Saturday, October 23, 2010

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

These quick and yummy granola bars are from the Taste of Home: Cookies cookbook. They are great for snack, and pair nicely a warm beverage. (Hot Chocolate, Lattes . . . take your pick!) Plus, it's a nice change to make your own granola bars instead of buying them. Include the kids, and you'll have a fun fall weekend activity!

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons reduced-fat peanut butter (I used regular peanut butter)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon fat-free evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teasp
oon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup vanilla or white chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, chips, cranberries and walnuts.

Press into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in a pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Coconut and Beef Curry with Noodles

It had to happen sooner or later. Every recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday FOOD cookbook and magazine has been a success. Our experience last week, while not exactly a failure, yielded a dinner receiving less than stellar reviews.

This was my first experience cooking rice noodles 'pasta style'. The directions directed me to run them under cold water to stop the cooking. Unfortunately, the noodles then became a little too cool. Strike one.

The recipe called for one tablespoon of Thai red curry paste, but the dish seemed very bland to all of us (and we're not generally fans of spicy food). Maybe curry pastes come in different strengths? Next time I'll add more. Strike two.

Since there wasn't a third strike, and the dish was attractive and easy to prepare, we'll make a few adjustments and give this another shot.

I found and almost identical recipe on TasteBook. Martha's recipe from Everyday FOOD: Fresh Flavor Fast called for lime juice instead of lemon and specifies that the coconut milk be unsweetened. Have you tried recipes similar to this one?

Coconut Beef Curry with Noodles

Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into thin 2-inch strips
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
8 oz. angel-hair pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Season beef with salt and pepper; add half the beef to the skillet. Cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate (meat will cook more later), and repeat with remaining beef. Set beef aside, reserving skillet.

Add onion, bell peppers, and ¼ c. water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry paste; cook, scraping bottom of skillet, 1 minute.

Return beef to skillet, with any accumulated juices, and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and lemon juice, and season curry with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions; drain. Serve beef curry over pasta.

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