Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gingersnap Cupcakes

Gingersnaps remind me of my Daddy. From as far back as I can remember, we always had a stash of gingersnap cookies in the cupboard. I remember those cute little cookies in the brown paper bag. They were Dad's cookies. Luckily, we had the kind of Daddy who often shared his cookies! This recipe actually uses ground gingersnaps in the batter. We loved these cupcakes (with the exception of my husband who is not a gingersnap fan, boo!). They taste like fall. I made these for a "Girl's night in"/birthday party. I'm planning on making these again for my Daddy at Thanksgiving!

Gingersnap Cupcakes
Source: Picky Palate

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 T. molasses

1/2 c. gingersnaps, finely ground
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt

1/2 c.
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pan. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs an molasses. Beat until combined. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Combine milk and vanilla in cup together.

Alternate adding and stirring 1/2 of the dry ingredients into butter mixture, then half of the wet ingredients. Repeat.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until center of cupcake springs back when gently pressed. Frost cooled cupcakes.

1/2 c. softened butter
1/4 c. milk *I used caramel coffee creamer
2 1/2c. confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. cinnamon

Combine frosting ingredients in bowl and beat until fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am in love with these little cookies! They are a cross between a meringue, a brownie and a cookie! They have no flour, but they also have no butter! But, don't kid yourself. These are decadent and amazing.
*yes, I desperately need new cookie sheets :)

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Chocolate and Carrots

3 c. powdered sugar
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1/8 t. salt
2-4 egg whites
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray. Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Start by mixing in 2 egg whites, you may need to add up to 2 more. When dough is the consistency of a thick, fudgey brownie batter, add vanilla and chocolate chips. The dough will be gooey, not like traditional cookie dough. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 min. or until tops are shiny and cracked. Cool completely before removing from the pan (or it will be more difficult).

Almond Yardstick

Words could never express how delicious this recipe is! I got this recipe from my VERY talented friend, Dorene. She has a fabulous cooking blog called, KrausnicKitchen. Make sure to check it out. She has impeccable taste and I've never had food prepared by her that was less than amazing!
I'm not sure why this recipe is called a yardstick. It is kind of long and thin, but who knows. In any event, it is soooo good. Try it!

Almond Yardstick

Yardstick Ingredients:     
4 ½ c flour                           
1 package dry active yeast     
½ c warm H2O         
1 1/2 c. margarine softened           
2 eggs beaten

Filling Ingredients:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1 T. almond extract
1 T. water

White Butter Frosting Ingredients:
1/8 c. margarine
2 ½ c powdered sugar
1 T milk 
1 t vanilla
Mix flour and margarine (use pastry cutter). Dissolve yeast in warm water. Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl and add the yeast mixture. Next, add yeast/egg mixture to flour mixture, mix well. Divide dough into four equal parts. Set aside. Mix Filling: mix sugar, margarine, almond extract, and water. Mix well. Mix Frosting – combine ingredients until right consistency.
Grease cookie sheets. A jelly roll pan with 1" sides works well for this. Section dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each part out in a rectangular/oval. Roll the length of the cookie sheet and about 6" wide. Fold over the edges all the way around, about 1/2" to create a crust. Spread each with 1/4 of the filling. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Cool, cut into 1" strips and frost.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunflower Pesto

I love pesto! So does Joe! So do the kids! It is so versatile. You can use it in place of marinara on a pizza. You can toss pasta in it. You can stuff chicken breasts with pesto and cheese. You can make little fancy appetizers with a baguette, cheese and cherry tomatoes. Catch my drift? It's just good to have around. The recipe itself is also versatile. The traditional recipe calls for pine nuts, but walnuts and even sunflower seeds (like this recipe) work well.  The original recipe also calls for Parmesan. You could certainly substitute Romano, or for you health conscious folks, skip the cheese altogether.  For you dorky, yet health conscious people, you can use nutritional yeast in place of the cheese. This not only makes your pesto vegan, but adds protein, vitamins and a delightfully cheesy taste.
I love to make the pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Which, really brought back some memories from my baby food making days! This way, you have the pesto frozen into small quantities that are ready to use. I usually add a little fresh lemon juice to my pesto once it has defrosted to freshen it up.


