Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trisha Yearwood's Strawberry Salad

We eat a lot of salads around here, so when I discovered this recipe as I was flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, I knew it would be a great addition to our weekly menus. It's super easy to put together and has been a big hit with our friends and family.

Strawberry Salad

1 package ramen noodles, crushed, flavor packet discarded
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, mix the ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, almonds and melted butter. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Tear the lettuce and combine with the spinach, strawberries and Parmesan cheese in a large salad bowl.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. Combine the garlic, salt, paprika and oil. Add to the sugar-vinegar mixture. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Just before serving, sprinkle the crunchy topping over the salad greens and toss the salad with enough dressing to coat the greens.

Serves 4 to 6

My Notes: Any lettuce combination will work and 1-2 tablespoons of poppy seeds make a nice addition to the dressing. I've also included sliced cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes and avocados in the salad. Add some chunks of roast chicken and you've got a meal. Oh, and there's plenty of crunchy topping for a couple of large salads (as long as you hide it from your family!).

I'm trying to convince myself that the healthy nuts, spinach and berries outweigh the unhealthy butter, oil and sugar. So far, that's working. ;) 

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Chicken Paillard (Tyler Florence)

I love to cook, but after a long day at work (9 hours on my feet!), the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And this summer, it's actually been too hot to do much grilling. So instead of sweating over a hot grill, I turn to my quick and simple recipes, such as Tyler Florence's Chicken Paillard. He writes: 

I make this for dinner all the time. It's simple, easy to put together, and on the lighter side—perfect for a night when you want something delicious that's not too heavy. Pound the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to keep your cutting board clean, and try to use organic, free-range chicken whenever you can.

I couldn't agree more! I discovered this favorite in the Tyler Florence Family Meal cookbook, which as previously noted, is a fantastic cookbook. There are wonderful blurbs and photos for each and every recipe, as well as anecdotes about Tyler's career as a chef in Mill Valley. I've made this particular recipe a few times and wasn't very impressed with the Creamy Parmesan Dressing, so instead, I've modified it to enjoy with a simple Caprese Salad. I usually wind up with an extra chicken breast, which is excellent diced up and served on top of a tossed green salad the following day for lunch.

Chicken Paillard with Salad Greens and Creamy Parmesan Dressing

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying (I use olive oil)

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet or rolling pin to a uniform 1/2-inch thickness. (I use a large zip-lock bag rather than the plastic wrap.) 

Prepare a breading station, placing the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, in one shallow bowl; the eggs in another; and the panko (also seasoned liberally with salt and pepper—you should be able to see the seasonings) in a third. 

Coat the chicken first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko, shaking off the excess after each step. 

Place the breaded breasts on a plate and refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to dry the crust; this will ensure there is less moisture in the coating and less chance it will crumble when you cook the chicken.

In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of olive oil (interesting that he says olive oil here, but not in the list of ingredients) to 350 degrees (F). 

Add the chicken breasts and fry for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Transfer the breasts to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place each warm, crispy chicken paillard on a plate and top with half the salad. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Serves 2


As I mentioned above, I chose not to use the Creamy Parmesan Dressing (which you can find here, if you wish). I served a simple Caprese salad on the side, which is quite similar to Florence's salad of mixed greens, grape tomatoes and bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls).

I don't use a recipe for my Caprese salad. However, Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) has one that looks pretty much like what I make, although for this meal, I place the tomatoes and cheese on top of a bed of greens. Go here for PW's recipe.


Paillard is an older French culinary term referring to a quick-cooking, thinly sliced or pounded piece of meat. In France, it has been largely replaced by the word escalope. (Wikipedia)

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cowboy Lasagne (Trisha Yearwood)

Rod and I have been fans of Trisha Yearwood's music for many years and when I first saw her cookbook, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. I assumed a celebrity cookbook would be full of pretty pictures (it is), but an overall a disappointment when it comes to the actual recipes (is isn't). I've sampled a half dozen recipes and am pleased to report that this is a splendid cookbook! And it's my favorite kind: Full page photos for almost every single recipe, accompanied by interesting anecdotes and tips from Trisha and her sister and mother.

