About Me

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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Felafel and Tzatziki

This recipe is so easy.  And with frying them in cooking spray, pretty healthy!  I love to serve it with tzatziki and hummus.  With a nice salad, it's an easy light meal.

Adapted from Fake Ginger

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs
oil or cooking spray for frying

In the bowl of your food processor, add chickpeas, onions, parsley, and garlic. Process until  pieces are small but haven’t quite turned into a paste. Pour into a large bowl and add egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and baking powder. Stir together to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Add bread crumbs and combine.

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, spry cooking spray.  Shape falafel into balls or patties and fry until golden brown, just a couple minutes per side.

You can also make patties and then cook when you get home.

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 pound (1 pint) GREEK plain yogurt
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Grate the cucumber and squeeze in a paper towel to remove as much liquid as you can.

Transfer the yogurt to a large bowl. Add cucumber.  Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

PW's Mac and Cheese

You would think, looking at this, that she was about to dig in.  Mmmmm, homemade mac and cheese.

You would be wrong.  My kids prefer this stuff, in this shape.
It's very easy, and despite the toddler skepticism, very tasty!

Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

4 cups Dried Macaroni
1 whole Egg Beaten
4 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
1 pound cheddar Cheese, Grated
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Cook macaroni until very firm (3-4 minutes less than suggested). Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly to avoid burning.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir until melted.
Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Banana Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

They are as good as they look.  And with the lemon zest and yogurt, you barely notice the whole grain taste, if that sort of thing bugs you.

They have a nice lift, with all that baking powder.  You might want to increase the milk slightly, to help them spread in the skillet just a touch more.  The also freeze well, once baked.

Banana Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
Adapted from Annie's Eats

3 tbsp. butter, plus more for the skillet
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup  rye flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup plain, non fat greek yogurt
2-6 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract
About 1 cup banana, blueberries, or blackberries

Melt three tablespoons of the butter.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to blend.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt and milk and whisk together.  Add milk until you get the consistency ok- it should be thick but not too thick- think grits thickness.  Whisk in the melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients and whisk in just until incorporated.

Warm the oven to 200˚ F and have a baking sheet ready (to keep finished pancakes warm).  Heat a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat and grease lightly with butter.  Ladle about 1/3 cup of batter onto the cooking surface for each pancake.  Dot the top with fruit of choice.  Allow to cook until bubbles begin to form on the top surface.  Use a large spatula to carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side until light golden and cooked through.  Repeat with the remaining batter, storing finished pancakes in the oven until ready to serve.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage

My neighbors introduced this dish to me.  It's unlike what I usually make, and is sounds vaguely gross. But don't let its humbleness fool you.  It's  a great meal!

And of course, it freezes perfectly.

Stuffed Cabbage
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Alex's Mom

1 head Savoy cabbage
1 pound ground beef
1 small to medium onion, chopped small
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 parsnip, shredded
1/2 cup brown rice (cooked for 1/2 the time.  If using white rice, leave it uncooked)
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 to 4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce (double batch of this)

Cut the core out of the cabbage but leave it whole. Place it, with the empty core area facing up, in a large bowl. Boil a small pot of water and pour the water over the cabbage and let it sit for ten minutes.

Heat the oil in a saute pan. (I like to use the large one I will cook the final dish in — a deep 12-inch saute pan — to save dishes.) Cook the onions until they are soft, add the carrot, celery and parsnip and saute them for a couple extra minutes — until they are also soft. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool a bit. Mix in the meat, rice and tomato paste and season again with salt and pepper.

Drain the head of cabbage. Pull off large leaves, cut out the large vein if you'd like — if the leaf is very large, you can make two rolls from each. Make sure leaves are not sopping wet. Roll about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in each leaf and arrange in a large, wide pot. Pour in enough sauce to cover the rolls. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, letting them simmer covered on the stove on low for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.  You can also bake these in 350 degree oven in a 9 x 13 pan covered for one hour, if like me, your large pot is otherwise engaged.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spiced Honey Chicken Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette

I adore this salad.  I love the chicken, I love the dressing, I love all of it.  It almost could make me forget that it's the dead of winter.  This dressing goes with any salad.

Honey-Citrus Vinaigrette
Adapted from Our Best Bites

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T grated onion
1/3 C fresh orange juice
3T fresh lime juice
2T honey
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 C vegetable oil

3. Place all ingredients in a tightly sealed jar and shake your bootie (and the jar) vigorously. Store in the fridge, and shake before dressing salad.

