Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oatmeal Cookies

This is just a basic, plain oatmeal cookie recipe - no cinnamon, no chips - just the way I like it!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Ultimate Sugar Cookies


 This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe. Be sure to refrigerate the dough for quite a while before trying to roll it out and cut shapes. It is a soft dough. But, it is super tasty!

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Butter Flavor CRISCO Stick (or 1 cup Butter Flavor CRISCO all-vegetable shortening)
2 eggs
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus 4 tablespoons), divided
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Combine sugar and shortening in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, syrup, and vanilla. Beat until well blended and fluffy.

Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until well blended.

Divide dough into 4 quarters. Wrap each quarter of dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Heat oven to 375º F. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.
Spread 1 tablespoon or more of flour on large sheet of waxed paper. Place one quarter of dough on floured paper. Flatten slightly with hands. Turn dough over and cover with another large sheet of waxed paper. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Cut out with floured cutter.

Transfer to ungreased baking sheet with large pancake turner. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Roll out remaining dough.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar or colored sugar crystals, or leave plain to frost or decorate when cooled.

Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375ºF for 5 to 9 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies (bake smaller, thinner cookies closer to 5 minutes; larger cookies closer to 9 minutes). DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely, then frost and decorate if desired.

Recipe Source - Crisco


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

A simple buttercream that is great for cookies, cakes and cupcakes. This is what I use to frost sugar cookies.

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bacon and Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Ingredients

4-6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces uncooked pasta
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain.
  3. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet along with the reserved bacon grease. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp to the pan and cook until just pink, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining tablespoon butter, parsley, lemon juice and cooked bacon. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source - Let's Dish

Grilled Greek Lemon Chicken

Simple recipe that would go great with a Greek salad

Ingredients
4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast halves 
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing grill 
1 Tbsp lemon zest 
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 
4 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp) 
2 tsp dried oregano 
1/2 tsp dried basil 
1/2 tsp dried thyme 
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving


Directions
  • Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound thicker parts of chicken to even thickness. In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper).
  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag, pour in olive oil mixture. Seal bag while pressing air out. Rub marinade over chicken. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to marinate 2 - 5 hours (rotate bag and move chicken around halfway through if possible). Preheat grill over medium-high heat (to about 425 - 450).
  • Brush grill grates lightly with olive oil. Place chicken on grill, close lid, and grill about 4 minutes per side, or until chicken registers 160 - 165 degrees in center of chicken on an instant read thermometer. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, garnish with fresh parsley then serve immediately. 
Recipe Source - Cooking Classy

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Great summer grilling recipe

Ingredients:

Chicken
4 (6 oz) chicken boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp lime zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salsa
1 1/2 medium avocados (ripe but semi-firm), diced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion, rinsed under cool water to remove harsh bite
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions:
  • Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound thicker parts of chicken to an even thickness. Transfer chicken to a gallon size resealable plastic bag.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, honey, cilantro, 3 cloves minced garlic and season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pour marinade mixture over chicken in bag. Seal bag while pressing air out, then rub marinade over chicken. Allow to rest in refrigerator 2 - 4 hours (rotating bag to opposite side and moving chicken around halfway through if possible to ensure it's evenly marinating).
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat (to about 425 - 450 degrees). Brush grill grates lightly with oil then grill chicken until center registers 160 - 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl toss together avocado, tomato, onion, garlic and lime and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon a generous amount over chicken and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.
 Recipe Source - Cooking Classy

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Corn Chowder

This is a hearty soup that takes advantage of fresh summer corn. It's also great in the winter - you just have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Ingredients:

12 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob (you can also substitute frozen corn, or use a mix of both)
1 Tbsp butter
7 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
32 oz. package of frozen hash browns (the kind that are cubed potatoes with nothing in them but potatoes - you could also use about 2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups half and half
2 - 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in the chicken stock and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes. Add in thyme and bay leaves and season with pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in half and half. Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Monday, June 22, 2015

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

My sister-in-law brought these to a family dinner, and they were simply wonderful.

Ingredients
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all­-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (1½ sticks)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer (stand or hand­held). Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well until just combined.

3. Add the flour mixture in batches, mixing to combine in between each batch, until all the flour is incorporated.

4. Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough for about an hour.

