Friday, January 30, 2009

More brussel sprouts, please.

Tonight's dinner-- Cracker crusted dijon Mahi Mahi with brussel sprouts (with olive oil and thyme) , brown rice and mixed fruit.

Jack was a fan of tonight's fare. He was signing "please" and "more" after I gave him a brussel sprout, he loved the fish, and he wouldn't mind eating only fruit for the rest of his life, so he was set.

Peppery Cheese Bread

The winning recipe from this month's issue of Taste of Home magazine. To quote my two-year-old, "This is good food, Mom!" She's not one to heap praise, so I think this one's a keeper.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, oil, milk and mustard. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cheese and onions.
Transfer to a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

I do think this will be the only recipe we'll be trying anytime soon from their bread recipe contest...the rest were chock-full of extra sugars and fat.
As in the "Peanut Butter Banana Bread"--also including butter, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. Sounds yummy, but more of a cake than a bread. No easy way to slip spinach in that one! Or the "Savory Dill & Caraway Scones"--with butter, egg yolk, sour cream, ricotta cheese, AND heavy whipping cream. I like filling, down-home cooking as much as any former Wisconsin resident (Taste of Home is headquarted in Greendale, Wisconsin) but a few lighter recipes would make it easier on a mom trying to raise healthy girls. Maybe the "Chocolate Chai Mini Loaves" could pass as a dessert?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Chili with Pesto

My all-time favorite soup recipe, passed down to me from a dear co-worker who also owned a restaurant. I have modified it in plenty of different ways (including substituing leftover Thanksgiving turkey for the chicken) and it never fails to please. It is simmering on the stove right now.

2 tsp. oil
3/4 c. chopped onion
2 c. boneless cooked chopped chicekn breast
1 1/2 c chopped carrot
3/4 c. chopped red pepper
3/4 c. thinly sliced celery
1/4 c. chopped green chiles
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 16oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2 oz can chicken broth
3 Tab. jarred pesto.

Heat oil in a Dutch overn over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, red pepper, and celery and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken and the next 6 ingredients (chiles through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in pesto.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Indian, Indonesian & caramalized garlic chicken

Another dinner courtesy of Saving Dinner-- Caramalized garlic chicken, which we had with asparagus, roasted potatoes and salad. The chicken was very flavorful. And it got rave reviews from Mike. Really simple.

3 TBSP olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 chicken breasts
6 tsps brown sugar

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Line shallow raosting pan with foil, oil, chicken
in small pan, heat oil, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft-- do not let garlic brown. Remove from heat, add brown sugar. Cover shicken with garlic mixture. Cook for 10-15 minutes until juices run clear. Done.

I've been making some things in the crock pot for us to have for lunch throughout the week, along with any leftovers. Yesterday, I made Crock Pot Chicken Indonesian from Saving Dinner. the recipe said to mix the non-chicken ingredients first, but I just threw everything into the crock pot and stirred it after a half hour or so.

1 TBSP soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps grated gingerroot
1 1/2 tsps sesame oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 skinless chicken thighs (I just used the chicken I had leftover)
1/3 cup peanut butter

cook on low for 6-7 hours


Eating at Taste of India frequently during college got me into Indian food... that and the fact that Mike likes it probably more than I, which seems odd to me, considering he usually likes blander foods. Nevertheless, last night, I made some curried tofu with onions. And then I opened up a bag of Trader Joe's Byrani Rice (an Indian dish with peas, red bell peppers, apples and raisins) and a box of Punjab egglplant. I've tried a bunch of their other Indian sides before, and this one was pretty good, but a little too eggplanty for me. The folks at Trader Joe's enticed me to buy a box last week when they were giving away samples. I've actually tried to be adventuresome and create some other Indian dishes from scratch, like raita and punjab choley, but give me a break.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The current contents of my cubpoard

They both managed to squeeze in there. Can you understand what it is so hard to get anything done (or put away) with those two?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our "Fish" Friday & Pesto Pizza

We usually have fish (or seafood) on Fridays, so yesterday, I attempted to make the bag of scallops, which have been in our freezer for a couple of months. I've never had them before, so I wasn't expecting their texture, and I wasn't a fan. I whipped out the just-in-case reserve of Gordon's fish sticks for Jack and I and Mike thought the scallops were deliciousm which we had alongside peas, potato wedges and yeast rolls.

Tonight, we had salad and pesto pizza topped with lowfat mozzarella cheese, red peppers, onions and spinach and asiago cheese chicken sausage. Like Kaethe, I've been expertly sneaking in extra veggies when I can, so I hid a half cup of spinach under the sauce. No one was the wiser.

We tried another sweetbread loaf for dessert, but I couldn't even taste the banana in our Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. I put in the mini morsels this time, like it called for, but I recommend the regular. And for some reason, the loaf turned out all knotty, and therefore, the crust was too thick and crunchy.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (1 1/2 lb loaf, basic)

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup banana, mashed (about 1 med. sized banana)
1 egg
2 TBSP margarine or butter
3 cups bread flour
2 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chip morsels

By the way, all of these bread recipes are from The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking, which my Aunt Jean gave me along with our bread machine.
Show all

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives

Another favorite from Saving Dinner tonight. We served it with roasted potatoes, carrots, and brown rice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta, revisited

We had our first taste of this when we visited the Wards before Thanksgiving and loved it. The recipe is from Simply in Season, and I highly recommend it.

