Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Swedish (aka Strawberry) Pancakes

This was one of my favorite dinners (we usually ate them for dinner, not breakfast) growing up. Swedish pancakes are really similar to crepes (I think Swedish pancakes are a little thicker than crepes), but I like the flavor and texture better than crepes (the differences I found in recipes were oil instead of butter in crepes, the addition of baking powder and sugar in these, and maybe more salt). With the addition of fresh strawberries, they are called "Strawberry Pancakes" around my house. Add a little orange butter (recipe to follow), a drizzle of maple syrup, and some powdered sugar and you're ready to go (or go into a sugar coma—haha).

I'd never put nutella on Swedish pancakes before, but of course, it was DELISH!

Swedish Pancakes

3 [8]* eggs
1 1/2 [4] cups milk
1 [2 1/2] tsp salt
2 Tbsp [1/4+ cup] oil
1 [2 1/2] Tbsp sugar
3/4 [2] cups flour
1/2 [1 1/4] tsp baking powder

*Note: when making these for our family of five, my mom would use this amount (number shown in [these] brackets)'s about one-and-a-halfing it. ;)

Combine all ingredients and mix (I usually use my hand blender and do the eggs, milk and oil first—and it's good if the batter is a little lumpy).
Coat any size skillet with cooking spray (we usually have three pans going at once!). Pour batter on to pan, careful not to get it too thick—you can swirl the pan around—but you want them a little thicker than crepes. Cook on medium heat until edges begin to curl up and it lifts easily with a spatula. Flip and cook until golden and deliciously brown. Makes thin pancakes.
Then top to your heart's desire! Orange butter (below), strawberries, maple syrup, nutella, powdered sugar, cinnamon, bananas, whipped get the idea!

Orange Butter:
Combine a few spoonfuls of frozen orange juice concentrate, a couple tablespoons of butter, and a spoonful or more of water (you don't want it too thick). Microwave for a minute, then stir. Continue doing this until it is all melted. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles!

Now that's a breakfast worthy to be eaten at dinner! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pineapple Jerk Chicken

This meal was so easy! It took less than 30 minutes, and it was deliciously sweet, tangy and spicy at the same time! I used canned pineapple and it was great, but I think fresh pineapple would definitely jazz it up a bit! Thanks, Becoming Betty, for the easy recipe!

Pineapple Jerk Chicken

2–4 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2–3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 a pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces (or a 14 oz can)
1/2 cup jerk marinade (I used Lawry's Caribbean Jerk)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large skillet, heat half the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until browned. Add the remaining olive oil and increase heat a little. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until done. Add the pineapple and jerk marinade and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Stir in black beans and cilantro. Cook until beans are heated through. Serve over rice.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tamale Pie

I recall not really liking tamale pie growing up (no offense, Mom—my tastebuds have probably just "matured" since then). But I'd seen a few recipes that got me thinking about it again, so I decided to make it one night.

For those of you who have never tried tamale pie, it's like a Mexican chili (beans, beef, peppers, onions, spices—you know, the good stuff) topped off with corn bread (literally). It's like comfort food goes to Mexico.

I found a recipe for two-bean tamale pie in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and tweaked it (I had some beef that wanted to be used). Since I added beef, it made double, so I froze half of it. I also used their cornbread recipe (of course, tweaking it), but you can use packaged corn bread mix if you want.

***Important note! The filling recipe will make a 9x13 pan (because who wants to use 1/2 a can of beans?), but the cornbread recipe is for a 9x9 pan. I'd suggest freezing half the filling to make again later. Or if you're feeding more than four people, just double the cornbread and bake in a 9x13. You could also omit the meat and halve the spices for a 9x9 vegetarian meal. Did I confuse you? On to the recipe! >>

Tamale Pie

1 pound of ground beef or turkey
1 green bell pepper (or any color), chopped
1/2 an onion, chopped
3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can of kidney or black beans, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed
1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans, rinsed, drained and slightly mashed
1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (7 oz) can of diced green chile peppers, undrained
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin (I was out so I used cumin seeds—which made for delicious little bursts of flavor)

Grease a 9x9 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 400º.
In a large skillet, brown beef (or turkey—with a little oil) for a few minutes, until it is no longer pink on the outside. Add onion, pepper and garlic and cook until tender and the meat is cooked through. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes, green chiles, chili powder and cumin. Heat through. Spoon bean mixture into prepared dish and spread around evenly.
Top with cornbread batter (see recipe below). Spread evenly, touching all sides of the pan (so the meat mixture doesn't burst up through, and because I'm OCD like that).
Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until cornbread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.*
Serve with salsa, sour cream, green onion, extra cilantro, cheese, avocado...anything you'd put on tacos really.