6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

7. Bake for 8­-10 minutes or until edges just ever so slightly browned. The centers of the cookies will look very soft and a little puffy. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few seconds, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Notes
** dough should be kept cold between batches
** dough can be chilled for up to 5 days

Recipe source -  The Chunky Chef

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 3 - Phase 2

Phase 2 is going to be a tough one for me. You only get to eat lean meats and vegetables.

Here is my meal plan for Wednesday, May 13. This is a Phase 2 day.

Breakfast - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Egg white, mushroom, and aspargus omelet (not really an omelet - more like scrambled eggs - it does stick to the pan since you can't use any oil or butter, but it tastes better than it looks)

Morning Snack - P2 protein:
nitrate free turkey jerky (this was really expensive, so I probably won't buy it again)

Lunch - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup (will post recipe later); broccoli

Afternoon Snack - P2 protein:
Beef and Spinach Meatballs (will post recipe later)

Dinner - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Leftover Pork Tenderloin, Oven-roasted Asparagus, Steamed Cabbage (just used a little vegetable broth, salt and pepper)


Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 2 - Phase 1

Here is my meal plan for Tuesday, May 12. This is a Phase 1 day.

Breakfast - P1 grain, P1 fruit: 
Eric - oatmeal with strawberries
Cindy - quinoa with strawberries

Morning Snack - P1 fruit:
orange

Lunch - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 fruit, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pollock (seasoned with sea salt, pepper and tamari), Brown Rice, Green Beans, Strawberries

Afternoon Snack - P1 fruit:
apple

Dinner - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 veggie:
Hearty Beef, Tomato and Mushroom Sauce on Brown Rice Pasta, Broccoli


Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 1 - Phase 1

Here is my meal plan for Monday, May 11. This is a Phase 1 day.

Breakfast - P1 grain, P1 fruit: 
Eric - oatmeal with strawberries
Cindy - quinoa with strawberries

Morning Snack - P1 fruit:
1/2 grapefruit

Lunch - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 fruit, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pollock (seasoned with sea salt, pepper and tamari), Brown Rice, Green Beans, Strawberries

Afternoon Snack - P1 fruit:
orange

Dinner - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin (seasoned with pepper, garlic, and tamari), Zucchini, Quinoa


Some useful tools for the Fast Metabolism Diet

One of the things I use daily when I'm planning for the Fast Metabolism Diet are these Phase-specific master food lists. I printed them out and keep them on the kitchen counter for quick reference, and take them with me when I go grocery shopping.

My husband created a great meal map plan in Google Sheets that we use to plan our meals and snacks, record our exercise and weight, etc.

I hope others find these tools useful as well. :)

Something a little different...

My blog posts are going to take a little different turn for a while. Let me give you the scoop. I am 45 years old, and I am struggling a little with weight gain. I've always been a pretty small person and haven't had to worry much what I ate. I'm also a pretty healthy eater overall, and I have exercised to try to keep the weight gain away. But, to no avail. For those of you who know me personally or who have read my blog for a while, you know that when I turned 40, I began running, and even ran a half-marathon. The sad thing was that during my whole running phase, I continued to gain weight even though I did not change eating habits. It got to be depressing. I've been stuck at 145 pounds (I'm 5'2") for a few months now, and can't get the weight to budge. I weigh more now than I did when I was pregnant with my son. I know that for some people, they look at me and think my weight is fine, but we all have different bodies, and mine is not where I would like it to be. I don't share these numbers with you to be judged. I'm simply documenting my journey and sharing in case it helps someone else.

My friend Paula that I teach with mentioned that she was having the same issue, and she even went to her doctor about it. Her doctor suggested that she try the Fast Metabolism Diet (a book by Haylie Pomroy). Here is a quick video overview. Take it for what it is.



Paula and her husband decided to do it together, and they have had some success. I'm not a big "diet" person, though I have done Weight Watchers twice in my life (but the weight didn't stay off, and I was always hungry and obsessed with counting calories). But, I'm desperate at this point. I don't need to lose tons of weight, but I need to shed some to feel good for myself. So, I mentioned it to Eric, my husband, and he was on board. He has actually gained 10 pounds in the last year and would like to take off a little weight. Again, for anyone who knows Eric, most think he is a beanpole, but he knows what is best for him, and at our age, neither of us want to put on unneeded extra pounds. We just want to be healthy and feel good about ourselves. So, we decided we would give Fast Metabolism a try together.