Last week I decided to try Trisha's Cowboy Lasagne. It's been ages since I've made lasagne, mainly because I've never been quite satisfied with my own recipe. And, back when I was first learning to cook, lasagne always seemed to be an involved and complicated recipe. Now that I've been cooking for over 30 years, I've learned the importance of multi-tasking in the kitchen. Lasagne is really a very simple recipe, as long as you have time for the preparation. (It's certainly not something you want to try to throw together after work!) And Trisha's recipe is worth the time. Rod and I thought it was the best we'd ever tasted. Yes, we went back for seconds! 

Cowboy Lasagne

Trisha's Note:

In my introduction to Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, I mentioned that Garth had recently asked me about trying to create a heartier, meatier lasagne, and we started experimenting. Here's what we came up with. Remember those old commercials that said, "How do you handle a hungry man?" Well, here's how! Serves 12

1 pound lean ground beef, chuck or round
1 pound sage-flavored sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sliced pepperoni
1 16-ounce can tomatoes, diced or stewed
1 12-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
16 ounces lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large, heavy skillet, lightly brown the ground beef, sausage, onion, and garlic in the oil. Be sure to keep the meat chunky, not finely separated, while cooking. Drain the meat. Add the pepperoni, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, and oregano. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Cook and drain the lasagna noodles according to package directions.

In a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan, spread 1 cup of the prepared sauce. Alternate layers of lasagna, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, ending with  sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbling. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cut the lasagne into 3-inch squares and serve.

My notes:

I used Sweet Italian sausage and eliminated the pepperoni altogether.

I accidentally bought a 28-ounce can of tomatoes, which I used, so I reduced the amount of water by 1/2 cup.

I allowed the sauce to simmer for a couple of hours rather than 30 minutes.

I only used half a package of lasagna noodles (9 rather than 18).

I brought the water to a boil and began cooking the noodles prior to preparing the sauce.

I saved a little time by using some of the precooked sausage I had stashed in the freezer for our weekly pizzas.

After draining the cooked noodles, I placed them on a large piece of aluminum foil to cool.

I find it very easy to spread the ricotta cheese on the cooled noodles while they are still on the foil. The noodles stick to the foil nicely so they don't slide around while trying to smooth out the ricotta and yet are easily peeled away from the foil when ready to transfer them to the prepared dish as I'm ready to assemble the lasagne.

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Weeknight Bolognese

I love pasta and was looking for something quick and easy to throw together after a long day at work. Tyler Florence has a delicious recipe for bolognese, but it's fairly involved and one that I'd rather make on a cold, rainy weekend. However, Ina Garten's recipe from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? was just what I had in mind.

She writes:
Everyone needs a quick dinner they can throw together during the week. Bolognese is a thick meat sauce that is a staple of northern Italy. It's always made with beef, tomatoes, and cream and I've added oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil to give it lots of flavor. It's the perfect stick-to-your-ribs dinner on a cold night.

I say it's perfect for any night. Even a hot summer night!

2 Tbsp. good olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta
1 lb. lean ground sirloin
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
1-28 oz.  can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Serves 4 to 5

My Notes:

Since I used ground chuck instead of lean sirloin, it wasn't necessary to use the olive oil to brown the meat. After it finished cooking, I drained the fat before adding the spices.

I used a medium-sized stockpot rather than a skillet.

Rather than open a can of tomato paste for just a couple of tablespoons, I use this:

Even though it's double concentrated, I still use the specified amount.

I reduced the amount of salt and pepper by half and red pepper flakes.

