Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week of December 24th

Chicken Curry with Cashews (again) LOVE it!

Dinner at Becky's- she made Asian Beef Tacos

Christmas dinner- tri-tip from Costco, greek vegetables, rolls and cider

*Grilled Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper paninis- thank you Becky for the delicious recipe

*Chicken Vegetable Marinara Bake- quick, weeknight, kid-friendly meal

Dinner at Becky's- she made Dr. Pepper Pork

Homemade hummus

* = new recipe

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week of December 17th

*Black Bean Carrot and Goat Cheese Quesadillas- very yummy and froze well (reheated in oven)

*Jalapeno Chip Crusted Chicken- YUM! We made them in to tenders so the kids would eat them easier during our Grinch movie night

Costco Pizza for babysitters

Pasta E Fagioli- served this for company and Harper had 3 servings


Pancake Squares

* = new recipes

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Week of December 10th

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches- LOVE these sandwiches. If you have a Trader Joes near you, make them next week!

Taco Salad- James said, "I want to eat taco salad EVERY night!"

Community Group- Jordan made these Vanilla Chai Cupcakes. Dare I say they were better than Trophy Cupcakes?  I just might go there.

BLT salad- added an avocado to take it up to another level of awesomeness)

*Linguine and Spinach Frittatas

Cesear Salad with grilled chicken

Peppermint Pretzels- last year they were a total fail (I think I microwaved the chocolate too long) but this year I got it right. So addictive!
Cookies and Cream Fudge- brought to my sister's cookie exchange
Blueberry Pie Pancakes- Very good

* = new recipe

Week of December 3rd, 2012

*Mexican Pizza- a copycat Taco Bell mexican pizza recipe. How could this not be delicious? I was not disappointed!

Community Group

*Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti- very good. I'll make this again for sure but I will make my own white sauce next time with a traditional rue (using flour).

*Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches with homemade hummus (I'm a homemade hummus convert!)
Fry Halloumi in a skillet , put in pita with hummus, cucumbers and tomatoes

one can chickpeas, drained
one clove garlic, minced
one big heaping spoonful tahini paste (probably a heaping tablespoon)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
a pinch or two of salt

Put everything in the blender and go for it.  My vitamix gets it really creamy, but it takes several times to turn it off, push the stuff back down, and turn on again.  If it's too thick, I start by adding just a bit of water and if it still needs more liquid a little bit more olive oil or lemon juice.

* = new recipes

Fudgy Brownies with Cookie Butter Frosting (again)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top 10 recipes of 2012

In no particular order...

Huevos Rancheros- One of the recipes Mark found and cooked for me this year. I've been asking him to make them ever since. Delish!

Asian Beef Tacos has to make the list, not only because they are delicious but also because no top 10 recipe list of mine would be complete without at least one taco recipe!

Fruit, Nut and Goat Cheese Salad- this is one of the few recipes I repeated this past year so you know it's good. It's awesome for serving to company.

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich- take the time to make the carmalized onions. Delish!

Thai Turkey Burgers with Broccoli Slaw- This recipe made Mark a convert to ground turkey. The flavors are so awesome!

Maple Granola- I really got into making granola this year and of all the recipes I tried, this was my favorite.

Malt Cookie Bars- Crazy good. Best cold.

Smores Cookies- These cookies are probably my favorite cookie I've ever had. 

Chicken Curry with Cashews- This recipe made my house smell like curry for days but it was so good I'd be willing to make it again :) It has some kick but all of my kids (even the 10 month old) gobbled it up.

Salad with chicken, cheddar, apples and spiced pecans- Another recipe that I thought about making again as soon as I finished eating. All the flavors together make one of the best salads I've eaten.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week of November 26th, 2012

*Chicken Curry with Cashews- 5 Stars! I used 3 chicken breasts and next time will half the salt. Really yummy! Served with roasted green beans

Hot Dogs, chips and salsa, grapes for Commuinty Group

*Sweet Potato Burgers- Didn't stay together well but even Mark (Mr. Sweet Potato Hater) agreed these were tasty

Costco Pizza (eye appointments at Costco)

Flank Steak on the Grill- marinated in Soy Vey with Broccoli Salad (I'm obsessed)

Sonoran Hot Dogs for Family Dinner- bacon-wrapped hot dog in a soft Mexican roll topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Served with Kale Salad

* = new recipes

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Week of November 19th, 2012

Dinner at the Laramas- I am bringing *Fudgy Brownies with Cookie Butter Frosting

Community Group

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup- another favorite fall soup

Thanksgiving Menu
Twice-baked Mashed Potatoes
Praline Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Jello
Green Beans with Bacon


Mexican Style Meat in the crockpot

Family Dinner at the Wornicks

Week of November 12th, 2012

BBQ pork wraps- pork shoulder in the crockpot with bbq sauce

Community Group

Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup and roasted broccoli- always a favorite soup of mine

*Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups- very easy week night meal

Dinner at Zeek's Pizza


To Die For Blueberry Muffins
*Caramel Apple Bundt Cake- an amazing fall dessert
*Egg Nog Coffee Cake- delicious!

