Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chai & Pistachio Muffins

I just got this recipe out of the latest issue of Cookie Light magazine. I adapted it slightly (you know how I love using whole wheat pastry flour!). The original recipe calls for two Chai tea bags. I did not have tea bags, but, I did have Chai Latte K-Cups! I think they make the muffins taste great! Give these muffins a try - my kids LOVED them for breakfast!

1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose if you'd rather)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 chai latte K-Cups (or two chai blend tea bags)
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla, divided
1 large egg
1/3 c. shelled dry-roasted pistachios, lightly crushed
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbl water

Preheat oven to 375F

Combine flour, brown sugar, powder, soda, salt & contents of Chai Latte K-Cup. Mix well. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla and egg. Whisk to combine. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring till just combined.

Spray a 12 muffin-cup pan with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle pistachios evenly over batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer muffins to a plate.

Combine 1/2 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar & 1 Tbl water; stir until smooth. Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over cooled muffins.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pierogi & Tomato Bake

This dish tastes great and is so simple to make! I have made this on quite a few occasions when I have limited time to get dinner on the table. I serve it with a simple salad.

1 16oz package frozen potato & onion pierogis
4 slices of bacon
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. cream cheese
3/4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. shredded cheddar
3 medium sized tomatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F

Spray an 11 X 7” glass dish with cooking spray. Arrange frozen pierogis evenly in the dish.

Cook bacon in a medium sized frying pan until crisp; remove from pan. Chop the bacon and then set it aside.

Drain some of the bacon grease out of the pan- leave about 1 Tbl. Add the minced garlic to the bacon grease and cook for about 1 minute. Add all the cream cheese and cook until it is melted. Slowly add the broth, whisking until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the pierogies. Top evenly with the cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Remove the dish and add the chopped tomatoes & chopped bacon. Return dish to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes.

Season with pepper. Serve immediately! Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Another great soup recipe! This is probably in my husband’s Top 10 things I make (he likes to had habenero powder to his own bowl to spice it up a bit!). The tortilla chips thicken the soup when it's blended and the fresh avocado add a delicious, creamy texture to each bite!

2 Tbl olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbl paprika
1 Tbl cumin
1 tsp coriander
6 c. chicken broth
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
3-4 large handfuls of tortilla chips
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & chopped
1 ripe avocado, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes
cheddar cheese, shredded
crushed tortilla chips
cilantro, chopped

Cook onion, garlic, paprika, cumin and coriander in 2 Tbl olive oil in a large soup pan for five minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, tortilla chips, bay leaves, salt, 1/4 c. cilantro. Bring soup to a simmer.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. Throw the two bay leaves away. Place half of the soup mixture in a blender (it is better to wait until it has cooled...or if you can’t wait and it's hot, make sure you take the center piece off the blender lid to let the heat escape- put a towel over this) and blend completely. Repeat with remaining soup. Return all the blended soup to the pan. Stir in the bite sized, cooked chicken pieces. Bring the soup to a simmer and simmer until the soup and chicken is hot.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Add avocado, shredded cheddar & crushed tortilla chips to each bowl. If you like you can garnish with a little sprig of cilantro. I serve this soup with a simple salad. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad

We love salads in my house! This one is substantial enough to serve as a main course. The dry Ramen noodles crumbled on top is my favorite part!

Sesame Dressing:
1/4 c. canola oil
2 Tbl soy sauce
2 Tbl dark sesame oil
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
Ramen Noodles pkg of seasoning (optional)

1 large head of red leaf lettuce, trimmed & torn
1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 carrot, shredded
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1 package dry Ramen noodles, crushed into small, edible pieces

Put all ingredients for the dressing in Tupperware container with a tight fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake it until the dressing is well mixed. You will NOT, I repeat, NOT use all of this dressing on the salad. Use what you need and then save the rest (it's pretty yummy on noodles!).

Add the lettuce, green onions, chopped chicken, toasted sesame seeds & almonds to a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing. Plate the salad. Sprinkle each salad with dry Ramen noodles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Honey Love Granola

Lately I have been on a big granola kick (love to eat it for breakfast or lunch sprinkled on Greek yogurt with fruit!), instead of buying another box this week, I decided to make it myself! I like this recipe because you can tailor it to your family’s likes. Not big walnut fans? Sub in pecans! Don’t like coconut? Omit it! It’s that simple and it's that good!
This recipe makes a large amount and stays good for a week in a sealed container (however, if your house is anything like mine, I doubt it’ll last that long!)...

1 stick butter
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbl orange zest (approx the zest of one medium orange)
1 lb old fashioned rolled oats (do NOT use quick oats!)
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup coconut
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 c dried blueberries & 1/2 c dried cranberries- you can use whatever you like- apricots, dates, cherries, raisins...just enough to equal one cup)
4 oz high end dark chocolate, chopped (totally optional)

Preheat oven to 325F. Spray two baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey & orange zest over low heat.

While the butter is melting, combine oats, almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, coconut, and dried fruit(s) in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the butter/honey mixture to the oats mixture and mix until moistened. Spread the oat mixture evenly between the two pans.

Bake for a total of 30-40 minutes, removing the pans from the oven every 10 minutes or so to stir the granola. This prevents over-browning and helps the granola cook evenly.

Remove the granola from the oven when it is a nice golden brown. Cool completely. If using, add the chopped dark chocolate to the granola and mix in. Store in a Tupperware container for up to one week.