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New Food: Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

February 18th, 2013 Comments off

f you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

What better excuse do you need to try a new food than a school bake sale? That was the case this President’s Day (an American Monday holiday similar to Bank Holidays in the UK). Tomorrow is the Freshman Class fundraiser, so I looked back through my recent Pinterest pins and found these tasty-looking cookies. I like pumpkin and I like ginger and I like cookies so what could go wrong.

Nothing could go wrong it seems as these were GREAT! I don’t mind a crunchy cookie, but these have a great, soft, texture a wonderful gingersnap-like taste and they even look great. These are a great find that will probably make it into the rotation for my annual Christmas Cookie party and I am sure people will love them. 

New Food: Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies - 1

Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

½ cup of butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
½ cup of pure pumpkin (I used Libby’s canned pumpkin)
¼ cup of molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.

3. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Video: New Food: Homemade Sparkling Fruit Juice from My Word on Food

February 9th, 2013 Comments off

f you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Make your own sparkling fruit juice at home using just juice and yeast.
sparkling-fruit-juice

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New Food: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

February 2nd, 2013 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Looking back over the New Food I have made over the last several weeks, I realized I hadn’t made any cookies. Now since I make 80-100 dozen cookies each Christmas, you might think I would always be on the look out for cookie recipes, but sometimes they slip my mind. So, here is a great cookie recipe from Tall Grass Kitchen which I discovered via Pinterest.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 15

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 14Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 8Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 7Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 6Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies - 4

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Tall Grass Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 18 oz brown sugar (2 1/3 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (creamy)
  • 8 1/2 oz bread flour (1 2/3 cups)
  • 8 1/2 oz all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cups thin pretzels, roughly chopped
  • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

1) Cream the butter and brown sugar until very light and fluffy (at least five minutes). If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.

2) Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Add in peanut butter, and mix until completely combined.

3) In separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt .

4) Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, and mix on low until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pretzels.

5) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough onto cookie sheet, flatten slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. You can make these cookies regular-size, or super-size. Just increase your cooking by 2-4 minutes for larger cookies.

7) For regular-size cookies, bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool on sheet for a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack to finish.

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New Food: Cornflake Crusted Chicken Tenders

January 26th, 2013 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Cornflake Crusted Chicken Tenders

Sometimes New Food simply means a new twist on an old favorite. Over the years we have often made breaded chicken breasts, but lately we have dropped that in interest of reducing our calories. Grilled chicken breast works for most things, but there are times when you still want a bit of crunch with your chicken.  Enter an old-fashioned way of making a crunchy coating for food — good, old-fashioned, cornflakes.

Cornflake Coated Chicken Tenders

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can dress things up a bit. The original recipe I found via Pinterest used a mixture of egg, honey and mustard to stick the cornflakes to the chicken. My wife isn’t a big mustard fan, though, and I am constantly watching calories, so instead I added some different flavors, using Creole Seasoning mix and some black pepper added to the cornflakes. This gave a great taste to the chicken and reminded us that this would be worth making again.

Here is my take on Cornflake Crusted Chicken Tenders.

Cornflake Crusted Chicken Tenders

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken-breast tenders
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups cornflakes, finely crushed
    • I put my cornflakes in a zip top bag and crushed them with my hands
  • 1 tsp Creole Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. In a shallow dish lightly beat the eggs. 
  3. In a zip top bag, crush cornflakes together with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper.
    1. Add shredded cheese to cornflake mixture (optional)
  4. Place cornflake mixture in shallow bowl. Dip chicken strips into the egg mixture; roll in crumb mixture to coat.
  5. Arrange chicken strips on an ungreased baking sheet.
    1. For more crunch, spray top of each piece with high quality cooking spray
  6. Bake about 12 minutes, or until outsides are golden and chicken is no longer pink.

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New Food: Chocolate Porter Cake

January 19th, 2013 1 comment

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Chocolate Porter Cake

I went looking for a recipe like this so I could bake up something special for the #KitchenParty LIVE show on December 13, 2012. The theme was Beer and Food, and I had been wanting to make a porter cake for a while, so I used the happy coincidence to my advantage. You can join us for #KitchenParty each Thursday evening at 8pm EST, where we invite in all our foodie friends to chat about their cookbooks, new projects and food in general. Join us at http://bakespace.com/news/ or watch the recorded version of the show on YouTube at http://youtube.com/bakespacetv.

I made my version of this cake with Stone Smoked Porter from the Stone Brewery near Escondido, California. My ffriends brought backa growler’s worth from their recent visit to the brewery. The combination of the cocoa and the porter quickly had the house filled with an amazing aroma. My wife commented on the smell 3 times while it was baking. This cake is destined for her office party tomorrow, but I will be making another for a friend’s party next week. The original recipe called foe a porter-chocolate glaze, but I don’t really think the cake needs it for everyday consumption. I might make it for the party, though, to dress it up a bit.


