Friday, March 1, 2013

Red Beet and White Bean Hummus


 I have been attempting to make healthy snacks for my kids when they get home from school everyday and this was a definite winner.  I have made Beet Hummus before , but I kind of just did my own thing and didn't really use an exact recipe.  I found this recipe that uses white beans instead of chickpeas and decided to give it a try.  It was very good and my kids enjoyed it!
 I made my own whole wheat Pita Chips to go with the hummus.  I like Trader Joe's whole wheat pitas because they only contain 4 ingredients and are not full of preservatives and additives.  I just cut them into triangles, spray them with a little cooking spray, season with salt and garlic powder and bake them at 400 degrees until crisp and browned.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

I realize that this picture is not perfect or really that beautiful- it was taken on my phone, moments before I dressed this salad.  I just wanted to share this recipe and didn't feel I could without some sort of picture!

We had our good friends over for dinner about a week ago and my friend brought this delicious spinach salad.  I usually don't really like salads with sweet dressings, but the balsamic vinegar in this one balances it out.  We had a family dinner for my son's birthday and I decided to remake this salad and take it along.  I used 3x as much spinach, but just doubled the dressing.  It is a perfect addition to any meal and since we have delicious strawberries in season from Florida here, it is the perfect time of year to make this salad.

The Nifty Foodie » Blog Archive » Spinach, Strawberry, Pecan and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

A few weeks ago, I had some sour cream I needed to use, so I decided to make muffins.  Usually when I make muffins, I completely "healthify" them by using whole grains, less sugar, low-fat buttermilk instead of oil or full fat dairy, etc.  It's just something I do.
  Well, I decided to leave these alone and just make them as is.  It was hard for me to do! 

I mixed up the batter on a school night and the crumb topping too.  I put the batter in muffin tins, covered them with plastic wrap, and let them sit overnight.  When I woke up the next morning, all I had to do was apply the crumb topping and pop them in the oven.

I resisted the urge to try one, but my kids loved them!  So did my husband. Who doesn't like eating cake for breakfast??

Just a Taste » Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ellie Krieger's Banana Bread Muffins

 It feels repetitive to say that I have made everything there is to make with overripe bananas, but that is how I feel.  It happened again and I realized I had never tried Ellie Krieger's version of banana bread.  Her original recipe called for pecans, but a few people in my family don't love nuts, so I left them out.  I decided to put a dollop of  Dark Chocolate Dreams in the center of the muffins, just to make them more exciting. 
 This was a great banana muffin and we enjoyed them very much!

Banana Bread 
 adapted from Ellie Krieger
 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 very ripe, large bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)

Whisk together dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt). Whisk together wet ingredients (yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Add bananas.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir in toasted pecans.
Pour the batter into loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and bake in 350 oven about 50 -55 minutes.  Cool on wire rack before slicing. Or if making muffins, put in a muffin tin, lined with cupcake/muffin liners and bake for 18-22 minutes.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Black Eyed Pea and Kale Soup with Meatballs

I love making soup.  It is one of my favorite things about the colder months.  Nothing is more comforting than a warm bowl of soup on a cold night.  I made this soup the day after New Year's, since I live in the South and it is good luck to eat greens and black-eyed peas to start off the New Year.  ( We were traveling home on New Year's Day).   My husband tried to tell me that it didn't really count since it was the day after New Year's, but I hope we have good luck anyway.

I was able to pick the kale for this soup out of my garden.  Even now the Swiss Chard and Kale are going strong!

 I was inspired by this recipe for Sausage, Kale and Black-Eyed Peas, but totally did my own thing and made meatballs instead of using sausage

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

  These pumpkin scones are one of the best scones I have ever made.  It's kind of embarrassing that I made them back in November when my brother and sister-in-law were here visiting and I haven't gotten around to sharing the recipe.  Again.  I shared this recipe a couple of years ago too, but they are just so good, that I had to share it again.  These scones have the best texture and I always use the ginger molasses icing, which gives a nice spicy touch to them.  Our visitors loved them and I was reminded once again why they were a favorite a few years ago!

