Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Root Vegetable Cobbler

Comfort food. Mmmmmmm.  I was recently very blessed to receive a lot of free produce and a bunch of other goodies! Few things are more exciting to me than free food!! One of the things I received was a few bags of winter vegetables; turnips, parsnips and rutabagas. My search for the perfect recipe began. I found several that sounded good, but ended up coming up with my own concoction. This meal is perfect for a winter's day. You could really use any combination of  root or winter vegetables- butternut squash, potatoes, carrots or any combination would be lovely. This is a new favorite!

Root Vegetable Cobbler
6 c. cubed root vegetables (enough to cover the bottom of  a 9x13 pan) I used carrots, parsnips, rutabagas and turnips
1 small onion, diced
1 t. olive oil
1 1/4 c. vegetable broth
2 T. flour
2/3 c. milk
1 t. dried rosemary
For the topping:
2 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
6 T. butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. sharp cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Steam vegetables and place in 9x 13 baking dish. In saucepan over medium heat, saute onions in oil. When onions are tender, add broth and milk (reserve a small amount of milk to mix 2 T. flour in, then add to saucepan as well). Simmer until thickened and pour over vegetables.
To make the topping, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut butter into pats and combine with flour mixture using pastry blender. When mixture resembles coarse meal, add eggs, milk and cheese. Stir gently just until combined. Shape into small biscuits and cover vegetables. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Greta and Miles rating: They both adored the biscuit topping. Greta enjoyed the veggies and Miles had a few.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hello Kitty Cake Pops

Our little girl decided that she would like a Hello Kitty birthday party this year.  Upon researching Hello Kitty cakes online, I stumbled upon some Hello Kitty cake pops. I love Bakerella and have oogled over her cake pops in the past, but have never made them. The best thing about this recipe is that you can use any flavor of cake and any flavor of frosting! And the recipe is so simple and the possibilities for decoration are endless. My Hello Kitty cake pops may have looked like a kindergartner made them compared to Bakerella's, but everyone at the party thought they were great, especially my 5 year old, which is all that counts!

Hello Kitty Cake Pops
1 boxed cake mix
3/4c.- 1c. packaged frosting
white chocolate chips
white candy melts
lollipop sticks
styrofoam block
pink heart shaped sprinkles
red and yellow round sprinkles
black frosting gel

Prepare cake as directed on box and cool completely. When cooled, crumble cake and add frosting. Stir well with wooden spoon. Shape into 1" balls and chill in refrigerator. Melt small amount of candy. Dip lollipop sticks in a little of the melted candy and insert 1/2 way into cake balls. Once they have set, insert lollipop sticks into stryofoam. Dab a little melted candy onto the balls where you would like the ears to be. Quickly place a white chocolate chip on melted candy for ears. Allow to set. Once they are set, Melt the remaining candy melts and dip heads into melted candy to cover completely. I found using a small spoon to cover the heads and spinning gently helped to coat the balls without them falling off the lollipop stick. Place back in styrofoam to set.
To decorate faces, I used the melted candy as glue to adhere the bow and eyes, melting more candy as needed. Use frosting gel for eyes and whiskers. Store tightly covered in a cool dry place for up to 1 week. Do not refrigerate.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I made these little babies to pack in our teacher's gifts for Christmas presents this year. I added white chocolate chips and chocolate chips to some of them. I think I made about 4 batches of these total! This is a fabulous recipe. I am always looking for great cookie recipes that do not require chocolate chips. The recipe is from Williams-Sonoma. Enjoy!
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat. Add dry ingredients and stir. Roll dough into 1-2" balls and coat in confectioner's sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mom's Clam Chowder

