Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


~ Skinny not Skinny

1 c. margarine, softened
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 cl flour
1 c. old-fashioned or quick oats
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, cream margarine, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add flour oats, baking soda, and salt, mixing completely. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place 1" scoops of dough on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on pan for a few minutes in order to make it easier to transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes: These stay chewy after they've cooled! I only use two cups of chocolate chips because I don't like it when there's so many chips that the dough can barely hold together.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

POTATO & CABBAGE SOUP


~ Eat at Home

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
64 oz. chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 t. thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 t. sugar
1 T. cider vinegar, optional

If making on the stove top, then saute onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until the onion is soft. Add remaining ingredients, except vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add vinegar, if desired.

If making in a crockpot, then place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.

Notes: I've made this with red potatoes and just used extra because they were small.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

ROASTED ASPARAGUS


asparagus
oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut or break tough ends off asparagus spears. Place in a single layer on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and/or pepper. Roast for 10 minutes or until crisp-tender.


Monday, February 23, 2015

TUNA & VEGGIE GREEN SALAD


~ my own little brain

spinach and/or lettuce
tuna, flaked
cucumbers, chopped
red bell peppers, chopped
water chestnuts, chopped
chives, chopped
balsamic vinegar

Layer everything except the balsamic in serving bowl. Dress individual servings with balsamic vinegar.


Friday, February 20, 2015

CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO NACHOS


~ Naturally Ella

SWEET POTATOES
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. diced red onion
1 1/2 c. cubed sweet potatoes, about 1/4" cubes
1 chipotle
2 T. adobo sauce
1 T. honey
juice from one lime
1/2 c. black beans, drained and rinsed if using canned

CHEESE SAUCE
3 c. grated cheddar
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
6 T. - 3/4 c. milk, 2% or whole only
3/4 t. smoked paprika
3/4 t. garlic powder

GREMOLATA
1 c. cilantro
1 clove garlic
zest from one lime

OTHER
6-8 servings of tortilla chips
lime wedges, optional

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add onions and cook 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add sweet potatoes and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the chipotle, adobo sauce, honey, and lime juice in a mortar and pestle. Break the chipotle into small pieces. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, like yours truly, then just finely chop the chipotle and mix it with the other ingredients. Pour the chipotle mixture into the skillet with the sweet potatoes and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until sweet potatoes have softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in black beans and cook until warm.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the cheese sauce and gremolata. To make the cheese sauce, combine the cheddar and cornstarch in an small pot over medium heat, stirring until the cheese begins to melt. Add 6 tablespoons of milk, along with all of the paprika and garlic powder, then stir until mixture pulls together. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of milk at a time until sauce has reached a pourable consistency.

To make the gremolata, finely chop the cilantro leaves and put in a bowl. Grate the garlic and lime zest on a microplane, or the fine side of a metal box grater like I do, and mix with cilantro. Put 3/4 of the gremolata into the skillet with the sweet potatoes and stir until combined, reserving the remaining 1/4 of the mixture.

Spread half of the chips on a serving platter and drizzle half of the cheese sauce over it, then top with half of the sweet potato mixture. Repeat layers, then garnish with remaining gremolata. Serve hot with a plate of lime wedges, if desired.

Notes: I don't have a very good picture because it was getting too dark outside for good natural light (I'll plan ahead for a better picture next time), but I assure you these nachos are amazingly scrumptious! One of the little Ws said this is the best way they've ever had sweet potatoes and Tim said I'd outdone myself when he tried them for the first time. You can follow the link at the top to see some mouth-watering pictures, if you'd like. 

I use yellow onions, crockpot beans, and regular paprika, as I always have them handy, and just do one layer of everything because it's easier that way. While the recipe looks more complicated and time-consuming than it actually is, I think I may try making up some of the sweet potato mixture in advance and popping it in the freezer for easy dinners another night. I double the recipe for our family of six to eat as a main dish, serve it in a 11x17-inch pan, and it's gone in no time flat. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

OATMEAL, CHOCOLATE CHIP, COCONUT, & DRIED CHERRY BAR COOKIES WITH M&MS


~ Barbara Bakes

2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. dried cherries, cut in half
1/2 c. M&Ms

Grease a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if using a metal pan and 325 if using a glass one.

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

In a large bowl, mix butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing until well blended. Mix in vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet ones and mix until just blended.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and cherries.

Spread batter in pan and sprinkle M&Ms on top. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

Notes: I bake this in a glass pan and it takes 40-45 minutes before the center is no longer doughy. We don't keep M&Ms handy, so we just sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top. They do not have a strong coconut or cherry flavor at all, but they're delicious.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

CHICKEN & ROASTED VEGETABLE SOUP


~ Against All Grain

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 c. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 c. sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
2 T. olive oil
4 c. chicken stock
2-3 c. leftover shredded chicken or 1 lb. uncooked breasts
1 t. sea salt
3/4 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. pepper
1 c. water
2 c. baby spinach

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the garlic, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, and onion with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.

While the veggies are roasting, bring the stock to a simmer in a large pot. Add the chicken, salt, herbs, and pepper. Cover and cook while the veggies roast, about 15 minutes. If using raw breasts, then cook for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and can be shredded with a fork.

Place all the onion pieces, half of the other roasted veggies, and the water in a blender and puree. Pour puree and other roasted veggies into the soup, along with the spinach, and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the spinach has wilted and the soup is heated through.

Makes about nine cups.

Notes: I have used butternut squash one time and a random winter squash another time, raw chicken instead of leftovers, fresh rosemary instead of dried, both fresh spinach and some we'd previously chopped and frozen. A doubled recipe just barely fits in our 5 qt. Dutch oven. We puree all of the roasted veggies, as our family likes pureed squash better than chunky. I plan on making it with whatever squash I have on hand in the future and will probably sub chopped kale for the spinach from time to time.