Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Another toddler inspired pancake for my twins. It has two of their favorite things, so they loved them.
Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes
1 cup flour (I meant to use whole wheat, but had a brain blip and uses AP this go around.)
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
2 ripe bananas
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk
cream cheese- to top with
In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add peanut butter and mash more. Add egg and stir until incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla and milk. Whisk a few times, don't over work the batter though. Cook on griddle. Top with cream cheese.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
One of my favorite treats are Kellogg's Rice Kristpies. But, I am looking for healthier snacks to take on my road trip that is coming up at the end of next month. This has sugar in the form of the marshmallows, but it also has dried fruit and puffed whole grains. I thought about adding peanut butter for protein, but decided not to this go around. I'll test these out on the girls and if they get the stamp of approval, I'll make another batch for the trip. Thanks Mom for placing the idea in my head!
Healthier Crispie Marshmallow Treats
2 cups of whole grain puffed rice
2 cups of whole grain puffed wheat
2 cups of whole grain puffed kamut
3 tablespoons of real butter
1 10oz bag of marshmallows
1 cup diced dried fruit
1/2 tsp vanila
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
Spray a very big bowl with cooking spray, then measure out the various puffed grains. I used 2 cups of each, but you can do whatever mixture of puffed grains you can find. I've never even heard of Kamut, until I saw it in the store! Dice fruit up as small as you can. I sprayed my knife with cooking spray to help the fruit not stick to the blade. I would recommend chopping by hand, because it'll just gum up in a food processor. Add fruit to grains and stir. Spray a brownie pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Add marshmallow and stir constantly on medium heat. When just about melted add extracts. You can leave them out or use your own, I was just having fun with the flavors in my cabinet! I thought it would give a more "tropical" feel to the crispie treats. When fully melted, quickly pour marshmallows over puffed grains, scraping down the sides to get it all. Work very quickly and stir. It helps to also spray your spoon with cooking spray. Keep stiring until all the marshmallow is incorporated into the grains and fruit. Then pour the mixture in your brownie pan. Spray your hands and gently pat down the mixture (it should be cool enough to touch by now, but check carefully because freshly melted marshmallows are very hot!) Let stand for at least 15 minutes.
These are the grains I used!
-->>Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. <<-- Storage instructions are From Kelloggs Website
Saturday, June 27, 2009
This meal can be made out of things that I keep on hand in my pantry and freezer. There are ways to make it lower fat, but tonight I went all out. I guess I was craving that southern-style delicious casserole. One of my blogger friends from Australia mentioned that her husband didn't care for casseroles. That got me wondering what a traditional casserole is for Australia (I need to look that up still!) Then I started wondering what would be the iconic American casserole. I think it is very region dependent. I've heard of tator-tot casseroles from up north, and here in Texas we do a lot of Tex-Mex casseroles. But some variation of a chicken rice casserole is all South. This is my version. By the way, this is my "pantry" version. I have been known to do a "all-from-scratch" version too!
Pantry Chicken & Rice Casserole
2- 13oz cans of cooked chicken breast
1 large onion
1- 13 oz package frozen broccoli
2/3 cup + 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cans of "cream of" soup*
2 cups white rice
4 cups + 1/4 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of bread crumbs or 3 slices of fresh bread made into crumbs
2 pats of butter (you can decide how many calories you want to add...)
*Whatever is in YOUR pantry. I used cream of mushroom and cream of chicken, but cream of celery would be a good mix too.
Make rice according to package directions, I cook mine 2 cups of rice to 4 cups of chicken broth instead of water. When I make 2 cups worth I cook it for 20 minutes instead of the 15 that my package recommends. Preheat oven to 350º.
In a skillet, saute diced onion until translucent, in one pat of butter you don't want to brown it. Add canned chicken meat. You can skip this if you are omitting the onion, but to me, sauteing the chicken makes it taste better. Add broccoli so that it starts to defrost a bit.
In a large casserole dish, add chicken, onions, broccoli. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, both "cream of" soups, 1/4 cup of chicken broth and 2/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Add cooked rice to chicken mixture. Top with soup mixture and stir very thoroughly.
Rinse out your bowl or get a clean one. Melt your second pat of butter. Add bread crumbs and remaining 1/3 cup grated cheese. Mix with your fingers and spread across top of casserole. Bake for 45 minutes. Serves about 12.
Really great with a crisp iceberg salad on the side and ranch dressing. Also, the leftovers freeze well.