2/3 c. sunflower seeds (pine nuts or walnuts)
5 c. loosely packed basil leaves
1 1/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. nutritional yeast (parmesan or romano)
8 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Pulse nuts or seeds in blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse. Store in fridge or freezer...or use right away! Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before using.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Curried Carrot Soup

This soup doesn't make sense. I don't know why it is so good! It's basically just carrots and broth pureed together, but something about this particular combination is magic. This soup is delicious and very healthy! Tip: Don't go crazy trying to chop your onions and carrots uniformly as they will just get pureed in the end.

Curried Carrot Soup
Source: Every Day Food's Great Food Fast
2 T. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 t. curry powder
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 cans (or 29 oz total) chicken broth (or vegetable)
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
optional garnish- chopped cilantro (I used a little basmati rice)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, carrots and 3 c. water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat , cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender. *Only fill blender about half full since you are working with hot liquid.  Allow heat to escape by opening the hole in the lid and covering it with a towel. This will prevent hot liquid from splattering. Stir in lemon juice and garnish.

Greta and Miles rating; Miles wasn't a huge fan, but when Greta tasted it she said she was going to eat the whole pot full of soup!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Barley-Mushroom Risotto

We are true risotto lovers. What if I told you that you could make risotto with barley in the place of the starch-laden arborio and it would taste just as good even better than the original? My entire family adores this recipe. I'm not sure that you would be able to sub barley for arborio in every recipe, but the earthiness of the barley really works with the natural flavor of the mushrooms. If you are a risotto fan, I challenge you to try this!

Barley-Mushroom Risotto
Source: Brown Eyed Baker
2 T. olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 t. dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. barley
6 c. broth (veggie, chicken or beef)
1 T. butter
1/2 c. Parmesan, shredded

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and cook until juices are released (about 5 minutes). If mushrooms are sticking to pot, you may add 1-3 T. of water. Add thyme, garlic and barley. Stir well and cook for about an minute. Add 4 c. of broth and turn bring to boiling over high heat. Boil until liquid is almost completely gone. Turn heat down to medium and add 1/2 c. of broth at a time stirring until liquid is mostly absorbed each time. When barley is tender (you will probably use all of the liquid), remove from heat and add butter and Parmesan. Serve!

Greta and Miles rating: Like I said, this is a family favorite. They have no idea that it is barley!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

I love Every recipe I've made from this website has been not only healthy, but fantastic! When I received some Swiss chard in our CSA box this week, I knew I would be trying a new recipe. At first, I wasn't sure that I would like the taste of gnocchi and beans together. Somehow, in this dish the beans take on a more buttery, almost cheesy taste and it just works! This was a snap to throw together and was my first time using pre-made gnocchi.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
Source: Eatingwell

1 T. plus 1 t. Olive oil
1 (16 oz.) pkg. shelf stable gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c. water
6 c. chopped chard leaves
1 (15 oz. can) white beans, rinsed
1 (15 oz. can) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella

Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat in non-stick skillet. Cook gnocchi, stirring until plumped and beginning to brown. About 5-7 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 1 t. oil and onion. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add water and garlic. Cover and cook until onion is soft, 4-6 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring until greens begin to wilt. Add rinsed beans, pepper and tomatoes. Stir. Bring to simmer and stir in gnocchi. Top with cheeses and cover. Cook until cheese is melted and sauce begins to bubble. About 3 minutes.

Greta and Miles rating: They really liked the gnocchi. Greta liked the chard and Miles liked the tomatoes. Overall, a success!

