Posts Tagged 'bread'

Savory Cheese Bread Pudding

Whilst cleaning out my freezer to make room for the many containers of winter soups I am planning, I discovered half a loaf of sliced organic honey whole wheat bread. It was that nice firm, dense sort of bread, although I expect any whole wheat or multi grain bread would work for this recipe.  This bread had 0 fat grams/slice, but if your bread has 1 gram of fat/slice, it would only increase the overall number of fat grams/serving slightly. Since I didn’t wan to try to use all of it for morning toast, but I did want to get it out of the freezer where it was taking up precious space, I decided to make bread pudding.

Now I am a great fan of bread pudding of the cinnamon-sweet kind, with raisins and perhaps bourbon, but this bread seemed to suggest a more savory treatment that could be used as a side dish (or even a main dish with a nice salad on the side) and taken for lunch. The original recipe came from Cooking Light, but I changed it quite a bit, because I wanted more cheese and I didn’t want ham in it. I also wanted to cook it in a single pan, instead of in individual ramekins.

Savory Cheese Bread Pudding

8 ounces of multigrain or whole wheat bread
Cooking spray
4 ounces of reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded, divided (see note)
¼ cup chopped green onions, divided
¾ cup fat-free milk
¼ cup fat-free lower sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup egg substitute

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the bread into ¾ inch cubes. Place bread cubes on a cookie sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Remove from oven and let cool.

Combine bread, 3 ounces of the cheese, 3 tablespoons of the onions, milk, chicken broth, pepper and egg substitute. Spoon mixture into an 8 inch square pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese and onions evenly over the mixture. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Makes 4 servings at 4 grams of fat/serving.

NOTE: I use Kerrigold Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese which has terrific flavor, and only 4 grams of fat/ounce. I typically buy a few chunks, and shred them, freezing them in 1 ounce packages to be ready when I am.  That way they are as convenient as pre-shredded cheddar, which often has up to 6 grams of fat/ounce


Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Someone gave me an immense yellow zucchini.

Now I love yellow squash, and I have been eating them from the garden sautéed, in soup, and in stews. But this squash had gone way beyond the delicate structure of spring and summer zucchini. It had grown fat and swollen – well beyond delicate. I knew it would be too pulpy to eat plain. So I grated it coarsely and searched for recipes. Besides, it’s baking weather, so that the oven can keep my kitchen and little family room warm.

This moist and very chocolate-y zucchini bread is a combination of many recipes, converted to low fat. Usually, I prefer muffins, but since I wasn’t sure how this would work out, I decided a loaf would be safer for the experiment.  Now that I’ve tried it, I think it would also make great muffins.  I sliced it and froze about half the slices to put in my lunch. It freezes beautifully.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2½ Tablespoons of butter
3 Tablespoons applesauce
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1½  cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in applesauce and eggs. Add water, and vanilla and stir. Beat in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes, and remove from pan. Makes 12 servings at about 4 grams of fat/serving.

Baby Brioche

Here is something that will look and taste great at your Easter brunch or some other special occasion, and have significant Wow factor if you bring it to someone’s potluck.  I made these to take to a potluck.  Since people don’t often make homemade rolls to bring, they were a big hit.

I associate brioche with eggs and butter and other rich things.  So I searched all over for a low fat recipe. To my astonishment, the low fat recipe was exactly the same as the ones in all my regular cookbooks.  Who would have thought it!  The original recipe is from Cooking Light, but it really is the same as the one in my food processor bread cookbook. It is also made from everyday ingredients you might have in the house, so you don’t need to make a dash to the grocery store to prepare it.

Baby Brioche

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons  sugar
½ cup warm water (105° to 115°)
¼ cup non-fat milk
2 large eggs
3½ cups bread or all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 Tablespoon water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in milk and eggs. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour, butter, and salt to yeast mixture, and stir until blended. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (or into your food processor with a dough hook). Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands or dough hook.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover dough, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking oil.