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Music: “Slow Burn” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) provided under Creative Commons License

Making Chocolate Porter Bundt Cake - 3 Making Chocolate Porter Bundt Cake - 2 Making Chocolate Porter Bundt Cake - 1

Chocolate Porter Cake

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups porter or stout
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup applesauce, preferred)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the icing:
    • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup porter or stout
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1-3 tbsp milk

Instructions

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt and sugars. Whisk to ensure even mixing.

Make a well in the center and pour in the beer, oil and vanilla. Whisk from the center, moving outwards until there are no lumps. Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, the invert onto a wire rack.

For the icing:

Prepare the frosting while the cake is cooling.

In a food processor add all of the ingredients except the milk and mix until smooth. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time if you want a thinner frosting.

Spread frosting on the cake once it completely cooled.

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New Food: Slow Cooker Jambalaya

January 12th, 2013 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

First, I have to apologize for no photos on this recipe. I usually shoot some pictures of almost everything I make — especially for the first time — but I seemed to have been too busy to do it this time. I’ll make sure to shoot it again the next time I make it (yes, there will be a next time) and update this post once I do.

So, as I gave away in that introduction, I will be making this recipe again. I have made it twice now, reducing the amount of tomato sauce each time, and it has been a bit with me and the family. It is a great change-up from our typical diet of pasta and sauce and brings some new, different flavors into our usual dinner menu.

This recipe has worked both in the slow cooker and in the stove top with equally good results. This allows you to easily plan ahead or make it at the last minute, whatever your needs might be.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced, then cut into quarters
1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes, if you prefer)
3 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tsp minced garlic
3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup white rice

Instructions

In a slow cooker (or stove top), combine all ingredients. If you wish, you can cook recipe separately and add it at the end of cooking.

Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High.

When cooking on the stove top, simply add it with the other ingredients and cook until recipe is done.

 * Original recipe discovered via Plain Chicken

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New Food: Lentil and Sausage Stew

January 5th, 2013 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Lentil and Sausage Stew

Once again, we are trying to get new tastes and new foods into our family menus, so when I saw this recipe pop up on the [L.A. and O.C.] Foodventures blog, I knew it was something to try. I discovered I liked lentils during a holiday trip to visit family in Sicily and have been looking for a way to have more of them here. This ended up being very tasty and very filling. The original recipe said it would feed 2 as a main dish, but I think for our tastes it would serve at least 4. We made a double batch and ended up with a lot of leftovers — not that won’t be great to have on a busy night when we don’t want to cook.

Lentil and Sausage Stew - 1

Lentil and Sausage Stew - 3 Lentil and Sausage Stew - 2

I have altered the recipe a bit. I replaced the water with more chicken stock, to make for a deeper flavor. We used both Italian Sausage and Smoked Sausage, as we had the latter left over and stews are always great for cleaning out the fridge. I found I didn’t need to add the optional cheese at the end, as the lentils were so flavorful on their own.

Go easy on the heat here, too. Some recipes seemed designed to blow out your tastebuds with too much chili pepper. I added just enough to give you the taste — and a little heat — but not enough to fell like it is burring your mouth.

Lentil and Sausage Stew

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups coarsely chopped kale (or other leafy green)
1 cup dried green or red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound sausage, removed from casing (We also used some leftover smoked sausage, sliced and then quartered into bite size pieces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes (to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
handful of shredded cheese (optional)

Instructions

1. Brown sausage in non-stick pan
2. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup of the chicken stock, add the garlic, chili flakes, paprika and cayenne pepper.
3. Toss in the greens and broth, heat until greens are wilted.
(Alternately, add kale near end of cooking for a different texture)
4. Add lentils and water, bring it back to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and season as needed with salt, pepper, chili powder, etc. to your liking. I found a pinch or two of chili powder added a nice touch with the paprika.
5. Serve, topping with shredded cheese, if desired

 * Original recipe discovered via [L.A. and O.C.] Foodventures blog

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New Food: Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

December 29th, 2012 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 6

Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 5 Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 4 Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 3 Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 2 Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - 1

Growing up an Ohio farm boy, I love comfort food of all sorts. Of course, scalloped potatoes and ham is exactly one of the those comfort foods (along with macaroni and cheese and for me, pizza). Unfortunately, traditional scalloped potatoes are a caloric nightmare. After some recent surgery, I have been forced/convinced to lose all this extra weight I have been carrying around and scalloped potatoes has been off the menu for some time now. That is why, when I found this recipe, I had to try it out. It seemed to carry the comfort food heft and taste with a smaller hit to my daily caloric budget.