Corn Bread (original recipe here):

1 cup flour (I used half white whole wheat—new fave by the way—and half whole wheat)
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil or melted butter (I did half oil and half plain yogurt last night and you couldn't tell a difference!)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Gently stir in cilantro and cheese until evenly distributed.

*Note: If using frozen filling leftovers, plan to thaw your meat mixture before. If your meat mixture is still a little frozen it takes longer to cook. Mine went for almost double the time for the cornbread to cook through (it didn't burn on top though—just got a little darker).

We just ate the leftovers last night! I think this recipe will make it into my regular rotation! Hope you like it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saucepan Fudge Drops

I was in the mood for a chocolate-y cookie the other night, but I wasn't feeling like being in the kitchen too long. I also wanted something not AS bad as other cookies (there's a little yogurt in these cookies—it makes them fudgey!). This recipe is really quick, seriously like thirty minutes from the time you start until the time you're biting into one! You make the dough in a pan, so it's easy cleanup too! And they're good—exactly like the name—FUDGE.

Saucepan Fudge Drops

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I wanted to make these extra rich so I did 2 Tbsp of dark cocoa—highly recommend it!)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I think you could substitute sour cream here)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º and. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner.
Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl and set aside (don't skip this part- since you make it in a saucepan, you need the ingredients ready). Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and melt. Once the butter is melted and sizzling (but not browned like this delicious recipe), remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Add both sugars and stir (with a spoon, not whisk) until blended—the mixture will be stiff and sandy at this point. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies until they look dry on the top and are cracked all over, but are still slightly soft when pressed, about 10–12 minutes. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front and back about half way through for even baking. Slide the parchment or silicone liner, cookies and all, onto racks to cool.

I found this recipe at Tracey's Culinary Adventures.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pasta with Bacon, Tomato and Leeks

I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray a couple days ago. She said it's a spring version of another one of her pasta dishes. I know bacon (or pancetta) is a common ingredient in Italian dishes, but I'd never tried it. I had a little leftover turkey bacon in my fridge, so I decided to try it! We both really liked it!!
And since this recipe is from Rachael Ray, I decided to participate in Taste and Tell's Saturdays with Rachael Ray. Great food blog, check it out!

Pasta with Bacon, Tomato and Leeks

1 pound spaghetti (original recipe calls for bucatini, but I couldn't find it)
Olive oil, for the pan
8 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 leeks, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, then washed and dried (or spring Vidalia onions with a few inches of green tops intact, but I couldn't find these either)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, chili pepper, of Fresno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes (again, couldn't find these so I used canned whole tomatoes)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I left this out)
Black pepper
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a couple handfuls, chopped
Handful of basil leaves, torn or shredded
Handful of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus some to garnish

Heat a large pot of water to boil for the pasta, season with salt and then cook pasta to al dente while preparing sauce.
In a large skillet with a lid, cook bacon (you can add a little olive oil here, but I didn't) over medium-high heat until crisp. Move to paper towel covered plate. Drain off some fat if pan has more than a couple of tablespoons of drippings. Add sliced leeks or Vidalia onions, garlic and hot pepper, and saute 2–3 minutes. Then add tomatoes and stir to combine. Cover pan. Shake pan occasionally and cook until tomatoes begin to burst (if you're using cherry tomatoes), 6–8 minutes. Uncover pot and mash up tomatoes with a wooden spoon, and wine and stir 1–2 minutes. Season the sauce with some salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to low.
When pasta is ready, add pasta (and a ladle of the cooking water if you need more liquid, but I didn't) to sauce, along with parsley and bacon. Toss 1–2 minutes with an extra tablespoon of olive oil (again, I left this out). Turn off heat and toss in basil and cheese. Serve immediately.

One thing I love about pasta dishes, and this dish was no exception, is how quick they come together! A great dinner in 30 minutes or less! Can't get any better!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grilled Cilantro Lime Pork Chops or Chicken


Did you hear me? I repeat: THE. BEST. MARINADE. EVER.