  • Pumpkin Spice Scones from Pinch My Salt
  • 1 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. cake flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ground allspice
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 6 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C. raisins (optional)
  • 1/3 C. pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C. heavy cream
  • 6 T. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper (not required but makes cleanup easy!). Cut the butter into small pieces, put it in a small bowl and put it back in the refridgerator. In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt, and all spices. Whisk together well. Place bowl in freezer (refrigerator is fine if you have no room in freezer).
  • 2. In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together well. Put this bowl in freezer (or refrigerator) and take the other bowl back out. Get the butter pieces out of the fridge and dump them into the bowl with the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins if you are using them.
  • 3. Get the liquid mixture out of the freezer and pour into the flour mixture all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is just moistened. The dough will be very crumbly, this is the way it should be. Turn the mixture out onto the counter and push the pile together with your hands. It should stick together fairly well. Knead it just a couple of times until everything is together. Don’t knead it too much or the dough will get too sticky.
  • 4. Pat the dough out into a rough circle, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut it like a pie into 8 pieces. Place pieces on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake scones for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. They should be light brown on the bottom, the tops will darken as they cool.
  • Icing: For ginger molasses icing, stir together 1 T. molasses, 1-2 T. milk, and 1/4 – 1/2 t. ground ginger (to taste). Adjust the amount of sugar or milk to make the icing the consistency you want. It should be pretty thick. For cinnamon icing, mix together 1 C. powdered sugar, 2 T. milk, 1/4 – 1/2 t. cinnamon (to taste). Again, adjust amounts to change consistency. Icing can be brushed on or drizzled.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Thai Pizza with Peanut Slaw

 This picture is actually what I did with the leftover chicken I had from making the crockpot recipe below.  I also made the taquitos, but didn't get a picture of them.  We enjoyed the Lettuce Cups and Taquitos, but I wanted to do something different with the rest of the chicken.  I decided to make a quick pizza and top it with carrots, cilantro and chopped peanuts.   I also made a quick slaw with shredded cabbage, carrots and a peanut dressing.  I did make the peanut dressing listed with this recipe when I made the lettuce cups and taquitos, but I froze the chicken, so I had to make a different peanut sauce when we had the pizza and I didn't really follow a recipe.  I just mixed one up and it worked perfectly as the dressing for the slaw.


Crockpot Chicken Satay Lettuce Cups
by Oven Love

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped; plus more for topping
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Bibb or Butter lettuce leaves, cilantro, limes, bean sprouts, chopped red bell pepper and peanut sauce, for serving
  1. Place chicken breasts in the crockpot. Pour coconut milk on top and season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 4 hours. Let the chicken cool and shred- it will be very soft.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine roasted chopped peanuts, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, green onions, fish sauce and ginger. Fold in shredded chicken. Taste and add any salt and pepper if needed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Serve the chicken filling with lettuce leaves, cilantro, limes, bean sprouts, chopped red pepper and the peanut sauce for drizzling.

Peanut Sauce
by Oven Love

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 or more tablespoons water
  • roasted peanuts, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, red curry paste, lime juice, sesame oil and fish sauce. It may seem “curdled” at first, but continue to whisk and it will come together as a smooth sauce.
  2. If you would like a thinner sauce, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and whisk until you reach the desired consistency. Spoon into a bowl, top with peanuts and drizzle over the lettuce cups.
Recipe for Thai Chicken Taquitos

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

 This is another recipe that I saw a long time ago and I wanted to try.  I like making my own snacks for our family that use dates as the base.  The recipe also includes prunes.  These types of bars make me feel better nutrition wise because the source of sugar is natural and not refined.  I'm not saying that we never use normal sugar, but I like using natural sources as often as I can when making treats.

These were easy to mix together and I ended up freezing them once they were cut into bars.  My son and I enjoyed them quite a bit straight from the freezer.  These will definitely be made again and again.

Here is the recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Monday, February 11, 2013

Minestrone Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Parmesan Biscuits

 Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to make a recipe that I see online when I really, really want to make it as soon as I see it!  Such is the case with this recipe.  I saw it here over a year ago and thought it looked so fabulous.  I love Minestrone, especially the one that my Mom makes, and I thought the idea of placing biscuits on top was awesome.

It was quite dark the night I made this, so I didn't get a shot of the entire dish, but I did take a quick picture of the leftovers, which I enjoyed for a few days after we made this.  My 6 year old helped me put this together and she made the biscuits almost all by herself.  This is a very comforting dish for a cold night and tastes great as a hearty lunch if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.