I have a couple of friends and my mom who are wanting try along with us, so I decided to share our journey on the blog. So, you will see my meal plans for the diet and I will try to share any recipes I use to make it a little easier for others who are planning. The planning and preparation of meals is the most time consuming part of this diet. You get to eat a lot of good food, but because you can only have certain foods on certain days, you really have to plan ahead. If you decide to try this "diet", be ready to give up wheat, corn, dairy, sugar and caffeine. The dairy and sugar parts are going to be the hardest for me.

Well, that's the start of my story. We'll see how it goes. It's at least worth a try for a few weeks. :)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chicken Mushroom Fettuccini

This is a very yummy pasta recipe.


Ingredients:
2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil (I usually just spray my pan with olive oil from mister bottle)
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups hot cooked fettuccine
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until tender and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan, let it rest for a couple of minutes, then slice into small strips and set aside. 
2. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the skillet; cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle with flour, stirring quickly. Stir in the broth and milk. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, until mixture thickens- stirring occasionally. Stir in cheeses and pepper. 
3. Return the chicken to the skillet; cook, stirring for about 2 minutes, until chicken warms up. 
4. Arrange fettuccine on four plates. Top with chicken and sauce. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe Source - Recipe Girl

Muffin Pan Crustless Kielbasa Quiches

I like to make these on Sunday and then eat them throughout the week for breakfast. They are easily reheated in the microwave. 

Ingredients:
olive oil spray
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium tomato, diced
6 oz turkey kielbasa, diced
2 cups baby spinach
5 large whole eggs, beaten
4 large egg whites
1/3 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a nonstick muffin pan with olive oil spray.
Spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil and heat on medium.  Sauté onions until soft, and then add the garlic, tomato, and kielbasa. Sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Add the cheese and cooked kielbasa mixture to the bowl and mix well. Pour into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until firm. Serving size is two muffin-sized quiches. 
 
These can be frozen and reheated later.

Recipe modified from Skinnytaste

Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Fish:
4-6 Tilapia Filets
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t paprika
Flour tortillas

For the sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream
2 t of the liquid from a can of chilis in adobo sauce
1 t lime juice

Possible toppings: (obviously  top them with whatever you like - these are just my favorites for this particular recipe)
queso fresco
fire roasted corn (can roast your own in the oven or on the grill if you wish)
shredded lettuce or cabbage
chopped cilantro
avocado

Directions:
Preheat your grill to medium high heat.

Whisk together the olive oil, 1 T lime juice cumin, chili powder and paprika. Put the fish filets in gallon ziplock bag, and pour the marinade over the fish. Let it marinade for 15 minutes.

Mix the sour cream, adobo sauce and lime juice together. Set it aside to let flavors meld.

Grill the fish for about 3 minutes on each side until it easily flakes.

Serve on warm tortillas with desired toppings.



Chicken with Creamy White Wine and Mustard Sauce

This is a quick recipe to make on a busy night, but it has the appearance of a "fancy" dish. If you don't want to use the wine, you can substitute chicken broth.



Ingredients:
4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil (I just use my olive oil mister bottle to cut back on the oil)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine (or substitute low-sodium chicken broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream (could also sub half-and-half or evaporated milk)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to hot oil in skillet and cook 5 - 6 minutes per side until cooked through (chicken should register 165 degrees in thickest part of chicken on an instant read thermometer). Transfer to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Add garlic to remaining oil in pan and saute 10 seconds, then add wine or chicken broth, cream, mustard, thyme and sage and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened slightly, about 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in honey and (if needed) season lightly with salt. Serve chicken with sauce over top and garnish with additional thyme leaves if desired.

Recipe modified from Cooking Classy

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Baked Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

These are very tasty and make great leftovers for lunches.



 

Ingredients:
1 package egg roll wrappers
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 dill pickle, finely diced
1/8 c. ketchup
1/8 c. mustard
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
garlic powder
onion powder
seasoned salt
pepper
water (for sealing the egg roll wrappers - see pkg. directions)
olive oil in mister bottle


Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, and pepper to your own taste.
3.  Add the cooked pickle, ketchup, mustard, and cheese to the cooked ground beef.
4.  Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle of an egg roll wrapper. Fold according to the package directions  Take your finger, dip it in water and dampen all sides of the egg roll. 
5.  Place the rolls on parchment paper sprayed with olive oil on a baking sheet. Once they are all on the sheet, spray the top of them with olive to help them brown in the oven.
6.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.
7.  Serve warm with nacho cheese sauce, ketchup, mustard or salsa.