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), remove 1 rounded teaspoon of dough from each portion, and set aside. Place the larger portions of dough in muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Make a deep indentation in the center of each portion using a floured finger. Shape the reserved pieces of dough into balls. Press one dough ball into each indentation. Cover and let rise 30 minutes in a warm place (or until doubled in bulk).

Uncover dough. Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white; brush over dough. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. This makes 12 buttery and impressive brioche at 6 grams of fat/roll.

Variation: You can also make a regular brioche, which is a fancy bread that can be sliced.  Instead of separating the dough into 12 pieces, leave it whole and remove ¼ cup of the dough to set aside. Place the dough in a brioche pan (a special fluted pan that makes the bread look pretty). Shape the reserved dough into a ball. Make an indentation in the large piece of dough, and place the reserved dough into it. Cover and let rise 30 minutes in a warm place. Uncover dough. Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white; brush over dough. Bake at 375° for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 slices at 6 grams of fat/each.

Cranberry Bread

Just in time for Thanksgiving – Cranberry Bread.  This isn’t fancy cranberry bread. It’s the recipe on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries, lightened up a bit. It is one of my favorite recipes when fresh cranberries are in season. It is delightful with your morning coffee or with an afternoon cup of tea. It’s delicious with a bit of low-fat cream cheese, although that makes it somewhat of an indulgence. The recipe doubles easily so you can make a loaf to take to a friend’s house. I left the nuts in, even though they add a bit to the fat content. It is the contrast of the tart cranberries and the crunchy nuts that I really like. And it looks so pretty when it’s sliced.

Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
¼ cup egg substitute
1½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the orange juice, oil, applesauce, orange peel and egg substitute until well blended. Do not over beat. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.  Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Makes 12 nice sized slices at about 5.5 grams of fat/serving.

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread

Still cold. Makes me feel like baking. Turn on the oven and the kitchen becomes warm and cozy. Since my family room is part of the kitchen, I have a toasty place to read and catch up on household tasks at the kitchen table. I’ve already baked 2 loaves of my regular no fat banana bread, one of which is sliced and in the freezer to take for lunches. I still had bananas, so I decided to make a banana bread that I made quite a few years ago.

Back then, the non-profit organization that I manage was just starting out, and we wanted to have a press conference to announce some accomplishment – I don’t remember the details.  Knowing that  mostly junior reporters get sent out to cover low-level community events, we decided to lure the press with home made baked goods. We were then small and new, and we invited everyone we knew for goodies so the press would see a little crowd. We did get some television coverage, which thrilled us.  This was one of the home baked goodies I made.

The original recipe came from Cooking Light. It is not as dense and moist as my regular banana bread, and it seems much sweeter to me, almost like cake.

Chocolate Marble Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesaucw
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 cup  semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (see note) with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add banana, egg substitute, applesauce and yogurt. Beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.

Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup of the batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into prepared pan. (I did 3 layers of plain batter and 2 of chocolate.) Swirl batters together using a knife. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.  This makes 12 servings at about 4 grams of fat/serving.

marble banan

NOTE: This recipe called for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, which I used.  I wasn’t totally satisfied with the way it baked – a little too dark around the edges.  I think the last time I made it I used a regular 9 inch loaf pan, and it might work better in that pan.  Also, the original recipe said 16 slices, which in the smaller loaf pan was really not realistic.  A slice would be only /2 inch thick.

HINT: Many recipes call for softened butter.  I don’t use much butter, so I keep my butter in the freezer.  When I need softened butter, I really do not want to defrost an entire stick to cut off a piece and and then refreeze it.  But trying to hack off two tablespoons from a hard frozen stick of butter really isn’t feasible. So I cut thin slices off the stick of butter until I have the proper amount. The thin pieces soften quicker than a whole chunk, too.

Blueberry Corn Bread

The blueberries are finally gone. And when I went to Safeway to get the 2 pound bargain box of blueberries, they were sold out.  I have been saved from myself. Of course, I got a rain check, but seasonal items usually don’t come in again, so this probably is the end of compulsive blueberry cooking.  It’s a good thing.  My plum tree has gone wild, and I will soon have to compulsively cook plum things.

