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


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