I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet! It should have been the FIRST recipe I posted! I think at first I wanted to keep it a secret so only I could make the best chicken-mwahahaha! But what's the use in having a great recipe if no one else can enjoy it? I found this recipe summer of '09 and we've made it several times.
Everyone we've made it for LOVES it. It's great with pork and chicken. Pork- maybe a little greater.

So juicy.

So tender.

So flavorful.

So spicy (if you want).

It's the PERFECT summertime grillin' recipe. I haven't made this since we packed up our grill for the season, and my mouth is watering. I'm so excited for summer!!!

It's getting warmer, so bust out those grills and make this. Tonight. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Cilantro Lime Pork Chops (or chicken)

6–8 pork chops (or chicken tenders or breasts, I like tenders better because smaller pieces of chicken means more sauce per bite!)
1 cup finely chopped cilantro* (reserve a little for garnish)
1/4 cup peeled grated ginger* (promise me you'll use FRESH ginger—it's the best part!)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce (find it in the Asian foods aisle. Don't smell it. But it makes a big difference in the recipe!)
Juice of one lime
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp–1 Tbsp red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper), depending on how much heat you desire
1–2 garlic cloves, minced*
Coarse salt and pepper

*It takes a while to chop all the cilantro, grate the ginger, and mince the what I do now is cut small pieces of ginger off the root and place it in a food processor with cilantro leaves and whole cloves of garlic. Then pulse away! This saves a lot of time!
Place all ingredients in a ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 2–3 hours. Grill for about 10 minutes, basting with leftover marinade until about halfway through (to make sure the raw juices cook).


What do we serve this with?
Rice, corn on the cob (YUM!) and a deliciously fresh summer fruit salad.
Best meal ever.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Grandma's Banana Bread

I love when bananas start to get like this:Sometimes I even buy a few extra so I can make a banana treat. I should have let these bananas brown a few more days because it make banana bread even more delicious, but I couldn't wait!
This is the best plain banana bread recipe I've ever found (or eaten for that matter). Grandma knows best! The soured milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in this recipe give it that extra richness.

Here's a fun story for you: when Stew and I first started dating, he had some REALLY ripe bananas on his counter. I'm talking black everywhere, soft to the touch ripe. Questionably unusable ripe. I asked him what he was going to do with them. He said, “I've been meaning to throw them away.” I said, “Can I have them? I've been wanting to make banana bread.” He obliged, probably thinking I was crazy, and gave me a sack to put them in (that's really how ripe they were). Well, I went home and made banana bread (and of course had him over to eat it with me). He said it was the best banana bread he'd ever eaten.

What do we get from this story? 1- The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, especially with banana bread. And 2- The blacker the banana, the better the bread (to an extent—I had one less-ripe banana that I mixed with the black ones, so I think that helped a little).

Growing up, we ate banana bread for dinner probably monthly, and we always loved it. When I got to college, I found out that was a little unique. So what do you eat with banana bread to make it a meal? We like hard-boiled eggs.

So without further ado (can you tell I really love banana bread?), the recipe:

Grandma Janeen's Banana Bread:

1 cup bananas (2–3 VERY ripe)
1 egg
1/2 cup oil (I almost always use 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil—can't tell a difference!)
1/4 cup sour milk (in a measuring cup: 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, fill to 1/4 cup with milk)*
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp soda
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Blend bananas, egg, oil and milk together (I usually use a hand blender for the bananas, then do the rest in my KitchenAid). Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. The bread might look pretty dark on the outside, especially if the bananas are darker, but don't worry—it's not burned.

*Note on the sour milk: I recently tried substituting buttermilk, since I had some on hand. The bread was still good, but I think I prefer the lemon juice-soured milk. I've also used lime juice and that works too.

Let us know how you like Grandma's banana bread! We sure love it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pasta with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach

This is a spicy, flavorful, pasta dish wish sausage, red pepper, and spinach. I started off making this recipe, and changed things to more my tastes. It came together pretty quick. I love skillet pasta meals!