I forgot to toss the sauce with the Parmesan and pasta before serving, but it didn't matter. My husband and I both loved the flavor of this bolognese, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to try it Ina's way.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Beef Bourguignon (Tyler Florence)

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 bacon slices
4 lbs. beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Cognac
1 bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 T. tomato paste
Bouquet garni (1 fresh rosemary sprig, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, and 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or wrapped in cheesecloth)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups pearl onions, fresh or frozen, blanched and peeled
1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
Pinch of sugar
2 T. unsalted butter
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Serve with buttered egg noodles

Serves 8 to 10

Place a large, heavy pot over medium heat and drizzle in a 1-count of olive oil. Fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes, then remove it to paper towels to drain, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. When cool, crumble the bacon and set aside.

Working in batches, add the beef to the pot and brown well on all sides over high heat, about 10 minutes per batch. Season each batch with a generous amount of salt and pepper and transfer to a plate while you brown the remaining beef cubes.

Return all the beef cubes to the pot and sprinkle with the flour, stirring to make sure the pieces are well coated. Pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over high heat until the Cognac has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Pour in the red wine and beef broth; then add the tomato paste and bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the liquid has thicken a bit, about 15 minutes, then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the garlic, pearl onions (blanched & peeled), and mushrooms to the pot along with the sugar (to balance out the acid from the red wine). Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer 30 to 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Discard the bouquet garni, then stir in the butter to give the sauce a rich flavor and beautiful shine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and the reserved bacon before serving.

My Notes:

I didn't have any Cognac, so I added an extra 1/4 cup of beef broth.

I used a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I didn't bother tying the bouquet garni with twine--just dropped the herbs in the pot. (Julia Child agrees with me on this one!)

I substituted a regular onion (rough chop) for the pearl onions.

The first time I made this dish, I served it with buttered noodles. Not bad, but I didn't love it. The second time I decided to skip the noodles and add potatoes to the pot. However, I didn't want them to overcook and fall apart, so I par-boiled them separately (peeled and cut-up) and added them to the pot a few minutes before serving.

Now here's my biggest adjustment to Tyler's recipe: The meat needs to cook much longer than the 2-2 1/2 hours he's suggested. I recommend at least 3-4 hours. And, if possible, cook it a day in advance. The flavors are amazing on the second day!

I have another recipe for Beef Bourguignon here. They're almost identical!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Photo courtesy of ajacobs41

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2-3 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups shredded zucchini

Beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Spoon into either 2 large or 4 small greased loaf pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kid Friendly Pad Thai

1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 pound firm tofu, diced 1/4 inch
2 Tbsp. tamari
1/3 cup all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/8 - 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
1 large sweet red pepper, diced fine
1 small-medium zucchini, diced fine
1/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound dry linguine, cooked
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or scallions
sea salt and pepper to taste
Fresh limes

Heat the oil in a saute pan. Add the tofu, a little salt and pepper, saute for 10 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring often. You want it nice and brown. Add the garlic in the last minute or two of cooking.

Meanwhile, combine the tamari, peanut butter, honey and vinegar. Mix until smooth, add water to thin the sauce a little.

Pour half of the sauce into the pan with the tofu. Add the other vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes. You're not cooking the veggies too much, because they are diced small and will cook super fast. You're almost just getting them and the sauce hot. Once cooked, add this mixture to the cooked linguine, tossing gently with tongs. Add the remaining sauce, chopped peanuts and chives. Toss a little more. Squeeze a little fresh lime juice over the top and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

I found this yummy recipe on Heather's blog and it's become a favorite of ours.

Notes: I'm not a big fan of tofu, so I decided to use shrimp, scallops and boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. (You can use any combination of these three ingredients.) Of course, you need to adjust the cooking time, depending on the size of your scallops and chicken pieces. Shrimp cooks very quickly (3-4 minutes), so be careful not to over cook them or they'll taste rubbery.

I use honey (instead of maple syrup) and prefer a little less than the recipe calls for. I also use regular peanut butter. One time I didn't have any tamari, so I used soy sauce. It honestly don't know if I could tell the difference.

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Berry Best Bran Muffins

(photo courtesy of KTCS9)

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. canola or corn oil
1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw if frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with bake cups.