 Recipe for Minestrone Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Parmesan Biscuits   
* I used low-fat buttermilk in the biscuits and reduced the amount to 1 cup and 1 Tablespoon
* I used diced tomatoes 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Test

  Chocolate Chip Cookies, left to right- Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy,  Cook's Illustrated The Perfect CCC,  Alton Brown's The Chewy, (the random one in the middle was a whole wheat variety that used oil that was not good enough to even be in the running) and The New York Times CCC.
 My son decided he wanted to do a Chocolate Chip Cookie science project this year. He wanted to find out which variables make the chewiest chocolate chip cookie.  We did some research and found 5 recipes that we wanted to test.  Some used bread flour, cake flour, an extra egg yolk or melted butter.  Some required chilling the dough in the refrigerator for a specific amount of time.  

We mixed up all the doughs on the same day and had 4 taste tests.  
Of course, since all people have different tastes and things they like about cookies, the reviews were different each time.  The first time, CI'S Perfect CCC was the overall winner in chewiness and taste.  The next time it was a tie between Martha Stewart and Alton Brown's The Chewy.  The last time we taste tested, the majority of the tasters liked Martha Stewarts cookie the best.  I am not a huge fan of Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I enjoyed CI's cookie the best.  I thought it had the best flavor and texture.  My husband loved The Chewy.  My kids all liked different ones better than the others, so the problem was never resolved!  

The good news is that we now have about 100 CCC dough balls in the freezer, for a quick snack whenever we might want one!

   Recipe for Alton Brown's The Chewy

Recipe for The NYT Chocolate Chip Cookies from Recipe Girl

Recipe for Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe for Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie from the way the cookie crumbles

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Beet Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

  This is one of my favorite ways to use beets and it is the only way I have found to get people who don't enjoy beets normally, to eat them without complaining.  I shared this recipe a couple of years ago, but since I make it quite often, I decided it was time to update the picture.

 I made this when we had people over for dinner and it was a huge hit.  I love making risotto for dinner when people are over because it is fairly easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.
  I also love the colors and presentation of this dish.  It is delicious.  
Beet Risotto with Roasted Asparagus and Feta  adapted from Rachael Ray
1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 baseball-size red or golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . In a medium pot, warm the broth over medium heat. In a large, deep skillet or a medium Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoons olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Stir in the rice to coat with the oil, and toast for 2 minutes. Add the beets, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup chicken broth and cook until absorbed into the rice, then begin adding broth a couple of ladles at a time, stirring with each addition, until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While the risotto is working, on a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, season with salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve shallow bowls of beet risotto with the roasted asparagus and crumbled cheese on top.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

I saw this twist on Monkey Bread months ago and finally got around to making it for dinner. The prep was easy enough and the finished product was so fun! My family loved pulling off each little pizza bite and dipping it in pizza sauce. I used pre-made pizza dough from our local grocery store since it was a busy weeknight, 1 lb of whole wheat and 1 lb of white dough. This would make a great appetizer also. I served it with large salad and cut up veggies. Here is the recipe-
Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread | Confections of a Foodie Bride

I followed Shawnda's advice and used a pastry brush to apply a dab of butter to each prepared pizza bite. I had a lot of the garlic butter left over.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas

We were gone for about 10 days over the Christmas break and when we got back, there wasn't much in the fridge.  I happened to see this carrot soup on smitten kitchen and knew that I at least had carrots and onion, so I could make this for dinner without having to make a trip to the grocery store.  The prep is easy and the best part is the crunchy chickpeas. We enjoyed it on a gloomy, chilly night and it was just the perfect meal.
Here is the recipe - carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas | smitten kitchen
I used chicken broth and added some curry powder to the spices. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Link for Meyer Lemon Scones

Here is the link for the scones

Meyer Lemon & Blueberry Scones
I used low-fat buttermilk, added an extra teaspoon of baking powder, and dried blueberries-which I mixed into the dough and only baked these for about 18 minutes

Meyer Lemon Blueberry Scones and Meyer Lemon Curd

We started off our morning with these delicious scones and curd.  I have been trying to figure out how I can blog from my phone since our computer crashed and I think I finally figured it out! We've been at my sisters house in DC and she happened to have some Meyer lemons that I couldn't resist using.  I used a basic lemon curd recipe from Martha Stewart and if I can figure out how to put the link to the scone recipe I will.  Happy New Year!