie. But, then again, they weren't too horrible either.

The texture of these is more cake like than cookie like. And I won't lie, I liked the chocolate drizzled ones a LOT more than the raisin ones. So much for 'diet cookies' LOL :)

I guess the real secret behind 'diet cookies' is that they aren't the best tasting things under the sun, so after 2 (a serving size) you're really OK with that. And maybe that's not a bad thing after all.

Banana Oatmeal honey cookies
makes 36 cookies (18 servings)
3 over ripe bananas
1/2 c honey
1/4 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
.5 c whole wheat flour
1.5 c AP flour
1.5 c old fashioned oatmeal
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 oz chocolate chips melted
1 cup raisins, plumped

Cream butter, sugar and honey together until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.

Add dry ingredients in 3 stages, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. The dough will not be very stiff, more like thick pancake batter. Top with raisins, if desired.

Using a small cookie scoop, form cookies on a sheet tray. Bake at 350* for 12 minutes, or until browned on bottoms and set on top.

Drizzle tops with melted chocolate.

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
18 Servings (2 cookies)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 161.6
Total Fat 3.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 18.8 mg
Sodium 165.7 mg
Potassium 114.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 10.6 g
Protein 3.1 g

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Fajitas

Gee, look The Kitchen Witch is making ANOTHER Mexican dish! I told you, we like our Mexican food around here :) I realize fajitas are really more Tex-Mex but it's still considered Mexican to me.

Fajitas were always one of those things that I ordered in restaurants and never tried to make at home. I don't really know why other than the fact that they seemed intimidating. Oh how wrong I was!! With just a few basic ingredients that a well stocked pantry should have you too could be eating fajitas for dinner tonight. Oh, yeah, the good news is that the cooking time is less than 30 minutes on these babies. How awesome is that?

This dish is always a crowd pleaser too, because you can personalize your fajita to your own tastes. Hate tomatoes? No problem! Not a fan of bell peppers? Don't add them to yours. Kids want chicken and cheese only? Can do! Everyone can find something that they'll like with these gems.

Chicken Fajitas
serves 4
2 chicken breast
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 t cumin (fresh toasted and ground preferably)
1/2 t chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T EVOO, divided
1/2 t kosher salt
pepper to taste
2 bell peppers (I used 1 small green, 1/2 of a red and 1 poblano pepper)
1 medium onion
1/2 c water
flour tortillas
toppers: sour cream, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, fresh jalapanos, salsa, olives, etc.

Make marinade for chicken by combining lime zest, juice, salt, garlic, pepper,spices and 1/2 the EVOO together. Pour over chicken and allow to marinate for 2-3 hours. Don't go much longer than that, the acid in the lime juice will cook the chicken and after heat's applied it can dry out.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: if your running short on time you can pound your chicken very thin, or butterfly the breasts, exposing more meat to the marinade. 20-30 minutes in the marinade is enough time to give your chicken flavor when its very thin like this~*~

Slice peppers and onions into julienned strips. Toss with remaining EVOO to coat.

Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry for best browning. Be sure to scrape off any large pieces of garlic as well so it doesn't burn.

Cook chicken in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When chicken is done (160* internal temp) remove to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest while peppers and onions cook.

Using the same pan add the oil coated peppers and onions. Cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until peppers start to soften and onions brown on edged Deglaze pan with the water, scraping the cooked on bits up. This will turn your peppers and onions a deep mahogany color. Mmm...

Slice chicken thinly across the grain, squeeze a wedge of lime over top before serving with warmed flour tortillas and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts provided by SparkPeople Recipe Calculator
4 Servings
Calories 148.2
Total Fat 4.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Cholesterol 49.3 mg
Sodium 57.9 mg
Potassium 337.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 20.4 g
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