White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili with all the extras.

White Chicken Chili with all the extras.

The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend and will be closely followed by the Winter Olympics.  Will you, like so many others, want to be sitting in front of the TV, so you won’t miss any of the exciting action?  Personally, I’m not into football, but the Olympics do capture my interest, so I’m lining up some foods that can be prepared in advance, and eaten from my lap or with fingers, while viewing the events.

I rather enjoy spending my time in the kitchen making some fabulous bites for game time snacking, and usually I stay in the kitchen to eat them.  This year just may be different.  😀

For openers I made this chili that can be cooked in a slow cooker, or on the stove.  Chicken and white beans, plus colorful red and yellow peppers are the main ingredients, all spiced up with lots of great seasonings.  Served with white corn chips, salsa and Jack cheese, this is a wonderfully satisfying low-fat meal.  Ground chicken or turkey could be substituted for the whole pieces of chicken but I really liked the big chunks of meat in it.  I don’t usually like things to be super spicy, but the 4 seedless jalapeños seemed to be just about right.  Mr. D. who does like his food more spicy than me, added some hot sauce to his serving, but otherwise would not want to change a thing.IMG_0156

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

Yield:   8  3/4 cups, or about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oilIMG_6288
  • 1  1/2 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small-medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  (15 – 16 oz.) cans great Northern beans, or cannellini bean, undrained

Directions:

1.  In a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken, and sauté until browned, but not cooked through.  Remove from the pan.

2.  Next add the ginger, salt sage, cumin, and white pepper to the pan,  tossing them around to toast them and to release their flavor and become fragrant. Remove from pan and add to chicken.

3.  Add veggies to the pan.  Sauté the green onions, sweet onion, red and yellow peppers, jalapeños and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes.

Sautéing the veggies.

Sautéing the veggies.

If cooking this on stove top, return chicken and spices to pan and continue as follows.   If cooking in a slow-cooker, put chicken, veggies and spices into the slow cooker.

4.  In a separate small saucepan or skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux 3-4 minutes before adding the broth, stirring constantly, to eliminate a “raw” flour taste.  Add the chicken broth in a stream, whisking it in.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add this mixture to the sautéed chicken and veggies, or add to crock pot.

Thickened chicken broth ready to be added.

Thickened chicken broth ready to be added.

5.  Stir in the beans with their  liquid and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes till heated through.   Or set crockpot to cook on LOW for about 6 hours.

Beans added.

Beans added.

Simmer all together to blend flavors and heat through.

Simmer all together to blend flavors and heat through.

Serve with jalapeños, Jack cheese, white corn chips and salsa.

Serve with jalapeños, Jack cheese, white corn chips and salsa.

For more game-day foods and snacks I pulled these from former postings for your convenience.  You might what to check them out.

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels

Breaded Toasted Ravioli

Spicy Bean Dip

Spinach and Artichoke Bread

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Chicken Crescent Ring

Shrimp Tacos with Corn and Avocado Salsa

SOURCE:   Allrecipes.com

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Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Sweet sugary oranges and tangerines, bittersweet grapefruit, tangy lemons, zingy limes:  These juicy fragrant fruits are at their best at this time of year, just when you need their bright flavors the most.  They add so much to simple salads, roasted meats and dreamy desserts.

For those reasons and more I love to incorporate citrus fruits into my cooking.  In today’s recipe I will be using oranges to enhance the umami flavor of pork chops.  The orange is used in two forms, the juice supplies liquid and some sweetness for the sauce, while orange marmalade provides pectin to give the glaze a syrupy body and balances out the sweetness of the orange juice with a touch of bitterness that is very pleasant.  This is a new recipe that I was trying out, and found that it was quite simple to make and we both loved it.  I know I will be making this again soon while all this bright citrus is so plentiful.

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ORANGE-MUSTARD GLAZED PORK CHOPS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6191

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops (1-inch thick)
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  Combine orange juice, marmalade, and mustard in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until syrupy.