My Mother is a fabulous cook! One of my favorite things that she makes is Clam Chowder soup. She makes it every year for Christmas. I usually only get to eat it once a year. I got the recipe from her last year and decided to make it at home. When the weather got colder this fall, I knew what I must do...make Mom's Clam Chowder!!! This is the recipe that she emailed me. I have kept it in her words because her descriptions make me smile :) If you are a Clam Chowder fan, you have to try this!
--- Made famous by Mom
16 cherrystone clams, preferably fresh  (I use around 4 cans of diced or minced clams)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup clarified butter - I clarify the butter somewhat
1 large clove garlic, minced - I use 2 cloves
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 tsp thyme - I use my lemon thyme if I have it - and probably more of it
Optional:  white pepper
Optional: 1 bay leaf --  I use one
Approximately 32 oz. clam juice, including that reserved from steamed clams ----& chic broth if you need to
1 large potato, diced - I like 2 potatoes
1 pt whipping cream
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash clams thoroughly.  Place them in a heavy-bottomed pot with water.  Cover tightly and steam until clams open, approx three - five minutes.  Remove clams from shells; chop coarsely and reserve, along with broth in a separate container. I have never done this but it sounds like fun -  fresh clams in Nebraska - kind of scary
In the same pot, gently heat clarified butter and add garlic; saute two to three minutes. Add onion, celery, thyme and optional spices. Saute until onions are translucent.
Add flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to avoid lumps and cooking one to two minutes.  Be careful that mixture does not brown or burn.
Slowly add clam juice, stirring to avoid lumps. Simmer one minute.  Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Stir well to avoid clumping.  Add cream and clams; return to a quick boil and season to taste with pepper.  Makes  8-10 servings.
-------------------------------------------- My version:
I start by draining the 4 cans of clams and saving all the liquid - you need 32 oz of liquid, I usually use a combination of liquid from the cans, bottled clam juice and/or chicken broth. It is best to get at least one bottle of clam juice, but if you can't find it, just use chicken broth to get the liquid up to 32 oz.   Just set this all aside.
Next melt in your soup pot - 1/2 cup butter  - I usually clarify it a bit, but I quickly get tired of doing that, so I don't do it completely or properly -- add 2 cloves of garlic minced and saute just a couple of minutes, Add chopped onion, chopped celery, lemon thyme, and optional spices -- saute until onions are translucent.
Add 1/2 cup flour in little bits at a time,  to make a roux, stirring constantly, and cooking 1-2 minutes - don't brown it-  or you have to start all over
Slowly add the 32 oz of liquids, stirring to avoid lumps.  Simmer one minute, stirring constantly.  Add potatoes and cook until tender. Stir well to avoid clumping.  Add the cream and clams; return to a quick boil and season with pepper & salt to taste.
Greta and Miles rating: Greta loved this so much. Miles ate his crusty bread soaked in the soup, but wouldn't eat the soup with a spoon. Interesting kids.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cuban Sandwiches

Mmmmmm! Here is another recipe I created to copy something from a restaurant. We'll just call this particular restaurant...um...Rock Town. :)
I love this sandwich. It has a bunch of things that I don't usually care for individually; pork, ham, and mustard.  But, put them all together and something magical happens! This is definitely not an authentic Cuban sandwich, but I'd venture to say that it is an authentic copy of  "Rock Town's" version.
Cuban Sandwiches
3 lb. pork sirloin roast
juice of one lime
1/3 c. sherry
3 T. Olive Oil
2 t. salt
1/4 t. crushed black pepper
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. oregano
Combine marinade ingredients and pour over roast in crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until meat is done.
6 slices deli ham
6 slices provolone cheese
6 ciabatta rolls
Prepared mustard (use your favorite, I used Grey Poupon, yes that name still makes me giggle :))
sliced dill pickles
Garlic Aioli:
1/3 c. mayo
3 garlic cloves, pressed
juice of 1/2 lemon
Cook pork in crock pot. Remove from heat. Mix ingredients to make aioli.
When pork is warm, slice into 1/2" thick slices.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice  and toast ciabatta rolls. Spread top slice with mustard and bottom slice with aioli. To assemble sandwiches: top the bottom slice of ciabatta with a layer of pickles, pork, ham, then provolone.  Place on cookie sheet. Leave top slice of ciabbatta (with mustard) off of sandwich, place mustard side up on cookie sheet. Bake open faced sandwiches and sandwich tops for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Place top slice of ciabatta on sandwich and serve.
Greta and Miles rating: Miles at his entire sandwich! Greta just kind of nibbled.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mushroom and Pecorino Tarts