In a large bowl, stir together the wheat bran, flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except the blueberries until well blended. Pour into the well. Stir until the wheat bran mixture is just moistened. Don't overmix; the batter should be lumpy.

Using a rubber scraper, carefully fold the blueberries into the batter. Spoon into the bake cups to fill about three-quarters full.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pan to a cooling rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes. Turn the muffins onto the rack and let continue to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 1 dozen
121 calories

Freeze any extras for up to two months. Reheat in microwave.

I discovered this delicious recipe in American Heart Association Healthy Family Meals: 150 Recipes Everyone Will Love

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Shrimp Tacos

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. canola or corn oil
13-14 oz. peeled raw shrimp, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 6-inch corn tortillas
2 cups shredded lettuce (romaine, iceberg or cabbage)
1 small tomato, diced
2 Tbsp. sliced black olives (optional)

Grated Monterrey Jack cheese

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Add the shrimp to the pan.

Sprinkle the chili powder and cumin on the shrimp. Sprinkle with the garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes if using large shrimp, or 2 to 3 minutes if using small, or until the shrimp are pink on the outside, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and steam in microwave for 1 minute.

Fill each tortilla with lettuce, tomato and olives. Spoon the sour cream mixture on each. Top with the shrimp.

Serves 4
Calories: 206 per serving (2 tacos)

Another delicious recipe from American Heart Association Healthy Family Meals: 150 Recipes Everyone Will Love

Note: The original recipe doesn't include cheese or guacamole, so please note that the calories per serving will be a bit higher with my modifications.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Three-Grain Raspberry Muffins

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup milk (1-percent low-fat or plain soy)
3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup honey
3 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. grated lime zest
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the oats and milk. Microwave on high until the oats are creamy and tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, bran, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to blend. Add the honey, canola oil, lime zest, oats mixture, and egg. Beat until just moistened but still slightly lumpy. Gently fold in the raspberries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until the tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean, 16-18 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Yield: 12 muffins
Calories: 161

Original recipe from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health

Note: I didn't have any raspberries on hand, so I used blueberries.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes

(Click on photo for larger image.)

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted but not hot
Vegetable oil (or spray) for greasing the pan (I used unsalted butter)
Syrup or jam & powdered sugar, for topping

The night before:

Combine the oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The morning of:

Remove the bowl of buttermilk/oats from the refrigerator. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add the lightly beaten eggs and cooled melted butter to the oat mixture. Stir well.

Add the flour mixture, stir to blend. The batter will be very thick.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Brush (or spray) with oil or butter. When the griddle is hot (water drops sizzle), pour a scant 1/4 cup at a time onto the pan, taking care not to crowd them. When the underside is nicely browned and the top looks set around the edges (roughly 3-4 minutes), flip the pancakes. Cook until the other side is golden brown.

Re-grease the pan, repeat with more batter.

Serve hot with syrup or butter, powdered sugar and jam.

Yield: About 12 pancakes


I discovered this fabulous recipe on Orangette. Go here to read more about the origin of this delicious alternative to regular buttermilk pancakes.

I added a couple of splashes of buttermilk to the final mixture and wound up with 2 dozen pancakes. I also added a few blueberries to a couple of the pancakes (BEFORE the first flip) and they were outstanding!

I followed Molly's advice and saved the leftover pancakes for future snacks. After they've cooled to room temp, I place a couple in individual baggies and store them in the freezer. I simply defrost a bag in the refrigerator overnight and add a little bit of peanut butter to make a sandwich for my on-the-go breakfast. I may actually like them better this way than fresh off the griddle!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cranberry Flax Granola Bars

(Click on photo for larger view)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup Crisco
3 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 1/2 cups regular (not instant) oatmeal
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)
1/3 cup nuts (optional) (I used no-salt, roasted almonds)

Blend peanut butter, Crisco, brown sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Stir in flax seed, oatmeal, cinnamon and salt.

