At one of our recent trips to Whole Foods, I picked up a pack of Naan to serve as a side for our dinner. I was surprised how good it was…better than some restaurants I’ve even been to. Maybe it was because it was flavored with garlic & herbs. I’m not sure, but I fell in love. When I ran out and I didn’t want to go to the store to get more I hit the internet to see if Naan is hard to make. Of course, since I don’t have a traditional Indian Tandoori oven I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but thought it was worth a shot. I found this recipe on the Budget Bytes Blog and thought it looked pretty simple, plus it called for all ingredients I had on hand. I modified it by adding some garlic & cheese so it would be like the kind I purchased at Whole Foods. I cooked it up on the grill and it tasted almost as good as if it had been made in the traditional way. I froze what we didn’t use and when I want to use it I just take out a piece or two at a time. It freezes really well so you can definitely make a big batch if you’re feeling ambitious. You can use it as a side to kabobs and rice or an accompaniment to any meal. You can also be creative and use it for sandwiches and pizza. For plain Naan, just omit the garlic and parmesan cheese.
(Makes 16 servings; 1 Naan = 2 servings)
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup water
3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use either non-fat or low-fat)
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves garlic, mashed
Olive oil, for brushing (optional)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it looks “frothy”.
- Add the oil, yogurt and egg and mix on very low speed (using the paddle attachment) until just combined.
- Switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the salt, garlic, cheese and 1 cup of floor. Continue to mix on low, adding ½ cup of flour at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
- Knead the ball of dough in the mixer for about 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and very soft, but not sticky.
- Cover the dough loosely and allow to rise until double in size.
- After the dough rises, flatten the dough and cut into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
- Roll out the balls of dough to about 1/4 “ thick.
- Preaheat the grill to medium. Brush the dough with olive oil, if desired, and place over indirect heat. Allow the dough to cook until brown and bubbles form. Flip the dough over and allow the other side to brown and bubble. Serve hot.
I wanted to make fajitas the other night for dinner, but had no tortillas. I didn’t want to run to the store so I just did a quick search on the internet to see if I could make them. After reading a few recipes, it was quite clear that these are so EASY!!! They were easy, they were quick and tasted great. Why didn’t I ever try to make these before???!!! I will definitely never buy flour tortillas anymore! I froze the leftovers…and they reheat great in the microwave!
Flour Tortillas(Makes 12)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
3/4 cups water
- Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry blender until the flour resembles cornmeal.
- Add the water a little bit at a time and mix until the dough is able to be made into a ball.
- Place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
- Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll each dough ball into a thin, round tortilla.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place tortillas, one at a time, into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side.
Cooking for only two people can be a challenge at times. It seems like most recipes make enough food for a family of 8! This seems to be especially true with baking and although I’ve played around with baked good recipes to make a smaller batch…sometimes you just don’t want to do the math! Or your math is off and your final product is not what you thought it was going to be. Take this recipe for French Bread, for example. I cut the recipe in half and still got a ton of bread! Luckily my brain was actually working for once and I thought why not make some “mini-loaves”? The mini-loaves are the perfect size for 2-3 people. I only use one loaf at a time and freeze the others (I use my Food Saver for this and the bread comes out as fresh as the day it was first made!).
By the way, I’ve been making almost all of our bread & buns lately myself. I am really starting to loathe store-bought bread. If you are hesitant to make your own bread or think it is a lot of work…think again! That is part of the reason I stayed away from it for so long. I’ve also found that the bread/rolls I make myself freeze much better than store bought and so I am not wasting nearly as much as I used to. Again…only 2 people can eat so many hamburger rolls, so I would throw them in the freezer but 2 weeks later they would be freezer burned and all around nasty…and into the trash 4 or 5 rolls would go (I can’t be the only person with this problem, right??)! This is not the case with homemade bread and rolls…so not only is it cheaper to make…I promise you won’t end up wasting it!!
This bread is yummy as a side dish for soup or other dishes. I served ours with some Summer Corn Chowder!
Mini French Bread Loaves
(Makes 4 “mini” loaves)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1-1/2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
- Using a stand mixer with the dough attachment, add all ingredients except for the flour to the mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and stir until well combined.