Here is another hit recipe from the cookbook Fresh Flavor Fast. Puff Pastry and I don't have the best history. What I mean to say is that I absolutely LOVE the taste of puff pastry, but my previous attempts working with it have not been the most successful or attractive feats. This meal was quick and incredibly delicious. These would be great made into miniatures for an appetizer as well. The only change I made from the original recipe is the amount of mushrooms used. The original calls for 1 1/4 lbs. of mushrooms, and I used an 8 oz. package and even had extra.

Mushroom and Pecorino Tarts
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (mine took about 45 minutes)
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, button) thinly sliced
3/4 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 T. fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Roll puff pastry out and cut into 4 equal squares. Score each square, leaving a 1" border and pierce the dough inside the border using a fork. (see example below). Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Bake until golden, turning sheet halfway through. About 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile in medium-high skillet heat oil. Add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender 6-8 minutes.

Sprinkle 1/2 c. of the cheese evenly over the center of the 4 squares. Top with mushrooms and remaining cheese. Return to oven until lightly browned. Sprinkle with chives to serve.
Greta and Miles rating: They both loved this and ate every last bite! Greta even ate some of my extra sauteed mushrooms.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken Salad with Curry

On our vacation to Wyoming, we ate at a lovely cafe called "Lollipops". It was so good that we actually ended up eating there on three different occasions. And on each of those three occasions, Joe and I both ordered the Chicken Salad with Curry. It was that good! Naturally, I had to come up with my own copy cat recipe.  Here it is~
Chicken Salad with Curry
3 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/3 c. onion, finely diced
1/2 t. onion salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
3/4 c. mayo (I like the olive oil mayo)
Curry powder for sprinkling
4 large croissants
4 romaine leaves
Combine chicken, nuts, celery, onion, onion salt, garlic powder and mayo in bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. To serve, generously fill croissants with chicken mixture, sprinkle with curry powder and top with one romaine leaf.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sea Scallop Gratin

The Joy of Cooking is a classic cookbook. Even people who don't cook have heard of The Joy of Cooking. Of course it is a classic for a reason. It covers everything. It has the very best pumpkin bread recipe. And this recipe, my friends is exquisite! This is the perfect "someone special is coming for dinner" recipe. It is quick, easy and so luxurious and delicious. It can be served as an appetizer or entree. I like to serve it over linguine. Try it, you will not regret it! I have made a few minor changes to the original.

Sea Scallop Gratin
2 T. butter, melted
3/4 c. breadcrumbs (I use panko)
6 T. grated Parmesan
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
ground pepper, to taste

1 T. butter
2 shallots, minced (I've used 1/4 c. white onion as well)
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 t. salt

1/4 c. dry white wine
1 c. heavy cream
12 oz. sea medium scallops cut horizontally in half (or small scallops whole)
1 t. lemon juice

Combine 2 T. melted butter with breadcrumbs, cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well using hands.
Melt 1 T. butter in skillet and add shallots and garlic. Cook until softened and add mushrooms and 1 t. salt. Cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add 1/4 c. wine and simmer 3-5 minutes. Add cream. Boil until thickened, about 5 minutes. Preheat broiler. Add scallops to sauce and cook until no longer translucent. 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with Parmesan/breadcrumb mixture. Broil until brown and bubbly. ENJOY!

Greta and Miles rating: The kids LOVE this! This is a special occasion meal at our house :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coconut & Beef Curry with Noodles

I won't bore you with a little story, but let me just say...this was the best dinner we've had in a long time and I will make this often. The recipe is from the cookbook, Fresh Flavor Fast.