For dessert, we had warm, right out of the bread maker Chocolate Cranberry Nut Bread.

Chocolate Cranberry Nut Bread (1 1/2 lb, basic cycle)

2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup water
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP margarine or butter
3 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (we used walnuts)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces (we used the regular size, and it was fine)

Basic Pasta

Like most families in America, we turn to the pantry staples of pasta and canned sauce regularly. I have recently read or heard speakers on varous cooking/eating philosopies. "Shopping on a Shoestring" was presented at my MOPS group. A group at church heard a speaker on "Freezeable Meals". And I had a good run of faithfully using Jessica Seinfeld's tips in "Deceptively Delecious".

So how does this affect our everyday pasta? We have regularly found that Hunt's canned sauce (while not at all comparable to homemade, of course) is the healthiest and cheapest options. So many sauces are ridicously high in sugar and sodium contents. So I stocked up on that the other day. Earlier in the day, I sauteed ground beef and onions, froze half of that for a later use, and added the rest to simmer in the sauce for a few hours. Just in case one or more little girl was going to refuse vegetables at dinner, I snuck in about a half cup of spinach into the sauce so it would be impossible for them to pick out.

The results? Super easy and yum-o. What's not to like?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sweet & sour tofu, turkey enchiladas and fruit smoothies

Tonight's dinner was sweet and sour tofu with orange and yellow peppers, onions and pineapple over brown rice, sugar snap peas and blueberries and blackberries. I love a colorful plate!
The tofu bake was a recipe from Moosewood Restuarant: Simple Suppers, and I added the sauté with basically the same marinade as the tofu-- honey, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Even Jack liked the tofu, though he's a pretty good eater for most of what I make.

Our favorite snack the past few nights has been fruit smoothies. Last night, we had strawberry banana and tonight we had strawberry, blackberry and blueberry. We just add frozen fruit, some lowfat vanilla yogurt, rice or soy milk (or reg. skim milk) and some flaxseed. They really hit the spot on a 2 degree night.

Last night's dinner- ground turkey breast enchiladas with corn, black and pinto beans, salsa, cheddar cheese and onions, Spanish rice, pineapple and grapes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

lentil stew and honey mustard glazed chicken

crock lentil stew (from Saving Dinner) with leftover feta dill bread

honey mustard glazed chicken (from Saving Dinner) over basmati rice, roasted almond sweet potatoes and broccoli

Feta Dill Bread (1 1/2 lb loaf, basic cycle)

1 cup water
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
1 TBSP margarine or butter
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup packaged instant mashed potato flakes or buds
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp dried dill
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast/bread mach. yeast

CSA Recommendation

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, its the time of year to sign up for the Penn's Corner Farm Alliance. We participated in the CSA for two years while we lived there and having fresh, local produce available for pick-up each week made meal planning easier and introduced us to new, delicious foods. The manager, Neil Stauffer is a great contact if you have any questions and also lived across the street from us. Isn't it nice to think about fresh produce during these long winter months?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


One of our parenting goals is to raise healthy, adventurous eaters. We hope our children are always open to at eat least trying new foods and that they will politely eat what is served to them, especially while a guest at someone else's house. Before we had children, Jonathan had a grand idea that each kid would be allowed three "passes"; that is, three food that he or she would not be expected to eat. Everything else, however, would be non-negotiable.

Then entered two strong-willed little girls. Brinnly, in particular, has always been extremely fussy about anything that entered her mouth. And lately she has refused any vegetables or fruits. Not even a morsel will make it past her mouth.

The other day we mustered up enough energy to make it clear to her that she was to have a bite of avocado before eating her pasta at lunch. She refused. Okay, so that was lunch. After a few swigs of milk she went down for a nap. We decided to continue the plan for afternoon snack. Same result. Dinner. Same result. By this time we had also offered her sweet potatoes and grapes. How long could she hold out?

Breakfast the next morning was started with grapes and oranges. She refused both. Not until 10:30 am that day did she finally request a piece of orange and ate two bites. She then followed that with FOUR plates of biscuits and gravy.

Since then, we have seen slight progress in her willingness to at least "try one bite", so we hope we're off to a better start. Is this expecting too much of a 16-month-old? (I should note that she completely understood the logic of what we expected from her and had demonstrated that skill many other times) Any words of wisdom out there on other methods of produce-training?

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's brutally cold outside.

So for dinner I made my favorite spring vegetable sauté. Wishful thinking, I suppose. Along with that, we had lemon pepper garlic orange roughy, basmati rice, cherries and some of our honeyed walnut bread from last night.

Spring vegetable sauté (I don't measure any of these things-- it turns out good however)

2 TBSP olive oil
1-2 tsps thyme
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
about 2 cups cut up baby carrots
a bunch of asparagus- cut up
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts- quartered, drained
edamame, shelled

Sauté thyme, garlic and salt in oil on med. high heat for 1/2 min., then add carrots and asparagus-- sauté for about 2 min., then add everything else and cook another couple minutes. So yummy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crock Pot Roast

Crock pot roast (yukon potatoes, baby carrots, celery, onions, chuck roast)
Yeast rolls

In the bread machine--
Honeyed Walnut Bread (1 1/2 lb loaf on basic cycle)

1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP walnut or cooking oil
3 cups bread flour
1/4 nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Biscuits, gravy, and sweet potatoes