Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms- Tiny Stuff for Dinner

Little Foodie LOVES, LOVES, LOVES anything tiny so appetizers for dinner makes everyone happy! Appetizers are the perfect dinner for kids, I am not talking about frozen mozzarella sticks but any homemade meal made smaller. Tiny pizzas or Tiny homemade turkey burgers, if you have a picky eater try making them a tiny meal tonight. I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com, enjoy!

  • 12 large fresh mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 (6 ounce) package chicken flavored dry stuffing mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 pound cooked sasuage ( I used organic chicken sausage)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Arrange mushroom caps on a medium baking sheet, bottoms up.
  2. Prepare chicken flavored dry stuffing mix according to package directions.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in garlic and stock and cook until garlic is tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together prepared dry stuffing mix, cream cheese and cooked sausage. Liberally stuff mushrooms with the mixture. Drizzle with the buttery mixture. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper.
  6. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until stuffing is lightly browned.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chocolate Covered Cherries

If you are easily frustrated in the kitchen then read no further! In the spirit of making more homemade/handmade items this Christmas I decided to make a big batch of chocolate covered cherries (they are my dads FAVORITE), really how hard could it be. The recipe sounded easy so I thought I would give it a try, half way through the batch I was ready to give up but I didn't because I hate to waste ingredients. In the end they turned out really ugly but Little Foodie and my hubby insisted that they taste yummy, I didn't taste them they are my least favorite candy which could be the reason why I was so easily frustrated while making them; I am sure I will try to make them again next year :) I found the recipe on allrecipes.com.

* I sprayed my hands with a little nonstick cooking spray before rolling the cherries into the dough, it helped with the sticky mess that was happening to my hands before I coated them.
  • 60 maraschino cherries with stems
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pound chocolate confectioners' coating
  1. Drain cherries and set on paper towels to dry.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine butter and corn syrup until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar and knead to form a dough. Chill to stiffen if necessary. Wrap each cherry in about 1 teaspoon of dough. Chill until firm.
  3. Melt confectioners' coating in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Dip each cherry in by its stem, and place on waxed paper lined sheets. Chill until completely set. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Best after 1 or 2 weeks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baked Ziti with a Twist

I had a bunch of kale in my veggie crisper that we picked up at the local farmers market and I need a creative way to use it- I stumbled across this recipe on Foodietots.com. My hubby and I really enjoyed it but Little Foodie just picked at it, she is not a huge fan of pasta. Great dinner for a cold winter night, I made mine meat free but you could add sausage if you like. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound ziti noodles
  • 1 cup organic kale leaves, torn
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 organic carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon oregano
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, romano and parmesan cheeses

Instructions: Bring water to boil in a large stock pot.

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until evenly browned. Remove sausage from pan and set aside, covered.

Lower heat to medium low and add garlic and onion. Cook 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add carrots and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in oregano and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta for 6 minutes (or 2/3 of minimum recommended cooking), adding kale for the last minute. Drain.

Stir together pasta, kale, ricotta and 1/2 of the sauce. Pour into 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour remaining sauce over top, then spead shredded cheeses evenly over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is golden. Makes 10-12 servings. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Great cookie recipe, super moist and a little bit chewy. I found a lot of cute cookie/candy containers at my local $ store, place a few different kinds of sweet treats inside and you have the prefect holiday gift! I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com. Enjoy!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, butter flavored shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes until light and golden. Do not overbake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container. Make sure you get some, because they don't last long!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sweet Treats

This year I am trying to make more homemade and handmade items to give as gifts. This is a super simple recipe that tastes very yummy!! I found this recipe on kraftfoods.com, enjoy!

35 Saltine Crackers
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. (8 squares) Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup chopped Walnuts, toasted or crushed candy canes

HEAT oven to 400ºF.

PLACE crackers in single layer in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch pan.

COOK butter and sugar in saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Bring to boil; cook 3 min. without stirring. Spread onto crackers.

BAKE 5 to 7 min. or until topping is golden brown. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate; let stand 5 min. or until chocolate is softened. Spread chocolate over ingredients in pan; sprinkle with nuts. Cool. Break into pieces.