 Recipe modified from Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tortellini and White Bean Soup with Pancetta

Delicious hearty soup that is easy to make.



Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces pancetta, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 teaspoon thyme
8 cups chicken broth
16-20 ounces cheese tortellini
2 cans white beans, drained
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta, garlic, shallots, carrots and thyme and cook until the pancetta is crispy, 5-7 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
3. Add the tortellini and beans and simmer until tortellini is tender. (Cooking time will vary depending on whether your pasta is fresh or frozen).
4. Stir in fresh parsley and season with pepper, to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese for garnish.
Recipe Source - Let's Dish

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Baked Salmon and Asparagus Foil Packs

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon thinly sliced
Fresh dill sprigs, or chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley

Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four sheets of aluminum foil about 14-inch long. Divide asparagus into 4 equal portions (about 8 spears per foil packet) and layer in center of each length of foil. 

In a small bowl stir together oil with garlic. Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil over portion of asparagus then sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Rinse salmon and allow excess water to run off, then season bottom of each fillet with salt and pepper. Layer fillets over asparagus. 

Drizzle top of each salmon fillet with 1 tsp of the olive oil mixture and season top with salt and pepper to taste. 

Top each with about 2 sprigs dill and 2 lemon slices (if using fresh thyme or rosemary use about 3/4 tsp per each if using parsley use 1 1/2 tsp). Wrap sides of foil inward over salmon then fold in top and bottom of foil to enclose.
 
Place foil pouches in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until salmon is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Unwrap and serve warm.

Recipe Source - Cooking Classy

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Amish Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted (I used salted)
3 cups rolled oats (quick oats works fine too)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs. Add in brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and whisk until no lumps remain. Stir in milk and melted butter then mix in oats. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly (at this point you can refrigerate overnight if desired or bake immediately). Bake in preheated oven 30 - 40 minutes until set. Cut in squares to serve. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe Source - Cooking Classy

Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Very easy, tasty dinner.


Ingredients:
1 package of smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
sweet paprika
dried thyme
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking tray (with sides) with several sheets of foil, and drizzle with a bit of oil. Spread the oil out over the pan. Set aside.

Put the sausage rounds, onions and potatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and dried thyme. Toss together with your hands until everything is evenly distributed. Pour this out onto the baking tray, and spread it out as much as you can.

Place into the heated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Turn off the oven. Scatter the cheese over top of the cooked meat and potatoes, Pop back into the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Chicken

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic, sliced into halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lemons, divided
1 Tbsp marjoram

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub both sides of each chicken thigh with cut side of garlic halves, set aside and reserve garlic, then sprinkle each of chicken side with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a 12-inch oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken add cook until bottom is golden brown, draining rendered fat once halfway through cooking, about 8 minutes (I'd recommend using a splatter screen if you have one, oil will splatter quite a bit). Transfer chicken to a plate, drain off majority of oil from pan (leaving just enough to coat pan, about 1 tsp).
  3. Thinly slice half of one lemon and place reserved garlic halves in pan and along with lemon slices. Top with chicken, then sprinkle with 1 Tbsp herbs. Bake in preheated oven until center of chicken registers 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 18 - 20 minutes.
  4. Cut garlic halves into slices and serve with chicken, garnish with additional fresh herbs to taste. Cut remaining lemons into wedges. Serve with lemon wedges for spritzing chicken. 
Recipe Source - Cooking Classy

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

I forgot the onion when I made this, but still loved it.


Ingredients:

2 lbs - 2 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 - 6 medium chicken breasts)
1/4 cup whole grain, coarse mustard
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp honey
3 tsp olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small sprigs rosemary



Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together coarse mustard, dijon mustard, yellow mustard, honey and 2 tsp olive oil. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (large enough to fit chicken without over crowding).

In a small skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute 3 minutes then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides, then set chicken over onion layer in baking dish.

Pour mustard mixture evenly over chicken, working to cover each chicken breast entirely. Lay sprigs of rosemary between chicken breasts, then cover dish with foil. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes then uncover and bake until chicken has cooked through, about 15 - 25 minutes longer (note that cook time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts so just keep an eye on it. It should register 165 degrees in thickest part of breast on an instant read thermometer. It could be less or more time than that listed). Serve warm, spoon more sauce over chicken as desired.

Recipe adapted slightly from Cooking Classy

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole

Easy dish to feed a large crowd.

Ingredients:
30oz bag frozen hash browns
1lb turkey sausage, browned & drained
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1. Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick spray, and then place half the hash browns into the bottom. Layer in half the cooked sausage, half the cheeses, and then repeat hash brown, sausage, and cheese layers.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper, then drizzle over top. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, or until eggs are set.

Recipe modified from Iowa Girl Eats

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sundried Tomato Pesto Quiche

My neighbor, Carol, made a version of this for dinner for us one night and it was wonderful. I added in a few veggies to my version.



Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
4 T. sundried tomato pesto (my hubby can't do regular pesto due to a pine nut allergy)
4 T. crumbled feta cheese
4 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3 eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 T. flour
salt and pepper
8 sundried tomatoes, cut into strips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line pie plate with crust.
2. Spread pesto evenly over inside of pie crust.
3. Sprinkle feta over the pesto.
4. Sprinkle mushrooms and spinach over feta.
5. Beat eggs, half-and-half and flour. Pour over other ingredients.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Arrange tomato strips on top.
8. Bake 30 minutes. Let set 5 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Clam Chowder

I've always wanted to make homemade clam chowder, but so many of the recipes I've found call for canned clam chowder in them. This recipe was amazing! My hubby gave it two thumbs up and begged for more. Next time I make it, I will double the recipe so that I have plenty for our lunches during the week (this only made about 6 servings).


Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter
2 celery pieces, finely chopped
1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken stock
1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
1 cup half-and-half
2 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) chopped clams, undrained

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Saute the celery, leek, onion in the butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the potatoes, broth, clam juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1 cup milk until smooth. Gradually stir into the soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in clams and half-and-half; heat through (do not boil); turn down to low heat.

Makes about 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Reluctant Entertainer

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This is the best cream of mushroom soup I've ever had!



Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 pounds baby portabello mushrooms, roughly chopped or thinly sliced (can also use regular button mushrooms)
3/4 cup minced shallots (I just use regular onion when I can't get shallots)
3 cloves garlic, minced (3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sherry or white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1 Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a 5-6 quart thick-bottomed pot. When the oil is hot, swirl in the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms, stir to coat with the olive oil and butter. Cook the mushrooms on medium high heat until they are lightly browned and have released most of their water. Remove 1 cup of the cooked mushrooms from the pot and set aside (they will be added back in later).
2 Reduce heat to medium. Add the minced shallots and the garlic to the pot, stir to combine, cook for about a minute. Add the salt, dried tarragon, chicken stock and sherry to the pot. Increase the heat to medium high, bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
3 Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standing blender, purée the soup until smooth. Then return to the pot. (If the soup is too thick for you, add some water or more stock to thin the soup to the desired level of thickness.)
4 Whisk the cream into the soup and add the black pepper. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the reserved cooked mushrooms.

Recipe modified from Simply Recipes

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This is a delicious, hearty soup that is great on a cold, wintry day.



Ingredients:
2 boxes of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice mix
3 c. shredded, cooked chicken (you could also use leftover Thanksgiving turkey!)
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 white or yellow onion, finely diced
6 c. chicken stock (I used 4 cups stock and 2 cups water)
1/2 c. half and half
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 c. flour
2 t. pepper
Directions:
1.  In a saucepan cook the rice according to directions (leaving out the butter called for on the box), set aside. 
2.  In a large stockpot combine the butter, carrots, celery and onion.  Saute over medium heat until tender.
3.  Using a sifter, sift in the flour over the vegetables and continue to stir over medium heat, cooking out the flour for about 2 minutes.  This mixture will clump together and become thick.
4.  Slowly pour in the chicken stock and allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes, while whisking to avoid any lumps.
5.  Add in the cooked rice and chicken, stirring to combine.
6.  Turn down the heat to simmer and the soup will start to thicken.
7.  Slowly stir in the half and half and pepper.  Heat to serve.

Recipe modified from Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats

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