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Risotto

Have you ever made risotto? I used to be so intimidated by risotto. Eventually, my love for this dish won out and I tried a recipe. What I didn't anticipate was how much my children would love it.  Really, what's not to love about rice and cheese? Since I've conquered making risotto, we have tried mushroom risotto, roasted red pepper risotto,  and just plain old Parmesan risotto. I've made risotto so much this past year, that I now feel comfortable creating my own recipe.  Here is the result! It was so creamy and turned out just perfectly.

Asparagus & Goat Cheese Risotto
1/4 c. onion, chopped
4 T. butter
12 oz.  Arborio rice
1 qt. chicken broth
2 c. water
1 c. chopped fresh asparagus
2 oz. goat cheese
Chop asparagus and place in microwavable bowl. Cover with saran wrap and set aside. Chop onion.  Heat butter in medium sized pot over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent.  Meanwhile, combine chicken broth and water in separate pot and warm over medium-low heat.  Add Arborio and stir well, coating with melted butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. broth and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring, until broth is mostly absorbed. Repeat in 1/2 c. increments until rice is done, but al dente. You will not use all of the liquid. This should take about 2 1/2 c. - 3 1/2 c. total.  When rice is almost done, microwave asparagus for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until just beginning to soften.  Remove risotto from heat and stir in asparagus, cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Greta and Miles rating: The kids LOVE their risotto. Greta loves asparagus, but this was a great way to get Miles to eat asparagus as the pieces are small.

Deb's Jello Cake

We celebrated Joe's Birthday yesterday. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday meal, he said, "Steak and Mom's Strawberry Cake".  I do a lot of baking, I mean a lot of baking! This is the 2nd time in the last few years that Joe has requested this cake. The recipe itself is very simple, but it's great! My Mother-in-law has an amazing ability to make low fat and fat free meals and desserts that are AMAZING!  This is known by many as a Jello Poke Cake.  It is simple, moist and as far as cakes go, not too horrible for you.

Deb's Jello Cake
1 white cake mix, prepared as directed on box and cooled
1 (4 serving) box Strawberry or Raspberry jello
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cold water
1 tube fat-free cool whip
Raspberries or Strawberries to garnish
Prepare white cake mix as directed on box. Cool completely. Poke holes using fork all over surface of cake. Boil 1 c. water and add gelatin. Stir and add 1/2 c. cold water. Pour jello mixture over prepared and cooled cake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Top with cool whip and fresh berries. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I make most things from scratch. However, I'm not too proud to admit that a cake mix usually tastes much better than any cake I've made from scratch. When someone asks for a good chocolate cake recipe, I always point them to this one. It is your traditional, rich, moist chocolate cake. Tonight, I paired it with a Salted Caramel Buttercream and took my stand-by cake recipe to a new level! What a divine combination!

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake (cupcakes)
Source: Hershey's Cocoa container

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
1 c. boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk. Add wet ingredients and stir. Add the boiling water and stir well. Batter will be runny. Pour into pans or cupcake cups. Bake cupcakes about 20 minutes or until center of cake springs back when gently pressed. If using 2) 9" pans, bake 30-35 minutes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream
Source: gimmesomeoven

1/4 c. sugar
2 T. water
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. salted butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar

Briefly stir sugar and water in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil (do not stir) for 6-7 minutes or until dark amber in color. Remove from heat and slowly add cream stirring with wooden spoon. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes. In mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour cooled caramel mixture into butter and sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes or until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baked French Toast

Some of my favorite recipes are those that you can make ahead, leave in the fridge overnight and then not worry about until lunch time. It was so great to come home from church to the smell of baked french toast. My husband put the topping on and threw it in the oven. This is the perfect breakfast to serve overnight guests! It is delicious, fancy and requires no preparation the day you make it!