While this recipe ended up pretty good, we had some trouble with it. First, although no one mentioned it in the original recipe or the comments, I believe the prepared hash browns used in the recipe were pre-cooked in some way. I decided to use regular diced potatoes and we had difficulty getting the potatoes cooked through. It took much longer to bake then called for and still the potatoes weren’t as thoroughly cooked as we would like.

In the future, I would probably parboil the potatoes for 5-10 minutes, cooking them halfway before including them in the casserole mixture for baking. I have also altered the temperature and instructions of the original recipe to help the baking time.

That said, these were extremely tasty and something I would definitely make again. The flavors were strong and pleasant and while not “creamy” it certainly gave the feeling of traditional scalloped potatoes with both a crunchy top and sides and a smooth interior.

Slim Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

1 (32oz) bag frozen SHREDDED Hash Browns (I used diced potatoes, but probably need to parboil them for 5-10 minute and drain before using)
1 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Milk (at least 2%)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning (I used a mixture of dried oregano and basil)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup Shredded Cheese (of your choice…but be sure it is NOT low-fat)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 lb diced ham (we used leftovers from holiday meal) 

*Although this recipe is much lower in fat/calories than the traditional, it still needs some fat to make sure the ingredients bind while cooking…that is why I suggest 2% milk and regular cheese…if you use low fat everything, it will turn out watery….

Instructions

If using uncooked potatoes instead of prepared hash browns, parboil for 5-10 minutes and drain before continuing

PreHeat Oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl

Grease a 9 X 13 glass or ceramic baking pan with cooking spray.

Pour potato mixture into baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake, covered for 45 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked through, you may have to adjust this for your ingredients and oven)

Remove cover and bake for an additional30 minutes until casserole is set, golden brown and crunchy on top

 * Original recipe discovered via Pinterest user Andrea Pullin from The Spotted Lamb blog.

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New Food: Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

December 22nd, 2012 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

Sweet and Spicy Chicken - 2

Sweet and Spicy Chicken - 1

I discovered this recipe for Sweet and Spicy chicken via Pinterest on Jennifer Poole’s Pinterest account. This is basically a way to dress up boneless chicken breasts and it works quite nicely. In the past I have made a prosciutto-wrapped and stuffed chicken breast and this is somewhat like an American version, using smoked bacon as the wrapper.

The spices worked wonderfully with the dish and the addition of the strip of back brought a huge amount of flavor without adding a ton of calories. Due to time constraints I cooked these entirely in a skillet on the stove top, but I think it would work even better baked, as called for in the recipe, I had trouble with the bacon coming off when I turned the chicken breasts. It wasn’t something that ruined the dish but baking would have made it easier.

If you are looking for a great way to dress up plain chicken breast, in a way that brings new flavors to the game, give this recipe a try. 

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

(Recipe on Bakespace.com)

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces)
Bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
chili powder
brown sugar

Instructions

Spray ovenproof dish with cooking spray or wipe with Olive Oil to print sticking

Cut each breast into 3 pieces
Season all the chicken with the spices
Wrap a bacon slice around each piece
Roll in brown sugar and place into an oven proof dish

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy

We served this with a side of homemade rice pilaf

** Originally from Diary of a Recipe Addict blog

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New Food: Parmesan Paprika Potatoes

December 11th, 2012 Comments off

If you subscribe to my Pinterest page, my @douglaswelch Twitter account or my Google+ feed, you know that I am always finding recipes I want to try. This series, New Food, will highlight some of those finds as we make them for the first time in our own kitchen. Then, I’ll report back to you on the results — for better or worse! — Douglas

These potatoes ended up being really tasty and easy to make. The edges were nicely crisp and browned and the combination of parmesan cheese, paprika and pepper lent a nice flavor. Next time I would probably add a bit more of each of the spices and maybe even a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper or a 1/2 tsp of cajun spice mix. If you have your own favorite set of spices, this would lend itself to a lot of experimentation. Maybe a curry flavored batch sometime? Hmmm.

Parmesan Paprika Potatoes

4 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Parmesean Paprika Potatoes

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place the cubed potatoes into a baking dish. (The cubes of potatoes should be about 3/4 of an inch on all sides) You can spray the baking dish with a baking spray too to eliminate anything possibly sticking

Pile on the olive oil, garlic salt, salt, paprika, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Using your fingers (or spoon) get in to the potatoes and carefully mix everything around until the seasonings coat each potato.

Transfer the baking dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the potatoes with a pair of tongs. Put the baking dish back into the oven and bake for about 15 – 25 minutes more until they are golden and crispy.

Season with an little dusting of sea salt if desired and serve.

** Recipe discovered in my RSS Feeds via Stephanie Cooks who re-posted it from What’s Gaby Cooking?

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