* = new recipes

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week of November 5th, 2012

*Breaded Buffalo Chicken with Goat Cheese and Avocado Relish- I only did goat cheese and avocados on top and it was so so good. I cut the chicken in half instead of pounding thin.

*Philly Steak Pizza- We all loved these but Mark was probably the most excited about having some red meat (we've eaten a lot of chicken lately). He'd say 5 stars for sure.

*Quinoa Fried Rice- Ok but needed something more. Peas? Chopped broccoli? Peanuts perhaps?

*Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli- LOVED it

Salad with chicken, cheddar, apples, pecans- Becky made this for dinner swap and I was so glad because I've been craving it ever since I made it for her birthday. Seriously my favorite salad right now.

Stephanie's Falafel from dinner swap in a pita with lettuce and tomato

Family Dinner at Becky's house

Flax Seed and Honey Muffins

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week of October 29, 2012

We're back from our incredible trip to England and Ireland! We had a wonderful time together as a family exploring castle ruins, driving through beautiful countryside and eating good food. This week's menu is definitely influenced by our travels!

BBQ Chili- When we returned to Seattle, all the leaves had changed and this is the perfect meal to kick-start fall with!

*BBQ Chicken Quinoa- While we were visiting the Paynes, Angela cooked up some amazing meals. This was one of them!

Chipotle Boorito Night on Halloween

*Spicy Pork Stew with Chickpeas and Sausage- Also a meal Angela cooked for us. 5 stars!!

*Roasted Squash and Goat Cheese Salad- I had this in the London airport. Yum! Roasted squash (I used acorn), romaine, arugula, sweet and spicy glazed pecans, dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and ranch.

*Gnocchi Mac and Cheese- Very simple weeknight meal

*Sweet Potato Pancakes- very good
*Peanut Butter Cup Smores Bars- Mark requested this as a birthday dessert. It was the least I could do since his birthday was spent in airports and 3 different planes for a total of 22 hours of traveling time

* = new recipe

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week of October 1st

Pear Pancakes

Burgers and sauteed spinach

*Enchilada Meatballs- James if we could make these for breakfast, lunch and dinner :) 5 stars!

Blue Chips Chicken Salad- I could eat this every other week

*Carrot-thyme Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Dinner out at Rainin' Ribs BBQ and Smokehouse- Delicious! Will be back again for sure!

Free birthday burgers at Red Robin- an October tradition for the Heavilands

Pear pancakes- they call for self-raising flour. Use this website to make your own from all-purpose flour. 5 Stars!

* = new recipe

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week of September 24th, 2012

Cider-Glazed Chicken

Balsamic Goat Cheese Chicken- On a date last night Mark and I were talking about our favorite food of all time and this recipe came to mind.

Community Group

*Taco Burgers- Delicious! Burgers didn't stay together all that great but the flavor was fantastic! Thank you Emilie for forwarding the recipe to me. 5 stars!

Green Chili Egg Burritoes- If you ask James was his favorite food is, normally he'll say pizza but once in awhile he'll say egg burritoes. :)

*Vodka Cream Pasta- we needed to add red pepper flakes, kinda bland.

*Cider-Glazed Chicken with apple fennel salad- Very easy to throw together- great fall meal for company! Thank you Jentry for sending the recipe to me!

*Cheddar, chicken, apples, spiced pecan salad- I made this for my sister's birthday lunch and it was the perfect fall salad. We both loved it! Make this one soon!

Plum Apple Muffins

* = new recipe

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week of September 17th, 2012

Pasta salad- 1/2 box pasta, 1 c. chopped ham, 1 c. mayo, 1 c. chopped broccoli, 1T. ranch dressing, salt and pepper, and sliced black olives

Deep Dish Pizza- I had planned to make my sister's chipotle chicken pizza but because of dental appointment drama, we had cheese instead

Impromptu dinner out with the McFarlanes at Five Guys

Kids and babysitters (Kels and Aus) had Chicken Ceasar Salad and Mark and I went to FIVE in Edmonds

*Baked Dijon Salmon

Dinner with the fam at Lunchbox Laboratory . Wow, we went out to dinner a lot this week. Too many good groupons lately! Lunchbox Laboratory was AWESOME!  We will definitely go back!

Banana Banana Bread
Eileen's Rice Krispy Treats

*= new recipe

Week of September 10th, 2012

Burrito Pie- one of the first meals Mark ever made for me. Definitely one of the most repeated meals in our house.

Costco Pizza- our go-to family dinner out (other than Chipotle)

Lemon, Chicken, Dill and Orzo- another one of our favorite meals to repeat.

Quinoa Salad- I made this for dinner swap this month.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches- I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes this time and I liked them a lot!

Dinner at my brothers new place

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Pasta- I loved the flavor but would have doubled the cauliflower

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week of September 3rd, 2012

Dinner on the patio at Hamburger Harry's in Edmonds. Service was horrible, hamburgers were good and the sandbox for the kids was amazing.

Saisha's birthday dinner/James' night before pre-k dinner- Hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon

My dad made a huge pot of Cioppino with seafood from Pike Place Market. What a treat!

Taco salad- lettuce, taco-seasoned ground beef, black beans, avocado, corn, peppers

James' school potluck. We brought this Asian Chicken Orzo dish.

