Monday, October 31, 2011

Handmade Homestyle White Bread Recipe



My second attempt at making bread turned out much better than the first. This bread was so tasty and light. We ate the entire loaf in two days! I kept catching my husband in the kitchen stealing slices of it! Since I don't have a stand mixer I had to hand need the dough  for 45 minutes, so I was not excited to have to make it again just two days later. This recipe is great and I highly recommend you give it a try. Let me know how it turns out if you do.


Ingredients:


1/4 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup of warm milk (110-115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of traditional oats (for bread topping)


Yields 1 loaf


Time: 3 1/2 hours prep (mostly letting dough rise) and 40 minutes cook time


Directions:


Place the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl, whisk to blend. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated (foamy and bubbly). In medium bowl whisk together warm milk and melted butter.

In a large bowl mix flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and butter mixture. Hand knead until it comes together, about 8-10 minutes (until dough is firm, elastic, and smooth. Let dough rest for 20 minutes in lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or damp lint free towel. 

Turn dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead for approximately 30-45 minutes or until you are able to pull a gluten windowpane (see below).


For gluten windowpane- Pinch off a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers slowly and consistently, turning it for an even full. If the gluten is fully developed you should be able to stretch it a couple inches thin and have a translucent membrane. If its tears easily, you will need to knead longer.

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Make sure that the outside of the dough is lightly covered with oil as well (this helps the dough expand). Cover with plastic wrap or damp lint free towel. Let rest for 60 minutes or until the dough has doubled. 

Turn dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface. Punch down to remove excess air bubbles. Shape to form bread shape you desire. Be sure not to knead again. 
I shaped mine into a loaf and place it in a greased 9x5 loaf pan.
Lightly oil top of loaf and cover with plastic wrap or damp lint-free towel. Let proof (rise) for 45-60 minutes or until dough is 1/2 to 1 inch above the rim of the pan.  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 30 minutes before dough is ready. 10 minutes before placing bread in oven, place an empty baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and position the middle rack to get ready for the bread. Lightly brush beaten egg on top of loaf and sprinkle with oats. When oven is hot place bread on middle rack and throw a handful of ice cubes on to the hot baking sheet (this produces steam to keep the bread soft).

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. If the top is too hard for your liking you can spread some butter on top and it will soften it. 

Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Cut with a serrated knife.

Store in air tight container on counter for up to 3 days or keep in airtight container in fridge for about a week. To freeze, double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.
 To defrost, set on counter for 1 1/2 hours (or until room temperature), then bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes until the crust is crusty and the insides are soft. 

Serve with homemade butter and homemade jam (recipes available on this blog).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Raspberry Yogurt Parfait



There is nothing fancy or gourmet about this parfait but it is simple and delicious. Greek yogurt has a lot of protein and the homemade granola is packed with nuts, oats and healthy seeds. It's sweet, creamy, crunchy and good for you all at the same time. 


Ingredients:


Homemade granola (recipe available on this blog)
Homemade raspberry jam (recipe available on this blog)
Vanilla or Greek low-fat yogurt


Directions:


Layer as much and however you like. I used 3/4 cup of yogurt with 2 heaping teaspoons of jam. Top with a handful of granola and add more as needed. 

If you are feeling fancy you can do a 3/4 ricotta cheese to 1/4 yogurt mixture for extra creaminess. The texture seems a little odd in the first couple bites but it's really good and really popular in Italy (or so I hear).

Or add fresh fruit.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe



Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Yields 1 large pizza

Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes prep (mostly letting dough rise) and 25 minutes (5 minutes for pre baking) cook time

Directions:

In a large bowl combine yeast, water and brown sugar. Whisk well and let sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk in salt and oil to yeast solution. Mix in flour.

Turn dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 5-10 minutes, adding flour as needed until no longer sticking to hands. 

Place dough in well oiled bowl. Make sure the top of the dough is lightly covered with oil. Cover with damp lint free cloth or plastic wrap. 

Let dough rest for 60 minutes or until it has doubled  in size. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Punch down dough and knead into a tight ball. Let rest for several minutes.

Roll out on lightly floured surface. 

Place on lightly oil pizza pan or cookie sheet and let rise for 15-20 minutes.

Poke several holes in crust with fork and pre bake for 5 minutes. 