Monday, December 14, 2009

Brussels Sprouts w/Walnuts and Dried Cranberries


I am a big fan of the Brussels Sprout, they are tiny packages of yummy goodness!!! Little Foodie on the other hand is always a little skeptical when I say I am making yummy Brussels sprouts for dinner, she use to call them stinky baby cabbages :) . On a recent trip to the grocery store Little Foodie spotted the Brussels sprouts still on a giant stalk and said we had to buy them because she had a plan. When we got home with our giant stalk o' Brussels Little Foodie promptly picked all the sprouts off of the stalk and put them in a container and then she took the stalk out back and stood it up in our compost bin, she said it was our family flag, what can I say she is a strange kid sometimes. I found this yummy recipe on the Vegetarian Times website; my hubby and the skeptical Little Foodie loved it and I plan on making it as a side-dish for Christmas dinner. Enjoy!
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1½ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 medium shallots, halved and sliced (¼ cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbs. agave syrup
  • 1 Tbs. walnut oil
1. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to plate, and set aside.

2. Wipe out skillet, and return to heat. Add olive oil, and swirl skillet to coat bottom. Add Brussels sprouts, and cook 5 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add shallots and garlic, and cook 1 minute more.

3. Stir in cranberries, agave, and 1 cup water. Partially cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated and Brussels sprouts are just tender, but not soft. Transfer to serving bowl. Stir in walnut oil and toasted walnuts, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The BEST Banana Bread!!

This is the BEST banana bread in the entire world, I know this because I have made banana bread a million different ways and this one is AMAZING!!! I wanted to make a yummy breakfast treat to take to class to share with my professor (who is the best!) and the students in the class; I had 4 bananas in my freezer and all I needed was the perfect recipe. I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com. Enjoy!

  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.
  2. To make the streusel topping, mix 1/4 cup of cut-up butter, 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and oats in a bowl until crumbly. Set aside.
  3. Cream the sugar and butter together in a bowl, and stir in the eggs. Add the bananas, milk, and vanilla extract, and stir until the mixture is well blended. Beat in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, cinnamon, and nuts.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with half the streusel topping.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the loaves have risen and the topping is browned. Let the banana bread cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

Who doesn't like pizza, it is always a favorite meal at our house. We are not an order in/take-out kind of family so I am always on the lookout for for easy pizza dough recipes. This one was created by Fleischmann's Yeast and it is really easy and super delicious; the crust was crispy on the bottom and soft/chewy in the middle! I used the footnote below for the active dry yeast and I added a little oregano and basil to the mix. Next time you are in the mood for pizza try this recipe instead of picking up the phone and placing a pizza order :) !! Enjoy

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • Cornmeal

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.
  2. Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).** Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Top pizza as desired.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

Footnotes

  • *To use Fleischmann's® Active Dry Yeast: Use 1 package Active Dry Yeast, 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F) and flour, salt and oil listed above. Place 1/4 cup of the warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle with yeast; stir until undissolved. Add remaining water, salt, oil and 2 cups all-purpose flour; stir well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.
  • Knead as directed. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 to 60 minutes. Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Shape, top and bake as desired.
  • **Master Pizza Dough fits the following pans: 1 (15 x 10-inch) baking pan, 1 (13 x 9-inch) baking pan, 1 (14-inch) or 2 (9-inch) deep-dish pan(s). For individual pizzas, shape dough into 6 or 8 (7-inch) rounds and place on 2 greased baking sheets.
  • Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough: add 2 teaspoons Spice Islands® Sweet Basil, Oregano (leaves), or Rosemary and 1 clove finely minced garlic along with dry ingredients.
  • Cornmeal Pizza Dough: Replace 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with cornmeal.
  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chicken Soup with Kale and Homemade Egg Noodles

Little Foodie and I visit our local farmers market often, even in the chilly fall months. At the weekend farmers market we picked up a HUGE bunch of kale (for only $1.50) and 3 turnips. Kale is a wonderful dark leafy green and it holds up well in soup. I used turnips in my recipe but you can omit them and use potatoes. I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com. Enjoy!
  • For Egg Noodles
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • For Soup:
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into small pieces
  • 3 Turnips peeled cut in chunks (or potatoes)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 4 sliced carrots
  • 1-2 containers of veggie or chicken stock (as much as your crockpot will hold)
  • 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Place all SOUP ingredients into a crockpot and set on low. Soup should cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together butter, flour and salt to form a mealy mixture. Beat in eggs and egg yolks to form a stiff dough. Divide dough into thirds and roll each third out onto a floured surface to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thickness. Let rolled pieces of dough rest on racks for 20 minutes.
  3. Slice the noodle dough into 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) widths. At the end of the soups cooking time drop noodles into the soup a few at a time. Cook until noodles are tender, 5 minutes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Apple Squares