Once well mixed, blend in dried cranberries, chocolate chips and nuts.

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam and pat the mixture into the pan with damp hands.

Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until just set.

Cut into 12 bars as soon as you remove the pan from the oven.

Once cooled, remove bars from the pan.

Yield: 12 bars

These are delicious! I got the recipe at a cooking class at my gym. I believe each bar has 180 calories. Other than the Crisco, these bars are a perfect snack.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Corn and Shrimp Chowder with Bacon

6 ears corn, husks and silks removed
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
8 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp. seafood seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 lb. large peeled and deveined shrimp
coarse salt and ground pepper
crackers, for serving (optional)

Cut of tip of each cob. Stand corn in a wide shallow bowl; using a sharp knife, slice downward to release kernels. Scrape length of each cob with a spoon to release pulp. Discard cobs.

In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium-high until crisp and browned, 4-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.

Add scallion whites and potatoes to pan; cook, stirring, until scallions have softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Add flour and cook stirring, 1 minute. Add milk, seafood seasoning, thyme, and 2 cups water.

Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn, shrimp, and scallion greens. Cook until shrimp are just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Season chowder with salt and pepper. Serve topped with bacon. Serve crackers alongside, if desired.

Serves 4

489 calories per serving


I didn't have fresh corn, so I used 4 cups frozen. I didn't have any seafood seasoning and I don't think it mattered. This is delicious, but I would like it to be a bit thicker. Next time I'll add a little mixture of cornstarch and water -- or reduce the amount of water added.

Original recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food (In Season - July 2009 issue)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

Photo courtesy of Kristen Doyle

1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup chopped white onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1/4 cup flour
2 cups (8oz) Velveeta, cubed
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a 6-quart saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside beef.

In the same saucepan, sautee onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 2 Tbsp. butter until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).

Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt remaining 3 Tbsp. of butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until bubbly. Whisk into soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add Velveeta, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts.

Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.

Makes 8 servings


I discovered this amazing soup on Dine & Dish. I should be upset with Kristen for introducing me to this heart attack-in-a-bowl recipe, but decided it isn't any worse for me than half the recipes on my blog! I'll just have to try to limit the frequency of making this delicious soup to no more than once a month. Yummmm-O!!!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares

(Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Lift cake from pan, (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Note: These were awesome and received lots of great compliments. However, I think the chocolate chips overshadowed the pumpkin flavor. I might go with 3/4 of a bag (12 oz.) of chocolate chips next time around. I also found the following comment on Martha's website:

I cut out half a stick of butter and a quarter cup of sugar and added a half cup of apple sauce. Success! A little less fat and a little less sugar, but still really moist and delicious.

I may try this substitution next time.

Recipe discovered at Martha Stewart Food.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

Photo courtesy of Kristen Doyle

I discovered this awesome recipe on Kristen's Dine & Dash blog earlier this year. I've made these treats several times since and they've become a huge hit with my family, book club members, and co-workers. Unfortunately, the bars always seem to disappear before I can get a decent photo, so Kristen has graciously allowed me to borrow this mouthwatering picture. Not only is she a great cook, but she's an incredible photographer. In addition to her popular food blog, she now hosts an informative blog for culinary photography. I need to spend more time over there!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened (unsalted)
3/4 cups sugar
1 egg


1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9x9 or 9x13 pan (depending on how thick you want the bars to be) with PAM.

Stir together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Spread into prepared pan.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over dough.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Test with a toothpick. Allow bars to cool in pan. Turn out on to cutting board and cut to desired size.

My notes:

These are excellent by themselves, but they're also quite yummy topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

One batch goes far too quickly. Might want to double it!