Whidbey Island getaway with the sibs. My sister grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Week of August 27th, 2012

Pumpkin Enchiladas- I made a modified version of this recipe. For the sauce I used the same amount of water but one cup pumpkin, one cup corn salsa from Trader Joes, 1/4 cup black beans and the chili powder.

Dinner at Community Group- Jordan brought dinner this week and she made these amazing Cake Batter Rice Krispy Cupcakes. They were AMAZING. So bad for you. So good.

*Oven Fried Cheese Ravioli- Big thumbs up from the kids and hubby

Slow Cooker Ribs- as tender as always

Dinner at my sister's- she bought yummy brats from Double D Meats. If you live in Seattle and haven't been to this awesome butcher shop- go now! Their meat and prices are awesome.

Teriyaki Bowls with steamed broccoli. Soy-vay marinade.

My dad is in town so one night he made his famous spaghetti sauce.

*Whole Wheat Apple Scones- Not as amazing as these scones but still tasty and moist for whole wheat. I would make again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week of August 20th, 2012

*Gingery Pork Meatballs- I really enjoyed the flavor in these meatballs. Angela had mentioned the noodles were a little bland so I added some soy sauce while cooking the veggies. I would definitely make again.

*Italian Beef Sandwiches- I served these for community group and I thought they were ok. I like these French Dip sandwiches a lot more.

*Lemon Spaghetti- Perfect easy meal for two different picnics we had this week- dinner at Matthews Beach and lunch at Jetty Island. It's hard to get my kids to eat anything at the beach because they are so distracted. This recipe worked!

*Swiss Chard Tacos- Our neighbor John was gracious to give us some swiss chard from his garden. Mark was not excited about this recipe but ended up enjoying them. He said he could mainly taste the caramelized onions and the feta cheese. And that was fine by him.

Chicken marinated with Soy-vay teriyaki sauce, grilled and served with brown rice and snap peas and peppers

Dinner at my sister's house- she made the always amazing Pizza Pockets

*Pumpkin Spice Granola- James said, "Mom, please don't make this kind again." I thought it was pretty tasty but apparently not a fav of the entire family!

My Favorite Websites for Recipes

People often ask me where I find most of my recipes. My favorite way is by people sending me recipes they've tried and loved. I LOVE recommendations. (Hint, hint) The other recipes I find from websites. Here are my most frequented:

Pinterest (I love picking recipes by looking at pictures)

Let's Eat (Angela's blog- healthy, family-friendly food)

Good Eats, Sweet Treats (Becky (my sister) posts her weekly menu- always yummy)

Our Best Bites (A wide variety of tasty, uncomplicated recipes)

Mel's Kitchen Cafe (same as above)

What are your go-to recipe sites?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Week of August 13th, 2012

*Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Roasted Brussels Sprouts- We loved this but wished there was more of a pesto flavor. I would have used 1/2 cup instead of the 1/3 cup it calls for.

*Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous Wraps- Angela recommended this one because it's fast and simple. It's a great inexpensive, week night meal. We used an entire box of herbed couscous.

*Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad- I really liked the flavor combination of this unique salad. It took us a looooooooong time to cook the black-eyed peas. This would be a fun New Years recipe.

Fruit Nut Salad- A fun meal for the first night of my mother-in-law's visit with us.

Pizza at Five Restaurant in Edmonds- Awesome patio, totally kid friendly. I would never take my kids to the swanky restaurant inside but the patio was perfect. It was the perfect place to go on the evening it was 94 degrees in Seattle. What?!?

*Quinoa Protein Balls- These are a really great snack! I also love that they are in the freezer so I'm not eating more than I should.

* = new recipe

Changes to Bites

I'm switching things up here on Bites. With my sweet three babes, I have very little time to blog, take pictures of meals, etc. However, I still love to try new recipes and I want to continue to document the recipes I try so I remember which ones to try again! So, instead of posting each recipe individually, I will be posting a weekly menu with links to each recipe. I will also put an asterisk next to each new recipe. To search, continue to use the search bar at the very top left corner of the page and then sort by date once the results come up. Recipes within the weekly menu will still show up. Let me know if there are any suggestions you have about the new format. I hope this blog can still be a source of fun recipes and encouragement to get cookin'!

Chicken and Quinoa Burritoes

I saw a quinoa burrito on the menu at one of our favorite coffee shops in Edmonds so I searched until I found this recipe which sounded similar. We all loved these. Perfect for our picnic at the beach in Edmonds.

4 burrito-size whole-wheat tortillas, warmed
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken, warmed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and warmed
1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs (didn't have so I left out)
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup corn salsa (Trader Joes brand is yummy)

Dividing evenly, top the warmed tortillas with the chicken, beans, quinoa, Monterey Jack, cilantro, yogurt, and avocado.
Roll into burritos and serve with the salsa.

Summer Salad

One of my favorite summer salads I've ever made!
Ribbons of yellow squash and green zucchini (just used my veggie peeler)
Sliced mini heirloom tomatoes of various colors (they are selling these at Costco right now)
Red and orange pepper strips
Purple onion strips
Fresh cooked corn (I took the silks out and then microwaved 2 ears for 5min) Creamy goat cheese
Bag of Mixed Greens
Vinegarette (I used one from Trader Joes)

Smores Cookies

If I had a 10 Star label, this recipe would get it. Seriously, seriously amazing.