Friday, June 26, 2009
If you have ever had fresh, homemade pasta it is nothing like store bought pasta or even store bought "fresh" pasta. It is light and airy and so yummy! Tonight I made "rag" pasta, so called because after you roll it, all you do is tear it up into big pieces (rags) and boil it. I decided to add a bit of health so instead of all flour I added 1/4 cup of flax seed meal that I had on hand. Flax Seeds have tons of great nutrients and are another way to add omega-3's to your diet. It tasted fine in the pasta, although, with only 1/4 cup in the entire recipe, who knows how much nutrition we got from each serving, but some is better than none, right? Oh, and I love making homemade pasta, but I don't enjoy making it by hand. I use a food processor.
Homemade Rag Pasta
1 1/2 cup of flour*
1/2 cup flax seed meal
2 tbsp oil
about 1/4 cup of water
*You can play around with your flour. Use 2 cups of all purpose and no flax, use half all purpose and half wheat, or all semolina (which is more authentic.)
In a food processor blend all of the ingredients. Drizzle in water until dough starts to come together in a ball. Pulse for a bit longer. Dump dough on your counter and knead a couple of times to bring it together. It should look like this:
I have rolled pasta with a rolling pin, so it can be done! Cut the dough into small manageable balls and roll as thin as you can. Or, if you used your Christmas money on a pasta machine like I did, you get to pull it out of the pantry and use it again! Cut the dough in half and place on machine. Starting with the largest setting (1 on my machine) roll the dough through the opening 3 or 4 times on the same setting.
After 3 or 4 times on 1, set the machine to 2 and keep rolling. It should begin to look like this:
Between rolls, fold your dough in half. Work each setting at least twice before moving to the next setting. If your dough gets caught and all mangled, go back a setting or two and just keep going.
Keep working to until you get to the last setting, which will make the pasta very thin. Only run it through the last setting once. Get creative and find a space in your kitchen that you can hang your pasta to dry. You don't HAVE to do this step, but it does something to the pasta which really does seem to make it better some how. I cleared off a shelf unit, wiped it down and used it. I've seen people take a broom stick (clean it) and then lay it from their island to their counter and use it. Let the past dry for at least 20 minutes.
Bring a REALLY big pot to boil. Fresh pasta has a lot of starch and needs a big pot of water or it will all gum together. Believe me. I did this amount of pasta in about 4 batches in the largest pot I have. Don't forget to salt the water! When it comes to a boil, tear the pasta into pieces and boil for about 2-3 minutes. If you hand roll your pasta and it's a bit thicker it may take 4-5 minutes. This makes enough pasta for 4 people.
Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper
Sautè onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a ripping boil and to reduce the sauce, stirring frequently about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
If you were to ask my husband what his favorite dish is that I make, 9 times out of 10 he'll say your burritos! For some reason we've always called this dish 'my burritos' but in truth they resemble big enchiladas more than a burrito. I looked it up on Wikipedia. Either way, this is a simple, filling and tasty dish. (Extras make a great freezer dish, if you can get them to the freezer without eating them all!)
1- 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 can of diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
1 can of refried beans (I use fat free)
2 ears of corn (or 1 cup frozen or canned)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano (I used 2 sprigs of fresh)
2 tbsp chili powder
Any extra heat you want in the form of jalapenos, dried peppers, canned chilies, ect.
1-2 cups of Mexican cheese
2 cans of green enchilada sauce
8-10 large tortillas
Preheat oven to 375º. Peel corn ears and toss in oven on the rack. While you prepare the meat, let the corn cook. You know its done when you can pierce the kernels with a fork easily.
Sautè onions and minced garlic in a skillet. Add ground meat. Stir until almost cooked through. Add seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder & any additional spice.) Add refried beans mix thoroughly. Partially drain the tomatoes and add them to the meat. When corn is finished, take out of the oven and let cool. With a sharp knife, carefully slice off the kernels. Stir them (or the canned/frozen corn) into the meat mixture.
In each large tortilla add about 1/2 cup 0f meat (okay, I didn't measure, it's usually two big scoops with a big serving spoon.) Roll the tortilla up and place it into a greased baking pan. Do this with the remaining tortillas. Sprinkle with grated cheese and pour the cans of enchilada sauce on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted.
1 cup of white rice
2 cups of chicken stock
1 can of tomatoes
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can of diced chilies
1/2 tsp turmeric (you can omit this, but it gives it the nice yellow-y color)
Dice onion and sautè in a saucepan. Add garlic. Stir everything else into the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered about 20 minutes. (The extra tomato juice requires it to cook a bit longer than the package directions for the rice.)
