Friday, December 7, 2012

Bacon Cornbread

I served this with fried eggs and homemade applesauce for dinner.  It was yummy, but not as amazing as I anticipated.  It was lacking a little something, but I still haven't figured out what it is.

adapted from this recipe

6-8 slices of bacon, diced and fried until crispy
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 15oz. can whole corn kernels, drained
1/2 can cream-style corn
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 and grease two standard loaf pans.  The original recipe only says to make one loaf, but there was a lot of batter so I went with my gut and made two.  It worked.

Fry bacon bits until crispy.  Drain grease and set aside.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  In another bowl, beat together eggs, butter and milk.  Pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Fold in the corn and bacon.  Pour batter into prepared pans, splitting evenly.  Sprinkle grated cheese over loaves.

Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  If the top is browning too much, cover loosely with foil.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from pan.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Orzo with Kale, Corn, and Sausage

We all really enjoyed this.  Using a spicy sausage would add more depth and interest, but the mild flavor was perfect for little mouths.

Adapted from this recipe.

1 450g package orzo pasta
six links sausage, casings removed (I used mild Italian flavored)
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped into small-ish pieces
2 cups corn
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the orzo, cooking until al dente, or about 5 minutes. Drain well and put it back into the pot it was cooked in. 
While the orzo is cooking, heat a large skillet and add the sausage meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When the meat is no longer pink add the kale and corn and continue cooking until the sausage is cooked through, and the kale is wilted. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the sausage mixture into the pot of orzo, add the parmesan cheese and lots of fresh ground pepper. Stir to combine. Check the seasonings and add salt if desired

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Too Much Chocolate Cake

I think this might be my new favorite chocolate cake.  It was rich, but not overly so, and very moist, perfected only by a large scoop of french vanilla ice cream.  My husband says I can't really take credit for it being so good since the recipe hinges on a cake mix.  So I won't take any credit.  I'll fully admit to loving something made from a box.  It was that delicious!

1 devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Add cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, and water.  Mix well.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.  (It took my cake a full 60 minutes)  Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.  If desired, dust with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Indian Flavored Chicken and Lentils

Yum!  I love one pot meals!  We ate ours over rice . You could definitely add two or three more thighs if they'll fit in your pot.  There are more than enough lentils from this recipe.

4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, chopped (I use a splash of juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 large carrot cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup chicken broth

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In Dutch oven, heat 2 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Chop together onions, garlic and jalapeno and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in pan; cook remaining salt, garam masala and cumin, stirring, until browned, about 1 minute. Stir in onion mixture and cook, stirring, until browned, about 6 minutes. 

Add the lentils and carrots, stirring to coat. Stir in chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups of water.Add chicken back to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make a batch of these to help you get into the Christmas spirit - they were great!  The cookies were very light and a bit crumbly, but that didn't stop us from finishing them.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whits sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped/crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts.  Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until all of the dry has been absorbed.  Mix in chocolate chips and candy cane.  Form spoonfuls of dough into balls, and place them 2-inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

We thought this was delicious!  It was more prep than I typically am willing to do for a casserole-type dish, but the wild rice and cheese sauce made it taste more special than your standard casserole.

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 cups cooked white rice (that's two cups of already cooked rice)
16 oz. wild rice, cooked (I only had a 4oz. box to prepare, so I added two more cups of white rice - just guessing!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Cheese Sauce
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a little gruyere I had left and mostly cheddar)
top with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil in a medium dutch oven or pot over medium heat.  Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 7 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper, and garlic salt.  Turn off heat.

To prepare cheese sauce: melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously.  Whisk until thick and nearly boiling, then stir in cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Top with additional cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Linguine with Bacon and Spinach

This was delicious!  I'll leave out the added salt next time, though.

12 ounces bacon, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts (totally forgot about these!  I had them in my cupboard and they would have been a great addition)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound linguine
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, tossing frequently to avoid burning. Once the nuts are golden, set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the turkey bacon, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, until the turkey bacon and mushrooms are browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the chicken broth and let the mixture simmer for about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt to the water in the pot and cook the linguine until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining the noodles, reserve 1 cup of the pasta wter and set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the spinach, mushroom/bacon mixture, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine, adding additional pasta water, if needed.
Serve immediately, topping the pasta with the toasted pine nuts and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 26, 2012

BBQ Chicken Quinoa

photo found here

The different textures in this yummy salad-esque lunch enhanced the flavors and made the dish more interesting.  We all enjoyed it!  I used the crock pot for my chicken, making it that much easier to throw together when it was time to eat. 

