Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Granola

My mom makes a great homemade granola, but since that is a family secret recipe she got from her cousin who owns a bed and breakfast, I wanted to find a recipe I could use more regularly (and share with you).  I found this recipe from Ashley, who got it from Kiss My Spatula

This was really easy to make, and I love that it included flax seed.  I used a little less coconut than was called for, and left out the Hazelnuts all together.  Next time I might try replacing the hazelnuts with cashews.

I am convinced that my oven cooks hotter than what I set it at, and this recipe only fueled my theory.  My granola got a little over cooked, but still tasted good (although I did have to remove a few random burnt pieces).  I recommend taking yours out of the oven just before it looks as brown as mine does.

I don't know if I am ready to declare this recipe the 'Best Homemade Granola' like Ashly and KMS did since I think the one my mom makes is still my favorite, but this is definitely up there.  I also think that it is hard to declare it the 'best' when I overcooked the batch.  I will have to reevaluate after I make the next batch.

Homemade Granola
From: Ashley

4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup shredded coconut (I only used 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup apple juice
1 cup dried cranberries or your favorite dried fruit (I used a mix of cranberries and raisins)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In large mixing bowl stir together the nuts, oats, flax seed, brown sugar, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg ans salt.

2. In small bowl whisk together oil, honey, and apple juice.

3.  Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir until all the oats and nuts are coated. Spread onto a cookie sheet.

4.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until th mixture forms a nice, even golden brown (about 30 minutes with a regular oven that isn't out to burn everything you make)

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.  Add the dried fruit.  Store granola in airtight container.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raspberry Brie Bites

I'm a big cheese lover. I'll take any type of cheese from the fancy cheese from whole foods to the individually packaged slices.  These brie bites are very easy and are a tasty little treat.  When making these, make sure to not over fill the cups with the jam or they will be overly sweet and sticky. Also be aware that one tube of crescent rolls makes 16 mini muffin cups!  I often only use half or even a quarter of the tube at a time. 

Raspberry Brie Bites

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
raspberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin pan thoroughly with Non Stick Spray.

2. Unroll the crescent dough. Separate into 4 rectangles by pinching 2 triangles together. Slightly flatten out rectangles.  Cut each rectangle into fourths, making 16 smaller rectangles.

3. Place dough in the mini muffin pan, forming small cups, cut brie into small pieces, about 1/2 -1 teaspoon each. I usually cut the hard outer part off the cheese, but you can leave it on as well.  Put one piece of brie in each crescent cup.  Top each with 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of raspberry jam, be sure not to overfill cups.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Bake until crescent are golden brown and cheese is bubbly.  remove from oven and serve warm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spicy Fish and Tips

This is another recipe we got from Men's Health.  One of my favorite things about the men's health recipes is that not only are they very healthy and of course tasty, but they give all the ingredients and directions to make two servings. This really helps us to make the right amount for us so we don't over eat or have tons of left overs.

I really liked this recipe.  It is very light with a little bit of spice.  The first time we made it we thought it was a little too spicy. The second time we made it we only used half of the red-pepper flakes and it turned out very mild.  I think maybe somewhere in between will be the best fit for us next time.  We also chose to add a little bit of white wine to the chili oil mix to add a little flavor.  It was nice addition but the dish is still quite tasty without it!

*** I really can't say that I made this recipe, Bill made it both times we had it, and I just assisted him.  It is nice to have a husband that comes up with delicious healthy meals!***

Spicy Fish and Tips
From: Men's Health

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp white wine (optional)
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach (remove stems and rinsed)
1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces
2 Tilapia fillets (3-4 oz each)
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
2 scallions sliced
1/2 lime
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix oil and red-pepper flakes.  put in microwave for 30 seconds to make chili oil. Add wine and mix.

2. Tear off two sections of foil and smooth them flat on a baking sheet.

3.  Arrange an equal amount of spinach and asparagus in the middle of each piece of foil.    Place a Tilapia fillet on top of each pile.  Top each fillet with scallions and drizzle chili oil over each piece.  Squeeze juice from the lime of each piece of fish.  Season with a little pit of salt and pepper.

*** This is Bill putting the finishing touches on the fish ***

4. Seal foil around fish (make sure to close all sides).

5.  Bake at 450 for10-12 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

I got this recipe from my Sister-in-Law, Jackie.  It was really tasty and quite easy.  It was a instant favorite even for picky eaters. Beware though, it makes a lot for two!  We had quite a bit of leftovers for lunch the next day or two.

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese
From: Jackie (my sister-in-law)

1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (optional)
1 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat mild or sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
8oz of Elbow macaroni  (because I didn't read the directions very clearly I accidentally used too much pasta, but it still turned out great!)

1. Prepare pasta according to directions

2. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute.

3.  Stir in the cheddar cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese, mustard, and salt.  Cook, stirring constantly until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Stir the pasta into the skillet and cook until heated through and well coated 1-2 minutes.  Let stand 2 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marinated Asparagus, Tomatoes, and Hearts of Palm

This is another Pioneer Woman recipe. I can't rave about her enough!  It is becoming asparagus season here and this was a recipe I wanted to try.  Sometimes I just have an urge for a salad that isn't so leafy and this hit the spot. I think it turned out great. 