Coconut And Beef Curry with Noodles
Salt and pepper
8 oz. vermicelli or angel-hair
2 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into strips
1 red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, and sliced
1/4 c. water
1 T. Thai red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 c. basil leaves, packed
1 T. lime juice (I used lemon)

Prepare pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile in skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef to the skillet. Cook on one side, do not stir, until browned, 1-2 minutes. Transfer beef to plate and repeat with remaining Tablespoon of oil and remaining beef. Add onion, peppers and water to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp, but tender 3-4 minutes. Add curry paste, cook while stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet. Add coconut milk and simmer until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and lime (or lemon) juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

Greta and Miles rating: They really liked this! Greta was crazy about the red peppers and the pasta. Miles loved the beef and the pasta.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze

One of my favorite food blogs has to be Brown Eyed Baker. Her recipes are always top notch. What is better than pumpkin scones on a fall evening? I made these for the ladies Bible study group I am in. I replaced all of the cream from the original recipe with almond milk with fabulous results!

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze
2 c. Flour
7 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. ginger
6 T. cold butter, cubed
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg
3 T. almond milk

Combine dry ingredients and whisk. Cut butter into dry ingredients using pastry blender or forks until butter chunks are non longer visible. In separate bowl combine pumpkin, egg and milk and stir. Fold into dry ingredients. Shape into rectangle. Cut into three equal pieces. Cut and 'x' into each of the 3 pieces, making a total of 12 triangular pieces. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.

When cooled. Drizzle with Icing. Then drizzle with 2nd (spiced) icing.

Sugar Icing
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. almond milk
Combine and whisk. Drizzle over scones.

Spiced Icing
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. (or slightly less) almond milk
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves
Combine dry ingredients. Add milk slowly and whisk until desired consistency. Drizzle over iced scones.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

This recipe is a winner! The thing I love best about this recipe is the fact that since pumpkin puree is used, there is no need for oil! This recipe is from Baking Bites and is one the whole family enjoys.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
2 c. puffed brown rice cereal (or rice krispies)
4 c. oats
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of cardamom
3/4 t. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. applesauce
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped almonds
1 c. raisins

Combine all ingredients except almonds and raisins and combine well. Bake at 325 on cookie sheets for 25 minutes. Stir well. Sprinkle almonds and return to over for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. After granola has cooled, add raisins and store in airtight container.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

I don't like meatloaf. I don't like meatloaf. I don't like meatloaf. I've never liked meatloaf...not the singer and definitely not the food. But this meatloaf I do like! I found the recipe on Running Mama Cooks. The only change I made was to use turkey in the place of beef and of course extra cheese! This recipe will not disappoint!

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 t. dried thyme
2/3 c. french's fried onions, plus more for topping
3/4 c. provolone, cubed
1 pkg. french onion soup mix
1/2 c. ketchup, divided

Saute onion over medium heat in olive oil until carmelized, about 5-7 minutes. Mix onion, turkey, egg, thyme, french's onions, onion soup mix, cheese and 1/4 c. ketchup and spoon into greased muffin tins. Top with remaining 1/4 c. ketchup and sprinkle with more french's onions. Bake covered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and uncovered for the final 5 minutes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crock Pot Turkey Meatball Subs

I found this great recipe for Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs on the website, healthyeatingsimplified.com. Since my children really despise spaghetti, I thought we'd try making meatball subs. I love this recipe because it has tons of veggies added and the best part is that it is for the crock pot!
Crock Pot Turkey Meat balls
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c. bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1t. dried basil
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 T. red wine vinegar
salt to taste

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/8 t. black pepper
2 egg whites

Hoagie rolls and Mozzarella for serving

Combine sauce ingredients in crock pot on low setting. Using hands mix meatball mixture. Shape into 1" balls and fry in 2 t. oil, browning on all sides. Once meat balls are browned, transfer to crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve in hoagie rolls topped with mozzarella cheese.
Greta and Miles rating: They ate it, but weren't crazy about it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Romesco Sauce

This is a bittersweet post; sweet because this is one awesome recipe. This recipe is so great that I made an extra large batch and froze small portions for use later. This post is bitter because the very next day our fridge stopped working and I ended up throwing all of my precious romesco sauce in the trash :(. At least we had one night with the sauce! I have made this recipe with almonds and with cashews. I think the cashews taste the best, but both are fabulous. This sauce is great with chicken, fish or beef and it freezes very well. I like to serve this sauce with a pan seared chicken breast seasoned with basil, paprika, garlic and onion salt.

