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Sesame Ginger Maple Tofu

Meal planning can sometimes be tricky in our house due to my desire to reduce the amount of meat (including seafood) that I eat and my husband’s wish to have meat with most of our meals. Luckily, we’ve come to a compromise where I tend to avoid meat at breakfast and lunch and only have it with dinner two to three times per week. While Brandon still loves bacon breakfasts, turkey sandwiches at lunch and a steak for dinner, he is very willing to also have a couple of meatless dinners every week.

I find that it’s fun to experiment with ethnic dishes for our meatless mains. It seems like there are endless options ranging from curries to stir fries to pastas and much, much more. I recently got the idea in my head to make sesame ginger maple tofu and was pleased to discover a similar recipe on Eating Well. I loved that the sauce also included tahini.

This dish was so easy! Everything is roasted together in the oven with the sauce being drizzled over the tofu and vegetables towards the end of cooking. I served it over soba noodles.

I made a few alterations to the recipe by adding fresh ginger, doubling the sauce and including carrots and green pepper with the veggies. The sauce was so flavorful and really soaked into the tofu and veggie mixture. I think that you could substitute a variety of vegetables in this depending on your preferences and what you have on hand. Also, I think that this sauce would be great with shrimp.

The leftovers were just as good the next day. I served them over a bed of spinach with brown rice and a generous squirt of Siracha.

This is a healthy and delicious vegetarian dish that should be added to your meatless main rotation!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cream Pie
Two Years Ago: Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Ginger Maple Tofu
(Recipe adapted from Eating Well)

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) block extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, sliced
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
2-3 carrots, cut into one inch slices
1 green pepper, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Soba noodles, rice noodles or brown rice, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil (for easy cleanup) and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Place tofu and veggies on a baking sheet and toss with oils, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Drizzle all over with the sesame ginger maple sauce and continue roasting for another five minutes. Serve over soba noodles, rice noodles or brown rice.

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Tortilla Soup

In general, I don’t love soup for dinner. I usually find myself wanting more and struggling with what to pair it with to make it a meal. Don’t get me wrong though, I love heartier things like chili and chicken and dumplings so I was pleased to find that this Chicken Tortilla Soup was more similar to chili than soup. It was filling, comforting and relatively healthy!

My favorite part about the soup was how easy it was to put together. I had to work late last night and didn’t get home until 8 p.m. I quickly diced, chopped, sauteed and dumped and the soup was cooking away in just 15 minutes. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes before serving it but this is flexible. You could easily leave this to simmer for longer if you want to develop the flavors even more.

This recipe is a great use of leftover chicken and most of the ingredients are pantry friendly. It also freezes nicely and the leftovers taste even better!

One Year Ago: Pear and Cranberry Cake
Two Years Ago: Sushi

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Recipe adapted from All Recipes)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can of corn or 2 ears, cut off the cobb
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
2-3 cups cooked shredded chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste
Toppings: cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, hot sauce, tortilla chips, diced avocado

Directions:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno and sautee for about 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and green chilies and cook for another minute or two. Add chili powder and oregano and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, water, chicken stock, black beans, corn and chicken and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and serve with toppings.

Last week Charlotte was hit with a heavy dose of winter weather. In the South, this brings your daily routine to a screeching halt. I found myself unable to navigate my way anywhere but into the kitchen. Given the fact that I tend to keep myself insanely busy and overcommited, I have to admit that it was nice to be forced to slow down.

Instead of working late and hitting the gym, I baked cookies and made a big batch of chili. I tend to always make the same cookies – chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. I wanted to make something new that I hadn’t baked or blogged about before. I browsed through my favorite go-to cookbook, The Gourmet Cookbook, and decided to try the Oatmeal Trail Mix Cookies. Brandon was not on board with the raisins that the recipe called for, I wasn’t on board with the shortening and I didn’t have peanuts so I made a few substitutions to the original recipe.

Despite the substitutions, these cookies turned out great. One thing I was surprised to discover is that these needed to bake a little longer. I usually under bake cookies but that was not the case with this recipe. I under baked my first batch and the texture just wasn’t right. I baked the second batch a little longer and they were right on. Also, I liked these better cool than hot out of the oven. Usually we love warm cookies, and these were plenty good warm, but even more outstanding once they’d cooled.

These Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect way to put a different twist on the traditional chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie recipe.

One Year Ago: Overnight Baked French Toast
Two Years Ago: Penne a la Betsy

Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet)

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
6-ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium high speed. Beat in the egg, baking soda mixture, flour, salt and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and mix in oats, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans.

Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto greased baking sheets about 4 inches apart and with a fork flatten and spread each mound into a round, about 3 inches in diameter.

Bake the cookies in batches in the middle oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer to racks and let cool.

Yield: about 30 cookies

Pasta with Arrabbita Sauce

One of Brandon’s all-time favorite dinners is pasta with red sauce so I wasn’t surprised when he requested it for our first “return to normal eating and homecooked meals” after the holidays. I wasn’t really in the mood for traditional spaghetti sauce and Brandon suggested arrabbita sauce. Spicy homemade marinara sauce with pancetta sounded perfect.

We usually top stuffed shells with arrabbita but I was not in the mood for the richness of stuffed shells after the holidays so we stuck with plain spaghetti noodles. This ended up being a great choice because it really allowed the awesome flavor of the arrabbita sauce to be the star. The pancetta is a must in the sauce – it adds so much flavor and richness. The red pepper flakes don’t dominate the dish but contribute a nice, slow burn.

I used my go-to marinara sauce as the base for this sauce and added the sauteed pancetta and red pepper flakes at the end. If you have never made homemade marinara sauce, you must! It tastes nothing like what you buy in a jar. I recommend doubling this recipe and keeping a batch in the freezer for a quick dinner option. It reheats wonderfully.