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight (I did one batch right away and another after chilling overnight and found there was no difference.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper. I used one 11x17 pan and one 9x13 pan but you can really use any sized pans you want.
Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching). I used 16 graham cracker squares on one pan and 10 squares on another. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. I averaged about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per graham cracker square as seen in the picture above. Press down slightly with fingertips.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pistachio Pesto Pasta

James was super excited about using his basil plant for this recipe. Hopefully it's barren branches will survive!

1 lb of pasta
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup of unsalted pistachios
2 cups of fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp feta cheese
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup olive oil

Add pasta to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook according to box directions. While it’s cooking prepare the pesto.
Add the garlic clove to the food processor, and pulse until chopped
Add the pistachios and pulse until pistachios are finely chopped
Add everything except the olive oil and mix until well combined
While it’s still mixing, slowly add the olive oil
Add the pesto to pasta and mix well, serve hot or cold
We topped ours with pistachios, grape tomatoes, feta cheese and avocado chunks.
Save any leftover pesto covered in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.

Chickpea, Lemon Herb Salad

Photo Credit: Green Plate Rule
This recipe fit the bill for a picnic at the park.

15 oz. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. sweet onion, diced
1 lg. garlic clove, minced
1/8 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. pepper
1t. basil puree or 1 T. basil, fresh, chopped
1 T. Italian parsley, chopped
2 T. lemon juice, fresh
2 T. parmesan cheese, grated (the good stuff!)
Bag of spinach

Saute onion and garlic until softened in olive oil over medium heat in a small saute pan – add salt and pepper.
Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, basil, Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature over bed of spinach.

World's Best Chicken?

I kept seeing this recipe pop up on pinterest, with the title "World's Best Chicken." Well, the verdict is in from Bites...tasty, but not world's best. It was very moist and flavorful but my vote for world's best chicken would be Balsamic Goat Cheese Chicken.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Rosemary (I used dried)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour mustard mixture over chicken. No need to marinate. I love that because I hate marinating/often forget to until it’s too late.

Bake for 40 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Season with rosemary.

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wraps

We all LOVED this recipe I made some slaw without the chipotles for the kids and we all gobbled them up. Highly recommend!

2 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar
1 tablespoon(s) canola oil
2 teaspoon(s) finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
2 cup(s) shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup(s) chopped fresh cilantro
1 can(s) (15-ounce) white beans, rinsed
1  ripe avocado
1/2 cup(s) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon(s) minced red onion
4  8- to 10-inch whole-wheat wraps or tortillas

Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot, and cilantro; toss to combine.
Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.
To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Emilie raves about this pancake recipe. We followed her suggestion to use whole wheat pastry flour for all of the flour and they came out great. They are not as light and fluffy as Mark's famous pancakes but the kids couldn't tell a difference and I really enjoyed them. Following the Heaviland tradition, we also added a mashed banana to ours.

3/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C low-fat buttermilk *
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Cooking Spray or butter for pan

*As a substitute for 1 C buttermilk, place 1 Tbs lemon juice (or vinegar but I prefer lemon juice) in a 1 C measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.  This recipe calls for 1 1/2 C buttermilk, so do the same thing with 1/2 Tbs lemon juice and remaining 1/2 C milk.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined.

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat.  Coat pan with non-stick spray or a little butter and then pour on pancake batter.  Use about 1/4 C batter for large pancakes (5-6″) and 2 T for kid-sized ones (2 /2-3″).   Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.

Makes 12 large or 24 small pancakes.

Asian Turkey Burgers

Photo credit: Blue Kitchen
This recipe is the best turkey burger I've ever eaten. SOOOOOOOOO delicious!

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce (reduced sodium preferred)
2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil

4 hamburger buns

For Sriracha Mayonnaise:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Sauce

Make the burgers. Combine ground turkey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, garlic cayenne pepper, bread crumbs and a generous grind of black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand. Form into 4 patties. Heat a grilling pan over a medium-high flame (you can use a large skillet, but grilling pan is preferred—you can also grill the burgers). Brush the grilling pan lightly with canola oil and toast the cut side of the buns in batches; set aside.

Brush the pan more generously with oil and cook the burgers until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Use a quick read thermometer to make sure the burgers reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Meanwhile, make the Sriracha mayonnaise.  Put the mayonnaise and the Sriracha Hot Sauce in a small bowl and mix with a spoon.

Assemble the burgers.  Bun, burger and a smear of Sriracha mayonnaise. You can add some lettuce or tomato slices, but I would discourage it. These are quite tasty on their own.

Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad

The perfect summer salad recipe! Loved this!

For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

Place the quinoa and water in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or till the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.

While the quinoa is cooking, combine the fruits in a bowl and refrigerate till you are ready to serve the salad.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients, except the chopped basil. Refrigerate till you are ready to serve. Chop and add the basil to the dressing just before serving. If you add it earlier, it will go black.

Add half the dressing to the quinoa and mix gently.