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3.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Add to pan;  cook 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn pork over; add rosemary and onion to pan.  Pour juice mixture over pork; bake at 425*F for 10-15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140*.  Place rosemary and onion on a platter.  Return skillet to medium-high heat; cook about 4 minutes till liquid is syrupy.  Add pork to platter, drizzle with sauce.

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The colors of this dish were so attractive that I served it directly from the skillet it was cooked in.

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SOURCE:   COOKING LIGHT

Pear and Hazelnut Muffins

Pear and Hazelnut Muffins

Pear and Hazelnut Muffins

In just one week’s time I came across three references to a new cookbook called Whole Grain Morning, by Megan Gordon.  So I had to find out what all the fuss was about.  I went to my local big box bookstore and there it was!.  Thumbing through it, I found so many interesting recipes for breakfast dishes, all including a variety of grains, that I had to make it mine. It is a well-known fact that your morning meal is the opportune time to load in most of your whole grain needs for the day. Gordon gives many delicious ideas in her book for doing just that.  This recipe for pear and hazelnut muffins is only the first of what will most likely be many recipes that I make from this book.

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Muffins can be a fusion of many flavors and ingredients, some you wouldn’t think to put together, but somehow they work.  And sometimes a muffin will  be sweet and cake like resembling dessert.   I keep some funny little rules in my head to make the distinction whether a muffin should be breakfast food  or eaten at another time, like afternoon tea.  The rules that run through my head go something like this:

Whole grains and oats = breakfast

White flour = cake

An egg or two = breakfast

Lots of eggs = cake

Natural sweeteners = breakfast

White sugar = cake

Unsaturated fats = breakfast

Butter = cake

After running through the ingredient list I tally the marks and make a determination as to whether I can pull this off as breakfast.  When in doubt or the marks are equal, throw in some bacon, and that definitely swings it over to the side of breakfast.  😀

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The Pear and Hazelnut Muffins from Megan Gordon’s beautiful book came out strongly in the breakfast category with oats, whole wheat flour, fruit and nuts.  It might have remained there, except for the fact that I  added some chocolate.  It seemed to me that when you say the words, “pear and hazelnut”, together, something seems to be missing–add the words, “chocolate chunks”  and now it becomes a complete sentence.  Oh, oh, I guess I need to add chocolate to my list of ingredients acceptable for breakfast.  Try as I might, I can’t help tinkering with a recipe.  If you’re happy with the recipe sans the chocolate, go for it!!!

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Whether you have these for breakfast or dessert, you won’t have any regrets.  The combination of ingredients produces a complex flavor that’s far beyond what you would expect to be having for breakfast — grated pear, toasted hazelnuts, vanilla, butter, oats and, yes, chocolate chunks all tangled together in a crunchy muffin that tastes amazing even a day or two after it is baked.

PEAR AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS

Yield:  Theoretically, 12 muffins, but I got 18.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small-medium pears
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cooled slightlyIMG_6218
  • 2/3 cup natural cane sugar, such as Turbinado, or light brown sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (can replace this with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips (optional)

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 425*F.  Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line it with papers.**  Have a second tin ready in case you need it,

2.  Peel, (if you desire, or can be skipped) pears, then halve and core them.  Grate pears on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl.  You should have about a cup, grated. Note:  I got this much with just one medium pear.  Stir in the melted butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until combined.

3.  In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, all but 1/2 cup nuts, and chocolate chunks, if using.  Gently fold this dry mixture into the wet batter until just combined; do not overmix.

4.  Fill muffin cups almost full and sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup nuts. ( I overlooked this step, and added all the nuts to the batter, so my pics do not show any nuts on top of the muffins,)

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Place muffins in oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375*F.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out batter-free.

5.  Cool muffins in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.  Muffins will keep for 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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**Point of information:  I just bought these parchment paper muffin liners for the first time, and they were wonderful at keeping the muffins from sticking to the paper. The liner removed cleanly with no torn muffins or crumbs clinging to the paper.  P.S. I get no compensation for this unsolicited plug.

Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

SOURCE:  Whole Grain Mornings,  Megan Gordon

Making Lasagna with No-Boil Noodles

Lasagna with No-boil Noodles

Lasagna with No-boil Noodles

This past weekend I made lasagna, not one pan, but three.  Making a pan of lasagna can take quite a bit of time especially when you make your own meat sauce, then cook the noodles, then layer it all in the pan, followed by baking it in the oven.  So if I’m going to spend the time making a pan of it, without much additional time spent on the task, I can make two or three.   I usually cook one for us, give one away to someone who may be having some difficulty preparing meals, and freeze one for a later date.

Making lasagnas

Making lasagnas

There are a couple of ways that I have found to shorten the time involved.  I usually make my meat sauce a day or two in advance.  That way the flavors have a good chance to blend together.  This time I used the Slow Cooked Ragu that I wrote about here, but the recipe for my regular meat sauce is given below.    The other way that I shorten up on the time involved is by using no-cook noodles.  Cooking lasagna noodles has got to be one of my least favorite chores.  In the pot they clump together, when drained they slither around and tear, and then afterwards you have to wash a large pot.  So life is so much easier with the no-cook kind.

All you have to do is open the box, layer the sheets of pasta with the sauce and cheese and stick the baking dish into the oven to bake.  Easy.  Once you try it you will not go back to boiling lasagna noodles.  Honest!  More and more people are latching on to this easy method.  There are several pasta companies that are now making these noodles.  Look for them with other pastas in your supermarket.

No-boil noodles, easy to handle, easy to use.

No-boil noodles, easy to handle, easy to use.

You may be asking how are they different and how do they work?  Both traditional and no-boil noodles are made from water and semolina, but the no-boilers are precooked in a water bath before being dried and packaged.  They are also rolled out much thinner than regular noodles, so that they rehydrate quickly.  The lasagna’s sauce and other ingredients contribute moisture they need to soften and expand.  When layering your ingredients it is most important to be sure all surfaces of the dry noodles are covered -to the edges- with sauce, thus preventing dry spots in the finished dish.  I usually add a little more sauce than the recipe calls for, just to be sure the noodles rehydrate fully.  Keep in mind, also, that some vegetables will contribute additional liquid, such as spinach, mushrooms and zucchini.  Until you are comfortable with the amount of liquid to use, it is best to take your cues from the recipe on the back of a box of no-boil noodles.

You will also need to follow package directions on how to position the pasta in your pan, alternating the directions that the pasta sheets are laying.  Sometimes there is an illustration on the back of the box.  And always coat the bottom of the baking dish with a small amount of sauce before placing the first layer of noodles in the dish.

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Lasagna seems to be everyone’s favorite comfort food.  We just never seem to grow tired of pasta noodles baked with a hearty meat sauce that includes ground beef and sausage, plus lots of ricotta cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan.  When it comes out of the oven with the tomato sauce bubbling up around the edges, and the cheese melted all over the top, we can hardly wait  to dig in.  I usually keep it simple and serve a salad and some good crunchy bread with this meal, and no dessert!

The recipe that I use goes back to the way my mother prepared it.  I have tweaked it over the years, mostly with the seasonings that I put in, but basically it’s still hers.  Mr. D. loves this dish whenever I make it.

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BAKED LASAGNA  (With No-cook Noodles)

Yield:   10 – 12 servings

Ingredients:

For the meat sauce:

  • 3/4 – 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1  (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1  (15-0z) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup waterIMG_0118
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  •  1/4 tsp. black pepper

For Lasagna:

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  In a large sauce pot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned.  Drain off any accumulated fat.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, sauce and water.  Stir in sugar, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  This can be made a day or two in advance to allow flavors to blend well.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, oregano, and parsley.

3.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Lightly grease or spray a 13″x 9″ baking dish or lasagna pan.  Spread about 3/4 cup sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Place 3 pieces uncooked pasta (crosswise) over the sauce.  Pieces should not overlap or touch sides of the pan since they will expand when baked.

