Recent Recipes

Brown Bread and Beef Barley Soup

Comments (1) | Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have to admit, I'm always skeptical about "health food" looking recipes. Not that I don't like to eat healthy. I'm just not a big fan of crunchy, nutty, healthy breads. But I often approach recipes with skepticism only to be pleasantly surprised. Such was the case with this easy and delicious bread. The buttermilk mixed with the oats, wheat germ and wheat flour created a dense but very moist loaf. The perfect pairing for any hearty soup (we topped the warm bread with butter and drizzled honey.)

I am a big fan of making and freezing meals. With two small children, the time it takes in one afternoon to stock the freezer with several homemade meals is worth the effort. The appreciation comes on those days when making dinner feels like a daunting task. And so I reach for a freezer meal and spend that extra time with the kids instead. I will likely be posting several of my favorite "freezer meals" since this is a hobby that I truly enjoy (I've often envisioned a business where I make and sell frozen homemade meals... a dream come true...) Often the problem is, you have no idea what the end result will taste like and don't want to risk wasting food. I can guarantee you that if my recipes sound like something you would like, you are guaranteed to enjoy them (because I've tried them and wouldn't post them if my tastebuds didn't approve.) So I present to you, Beef Barley Soup... easy to make, freeze, remove when needed and pop in the crockpot!

Beef Barley Soup
(makes 4 entrees, 6-8 servings each)

6 pounds sirloin tip beef or other beef suitable for slow cooking
6 cups sliced carrots (about 12 medium)
6 cups sliced celery (about 12 stalks)
4 cups chopped onion (about 4 medium)
2 large green bell peppers cut into 1-inch pieces
4 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups basic red sauce (recipe follows)
4 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 cups (1 pound bag) pearl barley
8 one-gallon freezer bags
4 one-quart freezer bags

Rinse and trim beef as desired. Cut into bite sized pieces. Divide beef evenly among 4 of the 1-gallon freezer bags. Into each of those 4 bags measure 1 1/2 cups carrots, 1 1/2 cups celery, 1 cup onion, one-fourth of the bell peppers, 1 can tomatoes with juice, 1 cup red sauce, 1 tablespoon bouillon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Seal.

Into each of the 1-quart freezer bags measure 1/2 cup barley. Seal. Label the remaining 4 freezer bags with name, date and directions. Place one bag of soup and one bag of barley into each labeled bag. Seal and freeze for up to 6 months.

Directions: Put frozen soup into crockpot (or thaw enough to remove from bag). Add 4 cups water and the bag of barley. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.

Basic Red Sauce (makes about 10 cups)

1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspon dried thyme
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
several 1-quart freezer bags

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. DO NOT COOK. Measure into appropriate proportions for immediate use. Divide remaining sauce into 2 cup portions among 1-quart freezer bags for later use. Seal, date and label each bag with amount of sauce inside. Freeze for up to 6 months.

*recipes courtesy of "Fix Freeze and Feast"

Read More......

Strawberry-Orange Muffins

Comments (0) | Monday, May 24, 2010

I can't say much because words won't do them justice. Just try them for yourself. These were amazing. I've tried a lot of muffin recipes and usually end up tossing most. A muffin has to be outstanding to earn a home in my recipe file and this one has found its place.

Read More......

Jamaican Banana Bread

Comments (0) |

A new twist on an old classic. Since I married a man who LOVES banana bread (not that I don't... he's just more of a banana enthusiast...) I've tried to find ways to mix it up a little. Our favorite is a chocolate marbled version but this one was quite tasty. With a hint of coconut, lime and rum, it was the perfect addition to the original banana. I let the topping cool in the pan too long (the bread wasn't ready) and it hardened quickly. So, rather than spreading it on top, it was more like "crumbling" it on top.

And just for fun, if you ever wondered why recipes recommend adding dry and wet ingredients alternately to the mix, I researched that very question. It has to do with the formation of gluten which results when certain wheat flour proteins come in contact with water. Gluten inhibits the rising of your baked products. And so, with this process, the first batch of dry ingredients gets coated with the fat which interferes with the formation of gluten. Alternating the rest of the ingredients while mixing as little as possible results in a smooth batter with little gluten formation. And now you know! :)

*information courtesy of http://www.kitchensavvy.com/

Read More......

