Baking Blessings

By Rhonda Woods

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day/Evening with family, friends, spouse, or significant other!  My daughter bought me my coveted Whitman’s Sampler….and I devoured it promptly!  LOL.  My students and I made a special “Amore” lunch for our faculty and staff on Valentine’s Day serving 4 cheese baked ziti, garlic butter bread sticks, spring mix greens salad, and chocolate delight for dessert!  It was enjoyed by all, and they anxiously await the announcement of our next faculty and staff lunch! Great support for our program.

20190215_144016 (1)I was also blessed to have attended a European breads class at Trident Technical College in Charleston last week.  The chef and staff were awesome, and the breads were delicious!  I have included some pictures of the beautiful breads the attendees and I made during the 6-hour class. The breads include Ciabatta, Challah, Baguettes, Levain, and Focaccia. I enjoy baking so much that I registered for the next 3 classes too! It’s just a little something for me to do as my year gets better and better.  Praise God for listening to me, for answered prayers, for peace, and for happiness.  “I am patiently waiting, Lord, for Your plan for my life.”  Baking may be one of His answers!

My daughter is our “Almost Valentine Baby,” born on February 12 (also Abraham Lincoln’s birthday).  It was a cold, wet day similar to what SC is experiencing now.  With a pocket of dimes for the pay phone to call the relatives, it was just my sweet husband, doctors, and nurses for the delivery.  While I was in recovery, he walked down to Taylor Almost Valentine BabyStreet Pharmacy from the Baptist Hospital for a bouquet of yellow roses. He is pictured here with his baby girl: a very musically gifted, beautiful inside and out, NASCAR Racing, Clemson fan just like her Daddy. We were not able to celebrate until after her birthday this year, but we made up for it with her special lunch request of herb marinated pork loin with sauce, butterbeans and rice, macaroni and cheese, and of course, her birthday dessert choice, strawberry swirl cheesecake with chocolate dipped strawberries!  All my family, my mom and sister, gathered together to celebrate.

May God bless you and your family as He continues to bless ours,

Chef Woods

Herb Marinated Pork Loin

@ 10 servings

Pork:

  • 4 lb. pork loin, trimmed (so @ 4 1/2 lb. before trimming)

Marinade:

  • 2 T. Italian seasoning
  • 2 T. granulated garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 T. soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. honey (optional)

Sauce:

  • Pan drippings strained
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 1/2 c.
    Chicken broth/stock
  • 1 c. BBQ sauce (I use Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ)

Place the pork in a gallon freezer bag. Mix the marinade and pour over the trimmed pork, turning to coat. Polk meat with a fork all over to allow the flavors to penetrate some.  Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slip the pork into a baking dish/pan and pour the marinade over it. Cover with plastic wrap and then heavy aluminum foil. Bake @ 1-1 1/2 hours or until a minimum 145 degrees F internal temperature is reached.  Remove the foil and plastic wrap and brown the top of the roast, if desired. Remove dish/pan from oven, remove pork to a cutting board to rest and carefully drain & strain the pan drippings into a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornstarch, chicken broth, and BBQ sauce.  Bring just to a boil to thicken, whisking to prevent scorching.  Slice the roast, put it back into the baking dish/pan and ladle the hot sauce over the slices.  Cool any leftovers and refrigerate.

 

Crumb Topped Macaroni and Cheese

@ 12 servings

Macaroni:

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 lb. dry macaroni

Sauce:

  • 6 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c. flour, plain
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. dry mustard
  • 1 T.  Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 c. milk, whole
  • 1 lb. (4 c.) shredded cheddar cheese (I use Velvetta Cheddar)

Crumb Topping:

  • 2 c. fresh bread crumbs (@ 4 oz or 1/4 lb.)
  • 2 1/2 T. butter or margarine

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small stockpot, bring water, oil, and salt for macaroni to a full boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (done, but still firm), drain, and put it back into the stockpot. In a large saucepan, melt butter for the sauce.  Whisk in flour, salt, and dry mustard to make a roux.  Cook, stirring for 8 minutes over medium heat-DO NOT BROWN.  The roux should be light in color.  Add Worcestershire Sauce and milk, whisking until smooth.  Cook until thickened.  At this point, you have made Béchamel Sauce. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon and stay firmly separated when you drag your finger though it.  This is called Nappe’.   Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and pour over the cooked macaroni in the stockpot, stirring to mix.  Lightly spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or pan with pan spray.  Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish/pan.  In a mixing bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs over the macaroni and cheese.  Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly and the crumb topping is golden brown.  Cool and refrigerate leftovers.

Note: try this recipe with Gouda, Havarti, White Cheddar or Colby Jack Cheese.

 

4 Cheese Baked Ziti

@ 12 servings

Sauce:

  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1-2 t. dry onion flakes
  • 44 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 8-10 oz. oz. tomato puree
  • 1 1/4 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1 t. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • 1 t. salt
  • Cheese mixture:
  • 12 oz. cottage cheese
  • 6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 t. dried parsley flakes (optional)

Ziti:

  • 12 c. hot water
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. oil
  • 12 oz. dry ziti

Topping:

  • 4 oz. shredded Provolone cheese
  • 1 t. dried parsley flakes

In a large saucepan, brown the ground chuck and onion flakes.  Drain.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, parsley flakes, pepper, and salt.  Simmer, stirring occasionally while making cheese mixture and cooking pasta.  In a small stockpot, bring water, salt and oil to a boil.  Add ziti and cook until al dente.  Drain.  In a mixing bowl, combine cottage, Mozzarella and Swiss cheeses with optional parsley flakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or pan with pan spray.  Combine sauce, cooked ziti and cheese mixture together (this will look very questionable, but hang in there, it is delish when baked together).  Cover the dish/pan with plastic wrap and heavy foil.  Bake 30-45 minutes or until bubbly.  Remove foil and plastic wrap.  In a small bowl, mix the shredded Provolone and parsley flakes together.  Sprinkle over the baked ziti.  Return to the oven to melt the cheese topping.  Cool and refrigerate leftovers.

 

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