Friday, June 26, 2015

Baked Oatmeal

I've had a couple people ask me recently about this recipe, and as I looked up the post to share the link, I took a look and realized that my measurements have evolved since first posting it here a few years ago.  If anything, I think the recipe has improved, and it's one of my family's most favorite breakfasts.  It's also a breakfast you can be sure I will serve whenever we have overnight guests.  So I thought it was worth sharing the recipe again, but with my current measurements and ingredients of choice!
 

2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2" slices
1 cup berries (strawberries and/or blueberries are our favorites)
maple syrup, for drizzling


Preheat oven to 375.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

Combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, and vanilla.

Arrange bananas on the bottom of the coated baking dish and cover with the oat mixture.  Slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats.  Gently press down oats with the back of a spoon to make sure everything is wet and the liquid is evenly distributed.  Drizzle coconut oil on top and then scatter berries.

(*You can do all of the prep the night before, cover tightly, and refrigerate for the next morning.  I almost always make it the night before.  In the morning I turn on the oven, pull the dish out of the fridge, uncover, and stick it straight in without waiting for the oven to preheat.  If you do it this way, it will take 45-50 minutes to fully bake.)

Bake for 40 minutes (unless it's been in the fridge overnight *see note above), until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set.  Drizzle with maple syrup if you want to make it taste extra special.  Serve with milk and enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Apple Squash Bacon Pizza

Since Jessie introduced me to spaghetti squash pizza, I have ventured off into the world of pizza toppings.  What goes well paired with bread and cheese?  A lot of things!  Of the combinations we've tried recently, this is our current favorite.  It's pretty much taking this soup, and turning it into a pizza (or two!).  The combination of apples, butternut squash, bacon, and cheddar cheese is delicious either way if you ask me!  What are your favorite pizza toppings?



5-7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (Have you ever used kitchen shears to cut your bacon into 
                                                               pieces before you cook it?!)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped roughly into 1-inch chunks
1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced (I didn't use my corer-peeler-slicer because I wanted super thin 
                                                   slices, but in retrospect, I think the thicker slices would have worked 
                                                    just fine and the prep would have been much easier!)
10-16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (depending on how cheesy you like your pizza!)
2 balls of pizza dough
olive oil
black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 450.  If using a stone, make sure you preheat the stone a good thirty minutes.

Cook bacon in a large frying pan.  Remove to a paper towel and set aside, leaving the grease in the pan.

Saute squash cubes in bacon grease over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.  You don't want to cook the squash completely.  It will finish cooking on the pizza.  But give it just enough time in the pan to start softening and take in the yummy bacon flavor.  

Roll out one pizza dough.  Brush lightly with olive oil.  Spread half the apple slices on dough.  Sprinkle just a little cheese over apples.  Then top with half the squash, more cheese, and finish with bacon crumbles.  Sprinkle with black pepper (if you want to) and bake for 12-15 minutes.  

I had enough toppings to make two large pizzas.

Enjoy!





Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pomegranate Taco Chicken in the Crockpot

If you decide to make the Pomegranate Beef recipe I posted a few days ago,  (and clearly, I think you should!), then you are on the right track to making this as well!  This is another meat in the crockpot that uses pomegranate juice!  The juice is not cheap.  I get it.  But I think these two very different and very delicious recipes are worth that $5 small bottle of POM sitting there on the shelf.

We first tasted this chicken while having dinner with friends.  They served chicken tacos, and the meat was perfectly flavored for tacos, but tasted much better than if they had just dumped some chicken and a packet of taco seasoning into the crockpot.  Turns out they did just dump chicken and a few things in the crockpot!  The idea was so simple, and the chicken so good, I repeated the meal the following week with my family.  You can use the meat for all sorts of dishes: tacos, burritos, a salad, quesadillas, grilled sandwiches, nachos, as a chip dip mixed with some sour cream and salsa . . . you get the idea!