Pasta with Sausage, Peppers and Spinach

Olive oil (for the pan)
1 pound hot (or sweet) Italian turkey sausages (if you like to remove the casings, like I do, you won't need olive oil for the pan)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
A few big handfuls of fresh spinach, cut
1/4–1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 box of pasta (I used spiral and penne—that's what I had)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until browned, about 7–10 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan and place onto plate covered with paper towels to absorb grease. Keeping the heat on medium, add peppers, onions, salt and pepper, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and basil and cook for two minutes. Add the Marsala wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits. Bring to a simmer.
Return the sausage to the pan. Simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for a couple minutes, until it is wilted. *Note: I only let it simmer about 7–10 minutes. So if you do this, cook the pasta while you make the sauce.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chinese Lemon Chicken

This chicken tasted like the lemon chicken from PF Changs! My sister loves the orange chicken at Panda Express, and I think this is a great homemade substitute and is right up her alley (even though it's lemon)!

And...confession: I even forgot the balsamic vinegar (oops!), but it was still really good! It's a crock pot recipe, so it's super easy (don't leave it in too long though)!

Chinese Lemon Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or equivalent (I used 12 chicken tenders)
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp sea salt (less if using regular salt)
6 oz (1/2 a can) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp ketchup
1/2–1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Olive oil for browning chicken

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, or larger. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken in flour and salt, shake off excess. Brown chicken in the skillet (don't cook it all the way, unless you don't want to do it in the crock pot). Place chicken in crock pot. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the top of the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 2–4 hours, or on low for 3–5 hours. The smaller chicken pieces cook quicker. Mine was in the crock pot for about 2 1/2 hours on low! *To make this without the crock pot, just cook the chicken in the skillet, and mix sauce up in a separate bowl. Pour sauce over chicken over medium-low heat and cook until it thickens, about 15–20 minutes.

Serve over rice, drizzle with remaining sauce.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

I saw this recipe on Studio 5 and was intrigued, mostly because it won a $25,000 prize from Better Homes and Gardens, but also because it's healthy! If you remember the interesting healthy chocolate cake recipe I tried in March, you can see I'm always looking for ways to make yummy things healthier. Well...I'm excited to say, I think I found it! Blueberries (so much better than pinto beans, right?!).

There is NO oil in this cake! Pureed blueberries take the place of oil. Applesauce is a common substitute for oil, but I've found it changes the texture of the cake too much. You can't even taste the blueberries in this cake (but you can taste them in the blueberry sauce, obviously). It's made with whole wheat flour, too! And the ganache on top is SO good and easy to make! I liked this cake so much I think I want it for my birthday! Next time I make this I'm going to try it with blackberries or raspberries! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 5 Tbsp regular cocoa and 1 Tbsp dark cocoa)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. In a blender combine water, egg and blueberries. Blend until smooth. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Beat with a mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Pour into a greased 8x8 square pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 10–15 minutes, then invert it to serving plate. Top with ganache and blueberry sauce, if desired.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup reduced fat whipped topping, like Cool Whip Lite
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and whipped topping. Microwave for 30–60 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Blueberry Sauce

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup reduced fat whipped topping

Blend thawed blueberries and whipped topping in a blender until smooth and liquid. Drizzle over cake.

*We decided we like it better without the blueberry sauce on top.

Enjoy! And then enjoy again, because this cake has only 4 grams of fat in 12 servings, or 7 grams of fat in 8 servings (plus 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein!).

Lemon Bundt Cake

This was our Easter dessert. I found the recipe on Becoming Betty. I made one change that I think really helped—adding lemon zest to the cake (hers didn't have any lemon flavor in the cake). The cake was so easy to make—you use a cake mix! It has a really light flavor (maybe that's why I ate so much?) and is really moist, and the delicious lemon glaze made it even more moist! And yes, this slice of cake is on old Tiffany china that I didn't even know my mom had!

Lemon Bundt Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 small package vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup oil
1/2–1 Tbsp grated lemon peel

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325º. Combine all cake ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 40–45 minutes. Let cool and then invert onto serving plate.
For sauce, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour sauce over cake, reserving some to top individual slices. Slice cake and serve with more sauce.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Bunny Tail Rolls

I was so excited to make these bunny tail shaped rolls for Easter when I saw this posting from Kara's Kitchen Creations. Remember the turkey shaped-rolls I posted for Thanksgiving? I just love little ways to put more festivity on the table!Aren't they so cute?
And, it helps when they are the most delicious rolls in the world. I'm serious. My mom got this recipe from her neighbor and friend, Juli. They are buttermilk rolls and SO soft and moist and flavorful and just melt-in-your-mouth rolls. I think they're better than (dare I say it?) the Lion House rolls! Hope she doesn't mind me giving out the recipe! You've got to make these (now that Easter's over, you can just do crescents)!