For my twin toddlers, instead of a big messy burrito, I gave them small messy quesadillas instead. I took some of the meat mixture (before I added extra heat) placed it on a tortilla, added grated cheese and folded in half. I grilled them for a couple of minutes in my cast iron skillet. Served the rice and some fruit on the side. I made these for my toddlers, but I'm sure they would be a good lunch for adults too!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Ever since I made Spring Asparagus & Lemon Fettuccine I've been stuck on the sauce. I've now made it three times, each a bit different. Last time I made it with curly noodles, ham and peas. Tonight I actually changed it quite a bit and made it with chicken and zucchini. I wasn't going to post it, but I figure if anyone else loved the original dish as much as I did, perhaps they would like variations too. My twins loved this version too. It was also very quick, start to finish is 25 minutes with the twins running around the kitchen with towels (I mean, capes) on their head.
Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Pasta
1 large chicken breast
1 large zucchini (I used left overs from when I made this Fish dish)
1 1/2 cups- 2 cups Fat Free Half and Half
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil + extra for chicken
1 cup mozzarella*
4-6 oz favorite small noodle
Grill chicken and zucchini, I rubbed both with a bit of olive oil (extra from what is called for the sauce) salt and pepper. Dice into small bite size pieces and set aside.
In a small sauce pan with no heat, whisk the FF half and half, the flour, olive oil, mozzerella and salt and pepper. When flour has dissolved, turn up heat to medium. Whisk occasionally until sauce thickens.
Drain noodles, add cooked chicken and zucchini and sauce. Serves 2-3.
*I didn't have any parmigian like the original recipe, but I think either works, the parm is more salty, so you don't need to add as much salt to the sauce if you use it, and you don't need as much since it has a stronger flavor.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I had some fish in the freezer that sounded good for dinner tonight. When I was trying to decide how to cook it, I remembered I had some half and half that I needed to use up. Honey-Mustard is one of my husbands favorite flavor profiles, so that is what I made.
Grilled Fish with Spicy Honey Mustard Cream Sauce
2 Mahi Mahi fillets or other firm fish (I think salmon would be great with this)
2 cups of fat free half and half
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup spicy mustard
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of flour
Grill fish using an indoor or outdoor grill. I just prepared it with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper. Internal temperature of fish should reach 145º.
To make sauce: Boil rice wine vinegar in a pot and reduce by half. In a small bowl, whisk half and half, honey, mustard and flour. Pour in pot and whisk until thickened. Drizzle over fish. This makes more than enough for the fish, I'm going to use the leftovers over a baked chicken.
white rice and grilled zucchini
1/4 cup of Spicy Honey Mustard
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
(Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple)
I'm hosting a Finger Painting party for several of my friends that I met through my local Mom's of Multiples Group. Since I like to do a lot of things homemade or from scratch, I thought, why not finger paint? Talk about cheap. It cost me less than a dollar to make ALL of this paint (I have another 3 cup tubberware (not pictured) that I left white, so I can make some more if one color is popular!) I did buy the fancy squirt bottles on the dollar rack at Target, so that added to the cost. We'll see how it works out tomorrow as far as the painting goes! I got the recipe from THIS website.
Homemade Finger Paint
1 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 cups cold water*
In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.
After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You're ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.
** I doubled the original recipe, but then added even more water (for a total of 6 cups), since it seemed too thick to me with less water.
This is what the paint looks like before adding any color.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Orzo with Tomatoes
1 cup orzo pasta
½ small onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
Chopped basil, to taste
Boil pasta until al dente. As the pasta cooks, combine the flour and oil to make a roux over medium heat. Grate the onion and garlic into the roux and cook for 2-3 minutes until fully incorporated and beginning to cook through. (Alternately, add finely chopped onion and garlic to the roux and cook for a bit.) Stir in the tomatoes and cook until the sauce thickens (5-8 minutes). Add the drained pasta and basil and toss together. Top with grated cheese as desired.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I wanted to take my girls to the mall to play today. Yesterday we were cooped up inside because of a stormy day and we wanted to get out today. I didn't want to go to a park because with all the rain it was supposed to be extremely humid today. I can handle some heat, but sticky humidity I hate! Anyway, lately when I plan a meal out for the girls I end up taking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I wanted to change it up a bit today.
Curried Turkey Sandwich
2 slices of bread
canned turkey meat or deli meat diced
1.5 tbsp of mayo
1 small carrot
1/4 - 1/2 apple
1 tbsp raisins
dash of mild curry powder
Mix turkey with mayo. Grate carrot and apple with the fine side of your grater or micro plane. My girls cannot chew raisins yet, so I minced them up really small, otherwise add them whole. Put in a dash of curry powder and stir.
*This would also be great with tuna fish instead of turkey.
Maddie devoured hers!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
A couple of months ago at my monthly PAMOM (Plano Area Mom's of Multiples) meeting, we had a potluck dinner. The hit of the night, I am sad to say wasn't my dish, but was a Broccoli Salad from Amy Yang. Well to give credit where credit is due, it was delicious! Amy wasn't on the message boards for a few days following our pot luck dinner. The main topic of discussion was who made the Broccoli Salad, and what was the recipe? Finally the recipe surfaced. I would never have thought to put raisins with broccoli, but strangly enough it works. Who knew? When my husband needed a dish to bring to his company picnic, this came straight to mind.