Assemble the salad just before serving – toss the quinoa, fruits and cucumbers together. Serve other half of the dressing on the side. Serve  immediately.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This recipe is as good as it sounds. Mark wasn't the hugest fan of the crunchy chunks of carrot and celery in the sandwich, but I probably should have grated the carrot like the recipe says and sliced the celery thinner.  I didn't mind the crunch. I also don't love blue cheese, so I left it out of mine and squirted some blue cheese dressing in Mark's sandwich.

1/4 cup cooked shredded chicken, warm
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Frank's buffalo hot sauce)
1/2 tablespoon mayo (optional)
1 tablespoon carrot, grated
1 tablespoon celery, sliced
1 tablespoon green or red onion, sliced or diced (we didn't use)
1 tablespoon blue cheese, room temperature, crumbled
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, room temperature, grated
2 slices bread
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

Mix the chicken, hot sauce, mayo, carrot, celery and onion in a small bowl.
Butter the outside of each slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheeses on the inside of one slice of bread, top with the buffalo chicken salad, the remaining cheese and finally the other slice of bread.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
Add the sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Coconut Oil Popcorn

Pop your kernels in your usual fashion (we use an air popper) and mix with 3-4T of liquefied coconut oil on top.  Season with salt and enjoy!

Coconut Oil Whole Wheat Waffles

This recipe was good, but a little dense, so next time I will try it with whole wheat pastry flour.

2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cup milk (or as needed to make waffle batter consistency)
1/2 cup extra vrgin coconut oil (liquefied)
1 Tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Heat your waffle iron.
Beat wet ingredients ( including coconut oil )
Mix dry ingrdients
Combine both together to make a waffle batter
Spray iron with cooking oil and add about 3/4 cup batter.

Double Coconut Muffins

I made this recipe for a women's church event and luckily I grabbed one before I put the plate down because they were gone quick!

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup full fat Greek-style yogurt, at room temperature is best
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature is best
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Either grease 10 muffin cups with butter or coconut oil, or line them with papers.

In a small saucepan, warm your coconut oil just until it melts. It should still be on the cool side.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your flours, baking powder and salt. Stir 1/2 cup shredded coconut. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups then sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 cup coconut, about 1 to 2 teaspoons on each.

Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out batter-free, about 20 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack and let cool.

Coconut Oil Granola Bars

One of the mix-ins I chose was mini chocolate chips.  But when I added them to the warm oat/PB mixture they melted (which makes sense) which turned these into more of a kudos bar. Not that I'm complaining, they were delicious! I was just expecting more of a normal granola bar.  Because of the melted chocolate, these had to be kept in the fridge and eaten quickly after they were taken out!

1/2 cup peanut butter or sunbutter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup oats
1 cup total of any combination of:  sesame seeds, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips (I did all except dried fruit)

In a medium sized saucepan, melt together peanut butter, honey and coconut oil.

Remove from heat and add one cup of oats.  Choose your favorite combination of coconut flakes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips, to equal a total of ONE CUP.  (I just got out my one cup measuring cup and poured in the ingredients until the cup was full.)  Pour in and stir well.
Stir well, then spread mixture into a 8×8 or 9×4 pan.

Chill for two hours, then cut into bars.

Wrap in plastic wrap for a quick grab and go snack!

Coconut Oil Granola

Another great granola recipe. Is there such a thing as a bad granola recipe? My kids weren't the hugest fans of the large almonds in the mix.  Next time I will chop them up a bit.

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, both kinds of coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup and stir. When thoroughly saturated, add the brown sugar on top and continue to stir. Season with salt and spread the granola in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes making sure to stir granola evenly every 10 minutes or so. Let granola cool and transfer to an air tight container. It will last up to two weeks.

Coconut Oil

I jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon and bought a jar at Trader Joes (BEST price around- $5.99 for 16 oz.). I had no problem using the entire jar up within a couple of weeks and now I'm excited to buy another one to try out more recipes with it! It is slightly less convenient than vegetable oil since I had to heat it up on the stove for most recipes, but the health benefits are worth it. I'm excited to share with you some of the recipes we made!

Malt Cookie Bars

These are AMAZING.  Mark said they are better than chocolate chip cookies (which is his favorite dessert) so I guess they are now his favorite dessert! We made them twice in 3 days and consumed WAY too many of them between the two of us!

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Beat butter, brown sugar, malted milk powder, chocolate syrup, and vanilla for 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until well combined.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Press the cookie dough into the dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes. They will still seem gooey in the centers so let them cool completely before cutting into them

Oatmeal Griddlecakes

Another great West Coast Cooking recipe.  Kids (and mom) loved them.

2 c rolled or old-fashioned oats
1/2 c unbleached white flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 T brown sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/2 c buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used yogurt)

Preheat griddle over medium-high heat.
Put the oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor or blender and processes until the oats are roughly ground but not as fine as flour (about 1 minute).
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with the brown sugar and oil. Whisk in yogurt, then whisk in the oatmeal-flour mixture, stirring just enough to bring the ingredients together. So not over mix.
Rub a little butter on the griddle and spoon the batter onto the hot griddle.  When the pancakes are puffed (about 3 min), turn and cook until light and cooked through (about 2 min more). Serve with maple syrup.