Top with favorite toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust and cheese are golden brown. Make sure to check that the bottom of the pizza is also golden brown. If it isn't, remove from cooking sheet and place directly on oven rack. 

Try stuffing the crust with cheese and garlic and/or make a mixture of butter, dried parsley, salt, and garlic powder and smoother on pizza crust for extra deliciousness.

Zesty Pizza Sauce Recipe

When I first mixed this sauce I thought that the flavors were very overpowering. The taste of raw garlic numbed my mouth. However, after baking it on the pizza it came out great. It had a very nice flavor and added a lot of depth to the combination of the crust and toppings. I recommend giving this a try. If anyone has another great recipe for pizza sauce please leave a comment and share it with me. I am always on the look out for the perfect recipe. :)


Ingredients:


1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
6 ounces of warm water
3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Salt to taste


Yields: Sauce for 1 large pizza


Directions:


Mix all ingredients in bowl. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to let flavors mix together. Serve.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Banana-Nut Bread Recipe



This banana bread recipe is pack full of banana taste. The crust is chewy and the inside is very moist and tender. It goes great with some butter on top and a cup of coffee. Enjoy.


Ingredients:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups of mashed overripe bananas
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts


Topping:


1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of wheat germ
1 table spoon of sugar


Yields: 1 loaf


Time: 5 minutes prep and 65 minutes bake time. 


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture.  Add walnuts. Stir just until combined. Pour batter into loaf pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Take out and brush egg mixture on top of loaf. Sprinkle on nuts, sugar and wheat germ. Return to oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Let cool for 10 minutes, then let finish cooling on wire cooling rack. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food That Kills: Trans Fats





Everyone has heard that trans fats aren't good for you. But do you know what a trans fat is? Or better yet, why it's so bad for you? I have had this conversation with my family and friends and many don't have any idea. I was shocked to find out how many common foods still contain trans fats, several of which I was feeding me son. I bet you will be as shocked as I was to discover how prevalent trans fats are in our diet, even when our best intentions are to be without them. I learned my lesson, ALWAYS LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS LIST.


What exactly is a trans fat?


A trans fats is formed when liquid oils are made into solid fats like shortening and margarine. This process is called hydrogenation. It occurs when a hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. The purpose of doing this is to increase shelf life and stabilize flavor in foods that contain this fat (FDA, 2011). Companies like to use trans fats because they are inexpensive to produce, easy to use and last a long time. Fast food companies use oils with trans fats because they don't have to change their frying oil as frequently (American Heart Association, 2011).


Why are trans fats bad for you?


Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels while also lowering your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats also increases your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and developing type 2 diabetes (American Heart Association, 2011).


Some trace amounts of trans fats can occur naturally in some foods such as meat and dairy products. However, research is not clear whether naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effect as trans fats that have been manufactured (American Heart Association, 2011). 


How do I know which products contain trans fats?




In the last several years the FDA has made it a requirement to list trans fats on labels. New York even went as far as banning it completely from all restaurants in 2006 (UMMC, 2010). However, as part of the new labeling requirements the FDA only requires that manufactures list trans fats on nutritional labels if they contain .50 grams or less per serving. There are two main problems with this exception; the first is that people often consume more than one serving size per sitting and secondly, the manufactures that do utilize this exception are often the ones that advertise in bold letters across the front of the package "0 trans fats per serving". Watch out for those bold labels because they give you false security in their nutritional content. They only way to know for sure if the product contains trans fats is to look in ingredient list for "partially hydrogenated". If you see that you know it contains trans fats. 



Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods made of "partially hydrogenated" vegetable oils. Foods include shortenings, some margarine, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried food and baking good (FDA, 2011). 



Looking through my cupboards I found that my Ritz crackers, Saltine crackers, Quaker Oats granola bars, frozen pie crust, Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, Quaker Oats ranch flavored rice cakes, and chicken bullion cubes all had trans fats in the ingredients list, though none of them were listed on the nutritional label. 