Baked French Toast
Adapted from: Paula Deen

12-18 slices french bread
8 eggs
2 c. half and half (I used fat free)
1 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
dash of salt

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, cut into chunks
1 c. walnuts (or pecans)
1/2 t. cinnamon

Grease a 9x13 pan. Arrange bread slices in 2 overlapping layers in pan. In large bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour milk mixture over bread slices, spooning some of the mixture over the tops of the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Combine topping ingredients in medium bowl and combine with pastry blender. Store in ziplock in refrigerator over night.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble topping over bread and bake for 30-40 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baby Bella Pizza

Don't you just love recipes that are happy accidents? A few weeks ago, I gathered all the ingredients to make this recipe for Shaved Asparagus Pizza. When I went to make it, I realized that there were some nasty mold spots on my asparagus. Insert plan B--- We had some leftover baby bella mushrooms from my daughter's most requested meal, Mushroom Risotto. I substituted mushrooms for the asparagus and the result was fantastic! This is an easy, quick meal that is delicious and has mass appeal.

Baby Bella Pizza
Adapted from: Annie's Eats

1 homemade (or good quality) pizza crust
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and Pepper
5 oz. Boursin Garlic and Herb spreadable cheese
5 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2/3 c. Parmesan, shredded

Roll pizza crust out and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Using a fork, crumble Boursin Cheese over top of crust (like you would with feta). Top with sliced mushrooms and Parmesan. Season again with fresh black pepper. Bake at 450 for 10-13 minutes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sauteed Radishes

CSA season is officially here, and this means it is a season of healthier eating in our home. Last CSA season in the spring we received a lot of radishes. Last year, I'm sad to say that I either gave them away or wasted them. This year, I found a great recipe for sauteed radishes. Cooking them really tames the bitterness. This is a great side dish if you have an abundance of radishes!

Sauteed Radishes
source: Epicurious

2lbs. radishes, coarsely chopped
2 T. butter
1 t. salt
1 T. minced garlic
3 T. chopped chives

Heat 1 1/2 T. butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When melted, saute radishes in salt, stirring until crisp tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to plate and keep warm. Saute garlic in remaining 1 T. of butter for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cooked radishes and chives.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stove Top Mac & Cheese

No, this is not the most exciting recipe, but I have made it about six times since I discovered it. I think that says enough. This is an easy, crowd pleaser. Personally, I am a fan of Mac and Cheese with a bubbly crusty top, but this smooth and creamy version also has a place in my heart. Don't be intimidated by the raw eggs. They cook up with the heat from the pasta and make all the difference in the world. My favorite part of this recipe is not that everyone loves it or that I always have the ingredients on hand, but that you make it in one pot!

Stove Top Mac & Cheese
adapted from: The Food Network

2 c. whole wheat macaroni
4 T. butter or margarine
6 oz. skim milk
2 eggs
1/2 t. hot sauce (Frank's or Tabasco)
1 t. salt
3/4 t. dry mustard powder
freshly ground black pepper
10 oz. shredded sharp cheddar

Cook pasta as directed on package. Whisk milk, eggs, hot sauce, salt, pepper and mustard together. Set aside. Toss drained pasta in butter and return to pot. Pour Milk mixture over hot pasta and stir well. Mix in cheese and stir, cooking over medium heat until cheese is completely melted.

Greta and Miles rating: What could be bettter???

Friday, May 6, 2011

Asian Coleslaw

This is a recipe that my sister made for us in Switzerland. As soon as I took a bite, I knew that my husband would LOVE it! Joe is a huge peanut butter sauce fan. I really do not care for traditional coleslaw, but this is fantastic. My hubby said that sunflower seeds would have been a great addition, and you know what- he is right! I will add them next time for sure. My sister served this side dish with some delicious spicy chicken burgers. I served it over a maple-soy marinated steak.
Asian Coleslaw
3 T. rice wine vinegar
3 T. vegetable oil
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. soy sauce
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 T. minced garlic
splash of fish sauce

3 c. coleslaw mix
1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. shredded purple cabbage
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
3 green onions, chopped
*1/4 c. chopped cilantro (optional, I didn't use- my husband is allergic)