I have a huge collection of apple recipes and pull them out in the fall during apple season. This recipe is yummy and makes your house smell great while it is baking! I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com. Enjoy!
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of white sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples and walnuts. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top of the bars.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven; finished bars should spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Corn Cake


My hubby and my dear Little Foodie LOVE Mexican food so we have a make your own taco night a few times a month. One night while making tacos I had a hankering for the corn cake that Mexican restaurants sometimes serve with their meals. My hubby and Little Foodie loved it and now it will be a staple alongside our taco night meals! I adapted this recipe from one found on allrecipes.com. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. In a medium bowl beat butter until it is creamy. Add the flour and water and beat until well mixed.
  2. Using a food processor, process thawed corn, but leave chunky. Stir into the butter mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, cream, salt, and baking powder. Add to corn flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Smooth batter and cover with aluminum foil. Place pan into a 9x13 inch baking dish that is filled a third of the way with water.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven F (175 degrees C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop for easy removal from pan.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I LOVE fall/winter veggies, cooked squash is so yummy and very good for you!!! You can find all different kinds of squash at your local grocery store and they can all be cooked the same way. First you will need to split the squash open-sharp knife and muscles will be needed for this task-next you will need to scrape all the seeds out just like you would with a pumpkin. Oil the squash up with a little EVOO and add salt and pepper. Cook the squash at 400 degrees, face down for the first 20 minutes and then flip and cook for another 20 minutes. I had a little left-0ver chicken and some stuffing that I mixed together and placed in the squash. Little Foodie is always impressed when I serve food in edible containers. Enjoy!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Back!!!!

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything in a month, bad food blogger!! It's not that I haven't been cooking or taking food pics, I have been busy with school. This is my last week, finals week, so hopefully I can post a lot during my month off from school!!! Keep an eye out for some new recipes!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Pasta


We have been eating a lot of vegetarian meals lately, Little Foodie prefers to eat meat (all the time) but has been pretty happy with the meat free dishes. This was a very filling meal and I served it with a side salad. I adapted it from a recipe created by Rachel Ray; if you don't want to make your own pesto you can use store bought. Enjoy :)
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley tops, packed
  • 1 cup baby spinach or farm bundled spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed into past with salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces ( you can find pre-cubed squash at Trader Joes)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne or semolina penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Place parsley, spinach, ginger, garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in food processor and turn processor on. Stream about 1/3 cup EVOO into processor to form a pesto sauce.

Drizzle the pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons EVOO and season with salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Roast 15 minutes, turn the cubes over and roast 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil for pasta, salt it and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy water just before draining. Drain pasta, return to hot pot, add reserved water and pesto, and toss to coat. Gently mix in the roasted pumpkin cubes and serve topped with lots of cheese and some pumpkin seeds.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

I LOVE pumpkin and once October comes around I try to find as many pumpkin recipes as I can!! I had the yummiest pumpkin soup at the cafeteria at school last week so I needed to find a similar recipe to make at home. I also have an addiction to soup, it is easy to make and it is a one pot meal; I serve it with bread fresh from the oven!! I adapted this recipe from one created by Rachel Ray. Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
  • 1 cup heavy cream ( I used low fat milk instead)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
  • Coarse salt
  • 20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish
Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brussels Sprouts


Don't make that face, I can see you making the same face that Little Foodie makes when she sees that we are having brussels sprouts for dinner. Brussels sprouts are yummy, all they need is a little TLC and they turn into a fabulous side dish!! Now Little Foodie always makes the "yuck face" but once she tries them she is hooked and eats a ton but I am sure she will never admit that she likes brussels sprouts. I think the secret to good brussels sprouts is to cut them in half and cook them in a pan in a little butter and olive oil, add a good bit of salt and pepper and a little smoked paprika and yum they melt in your mouth!! Now stop making the face and go and cook up some brussels sprouts!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Potato Corn Chowder


I have this small obsession with soups, this is fairly new, I wasn't much of a soup eater in the past but now I really enjoy a big bowl of soup for dinner and as a bonus my hubby and Little Foodie enjoy it also. This is a super easy soup to make, I made ours using corn that I had frozen during the summer so it was like a little bite of summer in October!! Enjoy!
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 bag of frozen corn or you can use canned reg or creamed corn
  1. In a large saucepan add the margarine, potatoes, onion, flour and spices. Cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add the milk, water and corn. Cook on low heat for 40 minutes to an hour. Season as needed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hummus


My hubby and I LOVE hummus, it is the perfect love fat dip to have with pita chips or veggies! Little Foodie on the other hand is not a hummus fan, we still insist that she try it each time we have it for a snack; just like avacados and tomatoes ( she didn't start liking them till this past summer) we are sure she will enjoy hummus one day! This is a great dip to make for snacking or to take to a potluck. I found this recipe at about.com. Enjoy :)
  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (found in the international section of the grocery store)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).

Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

For a spicier hummus, add a sliced red chile or a dash of cayenne pepper.

Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chunky Monkey Pancakes


I love Sunday morning breakfasts, especially lazy Sunday mornings when you don't have to rush to get out and about. I had some bananas that were over-ripe and perfect for cooking/baking with so I searched for breakfast recipes and found a recipe on allrecipes.com that I adapted to fit our needs. The great thing about finding recipes online is that you can search for recipes that use ingredients you already have on hand. So Yummy!!
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce (instead of oil or butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large banana, mashed
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter ( I used organic creamy PB)
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the skim milk, applesauce, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold in the banana and chocolate chips
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homemade Apple Pie

This pie turned out so YUMMY, it wouldn't win an beauty contests, but it tastes terrific!!! Here is apple recipe #4 (and can you believe I still have apples left!), Homemade Apple Pie. Yummy right out of the oven or chilled in the fridge! I adapted the recipe found on allrecipes.com.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water a tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Roll one ball out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place bottom crust in pie plate. Roll out top crust and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine sliced apples, sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon. Mix well and pour into pie shell. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grilled Apples

I bought some super yummy organic chicken apple sausage and I cooked them on the grill along with a few apples. Here is apple recipe #3, Grilled Apples. Core and slice 3 apples into thick slices, coat the apples with some honey and sprinkle on a little cinnamon. Place on the grill and grill on medium until the apples start to soften and they turn beautifully brown and caramelized!! Enjoy

Potatoes on the Grill


Little Foodie has a new LOVE, potatoes!! As a toddler she wouldn't eat them but we would continue to have her try them until one day she would eat them with out complaints, they weren't her favorite but she would eat them. Now at six years old she LOVES potatoes, especially oven baked with different herbs. After baking apple bread yesterday I didn't feel like putting anything else in the oven so I decided to use the outdoor grill for dinner. I placed a potato on a piece of heavy foil, sliced the potato and added olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. I wrapped the potato in the foil and placed it on a hot grill (set on high) for about 30 minutes. After I took the potatoes off of the grill I topped them with a little shredded cheese and Little Foodie was in heaven!! Ah, the joy of carbohydrates!!

Apple Breakfast Bread

I am continuing to restock my freezer with breakfast treats, so here is apple recipe number 2. We haven't tasted it yet but it looked yummy coming out of the oven and it smelled heavenly!!! I adapted the recipe from one found on allrecipes.com.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and milk. Mix into the butter mixture until moistened. Fold in the apples. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

Little Foodie and I went apple picking over the weekend and came home with over 12lbs of apples. Let the apple cooking begin!!! I decided to start with an easy apple dish, homemade applesauce. Little Foodie LOVES it and she especially liked it warm right off of the stove, and asks me to heat it up each time she eats it. I adapted this recipe from one found on simplyrecipes.com.
  • 3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. (tart cooking apples work best)
  • Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 Tbsp
  • 3 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

2 Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks . Mash with potato masher.

Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt.

Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Trinidadian Chicken Stew

Little Foodie and I have a small addiction to the the Food Network and we especially like to watch Giada!! Last week we watched an episode where she made Trinidadian Chicken Stew and Little Foodie said "I need you to make that mommy" as she licked her lips. I made it last night and it was yummy!! The hardest part was getting the brown sugar just right so keep an eye on it during that part of the recipe. We enjoyed our stew over some rice :) I found the recipe on Foodnetwork.com.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, halved
  • 4 small skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 whole peeled canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water

In a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until very dark, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, ginger, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme, 2 tablespoons of parsley, carrots, potatoes, and hot water. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

I needed to restock my freezer with breakfast treats so I used the canned pumpkin that I had leftover from the pumpkin cookies to make a batch of Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins, they are the perfect morning pick-me-up!!! I adapted the recipe from one found on allrecipes.com.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or you can you applesauce in place of the oil
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped (I keep a bag of cranberries in my freezer!)
In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar; add the pumpkin and oil and mix well. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the cranberries. Fill foil-or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I LOVE anything pumpkin and my love of pumpkin has finally worn off on Little Foodie. Today was a beautiful fall day so we decided it was time to break out the canned pumpkin and make a yummy sweet treat. This recipe was adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the apple sauce, oil, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla then stir in the pumpkin puree. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. Mix in chocolate chips and coconut. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