Manicotti with 2 sauces

This recipe took awhile to make but making the white sauce in addition to the red sauce was worth the effort.  I prepped the noodles in the morning and just refrigerated them until an hour before we wanted to eat, made the white sauce and then popped them in the oven.  I put the meat/spinach filling in a ziplock, cut off the corner and piped them into the manicotti shells.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
salt to taste
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze in a paper towel)
1 (12 ounce) package manicotti shells
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Saute garlic for 1 minute and stir in ground beef. Cook until well browned and crumbled. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
Cook spinach according to package directions. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add manicotti shells and parboil for half of the time recommended on the package. Drain and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from cracking.
To the ground beef mixture add the cooked spinach and ricotta cheese. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs. Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Gently drain the manicotti shells and carefully stuff each one with the meat and cheese mixture; place shells in prepared dish. Lightly cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean, damp towel to prevent shells from cracking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and chicken bouillon. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble. Stir in half and half and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Pour or ladle the sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.
Stir the basil into the remaining spaghetti sauce. Carefully pour or ladle spaghetti sauce over the white sauce, trying to layer the sauces without mixing.
Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more.

Tomato Alphabet Soup

Becky recommended this soup and we loved it as well.  The kids had fun finding the letters of their names.

2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 32 ounce container  4 cups) vegetable broth
1 28 ounce can  crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound alphabet pasta
Salt and pepper

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. Sprinkle four 1/4-cup mounds of parmesan about 2 inches apart onto each prepared baking sheet; slightly flatten with a spoon. Bake until golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool for 30 seconds. Using a thin metal spatula, drape the crisps over a rolling pin until hardened into shape, about 3 minutes.
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and tomatoes, cover, and bring to a boil.
Using a blender, puree the soup with the butter. In the soup pot, stir the pasta into the soup,and cook until al dente, Stir in 1 to 2 cups water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into 4 mugs and top each with 2 parmesan crisps. The parmesan crisps can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas

This recipe is about as simple as they come but it was a CRAZY big hit with my kids.  They ate more of this meal than anything I made all week.

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed, patted dry and cut into 9 pieces (I used boneless, skinless breasts, halved)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 F, with racks in upper and middle thirds.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Carefully remove sheet from oven and arrange chicken, skin side up, in a single layer.  Roast on upper rack, 20 minutes.  Preheating the pan saves time on cooking and helps the chicken to brown.  The chicken released enough juice that you don't need to add any oil.

Remove chicken from oven and, with tongs, transfer to another rimmed baking sheet along with tomatoes.  Add cauliflower, onion, and chickpeas to drippings on first sheet and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.  Roast chicken on upper rack and vegetables on middle rack until chicken is golden and cooked through and cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.  Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving dish and serve immediately

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

These feel like they should be good for you because they are full of apples, carrots and raisins but they have a lot of sugar.  But that is the reason they are DELICIOUS! Some reviewers said they substituted 1c. honey for the sugar. I might try that next time.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup raisins
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 cup apple butter (I used spiced pear sauce or you could also use applesauce)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (I didn't use)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla.
In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Mexican Fried Chicken

I have had this recipe for over a year and kept passing it up because frying chicken just sounded like a lot of work.  Well, the wait was worth it.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.

3/4 cup Mexican honey, plus some for drizzling (I just used regular honey)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Chicken Pieces (I used Tenders)
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying, such as soy or canola
4 extra-large egg whites
3/4 cup cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ancho or medium-heat chili powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

Mix honey and vinegar in a bowl and add chicken. Toss to coat and marinate 4 hours. Drain chicken pieces on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Oil should reach between 350°F and 375°F for frying.

Beat egg whites in a shallow dish. Combine cornmeal or breadcrumbs with flour, baking powder and spices.

Coat the chicken pieces in the egg whites then toss in the flour mixture. Fry in small batches, 12-14 minutes per batch, until deep golden and juices run clear. Season hot chicken with a little extra salt as they come out.

Serve with lime wedges, honey for drizzling and assorted hot sauces.

Chicken Souvlaki

Super simple recipe to make when you've got nothing in the house except frozen chicken breasts! Serve with rice and roasted veggies- I chose Brussels sprouts.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces 
3 or 4 lemons, juiced
¼ olive oil
5 garlic cloves, quartered and smashed a bit with the side of a large knife
2 t dried oregano
2-3 T fresh oregano, minced (I just used more dried)
½ t garlic salt
Salt and pepper

In the morning
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or ziploc bag and let marinate all day (stirring or shaking up from time to time if you think about it).

In the evening
Soak skewers in water for 20 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill. Put chicken pieces on skewers and grill on the BBQ for 10-15 minutes.

Soba Bowls

The original recipe calls for lots of unusual (expensive) mushrooms so I just got crimini.

About 3/4 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 medium leeks, trimmed and cut into matchsticks, washed and well drained
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and grated (I just used 1/2 t dried)
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 red Fresno chili pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced (looks like a red jalapeno)
Salt and black pepper
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
4 to 6 tablespoons Tamari sauce, to taste (or soy sauce)
1/4 pound enoki mushrooms, separated
1 package soba or 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
Chopped shiso leaf or cilantro, for garnish
Chopped scallion greens, for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add mushrooms. Brown mushrooms until nutty and fragrant then add vegetable matchsticks, ginger, garlic and chili; season lightly with salt and liberally with black pepper. Stir-fry a minute or 2 then add stock and bring soup to a boil. Season with 4-6 tablespoons of Tamari. Add soba or spaghetti and cook to just tender.