Top salad with spiced honey chicken and honey citrus dressing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

My husband came home from a visit with his brother several years ago raving about this soup.  I have to admit, when I saw the canned tomato soup, I was skeptical, but there was no need to be.  It's a really flavorful soup that can be adapted to suit you- we added a fresh jalapeno, cilantro, and black beans, but you could omit any of those.  You could definitely substitute more veggies for the chicken and add vegetable stock to make it meatless.

It's also pretty guilt free!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Adapted from my sister-in-law

3 boneless & skinless chicken breast poached or grilled, shredded
1 small onion
1 large diced jalapeno
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1 can black beans
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili poweder
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients in large pot and simmer for one hour.  Add cheese to each individual bowl, along with chips and chopped cilantro.  Cut tortilla (flour or corn) and toast for the chips for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blueberry Scones

I love these scones.  Good scones are somewhat biscuit like, pastry like, and tender.  If they sit out too look, they become more muffin like, and lose the almost pie crust like texture.  They are good either way, but eaten within half an hour they are distinctly better.  Luckily, they freeze as dough perfectly well, so you can make a batch and then bake as needed.  

Blueberry Scones
Adapted from Ina Garten

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup blueberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy. Combine the blueberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Serve quickly for most tender texture.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fish Tacos

Don't let an ugly picture detract from a good meal.  Fish tacos are quick, cheap, and a good way to get more fish in your diet.  I had been excited to try these, and they definitely have made it into our rotation!

White Fish Tacos
Adapted from Annie's Eats

For the fish:
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp. minced cilantro
¼ tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 lb. white fish (I used tilapia)

For the cilantro cream sauce:
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced
6 oz. nonfat greek yogurt (sour cream is fine too)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste

For serving:
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Green onions, chopped
Red cabbage, shredded
6-inch flour tortillas

Combine the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cilantro, cumin, and garlic in a pie plate or shallow dish.  Whisk together until well blended.  Place the fish in the mixture, turning to coat.  Let flavors blend 15-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro cream sauce.  Combine the lime juice, cilantro, greek yogurt, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Place the fish in the pan and cook, about 3 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook on the second side 2-3 minutes more.  Move to a plate, season with salt if wanted, and let rest for a few minutes.  Shred the fish into bite-sized pieces with two forks.

Assemble tacos on flour tortillas with shredded fish, cilantro cream sauce and toppings.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chocolate Granola with Coconut and Cherries

Chocolate granola?  I had to try this.  Plus, I had to make something for my husband to snack on when he was on his way out to the woods.  I love coconut, love cherries, and love granola, so this was a must make.  I was really pleased with it.  Plus, it'll make your milk chocolate!

Chocolate Granola with Coconut and Cherries
Adapted from Keep it Simple Foods


1 3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup agave nectar (or honey)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes
1 scant teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine rolled oats and almonds.  Heat coconut oil, then add cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and honey.  Add oats and almonds.  Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toast for 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

Once cool, add cherries.  I lightly toasted the coconut by itself for 10 minutes before adding.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken and Garlic Stuffed Shells

I love these already.  I never tire of finding meals that can be prepared in advance and popped in the oven when I get home from work.  I snuck a few bites of filling (no egg, don't worry!) while making these, and I am so excited to have the second pan in my freezer.  My only complaint was that I had about 20 shells left over, which, considering the price of pasta is no big deal, but next time I'll boil 2/3 of a box not to be wasteful.  The other thing I like about this recipe is it makes about 32 shells with 2 chicken breasts, so although it is still meat, it's less meat than the average american meal.

Chicken and Garlic Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 box (or more) uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 32)
6 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely shredded
30 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried parsley (1 tbsp. fresh, chopped)
6 large basil leaves, torn
1/3 cup half and half
approx. 28 oz. pasta sauce
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

A Double Batch of Tomato Sauce with butter and onion

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook pasta shells fully according to package directions and drain. Separate onto a cutting board or cookie sheet to prevent from sticking together, or just toss with a little olive oil after running under cold water. Add ingredients garlic through half and half to a food processor and process until just combined. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Spoon enough sauce into baking dish to cover the bottom. Fill the cooked shells with the ricotta mixture and place open side up in a prepared baking dish. Spoon as much of the remaining sauce over shells as desired. Bake covered with foil for 15-20 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

If freezing extra shells, to cook from the freezer, thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake as directed above.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Short Notice Waffles

My kids love waffles.  I have not abandoned my favorite recipe, but if waffles are an afterthought, then these will more than fit the bill!! The cornstarch is key.  They are so easy, there is no need to buy waffle mix ever.

Adapted from Food network

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.