1-2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded BBQ chicken*
1 avocado, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
cheddar cheese, shredded
2-4 Tbsp BBQ sauce 

In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, corn, black beans, chicken and avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer mixture into a bowl and top with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce, scallions and cilantro.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I put 6 chicken tenders in the bottom of my crock pot and then added one onion, sliced.  On top, I added a few squirts of BBQ sauce - enough to make a nice layer over everything.  The meat was ready to be shredded after five hours on low.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fudgy Brownies with Cookie Butter Frosting

We celebrated Jessie's birthday while she was visiting and she let me pick what to make for the special dessert!  I chose chocolate, for obvious reasons.  And was excited to try out this frosting, which ended up being delicious.  But next time I would double the amount for one square pan of fudgy, gooey brownies.  Seriously.  We needed way more frosting.  For obvious reasons.

Update: Jessie made these again and said that doubling the frosting recipe was perfect.

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
for the cookie butter frosting-
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons cookie butter, also known as Specaloos
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass 9×9 square pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small pot, melt butter, chocolate chips and cocoa together over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time and vanilla. Gently stir in all dry ingredients until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until just set. Mine was done right at 20 minutes, but my oven is also hotter than the sun. Set aside to cool.
For the frosting, stir butter, cookie butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together until a thick paste forms. Stir in milk carefully and then mix vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Spread over brownies, cut into bars and serve.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cheesy Jalapeno Pull Bread

This was just as amazing as I hoped it would be when I pinned the recipe!  Three of us ate the entire thing for lunch.  Granted, that's all we ate.  But we polished off every bite while playing Cribbage! 

1 rustic loaf of bread, unsliced, either Italian or French
12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (less or more to taste) pickled jalapeños, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, including greens, chopped
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread almost all the way through (not all the way) in a cross hatch pattern, spacing an inch between the slices.
Place the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Toss with the green onions and jalapeños. Pour over with melted butter and use your clean hands to toss, to distribute the butter evenly through the cheese.
Place the bread on a large sheet of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the bread) on a baking sheet. Stuff every crevasse with the cheese mixture. Wrap up with the aluminum foil. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover the foil from the bread and cook for 10 minutes more, until all of the cheese has melted.  It took ours longer to cook.  Maybe it depends on how large your bread loaf is??  I'd say leave it covered for 20 minutes, then uncover for another 10-15 minutes.  
Place on a serving board or plate to serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spicy Pork Stew with Chickpeas and Sausage

Get ready for some seriously yummy recipes!  My dear friend, Jessie, from Bites was here for a visit and we made it a priority to cook delicious things together!  This stew was perfect for a fall day; hearty,  flavorful and, between the two of us, seemed fairly easy to put together.

adapted from this recipe

1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 to 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 links hot Italian sausage links (not loose) or Spanish chorizo 
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp sweet paprika (I used 2 Tbsp paprika total - it was smoked, not sweet)
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches to ensure that you do not crowd the pan, brown the pieces of pork shoulder. If there is a fatty side to a chunk of pork, put that side down on the pan to help render out the fat. Sprinkle a little salt over the pork as it cooks. Once browned, set aside to a bowl.
Once the pork pieces have browned and have been removed from the pan, drain off all but a couple tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the chopped onions and carrots to the pan. Stir well and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions start to brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the pork, the sausage links, diced tomatoes, water, and parsley then stir to combine. Stir in the various paprikas. Add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, or until the pork shoulder is melt-in-your mouth tender.
Remove the sausages from the pot and cut them into chunks, then return them to the pot. Add the chickpeas and stir well; adjust salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes further until chickpeas are tender.
Excellent served with crusty bread and red wine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zucchini Garden Chowder

This is another yummy way to use up your remaining zucchini from Simply in Season.  I roughly chopped my zucchini, so there was more texture to my chowder, but it was tasty, thick and rich.

2 Tbsp butter
2 medium zucchini, chopped (I used one humongous zucchini and one yellow squash)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I didn't have any on hand to add in)
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 cups corn
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat.  Add zucchini, onion, parsley, and basil and saute until tender.

Stir flour, salt, and pepper into vegetables.  Gradually stir in water to make a smooth stock.  Add bouillon cubes and lemon juice and mix well.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn and return to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes until corn is tender.  Just before serving, add cheeses and stir until melted.  Add a pinch of sugar to taste and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Simply in Season - Zucchini Brownies

A couple weeks ago, I received this very thoughtful surprise from a friend - complete with bookmark tabs of her favorite recipes.  Thank you, Katie!  I've had so much fun thumbing through the pages and have already tried out a few new things.

I had a huge zucchini from my neighbor ready to be used and this recipe peaked my curiosity.  Yum!  You could tell there was zucchini in the brownies if you were paying attention, but otherwise it just tasted like a dense, moist, chocolaty cake.  My gingersnaps thought it was fun making a cake with zucchini and had the idea to put chocolate chips and butterscotch chips on top.  Why not?!