- Slowly add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.
- Increase speed and allow dough to knead for a few minutes until it forms one solid ball and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic and should not stick to the bowl or the hook when removing it.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down and divide into four. Allow to rest on a floured surface for 10 minutes.
- Shape each piece of dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle a parchment lined baking sheet with the cornmeal and place the dough on the baking sheet. Using a sharp paring knife make 3 diagonal slashes in each loaf. Cover and allow to rise for 40 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to the 375 degrees F.
- Prepare the egg wash by adding the water to the egg white and gently beating with a fork.
- Brush the egg wash on top of each loaf and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before slicing. Can be served warm or room temperature.
This is my favorite cornbread recipe. It has a great texture, it’s moist and it is has just the right sweetness. It is also really quick and easy to make and so much better than the boxed kind. I made this to go with our Smoked Ribs, for a real southern barbecue meal!
Smoked Ribs, Green Beans & Corn Bread
Cornbread (Makes 12 large servings)
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
2/3 cup sugar
3 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a glass 9×13” baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well until there are no lumps.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Cut into 12 large pieces, or 24 small pieces. Serve warm.
For some reason I always had this idea in my head that it was extremely difficult to make bread or rolls from scratch. Even though there is nothing better than homemade bread and rolls I stayed away from making them.
Then one day I planned to make sandwiches for dinner, but forgot to pick up some rolls. I guess I can thank my laziness for sending me on to the internet to look at some recipes for homemade sandwich rolls. There was no way I was getting back in the car and driving a whopping 2 minutes down the street to go to the store yet again. Somehow my warped mind thought driving back to the store would be much worse than the grueling task of making rolls from scratch. The fear was there that this may not be something I should get into, but I gave it a shot….and to my surprise it was pretty easy. Since then, I’ve tried all kinds of breads: sourdough, Italian, white bread, whole wheat, French bread, dinner rolls, garlic bread, etc. And each time I make them I am always impressed that it wasn’t too difficult to make and that they turned out really good!
This past weekend, while eating lunch at my mom’s house, I brought some of these yummy rolls for our sandwiches. I said to her, “how come you never told me it was so easy to make bread?” She just laughed and proceeded to tell me a story of how my Grandmother used to make such large batches of bread, my Grandfather would have to come and punch the dough down because it was too much for the women in the kitchen. Well, lucky for me I only cook for two people and I own a Kitchenaid Mixer! Which does all the kneading for you so this makes it even easier. But don’t worry even if you have to knead the dough by yourself (or maybe if you have some kids put them to work) it is not bad…I have done it before and lived to tell about it! (Of course, that was before I actually understood how all the features on my Kitchenaid worked :))
So what is the moral to this story? If you are like I used to be and think that it’s difficult to make bread or rolls….you should get over it and try it for yourself. You’ll never want to buy rolls or bread from the store or a bakery again!
Mandy’s Marvelous Sandwich Rolls
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups flour
- In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy 5-10 minutes.
- To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 cups of flour and combine until a dough forms.
- Stir in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
- Knead the dough. Using the dough hook of your mixer, knead for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat all sides with the oil.
- Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm dark place and allow dough to rise for about 1 hour.
- After the dough has risen, deflate it by gently punching it down in the bowl.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and separate into 12 pieces, forming them into round balls.
- Place dough balls on a non-stick baking sheet at least two inches apart and cover with a damp cloth. Place in a warm dark place and allow to rise for about 40 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- After second rising, bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
A Few Tips & Suggestions:
- If you divide the dough into 16 rounds, the Weight Watchers Points Plus will be 4. You’ll have a smaller roll, but this is more of an appropriate portion size.
- If you do not want to make all 12 or 16 rolls at once, after the first rising, only make the amount you need and freeze the remaining dough. When you are ready to use the rest of dough thaw it and allow to rise for about 45 minutes and follow original baking instructions. It is best to freeze dough before the second rising.
- You can also divide the roll into 24 balls and use as buns for “Sliders” or use just as a dinner roll.