Combine dressing ingredients and whisk. Combine slaw ingredients. Toss in dressing right before serving.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bang Bang Shrimp

Welcome to the post where I talk about Hooter's!  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined blogging about Hooter's, but here we go...My parents recently took us out to dinner for my Father's birthday (NOT at Hooter's). We all raved about this appetizer! This recipe is the combination of a few copycat recipes that I've found online, mainly this one.  
I was amazed at how simple this recipe was, and I actually already had all of the ingredients on hand, with the exception of the Hooter's breading mix. I had no idea that the whole Hooter's chain was even still in existence. Thankfully, I only had to make a trip to the grocery store to get my mix :) This was absolutely delicious!! Serves 4.

Bang Bang Shrimp
1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
3/4 c. Hooter's Brand breading mix (a lot of the recipes simply use cornstarch)
vegetable oil for frying

1/2 c. mayo
1/3 c. sweet chili sauce
2 t. siracha sauce

2 heads of romaine, roughly chopped
scallions for garnish

Mix mayo and chili sauces to make dressing. Set aside.

Peel and devein shrimp. Heat oil 350-375 degrees  in large skillet (I used my electric skillet). Use enough oil to cover shrimp completely. Bread shrimp in mix and fry until golden brown.  Transfer fried shrimp to plate with thick layer of paper towels to absorb the oil.
Toss shrimp in dressing and serve over romaine. Garnish with scallions.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crock Pot Enchiladas

I love enchiladas- my husband, not so much. So, over the years I have made a lot of enchilada recipes in search  of "the one" that the hubby would really like. This is it! I use home made enchilada sauce from this recipe. I really think the homemade sauce is the key. This is a versatile recipe that can be used to make traditional enchiladas, or as a casserole type dish in the crock pot. You can also use ground beef, shredded chicken, or ground turkey like we do.

Crock Pot Enchiladas
Source: Passionate Homemaking

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1lb. ground turkey
29 oz. enchilada sauce (I use a little less than 29 oz.)
2 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. greek yogurt (or sour cream)
8 whole wheat tortillas
shredded cheddar (about 2 1/2 c.)

Heat small amount of oil in large skillet. Saute onion and garlic until lightly browned. Add meat and brown. Stir in enchilada sauce, beans and greek yogurt. Spread thin layer of sauce in bottom of crock pot. Then layer tortilla, sauce and cheese repeating until sauce is gone and ending with cheese. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Greta and Miles rating: They both love this recipe. It is a little spicy, but they just drink a lot of milk with it!

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is a great healthy-ish muffin recipe.While it does have chocolate chips and sugar, it doesn't have oil, and has some whole wheat flour...not bad considering the end result. I really think the coconut milk adds a little more moisture than cow's milk would. If you haven't tried coconut milk yet, go for it! My kids love it and it is the only milk that I drink.

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 c. Flour
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 T. cocoa powder
1 1/2 chocolate chips, separated

1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. coconut milk (or cows milk, soy milk, or almond milk)
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Combine dry ingredients and 1 c. of chocolate chips. In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Stir dry and wet ingredients until just combined.  Pour batter into 12 muffin cups and sprinkle each with additional 1/2 c. of chocolate chips. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until muffin springs back when gently pressed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce

Ok. This is a really, really good recipe. I would be very pleased to be served this dish in a restaurant. I can not believe how simple it is. This would be the perfect dinner to serve to last minute dinner guests. It is elegant and packed with flavor, but extremely simple to make. Oh, and did I mention that I don't even like mustard?? :)

Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce
Source: Fresh Food Fast

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. Olive oil
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. dried tarragon

Season each chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.Add chicken and saute until cooked completely- 10-12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to plate and keep warm.

Pour the wine into hot skillet and cook stirring until reduced (about 1 minute). Whisk in cream, mustard and tarragon. Cook, whisking about 2 minutes, or until thickened. Right before serving drizzle sauce over chicken.

