Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from Parents Magazine
My name is Misti and I'm a pancake-aholic.  I love warm, fluffy pancakes for breakfast and these pancakes definitely did not disappoint.  They were so light and fluffy, and course, I love them because they have pumpkin in them. I love pancakes!  I love pumpkin!  I love Fall!  That's a lot of love. I hope you love them too.

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk (or mix 1 Tbsp lemon juice with enough milk to make a cup; let stand 5 minutes)
1/3 cup canned pumpkin

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Melt 1 Tbsp butter. Whisk in egg, buttermilk, pumpkin and melted butter.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tsp butter and swirl to coat pan.  Spoon batter onto skillet and cook until pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, turn and cook until golden on bottom.  If pancakes brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium.  Serve with berries, syrup or other toppings of your choice.

Check out this sinful version from Two Peas and Their Pod - oh baby! yummmmm!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer Squash Cassarole

Recipe from Taste of Home 2005 Annual Recipe Book
Got Squash?

Serves 2-4

2 small yellow summer squash
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise (don't use reduced fat or fat-free mayonnaise for this recipe)
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 tsp butter, melted

In a medium saucepan, combine squash, onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover with water. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender. Drain.

In a bowl, beat the egg, mayonnaise, sugar, pepper and remaining salt until blended.  Stir in cheese and squash mixture.  Transfer to a greased 2 cup baking dish.  Toss the cornflakes and butter;  sprinkle over top.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

Recipe by Two Peas and Their Pod adapted from Baking Bites
Oh... my favorite time of year... Fall!  It's almost here!  And so, to celebrate, I made this delicious granola.  My husband loves granola and yogurt for breakfast and I came across this recipe and had to try it. Not only is it delicious, but it makes your house smell absolutely a-mazing! 

5 cups rolled oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds*)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.  In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated.  They will be moist.  Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and stir.  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp.  Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas.  Let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Serve granola with yogurt, milk, or enjoy plain.

*I found pepitas in the bulk foods section at WinCo

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

adapted very slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Serves 6 as a side dish.

3 large sweet potatoes or yams
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place two rimmed, foil-lined baking sheets in the oven while it preheats and while you prepare the potatoes (about 10 minutes).  Peel the potatoes and slice the potatoes into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips or wedges.  *(They will kind of resemble carrot sticks).  Try to keep the pieces about the same size so they will bake evenly.

Place the potato strips in a ziploc bag or bowl.  Toss the potatoes with the oil.  Add the seasoning and mix until the potatoes are evenly coated.  

Carefully remove the hot baking sheets from the oven and divide the potatoes evenly between the two sheets, taking care that the potatoes are not touching so they bake evenly.  Also, leave any excess oil in the bag or bowl to prevent the potatoes from getting too soggy while they bake.

Bake the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through until they are tender and well-browned. Serve immediately.

Check out this dip from Our Best Bites. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds amazing!

Honey-Lime Dip

6oz container plain, low-fat yogurt
1 T mayo (low cal is fine)
1/2 T honey
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t oregano
1 t parsley
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t kosher salt
Mix all ingredients until combined.  Chill until ready to use.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parmesan Ranch Chicken

Recipe from Lion House Classics cookbook
1/2 c corn flake crumbs
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 ounces dry ranch dressing mix
6 boneless chicken breasts
3/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
26 ounces marinara or spaghetti sauce

In a shallow bowl, combine corn flake crumbs, 1/2 c Parmesan cheese and ranch mix.  Coat both sides of chicken with mix. Place in a 9x13-inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Spray tops of chicken with nonstick cooking spray to keep moist.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Just prior to serving, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.  Heat marinara sauce and serve over cooked pasta and chicken.  Serves 6.  

**I found when making this recipe, I usually end up having to throw away some of the breading at the end.  So, instead of wasting it, now I only put a little bit of the breading in the bowl to dip the chicken breasts into and then add more as needed, keeping the rest out of contact with the chicken. The remaining unused breading can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used again later.  When you already have it all made up, it makes for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks or strips
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika (substitute cayenne pepper if you like the heat)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, light or regular
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, Italian style
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
Hot cooked Jasmine or brown rice

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Heat oil, curry powder, and paprika in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, until fragrant (but don't let it burn).  Turn the heat up to medium and stir in onions and garlic and cook 7-9 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through or nearly cooked through. (It will continue to simmer in the next step).  Add potatoes, coconut milk, tomatoes (Mel said she lightly crushed the stewed tomatoes with her fingers before adding), tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan and stir to combine.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes.  The sauces thickens slightly upon standing, but is great served piping hot (and a bit thinner), too.  Serve with Jasmine rice (or your favorite rice) and garnish with cilantro, if desired.  

**Mel also added that often she will make the dish right up to the step where you are supposed to let it simmer for 40 minutes.  At that point, she pours it all into a crockpot and lets it sit at low heat for 4-5 hours to finish cooking.  She said she just likes to do it that way sometimes to be able to fix it earlier in the day and avoid all the chaos that inevitably accompanies trying to get dinner ready with kids clamoring for your attention at dinnertime.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zucchini Bread or Cake

recipe from my Mom
There are so many wonderful recipes for zucchini bread and cake out there.  I'm not claiming this one to be superior to any... it's just the one my Mom gave me and I like it.  It is more of the spice cake zucchini bread variety than the chocolate zucchini bread recipe that is also out there.   If my husband could, he would have me add chocolate chips every time I make this bread, but I do like just the bread in all its delicious spicy glory sometimes.  This recipe can be used to make bread, or it is also delicious as a cake frosted with cream cheese frosting as well.  

**Makes 2 loaves or a 9x13 cake

1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar (packed)
1 c canola oil
3 eggs
2 c grated zucchini
3 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c nuts (if desired)

In a mixer, beat sugars, oil, and eggs until fluffy.  Stir in zucchini and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and combine.  Pour batter into 2 bread pans or a 9x13 baking dish  and bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Check center of loaf with a toothpick at about 45 minutes.  If toothpick comes out clean, bread is done.  I have found that loaves take closer to the hour time and a 9x13 cake takes closer to 45 minutes to finish baking.  

*I have also played around with this recipe to try to make it a little more friendly on the hips and here is a variation I have had success with.

3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c applesauce
3 eggs
2 c grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
2 c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder

Same process as above.  

No-Bake Cookies

recipe from my Mom
I know probably everyone out there has their own favorite no-bake cookie recipe.  But, for the sake of organizing my own recipes and posting some of my family favorites, I could not pass this one up - especially when the craving came for these cookies the other day.  They are quick, easy, and perfect for when you just need a little chocolate to make the world a better place... tell me you've had days like that too.

2 c sugar
1 stick butter (do not substitute margarine here or your cookies will not set up well!)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 c milk
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, cocoa and milk.  Stir frequently and heat to boiling.  As soon as mixture is boiling with bubbles rolling across the entire surface, set timer and continue to boil for one minute. Don't allow them to boil any less or more than a minute or your cookies will either not set up or will be too dry, respectively.  Immediately remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla.  

Spoon into small circles on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and set aside to set up.