4.  Spread about 1/3 of ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles.  Cover this with 3/4  cup meat sauce spreading evenly and covering the pasta completely, sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

5.  Repeat steps 3 & 4 two more times, alternating the direction the pieces of pasta are laying each time.  Top with remaining 3 pieces of pasta.  Spread the remaining meat sauce completely over the top layer; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

6.  Cover with foil.  Bake 35 minutes; remove the foil and bake 10 – 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

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Extra pieces can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated, to be rewarmed at a later time in the oven or microwave.

A leftover piece rewarms with a little extra sauce.

A leftover piece rewarms with a little extra sauce.

To Make Ahead:  Prepare as directed above but do not bake.  Cover with plastic wrap, then foil.  Refrigerate up to 48 hours or freeze for up to 2 months.  When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap, replace foil.   Bake cold lasagna at 350*F for about 40 minutes, and a frozen lasagna for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, removing foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.

SOURCE:  Family recipe

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Dear readers, this soup  is absolutely delicious!!  Roasting the squash creates a rich, caramelized flavor that in the finished soup is amazing.  You can go ahead and cook the squash in the chicken broth, but it won’t be the same,  I’m telling you.   You will not believe the creaminess of this soup without the use of heavy cream.  And don’t even think about skipping the Parmesan croutons…..even it you use packaged ones instead of homemade.

I realize I’ve swooned over other soups,  but, with each new soup I make, I think it’s the best and it becomes my favorite, and the one last week is like “broccoli who?”.  January will best be remembered as soup month around here, and just in case you think I’m being a little over dramatic and that I need to go to some kind of soup-overload-rehab, you’re only thinking that because you haven’t made this one yet.

Even though the soup is perfectly seasoned according to the recipe, you may want to further perk up the flavor, by adding a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of garlic powder, being careful as to the amounts because each of these items can be quite strong.

BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

YIELD:  Makes  2 quarts or about 8 servings

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes**
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • herb mixture, such as Fine Herbs, Italian Herb mix, Herbs de Provence
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, or 2 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth (vegetarians may substitute vegetable broth)
  • Croutons:
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage or 1 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cubed French bread ( 1/2-inch cubes)
  • cooking spray
  • additional grated Parmesan cheese, optional

**As a small savings in time, you may want to use precut squash cubes from the market.  I prefer to peel and cut my squash because I feel that it is fresher when purchased whole, and not as likely to be dried out.

Directions:

1.  Place squash in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper, and sprinkle on a small amount of herb mixture.  Toss to coat.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Bake, uncovered, at 425*F for 30-35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.  Set aside.  This will smell wonderful when it comes out of the oven and you will want to eat it, but please don’t.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

2.  While squash is roasting, in a Dutch oven, saute the onion, celery and sage in remaining oil until tender.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery and garlic.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery,  garlic and sage.

Stir in the broth and squash.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Cool slightly.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

3.  In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Return to the pan;  heat through. This makes a thick mixture.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

If you prefer a thinner soup, add some additional broth, and rebalance the seasoning if necessary.

4.  For croutons, in a small bowl, combine the cheese, oil, sage and garlic.  Add bread cubes and spritz with cooking spray; toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

5.  Bake at 425*F. for 5 – 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle each serving of soup with croutons and additional cheese if desired.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Nutritional Profile:  1 cup of soup with 1/4 cup croutons equals 179 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 mg cholesterol,  541 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber,  5 g protein.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Taste of Home

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Delights

Chocolate caramel pretzel delights.

Chocolate caramel pretzel delights.

With Valentine’s Day coming up I decided to try out this recipe that came to my attention over the Christmas holidays, but I never got around to making it.  It is a very easy candy treat that you can make up so quickly it takes hardly any time at all.  Give them as gifts, or keep for yourself.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the sweetness of chocolate and caramel combined with the saltiness of pretzels.    Sooo good!

