Recent Recipes

Banana Oat Blender Muffins

Comments (0) | Thursday, February 12, 2015

I have to admit that when found the recipe for these muffins I was incredibly skeptical. It seemed way too easy and the lack of ingredients made me wonder if they'd have much flavor. But I figured (as I usually do) there must be a reason the recipe was posted and I thought "the reviewers wouldn't lie, right? there must be something to this..." So one Saturday morning I woke up early, spent all of 5 minutes whipping up a batch of muffin batter with ingredients I readily had on hand, and popped these babies in the oven.  And just like that... my children were waking up to the smell of fresh muffins right out of the oven.

The texture is not like traditional muffins. The crumb is much more moist and slightly on the "chewy" side but we enjoyed the break from tradition. They made a yummy afternoon snack too!

I put chocolate chips only in some of them. I somehow felt better not giving the baby the chocolate in hers... and she didn't seem to notice them missing when she devoured hers in mere seconds.

*original recipe from runningwithspoons.com* (use gluten free oats for a gluten free muffin!)

Banana Oat Blender Muffins
1 cup fat free vanilla (or plain) Greek yogurt
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 cups rolled oats (can use either old fashioned or quick-cooking)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside (if you use paper liners, be sure to spray them too as the lack of any oil/fat in these muffins will make them stick to the paper badly!)

Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a blender and process on high until oats are processed completely and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips (or pour some into muffin tins without and mix chocolate chips into remaining batter.)

Pour batter into muffin tin, filling cups about 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over tops before baking if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cook in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Salmon with Dill Sauce and Lemon Risotto

Comments (0) | Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My husband has high expectations when I cook. I've made so many hundreds of new and different recipes over the years that he holds me in relatively high esteem as far as my meal prep goes. So as time has passed, it seems he rarely ever offers much praise anymore. I suppose he just expects that I know he enjoys my cooking. But as a person who so greatly enjoys being the chef of the family, it never hurts to get a pat on the back once in awhile. So when Joe spent a good portion of dinnertime telling me "honey, this is really good..." I was beaming inside. Because after all these years he is still the one I aim to please. Sure, it's like the icing on the cake when the kids barely get a word out because they're cleaning they're plates too. But I'm immensely gratified when Joe is satisfied.

The lemon risotto was time consuming as risotto, in its nature, always is. I think a lemony rice pilaf would have had the same side dish effect. But risotto is fun to make every now and then. So give it a try if you wish. The flavors were all amazing together.

*recipe adapted from Taste of Home*

Salmon with Dill Sauce and Lemon Risotto
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer; keep hot. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until tender (2-3 minutes.) Add rice and garlic. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until rice is coated.

Stir in 1/2 cup of hot broth. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and continue stirring until broth is absorbed. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until broth is absorbed each time. Do this until rice is tender and risotto is creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon peel and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush salmon fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes (will vary according to thickness) or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Divide risotto among 4 plates, top risotto with salmon fillets and divide sauce evenly among salmon. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if desired.

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Pork with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce

Comments (0) | Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I seriously love sweet sauces served with meat. There's something incredibly savory about topping a perfectly cooked piece of pork (or chicken...) with a fruit based sauce. Never mind the fact that it also aids in getting the kids to eat it. This recipe didn't fail to impress. It'll make it back on our table in the near future for sure.

The key to perfect pork is knowing exactly how long to cook it. Pork is best left slightly pink in the center (and I promise, is still safe to eat this way!) though it can be difficult to get the timing down just right. When removed from the oven, it retains its heat and continues to cook slightly. Therefore the best time to remove from the oven is just before the optimal cooking temp. I used a pork loin roast (I'm guessing it was around 2-2.5 pounds) from a 2-pack I bought at Costco. I cut it in half to give it the approximate thickness of a pork tenderloin which is what the original recipe called for. I still used both halves because one just didn't seem like enough.

*original recipe from Budget Bytes*

Pork with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce
1.5-2.5 pounds pork loin roast
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of ground black pepper
1 (14 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dried sage

Mix garlic, olive oil and 3 T balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over pork in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and massage contents to distribute marinade evenly and coat the pork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet or broiling pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray lightly with olive oil or cooking spray. Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Add pork to pan and brown on each side about 5-7 minutes per side. Place pork on lined baking sheet and place in oven. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the thickest portion registers 145 degrees (this ended up being a little less than 30 minutes for me.)

