Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Toast Melts

We have been finding ourselves very limited on free time lately. It seems we are going from here to there constantly. A meal that I love to make is Turkey melts! I use left over turkey for this meal. If you have bread, turkey, mayo, onion, S&P, and cheese you are all set!

I first make a turkey salad with the mayo, onion (finely chop), S & P, and turkey. I toast the bread prior to placing the turkey salad on top. This helps to keep the bread from getting soggy.
Once toasted, place a portion of salad and a slice of cheese on top of the bread. Put the turkey melts on a sheet tray and place in the oven to melt the cheese. This step does not take very long.

I serve this meal with broccoli. There are not many vegetables that my children will eat, so I use a lot of broccoli, green beans, and peas. Other vegetables like carrots, onions, celery, and corn I chopped finely and add to mixtures like spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, turkey burgers, etc. If they don't know, they will love the meal.

So, when you are in a hurry keep left overs handy in the freezer to make quick meals like this one.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


My children absolutely love pancakes. I have tried tons of recipes for pancakes on my children. Each time they love them... so, why do I keep trying different recipes? Well, because I have been looking for one that meets the following criteria.... 1. Versatile - I can substitute rice / soy milk for cow's milk; substitute whole wheat flour for the all purpose 2. low in fat 3. low in sugar

I was really thinking that the children would not like the pancakes that I made for dinner tonight. The recipe that follows is one that I have been working with for a while. These cakes will not necessarily be the traditional fluffy cakes you may be used to having. You could refer to these cakes as a heavier crepe. Check out the recipe!

Flour 1 cup
Salt pinch
Egg 1
Milk 3/4 to 1 cup

Combine the dry ingredients. combine 1 egg with 3/4 cup of milk. Add to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly, but do not overmix. Allow batter to rest for 30 minutes. If batter is to thick add additional milk.
This is a very simple cake, with a simple flavor. The versatility is not just limited to substituting different milks and flours, but also that you can use various fruit purees as part of the liquid. Try substituting with puree bananas or applesauce. I have also added a 1/2 tsp of vanilla.

A lot of pancake recipes call for melted butter or oil and sugar. I served these cakes along with real maple syrup and turkey bacon and lots of fresh fruit. This is a recipe that clearly shows that children will eat foods that are low in fats / sugars if they taste good. If you wanted to sweeten these cakes up a bit you could fill them with sliced fresh strawberries, whip cream and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. It is great to have children that will for the most part try everything that I make, it is also extremely easier to get them to try new things if they helped to prepare it. I am so incredibly thankful for my children!
I made a double batch and got about 23 cakes (4" wide). I always make extra cakes to put in the refrigerator to enjoy the next day. If storing longer consider placing wax paper in between each cake put in a ziploc freezer bag.


Monday, November 2, 2009


I like to read, but I rarely have the opportunity to pick up a book that would take longer than 10 minutes to read. So, I read cook books. I love to see the various ways chefs / cooks put different food items together. It is so intriguing! I have been reading cook books for kids over the passed week to start putting together menu options that kids will love. The following are a list of kid friendly foods that all would enjoy!
~ Groovy homemade Granola - Oats, mini - shredded wheat cereal , almonds, pecans / walnuts, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, veg oil, dried apples, dried cranberries, and golden raisins - YUMMY.
~ Oven baked chicken - (Breading) crushed corn flakes, bread crumbs, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, allspice, flour, eggs - YUMMY!
~ Chocolate fondue - semi-sweet dark chocolate, unsalted butter, light corn syrup, sugar, heavy cream - YUMMY!

I have lots of YUMMY! Kid friendly meals to write about, I will have to finish them later. Enjoy!

Italain Baguettes

This formula has made the Autumn season that much better. I love comfort foods. On a chilly Autumn day, a favorite meal of mine would be a hot bowl of soup and fresh baked bread. Nothing warms the inside better! This formula is from a local breads cookbook. I do not know the creator.

This formula takes some advanced preperation, so start the evening prior to when you want to bake it.

This is an Artisan style of bread. The rustic flavor of this bread is wonderful! You can make an everyday Italian bread within 3 - 4 hours. However, this Artisan bread will transform your want / need for fresh bread.

Biga / Starter - Prepare this 9 - 17 hours before you want to bake
1/4 cup water (70-78*F)
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Combine the water and yeast. Add the flour. With a rubber spatula combine ingredients just until dough forms. It will be stiff like pie dough. Dust the counter with flour and get it fairly but not perfectly smooth. Lightly oil the a bowl. Round the biga and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature (70-75*) for 1 hour. Refrigerate it for at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours. The biga will double in volume, be glossy and porous and will smell mildly acidic.

Bread Dough
1 1/2 cups Biga
1 1/4 cups water (85 - 95*)
1 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Remove the biga from the refrigerator and uncover it. It will be soft and airy, but a bit sticky. Scrape it into a large bowl. Pour the water over the biga and stir it with a rubber spatula to soften it and break it into clumps. Stir in the yeast, flour, and salt until a dough forms.

Place in a mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment. mix the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, 10 - 12 minutes. Check that the dough is well developed by cutting a golf ball size amount from the bulk of the dough and stretch it until an opaque windowpane. If it tears, knead for an additional 2 - 3 minutes and test again.

Ferment the dough
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear 2-qt container with a lid. Cover and let it rise at room temperature (70-75*) until it doubles in volume, 1 1/2 - 2 hours. When you press your finger into the dough, the figerprint should spring back slowly.

Divide and Shape
Shape the dough into loaves. Place on sheet tray lined with parchment paper.

Proofing the dough
Let the dough rest until double in size again. abot 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Prepare the oven
If you have a baking stone place in the oven at 450*F 1 hour prior to baking, along with a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack.

Slide the dough still on the parchment onto the baking stone. Place 1/4 cup ice cubes into skillet, this will produce the light steam. Bake the bread until it is a honey gold, 20 - 30 minutes.

Cool and store
Slide the bread out of the oven onto a baking sheet. Place on a cooling rack. Cool the loaves completely 1 hour before serving. This bread is best eaten the day it is baked. Otherwise freeze for up to 1 month.