Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken Salad Wraps

Gotta LOVE an easy meal! Seriously, this is faster than Fast Food! Thanks Abby for reminding me about this great "go to" quick lunch.

Chicken Salad Wrap
(4 servings)

1 can of white chicken, in water, drained (or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded chicken, or hey, left over turkey!)
a couple of spoonfuls of lite mayo (NOT miracle whip, unless your into that)
chopped nuts (I use pecans)
chopped celery
salt and pepper to taste
spring greens

Mix together the chicken, mayo, craisins, nuts, celery salt and pepper. I just add mayo until the chicken mixture holds together a bit. Put a big ol' spoonful in a tortilla with some spring greens and roll that puppy up. Now how fast was that?!
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Peanut Butter Banana Blender Drink

This has been a breakfast that has been in my life since I can remember. I loved it (and still do) and now my kids love it. It brings back memories, it's healthy, and can pack some protein. So what are you waiting for, make this for breakfast!

Peanut Butter Banana Blender Drink
(about 2 servings)

1 ripe banana
1 spoonful of peanut butter
1 cup of milk
1/4 t vanilla
protein powder (optional, but so good)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. These measurements are just a guess, I alter the amounts to taste. So, if you LOVE peanut butter, add more. If you like it thick add more ice. You get the point!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I have had these on my "to try" list for sometime. I keep seeing them pop up on different food blogs so I decided it was high time I gave these bad boys a try! Oh so glad I did! I may just never make apple crisp again...these are that good. I originally saw them on A Hint of Honey.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
(directions borrowed from A Hint of Honey)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Caramel Sauce:
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper 

(I just greased my pan and they worked just fine). Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

5. To make the streusel, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, and butter with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set.

7. To make the caramel sauce, whisk together the sugar and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat until it melts. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Drizzle over cooled bars.
Fills a 9x13 pan.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup

I absolutely L.O.V.E. this soup! I stumbled across this recipe at Simply Recipes. Ok, I am a huge soup fan, but I tend to like soups that have some sort of meat in them. However, my 5 year old told me the other day that he HATES meat and would only eat dinner if it did not have beef or chicken in it. So I decided to find a vegetable soup that I could make that used some of our winter vegetables from our garden. Well, if I had recipes that were this tasty that didn't have meat, I could totally be vegetarian! So make your self some crusty bread and get to work on this surprisingly delicious soup! (Don't let the kale scare you, it is so wonderful and very mild in this soup!)

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup
(6 servings)

3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 large tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise in 1/2 inch thick wedges
6 whole cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
6 cups or more of vegetable broth
4 cups finely chopped kale
3 large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1-15 oz can of great northern beans (I used white kidney beans, it is what I had on hand)

Preheat oven to 400 (reduce by 25 degrees if using a convection oven). Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion and garlic on the sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables until they are browned and tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Cut squash and carrots into 1/2 inch pieces; set aside. Peel garlic and place in a food processor with tomatoes and onion. Puree until almost smooth. Pour 1/2 cup vegetable broth onto the baking sheet and scrap up any browned bits. Transfer both the broth and the puree to a large pot. Add 5 1/2 cups broth, kale, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until the kale is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the carrots, squash and beans to the soup. Simmer another few minutes to blend flavors, adding more broth to thin soup, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve hot with crusty bread.

This soup can be made a day ahead.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lion House Rolls and Honey Butter

I have always heard that Lion House Rolls were the bee's knees, so I figured I would see for myself. Now, I have never tasted a bee's knee but these rolls were super yummy and when you put honey butter on them, lets just say they turn magical! So next time you want to impress someone, bring out the big guns and whip up a batch of these.

Lion House Rolls
(18 BIG rolls)

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 T yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 t salt
1/3 cup butter, softened, but not melted
1 egg
5 to 6 cups flour

In a large bowl or electric mixer, combine water and milk powder. Stir until the milk dissolves. Add the yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low until the ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add 2 more cups of flour, mixing on low speed, then for 2 minutes on medium. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until the dough is soft, not overly sticky, and not too stiff. (You may not need to use all the flour.)