Juli's Buttermilk Rolls:

4 cups buttermilk (or 4 cups milk + 4 Tbsp vinegar)
2 cubes of butter, softened
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp yeast
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
8–10 cups flour

In a saucepan, heat buttermilk and butter over medium-low to low heat. It will look weird, but don't let it get to cheesy looking.
In a separate bowl, combine water and yeast and cover until bubbly.
Make sure milk and butter mixture is not too hot, and pour it into your mixing bowl. Mix sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, yeast mixture and flour (a cup or two at a time) into milk mixture. Mix well. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Roll out into crescents. Let rise 20–30 more minutes. Bake at 350º for 12–15 minutes. If bottoms are getting dark before the tops are done, switch to the upper rack halfway through.

Note: this recipe makes a lot! It can easily be halved. Be careful not to do the whole batch if you're only using a standard size KitchenAid, it won't fit!

Yum! We have some leftover rolls in the freezer that are calling my name!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rating: Toasters

Yesterday, I (Lindsey) went to the AIGA student portfolio review to get feedback on my portfolio (you can see some pieces here). It was an awesome experience. But that's not what this blog is about. It's about the food! For lunch, my friend Kelli and I found a local deli on 200 South called Toasters and decided to give it a try. The inside was decorated with European knick-knacks (the owners are from somewhere in Europe, I can't remember where). They sell European candy, like Ritter Sport and Toblerone chocolates. The atmosphere is casual and they don't make you think fast while ordering (which is a plus for me!). We both got turkey sandwiches (I know...boring, right?), and they were so delicious! The secret? Balsamic vinegar and fabulous melt-in-your-mouth (wheat) ciabatta bread. Mmmm. Simple sandwich, but done perfectly. And I liked how they let us swap a piece of fruit for the chips.
Here's the rating (new to lindstewfoodies? check out how we rate our restaurants here):

There sandwiches are around $6–7, but they are pretty big, so I think it's a good price. They have salads and soups too! AND I just found out they have baklava. I may have to make a trip back there. Overall, a great place to stop for a great (and quick) lunch. And they have TWO locations in downtown (guess it's a pretty popular place!). Now you have no excuses! :)

Oh, and I like the tagline on their website: eat like you mean it!

Dark Chocolate Pomegrante treats

Just thought I'd share with you our new favorite treat:

Dark chocolate, pomegranate center (don't worry, not an actual pomegranate seed, just jelly stuff—but it's totally delicious). Need I say more? Found at Costco (let us know if anyone finds them somewhere else please, since we don't have a Costco card!). Now hurry and go get some!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

I like biscuits, but I hardly ever make them because they usually aren't healthy! One cold day this week, I decided it was feeling like a chicken soup day. I had buttermilk, so I thought I'd make buttermilk biscuits, but after looking at a lot of recipes, I just didn't want to use that much butter! I looked for a recipe with wheat flour, and I found this from the Mayo Clinic, so you know it's healthy! Not only is it healthy though, it's actually REALLY good!

The biscuits are light and fluffy and don't even taste different (with the wheat). Try these instead of your usual biscuits, you won't be disappointed!

Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
3 Tbsp wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400º. In a large bowl, combine the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend. Add the butter to the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the batter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and stir just until a moist dough forms. Don't overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a generously flour surface and, with floured hands, knead gently 6 to 8 times until smooth and manageable. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick*. Using a biscuit cutter or cup dipped in flour, cut out the biscuits (as close as you can to minimize scraps). Gather the scraps and roll out to make additional biscuits. Place the biscuits about 1 inch apart on a ungreased baking sheet.
Bake until the biscuits rise to twice their unbaked height and are lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

*When I started cutting my biscuits out they looked really thin. I didn't want flat biscuits so I folded over the dough and cut two layers at once. This worked out really well actually, because it makes the biscuit easy to split open! I think I'm going to do this again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

No-Chill Sugar Cookies

The other night, Stew wanted to make a treat. I'm always up for making goodies, but I have a hard time deciding what to make. We thought sugar cookies would be fun, since we have these adorable cookie cutters from my bridal shower (thanks Brooke!). We didn't want to wait a few hours for the dough to chill, who plans that far ahead? So when I found a recipe for Meyer Lemon Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, from recipegirl, that didn't have to chill—I was so excited! [What are Meyer lemons? Click here] I tweaked the recipe for what I didn't have and they still turned out excellent! These are the best sugar cookies I've ever made, and I especially love that they don't spread while they cook! They are soft and moist, and don't brown (so don't burn them!). Here's the recipe (and detailed photo instructions—Stew got camera happy), including my tweaks.