Other common products that contain trans fats include Girl Scout Cookies, many breakfast cereals including Fruity Pebbles (Post), Cocoa Pebbles (Post), Basic 4 (General Mills), Rice Krispies Treats Cereal (Kellogg's), Froot Loops (Kellogg's), Oreo O's (Post), Corn Pops (Kellogg's), Honey Smacks (Kellogg's), Smorz (Kellogg's), Eggo Cereal Maple Syrup (Kellogg's), Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Bun (Kellogg's), Waffle Crisp (Post), Barnum's Animal Crackers (by Nabisco), Stauffer’s Original Animal Crackers, fortune cookies and microwave popcorn (Calorie Counter, 2011). They can also be found in virtually every frosting and refrigerated bakery good you buy.



How much trans can I have in a day?


The American Heart Association (2011) recommends a diet containing less than 1% of your daily calories from trans fats. This means if you consume 2,000 calories a day, only 20 of those calories should be from trans fats. That is the equivalent of about 2 grams per day. Given that trans fats occur naturally in meats and dairy products, there is no room to consume manufactured trans fats under these health guidelines. 



Are trans fats especially bad for kids?


As you can see it is very easy to get more than the recommended amount of trans fats per day. It is even easier for children because most of the foods kids traditionally love are packed with them. The University of Maryland (2011) has shown that kids as young as 8, 9 and 10 already have high cholesterol and blood fats that clog arteries.  Children that start out as young as 3 and 4 eating fast food food, pop tarts, fish sticks, margarine, cake, candy, cookies and microwave popcorn more likely to get heart disease than kids who grew up without manufactured trans fats in their diet.


Remember it is your responsibility as a parent to protect your children from harmful things. They are going to want to eat the processed food containing trans fats because it also has the most salt and sugar. I am certainly not suggesting that you never indulge or give your kids junk food, that would be unrealistic. What I am proposing is to be aware of which items have trans fats so you can limit the amount your family consumes in general.



If you want to take a look at the worst fast food items containing trans fats check this out http://www.acaloriecounter.com/fast-food-trans-fat.php

References:

University Of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/features/transfats.htm

FDA http://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/ConsumerInformation/ucm109832.htm#whatis

American Heat Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

A Calorie Counter http://www.acaloriecounter.com/fast-food-trans-fat.php

Friday, October 21, 2011

Parmesan and Romano Crusted Chicken Breast with Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic




I made this for some dinner guests a couple weeks ago and got rave reviews. I made it again last night for my husband and I. This meal is too good not to share the recipe. The chicken is crispy, cheesy and moist. The crunchy prosciutto and sauteed garlic slices are sweet and salty. If you serve it with fresh pasta and homemade Alfredo sauce, like I did, the creaminess caps it off as a perfect meal. This is one of my favorites right now. Yummy!


Ingredients:


7-8 chicken tenderloins or 3-4 chicken breasts 
(if using chicken breasts make sure to butterfly then slice in half. Then place in between two pieces of wax paper and bang with something heavy until slices are flat)
1/2 cup high fat content milk 
(I used homemade buttermilk I made the other day)
3 to 6 ounces of thin sliced prosciutto
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 egg
1 cup of plain Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup of freshly grated Romano cheese
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil


Serve with fresh pasta and homemade Alfredo sauce (recipe available on this blog)


Yields 3-4 servings


Time: 20 minute prep and 20 minute cook time.


Recipe:

Clean and pat dry chicken.
 Place chicken and milk in medium size bowl and let soak for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour on kitchen counter. 


While waiting for chicken, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Add slices of prosciutto. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add slices of garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until prosciutto is crispy and garlic is golden brown.  
(Some pieces will finish before others, take them out as they become crispy and brown. This way all pieces will be perfectly cooked).
Rest on paper towel to drain excess oil.


Prepare chicken coating by adding cheeses, bread crumbs and Italian seasoning in a medium size bowl or plate.


Remove chicken from milk (remove excess). Season chicken with salt and pepper. Mix egg in small bowl. Dip chicken in the egg (remove excess), then  dip in breadcrumb mixture. Press breadcrumbs into chicken and make sure they are very well coated. 


In the same skillet you cooked the prosciutto, add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Heat over medium high heat until skillet is hot. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until dark golden as well. When adding more chicken pieces you may need to add more butter and oil.

Let rest on paper towel for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. 

Serve with some homemade Alfredo sauce, a small handful of prosciutto and garlic and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 


The chicken reheats best in an oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees f until hot and crispy again. 

Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe



My all time favorite pasta sauce is Alfredo. Sometimes when I go to Olive Garden all I want is the Alfredo sauce and bread sticks. This is a great recipe. It is flavorful and light. I usually make a large batch and freeze some for later. It turns out just as fresh and tasty when it is reheated.