2-4 chicken breasts (I only used two, but they were very big)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
pepper, to taste (optional)


Place everything in a crock pot.  Cover.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5.  Shred with two forks and serve.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pomegranate Beef in the Crockpot

This extremely easy dish is extremely delicious!  I had a strong feeling it was going to be good just from reading the recipe, so I went ahead and made it for the first time when we had friends joining us for dinner.  And because it was so super easy and required no culinary skill on my part, I joined in with everyone else and raved about how wonderful the meat and sauce tasted!  Tender, juicy, and full of tremendous flavor.
    

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (I used 1 tsp. each of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds beef roast (I used a chuck roast)
4 garlic cloves (whole is fine, or you can chop them)
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup golden raisins



Use at least a 6-quart slow cooker. Swirl the olive oil into the bottom of the stoneware. Add the onion. Combine spices in a small bowl and then rub the mixture on all sides of meat.  Add to the stoneware with the garlic, the whole can of tomatoes, pomegranate juice, vinegar, and syrup. Sprinkle the raisins on top. 

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5. The meat is done when it has reached desired tenderness. Serve over mashed potatoes, and don't forget to include the sauce on top.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oatmeal Fruit Biscuits

I call these "biscuits" because that's what the British call a cookie.  And these are mostly like a cookie.  But in my experience, a biscuit and a cookie are not the same thing.  I would rarely choose to eat a chocolate chip cookie with a cup of tea.  But a biscuit?  Well, I find it hard to eat one without a cuppa in hand.  So in my mind, these lightly sweetened cookies are actually biscuits, primarily because they are perfectly paired with a hot mug of black tea (milk and half a sugar, please!).


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit (I used cranberries and dates)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 tsp baking soda


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter, apple sauce, oil, sugar, and molasses.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, dried fruit, coconut, nuts, and baking soda.  

Add dry mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 or 4 additions, stirring just until thoroughly mixed after the last addition.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 13-17 minutes.  For chewier cookies, immediately remove from pan and place directly onto clean countertop or table surface to cool.  For more crisp cookies, let sit on pan 2-3 minutes after removing from oven and then cool on a wire rack.  Store in airtight container.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Pizza

My friend, Jessie, was here visiting last week.  She is the one who started me on this whole recipe blog idea in the first place, so it was a sure thing that we would enjoy some good food together.  This pizza is something she'd made before and suggested I try.  It was unique and so delicious!  The flavors are simple, but not boring at all.  I was skeptical about the leftovers getting soggy, but a warm-up in the oven with the broiler on low did the trick just fine.   This recipe makes two pizzas. 


1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)—halved lengthwise, seeded and tough fibers removed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and brushing 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg 
4 tablespoons coarse cornmeal 
2 pizza dough rounds (about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped, plus leaves to taste
One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese 
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425°. Drizzle the flesh of the squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Place the squash, cut side down, in a large baking pan and pierce the skin in several places with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the squash over and bake until the spaghetti-like strands can be easily removed with a fork, about 10 minutes more. Let cool before scraping the flesh into a bowl.

Arrange 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475°. Sprinkle 2 large, heavy baking sheets with the cornmeal. Place the pizza dough rounds on top of the cornmeal and shape into 12-by-14-inch rectangles. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and the chopped thyme. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread the ricotta evenly over the pizza crusts and top with the squash. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake until just warmed through, about 5 minutes. Cut the pizza into squares and serve with the lemon wedges

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vegetable and Feta Crustless Quiche

I've made this twice now, satisfied with the result both times.  It's a simple crustless quiche that can be made using a variety of vegetables.  Just add whatever veggies are in season when sautéing the mushrooms.  