Serve your treats for Valentine's Day.

Serve your treats for Valentine’s Day.

For these I used pretzels that look like the shape of a heart as the base, but you could use round pretzels, or lattice pretzels, just not long straight ones.  You also need some kind of chocolate covered caramel candy, such as Rolo or similar, and pecan halves. ( Walnut halves would be ok, too).  These chewy little treats are a lot like turtle candies.

Here’s how to make them….

 CHOCOLATE CARAMEL PRETZEL DELIGHTS

Yield:    Make as many as you want.

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 350*F.   Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2.  Place one pretzel for each treat desired on the prepared sheet.   Top each pretzel with one chocolate caramel candy.

Lay out pretzels on a baking sheet, top each one with a candy.

Lay out pretzels on a baking sheet, top each one with a candy.

3.  Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until candy piece begins to soften, but not melt.

Bake until softened, but not melted.

Bake until softened, but not melted.

Remove from the oven.  Top each with a pecan half and press down lightly.

Top each one with a pecan half.

Top each one with a pecan half.

Cool completely before serving or packaging.

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SOURCE:    Celebrate with Hersheys.comIMG_6172

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

Apple Cinnamon Quick Bread

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

If you love the combination of apples, cinnamon and brown sugar, then you will love this quick bread.  It straddles the fence between cake and bread.  There is a layer of apples, cinnamon and sugar running through the middle, and more on top, ensuring that this is a moist and flavorful bread.  We could devour the whole loaf in one sitting, but, of course, we don’t.  😛

The convenience of quick breads comes from the fact that they’re leavened with baking powder and /or baking soda, not yeast.  Therefore you can mix, bake and enjoy these baked goods in a short amount of time.

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It is important when making a quick bread to have all your ingredients measured, chopped and ready.  Mix all the dry ingredients together before creaming the fat, sugar and eggs.  Add the dry ingredients when called for, stirring in only long enough to incorporate.  A few lumps in the batter is fine.  Once the batter has been mixed and poured into the baking pan, put into the oven as soon as possible, as the leaveners will begin producing gas once they are moistened.   If allowed to stand too long before baking, the bread may have a sunken center.

APPLE CINNAMON LOAF

Yield:   1  9-inch loaf,  about 8 servings

Have all ingredients measured and ready.

Have all ingredients measured and ready.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1  3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mik
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a  9×5 inch loaf pan.

2.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

Brown sugar and cinnamon.

Brown sugar and cinnamon.

Peel, core and chop apple, and set aside.

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3.  Using an electric mixture, beat the granulated sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy.

Have butter softened at room temperature.

Have butter softened at room temperature.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. until incorporated;  add vanilla extract.

4.  Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl;  stir into creamed mixture.  Mix milk into batter with a spoon until smooth.  Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Lightly pat into the batter.

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5.  Pour remaining batter over apple layer;  top with remaining apple and add brown sugar mixture.  Lightly pat apples into batter;  swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using finger or spoon.

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6.  Bake 45 – 55  minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cooking times may vary, rely on the clean toothpick test for doneness.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

To serve, cut loaf with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion to avoid tearing.  This bread is very tender and moist.

To store, wrap lightly in foil, and store at room temperature.

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SOURCE:   Just a Pinch.com

Onion and Arugula Frittata with Goat Cheese

Onion and Arugula Frittata with Goat Cheese

Onion and Arugula Frittata with Goat Cheese

Frittatas are omelets for people who have too many things going on.  Heat an oven ready pan, put in the garnishes, pour the eggs over, pop into the oven and let the oven finish the job while you get the rest of the meal ready.

A frittata can be transformed by a variety of ingredients.  In this one I’m using caramelized onions and arugula, but any number of other inclusions will work.  Mushrooms, asparagus, ham, broccoli, cheese, whatever floats your boat for flavor combinations is ok.  Frittatas are suitable for any time of the day – or night!   Snuggled up to some toast or an English muffin, it’s breakfast.  Pair it up with a salad and roll and call it lunch.  Add a bowl of soup to expand the meal and it becomes supper.   For a dish that’s so simple to make, it has a pretty swanky reputation.

