Thursday, June 30, 2011

Roasted Asian Veggies

I'm really not a huge side-dish-during-the-week kinda person. If my main dish doesn't already have a veggie in it, I'll throw a frozen bag into the microwave and call my meal balanced.

Now that I'm on summer break, however, I'm trying to be better about serving fresh vegetables and this one from weelicious is just perfection. It takes barely any effort, and as long as you have the time it takes to roast in the oven, you're good to go.

I would never ever have thought to infuse broccoli and cauliflower with Asian flowers, but I'm glad somebody did. This was awesome, and my kids inhaled it. I combined the leftovers with some couscous and grilled chicken for a perfect lunch.

Roasted Asian Veggies
from Weelicious
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 2 Cups Cauliflower Florets
  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place florets on a greased baking sheet, top with soy sauce and sesame oil, and toss to coat evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Cookout Veggie Burger

I'm for sure no vegetarian (I could never live without chicken or turkey!) but I try to eat vegetarian several times a week. In the past, though, "eating vegetarian" meant pasta. Delicious, yes, but not exactly protein-packed or very healthy.

So you can imagine, of course, that I was happy to come across Leslie Sarna's Veggie Burger. I've always been intrigued by this concept; a burger? Made without MEAT?! Really? But why not, right?

These were SO easy to make, and I was able to throw some into the freezer for quick lunches and dinners. I gave my husband and kids their burgers on a regular bun, but I put mine on a deli flat and then put it on the panini press. Perfection.

Summer Cookout Veggie Burgers

from Leslie Sarna
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup rolled oats (non-instant Oatmeal)
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (I like to use Panko also called Japanese bread crumbs if you can find them)
  • 1 tsp. (or more) chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 3 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

In a medium frying pan, heat some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers and a pinch of Salt. Let cook 2 minutes on a lower heat. Add mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes; let cook another couple minutes. Let cool when cooked. While the veggies are cooling, in a large bowl combine the Beans, Oats, Bread Crumbs and all the spices and chives. Toss a little and add the egg. Using your hands to mix the mixture until it's slightly sticky and about 3/4 of the beans are smashed. Add in the veggies. Continue to work with your hands. If the mix feels a little dry, add water by the teaspoon until right. If it's too wet, add bread crumbs : ) Form 8 burger patties. Refrigerate for about an hour. (you can also place these pouches in a ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of weeks) To cook, unwrap the burgers from the plastic and cook in a heated skillet with cooking spray or olive oil in the bottom. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.

PS these should always be cooked on a skillet or frying pan. Unfortunately, they can fall apart if cooked on the bbq.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pancakes

I've mentioned many times that my husband is the pancake expert in our house. I can never ever get them to come out right and usually end up frustrated, but when he requested pancakes for his Father's Day breakfast, I knew I had to suck it up and do it.

So I did.

I added some chocolate chips and food coloring, and I really think the cake flour made a huge difference. As usual, the Pioneer Woman didn't disappoint, and we happily enjoyed some special pancakes!

(Sidenote: my youngest is currently obsessed with Eric Carle's Pancakes, Pancakes! and kept yelling his toddler version of "Let's make a pancake!" and laughing hysterically at himself.)

Perfect Pancakes
from The Pioneer Woman
  • 3 cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cake Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • Extra Butter
  • Maple Or Pancake Syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.

Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine.

Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with an obscene amount of butter and warm syrup.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tomato Alfredo Pizza

I mentioned a few days ago that I've been making pizza every Friday. As I prepare my menu for the week, I go directly to Stephanie Cooks. Here, my friend Stephanie has an incredible pizza variety and I have bookmarked nearly all of them. Do yourself a huge favor and go check out her pizza collection.

This honestly tasted like a gourmet pizza. My husband and I inhaled the whole thing and, I must confess, I would have eaten more had there been any.

(Disregard the photo - I snapped some pics but then ended up baking it again for another minute or two and forgot to take new pictures.)

Tomato Alfredo Pizza
from Stephanie Cooks
  • Pizza crust
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup skim milk (or cream if you don't want to take the light approach)
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used sliced tomatoes instead)
Preheat the oven to 450. Stretch out the pizza dough on your stone or pan and bake for 7 minutes.

In a small saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring until it forms a paste.

Pour in the milk, stirring constantly.

Bring to a low boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Once the sauce is somewhat thick, add the romano cheese, stirring well.

Cover the pizza crust with the alfredo sauce and add sliced tomatoes if using.

Top with the mozzarella cheese. Drizzle the tomato sauce over the cheese.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pesto Chicken Thighs with Italian Cream Sauce

I have been trying very hard to significantly cut back on the amount of processed foods I serve my family. However, when Philadelphia introduced their new line of cooking cremes, I admit I was intrigued. This curiosity only increased when I saw this recipe on Picky Palate.

My sauce didn't really come out like hers, but this was still a delicious dinner (and the leftovers for lunch were just fab). The flavors just exude summertime, and this meal was filling and satisfying without being heavy.

Pesto Chicken Thighs with Italian Cream Sauce
from Picky Palate
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, fat removed
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 2 cups cooked couscous
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme

Place chicken thighs and pesto into a large ziplock bag, seal and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken thighs onto a large baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Place cooked couscous, olive oil and parmesan cheese into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Reduce to heat to low.

Warm Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme into a small saucepan over medium-low heat until warmed. Reduce heat to low.

To serve, place couscous onto a serving plate and top with chicken. Drizzle with warm cooking cream.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Taffy Apple Salad

I have had this recipe for years... well before my oldest son was born. I make it multiple times each summer for barbeques and parties; I have NO idea why I've never blogged about it before.

I omit the nuts because my father and son are both allergic, but I think they'd be a wonderful addition. Even without, though, it's a refreshing and delicious side dish. The marshmallows somehow melt away to meld with the rest of the ingredients and the fruit combinations are endless. I've subbed fresh pears for some of the apples or canned for the pineapples. Mandarin oranges would work nicely as well - mix it up!

Taffy Apple Salad
from The Pampered Chef
  • 1 8oz can pineapple tidbits in juice
  • 2 medium red apples, cored and diced
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 4oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup thawed, frozen whipped topping
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • additional chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)
Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Whisk cream cheese into juice until smooth. Stir in whipped topping; mix until blended.

Add pineapple, apples, peanuts, and marshmallows to cream cheese mixture; mix gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with additional peanuts if desired.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff - Revisited

A few months ago, I participated in a really fun blogging event - the March Madness of crockpot cooking, hosted on 365 Days of Slow Cooking. One of my assignments was to make Chicken Stroganoff, and I loved it - but I really wanted to try to find a lighter version.

So, with some help from some ladies on an online forum, I adjusted this a bit to include a little less guilt without losing the flavor. Then, instead of egg noodles, I served it over some Israili couscous. Yum!

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup low-fat or fat free milk
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir constantly until the flour is incorporated and the mixture is bubbly and thick. Add the milk and broth and stir until thoroughly combined, heated, and thick.

Combine the chicken, onion, mushrooms, broth mixture, and tomato sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours. Shred the chicken and add in the parsley, yogurt, and and season with salt and pepper. Stir and turn to HIGH. Let sit without lid for 10-15 minutes. Serve over couscous.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Velvet Brownies

I loooove red velvet. And I looooove brownies. Put them together and you have a delicious marriage of something simply delectable and wonderful.

I made these soon after I spotted them on my friend Lisa's blog and, while I am usually a boxed-brownie kind of girl, these are worth every extra step.

Red Velvet Brownies
from Lisa's Cooking Adventures; originally from Pink Parsley
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1-oz) bottle red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
Cream Cheese Swirl
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 inch square baking dish with two pieces of aluminum foil, folding ends over the edges. Spray with cooking spray.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook 30 seconds at a time until melted, stirring well after each time. Whisk in the sugar. One at a time, add the eggs, whisking well between each addition. Stir in the flour, food coloring, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine well, then pour into the prepared baking dish.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Drop spoonfuls over the brownie batter, then use a table knife to swirl into the batter.

Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hot Fudge Marshmallow Monkey Bread

Oh my. This breakfast is not for the faint of heart. Or for those who are just ambivalent when it comes to sweetness. This was absolutely delicious, and my family loved it. This would be awesome to serve for guests - as long as you have some fruit and protein to balance it all out. ;)

Hot Fudge Marshmallow Monkey Bread
from Taste and Tell

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • 1 can (10.2 oz) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (5 biscuits)
  • 13 large marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Cut all 13 biscuits into quarters; set aside.

In large microwavable bowl, place marshmallows, 1/2 cup butter, hot fudge topping and vanilla. Microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once, until melted. Using wire whisk, stir until smooth.

In medium bowl, stir sugar and cocoa until blended.

Carefully place 1/4 of the biscuit pieces into hot chocolate mixture, gently folding in to coat. Add another 1/4 of the biscuits, gently folding in to coat. Using tongs, remove biscuits from chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip off. Drop 1 biscuit piece at a time into sugar mixture; spoon sugar over biscuit to coat. Layer biscuits in cake pan. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over biscuits.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until biscuits are deep golden and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Place heatproof serving plate upside down over pan; carefully turn plate and pan over. Remove pan; immediately scrape any remaining topping in pan onto bread. Pull apart warm bread to serve.

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Oh how I've missed my blog! The end of the school year is always chaotic as I try to write my final exams, clean out my classroom, and read portfolio evaluations. Throw my own two young children into the mix and most days I'm happy just to eat, let alone prepare a blog post.

But! Yesterday, I said goodbye to my 97 favorite 9th graders (well, the ones who showed up) and today I am ready to blow the dust off of this blog.

I've been making my own pizza on Fridays (I have many more to come!) and I am loving the tradition. I recently purchased a round stone from Pampered Chef and it has changed my life. My dough comes out so much better now, and I'm actually planning to buy a second (and maybe a third!) so that I can do double duty. My husband and I love trying new variety, but the kids keep asking me for "regular" pizza.

Anyway. This BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza has been a favorite for sure. What a delicious flavor combo! It's so perfect for this time of year, and it's so easy to put together (especially if you cheat like I did and use canned pineapple).

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza
slightly adapted from Sing for Your Supper
  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts, fully cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, plus more for brushing on the crust
  • 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1 can crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, about 1/3 cup (I omitted)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Stretch dough across pizza stone or tray and bake for 7 minutes.

Toss the cooked, shredded chicken breasts with the BBQ sauce. Set aside.

Brush the pizza crust with a thin layer of BBQ sauce, then spread on the ranch dressing. Top with the cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, then the chicken and pineapple. Bake for about 15 minutes, until all the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Top with the chopped cilantro. Makes 1 pizza.

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