This recipe is just my old fashioned sweet southern cornbread with blueberries added. I’m a big cornbread fan.  There’s hardly any meal that doesn’t go well with warm homemade cornbread.  It’s easy to make, too.  And if you must butter it (it’s moist enough to go it alone), use light butter and your fat grams will be reasonable.

Blueberry Corn Bread

¾ cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup non-fat milk
¼ cup egg substitute
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1 cup of fresh or frozen (not defrosted) blueberries

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray an 8 inch square cake pan with cooking spray.  Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg substitute, milk, and melted butter, stirring until just blended. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry (the blueberries may still be wet, but the batter should be dry.) Cool. Makes 12 servings at about 2 grams of fat/serving.

blueberry cornbread 2

Variation 1: This also makes great muffins. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among them. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.

blueberry corn muffins

Variation 2: If you leave the blueberries out, you just have old-fashioned sweet southern cornbread, which is right tasty in and of itself.

Savory Cheddar Bread Pudding

It’s been hot – in the 90’s and I don’t mean the lower 90’s – for at least a month.  I don’t appreciate the 90’s.  And I have been working 10-15 hour days to finish a project.  I haven’t been cooking.  I’ve been coming home, eating, and falling asleep in the recliner. Dinner has been:

A large bowl of Nutty Buddy ice cream
Corn on the cob
Chips and salsa
A large bowl of Nutty Buddy ice cream with chocolate syrup
Crackers and fresh mozzarella

Now this hasn’t been so bad in the fat gram department: the ice cream is reduced fat, the chips and crackers are low fat, the corn was basted with light butter. I really don’t keep anything in the house that will derail the fat grams completely.  But nutritionally, I can’t say that I’ve been great – OK, the fruit is good nutrition.  I finally microwaved a haunch of buffalo so I had some real protein.

The abysmally hot weather has finally broken (Oh please don’t fix it.  I need the respite.) I decided it was safe to turn on the oven.

When I was cleaning the freezer, I noticed that I had accumulated a great deal of leftover French bread – the remains of the bread I used for the various stuffed French toast experiments I posted earlier. I didn’t want to throw the bread out, but leftover French bread is bulky and takes up a lot of valuable freezer real estate. Bread pudding came to mind; it’s a great way to use up leftover bread in general. But this bread pudding is different than most. It’s not a dessert; it’s either a side dish, or even a main dish, which would work well with a nice salad.  I ate it as a main dish a couple of times, and then took it for lunch where it  reheated nicely (I will shamelessly say I even scarfed it down cold one day.) Made with vegetable broth, this makes a vegetarian meal.

Savory Cheddar Bread Pudding

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups finely chopped fennel bulb (about 1 large bulb)
3 cups finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces French bread or other firm white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a 9” X 13” baking dish with cooking spray

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chopped fennel, onion, and garlic cloves; cook until golden brown (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup broth; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining broth; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Combine bread and fennel mixture. Stir in cheese. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 8 servings at 3 grams of fat/serving.

savory bread pudding1

Smoked Trout Platter

There is a potluck today.  It’s hot – in the 90’s, although today might be 2 degrees cooler. Too hot to bake something interesting.  And you know everyone will be bringing salads and if they don’t feel creative, boxes of store-bought baked goods.  And did I mention it’s hot?  I am not fond of hot weather.  I like clouds.

Then, to my rescue, the local grocery had whole trout on sale. Chubby, sleek trout with their heads on. I bought six of them.   I had the butcher remove their heads (“I’m decapitating” he said. “Tell the other trout not to look”).   I took off tails and fins at home and smoked the whole trout in my handy smoker.  I didn’t do anything special to them – no seasoning or brine. I smoked them over alder chips for 2½  hours.  Trout are actually rather fatty, so they grill and smoke well without getting dried out.  They have a distinctive flavor, too, that I didn’t want to mask.  I think next to steelhead, trout are my favorite fish.