1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 cup semisweet or mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Combine flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in zucchini.

In separate bowl, combine egg, sugars, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.  Beat with a fork.  Stir into zucchini mixture.  Spread evenly into greased 9x13-inch pan.  Sprinkle chips and nuts (if using) on top of batter.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Since cinnamon is one of the key ingredients in these tasty muffins, treat yourself and buy a finer spice. You'll taste the difference!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • Crumb topping:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease twelve muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

  • Stir together 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in oil, egg and milk. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.

  • In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon to make crumb topping. Mix together with fork or pastry cuter and sprinkle over unbaked muffins.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins

I love muffins.  I like quinoa.  These were a satisfying snack, although a bit on the dry side.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
4 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375*F
Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line muffins cups.
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl; blend well.
Pour batter evenly into muffin tins.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until muffins are cooked through.
Allow to cool before enjoying.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Parmesan Celery Salad

My weekday lunches usually consist of leftovers or what I like to call "rabbit food" (crackers, cheese, apple slices, carrot sticks . . .).  But one day I decided to spend the ten minutes it took to make this salad for a yummy lunch.  I was glad the kids didn't love it.  More for me!  

8 large celery stalks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or garbanzo beans, heated (I used one can chickpeas)
3 tablespoons currants (or golden raisins)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, deeply toasted
sea salt 
freshly chopped herbs, or reserved celery leaves

Slice the celery stalks quite thinly - 1/8-inch or so. Then, in a small bowl, make a paste with the olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Set aside. In a large bowl toss the heated beans with the olive-Parmesan mixture. When well combined, add the celery, currants, and most of the almonds. Toss once more. Taste and add a bit of salt if needed. Serve in a bowl or platter topped with herb flowers and/or celery leaves.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quinoa Power Cookies

With the bajillions of recipes floating around out there for using quinoa, I'll chose another one next time.  These were okay, but were very similar to energy balls and I like those better.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (I left these out)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine quinoa, peanut butter, maple syrup, salt, and oats in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on low/medium speed, combine ingredients well.  Tip: Allow the quinoa to cool before mixing it in.
Stir in coconut and chocolate chips.  Scoop and mold dough into round, tablespoon-sized cookies.  Place cookies on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bottoms are nicely browned.  Allow to cool completely before storing.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

photo from here
This wasn't as much a pan of enchiladas as it was a casserole, but whatever you call it - we liked it a lot!  I had to stop myself from eating the pan of roasted veggies instead of using them to layer in the dish!  I made a few changes that are reflected below (some by accident, but it still turned out yummy!).

jalapeño, seeded and cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved and slivered
handful of mushrooms, quartered1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
9-10 corn tortillas, halved (I wanted to use corn, but bought flour by accident)
2 cups shredded cheese
sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.
Place jalapeño, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, mushrooms and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup

We've had cooler weather days lately and I was in the mood for soup.  Delicious!

2 28-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth 
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup basil, chopped, loosely packed
2 tsp of oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large pot. Add the chopped onion and allow to cook until tender, about three to four minutes. Add in chopped garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour in the two cans of tomatoes (juice and all) and the vegetable stock. Stir in the basil, oregano, sugar, and salt and pepper. Place the lid back onto the pot and allow to simmer ten minutes. At the end, stir in the Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese until well blended. Use either an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup if you prefer a smooth texture. Garnish with chopped basil and grated cheddar cheese if desired.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cocoa-Banana Pancakes

Saturday mornings in our home typically mean special breakfast.  These pancakes tasted special!  The banana, chocolate, and coconut were all subtle but went together well.

1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt
1 banana, the riper the better
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tablespoons coconut (optional)

Combine yogurt, banana, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and pulverize with a hand blender until smooth. Crack in the eggs, add a pinch of salt and mix together thoroughly.
In another bowl, sift together flours, cocoa, and baking soda. With a wooden spoon, stir in wheat germ and coconut, if desired. Add entire dry mixture into the wet mixture and fold gently together. Pour in melted butter and mix just to combine.
Heat a cast iron pan (or nonstick) over medium heat and then grease with vegetable oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter onto the pan to make several small, round pancakes. Cook on even medium-low heat until bubbles start to form.
Flip pancakes and continue cooking.

 Remove from pan and serve warm with maple syrup or Nutella and fresh banana slices, if desired.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Spaghetti

The name for this from the original recipe was too long, so I called it "summer spaghetti" and you should make it quick - because it's yummy and because summer is fleeting!  The garlic "gravy" was deliciously light.  And I think it tasted even better eaten on our patio table.

