Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nutty Sweet Potato Waffles

These made a wonderful breakfast-for-dinner meal for my family.  The texture is softer than your standard waffle, and the flavor is perfect for Fall.  Happy Thanksgiving!

1/2 cup butter
3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (approximately 2 medium potatoes)
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats, finely ground in blender
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or cashews, finely ground in blender
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar, optional

Melt butter.  Set aside and allow to cool.

After butter has melted, stir in mashed potatoes, beaten eggs, and milk.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, nuts, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add dry ingredients to sweet potato mixture and site until combined.  Bake in a hot waffle iron.  Maple syrup, honey, and yogurt all make nice toppings.

recipe adapted from Simply in Season

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baked Chicken Nuggets

These have little to do with Thanksgiving or holiday food, but I've already made them twice since trying them the first time, so I felt like I needed to share.  One time I Made them, I didn't use bread or the food processor, but used store-bought bread crumbs.  They weren't near as good.  But follow the directions below and I think you'll be pleased with this healthier version of homemade chicken nuggets.  

  • 2-3 thick slices whole wheat bread (for about 1 cup of crumbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 large (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch or so sized pieces
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor or blender, place the slices of whole wheat bread and pulse until crumbs form. Add the basil, oregano and Parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Pour the bread crumbs into a shallow dish (like a pie plate) and mix in the panko crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, egg whites and water until well combined. Pat the chicken cubes dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Toss the chicken cubes in the egg white/olive oil mixture before taking a few of them at a time and rolling them in the bread crumb mixture to coat evenly.
  4. Place the coated chicken nuggets on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, carefully flip the nuggets over (taking care not to remove the breading) and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until cooked through (the exact time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces). Serve immediately.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Squash Stuffed Rice Pilaf

I've made several versions of this over the past few weeks and thought I'd share one of my favorite go-to meals for the Fall season.  You can play with the ingredients and use different kinds of squash to find what suits your family best!  I've done it before where you roast the pilaf inside the squash, but I find just filling the already-roasted squash with the already-preapred pilaf gets the food in my little one's mouths faster.  This is a great way to use leftover turkey as well!

1 medium squash for every two people, cut in halves or quarters, depending on size (I typically use three acorn squash for my family of five, or two butternut squash)

Preheat oven to 350.  Light oil a roasting pan.  Clean out seeds from the squash.  Place flesh-side-down on the roasting pan.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, until flesh is tender (use a fork or knife to test).

1 cup long grain rice, prepared as directed (I use half chicken broth and half water for the liquid)
1/2 cup wild rice, prepared as directed
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
two stalks celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 - 1 cup meat, optional (My favorites are cooked and crumbled bacon or leftover turkey.  Cooked and diced chicken works well, as does a mild crumbled sausage)
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 cup fired cranberries
1/3 cup toasted nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large frying pan on medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, and garlic and cook until they are starting to soften, about five minutes.

Add thyme, sage, meat and apple.  Cooke about five more minutes (the apple will still have a little texture to it.  You can cook it first with the onions if you want it to be softer).

Last, add rice to pan.  Turn heat down to medium, and stir while cooking a few minutes to combine everything well (you can cooke more or less time, depending on how dry you want your pilaf to be.). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove pan from heat.  Stir in cranberries and nuts.  Pile pilaf into baked squash halves, top with a dollop of butter (why not?!), and serve hot.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Moosewood Cookbook {Moosewood Fudge Brownies}

I received this book from the Blogging For Books Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. 

I enjoy reading cookbooks (with a pad of little sticky tabs next to me, if you didn't already notice!).  I find that reading through recipes not only provides new ideas for meals, but also gives inspiration for doing my own thing with what we have on hand when the creative juices are flowing!  The 40th Anniversary edition of the Moosewood Cookbook was released last month and I've loved flipping through the pages.  The recipes feel approachable, both because of the seasonal and simple ingredients used, and also because the recipes look as though the author, Mollie Katzen, hand-wrote each recipe for you, with her own beautiful doodles included!  I won't go into the history of the cookbook, but I think it's worth a look if you enjoy recipes with a vegetarian framework focusing on the simplicity of using natural ingredients.  The variety of recipes ranges from baked goods to curries to cold soups to lots of different sauces and dips.  I opted to try out the brownies first.  After tasting the results, I'd say it was a very good decision!

As far as brownies go, it's not one of my favorite desserts to make from scratch, but these were decadent and delicious, especially paired with vanilla ice cream.  The recipe states that they "aren't for the faint of heart"!  Think rich and dense chocolate that pretty much requires a tall glass of milk or large scoop of ice cream to go with.

recipe taken from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

butter for the pan
5 oz. (5 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar (white sugar also OK)
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (use 3/4 cup for fudgier brownies)
The recipe lists "many optional embellishments".  I chose 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Mmmmm . . . .

Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Preheat oven to 350.
Gently melt the chocolate.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Stir in the vanilla.
Stir constantly as you drizzle in the melted chocolate.  After all the chocolate is in, beat well for a minute or two.
Stir in flour and possible embellishments.  Mix just enough to blend thoroughly.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cut into squares while still hot, then allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, if you can wait that long.

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