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heather's Heavenly Sandwich Bread

It's been almost exactly a year since I discovered Heather's wonderful recipe for sandwich bread. When she first blogged about it, I couldn't think of a better way to save some money (I was paying over $3 for my favorite "healthy brand" at the grocery store), and to be sure exactly what ingredients I was ingesting. I quickly printed off a copy, planning to make a couple of loaves later that week. I can't believe it took me so long to finally try it out. It's such a simple recipe and so affordable and healthy. I honestly can't think of a single reason why I'd ever want to buy bread from a grocery store ever again! Here's what Heather has to say about her delicious bread:

I've tried many, many bread recipes with the hopes of finding a good, soft sandwich bread. One that would stay soft for longer than a single day... it's been important to me that I replace store bought (nice and soft) wheat bread for one that we could make here and Emily would go for... I came up with this recipe, it fits the bill perfectly. And again, I know what goes into it. Let's just say that is my lunch-making mantra.

You Could Call This Sandwich Bread

2 cups warm water (110F)
1/2 cup agave nectar (honey or sugar is fine)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup light vegetable oil (your preference)
4 cups all purpose white flour (we use organic white whole wheat, germ still in)
2 cups whole wheat bread flour

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the agave in the warm water, add yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 10 minutes.

2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Work in 6 cups of flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Use a little more flour if needed. Place in well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the entire surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a clean damp cotton cloth. Allow dough to rise until double in size, about an hour.

3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into two well oiled 9x5 loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

4. Bake in a 350F oven for 25 minutes. When you thump the top of the bread it should sound hollow.

TIP: My house tends to be on the cool side, even in the summer. I turn my oven on 200 and allow the bread to rise on the stove top. Works really well.

For a buttery crust, brush hot loaves with butter. Cool on a rack and enjoy!

My notes:

I use honey.

1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast = 2 packets

I use 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat and it is perfect. I didn't notice the specific "bread flour" detail and will plan to make it exactly the same way as Heather indicates next time I need to buy whole wheat. I'll come back here and update my notes.

I use my KitchenAid mixer with the bread hook, but still knead it by hand for a few minutes just to get the full enjoyment out of making my own bread!

Make sure you have some soft butter ready to slather on the first warm slice. Or, better yet, homegrown tomatoes and mayo. It just doesn't get any better!

Be sure to visit Heather's lovely blog. She is such a talented writer and not only do I come away from reading her latest posts with more recipes to sample, but I leave with a powerful sense of peace and calmness.

Thank you, Heather, for your yummy bread and your fantastic blog!

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Provolone & Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 tsp. plus 1 1/2 cups olive oil
6 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4" dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 8 oz., pounded 1/2" thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon of oil. Cook pancetta until crispy. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Transfer pancetta mixture to small bowl; stir in sage.

Create a pocket in each chicken breast. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Stuff each breast with 2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 tablespoon pancetta mixture. Set chicken on wire rack-lined baking sheet; place in freezer for 5 minutes.

Put flour, egg whites and bread crumbs in separate breading pans. Dredge chicken in flour, then dip into egg whites and coat evenly with bread crumbs, pressing so they adhere. Set chicken on wire rack-lined baking sheet; refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In wide pan over high heat, heat 1 1/2 cups of oil. Fry chicken in batches, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken; reduce head to medium. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Add more oil if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Serves 5

I found this delicious recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

One-Hour French Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
3-4 cups flour (any combination of white and whole wheat)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine water, salt, honey and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit 5-10 minutes, until bubbling.

Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, until dough is no longer sticky. Roll dough into a 12-14" roll (or divide in half and roll into two long skinny baguettes). Place dough on a cookie sheet (not a bread pan), greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover dough with damp dish towel and allow it to sit in a warm location for 30 minutes.

Cut diagonal slits, 1/2" deep, on top of the loaf. Spray with salt water, if desired.

Bake 20-30 minutes.

I discovered this recipe by Sadge over on Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op. It's the easiest recipe and, oh, so delicious!!

Note: The original recipe calls for a 450 degree oven; rising time of 20 minutes; baking time of 20 minutes. I've adjusted the oven temp, prep and baking time to my personal preference in order to achieve a less dense & doughy loaf of bread.

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