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.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Lasagna Soup

This winter we discovered our favorite soup: lasagna soup. It is from Our Best Bites and they have a great post with photos and instructions to take you through each step. I suggest you head over there to read it! What makes this soup extra special is a scoop of ricotta cheese mixture that is placing in the bowl prior to pouring in the soup. It really does give it a special lasagna taste and "feel." 

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs Italian Sausage (* I used a 1 lb "roll" of sausage meat and it worked just fine)
3 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
optional: 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
8 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, or a heaping tablespoon dried basil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few cracks of black pepper

optional: shredded mozzarella for sprinkling on top

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces and cook until browned and cooked through. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.   If you’re using dried basil, add it at this point.  Cook for about a minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  You can add the dry pasta to the soup in the last 8-ish minutes of cooking, or cook the pasta separately and add to individual servings. Right before serving, stir in fresh basil if you’re using fresh, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture in each soup bowl, add pasta if you cooked it separately, and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.  Let it sit for a minute for the cheese to get all melty, sprinkle mozzarella on top if desired and eat up.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce

This is a recipe I saw on Amercia's Test Kitchen. I love how that show takes a scientific approach to cooking to get the best results. And this pork roast was absolutely the best I've ever had. AMAZING. You must try it! The meat was the most flavorful and tender possible and the peach sauce took it over the top. Doug didn't care for the sauce so much - he's anti-vinegar and mustard. But you must try it!


Pork Roast
1 Bone-In Pork Shoulder (also referred to as Butt), 6 to 8 pounds
1/3 C Kosher Salt
1/3 C Light Brown Sugar, packed
Black Pepper, ground

Peach Sauce
10 oz. Peaches, frozen (cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups) -OR- 2 fresh peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges)
2 C Dry White Wine
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Unseasoned Rice Vinegar, plus 1 T (* I used a pear-infused vinegar instead)
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (* I used a sprinkle of dried thyme)
1 T Whole-Grain Mustard

Pork Roast
1. Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat.
2. Combine salt and brown sugar in medium bowl then rub salt mixture over entire pork shoulder and into slits.
3. Wrap roast tightly in double layer of plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and pre-heat oven to 325-degrees. Unwrap roast and brush off any excess salt mixture from surface.
5. Season roast with pepper.
6. Transfer roast to V-rack coated with nonstick cooking spray set in large roasting pan and add 1 quart water to roasting pan.
7. Cook roast, basting twice during cooking, until meat is extremely tender and instant-read thermometer inserted into roast near but not touching bone registers 190 degrees, 5 to 6 hours.
8. Transfer roast to carving board and let rest, loosely tented with foil, 1 hour.
9. Transfer liquid in roasting pan to fat separator and let stand 5 minutes.
10. Pour off 1/4 cup au jus; discard fat and reserve remaining jus for another use.
11. After resting, using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone until it can be pulled free from roast (use clean kitchen towel to grasp bone).
12. Using serrated knife, slice roast and serve, passing sauce separately.

Peach Sauce
1. While the roast is resting, bring peaches, wine, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup defatted au jus, and thyme to simmer in small saucepan.
2. Cook sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove thyme and stir in remaining T of rice vinegar and mustard.
4. Cover and keep warm.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Zucchini, Broccoli, and Carrots

2 Tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium zucchini, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 head broccoli, chopped into mini florets
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

In large saucepot, melt butter. Add garlic, zucchini, carrots, and onion. Saute until veggies are tender. Stir in broccoli and broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender. Meanwhile, melt butter in large pot. Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two. Whisk in milk until smooth. Simmer until thickened. Whisk in cheddar cheese. Incorporate vegetable mixture into cheese sauce, whisking until smooth. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

Orginally from: good (CHEAP) eats

Monday, February 04, 2013

Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings:12

            2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
            3 cloves Garlic, Minced
            1 whole Large Onion, Diced
            1 pound Italian Sausage
            1 pound Ground Beef
            1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
            2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
            2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
            1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
            Salt And Pepper, to taste
            16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
            1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
            1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
            1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
            1 whole Egg
            Fresh Minced Parsley
Preparation Instructions
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
(Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!)

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta

2012, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time:
30 min
Inactive Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
6 to 8 servings


  • 6 ounces good feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 20 to 25 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts


For the whipped feta, place the feta and cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.
For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you're serving, combine the shallots, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.
To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hibachi Steak

This was really good and got me to eat some vegetables which is no easy task.  You can use rice instead of the noodles if you want to. 

From: Sandra's Money Saving Meals


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 pounds top round steak
  • 1 pound egg roll wrappers
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add half of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables and stir-fry until the vegetables are almost done, about 5 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, heat a second skillet over high heat and add the remaining oil.
Cut the steak into small cubes, and stir-fry until browned on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Separate the egg roll wrappers into 2 piles. Roll each pile up into a log. Slice the log into thin strips about 1/4-inch thick and separate them into individual noodles. Put half of the noodles into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and add to a serving bowl or platter. (Reserve the remaining noodles for the Online Round 2 Recipe, Japanese Noodle Bowl.)
In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and cornstarch and set aside.
Add the steak, along with any accumulated juices, to the pan with the vegetables. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the vegetables and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the butter. (Optional: Reserve 2 cups for the Online Round 2 Recipe, Japanese Noodle Bowl).
Top the cooked noodles with the steak and vegetable mixture and serve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Homemade Graham Crackers

So these aren't technically graham crackers since they don't use graham flour, but they are 100% whole wheat and 100% delicious! I've been making them for several months now, ever since I found the original recipe on Heavenly Homemakers. Mostly square shapes, but I also cut out umpteen dozen little leaf and pumpkin shapes in November and in December decided to give them a Christmas kick by dipping in almond bark and letting the girls decorate them with sprinkles. That was a VERY good idea. :)


2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the liquids: honey, water, vanilla and melted butter.
  4. Stir well until a nice ball of dough is formed.
  5. Lay one Silpat (or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet.
  6. Place the ball of dough on the parchment paper. Lay a second Silpat (or another piece of parchment paper) on top of the ball of dough.  Squish dough down a little with your fist.
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough between the pieces of parchment paper.  Roll until the dough covers the whole cookie sheet.
  8. Peel off the top Silpat and cut rolled dough into 2 inch squares, or cut shapes with cookie cutters, being sure to separate the shapes from the surrounding dough a little. (I use a pizza cutter *very gently* to make the cuts)
  9. Bake in oven for 18 minutes.
  10. Turn oven off, but leave crackers in the oven to get crisp for about 30 minutes.
  11. Break cooled graham crackers apart and store in an air tight container.
To decorate them, I melted almond bark in a large coffee mug. Then I scrapped some bark on one side of the cookie and set it on wax paper where my assistants could decorate them with colored sugar and sprinkles. This, obviously, makes them not very healthy, but fun for a special treat.