Monday, January 26, 2015

Cheesy Chili Hash Brown Casserole

I found this recipe in a magazine at the dentist office and thought I'd try it out. I made some substitutions to avoid the canned sauces and it turned out great!

1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 green pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can tomatoes with green chilis (undrained)
1/2 (30 oz) bag shredded frozen hashbrowns
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

Brown beef with onion and bell pepper. Drain grease and return to heat. Add garlic powder, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add beans and chopped tomatoes and stir well.

Spray 9x13 pan and fill with chili mixture. Top with frozen hash browns and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes or until brown and crisp. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 more minutes until melted.

Serves: 6

Asiago Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/3 cup asiago cheese, grated
1/2 cup spinach or shredded zucchini (lightly sauteed in olive oil)
8 oz. sour cream
1 tbsp asiago cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to 1 qt. baking dish. (I like to use my small stoneware baking dish). Sprinkle with asiago. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves: 6

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kale, Cherry and Farro Salad

Kale, Cherry and Farro Salad

1/4 c plus 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, diced
1 c. farro, rinsed
1 t. kosher salt, divided
2 sprigs fresh oregano or ½ t. dried oregano
Juice of ½ large lemon
Juice of 1 medium orange
1 small bunch of Kale, stemmed, finely shredded
½ c. dried cherries, chopped
½ English cucumber, chopped
4 o. goat cheese
½ c. slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted lightly in oven

Heat a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add 2T. olive oil and shallot. Cook until shallots have softened, about 3 minutes. Add the farro and toast in olive oil, about 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium/med-low and stir in 2 c. water, oregano and ½ t. salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is cooked through and tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove fresh oregano sprigs (if using), drain farro if necessary and set aside.

Whisk together lemon and orange juice, ¼ c. olive oil and ½ t. salt in large bowl. Add the warm farro and toss. Add kale, dried cherries, cucumber and nuts (if using). Toss to combine. Crumble in goat cheese and mix gently.

*Note: If farro dressing tastes too tart, use honey to sweeten. If it doesn’t taste tart enough, add more lemon juice or orange juice.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thai Chicken Noodle Bowls

Michelle and I made this delicious recipe (via Cooking Light) when I visited her this summer. I decided to make it for Doug's birthday dinner, too. He loved it! Neither of us are raw cucumber fans, but in this dish they just work. :) It was fun to use cucumber, carrot and basil fresh from the garden, too.

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted red chile paste
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions (4 onions)
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 ounces uncooked rice sticks (rice-flour noodles) *we also used angel hair pasta and it was equally delicious
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon roasted red chile paste
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons (about 2 cups)
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
Additional ingredients:
6 lime wedges

1. To prepare marinade, combine first 9 ingredients in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag; marinate in refrigerator overnight.
2. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
3. While chicken stands, cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
4. To prepare sauce, combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar and next 6 ingredients (through chile paste) in a small bowl.
5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
6. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut chicken crosswise into slices.
7. Place 3/4 cup noodles and slices from 1 chicken breast half in each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1/3 cup carrot, about 3 tablespoons cucumber, 2 teaspoons basil, and 1 teaspoon peanuts. Drizzle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons sauce, and serve with 1 lime wedge.

Tips: To make carrot ribbons, use a vegetable peeler.

Serves: 6

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mini Zucchini Quiches

It's that time of year... Happy Zucchini Harvest! I found this recipe on Weight Watchers. It's actually not very diet friendly, as each little mini muffin is about 100 calories, but they sure are tasty. These would be a great thing to bring as an appetizer or for a brunch. I'm thinking they probably freeze well, too!

1 cup shredded zucchini, uncooked
1 small onion, finely chopped   
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat, but you could use all-purpose as well)
1/8 cup basil, fresh, finely chopped   
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin   
1 tsp baking powder   
1/2 tsp sugar   
1/2 tsp kosher salt   
1/5 tsp black pepper   

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 24-hole nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon egg mixture into each prepared hole.

Bake until bottoms are golden brown and quiche are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let quiche cool for a few minutes in pan; remove quiche to a wire rack to cool more. 

Yield: 24 mini quiches

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perfect 100% Whole Wheat Bread

After many years of baking our own sandwich bread using this recipe, My Whole Wheat Bread, I have been on a search to find a way to make bread with 100% whole wheat. My previous recipe used 1/3 whole wheat to 2/3 white flour. I have experimented with just about every recipe and tip I could find with no luck. The loaves always came out dense or with a very strong wheat flavor.

However, thanks to a suggestion from my good friend, I have recently found the secret to 100% whole wheat bread. The secret ingredient is diastatic malt powder (aka malted barley flour). This is essentially sprouted barley that has been dried and crushed into a powder. It produces enzymes which gives bread a higher rise and sweeter flavor. The perfect solution for my issues of a heavy, poorly flavored bread!

This recipe is for a 1.5 lb loaf which I bake in 9x5 stoneware loaf pan from Pampered chef.

3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 tsp or 1 packet dry active yeast 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp diastatic malt powder


  • Measure all ingredients into bread machine and set on dough cycle (1 hr 20 min - 1 hr 50 min)
  • With lightly greased hands, gently shape dough and place into greased loaf pan and cover with clean towel
  • Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled - approx. 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 in the meantime
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

These cookie bars are delicious and an healthy alternative to traditional chocolate chip cookies, as they are made with 100% whole wheat flour and tons of rolled oats! Plus they are very quick and easy to make. What's not to love?

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 cups rolled ("old-fashioned") oats
6 ounces (1 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla with electric mixer on high.
2. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda, all at the same time. Stir in oats. Last, add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
3. Press cookie dough into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Dough should be somewhat flattened, but it's okay for some cracks to remain.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden and cookies are set in the middle.
5. Cool for 20 minutes; cut into 24 squares.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crunchy Granola

This is the best granola I've ever tasted! It makes a TON, too, so it's worth the effort to make, since it will last for a while. We eat it like cereal with milk and also on top of homemade yogurt. Yummy! All the nuts in this are what put it over the top, in my opinion.

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups oat bran (*For more fiber, use all wheat germ)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line three large baking sheets (with sides) with parchment or aluminum foil.
2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

* Note on the bake time: This will still seem chewy at 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to bake it until it is completely crisp, as it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the oven and may burn. It will be crispy after it is cooled.