Monday, March 23, 2009

Mom's French Toast

This recipe is definitely NOT healthy - but it sure is YUMMY!!

We like it best with Sara Lee Brown Sugar Cinnamon bread, but my mom made it with cinnamon-raisin bread when I was growing up. Any firm, sweet bread would do, I think - but we've only used the breads I've mentioned so I can't guarantee results with other breads.

NOTE: with both milks, I use fat-free. You can't tell the difference so why not, right? But if you want to, full-fat or regular works just fine. Use whatever you have on-hand.

Mom's French Toast

1 lb loaf Sara Lee Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bread (or cinnamon raisin bread)
Butter or margarine for the skillet

* Preheat skillet to 350*

* Mix together WELL in a bowl large enough for dipping your bread slices completely:

1 14-oz can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 - 1/2 cups skim milk
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

Whisk above ingredients together until smooth & the same thickness of cold pancake syrup. Add only enough skim milk to achieve this consistency. Don't add too much! You want it thick enough to coat the bread.

* Butter skillet well. (This will carmelize & make your french toast YUMMY! Don't use sprays like Pam. They don't work well & they leave a strange taste behind.)

* Submerge bread slices & allow to drip just a bit before placing in the buttered skillet.

* Cook coated bread slices 3-4 minutes. Turn when browned thoroughly. Cook 1-2 minutes on second side.

* Serve immediately with butter & syrup OR fresh berries & whipped cream.

* Butter skillet between every batch of french toast.
* Cool to room temperature.
* Lay flat (not stacked) on a cookie sheet in the freezer until firm.
* Store stacked in a Ziplock bag in the freezer up to 3 months.
* Heat in microwave or under the broiler in the oven (our favorite).
* Serve as usual.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taos Chicken and Pasta

I've already posted this one on my own blog...but it's definitely one that needs to be tried by all! This one is from my sister-in-law, Heather (it sure pays to have sister-in-laws that love good recipes!!!!). Believe me, this one is soooo good! It has lots of flavor, and includes one of my favorite ingredients--basil. You can serve it with plain noodles and pour the sauce over the top, or just mix the noodles and sauce together for a casserole-type dish. This one has been fun to take to pot-lucks and socials since usually no one has ever had it before (and I always get people asking for the recipe). It's best served warm.

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom...I've posted a "long" way to cook it, and a "quick/easy" way to cook it.)

Taos Chicken and Pasta

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large bell pepper, cubed
1/2 cup chicken broth (I substitute 1/2 cup water mixed with 1/2 tsp. bouillon)
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 lb. chicken breasts, raw
1 lb. pasta of choice (bow tie is our favorite)

--Combine soy sauce, broth, oil, basil, ginger and garlic powder. marinate with chicken (cubed) for 2-3 hours, refrigerated. Stir occasionally. Pour off marinade and save. In large skillet, coated with non-stick spray, cook chicken until lightly browned and no longer pink in center. Add bell pepper and saute 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and add marinade to skillet. Stir in cornstarch and cook until thickened. Add back chicken and peppers. Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve over cooked pasta. Serves 8.

I tend to alter the way I make it from the original recipe--mainly for ease and to make it quicker. Often I make it without even marinating the chicken (no longer than just mixing it together). Usually I just mix all the ingredients together and then "stir-fry" all of it together (except the cornstarch) in the pan until the chicken is no longer pink, then I add the cornstarch. I feel like it skips a ton of steps, and still tastes great...but if you're a purist, then you'd better stick to the recipe! (:

One more thing: I've tried playing with the amounts of pasta. When I mix everything together I sometimes feel like the pasta dulls the flavor a bit. Sometimes I put in just slightly less than 1 lb. pasta (maybe about 3/4 of a pound?)...but if you're pouring the sauce over the top of individual servings of noodles, you can easily decide to add more or less to taste.


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