For any dieters among you, a frittata is the perfect food.  Load it up with veggies and some extra egg whites, and it becomes about as healthy as it can get.  Serve it warm, at room temperature or cold (hello, 20-second breakfast of leftovers.)

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One final thing I love about a frittata…..  It’s an oven to table meal.  Just take the whole darn thing from the oven to the table and serve it straight out of the pan.    Wonderful, indeed!!

With this recipe it’s the pairing of sweetly caramelized onions and the peppery arugula with the silkiness of eggs and creamy goat cheese that really puts this one over the top.  I had a very hard time limiting myself to just one serving.  I ate the two pieces that were leftover, one day for lunch, and the other,  one morning for breakfast and  had just as much enjoyment as the first time around.

 ONION AND ARUGULA FRITTATA WITH GOAT CHEESE

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1  Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Heat the olive oil in a medium oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions, reduce the heat to low and cook the onions until they’re golden brown and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes.

Slowly caramelize the onions until they're fragrant and golden.

Slowly caramelize the onions until they’re fragrant and golden.

2.  Season the onions to taste with salt and red pepper flakes, if using.  Add the arugula and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium high.

Next add the arugula and stir a bit till it wilts.

Next add the arugula and stir a bit till it wilts.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites and milk to combine.  Pour the mixture into the pan and let it cook  2 to 3 minutes to set the base.  Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the egg mixture.

Pour in the egg mixture, and sprinkle on goat cheese.

Pour in the egg mixture, and sprinkle on goat cheese.

4.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the frittata is set, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.  The frittata can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.

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 Onion and arugula frittata with goat cheese.

Onion and arugula frittata with goat cheese.

Additional notes: 

1.  Be sure to allow enough time to properly caramelize the onions.  Onions caramelize best in a large skillet with plenty of room over very low heat.  Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

2.  This frittata may be made with a variety of other healthy leafy greens.  Try subbing in collards, spinach, chard or kale for the arugula.

SOURCE:   The Incredible Egg

Not Your Mother’s Green Bean Casserole

Green Beans and Mushrooms with Fried Onions

Green Beans and Mushrooms with Fried Onions

One side dish that my family loves is Green Bean Casserole.  Over the holidays I made it ” from scratch”, and lightened it up by making a thinner mushroom sauce.   I have been meaning to tell you about it, but there has been so much to cover I    never got around to it.  So while it’s fresh in my mind, let me share with you how I made it.  It definitely does NOT contain canned or frozen green beans, or canned condensed cream of mushroom soup.  What it does contain is fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms, cream sauce made with real cream and crisp fried onions. The fresh mushrooms give this dish a deep meaty flavor that just doesn’t compare with the canned soup version.   We all thought it was wonderful, and maybe you will, too.

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NOT THE CLASSIC (YOUR MOTHER’S) GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Yield:   Serves 6, or more if  a) you have lots of sides on the table or b) use the higher amount (1.5 – 2 pounds) of green beans.

Fried Onions:IMG_5761

  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. panko or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • canola, safflower, or other high-heat oil, for frying

Mushroom Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped

    What you need for the mushroom sauce.

    What you need for the mushroom sauce.

  • few gratings fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1  1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Assembly:

1.  1 to 2  pounds green beans, washed well, tips and tails removed.  You may leave them whole or cut to desired length.

2.  Make crispy onions:   Toss onions with flour, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.  Heat 1/2-inch or so of oil in a 12-inch skillet until a drop of water flicked into it will hiss and sputter.  Add onions, just a handful at a time in something close to a single layer, and fry until a light golden brown (they’ll get more color in the oven).

Fry onions in a single layer.  Don't crowd the pan.

Fry onions in a single layer. Don’t crowd the pan.