Using the same skillet, add cranberry sauce, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, butter and sage. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to combine and remove any browned bits of pork from bottom of pan. Turn heat to low and continue simmering for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let pork rest 10 minutes on cutting board after removing from oven. Slice and serve topped with balsamic cranberry sauce.

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Best Tuna Casserole... EVER

Comments (0) | Sunday, February 1, 2015

Growing up we ate tuna casserole at least once or twice a month. It was a quick easy dinner for my working mama to make and everyone (besides my little brother who wasn't "fond" of fish) loved it. Good old fashioned comfort food at its best. Years later when I introduced my version to my kids it came as no surprise that they loved it just as much. Though I may attempt a version someday that omits the traditional canned cream of mushroom soup, I can't mess with perfection here yet. I have yet to jump on that healthy bandwagon though I try to use it only occasionally. But I understand passing this recipe by if you're completely turned off by the use of it. Just know, you'll be missing out on a creamy dish of tuna noddle goodness.

Tuna Casserole
2 cups dried small shell macaroni (or elbow macaroni)
1 can healthy request cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 (6 oz) cans tuna, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl combine soup, milk, mayo and mustard. Stir in tuna. Add cooked macaroni. Gently fold in shredded cheese. Transfer to a greased casserole dish.

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.

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Raspberry Surprise Muffins

Comments (0) | Thursday, January 22, 2015

I may be slightly obsessed with muffins. They smell yummy, they're pretty, they're the perfect individual sized morning treat. They make me happy. And my children think they've hit the jackpot when one of these accompanies their meal in the morning.

Brendan always loves to ask what "kind" of muffins I've made before taking his first bite and exclaiming how amazing they are (what would I do without this boy??) So when I told him this morning that they were called "raspberry surprise" muffins he asked "why the surprise?" just before biting into the jam filled center and telling me "Oooooh! I get it... there's a raspberry surprise in the middle!!"

Recipes makes 24 muffins. Cool completely and freeze extras in a zip top freezer bag. Thaw in microwave or remove from freezer and defrost in bag on kitchen counter.

*recipe adapted from Holly Clegg's Trim and Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals*

Raspberry Surprise Muffins
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups bran flake cereal
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.

In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large bowl combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Add flour mixture and bran flakes to the buttermilk mixture, stirring only just until blended. Fold in raspberries. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling 1/3 full. Make a well in center of batter and fill with a heaping teaspoon of jam. Cover with batter, filling to about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So this is what happens at my house from time to time.

I am putting groceries away in the fridge and run across a bag of zucchini that I must have bought for a dinner I was planning on making but either skipped over or substituted it with something else.  Realize it's not in my menu plan for the current week and know that if I stuff it back in the fridge without a plan it will most definitely begin to rot... ZUCCHINI BREAD! Think back to a recipe I've been wanting to make for quite some time, peruse the pantry for the remaining ingredients and BAM! I've developed a plan to make a random loaf of zucchini bread the next day.  My family appreciates these random moments of baking genius.

Or at least I like to think they do.

And if you're one to turn your nose down at something so "healthy" sounding, rest assured that my friend Rachel took one bite and said "really this just tastes like chocolate bread..."

So indulge without feeling guilty... zucchini is a vegetable after all.

Feel free to use regular cocoa powder, but the Hershey's Special Dark gives it an amazing deep dark chocolate flavor. Also, for best results, store loaf wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container overnight and slice and eat the next day. Moist chocolate overload!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup hershey special dark cocoa powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini, gently squeezed to remove liquid
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl mix eggs, applesauce, oil, sugar and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.  Pour into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice into 12 pieces

Per slice: cal 222, carb 33g, fat 9g, pro 3g, sod 314mg, sugar 16g

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Best. Chili. Ever.

Easy, quick, smells so good when it's cooking all day.  I have a hard time deciding which chili recipes are my favorites but I have to say that I will be going back to this one again and again.  Everyone nearly licked their bowls cleaned.  And even Violet, who turned it down the first night, ate a baby sized helping of leftovers the next night. Go baby V!

If you like an extra spicy chili then feel free to add some extra chili powder.  I was incredibly pleased with the heat and the seasonings the way it is (but remember, we're not a "hot and spicy" crowd.)

*Adapted from Myrecipes.com*

Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic)
2 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz) packet McCormick chili seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown turkey in a large nonstick skillet with onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain if necessary. Spoon into a large slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-8 hours.  Top with cheese and sour cream.  Serve with cornbread and a green salad.

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