If you are looking for a good way to use up leftover veggies and have a healthy budget friendly meal, making a stir-fry is the way to go!! Tonight I used thin sliced boneless pork chops (pork is very inexpensive!) that I cut into thin strips and then I sauteed them in a little sesame oil, with a little soy sauce and fresh minced garlic. Then I went to the fridge and pulled out some leftover green beans, and the leftover peppers and mushrooms from the make your own pizza party. I cooked the meat and veggies together, adding a little fresh ginger and some chicken broth. I cooked some rice in the steamer and I had a healthy quick dinner on the table in less than a 1/2 hour. When Little Foodie found out we were having stir-fry for dinner she was not thrilled but she knows that in our house there is only one meal prepared, no special kid meals, so she ate dinner without any further complaints.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Today Little Foodie had the day off from school, so after we went to the movies we came home and made a batch of homemade soft pretzels. Our pretzels did not turn out as beautiful as the one in the picture but they did turn out super yummy, we made some with salt and some with cinnamon/sugar. I put the pretzels in the freezer in individual baggies and they will make the perfect after-school snack! I found this recipe in the Oct. issue of the Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine. Enjoy!!

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and yeast; let stand for 5 minutes.

  2. Using a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, brown sugar and table salt. Mix in the egg yolk, butter and yeast mixture on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

  3. In a large, shallow baking dish, combine the baking soda with 2 cups warm water. On a work surface, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll out each piece into a rope about 42 inches long; dip in the baking soda mixture for 30 seconds. Using the prepared pans as a work surface, shape each rope into a pretzel.

  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the pretzels with the egg white mixture. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and bake until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Roasted Baby Potatoes

I made these potatoes as a side dish tonight and Little Foodie went crazy for them, she told me over and over how good they were!!! The outside of the potato is crispy and the inside has the texture of mashed potatoes, yum!!! I adapted the recipe from one found on Foodnetwork.com.

  • 1 pound baby red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoon herbes de Provence, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the potatoes into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the herbs, garlic, and oil together until blended, and then pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the potatoes to a heavy large baking dish, spacing them evenly apart.

Roast the potatoes until they are tender and golden, turning them occasionally with tongs, about 1 hour. Transfer the roasted potatoes to a decorative platter and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and herbes de Provence, if desired. Serve hot or warm.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Apple, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad

This is the perfect recipe for a fall potluck, I made it for a family reunion and it was a HUGE hit; it looks better in person, the picture doesn't do it justice . You could add grilled chicken or grilled steak (steak goes perfectly with blue cheese and walnuts) and it would make a great quick dinner.

1 bag of salad greens (I used a bag of organic butter lettuce)
1 block or container of blue cheese
1 bag of walnuts
2 Red Apples, sliced (pick your favorite)

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy with your favorite dressing!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Make Your Own Pizza Party

I was looking for a dinner idea to satisfy the palates of my VERY PICKY nieces, they are fans of very few foods. Then pizza popped into my head, everyone likes pizza, except I was sure that they would not be happy with the toppings so I decided to have everyone make their own mini pizza. I used the recipe below to make the dough and each person was able to press out their dough and add the toppings of their choice. I had a jar of pizza sauce and then small dishes of cut up red peppers, mushrooms, olives, hot peppers, cheese, pepperoni. After the pizza's were made I wrote each persons name on a piece of tinfoil and placed it with their pizza so there were no mix-ups. My oldest niece thought that making her own pizza was the most fun she ever had!!! I am definitely going to try this again!!! I found this recipe at www.greatpartyrecipes.com.

1 package active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (105° to 115°, no more)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little for coating

How to make pizza dough from scratch:

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set aside and follow the instructions below for the method you choose.

By hand: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the olive oil and yeast mixture into it. Stir until it begins to form a ball, then turn it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead for about 4 or 5 minutes.

In a mixer: Using a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the liquid ingredients and mix on low until the dough begins to clump around the dough hook. Remove and knead as above.

In a dough-capable food processor: Use a plastic blade, if possible. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor and mix briefly. Add the liquid ingredients slowly and process the mixture low and slow for about 2 or 3 minutes, just until the dough begins to form a ball. Remove and knead as above.