Using tongs, fill bowls with noodles, mushrooms and vegetables. Ladle broth over top and garnish. Serve with chopsticks and a large spoon for slurping.

Eileen's FAMOUS rice krispy treats

I dream about Eileen's rice krispy treats.  They are soft, and gooey and irresistible.  We've all had stale, crunchy, dry rice krispy treats but hers are amazing every time.  Turns out her secret is more butter and marshmallows than the original recipe.  Go figure!  Mark and I shared about a 3x3 spare of this pan with the kids and ate the rest in 2 days.

4 tablespoons butter
1 package miniature Kraft marshmallows (don't use generic)
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (generic ok)

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 90 seconds. (Microwave cooking time may vary) Stir until smooth. Add rice krispies and stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. 

Chinese Peanut Noodle Salad

My friend Chrissie recommended a great cookbook that I've been getting a lot of tasty recipes from- West Coast Cooking by Greg Atkinson.  This was great for a community group bbq.

For the Noodles
8 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
12 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles (I found them at Thriftway)
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 bunch green onions

For the Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-inch piece ginger root, grated
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2/3 cup smooth organic peanut butter

1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a heavy, 6- to 8-quart pot. Add the noodles. When the noodles have been cooking for 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets. By the time the noodles are tender, the broccoli should be bright green and almost tender too. Drain the noodles and broccoli through a colander and spread them out on a baking sheet to cool.

2. Make the peanut sauce. Put the water, vinegar, ginger, and garlic in a blender and purée until the ginger and garlic are liquefied, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and peanut buter and blend again until smooth and creamy.

3. Transfer the cooled noodles and broccoli to a large salad bowl. Cut the red pepper into julienne strips and toss with the noodles. Toss the salad with the peanut sauce and top the salad with the chopped peanuts, cilantro, and green onions. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Indian Spiced Braised Chicken

My sister's friend Elizabeth James e-mailed me to tell me she reads Bites and wanted to pass on a recipe she knew I would love from Martha's Everyday Food.  It totally makes my day to hear from people that read Bites and I LOVE getting new recipe recommendations.  This was so fantastic.  It requires planning ahead because it needs to cook for 2 hours but shhhh...don't tell my son obsessed with fire safety...I left the house with the oven on.  I did put it on a timer so it would shut off in case we couldn't get back in time :) Plus, another recipe to use your homemade yogurt in!

1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 medium onion, small diced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS grated ginger
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
course salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt (8 oz)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp garam masala

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Stir together chicken, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, coriander and cayenne; season liberally with salt and pepper. I used my dutch oven, but any heavy, oven-proof dish should work.
3. Stir in 1.5 cups of water.
4. Cover; bake until chicken is tender – approximately 2 hours.
5. Stir in yogurt and garam masala.
6. Top with chopped cilantro.

Great price on shredded coconut

For the longest time I didn't think I liked coconut.  One day my husband said to me, "How can you love german chocolate cake and coconut shrimp and not like coconut?"  Hmmmm...I guess I actually love coconut!  So, over the past few years I have embraced my love for coconut and have used it in many recipes.  So, I was excited to see this great price on shredded coconut on amazon.  It's 12 (8 oz.) bags of shredded coconut for only $20.15 (if you chose the subscribe and save option).  That's only $1.68 per bag!  Perfect for splitting with a friend! CLICK HERE to go to amazon.

Here are some of my favorite coconut recipes:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quinoa Muffins

Next time I make these muffins I will cook the quinoa a little bit longer.  I just did 11min and it was still on the crunchy side.  Still tasty though!

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pan Roasted Salmon

I tend to overcook salmon to make sure it's done.  I followed the times on this recipe exactly and ended up with cooked-through and still moist salmon.  Serve over garlic sauteed spinach.

4 6-oz. salmon fillets, skinned
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine brown sugar, salt and spices for the salmon in a small bowl.  Rub spice mixture on the top side (non-skin) of the salmon fillets.

Sear fillets, rub-side down, in oil in a large oven-proof non-stick skillet over high heat.  When the fish releases easily and rub side is browned, about 2 minutes, flip fillets and transfer pan to the oven.

Roast fillets until they flake easily with a fork, about 5-6 minutes.

Tex-Mex Wonton Cups

You know how every wonton wrapper pack seems to have about 4 times as many wrappers as you need for a recipe?  Well, they freeze great.  I had half a pack in the freezer from a recipe I made months ago and so I had an excuse to make this great appetizer!

24 wonton wrappers
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz corn, frozen or fresh (simply thaw if frozen)
2 tomatoes, diced and deseeded
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, diced
2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Avocado, diced (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F
Gently press wonton wrappers into each cup of a mini muffin tin
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the avocado and salsa
Spoon the mixture into each wonton cup
Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until some of the wonton tips are golden brown!

No Knead Bread

This bread is super-duper simple to make and only takes about half a day to rise.  It is especially yummy as toast and in a grilled cheese!