Romesco Sauce
3/4 c. cashews or almonds
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 slice white bread, torn into small pieces
1 (14 oz) can whole tomatoes, squeezed and drained
1/4 c. jarred pimentos, drained
1 T. paprika
2 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook nuts garlic and bread in skillet over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes. Transfer to food processor and pulse until fine. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Serve over chicken.
Greta and Miles rating: Every one LOVED this!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

African Peanut Soup

Oh. Dear. This soup is our new favorite! It is quick and easy to prepare, has amazing flavor and is very filling. We had this with some crusty bread and it was even better the next day. Thanks, Emeril! The original recipe calls for ground turkey, but we skipped the meat and I made a few other minor changes. This was FABULOUS. Ooooh, just typing about this makes me want to eat it again!

African Peanut Soup
2 T. peanut oil
4 c. sliced onions
1 T. curry powder
2 t. minced garlic
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and quartered
1/4 t. cayenne
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. good quality creamy peanut butter
1 c. coconut milk

Heat oil in dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add curry powder. Cook for 1 minute. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
Add potatoes, broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.(I usually puree about half of the soup because I like the texture better) Enjoy!

Greta and Miles rating: Ok, so this was not a hit with the kids. Greta ate some and Miles would NOT touch it, but this is SOOOO good that we will just keep on making it until they like it :)

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Little Debbie and I have a history. I used to eat oatmeal pies before basketball games in high school. Awesome, I know. Little Debbie doesn't have much of a place in my "make almost everything from scratch" grown-up life. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it...for old time's sake. Unfortunately, after I ate one, I did not play in a basketball game, but spent the evening watching Hulu :) Oh, well. They are great, and the frosting was fantastic!

Oatmeal Cream Pies
*start with your favorite Oatmeal cookie recipe or try this one*

1 c.butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T honey
1 1/2 c.all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 c. old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla and honey. Mix well. Add dry ingredients. Fold in oats. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool and fill with Marshmallow frosting.

Marshmallow Frosting
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a double boiler combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar and heat over simmering water. Whisk almost constantly, heating to 160 degrees. Transfer mix to mixing bowl and beat on high speed (with whisk attachment if you are using a stand mixer) until egg whites hold stiff peaks. Fold in vanilla until incorporated. Spread onto cookie 1/4" from the edge and top with another cookie. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ham & Cheddar Scones

Yum! These are easy to make and a big hit with adults and kids alike. They are great for breakfast, a quick lunch, or as a fancy accompaniment to a dinner. I found the recipe in either Family Circle magazine or Better Homes and Gardens. Ooops! I can't remember. I've already made these twice and will be making them again soon. I may add about a 1/2 t. of salt next time.

Ham & Cheddar Scones
1 3/4 c. AP flour
1/4. c Whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. cheddar
1/4 c. diced ham
1 t. dried dill
3/4 c. sour cream
1 egg
1 T. dijon

Combine dry ingredients and blend in butter with pastry blender. Stir in cheese, ham and dill. Combine egg, sour cream and dijon. Fold in until just combined. Roll dough onto floured surface and cut out. Or just form into biscuit shapes by hand :) Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Greta and Miles rating: YUMYUMYUMYUM.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mexican Flat bread Pizza

Well, folks, we have a new family favorite. This meal is quick and easy and we LOVE it! If you are in a real hurry, you can prepare and refrigerate the beans and meat. I have made a few changes from the original recipe. These are great served with salsa and sour cream.