Greta and Miles rating: (5 year old and 3 year old) They could not eat this fast enough!

Easy Meringues

I have not been baking as much as I usually do. In an effort to lighten things up a bit- I made this recipe for meringues. I made a few vanilla and a few chocolate. They are light, delicious and everyone loves them. At around 35 calories a piece, they are hard to beat! With only a few ingredients, they are a snap to throw together. They do however require a little extra time to just sit and dry out.

Easy Meringues
Adapted from: All Recipes
2 egg whites
1/2 c.sugar
AND one of the following:
 1 t. vanilla-to make vanilla meringues
1 1/2 T. cocoa powder- to make chocolate meringues
2 t. instant coffee granules- to make espresso meringues

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Gradually add in sugar and beat until mixture is no longer gritty when tested between fingers. Fold in desired flavoring.  Spoon into pastry bag or ziplock (with small hole cut in one of the corners). Squeeze mixture in mounds onto cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven off, but leave meringues in oven for about 2 hours to dry out.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart

This recipe is simple and impressive. It is elegant, yet easy enough to throw in the oven at a moment's notice. Nothing says spring like asparagus and our family could not get enough of this dish. While this may not be the most healthy thing you'll eat all week, I guarantee it will be one of the best!

Asparagus & Gruyere Tart
Source: Martha Stewart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 1/2 lb. asparagus, cleaned and rough edges trimmed
11/2 c. Gruyere, shredded
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll pastry dough into a 16x10" rectangle. With sharp knife, score dough 1" in from outside and using a fork prick the dough every 1/2".
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and remove from oven. Sprinkle with cheese, top with asparagus, alternating end and tip. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
Greta and Miles rating: They loved this and we actually ran out. I think they would have ate an additional 2 pieces. Best way I've found to get Miles to eat asparagus.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

The fabulous Joelen strikes again! My lasagna hating husband loves this lasagna. I just love how little effort this dish requires. It's also a little more interesting than your run of the mill lasagna. I have made a few changes to the original. This is how we like lasagna at our house...

Skillet Lasagna
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 t. salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. ground turkey
10 whole wheat lasagna noodles (dry and broken into 2" pieces)
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. mozzarella, shredded
1/2 c. Parmesan, shredded- plus additional for garnish
1 c. ricotta cheese
3 T. chopped basil

Pour undrained diced tomatoes  into 1-qt. liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 qt..  Set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 t. salt. Cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground turkey (beef or sausage would work as well) and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink.
Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low.Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20-22 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses. Season with additional salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and additional Parmesan.

Greta and Miles rating: OK, so my kids really do not care for red sauces. They did OK with this one.

Macaroni Grill Bread

I used to love the Macaroni Grill. I haven't been there to eat in years, but I remember going there to eat after working on wedding flowers and eating insane amounts of their bread. We would dip it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese and a little freshly cracked pepper. Sometimes, we would go and just order a Caesar salad so we could have an excuse to pig out on bread. This recipe is not identical, but is pretty darn close. The original recipe is a bread maker recipe, but I have successfully made this in the oven as well.  I make this recipe exactly like the original, but when it is freshly baked I rub the crust with olive oil and give a little sprinkle of sea salt. Yum!

Macaroni Grill Bread
1 c. warm water
1 1/2 t. yeast
1 1/2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
3 T. olive oil
1/4 t. Italian seasoning
1 T. rosemary
1/4 t. pepper
2 1/2 c. flour

Add all ingredients as directed in bread maker instructions. Bake on white bread cycle.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Feta

Another hit from Annie's Eats! I even botched this recipe by accidentally opening and dumping in a can of tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes. My little glitch didn't matter though because the flavors in this dish are divine. I served this over cous cous, but it would have been wonderful over pasta as well!

Roasted Shrimp with Feta
3 T. Olive Oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce (original calls for diced tomatoes, plus 2 t. tomato paste)
1 1 /2 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 c. bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 t. lemon zest
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 oz. crumbled feta
juice of lemon
lemon wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion in 2 T. of oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant or about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid has reduced by half.

 Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes.
Combine lemon zest, bread crumbs and remaining 1 T. of oil.

Pour tomato sauce into baking dish and place shrimp, tail side up, in tomato sauce. Top with feta and then bread crumb mixture.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until shrimp is done and topping is browned. Squeeze lemon juice of dish and serve with additional lemon wedges.

Greta and Miles rating: Greta loved this, and Miles loved the flavor of the sauce, but is not a fan of shrimp that has not been breaded :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Best French Dip

The best French dip I've ever had! I found this recipe a few weeks ago on Joelen's blog. I've since made this recipe THREE times! Throw everything into a crock pot and when the meat is ready, just grill up some buns. FABULOUS.

Best French Dip
4 lb. Chuck Roast
1 c. soy sauce
6 c. water
1 T. dried rosemary
1 T. minced garlic
3 bay leaves

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot set to low setting. Cook at least 4 hours (or until meat is done) but the longer, the better! Serve on grilled buns with au jus. Serves 10.

Greta and Miles rating: They are normally not big fans of red meat and they adored this!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hint of Hazelnut Pound Cake

This is one of those recipes that turned out so well, that I couldn't believe I made it! I found the recipe on a message board, but the original calls for heavy whipping cream. Boy, am I glad I used the coffee creamer. This turned out absolutely perfect! The texture is just like you'd imagine the perfect pound cake to be. It is dense, moist, soft and the hint of hazelnut- pure perfection! This cake would be fantastic with a layer of chocolate ganache on top, or a homemade strawberry sauce, or better yet- both!

Hint of Hazelnut Pound Cake
1 c. butter
3 c. sugar
6 eggs
3 c. flour
2 c. hazelnut flavored coffee creamer (liquid)
1 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in flour and creamer alternately. Mix in vanilla. Bake in 10" tube pan or 2 loaf pans for about an hour and a half or until top of loaf springs back when pressed gently.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Banana Muffins

I've been in sort of a rut with snacks for the kids. It is so easy (and healthy) to just give them a piece of fruit and call it good. But, lately, I've been wanting to spice things up a bit. I found this simple, healthy recipe and the kids loved it. I loved that it doesn't have any butter or oil and only 1/4 c. of sugar. The original recipe was for mini-muffins. Since I don't have a mini-muffin pan, I made full size- which was a good thing because my kids each ate 3 full sized muffins!

Banana Muffins

2-3 bananas, smashed
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 egg

1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients, just until combined and spoon into muffin tins. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I adore recipes like this! You know, recipes that have simple ingredients, but some how it comes together to make something divine! I heard raves about this recipe from some friends and when I read the ingredient list, I thought, "hmmm...can't be that good, can it?" Oh, yes it can! The best part is that this recipe is super quick. The original recipe is from Kraft foods website. I've made a few changes as noted below. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces
1 t. oil
1 T. taco seasoning

4 C. low sodium chicken broth
1 C. salsa
1 C. frozen corn
*1 C. beans (I used black beans and pintos) optional
1 C. shredded cheddar

Cut tortillas into strips. Toss in a little oil and salt well. Bake at 400 degrees until crispy. Stirring every 3 minutes or so. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in taco seasoning until completely cooked. Combine remaining ingredients (except cheese) in soup pot and cook until hot. Serve with cheese, greek yogurt (or sour cream), avocado slices, or scallions. Top each bowl with tortilla strips.