What You Need
3 cups white flour OR bread flour
3/4 teaspoon yeast (tape the rest of the yeast packet to save for another time)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups slightly warm water

Large bowl
Plastic wrap
Spray oil OR olive oil
Oven-safe pot with lid OR Dutch oven (should be at least 4 quarts in size)

1. Gather your ingredients!

2. A note on the yeast: The original No-Knead Bread recipe specifies instant yeast. You can use pretty much any yeast you have on hand; I have used both Quick-Rise yeast and instant active yeast. Technically these shouldn't be exchanged for each other (see this post for more info on yeast). But don't let confusion about yeast stand in the way of making this bread; just use whatever you have got. It will turn out fine.

3. Add your flour to the bowl.

4. Add the yeast and salt and stir thoroughly.

5. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of barely warm (tepid) water.

6. Pour into the bowl and stir thoroughly.

7. The dough will look rough and shaggy.

8. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray, or, if you do not have cooking spray, lightly oil the top of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer over top with a paper towel, then turn the dough in the bowl so the whole ball of dough is coated with the oil.

9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

10. Throw a towel over top of the bowl and set it in a warm corner. Leave it alone for 6 to 8 hours.

11. After at least 6 hours have passed the dough will have risen and will look rather bubbly and stretched out.

12. Lightly oil the countertop and turn the dough out onto it, folding it over on itself at least once.

13. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for another hour.

14. About 20 minutes before the hour is up, turn on the oven to 450°F. Place an oven-safe Dutch oven or pot in the oven.

15. The dough will have risen and nearly doubled in size.

16. Quickly shape the dough into a round ball (see this video for basic instructions) and drop it into the pot. Even if you can't get it into a good ball, that's OK. Just try to roughly shape it.

17. Optional: Slash or cut the top of the dough with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.

18. Place the lid on the pot and put it in the oven.

19. Bake for 30 minutes.

20. Remove the lid from the pot.

21. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

22. You can be extra-sure that the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the top or side reads 210°F.

23. Remove the bread from the oven. If you wish to keep it warm for serving, you can wrap it in a clean kitchen towel.

Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers

Another burger recipe that had enough flavor, Mark wasn't missing the beef.

1 pound ground turkey
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup salsa verde
4 slices pepperjack cheese
1 avocado (pitted and scooped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (grated)
4 buns/rolls
green tomatoes (sliced) or pickled green tomatoes (sliced)
cilantro (optional)

1. Mix the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs and salsa verde in a bowl.
2. Form 4 patties and place them on a broiling pan.
3. Broil until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Place the cheese slices on the patties and broil until melted, about 1 minute.
5. Mix the avocado, mayonnaise and garlic and mash the avocado to the desired consistency.
6. Serve the burger in a bun with the avocado mayonnaise, cilantro and sliced green tomatoes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

A very spicy, creamy dip recipe that was devoured in minutes.

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese or ranch salad dressing
1/2 cup FRANK'S® REDHOT® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or FRANK'S® REDHOT® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can (12.5 oz. each) SWANSON® White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained

HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
MIX in salad dressing, Frank's RedHot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Sour Cream Bran Muffins

This bran muffin recipe was incredibly moist.  Other reviewers called these the Rolls Royce of bran muffins and I agree.  So light and fluffy!

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup raisins, cranberries, or other diced dried fruit
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miller’s bran (I used oat bran)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter or oil and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (will be far less light or fluffy if oil is used), beat in the egg, the sour cream or yogurt, and the molasses, and stir in the raisins or other dried fruit. In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, the salt, the cinnamon (optional) and the bran, add the mixture to the sour cream mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.) Spoon the batter into 12 well-buttered 1/3-cup muffin tins and bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

Very dangerous recipe.  Impossible to eat a reasonable amount.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.
5. Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.
6. Cool and frost (see directions below).

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy.
2. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.
3. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.
4. For the sprinkles, I found that they rolled all over the place.  To help this, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the frosted sugar cookies and gently press the sprinkles into the frosting.
5. Chill and cut.

Arugula Corn Salad with Bacon

A fantastic summer salad recipe!

4 large ears of corn (I just used 1 c. frozen corn kernels, defrosted and 1/4 c. roasted corn kernels, defrosted)
2 cups of chopped arugula (about one bunch)
4 strips of bacon, cooked, chopped (I used 6)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Cook the corn ears, in their husks, either on the grill for a smokey flavor, or by steaming in a large covered stock pot with an inch of boiling water at the bottom of the pot, for 12-15 minutes. Let the corn cool (can run under cold water to speed up the cooling), remove the husks and silk. I recommend cooking the corn in the husks for the added flavor that the husks impart. If you boil or steam the corn ears after you've already husked them, or if you cook them in the microwave, reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.

2 To remove the kernels from the cobs, stand a corn cob vertically over a large, shallow bowl. Use a sharp knife to make long, downward strokes, removing the kernels from the cob, as you work your way around the cob. Note: it may help to work over a low table, to be in a better ergonomic position to cut the cobs this way.
3 In a medium sized bowl, mix together the corn, chopped arugula, bacon, and onions. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and cumin. Mix dressing into salad just before serving. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary to balance the sweetness of the corn.


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