In a bread machine: Set the machine for "dough" and follow the manufacturer's instructions; pick up the pizza dough recipe directions where the bread maker leaves off.
__________________________

  • Whichever method and pizza dough recipe you've chosen, your pizza dough should be a smooth, elastic ball. Lightly oil the ball and the inside of a large glass bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. For better crust, punch down the dough, reshape into a ball and let it rise again. You can refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, about 6 ounces each. Roll each portion into a ball, then, working on a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough and work it with your fingers or a rolling pin to form an 8-inch circle. (Let your guests prepare their own.) The outer edge of the circle should be a little thicker than the body, forming a rim. Add toppings.
  • Transfer to a pizza pan or pizza stone. Bake in a 450° pre-heated oven until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes for a regular size pizza and 5-6minutes for a mini pizza.
  • Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Blueberry French Toast Bake

    I am always on the lookout for new breakfast ideas since Little Foodie is not a fan of breakfast cereal. I found and adapted this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, eatathomecooks.com. It is super yummy and we had enough for a few days worth of leftovers.

    • 1 loaf French bread, cut in cubes ( I used my homemade bread)
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 3/4 cup milk
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    • a pinch of salt
    • 12 oz. frozen blueberries
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar

    Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and place the cubed bread in it. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Take the baking dish from the fridge and turn the oven to 350 degrees. Add the blueberries and brown sugar on top of the bread, cover with foil. Place on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars

    If you need an impressive dessert recipe look no further, Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars are the BEST, and they are so easy to make!! I took them to a party recently and the host of the party told everyone not to eat them because she wanted them all for herself. They were so good that I didn't have time to take a picture of them. This recipe was found on Foodnetwork.com.

    • Vegetable cooking spray
    • 1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough (recommended: Pillsbury)
    • 2 (1.4-ounces) chocolate-toffee candy bars, coarsely chopped, divided (recommended: Skor)
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Ghirardelli)
    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted * see Cook's Note

    Directions

    Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.

    Place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.

    Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Whole-Wheat Pita Chips with Mascarpone-Chive Dipping Sauce

    I needed a yummy savory dip to take to a party and this was perfect. Little Foodie tested it out when she got home from school and she thought it was "soooo YUMMY"! Sorry I don't have a pick but trust me it is awesome!! This recipe was found on Foodnetwork.com.

    • 4 whole-wheat pita breads, halved
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
    • 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, finely chopped
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

    Directions

    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.

    Cut each pita half into 4 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with the oil, then sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until crisp and golden.

    In a medium bowl, combine the bacon, mascarpone cheese, sour cream, and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl.

    Arrange the pita chips and dip on a platter and serve.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    The Most Delicious Green Salad!!

    Last year I went to a b-day party and I had the most wonderful salad, the dressing was perfect and there was a special topping that added a little crunch, so I had to have the recipe. The recipe calls for Ramen Noodles which is something I NEVER buy because the salt content in that little spice package is outrageous but this recipe only uses the crunchy noodles. I added a little grilled chicken to the top and made a meal, and yes it was a real meal according to Little Foodie because it included meat!!

    1 stick butter
    2 pkgs. Ramen Noddles (crunched up)
    1 pkg. sunflower seeds
    1 pkg. sliced almonds
    1 Cup Oil ( I used canola oil)
    1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
    3/4 Cup Sugar
    3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
    Lettuce of your choice
    Spring onions
    Broccoli-finely chopped

    Melt butter in skillet. Add Ramen Noddles, Sunflower Seeds and almonds.. Brown over Medium heat carefully! (they burn easily). Drain mixture on paper towel.
    Mix Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sugar and Soy Sauce in shakable container.
    Toss salad broccoli and spring onions. Add dressing and Ramen Noodle Mixture and toss.


    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Vegetable Parmesean

    As a family we are always trying to be more eco-concious, so we are attempting to be meat-free on Mondays. Now this is a fairly easy task for my hubby and I but Little Foodie is a different story!! Little Foodie is a meat eater, she says things like " I like to start the day with meat and end the day with meat" and "you mean we are only eating vegetable for dinner, how am I suppose to get full". In my search for hearty meat-free dishes I came across this one for Vegetable Parmesan on Foodnetwork.com. It has fennel bulbs in it and it was very interesting to watch my family open the fridge and see this giant tree like thing sitting on the shelf; it was in the fridge for a few days before Little Foodie said "mom what is that crazy plant growing in the fridge". This was a super yummy and filling dish and I am sure I will make it again :) Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • Butter, for greasing
    • Olive oil, for drizzling
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices
    • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thirds
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thirds
    • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into thirds
    • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1 cup plain bread crumbs

    Directions

    Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish.