Marinated Asparagus, Tomatoes, and Hearts of Palm
From: The Pioneer Woman

1 1/2 lb fresh asparagus
1 can (14oz) hearts of palm, drained and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup soy sauce

1.  Steam asparagus until tender crisp.  Let cool.

2. Combine oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, and soy sauce.

3. Place asparagus, hearts of palm, and tomatoes in a large plastic bag.  Pour sauce over asparagus mixture.

4. Refrigerate for 8 hrs and serve.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BBQ Country Style Ribs

This is a recipe I got from my mom, who got it from her good friend Joan.  Joan is an amazing cook, and everything I have ever tried of hers has been delicious.  I'm not surprised that this recipe was no different.  It is fabulous.  I will warn you that it isn't a quick meal since it does require over 2 hrs of cooking and you have to be available every 15 minutes.  However, it is perfect for a relaxing Saturday evening and is quite easy.

BBQ Country Style Ribs
From: Joan DeWilde

Country Style Ribs
1 small bottle of Open Pitt original BBQ Sauce
1/4 c. molasses
 2 Tbsp liquid smoke (optional)
water to cover ribs

1. Place ribs in large pot, cover with water and simmer on top of the stove for 45 minutes.

2. Near the end of the 45 minutes, prepare sauce by mixing together BBQ sauce, molasses, and liquid smoke.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. When ribs are done simmering, place ribs in large baking pan and reserve cooking water.  Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the water to the BBQ sauce mixture.  Keep the rest of the water in case more is needed as the ribs bake.

5.  Pour bbq sauce mixture over ribs in baking pan.

6. Bake for 1 1/2 hrs at 350 degrees.  Baste every 15 minutes.  Turn each piece when basting if desired. If sauce gets too thick add additional cooking water while basting.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crock Pot Hearty Split Pea Soup

 I tried this (from All Recipes) a few weeks ago when I had the winter blues and wanted a nice warm soup on a cold Sunday.  It was very hearty and flavorful.

Crock Pot Hearty Split Pea Soup
From: AllRecipes

16 oz dried split peas
2 cups diced fully cooked lean ham
1 cup diced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 cups boiling water (I used chicken broth, and used closer to 6 cups)
1 cup hot milk

1. Boil 5 cups of water or chicken broth.

2. In a slow cooker, layer the first nine ingredients in the order listed (Do not stir).

3. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hrs (or low 6-8) or until vegetables are tender.

4. Discard Bay leaves and stir in milk. Serve.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Poor man's Lobster (7-7-7)

This is a recipe from my dad, he makes it for the Fish and Game Club every year at their annual dinner.  He calls it Poor Man's Lobster, I call it 7-7-7.  While it doesn't taste exactly like lobster, it is very flavorful and the salmon is delicious and practically melts in your mouth! It doesn't get much easier than a pot of water, 3 ingredients, and 21 minutes later a fantastic mouth watering meal!  ENJOY!

Poor Man's Lobster
From: My Dad

3 - 4 Fillets Salmon
6 - 12 Small Potatoes
1 small bag of small Onions
1/2 - 1 stick Butter

1. Boil Large pot of Water with a dash of salt. Cut up salmon into medium size chunks.  Clean potatoes and onions (cut off ends and remove skin), but leave both whole.

2. Once water is boiling, add potatoes and boil for 7 minutes.  Then add onions to pot and boil for 7 more minutes.  Finally, add salmon to pot and boil for 7 minutes.

3. Drain everything in the pot through a colander. Place salmon, potatoes, and onions in a bowl or platter.

4. Melt 1/2 - 1 stick of butter.  Either pour melted butter over the salmon, potatoes, and onions or serve on the side for people to pour over.  (The melted butter is KEY, so please don't leave it out!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Puppy Chow

Puppy chow was a staple at my house growing up and now it is a staple snack at our house now!  This snack never lasts long at any gathering!

Puppy Chow
From: My  Mom

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
6 cups Crispix
1 cup powdered sugar

1.In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in peanut butter.  Add crispix and gently stir until all crispix are covered with the chocolate peanut butter mixture.

3. Place powdered sugar in a storage bag at least 1 gallon or larger sized.  Add coated cereal.

4.  Close and toss bag until cereal is thoroughly coated with sugar.  Serve (store in airtight container).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pulled Chicken BBQ

I got this recipe from Ashley (who got it from Rachel Ray), and we absolutely LOVED it!  I have always wanted to try a pulled BBQ recipe, but hadn't found one I thought would be easy or quick enough to do on a weeknight.  I served this over a baked potato for dinner (as suggested by Ashley) and had the left overs on a kaiser roll the next day for lunch.  Bill declared this recipe a keeper and I agree, so this will definitely be added to our rotation!  You should try it ASAP!

Pulled Chicken BBQ
From: Ashley

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (as from the picture you can tell I only used 3)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups barbecue sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I actually didn't have apple cider vinegar, so I just used what I had, not sure why I forgot to put it in the picture)
hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper
Shredded Cheese
French or Kaiser rolls or a baked potato

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a heavy pot with the onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1 1/2 cups).

2. Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops hot sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove chicken from the sauce and shred with fork.

4. While shredding chicken, boil the sauce, skimming occasionally until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

5. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Spoon the mixture onto the rolls or baked potato and top with cheese (we also added sour cream!).


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