Once the trout were done, I skinned them and took as many of the bones out as possible.  I find this easier to do once the fish is cooked, since the skin peels right off and the bones more or less lift out when you pull the spine out.  Then I wrapped them individually and put them in the refrigerator to chill.  This morning, I made a big platter of smoked trout – three of the fish (the rest I’ll use for other things) atop fresh leaf lettuce, with thinly sliced sweet onion, ripe tomatoes, and  cucumber, with lemons scattered about for those who want them.  Now this has the requisite Wow Factor to take to a potluck.  It actually looks more involved than it was to make (Remember, it’s hot).  It’s all in the presentation, sort of like accessorizing a basic dress.

trout smoked

This also follows my Principle of never making anything for a potluck that you don’t want to eat as leftovers.

To accompany the trout platter, I thought that most people would want to put their bit of trout on bread or crackers.  I bought some interesting dark bread and also cut up a baguette, toasting the slices to crisp them up.  I made two spreads to go with the trout. One was cream cheese and chives – put chives in the food processor to chop, then add an 8 ounce bar of low fat or non-fat cream cheese.  The second spread was a little more unconventional – blue cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

Blue Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Spread

1 bar (8 ounces) fat free cream cheese
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes (not oil pack)
1/3 cup reduced fat blue cheese
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a food processor and pulse several times to chop.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until fully blended. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. This has about 1 gram of fat/2 tablespoon serving.

trout bread plate

Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding

The much prophesied 50 degree weather has not materialized.  It is still quite cold. And there is a hellish new form of precipitation pouring from the sky – grauple.  At least that’s what the weather people called it. Grauple is small, hard, icy snow pellets that can fall in a “shower” – it is snowflakes that have partially melted and refrozen. It hurts when it hits you, if you happen to have been innocently going to the bank when it began to grauple.

So there is a need for yet more comfort food.  I also needed to use up more leftovers, namely the Irish Soda Bread, which is now quite stale but still has almost half a bread left.

Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding

5 cups stale (or toasted) Irish soda bread or raisin bread
1  cup fat free milk
1 cup fat free half and half (or use 2 cups of fat free milk if you don’t have fat free half and half)
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup Irish whiskey
1½ teaspoons  vanilla extract
½ cup egg substitute
1/3 cup regular or golden raisins (optional)
Cooking spray

Cut bread into ½ inch squares. Combine skim milk, fat free half and half, brown sugar, whiskey, vanilla extract, and egg substitute in a large bowl; stir well. Add bread cubes and raisins; toss gently. Cover and chill 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until pudding is set.  Makes 6 servings with about 2.3 grams of fat/serving. This bread pudding was actually better than the bread.  It made me want to snuggle under the down blanket and forget about the weather, which I did.


And yes, that’s whipped cream on the bread pudding.  Remember, you can have whipped cream if you weigh it to count the fat grams.

Irish Soda Bread

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, we have Irish soda bread.  It’s an easy bread – no yeast, no rising.  And it even tastes good without butter. I don’t know how well it goes with green beer.  The original recipe came from Have Your Cake and Eat It Too.

Irish Soda Bread

Butter flavor (or regular) cooking spray
4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2½  Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup seedless raisins (I used golden raisins)
½ cup dried currants
1 large egg (I used egg substitute)
1 ½ cups plus 2 Tablespoons non-fat buttermilk (I used low fat buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out excess flour.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and use your fingertips to work it into the flour until it is in very small flakes and no large lumps remain.  Be patient. Stir in raisins and currants. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Reserve one tablespoon. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and remaining beaten egg. Blend ingredients thoroughly with a wooden spoon; do not over beat. Dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with floured hands for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be neither wet nor dry to the touch.  The surface will be bumpy. Add a little more flour if necessary.  Form the dough into a ball about 8 inches in diameter.  Set the dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  Use a sharp knife to cut a cross about ½ inch deep in the top of the bread. I forgot to do this, and I think it made the bread heavier.  Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the loaf with reserved egg.  Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until the bread is well-risen and golden brown on top, and a long skewer inserted in the center comes out dry.  Cool on a wire rack, and wrap in an airtight bag to store.  Cut in wedges to serve.  Makes 16 servings at 2 grams of fat/serving



I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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