Ingredients:


6 tablespoons of butter
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of nutmeg
salt to taste
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup of freshly grated Romano cheese
2 egg yolks


Yields 4 servings


Time: 5 minute prep and 10 minute cook time.


Recipe:


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

 Add cream, stirring constantly with whisk. Stir in nutmeg, salt and cheeses. Whisk constantly until melted.

 Temper yolks by adding a 1/2 cup of sauce to a small bowl then add eggs and mix. Return egg mixture to the rest of the sauce.

 Simmer over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. 




To store, wait for the sauce to cool completely and store in airtight container. Can be refrigerated or frozen very well. To reheat from fridge simply place in saucepan and whisk constantly over medium low heat. To reheat from frozen let defrost on counter then follow the directions above. If the sauce starts to separate just whisk vigorously until it comes back together. 



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Best Tasting Homemade Lasagna Recipe Ever


This is an updated pic from 11/1/11- after making the changes listed below.
Update: 11/2/11- I made this again and technically it was exactly how I wanted it to be. The cheese-to-sauce-to-pasta ratio was great. It had great body and was very soft and moist. However, the taste was different. This time I used pre-shredded cheeses and generic tomato products. I have to tell you that these changes completely altered the taste of the lasagna. It was still good and my husband loved it, but just tasted like ordinary lasagna to me. If you are going to go through all the trouble of making this, you should really stick to quality ingredients. It makes the all the difference in the world.


This is by far the best tasting homemade lasagna I have ever had. Okay, I may be a little biased here since I made it, but I don't think so. Normally I don't like lasagna, so I  would never make one but my husband requested that I do. Like usual, I scoured the internet for recipes and advice on techniques on how to make it great. I settled on this recipe because I liked all the ingredients and because it had so many rave reviews. I got it off of allrecipes.com from John Chandler.


Right off the bat I changed a couple things. I added a little more cheese and switched from regular sweet Italian sausage to a sweet turkey Italian sausage. I used crushed tomatoes with basil instead of regular (because that's all they had all the store) and I also added a pinch of nutmeg to the cheese mixture. Besides that I kept everything the same. When making a recipe for the first time I really try not to mess with the ingredients too much because if it tastes "off" for some reason I won't really know why.


I highly recommend this lasagna recipe and don't even feel compelled to try another. Next time I make it I will make a few more adjustments. I am going to list the recipe exactly how I made it this time but before I do, I will list the suggestions I have to make it even better.

  • Make sure the ground meat is broken up well so there aren't any large chunks.
  • Start by adding only a little salt at a time, tasting each time  you do. It can get very salty, very fast.
  • Increase the amount of cheese by at least 1/2 cup on all cheeses. 
  • Shred the mozzarella instead of slicing it to make a more even layer. 
  • Add at least 2 cups of sauce mixture on each layer. 
  • Try to have at least 3 sauce layers.
  • Make sure the last layer of noodles is covered with sauce.
  • Top with a generous portion of cheeses.
Ingredients:

1 pound sweet turkey Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes with basil
2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon for fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces of ricotta cheese
1 egg 
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound of mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup of freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese 

Recipe:

In a large pot or Dutch Oven cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.

In a mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, nutmeg, parsley and 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. 

To make layers spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. 


Arrange noodles lengthwise over meat sauce
 (I put one on the end too). 


Spread 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of noodles. 


Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. 


Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce over mozzarella then 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers, making sure to top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. 

Cover with non-stick foil or spray foil with non-stick cooking spray to prevent cheese from sticking to it. 

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. 



It tastes even better reheated the next day!!


Old-Fashioned Strawberry Jam Recipe



Although I really loved the raspberry jam that I made the other day, my family is more a strawberry jam family. I used the same techniques and recipe as with the raspberry jam recipe, substituting the fruit (of course!), adding less sugar and an extra tablespoon of lemon juice to compensate for the sweetness of the strawberries. After buying the strawberries I waited a little too long to make the jam and had to throw some out. Also my son helped his self to the container on several occasions. :) So when it came time to add the sugar I put a little in at a time until it reached the sweetness I was looking for because I didn't really how many ounces strawberries I had left. I am going to continue to use that method instead of just measuring out sugar since each batch of fruit has its own unique level of sweetness. I can't stand when jam is super sweet.