Coat a clean bowl with oil and place dough in it to rise. Turn the dough over in the bowl so the dough is coated (this will prevent the dough from drying out). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and flip the dough once to flour both sides. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 8 inches wide and 18 inches long and about 1/4 inch thick. Brush the dough with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter cut the dough in half length wise so you have two very long strips each about 4 inches wide. Cut the strips every 2 inches to make 18 pieces of dough.

Starting with the short end, roll up one piece of dough with the butter on the inside. Place the roll on a parchment lined pan seam side down. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Be sure all the rolls face the same direction on the pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double. Bake rolls at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops of hot rolls with melted butter.

Honey Butter
(1 cup)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup honey

Whip the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and honey gradually. Beat for 10-20 minutes or until whipped and light.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

I came across this delightful recipe in Mother Earth News Magazine and thought I would give it a try. Given my LOVE of butternut squash I knew it would be worth it and it definitely was! This is such a yummy, Fall, unique dish. It was even wonderful reheated! So, if you are looking for a new Fall dinner, you just may need to give this a try.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
(8 servings)

1 T olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2 pound) Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
pinch of nutmeg
12 no boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the 1/2 cup of water into the pan, cover and let simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. When the squash is tender, mash the squash in the pan or a food processor. Season the squash puree with more salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once it is melted, add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you go. Bring to a low boil over medium/high heat whisking often. Continue whisking often until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly butter a 9x13 pan. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of noodles. Spread half of the squash puree on the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the cheese. Repeat layering once more, finishing with a layer of noodles covered by the remaining white sauce.

Tightly cover with foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove cover, add the rest of the mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese to the lasagna and continue baking for 15 more minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is golden. Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Zucchini Gratin

I found this recipe over at Food Network. I altered it a little to fit with the ingredients that I had on hand. It was totally yummy! I know I can always count on Ina Garten. This made a great side dish and it gave a fun new spin to plain old zucchini!

Zucchini Gratin
(6 servings)

6 T butter, plus 2 more T for topping
2 yellow onions, cut in half and then sliced
4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t ground nutmeg
2 T flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
3/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese (I used a combination of Parmesan, asiago and Romano)

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt the butter in a large (12 inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes or until they are tender but not browned.

Add the zucchini and cook, covered for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.  Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Stir in the flour and then add the HOT milk. Cook over low heat until it makes a sauce, this takes a few minutes.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan .

Combine the bread crumbs with the shredded cheese and sprinkle over the top of the zucchini.  Dot this with the remaining 2 T butter that has been cut into small bits.

 Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lentil and Squash Soup

My Mother-In-Law told me about this lovely soup book call Love Soup by Anna Thomas. And since I do LOVE SOUP and since my Mother-In-Law is the Goddess of soup making, I knew I couldn't go wrong. This was my first soup that I made from this book and it was fantastic! The book is totally vegetarian, which I love, even though I am NOT vegetarian. It is just so nice to have a few recipes that DON'T call for meat. I topped it with these croutons and a dollop of sour cream, YUM! But really you could garnish it with so much!

Lentil and Squash Soup
(6-8 servings)

1 generous cup of lentils
1 1/2 t sea salt or kosher salt
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (I used 1 large)
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 small yam or sweet potato
2 T minced fresh ginger
1/2 T ground cumin
1 t turmeric
1/4 t red pepper flakes (more , if you want it to have a big kick)
4-5 cups vegetable broth (if using canned, dilute with 1 cup water)
2-3 T fresh lemon juice

optional garnishes

olive oil
sour cream
grated cheese
(I used homemade croutons and sour cream, and LOVED it)

Preheat oven to 375.

Rinse lentils and combine them in a soup pot with 4 cups of water and 1 t salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

While the lentils simmer, cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast the squash in the oven for 45 minutes, or until soft. While the squash is roasting, saute the onion in the olive oil with a big pinch of salt, over medium heat, stirring often, until they are soft and golden (about 20 minutes). Peel and dice the yam.

When the lentils are just tender, add the sauteed onion, diced yam, minced ginger, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Simmer everything together, covered, for another 25 minutes. As soon as the squash is ready, scoop it out of its skin and add it to the soup. Cook until everything is soft. You can add more broth if the soup seems to thick. Puree the soup in batches in the blender or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot and add lemon juice to taste. Adjust the seasonings, if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish as you like.

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