Mexican Flat bread Pizza

1 lb. ground turkey
1 pkg. taco seasoning (I use homemade)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. salsa

8 oz. Colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 pkg. Grands biscuits

Salsa and sour cream for serving

Preheat oven to 375. Brown turkey in skillet, and add taco seasoning as directed on package. Meanwhile combine beans and salsa in blender or food processor and blend. Roll biscuits on floured surface until they are about 1/4" in thickness. Bake for about 5 minutes until just turning golden. Remove from oven. Spread each with bean mixture, sprinkle with meat and cheese. Return to oven for about 3 minutes. Serve!
Greta and Miles rating: They both love this and usually eat an entire pizza each!

Adapted from This recipe.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pumpkin Mac 'N Cheese

It's no secret. My family loves pasta and the cheesier the better. This quick delicious dish (SNL anyone?) is a keeper. I found it on Pioneer Woman's website Tasty Kitchen. The original recipe calls for butternut squash, but pumpkin was on sale. The pumpkin was fabulous, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the squash would be even better!

Pumpkin Mac 'N Cheese
2 c. small pasta
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
2 T. cream cheese
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. paprika

While pasta is cooking, Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Whisk in flour. Whisk for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking lumps.
Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Add sauce to pasta and serve.

Greta and Miles rating: what pumpkin??? they loved it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats

One day I posted that I had made steel cut oats as my facebook status. I got all sorts of comments like "how the heck do you cook those, anyway?". Well, I like to make a big 'ol batch in the crock pot and then portion it out into containers for reheating during the week. That way I can just reheat a single serving when I'm ready. These are great topped with fresh fruit, with a swirl of yogurt, with dried fruit or nuts. Here is a page with some of the health benefits of eating steel cut oats.

Steel Cut Oats

7 c. water

1 c. steel cut oats

1 T. cinnamon

1/4 t. salt

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 T. coconut oil (or butter)

1 T. honey

Combine all ingredients into crock pot and cook on low or high until desired consistency. Since I cook mine to reheat, I turn the crock pot off when they are still a little runny. I usually end up cooking them on high for about 4 hours. Yields about 8 servings.

All portioned out and ready to go!

Sweet Corn Cheddar Pancakes

I have been wanted the cook book From Asparagus to Zucchini for years now. I finally purchased it last month from our CSA office. This is the first recipe from the book that I have tried. It was delicious and I can not wait to try more!

Sweet Corn and Cheddar Pancakes
2/3 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (I used skim with 1 T. vinegar)
1 T. oil
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
4 T. finely chopped green onion
1/2 c. cooked corn kernels

Salsa, sour cream and chives for garnish.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In separate bowl, mix egg, oil, buttermilk. Stir in cheese, onions and corn. Add wet ingredients to dry and fold together. Mixture can set at room temperature for up to 1 hour.Cook over medium heat in heavy skillet that has been brushed with cooking oil. Serve with sour cream, salsa and chives for garnish.

Greta and Miles rating : they both enjoyed this...minus the salsa and sour cream :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Walnut & Honey Pizza

I admit, I am a recipe stealer. I purposely try to make "knock-off" recipes from restaurants that I love.

Do I feel bad about this? Not one iota! This recipe is based off of a dish at a local restaurant. They use blue cheese, I used goat cheese; either is divine!

Walnut & Honey Pizza

-Premade Pizza crust (either homemade or from a bakery...a good one)

-Handful of walnuts

-1/3 c.(more or less) goat cheese (or blue cheese)


-*Balsamic reduction

-Olive Oil

-Salt and Pepper

*To make a balsamic reduction, pour 1 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar in sauce pan and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook until enough liquid evaporates and the vinegar has the consistency of syrup. Set aside.

Preheat oven per pizza crust's instructions. While oven is preheating, brush crust(s) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle crust with cheese and walnuts. Bake until crust is done and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and drizzle with balsamic reduction and honey (be generous with the honey) Sprinkle once more with salt and pepper.