Ingredients:


32 ounces of fresh strawberries (minus a handful or two)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of butter (to prevent frothing)
About 1 cup of warmed granulated sugar.
You also need a potato masher for this recipe


Yields 16 ounces of jam.


Time: 5 minutes prep and 15 minutes cook time.


Recipe:


Pour sugar on baking sheet and place in oven at 250 degrees f to warm (warm sugar dissolves easier).

Clean and remove tops of strawberries and place in a large pot. Turn on high heat and bring to a hard boil for 1 minute, mashing constantly. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon juice. Add sugar until it reaches desired sweetness. 

Return to high heat and boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly.
 You know it's done when mixture reaches the consistency of honey.

Store jam in a sterile container, wait for it to cool completely, seal and refrigerate. 

Once you see how easy and tasty this jam is, you will never want to have store bought again!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quick & Easy Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Turnover



I didn't realize how quick and easy making a turnover was until I made one the other day. It is so versatile too. If you don't like the lemon raspberry cheesecake filling you can substitute it for literally anything. It can be sweet or savory. Next time I make one I plan on making an cinnamon apple turnover, because that is my favorite. Preparing and sauteing the apple filling will only add an additional 10 minutes to the prep time (Recipe coming soon!). 


It's perfect if you want to make a quick, fresh dessert for only a couple people. 


Ingredients:


1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
Homemade raspberry jam (recipe available on blog)
Homemade lemon cheesecake (recipe available on blog) or cream cheese. 
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon of water
all purpose flour
granulated sugar


Yields two large turnovers, enough for 2-4 people


Time: 10 minutes prep, 15-20 minutes cook time


Recipe: 


Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Flour a flat surface and roll out pastry dough so that it is about 1/2 thick. Shape into a square. Cut down middle so can make two desserts. Spread raspberry jam in the middle of each pastry piece. Remove crust from cheesecake and mix in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer of cheesecake filling onto of pastry. 


Fold each pastry over and seal edges with fork.
Once sealed, gently push towards the outside of the turnover so make sure the filling is evenly spread. 
(A traditional turnover is triangle shaped but I just made mine into rectangles)

  
Make an egg wash by beating one egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together (this helps give it a golden brown color when baking). Lightly coat with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 


Serve by itself or with some vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

How to Make Spaghetti Squash


My son and I went to the pumpkin patch last weekend. We had so much fun looking at the barn animals, going through the corn maze and picking out our pumpkins. While we were there I came across a large yellow squash. The lady that worked there told me that it was spaghetti squash. I have heard of it before but had no idea how to cook it or what to make out of it. I decided to give it a try. I did some research and found out that its a popular substitute for pasta noddles (hence the name), in pretty much any dish. There are less carbohydrates and more nutrition that traditional noddles as well. It was really easy to make and I felt much better eating squash noodles than regular pasta noodles. 

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash
water

Yields roughly 5-6 servings noodles, depending on size of squash

Time: 1 hour

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, wash, cut and scrape out squash. To cut, remove the top potion with the stem and then cut lengthwise down. This will be difficult and will require some brute strength. 


Using a large spoon scrape out the insides of the squash, much like you would with a pumpkin. 


Pour about 1/2 of water on cookie sheet and place the squash, rind up on sheet. Bake on middle rack of oven for about 45 minutes.


 To remove noodles, take fork and scrape width wise across the inside of the squash. The squash should be soft but have the texture of al dente noodles. You can scrape till you get close to the rind.


Now that you have these noodles, what to do with them? Like I said, you can replace them for any recipe that calls for pasta noodles. Instead of cooking them in boiling water, simply saute them with olive oil until they are hot and the consistency that you want.

My husband and I made some for dinner the other night. I just threw all the left over ingredients I had in my fridge from the week. This included sauteed onions, mushrooms, and garlic, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and garnished with grated fontina cheese and green onions. I didn't want anything to go to waste so I just threw it all in. 


Much to my surprise it turned out really well. My husband brought the leftovers to work for lunch the next day and said it was delicious. My favorite part about it was that I felt good eating it. I didn't feel my usual pasta remorse as I normally do after I scarf down a bowl of fettuccine alfredo.