One Year Ago: Three-Ingredient Pot Roast
Two Years Ago: Kefta – Greek Meatballs

Pasta with Arrabbita Sauce
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 stalk celery, broken into 4 pieces
1 carrot, finely diced
32-ounces high-quality crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Pinch of sugar
Shot of red wine (1-2 tablespoons)
1/3 pound (around 6 ounces) pancetta, chopped
2 teaspoons (or more if  you like spice!) red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until they begin to look translucent. Add garlic, celery and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar and red wine. Simmer for 1 hour over low heat, uncovered.

While sauce is simmering, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then pancetta. Sautee about 5 minutes, or until it begins to look crispy. Add red pepper flakes and sautee for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into marinara sauce.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in fresh basil right before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

2010: Most Popular Recipes

I hope this post finds everyone enjoying the holidays and excited for the arrival of 2011! It’s been a great year on Bakin’ and Eggs and I wanted to share the most popular posts of 2010 with you.

10. Warm Chocolate Raspberry Pudding Cake – this warm, gooey, delicious cake was the second to last recipe that I posted for my 68 Days of Gourmet project. It was a great way to end things with a bang!

9. Maple Butter Pecan Ice Cream – another addition from 68 Days of Gourmet, this Maple Butter Pecan Ice Cream was the first recipe I tried with my KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment.

8. Chocolate Cream Pieare you noticing a theme  here? This is another recipe from 68 Days of Gourmet and another dessert. You guys definitely love your sweets (like me!).

7. Applesauce Spice MuffinsMuffins are always a hit on the blog, especially when I add a healthy twist. These applesauce spice muffins are a breeze to whip up for breakfast and full of warm flavors!

6. Fish Tacos with Baja CreamThis is our go-to fish taco recipe. They are easy, healthy and delicious!

5. 3 Ingredient Pot Roast – Another winner from 68 Days of Gourmet, this pot roast contains only three ingredients and is sure to be a winner with the whole family. Try using the leftovers for shredded beef enchiladas!

4. Pita Bread - It’s easy to make pita bread at home! This pita bread freezes wonderfully and tastes much better than store bought.

3. Chewy, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies – My dad made these amazing brownies from Cooks Illustrated and they are absolutely perfect. A must-try for chocolate lovers. Even better served warm and topped with ice cream!

2. Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes - an easy, flavorful side dish and a delicious spin on sweet potatoes.

1. Overnight Baked French Toast – it’s only fitting that a recipe from 68 Days of Gourmet is the top post of 2010. I can’t blame you though, this French toast recipe is wonderful and so easy to assemble the night before. If you are an overnight guest in my house, it’s a pretty sure thing that you will be eating this French toast the next morning!

Thank you all for reading and eating along with me! Here’s to much more deliciousness (and more frequent posting, I promise) in 2011!

Cheesy Beer Quick Bread

I discovered this beer bread recipe several years ago on the now defunct blog, Good Things Catered. I’d never made (or heard of) beer bread before and was amazed by how easy and delicious it was. Somehow I forgot about this recipe until recently. I was looking for an alternative to cornbread to serve with chili when we had friends over for dinner and remembered this beer bread. It was a huge hit with everyone and I have now served it to two different groups of company and received raved reviews from both groups.

The best thing about this bread is how easy it is to prepare. It has a short ingredient list, is assembled in one bowl and in the oven in five minutes. Also, the house smells amazing while it is cooking. I have made a couple of modifications to the original recipe and am posting my version below. Note,  I cannot link to the original recipe because the blog has been removed.

Please make this beer bread this winter and let me know what you think! I’m willing to bet it will become a favorite!

One Year Ago: Spicy Black Bean Soup
Two Years Ago: Cinnamon Rolls (YUM!)

Cheesy Beer Quick Bread
(Recipe adapted from Good Things Catered)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
A sprinkle of your choice of fresh or dried herbs, we like rosemary, chives, thyme, etc.
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (or feel free to substitute other cheeses)
12 ounce bottle or can of beer (you could get fancy with this and use a lager or stout or you could be like me and save your good stuff. and use the random bottle of Bud Light you find in your fridge)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic and herbs. Add cheese and whisk to combine. Slowly add beer to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Dough should be thick. Knead dough a couple of times until it comes together.

Place dough in prepared loaf pan and pour melted butter over. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

Yield: 8 servings


 

I attended my first holiday cookie exchange last week and the stakes were high considering our group was made up of Charlotte-area food and healthy living bloggers. I knew that I was going to bring my tried and true Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti but I also wanted to bring something a little more Christmas-esque. After a bit of research, I decided that these Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies would be perfect.

These cookies feature melted high-quality chocolate topped with crushed peppermints and a drizzle of white chocolate over a shortbread base. Although these cookies require multiple steps, they were fairly simple. I struggled most with the shortbread cookie dough. It stuck to my fingers as I tried to press it into the pan. The key to avoiding this was keeping my fingers wet with water. I was concerned that the shortbread wouldn’t cook properly but it turned out just right.

The cookies were a big hit at the party and the presentation was beautiful for the holidays. This recipe will definitely be a repeat for many holiday seasons to come. I thinke these cookies would be perfect in holiday gift bags too!

One Year Ago: Chili Lime Tilapia
Two Years Ago: Open-Faced Steak Sandwiches with Horseradish Sauce

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
(Recipe source Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with a long strip of 9-inch-wide parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both short sides of pan.
Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake cookie base until light golden brown, slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on wire rack and immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using a small offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie in a thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.

Stir white chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from water and use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Grab the paper overhang and lift from pan. Transfer to work surface and using a large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces.

Yield: about 36 pieces

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