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.  
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