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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Best Homemade Granola Bars

I have been searching for a homemade granola bar for a loooong time. None of them have been quite right. I tried these yesterday and these are the best yet - the perfect base with lots of options for mix-ins. This is from Food Network Magazine.

Base: Toss 3 cups rolled oats with 2 tbsp vegetable oil on a baking sheet and bake at 350 or until lightly toasted (about 20 mins). Let cool and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 cup of base mix-ins (or combo of): nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, or coconut.

Goo: Combine 6 tbsp butter in a saucepan with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will bubble and foam. Cook for 30 seconds and pour over oat base. Let cool slightly and add 1 cup of bar mix-ins (or combo of): dried fruit, chocolate chips, pretzels, cereal, etc.

Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Pour the bar mixture into the dish and press firmly with a rubber spatula.

Let stand at room temp until completely cool and firm enough to slice (1-3 hrs). Lift out of the dish, cut into bars, wrap in wax paper.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tortellini Chicken and Arugula Salad

10 minutes. That's what Cooking Light says and it's true. You don't count the time it takes to boil the water but 10 minutes!!! It takes less time to decide what to order on a take-out menu and punch in your credit card :)

1 package of frozen cheese tortellini
2 cups chicken breast (either leftover, pulled from a grocery rotisserie or whatever you've got in the fridge)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
3 cups baby arugula
thinly sliced shallot (optional - I'm not a fan of raw onion but someone in my family eats them like apples)
1/4 cup Parmesan

1. Cook the tortellini. Drain, rinse with cold water.

2. Combine garlic, oil, lemon, sugar, salt and pepper and mix well (or use store bought salad dressing but you'll get a completely different meal).

3. Toss the tortellini, arugula and chicken and drizzle with dressing.

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Risotto

We're all things sweet potatoes these days. I don't think I had a sweet potato until I was like 35 yrs old. I didn't have a black bean until I was catch my drift. We grow up on certain things and not others (did you ever hear the This American Life story about the woman who had chicken every night for dinner until she went to college and realized that not everyone else had chicken every night for dinner...??). Paddy wonders why we can't have 'real potatoes' but whatever - Jack eats sweet potatoes and I love them too. So if I can kill two birds with one stone, let's do it.

2 roasted sweet potatoes, peeled and pureed
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups sliced shiitakes
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped sage
5 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken (or veggie) broth, warm
salt and pepper
1/4 cup marscarpone or cream cheese
1/4 Parmesan

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high. Add mushrooms, onion, sage and garlic.

2. Add rice and cook a couple of mins, stirring. Stir in 1 cup of sweet potato, 2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid has almost been absorbed. Add more stock and simmer again, until almost absorbed. Continue until all stock used and rice is tender.

3. Remove from heat, add the rest of the potato and cheese and mix until incorporated.

Sauteed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Ok, so this doesn't sound that great, I know. But I've been trying to minimize effort in the kitchen, which means that many nights I throw bone in chicken breasts into the oven before putting Jack to bed and then seeing what I can pair with them after he's asleep to make it seem like it's not exactly what we had the night before. This was very good - adapted from Fine Cooking. We were pleasantly surprised. You can substitute the greens - the recipe called for chard but I used kale. Whatever you got...

3/4 cup raisins (preferably golden but don't go out of your way!)
1 bunch of kale, Swiss chard...some kind of hearty green, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of parsley if you have it
1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted on the stove top for 10 minutes or until brown
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
Small handful of Parmesan

1. Soak the raisins in boiling water until plump. Drain.

2. Heat oil in a large saute pan, add the onion and soften. Add the garlic. Add the greens. Toss until tender, 5-10 mins.

3. Remove from heat, add the raisins, parsley, lemon, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Has anyone noticed that these meals are getting easier and faster to make? That's the goal these days folks - somehow eat a delicious meal on a weeknight before 9pm. I'm aiming for a half hour or less these days so keep an eye out. This is from Fine Cooking magazine - it took about 10 minutes plus a few  more to bake. Also - this is the Italian version of pretty much the same thing I posted a couple of months ago...oops!

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 onion diced
28oz can crushed tomatoes
3-4 eggs
1/2 chunk of fresh mozzarella, sliced
Handful of basil, thinly sliced
You can add some sausage to this if you're looking for meat!

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Mash half of the chickpeas in a bowl with a fork.

3. Over medium heat in a large skillet, cook the onions until translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, and mashed chickpeas. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

4. Add the rest of the chickpeas and make depressions in the tomato sauce for each of the eggs. Crack eggs into the holes and place the mozzarella around it. Put in the oven to bake for 8-9 minutes - don't over do it! Remove from the oven when done and sprinkle with basil.

Chicken and Waffles

I didn't even know about chicken and waffles until a few years ago...I'm a New Englander. What a shame...the northeast needs to get its act together. I'll always order it if it's on the menu because I can't be bothered with frying chicken at home. But this recipe from Cooking Light is a healthier and easier version...and takes about five minutes (plus 10 mins baking time) with almost no cleanup. And the combo of the maple syrup, soy, and sriracha/sambal is amazing.

1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp Sriracha or sambal oelek
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 flour
1 egg
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
1/4 cup panko
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 paprika
1 package of chicken cutlets
4 Belgian waffles
1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup green onions

1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a rack on top of a large baking sheet.

2. Combine first three ingredients in a bowl.

3. Put the flour, salt, paprika in a bowl, beat the egg in another, and combine the panko and cornflakes in another.

4. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then egg, then panko/cornflake mixture. Place on rack and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 10 minutes.

5. Toast the waffles and serve with chicken and onions on top and drizzled with syrup.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Afghan Butternut Squash with Rice

I'm always looking for quick and easy stuff and you know we like all things saucy in this house. I found this on Food52 and loved it. I took some liberties to change it up - added the chicken and garbanzos - which likely makes it completely un-Afghan but I liked it this way. We're gonna have this again and again in the future. Jack ate it for lunch all week - home run.

2 lbs butternut squash in 1/4 - 1/2 inch cubes
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
1 1/4 tsp coriander 
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 cup crushed tomato
1/2 cup water
Leftover chicken, shredded (from a rotisserie, leftover from grill, or you can simmer a breast or a couple of thighs in chicken broth for a half hr or so to tenderize and shred)
1 can of garbanzos (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Arrange the squash on a baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with a couple tbsp of olive oil, dash of salt and pepper and the sugar and cinnamon. Bake until quite soft (about a half hr), stirring once. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. In  a large pan, heat a couple tbsp of oil and cook the onions until soft. Add the spices and cook for a couple of mins. Add the tomato sauce and water and mix well. Cook for about 20-30 mins until sauce thickens. Add the squash, chicken, and beans at the end to warm through.

Serve over rice.