Monday, August 11, 2014

Granola Balls

We found these over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe and we love them! They are the perfect little snack. I've made a few changes - reducing the amount of honey and chocolate chips - to make them taste more like a snack and less like a dessert. You can experiment with different nut butters and add-ins as well to make your own creation. We've tried peanut butter and almond butter, dried fruit instead of chocolate chips, and adding chia seeds into the mix and they've all been delicious! They come together very quickly and stay fresh for quite awhile. Enjoy!

Granola Balls

You can easily experiment with different add-ins - just try to keep the wet:dry ratio about the same. Let me know what you try! :)

*You can use Rice Krispies if that's all you have; I just prefer all natural crisped brown rice cereal because it's usually just one ingredient and whole grain.

2 c. quick oats
1 c. crispy brown rice cereal*
1 c. natural peanut butter
1 c. ground flaxseed
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. honey
2 T. coconut oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing gently so you don't crush the rice cereal. Mix until well combined. Using a cookie scoop (or spoon/hands), drop rounded balls about the size of a walnut onto a lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container or ziploc bag to store in the refrigerator or freezer. They'll stay fresh for a week or so in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.

Source: Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Confetti Corn

What? I'm blogging? I know, shocker. Turns out, moving across the country every year is kind of time-consuming. Nevertheless, we still have to eat. And we've been eating well! We are now in the Midwest, home to lots and lots of corn. Now, I LOVE corn on the cob, so I'm always hesitant to do anything with fresh corn rather than slather it in butter, salt and pepper, and devour it while getting it all over my face. BUT, if you're ready for something different, or if you're having company and don't want everyone awkwardly picking corn and pepper out of their teeth, than this is a great use of those fresh ears of corn. Also, if you have leftover corn on the cob you don't know what to do with, this is a great way to use it up. Just reduce the cook time after you add the corn to 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. This dish is fresh and flavorful, and it comes together very easily, which is essential for a side dish. I've made it twice in the last few weeks, and I need to make it again soon! Enjoy!

Confetti Corn
Ina Garten suggests chopping the onion and pepper in 1/2 inch pieces, but I prefer them smaller and I'm pretty sure my kids do too. I've put 1/4-inch on here, but be aware that's a change from the original recipe. 

2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. small-diced red onion
1 small orange bell pepper, 1/4-inch diced
2 T. butter
kernels cut from 5 ears un-cooked yellow or white corn (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives and/or minced fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Add the corn, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stir in the fresh herbs, and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Monday, April 14, 2014

Asian-style Meatballs

It's funny how things change when you have kids.  I used to think going to the eye doctor was the worst form of torture imaginable, but I just went a few weeks ago, and it was actually quite pleasant! I got to sit in a waiting room all by myself, I read a magazine, I chatted with other adults, etc. Sure, I had an eye exam too, but the overall experience was quite lovely.  While I was perusing some home-type of magazine I can't even remember, I came across a delicious looking recipe for asian meatballs.  Maybe I was just hungry because it was 5:00 and I hadn't eaten dinner yet, but I found myself really wishing I could eat them right then!  Well two days later, I had no desire to make what I had originally planned for dinner, but I realized I had everything I needed to make these!  Hooray!  And wow, they were so delicious.  The flavors just explode in your mouth. The kids devoured them and much to my dismay, there were no leftovers. :( Winner!

Asian-style Meatballs
These are pretty soft and squishy when being assembled, but oh-so-moist and tender and delicious when cooked!

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp. dried ground)
1 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
4 T. vegetable oil, divided

Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients thoroughly.  Roll or scoop into golf ball-sized meatballs and fry in oil on all sides until done. I'm sure you could also bake these with great results.

Source: Gwyneth Paltrow recipe (few slight changes)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Soup

It's kind of ridiculous how many recipes I have on here for taco soup, or enchilada soup, or some variation, but this is another new one and it's the best yet! My little sister Heidi (shout-out!), who happens to be an awesome cook, made this for me and my family last summer when we were visiting her in Iowa.  It was so delicious and I'm not sure why it took me so long to try it out myself.  There are so many wonderful flavors going on in this soup.  It's cooked in the crockpot all day, but then you add lots of fresh vibrant toppings that livens it up.  The whole family loved it!  I'll definitely be making this again.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 tsp. canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 c. frozen corn
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. chicken breasts
1/4 c. chopped green onions, for topping
cilantro, roughly chopped, for topping
sour cream, shredded cheese, & tortilla chips, for topping

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, and chipotle chili and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour into crockpot.