No-Chill Sugar Cookies

2 cups unsalted (I think salted would be okay too) butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp whipping cream or whole milk (I used fat-free half and half, and I'm willing to bet regular milk would work just fine)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (I used regular lemon juice, from the bottle)

Zest of 2 medium Meyer lemons (seeing as I didn't have any lemons, I left this out and put a little extra juice in)
6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 325º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I used my silicone liner and I think that's why they didn't brown at all).
Combine butter and sugar. Beat until smooth, but not fluffy.
In a small bowl, mix eggs, cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add this mixture all at once to the butter and sugar. Mix until just combined. The mixture will appear curdled (so don't freak out, this is good).

In another small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add to the liquid ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix to form dough. This dough does NOT need to be chilled before rolling!
Empty bowl onto floured work surface.
Knead the dough a few times to smooth it out and with a rolling pin, roll the dough to desired thickness (we did about 1/4" thick). Sprinkle flour on the dough as needed, if it appears sticky.
Cut into desired shapes.
The dough scraps can be re-rolled and cut several times.
Bake 10–12 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown (but not if you're using a silicone liner!).
Cool a couple minutes on pan, then finish cooling on wire racks.
Makes 3–4 dozen.

Then frost away! We used a simple buttercream frosting, and I was so excited that I got the proportions just right (so the frosting was easy to spread around and left no knife marks), but sad that I didn't here's a recipe to start from; eyeball it to get the right proportions.

Buttercream Frosting


4 cups (+ or –) powdered sugar
2 Tbsp (+ or –) butter, softened
2 Tbsp (+ or –) milk (I used fat-free half and half)

1 tsp (+ or –) vanilla extract
Splash of almond or lemon
extract (I used lemon)
Food coloring

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with mixer until smooth, scraping sides. Add more milk or sugar as needed.

We divided the frosting into six small bowls and put two drops of food coloring into each one.
Then stirred.

We had so much fun frosting these and think they are just adorable! Click the pic to make it bigger. What's your favorite cookie?
Mine might be this pink sparkly duck I did to mimic a Peeps chick!

We might make these cookies again on Saturday (we only made a half batch the first time)!

Here are some more fun ideas for Easter:
Bunny Tail Rolls (we're making these, I think they're so cute!)
Easter Resurrection Cookies
Lemon Loaf Cake
Easter Breakfast Rolls
Lemon Bundt Cake
Brown Sugar and Honey Glazed Ham

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sweet Potato/Yam Fries

I used to make these all the time for lunch before I got married, just ask my roommates! I've made friends into sweet potato fry lovers and have been asked many times for the recipe. It's so easy, I feel like I'm cheating! You can use a yam or sweet potato for these, I've done both and I actually prefer a sweet potato (which isn't as orange inside). Yams go a little softer. The fries in the photo are from a yam.

1 yam or sweet potato (per person)
Cooking spray or olive oil
Garlic Salt
(Seasoning salt can be used also, instead of salt, garlic salt, and paprika)

Heat oven to 425º. Scrub potato (or peel if you don't like the peel—yam peels are a little tougher). Cut the potato into fry sizes, depending on the size of your potato and the size you want your fries (I like mine thinner, cause they cook faster and have more flavor). Lay out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Stir fries with hands to distribute oil. Sprinkle garlic salt, paprika, pepper, and salt and stir again (be careful not to get too much—it might look like there's not a lot on the fries, but I've over-salted it before, and it's not very good). Bake for 10–15 minutes. Pull out and flip fries with a spatula. Bake for 10–15 more minutes, until starting to brown on sides.
I like to eat these fries with homemade fry sauce (ketchup and mayo mixed, for those of you not from Utah).

I good-sized potato makes a lot of fries, but you can eat them all—sweet potatoes and yams are good for you!