    Drizzle the eggplant slices, fennel slices and peppers with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes each side until softened.

    Spoon 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange the peppers in a single layer on top. Spoon 3/4 cup of marinara sauce over the peppers. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange the fennel on top and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Scatter the bread crumbs over the cheese and drizzle liberally with oil. Bake until the top is golden and forms a crust, about 30 to 35 minutes

    Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Cook's Note: The vegetables can also be baked in a 375 degrees F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until softened.



    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    CrockPot BBQ Pulled Pork


    I LOVE my CrockPot, I don't use it as often as I use to, but I still LOVE it. I needed a yummy meal with not a lot of work involved so I turned to my favorite CrockPot recipe blog (crockpot365.blogspot.com) and made a deliciously easy dinner. Little Foodie is such a meat eater so she really enjoyed this dish!! The first night we ate it on homemade rolls and the second night we enjoyed it over rice, yummy!!!

    4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
    1 onion, sliced in rings
    2 cups ketchup ( I use organic, regular ketchup has too much sugar)
    1/2 cup warm water
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    The Directions.

    Use a 6 quart crockpot. Trim meat, and place into your crockpot. Add sliced onion. Squeeze in 2 cups of ketchup, and then pour 1/2 cup warm water into the ketchup bottle and shake. Pour the ketchup-y water into your crock. Add vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, Tabasco and salt.
    Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.
    Serve over rice, or make sandwiches on rolls or sliced bread.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Bread, Bread and More Bread

    This summer I began my mission to make bread instead of buying bread at the store, not only is it healthier it is loads of fun and a good way to get Little Foodie in the kitchen helping while she is practicing her math skills! I have tried several recipes but I was spending a lot of time waiting for dough to rise, only to get a loaf or two of bread until I found the perfect bread recipe!!! This recipe made 3 regular loaves of bread and 18 sandwich size rolls and wait for it......... it only cost me $6 ( and that was using organic flour!!!) You can find the recipe for Depression Era Bread and watch the cool video of Clara (who is 93 years young!) making the bread at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IEWJmm4Tms&feature=channel. Enjoy!

    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    Chicken Parmasean minus the Parmesan

    While grocery shopping I purchased a few packs of boneless skinless thin cut organic chicken breast on sale, I have learned to shop for items on sale and then plan my menu instead of planning a menu for the week and spending a fortune on groceries. I had all the ingredients at home to make Chicken Parmesan except I had a block of cheese but it wasn't parmesan but being frugal I made the dish anyway and it turned out perfect!!! * The package of chicken contained 6 chicken breasts, I cooked all of them and we had three for dinner and the next night I used the 3 leftover chicken breast to make chicken parm sandwiches on homemade rolls, more food and less work!!!*

    Chicken Parm minus the Parm
    Thin cut boneless skinless chicken (breast or tenders)
    Panko bread crumbs (these are the best!!)
    Egg, water
    Olive Oil
    Cheese (use your favorite easy melting cheese)
    Dried basil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder
    Pasta ( I used a whole wheat pasta)
    Pasta Sauce ( I like the Newman's Own Tomato Basil)

    Cook pasta using directions on the box. Heat a few tsp of olive oil in a skillet. Set up a breading station: in one shallow dish mix the egg and a little water, in another shallow dish mix the bread crumbs and a tsp of each: dried basil, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder. Dip the chicken into the egg mix first and then coat with the bread crumb mix, cook chicken in skillet until cooked through. Once chicken is cooked completely and has a nice crispy crust spread a little sauce on each piece and add a little cheese to the top, cook on low till cheese is melted. Once the pasta is cooked and drained add sauce to the pasta, top the pasta with the chicken and enjoy!!

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Salad and a Sandwich


    Being a very budget conscious momma now a days I am always on the lookout for healthy, inexpensive dinner ideas and if at all possible I am trying to use what we have on hand and only go grocery shopping (using coupons!) every 2-3weeks. This can sometimes be tougher than it sounds! Little Foodie and I love watching shows on the Food Network and I often find great recipes that are inexpensive. I made a salad using mixed organic greens and mandarine oranges (Little Foodie is CRAZY about these), I used a little bit of the juice from the oranges along with some oil and a little bit of vinegar to make a dressing.

    Remember I use mostly organic ingredients :)

    French Toast Sandwich:
    Bread (I used thick sliced homemade bread)
    Ham
    Cheese (I used swiss)
    Strawberry Jam (mine was homemade!)
    Eggs
    Milk

    Break 1-2 eggs and mix them with a few tablespoons of milk in a shallow dish. Make a sandwich using the ham, cheese and strawberry jam. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture just like you would for french toast. Cook the sandwiches in a skillet or on a griddle until they are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Enjoy!!!