To the crockpot, add beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, and oregano and stir.  Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place back into the soup, taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve in bowls and top with desired toppings.

Source: Skinnytaste

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spaghetti Squash - Two Ways

I have been such a blogger slacker lately, but I have lots of new recipes to add to my "file" here, so hopefully I can get them all up soon.  We've been loving spaghetti squash lately. My kids think it's the coolest thing ever.  A vegetable that turns into spaghetti?!?  Yes, please! We've eaten it two different ways and both have been delicious.  I think the kids favored the traditional spaghetti way, but Jeremy and I thought they were both great. I find if I involve my kids in preparing new things, they are much more likely to enjoy eating it.  I let my boys scrape out the flesh of the squash (the "spaghetti") for me and they thought that was awesome.

Preparing Spaghetti Squash
I've also heard you can roast it whole, but this is the method I've always used.

1 large spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half, using a sharp knife and lots of muscles, and scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff (think pumpkin).  Brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until you can poke through the squash easily with a fork and the inside is soft and tender and strings up easily when scraped with a fork.  Let cool until you can handle it and then scrape out the flesh into a bowl or pot or whatever you're doing with it!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs

1 T. butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 shallots, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 roasted spaghetti squash, flesh scraped out into stringy "spaghetti"
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. grated Parmesan
coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add squash and toss to combine.  Cook until warmed through.  Stir in parsley and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.  Serve with additional grated Parmesan.

Source: Martha Stewart

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
You can do this with any spaghetti/marinara/bolognese/whatever sauce, this is what we did:

1 roasted spaghetti squash
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 large onion, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz. can petite-diced tomatoes
1 T. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1 T. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt, more to taste
1 tsp. ground pepper
Parmesan, for serving

In a large saucepan, brown turkey with onion and garlic, breaking turkey up into small pieces as it cooks.  When thoroughly cooked, add remaining ingredients (minus the spaghetti squash).  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Add to the spaghetti squash and mix until evenly combined.  (If you have too much sauce, just reserve extra for something else; it will depend on the size of your squash). Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Red Curry Lentils

If you're looking to cut back on your meat consumption this year, lentils are a great place to start.  They are a legume, but they cook much faster than other legumes (such as dried beans) - usually in 10-40 minutes.  They also have the third highest protein of any legume or nut, along with a lot of iron, fiber, vitamins and minerals*.  Convinced? Good.

Now on to the recipe...These lentils are amazing!  They pack a lot of heat, which you can adjust if you like, but they also have a TON of flavor.  They are chock full of some of my favorite South Asian spices - garam masala, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and of course, curry.  You can serve them over rice, pile them on some warm naan, or eat them straight with a spoon - I've done all three.  You really can't go wrong.  And if you have leftovers - they are even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop.  The recipe is simple and the results are delicious!  Enjoy!

**These were quite spicy - too spicy for my kids, so you may want to start with 1 Tbsp. of curry paste and add from there.  My husband and I loved them, especially topped with gobs of cilantro, but they are spicy, so be warned...

Red Curry Lentils

1 1/2 c. lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 large onion, diced
2 T. butter
2 T. red curry paste**
1/2 T. garam masala
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
a few shakes cayenne pepper
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/3 - 2/3 c. coconut milk
cilantro, for serving

Cook the lentils according to package directions (usually boil in water for about 20 minutes, until tender).  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until golden.  Add the spices - red curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper - and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Stir and simmer until smooth.

Add the lentils and the coconut milk.  Stir to combine and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.  You can add more coconut milk if the spice is too much.  Serve over rice and garnish with lots of fresh cilantro.

Source: Adapted from Pinch of Yum
*Info from Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving

We've been preparing to go to my sister's for Thanksgiving, so I'm not in charge this year, but if you are and you need some last-minute ideas, here are some of my favorites!

For Dinner:

Traditional Turkey - brined and roasted
Herb-roasted turkey
Cranberry Orange sauce
Grandma's Rolls (best rolls you'll ever have!)
Sweet Potato "Casserole":
And for Dessert:

Old-fashioned Apple Pie
All-butter pie crust:
Pecan Pie (no corn syrup!):
Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone! See you in December!