Amy Yang's Broccoli Salad
1 head of fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup of raisins
1 onion, finely chopped
12 slices of bacon
1 cup toasted chopped almonds or pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Cook and crumble bacon. Prepare dressing by whisking together the sugar, mayonnaise and vinegar. Pour over raw broccoli, raisins, onion, bacon and nuts. Toss until well coated. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.
*I wanted to make slightly more than the recipe, so I used two heads of broccoli. I didn't double anything else, except I made slightly more dressing than called for. I also made sure to use a sweet yellow onion since it was going to be eaten raw. The recipe didn't specify, but either type of onion would probably work.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Toddler Breakfast Parfait
1 kiwi (or any fresh fruit)
1 container of thick greek yogurt (I bought fig)
a couple handfuls of cheerios (or whatever cereal you are giving your toddler)
Dice fruit, mix in the yogurt and cheerios. This mixture becomes thick enough that they can feed themselves. It does get a bit messy on the hands, but they have fun licking off the yogurt. It's also great practice for the spoon since it's thick enough to stick to the spoon without sliding off.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The idea for this dish was to make something in a large quantity that I could freeze to pull out for my toddlers to have for lunches that was healthy and tasty. I think I found a winner for this round! I gave these to the girls for lunch today and they gobbled them up. I will note however, that this isn't a hard dish to make, but it is time consuming!
Greek Inspired Turkey & Spinach Pockets
1 lb ground turkey (beef would work great too!)
1 package frozen spinach
1 large onion
3 oz feta cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (60) pack of wontons (I ended up making about 50)
Dice onion into small pieces and saute in a large skillet. Add ground turkey working with the back of your spoon to break the meat up into small crumbles. Defrost spinach in the mircrowave. Add dried oregano, salt a pepper to meat. With a microplane, add just the zest of one lemon. Add defrost spinach and mix well. Place meat mixture in a large bowl and allow to cool completely. After it is cool, stir in feta cheese.
Lay out wonton, working with 6-8 at a time. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of each wonton. With a pastry brush dipped in water, lightly wet each edge of the wonton. Bring two opposite corners together. Bring up the left side, pressing the edges together tightly. Last, bring the right side up. You should have a square. Just before putting in the oven, spray each wonton very liberally with cooking spray. Bake* in a preheated 375º oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Let leftovers cool completly and freeze on cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe ziptop bag. Reheat in microwave or toaster oven.
*These can be fried or boiled if you prefer. Just make sure you push the extra air out of your wontons if you choose these methods.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Chicken Cheddar Hoagies has become one of my favortie dishes lately. Last night I was looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner and that dish came to mind. The only problem was that I didn't have the "hoagie" part of the recipe. So, scrounging around the pantry, I discovered some pretty small, pathetic looking potatoes. An idea sprung to mind. I made the Chicken Cheddar Hoagie recipe (minus the red pell pepper, since I didn't have that. I did use some green pepper though.) And then I baked the potatoes and piled the chicken on top. My potatoes were so small I actually served one and half per person. I love dishes that I creatively use what I already have in the pantry/refridgerator. There is a certian level of satisfaction that comes from them. Oh, and it was very tasty! I think I prefer it on the bread, but I won't be surprised if I repeat it on the potatoes in the future!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
So, I'm always trying new recipes for my twin toddlers. Most of the time they eat what we eat for dinner, but lunches I usually gear more toddler friendly. Or I fill out their dinner with toddler friendly foods. My girls do pretty well in the veggie category, but like most Moms out there, I guess I'm always trying to find new ways to make veggies more enticing. This is a pancake that is a WIP (Work in Progress.) I think this batch ended up turning out okay, but I want to make some changes next time. Notice the sweetness comes from the natural applesauce & carrots. The ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon also add a sweet quality. Comments and suggestions are surely welcome!!
WIP: Savory-Sweet Veggie Pancakes
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 -1/2 cup of milk (or water)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all natural applesauce
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
a smidgen of fresh nutmeg
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Cook rice according to package directions. Grate carrots and zucchini in a large bowl. Add applesauce. In your blender, blend rice and milk until smooth. Start with less milk and add as needed. Add the pureed rice to veggies and applesauce. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir. You might need to add more or less of the flour to get the best consistency. Cook on a griddle, flipping when pancakes start to bubble.
Notes: Next time I'm going to up the veggie amount. Maybe as much as 3 carrots and 2 zucchini.
My daughter, Izzie eating the pancakes with cream cheese topping. She seemed to like them!