Pear Dutch Baby

Comments (0) |

Or Apple... as my luck would have it. I decided to make this to accompany the omelettes I was making for Mother's Day dinner. One of my favorites... breakfast for dinner (or "upside down dinner" as my mom's friend calls it.) But it was a spur of the moment recipe decision so I had to substitute apples for the pears. It turned out great but I think next time I would incorporate the apples/pears into the batter rather than as a topping (placing the apples in the skillet and pouring the mixture over them before placing in the oven.) But in any case, this was heavenly. I liken it to a very thick crepe but much easier and yummier. Definitely a keeper!

WARNING: #1- you must own a skillet that is oven proof and can handle the heat... a cast iron skillet works best but any oven proof pan will do. #2- when removing the pan from the oven using your special handle cover that your sister-in-law sent you for just these occasions, LEAVE the cover on the handle after setting the skillet down!!! DO NOT remove the cover only to grab the handle, seconds later, attempting to pick the skillet up, forgetting that it had been in a 425 degree oven!! (what can I say... my cooking comes with casualties...)

Read More......

Blue-Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Comments (0) | Thursday, May 20, 2010

The recipe that started it all... I posted on Facebook that I had made this for dinner and got so much response that I knew I had to share. In fact, it was my sister who said "hey, why don't you just create a blog with all of your yummy recipes??" And so this blog was born...

This has to be one of my favorite new recipes to date. A little time consuming for sure, but beware that any recipe that involves "stuffing" a piece of meat will surely take some extra time. This one I can say was truly worth the extra effort. I served it with an amazing spinach orzo salad and roasted cauliflower. I cannot attest to the buffalo sauce, as I tend to cut out any spiciness (no one in this family is a fan.) So I left it out and served the chicken as-is (in hindsight I could have made the sauce and omitted the tabasco...) The only one who didn't clean her plate was Aubrey but she's a tough critic these days.

Spinach Orzo Salad
1 pkg (16 oz.) orzo pasta
1 pkg (6 oz.) fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup reduced-fat balsamic vinaigrette
(my favorite is actually a fat-free version by Maple Grove Farms of Vermont)
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (I actually left these out because I forgot!)

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, onion and orzo. In a small bowl, combine the vinaigrette, basil and pepper. Pour over orzo; toss to coat. Chill until serving. Just before serving, stir in pine nuts.

(courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine)

Read More......

Pizza Puffs

Comments (0) |

This is one of my absolute favorites for kids. Incredibly easy and the kids devoured them! I will not pretend that every recipe on here is going to be insanely healthy but I do try to alter most of them with healthier ingredient options and will edit in those changes when necessary.

Also, if a recipe isn't listed directly into the text of the blog then it will be included as a hyperlink (you can click on the name of the recipe and it will take you to the website with that particular recipe...) This one, however, will be typed up in easy format.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Mix 3/4 cup flour with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder; whisk in 3/4 cup milk (I used nonfat, it's what we have in our fridge) and one egg. Stir in 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 cup pepperoni (cut into small pieces); let stand for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir batter and divide evenly among a greased 24-mini-muffin pan. Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.

Serve with red bell pepper slices and warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Read More......

The Beginning

Comments (1) | Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And so it begins. I've been struggling with the name, the layout, the content... I wanted everything to be just right. I got overwhelmed with the number of food and recipe blogs already existing and thought "who would really want to read MINE???" But then realized that cooking is my passion and even if I only end up sharing it with a few friends and family, then it's still worth the time and effort to me. Will I end up on the "Top 10 food blogs" list? Most definitely not. But since this isn't really a goal of mine, I guess I'll be just fine :)

So let's start with the name. The poll on my family blog ended up putting me into near hysterics (I'm exaggerating of course.) I wanted something fun but wanted my name in it. I wanted people to like it, for it to be catchy, original, my own. But I ended up with so many options I finally had to stop looking. The winner was "Bessman's Best" and while I loved this option, I felt like I couldn't really take claim for all the content on this blog since they are NOT my own original recipes (although I tend to "tweak" them here and there but still can't take all the credit!) And so I created a combination of the two top choices, naming the site "Bessman's Best" and the blog title "Front Burner." I hope this appeals to everyone and if not, well, take it or leave it I guess...

The layout is a work in progress and wasn't what I had originally had in mind. Picture a background photo of me donning an apron and chef's hat with my children in my kitchen. Now THAT is the reality of my passion for food. But this will have to do for now (fun and cute anyway...)

And as for the content... I am backed up with recipes and pictures to post, all of which will be coming soon. I appreciate all the support and look forward to feedback! Thank you and please stay posted!

Read More......


Powered by Blogger.