Friday, March 27, 2009

Granola Bars

I've been wanting to try to make my own granola bars for a while now. Doug loves the Nature Valley Trail Mix bars, and takes one to work each day. My goal was to copy them, and I found a great recipe online, and have copied it below. (You should really check out the link, however, as the step-by-step photos are great.) Minus the almonds, these are nearly identical! And he said they even taste more "natural." One more thing - I found that the waxed paper stuck like glue to the bars, even with nonstick spray. I think next time I will just spray the glass pan and use wax paper just to press down on the bars and then remove it while they're still warm.

Here's a little video with the girls' critique:

2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup peanuts, crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar (can reduce to 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
approximately 8 oz. dried fruit
(*I used 1/2 raisins and 1/2 dried cranberries)
(*Nature Valley includes almonds in their Trail Mix bars, but I didn't have any)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

To crush your peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a heavy mallet, measuring cup, or sauce pan.

Then, mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.

Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) (*I used 9x13) for your granola by spraying with a nonstick spray.

Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let it bubble and get frothy, stirring constantly for 1 minute. This will caramelize the sugars and become the glue to help the bars stick together.

By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit. Mix everything w because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them. Remove the wax paper.

Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.

Carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.

Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. * We like to get 20 bars from a 9x13 pan.

I wrapped ours individually in plastic wrap, so that we could just throw one into our bag or lunch box in the morning. If you’d like to save on packaging though, you can store yours in an airtight container, between sheets of waxed paper (so they don’t stick together).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Honey Lime Chicken

This was pretty good. I especially liked the flavors of the pineapple and honey. Definately one to make again. FYI: I cut up boneless chicken breasts into strips, rather than buy tenders.

2 lbs chicken tenders
1/2 Tbl garlic salt
1 Tbl peanut oil
1 can pineapple rings (20 oz)
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbl lime juice
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl cornstarch
2 c (uncooked) white rice

1. Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt. Brown in oil. Drain pineapple. Add one fourth of the pineapple juice to skillet. Cover and simmer 6 to 8 minutes until chicken is golden. Remove chicken. Add honey, lime juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and remainder of pineapple juice. Bring to boil. Cook and stir until thick and clear, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. Place chicken, pineapple rings and sauce in freezer bag. Label and freeze.

2. To serve: Thaw. Heat until sauce is hot and bubbly and chicken is heated through. Serve over white rice.

Servings: 6

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Easy Pizza Hut Breadsticks

From RecipeZaar: Recipe #170013
Makes: 16 breadsticks

1 (10 ounce) can pizza dough (Pillsbury)
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup olive oil (approximately)
marinara sauce, for dipping

Preheat oven to 450º.

Unroll dough onto cutting board. Cut into 16 even strips.

Place each strip on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 6-8 minutes until golden brown.

While dough is baking, combine all DRY ingredients.

Remove baked breadsticks from oven and brush with olive oil and quickly sprinkle evenly with dry topping.

Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cashew Chicken

We just tried this tonight. It is FABULOUS! Perhaps my favorite OAMC recipe yet. It was so authentic tasting. This was our first time cooking with fresh ginger. We peeled it with a vegetable peeler and then chopped into small bits. It smelled amazing! Not as hard as I thought it would be. Next time maybe I might even add broccoli or celery? But it was great as-is.


½ cup catsup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons fresh gingerroot, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ cups cashews
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 cups cooked white rice

Cooking Day Instructions: Combine Catsup, soy sauce, salt, Worcestershire Sauce, sugar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, and chicken broth and set aside. In a bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Toss the chicken with cornstarch mixture. Heat a wok or frying pan to a high heat and add cooking oil. When oil is hot add chicken. Add ginger root, garlic and onion. Stir fry mixture until chicken is cooked through and opaque. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Add catsup/soy sauce mixture to chicken and vegetables and cook until it comes to a boil. Cool, bag and freeze. Save cashews for serving.

Directions for Serving Day: Thaw bag in fridge overnight. Reheat over medium heat until just boiling. Add cashews. Serve over rice.

Burrito Pie

"Ground beef, refried beans and tomatoes are combined with chilies and taco sauce, then layered in a casserole with tortillas and cheese, and baked."

1 pound ground beef
8 ounces shredded Colby cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1/2 (2 ounce) can black olives, sliced
1/2 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers
1/2 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
1/2 (16 ounce) jar taco sauce

Cooking Day Instructions: In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired.

Mix in the olives, green chili peppers, tomatoes with green chili peppers, taco sauce and refried beans.

Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 8x8 pan.

Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese.

Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese. Cover pan and Freeze.

Serving Day: Thaw. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, covered, for 60 minutes, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

Source: Rachel Ray Show

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup provolone, shredded

You Provide:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
8 dinner rolls

Cooking Day Instructions: Chop Onion set aside. Shred provolone, put in freezer baggie, label, and freeze. In large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes. Cool and put in freezer. Label.

Serving Day Instructions: Thaw frozen ingredients. Preheat broiler on low. Reheat meat mixture in Microwave for 2 or 3 minutes. Split open rolls and toast under broiler, keep your eye on them so they don’t burn! Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese in a figure-eight motion until it is all incorporated. To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

Yield: 8 sandwiches

Beef Barley Soup

Taken from OAMC Freezer Supper Swappers.

2 pounds bottom round roast, cubed
2 T olive oil
1/2 C butter
1 onion, diced
6 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 carrots, sliced
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
4 C water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 C uncooked barley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano

Cooking Day: Brown cubed beef in olive oil and set aside. Sauté onion, celery, garlic and carrots in butter until onions are clear. Add diced tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, barley, salt, oregano and beef. Simmer at least 4 hours.

Serving Day: Thaw bags of meat and soup. Heat and serve.

OAMC Plan for March

It's been awhile since we've done a full OAMC day. One which would actually last us for an entire month. So today we went for it! Nine recipes, which will make 16 meals and should last us for at least 4 weeks (well, the chimichangas aren't done yet, but that will happen tomorrow for sure). Most of these are new recipes! I'm excited to try them out. Stay tuned for reviews...

Here's what we made:
* 1 Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes *new*
* 1 Beef Barley Soup *new*
* 3 Jamie's Minestrone
* 2 Make-Ahead Chimichangas
* 2 Penne with Rosemary Chicken
* 2 Burrito Pies *new*
* 2 Cashew Chicken *new*
* 2 Crockpot Italian Meatloaves *new* (Note: these were no good)
* 1 Honey Lime Chicken *new*