Remove with a large slotted spoon, letting oil drip off, back into the skillet.  Spread onions out on paper towels to drain.  Repeat with remaining onions.  Set aside until needed;  this makes a lot.

Spread on paper towels to drain.

Spread on paper towels to drain.

More onions.....

More onions…..

3.  Prepare the beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and boil beans for 5 minutes, till crisp tender.  Drain beans, and rinse until cold water to stop the cooking action.  Drain again, and set aside.

Cooking the green beans.

Cooking the green beans.

Preheat the oven to 400*F   Spray or lightly grease a large baking dish.

4.  Make the mushroom sauce:  Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of a 12-inch skillet.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté them until they start releasing their liquid,  about 3 – 5 minutes, depending on how you cut them.  Add the garlic and sauté one minute more.  Add the flour and stir it until it fully coats the mushrooms.  Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring the whole time.

Mushrooms simmering in the broth.

Mushrooms simmering in the broth.

Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens a bit about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

With cream added.

With cream added.

5.  Assemble and bake:  Add cooked green beans to sauce and stir until they are coated.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Green beans coated with sauce.

Green beans coated with sauce.

Sprinkle crispy onions over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and onions are a shade darker.

Sprinkle fried onions over the top and bake till bubbly and browned.

Sprinkle fried onions over the top and bake till bubbly and browned.

A few notes:

1.  This makes a LOT of crispy onions.  I didn’t mind, but you could probably make half the amount and stretch it over the whole casserole.  If you make the full amount, you could save some of the excess for snacking or to put on those leftover turkey sandwiches.

2.  The sauce is somewhat thin even though it does coat the beans.   If you want it thicker so it coats and clings well to the beans, you can make it thicker by using 1 extra tablespoon butter and 1 extra tablespoon flour in the sauce–i.e. more roux makes thicker sauce.  Also be sure to drain the beans well, and even perhaps pat them dry with paper towels, so they don’t liquify the sauce.

3.  There is enough sauce in the recipe to adequately coat up to 2-pounds of beans, so if you like a more vegetable-heavy dish use the larger quantity of beans.

SOURCE:    Adapted from Alton Brown,  Food Network

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Chocolate Pudding Cake

When you are in the mood for a dessert that is gooey and chocolatey, but don’t want a whole lot left over ( to further tempt you), this recipe is the perfect answer.  It makes only four individual servings, so portion control is built right in.  This is cake that makes its own sauce.  The topping magically makes a fudge-y pudding on the bottom of the cake, and served with a scoop of  ice cream, whipped cream, or a toasted marshmallow, you just can’t go wrong!

Serve warm with ice cream.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Quick and easy to make, and deliciously fabulous to eat, these chocolate pudding-like cakes are a warm decadent finish to a winter menu.  This is comfort food at its best, an awesome dessert, whether served to family or guests, everyone will love it.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKES

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients:

Batter:IMG_6111

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup almond flour ( or 1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped in a processor)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

Topping:IMG_6132

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup hot milk or hot water

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Grease 4 ( 8 – 10 0z,) oven-safe mugs or ramekins.

2.  For the cake:  Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, almond flour, salt, and baking powder.

Mix together dry ingredients.

Mix together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, egg, and milk.  Add to dry ingredients, and mix until all is moistened without over mixing.  Divide this batter among the 4 mugs or ramekins, using about 1/3 cup batter in each.

3.  For the topping:  Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and salt.  Divide this mixture among the mugs or ramekins, using two heaping tablespoons for each.

Divide batter into ramekins and sprinkle on topping.

Divide batter into ramekins and sprinkle on topping.

4.  Top each dish with a 1/4 cup of the hot milk or water.  Place all on a baking sheet.

Pour warm milk over top.

Pour hot milk over top.

5.  Bake the cakes for 18 to 22 minutes.  The cake should be puffy, with some liquid bubbling up around the edges.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

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Warm, gooey, fudge-y.  What's not to love?

Warm, gooey, fudge-y. What’s not to love?

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour