Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whole Wheat French Toast Casserole

Want comfort food on a cold snowy morning without the guilt? Whamo!

  • 1 small loaf of hearty crusty whole wheat bread (the kind from the bakery, not the soft stuff)
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk (most recipes call for 3 cups of half & half. Seriously?!)
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I know it seems like a lot, but it was good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I did way more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • real maple syrup
Cut the bread up into 1 inch cubes and dump into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and pour over bread.

Bake at 350 for 45 or so minutes (I'm at 9,000 feet so I did about an hour), until the egg is cooked and the bread is browned. I took it out, lightly drizzled grade B organic maple syrup over it and returned it to the oven and turned the oven off. I did this because I wanted the syrup flavor there, without adding additional syrup to our portions. (I'm terrified of sugars and hate adding them, can't you tell?)

It was delicious. We didn't add butter or syrup to our servings because the flavors were balanced. Perfect for a cold, snowy morning where you end up sitting around in sweats and drinking coffee until 1pm. Next time I'll add orange zest and maybe a few raisins. You really can't mess this up.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicken and Whole Wheat Dumplings

This picture sucks, I know.

Jesse was really sick this weekend and requested chicken and dumplings. I got the recipe from his mom (she's the queen of this dish) and made it with the things we had. (ex: whole wheat flour instead of enriched white)

I was actually nervous in my own kitchen making this! Normally I'm the confident boss over all things culinary in my home, but I was keeping my fingers crossed that my chicken and dumplings would pass the test. I'm not kidding, his mom's is awesome.

  • 3 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • large onion, diced
  • 2-3 ribs celery, diced
  • Tony Chacheres seasoning
  • Chicken stock (I had and used "Not-Chick'n" cubes because I swear, they taste better)
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato
  • Frozen peas
  • can of corn
  • handful of fresh green beans, about an inch long
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, double sifted
  • 4-8 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Sage
  • Marjoram

Saute onion and celery in extra virgin olive oil and 1.5 tbsp butter until done. Add chicken and 1/2 stock and 1/2 water and boil. I added Tony Chacheres for flavor as well as salt and pepper.

When chicken is done, remove it and set aside. Add more broth if needed. Add the carrots, potatoes and cook until almost done. Add peas, corn and green beans. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, sage and marjoram. I measured each with my palm, so season to your taste.

Dumplings: Add eggs one at a time to the flour and mix with a fork until a consistency you prefer. (I think I ended up using 6 eggs?) Drop the dumpling dough into the boiling soup with a tablespoon- I ended up with about 12-15 large dumplings. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Jesse's mother wrote: "your dumplings should look like heavenly clouds of goodness".

Add cut up chicken and cook for another 20 minutes or more for the soup to thicken.

I was impressed. It turned out great and I'll definitely be making it again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Whole Wheat Chocolate Prune Decadence Cake

Maximus' 3rd birthday was a couple days ago and you all know I'm incapable of feeding him even a birthday cake that isn't somewhat healthy. Each morning as he waits for his oatmeal to cook, he gets a prune in his mouth and one in each hand. The kid loves his morning prunes and it would be impossible for him to leave the house without eating 3. With that in mind, I set off to make a cake that incorporated prunes.

I asked what he wanted on top of his cake and he (in his adorable little language) said: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, cold pineapple, prunes and raisins. Alrighty then.

I used an old recipe that I worked with when I was a sous chef and made some substitutions and additions. Keep in mind that I live at 9,000 feet, so decrease the flour by 1/4 cup and lessen the boiling water if you live anywhere else.

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used half whole wheat and half quinoa flour and sifted together twice)
2/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened (Earth Balance works great)
1 cup Sugar in the Raw
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 vegan sour cream
handful of pureed prunes (they break down better with water or simple syrup)
1/2 cup boiling water

Convection ovens work best, but use what you have- preheat to 375. Grease and flour a 9" cake pan. Sift the flours, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat again.

Gradually stir in the sifted flour mixture in approximate thirds, alternating each time with 1/4 cup of the vegan sour cream. (It doesn't have to be vegan- it's what we had and I prefer)

Stir in the boiling water. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 23 minutes. Don't wreck this by over baking! Allow to cool and frost with whatever you want. I used a traditional chocolate frosting made with soy milk, vanilla, butter and 1/4 of the powdered sugar a typical recipe calls for.