Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

I used to never bother with baking my own bread because it takes a long time.  Then I got a bread machine and went through a period of time where I baked bread every day.  Now I've settled into the middle of the road, and I occasionally bake bread in the machine, but I also enjoy making a loaf from scratch every now and then.

Here is a very simple recipe for one loaf of bread.  It is so simple that I haven't tried it in my machine, but I suppose you could try it.  It is a yummy whole wheat loaf that just happens to be vegan.

1 Cup warm water
1/2 Cup applesauce
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour

In large mixing bowl, stir together water, applesauce, and yeast.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then add salt and flour, mixing well, and adding additional flour if needed.  Knead well.  Put in loaf pan and let rise to double in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Serves 12.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken Rice Casserole

This is a favorite dinner from my childhood.  I loved helping my mom measure the milk using the empty soup can.  It is funny how I remember some very random things from when I was small.  I was talking to my mom about this casserole the other day, and she doesn't even remember making it.  Maybe I'll have her over soon for this dinner, and let her measure the milk in the empty soup can.  Surely that will spark her memory.

1 whole chicken, cut up
2 cups raw white rice, not minute rice
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
3 cans milk, use empty soup can to measure

Preheat oven to 375.  Empty soup into a large mixing bowl and add milk.  Stir well.  Add rice and stir well.  Carefully pour into a greased 9x13 glass casserole dish.  Lay chicken pieces on top, skin side up.  Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, until chicken is done, rice is tender, and liquid is absorbed.

Notes:  While this is the way the original recipe is written, there are many options.  My favorite way is to use all whole chicken wings, or my second choice is to use all drumsticks.

If you want to cut down on the fat and the cooking time, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

If you want to use up leftovers and shave off even more cooking time, use leftover cooked rice and cooked cubed chicken, reducing milk to 1 can.  Stir it all together, place in dish and cook until heated through and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

I personally think it tastes best when the chicken still has the skin on, and the rice cooks in the liquid, which makes the creamiest rice ever.

Any way you make it, it is creamy, dreamy comfort food that is perfect for chilly fall days.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Usually when I set out to make a pot of chili, I just throw some ingredients in the crock pot and let it cook all day.  It is always pretty good, but usually never the same thing twice.

The other day I made a pot of chili for our church youth group party, and received so many compliments, that I wrote the recipe down and crowned it my go-to chili recipe.

You can go traditional and serve it with saltines, carrot/celery sticks, and pickles, or serve it up with Fritos, shredded cheese, and sour cream, as the youth liked it.  Either way, it's a pretty easy dinner for a chilly fall night or a Sunday football snack.

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 cans chili beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 envelope chili seasoning mix
1 envelope hot chili seasoning mix
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 (64 oz) jugs V-8 juice

In large pot or dutch oven, brown ground beef with garlic and onion powders until cooked through.  Drain well, return to pot.  Add chili beans, kidney beans, and all seasoning mixes.  Stir well.  Add V-8 juice and stir well.  Place over medium high heat until just beginning to boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, up to several hours.  The longer you simmer, the better the flavor.  Just be sure to stir occasionally to prevent from sticking.

Makes 12-16 servings.