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Getting back on track :)

    Well the third week of school is nearly over and I think I finally have some sort of schedule/routine going on!!! Little Foodie is enjoying school and so am I, so hopefully I will be able to start adding recipes again. Keep an eye out for new recipes soon!!!


    Little Foodie Thoughts/Wisdom: My husband and I talk openly to Little Foodie on where food the food we eat comes from and why we choose to eat a mostly organic diet, although I know she hears what we are saying I am not always sure she is listening to what is being said until....... One day this summer we were driving to a splash playground and Little Foodie and a friend were in the backseat, they were talking about all sorts of random things when Little Foodie's friend said look there's Taco Bell!!!! Little Foodie proceeded to tell her friend that Taco Bell is a very bad place to eat because they keep the animals in tiny cages and give them bad stuff before they are turned into food and that we only eat meat that has had a good life with lots of fresh air and places to walk around. Needless to say I was a VERY PROUD momma that day!!!

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    New England Clam Chowder




    Little Foodie LOVES "Clammer Shell Soup" or as it is traditionally called New England Clam Chowder. As soon as we got to Maine and went out to eat she got a big bowl of it and practically licked the bowl clean. Tonight I made my own chowder soup in celebration of Little Foodie's second day of 1st grade, she was so happy that I made it and she spent the ENTIRE dinner telling me how delicious it was! This recipe was found on about.com.

    Ingredients:

    • 5 cups bottled clam juice
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1 cup onion, finely diced
    • 10 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons margarine
    • 8 oz. of cooked clams, chopped
    • 4 medium potatoes, cooked and cut in bite sized chunks
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup light cream
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation:

    Heat the clam juice in a large saucepan on medium heat. In a separate pan, melt margarine and saute the diced onions until they appear translucent. Add bacon and flour to the melted margarine and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Increase heat on clam juice to medium-high, and, with a wire whisk, add flour, margarine and onion mixture to the liquid. Stir constantly, breaking up any lumps that form. Add clams and stir. Add potato chunks, milk, cream and salt, and continue stirring. Decrease heat to medium-low, and allow chowder to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning or sticking.

    Serve clam chowder hot with oyster crackers, adding freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    If fresh clams are not available, substitute six ounces of canned clams, including the juice.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Wild Blueberry Ice Cream


    Everywhere you drive in Maine you will see people on the side of the road selling wild Maine blueberries. After we were in Maine for a few days we decided to stop and pick up a container and test them out. The berries were teeny tiny and I had to pick off the little stems and clean them but once I did and we tasted them they had this intense blueberry flavor in this tiny little package. I used some of the berries to make blueberry pancakes, yum! When we got home I used the rest of the blueberries to make Wild Blueberry Ice Cream!! I used the recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream and added the blueberries. It is so yummy, especially when you bite into one of the cold blueberries and it pops in your mouth!!

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Summer Vacation- Maine


    Each summer we try to take a vacation in a different area, my hubby and I believe that life is too short to spend our vacation time in the same place each summer. This summer we stayed in a house on the water in Maine about 40 minutes outside of Portland. Although it was a super long drive (12 hours) for Little Foodie and the dog we still had an AMAZING time. Little Foodie got to try lobster for the first time, she wasn't impressed with the cold lobster on the the lobster roll but she absolutely loved the steamed lobster, she ate almost an entire lobster by herself and was licking her fingers as she looked longingly at my hubby's lobster. We also ate at an AMAZING resturaunt called Duck Fat, they had the yummiest sandwiches and the most GLORIOUS fries with special dipping sauces. I love summer vacations!!!

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Looking at food in a new way!

    Tonight I had a hankering for a burger not a fast food burger but a good grilled burger the only problem we had no hamburger rolls. I made up some little burger patties using organic lean ground beef, a little bit of bread crumbs, some worcestershire sauce, salt/pepper and then I brushed them with a little bbq sauce. While the burgers cooked I had a brainstorm!! In my freezer I had a few packs of english muffins, my local grocery store had them on sale for a $1 a pack, the little burgers would fit perfectly on an english muffin. I thawed and toasted the english muffins, put out some condiments and cut up some fresh from the garden tomatoes. My hubby was very impressed with the burgers and Little Foodie thought that the tiny burgers were so cute!