Greta and Miles rating: They LOVED this. Miles had three pieces!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mom's Picante Chicken

This recipe tastes like 1987. My Mom used to make this one growing up. I remember requesting this meal for my Birthday meal on more than one occasion. It is simple, kid friendly and cheap! Tastes pretty darn good too.

Mom's Picante Chicken
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1 T. olive oil
1 c. mild salsa or Picante sauce
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. cooked white rice

While large skillet heats up to medium heat, combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder in shallow dish. Dredge chicken strips in flour mixture. Add oil to skillet. Fry strips in oil until golden brown and crispy. Remove from skillet. Remove any excess oil from pan. Place rice, salsa, and cheddar in skillet and combine. Fold chicken strips in and serve!

Greta and Miles Rating: They gobbled this up and asked for seconds!

Sugar Cookie Bars

I have a small list of blogs that I just love. It is like having a few friends you can count on to only give you terrific recipes. One of those blogs is Annie's Eats. Annie's Eats is where I found this recipe. Every recipe I've ever tried on her blog has been fantastic! Head on over and check it out.
This is a great recipe for cook outs and get togethers. It makes a TON of bars. I added almond extract to both the bars and the frosting. The whole family loved these babies!

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. milk
Food coloring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet (I used 15x10 and another small 5" pan). Combine the butter and sugar. Beat until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the extracts. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press evenly. Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the extract, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the milk. Tint as desired with food coloring. Spread over the cookie in the pan, cut into bars and serve.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rice Cooker Mac N' Cheese

I love my rice cooker! I use it at least once a week. It is the fastest, easiest, and best way to prepare rice, couscous and even homemade mac n' cheese! For the milk, can use heavy cream if you are feeling luxurious, skim milk or even soy milk. I've tried all three. The cheeses are versatile as well. We've used cheddar only, cheddar and goat cheese, cheddar and mozzarella...anything goes! The original (but altered) recipe was found at RecipeZaar.

Rice Cooker Mac N' Cheese

2 C. whole wheat penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)

1 1/4 C. milk

1 C. water or broth

1 C. shredded cheddar

1/2 C. shredded mozzarella

2 T. butter or margarine

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

pinch of cayenne (optional)

Dump pasta and water (or broth) and milk (or cream) into rice cooker. Cook. When finished cooking add remaining ingredients. Stir well. You may need to add additional water or milk. Serve to happy little kids. Serves 2 hungry adults or 1 adult and 3-4 little bumpkins.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

I love tilapia. It is cheap. It is good for you. And it is delicious! We make this recipe often. This is definitely a "melt in your mouth" good recipe. The amazing thing is that one serving is only 203 calories! I found the recipe on Allrecipes.com. I usually serve this with rice or couscous and last time I served it with roasted sugar snap peas. Yum!

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 T. mayo
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/8 t. onion powder
1/8 t. sea salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat broiler. In small bowl, combine all ingredients for the topping. Broil fish 2-3 min. on one side, flip. Broil another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and brush topping on the filets. Broil another 2-3 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden.

Greta and Miles rating: Both my 2 year old and 4 year old LOVE this dish.

Rosemary & Garlic Crackers

Who knew that home made crackers could be so easy and so good? The whole family loved these simple crackers. I found the recipe here, and below is my version. These could so easily be changed up! You can use any type or combination of flours as well as herbs or spices.

Rosemary & Garlic Crackers

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or combination of grains –I used whole wheat and oat flours)
1/4-1/2 c. butter, melted
1 cup water and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 t. dried rosemary, crushed

1 t. garlic powder

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

The flours can be soaked for 12-24 hours, but the crackers will be great even if you skip this step.

Combine flour(s) with water and vinegar. Soak (or not) for 12-24 hours.

After soaking (or not) add the melted butter, salt and baking powder. Knead ingredients together until well combined. Divide dough into two portions. Roll each portion into a large rectangle (about 1/16 inch thick). Cut into desired squares and place on a cookie sheet. Pierce each cookie with a fork 2-3 times. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown. Enjoy!