500 grams spaghetti pasta (cooked al dente)
1 pound chicken breast fillets (sliced into 1 inch chunks)

For the chicken marinade:
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped (I didn't use this)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped (if using dried, use half of the amount)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to sauté the marinated chicken)
Add all the marinade ingredients into the chicken and marinate for 20 minutes (if making this dish in pronto) or overnight (if making this dish the next day… much better).
Saute the marinated chicken in extra virgin olive oil until cooked (about 4-5 minutes) then set aside.

For the garlic gravy:
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup parsley, chopped (to sprinkle/finish the pasta)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
Place sauté pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil.  Saute garlic until fragrant and soft.  Add the flour and cook for a minute.  Add chicken stock and simmer gravy until thickened then add the chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper.
Add the sauteed chicken in the gravy then toss the cooked spaghetti into this sauce.  Add the cherry tomatoes and finish the dish with the chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese (serve extra on the side).
Makes 5-6 servings

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I wanted to try another recipe that used malt powder.  These were good, but flat cookies aren't my favorite.  So if you like your cookies thin and a little crunchy, my guess is you'll love these.  I would have enjoyed another batch of these bars better, but as you can see - my family didn't have a problem eating this batch.

1 cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter Softened
3/4 cups Golden Brown Sugar
3/4 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1-1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1-1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup (rounded) Malted Milk Powder
1 bag (12 Ounce) Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.
Add chocolate chips and stir in gently.
Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake less if you want chewy cookies; more if you want crispy cookies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Honey Mustard Chicken

Talk about easy and sure to turn out great!  I threw everything together while the kids were eating lunch (do you know how fast little kids eat?!) then left the dish in the fridge until I popped it in the oven in between jumps on the trampoline!

1/4 to 1/3 cup smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 pounds chicken thighs (or legs)
2 sprigs rosemary (or a generous sprinkling of dried rosemary)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix mustard with the honey, and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and taste. Add more salt and mustard until you get the flavor where you want it.
Salt the chicken lightly and lay the pieces skin-side up in a shallow casserole dish. Spoon the honey mustard sauce over the chicken. Place the rosemary sprigs in between the pieces of chicken.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the thighs read 175° on a meat thermometer, or the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Remove the casserole pan from the oven, use a spoon to spoon off any excess chicken fat that has rendered during the cooking.
Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper over the chicken before you serve over rice.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Prosciutto Lemon Egg Bread

This was delicious!  We enjoyed it for dinner, but it would be perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even as an appetizer, cut into smaller slices.  And if you want to save some pennies, I think thinly sliced black forest ham would work in place of the prosciutto.

  • 1 baguette (15 inches long)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves (I used several shakes of the dried stuff)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto (I think thinly sliced black-forest ham or something similar could also work)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice 1/4-inch off the top of the bread, and hollow out bottom, discarding the crumb (soft interior) of the loaf. Cut top into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, zest, milk, parsley, and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup bread pieces.

    Place hollowed-out bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I didn't use parchment paper). Press prosciutto slices along inside of bread to cover. Slowly pour egg mixture to the brim. Bake until eggs are puffed up and cooked through, 30 to 33 minutes.

    Slice into 2-inch pieces. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 6, 2012

S'mores Pudding Cookies

Hello yumminess!  These truly tasted like s'mores in cookie form.  Some of the marshmallows crusted on the pan while baking, so I had to wash between each batch, but it was worth the extra effort. 

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding dry
  • eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 sheets graham crackers finely crushed (about 1/2 cup of crumbs)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups flour (may need to add up to an additional 1/4)
  • 1/2-2/3 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
Cream butter and sugars together.  Add in pudding mix and beat until well incorporated.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.  

In a small bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and flour until evenly mixed.  Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until well incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips and mini marshmallows until evenly mixed in.  Add more if desired (sure, why not?!).

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.  You want these cookies to be slightly undercooked.  It helps make them extra soft.  Let sit on pan for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chicken Tamale Pie

Oh.  Yum.  I will definitely be making this again.  I left out the cayenne, hoping to keep things mild for the gingersnaps, but it was still too spicy for their taste.  So my husband and I ate our servings, then theirs!  The tamale "crust" is soft and sorta mushy, but firmed up as it sat, so let the dish rest for a few minutes before serving and I think the "slices" will hold together better.

Update: I made this again, making sure to get mild enchilada sauce and mild diced chilies.  I left out the cayenne again and the kids were able to eat it.  Although my husband and I liked it much better with more of the spice.  

1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (I left this out for the kids)
1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce 
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup shredded white cheese
cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.  I used my pie plate, but it wasn't big enough to hold everything without spilling over (see photo above!).  My round casserole dish is deeper and would have been a better choice.

Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.
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