8 oz. fresh button mushrooms
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt, divided
black pepper, to taste
1 10-oz. box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (I squeeze it in handfuls to get as much of the liquid out as possible)
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Rinse mushrooms and slice thinly.  Place in pan and cook over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.  Cook mushrooms until no more water remains on the bottom of the pan, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until smooth.  Add milk, Parmesan, remaining salt and another sprinkle of pepper.  Whisk to combine,  Pour over mushrooms and feta.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top.  Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until golden brown on top and the center is set.  Let cool slightly.  Slice and serve.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Here comes another yummy recipe to try from Well Plated.  We liked it so much, I threw together my own version the following week with a new jar of Penzeys Bangkok blend to liven up some chicken on the side.  I roast vegetables all the time, but the addition of sesame seeds and some asian flair to the seasonings was a good change.  Use whatever vegetables you want!    


  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (or 2 tsp. dried ginger)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • For the pasta
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the veggies + garlic & ginger on a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Add the olive oil and sesame oil, along with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to disperse the oils and seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pan over medium-low heat. Add the roasted vegetables, additional oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and additional ginger Stir and cook until heated through and add salt & pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Pulled Pork

Truly, how many variations of pork cooked in a crock pot can there be?  I don't know, but this is another good one worth trying!  The author had me when she said this was one of her husband's most favorite meals while he was in law school.  I can relate to luring a man away from his study books long enough to enjoy a delicious meal.  And my husband was definitely a fan of this meal (while thankfully not having to study as much these days!).  I regret not making the cornmeal pancakes to serve with the meat, but my gingersnaps acted as though the Hawaiian sweet buns were like manna, so it all worked out.



  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add less for less heat - I only used 1/4 tsp for the kids' sake, but they probably could have handled a bit more)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced with white and green parts divided
  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) pork loin, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal Pancake Mix (or your favorite cornmeal pancake recipe)

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, garlic, cayenne, and white part of the scallions (reserve the green parts for serving).

  • Spray insert of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Place pork loin in the insert, then pour the honey mixture over the top. Cover and slow cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high, until the pork registers 165 degrees F on a thermometer and is no longer pink in the center. With tongs, gently remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer it to a large plate, reserving the pork juices in the slow cooker. With two forks, shred the pork. Set aside.

  • Transfer the pork juices remaining in the slow cooker to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, then add to the cooking liquid. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Return shredded pork to the slow cooker and pour the thickened sauce over the top. Toss gently to combine, then turn the slow cooker to low to keep the pork warm.  

  • Place rack in the center of oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F. When ready to serve, prepare the cornmeal pancakes. As you cook the pancake batches, transfer them to a baking tray placed in the oven to keep them warm if needed.

  • To serve: Top cornmeal pancakes with pulled pork. Garnish with reserved green onion tops and serve warm.




Monday, March 9, 2015

Overnight Breakfast-in-a-Jar

These individual breakfast jars have become a regular in our morning meal rotation.  I thought it was about time I posted them (I first saw the recipes here).  The basic ingredients stay the same, and then you can experiment and try whatever other add-ins you like!  We've enjoyed banana/chocolate (pictured above), maple/blueberry, and apple/cinnamon.  As you can tell, my jars are not uniform and I play with the ingredient amounts to make a bit more in one jar for my son.  It's always worked out.  This is personally not my favorite breakfast.  I don't mind a cold oatmeal, but the texture is just a bit too mushy for my taste.  Thankfully, the rest of my family loves their breakfast-in-a-jar, so I keep 'em comin'!

Amounts for one jar (one serving):
1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
sweeteners of your choice!
flavorings of your choice!
fruits of your choice!

Banana/Cocoa Powder = 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1-2 tsp your choice of sweetener (I used honey),  and 1/2 half banana, sliced

Blueberry/Maple = 2-3 tsp maple (or more or less to your taste), handful of fresh or frozen blueberries

Apple/Cinnamon = 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 tsp sweetener (I used honey), 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/4 cup chopped apple (and if you want your apple to be a bit soft, microwave in small bowl about thirty seconds before adding to jar)


In a glass jar or container with fitted lid, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and any other add-ins but NOT the actual fruit.  Put lid on jar and shake well until combined. Add fruit and stir gently until mixed in. Seal jars with lids and refrigerate overnight, up to two days.  Eat straight from the fridge.


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