Greta and Miles rating: They LOVE this. As with all soups, they are not crazy about the broth, so I just strain most of the broth from their bowls.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brothy Chinese Noodles

I was recently fortunate enough to get to visit my sister in Switzerland! She is a fabulous cook! I promise to share some of the wonderful meals she made for us. This is a recipe she prepared for us that came from the EatingWell website. If you have not visited this site, it is a must! It is one of the few websites with healthy food that are actually tastes good! My sister substituted ground chicken for the ground turkey. I've made it both ways and the chicken is the best! Thanks, Jill for this recipe :)

Brothy Chinese Noodles
2 T. sesame oil
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 C. chopped onion (or scallions)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. ginger, minced
8 oz. dried Chinese noodles
4 C. chicken broth
3/4 C. water
4 C. thinly sliced bok choy
3 T. soy sauce (I used Bragg's Aminos)
1 T. rice vinegar

Heat 1 T. oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until no longer pink and transfer to plate. Add noodles, broth, water, bok choy, soy sauce, vinegar and 1 T. of oil to pot. Cook, stirring until noodles are tender. Approximately 5 minutes. Return chicken mixture to pot and serve.

Greta and Miles rating: The whole family loved this comfort dish!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper & Parmesan Risotto

The only thing you need to know about this recipe is that I made it twice in one week! The only change I made from the original was to used roasted red peppers that were in a jar vs. roasting my own. We are on quite the risotto kick here, and this one was wonderful!

Roasted Red Pepper & Parmesan Risotto
4 c. vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 t. olive oil
1 large shallot (or 1/4 c. onion) finely diced
1 c. arborio rice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red bell pepper roasted, or 1 canned roasted red pepper
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan
1 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat broth over low heat. Meanwhile, chop pepper, onion and garlic. Set each aside separately. Heat olive oil in medium pan. Saute shallots (or onion) until translucent. Add rice and garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add wine and chopped pepper. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 c. broth and cook until almost absorbed. Repeat until rice has cooked for about 25 minutes or is al dente. You will not use all of the broth. Remove from heat and add butter, cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Greta and Miles rating: They adored this!!

Cheddar Chipotle Scones

Seriously, what is better than a warm scone on a winter's day? These scones were fabulous! I can't believe they only have 3 tablespoons of butter! Next time I make these, I will use even more chipotle. The flavor was great, but I personally would have liked it even stronger. That being said, the kids loved these and they were not even close to being too spicy for them. This recipe is from Serious Eats. I could not believe how flaky these were, and I even subbed Greek yogurt for the sour cream! Try these, they would be fantastic with some spicy Italian sausage added.

Cheddar Chipotle Scones
2 c. AP Flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 T. butter, cold and cut into small pieces

3/4 c. sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
1/2 c. sharp shredded cheddar
1  minced chipotle pepper in adobo
1 T. water
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350.Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter using pastry blender or 2 forks, until resembles coarse crumbs. Combine sour cream, cheese, pepper, water and egg and mix well. Fold into dry ingredients mixing just until combined. Knead into 8" round slab and cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto

Don't you love getting a new cookbook? I very rarely buy cookbooks, so I usually only receive them as gifts. For Christmas this year, I received the cookbook, Fresh Flavor Fast. I recently borrowed this book from the library and immediately added it to my Amazon wishlist! Needless to say, I was very pleased to receive this book. This next recipe was an absolute hit. I will be adding it to our family's favorites for sure. I made a few changes to the original recipe and the recipe below is how I prepared it at home.

Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto
29 oz. chicken broth
2 c. water
3 T. butter
10 oz. mixed fresh mushrooms (I used baby bellas and white buttons)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. sherry
1/2 c. grated Parmesan

In medium saucepan heat chicken broth. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, heat 1 T. butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1 T. butter and onion to large saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add rice and stir. Cook 1 minute.Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Ladle 2 c. of hot broth into saucepan with rice. Stir occasionally and cook until almost completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat, adding 1 c. of broth at a time and cooking until liquid is almost absorbed before adding next cup. Cook until rice is al dente and creamy (about 25 minutes). You may not use all of the broth.
Remove from heat and add Parmesan, 1 T. butter, and half of mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining mushrooms and additional grated cheese.

Greta and Miles rating: They both LOVED this. Greta even asked if she could have it for snack a couple of hours after dinner!