Browned Butter Banana Bread

My Mother-in-law makes a mean banana bread. Seriously, it is the BEST. I have the recipe, and it uses a cake mix in the ingredients. Call me lazy, but I just never buy or use cake mixes. Well, maybe that is the opposite of lazy? I have tried my best to find a banana bread recipe that is even close to as good as hers. I have made probably about 5 versions. This one is very, very good! I found the recipe at Sing for Your Supper. I love her blog! Her recipes never disappoint. This bread was even better the 2nd day!

Browned Butter Banana Bread
1/2 c. butter
2 c. flour
3/4 c.brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 bananas, mashed
1/2 c. chopped pecans (I omitted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8" loaf pan.

In a medium saucepan over high melt the butter. Once it is melted lower the heat to medium and swirl the butter around the pan. Continue to swirl the butter occasionally. After about 5 minutes the butter will literally turn brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool while getting everything else ready.

In a large bowl sift the dry ingredients.
In another bowl whisk the eggs then add the mashed bananas, vanilla and the semi-cooled butter.
Add the liquid to the dry mixture. Mix just until incorporated, don’t over mix. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes, until it is browned on top and a fork inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before cutting and serving.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kale Chips

We got our 2nd CSA box for the summer today. In our box was some beautiful kale and I was sooooo excited. I’ve seen recipes online for kale chips and have been dying to try them. Well- the verdict is in——–DE-LIC-IOUS! Everyone in the family loved the chips. They just melt in your mouth. What a cool way to get your leafy greens! I combined a few recipes and came up with my own. Give it a try!

Kale Chips

2 bunches (or 1 large bunch) kale, washed and cut into small pieces (think smaller than tortilla chips)

1 1/2 T. rice wine vinegar (balsamic or even apple cider vinegar would work)

3 T. Olive oil

1 t. sea salt

1/3 c. grated Parmesan *optional

Whisk together oil, vinegar and salt. Using hands, toss kale with oil mixture. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets. Sprinkle with cheese (or not). Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Use a spatula about half way through to loosen the chips. Enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blue Mac 'N Cheese

There is a great local vegetarian restaurant that serves fantastic soups. They also have some of the best macaroni and cheese I've ever had. My favorite is their "Blue". I am a huge blue cheese fan, and lucky for me, my two little children are too! I found a great recipe online that is close, but still lacking a little of the magic. I lightened the recipe up a tad, but it was still great comfort food!

Blue Mac 'N Cheese
1 lb. penne pasta
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. skim milk
1 1/2 c. blue cheese
3 c. cheddar cheese
Salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste
3 T. minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta as directed, drain and set aside. Melt the butter with the oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Make a roux with the flour. Cook for about a minute and slowly whisk in the milk. Once sauce begins to thicken, add the cheddar and 1 c. of the blue cheese. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Toss pasta in cheese sauce and pour into 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining blue cheese over top and bake 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
Greta and Miles rating: Greta had 3 helpings and Miles ate every last drop of his!

Cheeseburger Bread

I think this could be more accurately described as a Cheeseburger Calzone, but either way- this is an easy delicious dish! The original recipe calls for premade pizza dough, but I made mine from scratch. This is a fun recipe that would be great to serve to dinner guests that might be a little less adventurous :) I used ground turkey, and it was fabulous!

Cheeseburger Bread
1 lb. ball of pizza dough
1 lb. ground turkey
Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 kosher dill pickle, chopped into small pieces
ketchup and mustard, to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Brown ground turkey with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain. Stir in cheese and pickles; stir until well mixed.

Roll dough ball into a big rectangle. Spread the dough with ketchup and mustard (I skipped mustard). Put meat mixture in the middle of dough. Roll to make a loaf pinching edges to make a seam. Bake for 15-20 or until dough starts to brown.

Greta and Miles rating: They thought this was awesome!