Linking Up to Some Great Recipes

Hi all,

Think I really like Halloween on a Saturday. I love the colorful, energetic foot-traffic that finds its way to our door every year. A few blocks away, Older Son and his friends did a haunted house. How fun to have a group of younger teenage girls I directed there ring my doorbell a second time. One plopped herself on my stoop as if she’d known me forever–I’d never met them before–to tell me “all about the haunted house” in that bubbly, giggly way girls do! They made my night.

jack-o-lantern-Nic-2015
Older Son’s work. Have a feeling Jack here is sporting Ray-Bans.

One day I’ll get back into a groove–lately all I do is school-related reports. Amazing the domino-effect created by one person’s good intentions. All the reports she sought to get done ahead of her maternity leave are already due for this school year–they just keep on coming. Very frustrating when one wants time to work on non-school-related endeavors.

So…in the interest of brevity, I’ll link you up with some of my latest go-to recipes. (Among the reasons I love oats and the internet!)

Over at bakerita.com, Rachel’s gluten-free banana bread (with chocolate chips and two minor tweaks by me) is absolutely delicious–moist and hearty every time! My tweaks: I replaced honey with brown sugar. (I rarely stock honey. We don’t use it, so it’s usually dried up whenever I go looking for it.) I also tried pumpkin in lieu of applesauce. That worked pretty well too, but I had to increase the baking time by 10-15 minutes. And this treat topped with a little Trader Joe’s almond butter? Breakfast is served!

Found this pumpkin chocolate chip cookie overnight oats this past Sunday morning. Simple and quick. Made it in a few minutes and gave it an hour in the fridge. This was more like a VERY yummy dessert, though I believe it’s meant for breakfast. Can I tell you how awesome it tasted over the pumpkin-banana bread (above) with a little shot of whipped cream? I’m sure vanilla Greek yogurt pairs nicely here as well. (BTW, I substituted brown sugar for the honey in this one too. Worked just fine.)

One more: cinnamon roll baked oatmeal. Easy. Quick. Elegant enough to serve at a brunch (or take to school for a holiday breakfast). My only change-up here was in the glaze. I LOVE cream-cheese glaze, so I searched for a simple one. (Yes, I found one, for cinnamon roll pancakes with cream-cheese frosting–my next venture. Sorry. I didn’t bookmark the site. That might not be a good thing, lol.)

Two more things I really liked about these recipes:

(1) each calls for staples that tend to be on-hand or easily obtained;

(2) each is gluten-free (but not necessarily CGF).

Do any of you have any go-to recipes to share?

Love fall colors and weather! (Wish we could skip straight to spring, though. :) )
Love fall colors and weather! (Wish we could skip straight to spring, though. 🙂 )

Off to my next evaluation!

Have a wonderful day,

Joanna

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Keeping Things Hot in the Cold (With Nutella and Potato Soup!)

What????

Happy Tuesday to all. Hanging in there and hope each of you is doing the same or better!

Okay, I happened by a Nutella recipe that I’m sure I will try at some point, assuming I remember I have it saved in a Word doc, lol. BTW, it’s for a bread-spread. I’m thinking Nutella-potato soup might be a bit strange even for me 🙂

We’ve been dealing with some serious cold snaps here on the east coast, and everybody knows frigid temps bring out the soup-maker in everyone, right? (Huh? Nobody else got that gene?)

So  I’d been wanting to try my hand at creamy potato soup for the longest time. Finally got myself in gear a few weeks ago and looked up recipes online. Came across Ree Drummond,The Pioneer Woman This blogger has a really fun way of delivering the how-to. Actually, pretty sure I stumbled on it a few weeks prior while searching for a quick sweet-n-sour chicken recipe—uh that one is pretty awesome too (but not Ree’s). Uh, now that my brain went back into a cohesive mode, I found a great chicken tenders recipe at PW’s website. Yep, I get a little confused. Too many websites, so little time…

Yes, Joanna is working very hard to stay focused.

I linked you to PW’s potato soup recipe, but you might want to make note of a few easy changes: I skipped the bacon, used 1% lowfat milk and about ¼-cup light cream. I also went very easy on the cheese (sharp cheddar), tossing in a handful or so. Chicken broth I made myself. Liked the milder flavor the soup had using mine. Second time I made this I didn’t have homemade broth, only bouillon cubes. Still tasty, but a tad salty. (BTW, the second time, I tossed all the foods in the processor vs. julienne, chop and all that tedious prep-by-hand that so annoys me during cooking. Worked jes’ fine, folks.)

potato soup

Let me tell you, this was GOOD–nah, it was excellent.  As with any soup, it was that much yummier the next day, after all the flavors got a chance to come together. And yes, it’s starchy, but far creamier tasting than the nominal amount of fat in it.  (The actual fat content has to be pretty low.)

Oh, and here’s the link to the Nutella recipe.

So who’s trying what? I’d love to know how you make out!

For tennis fans, here’s a link to Aussie Open Women’s 2014 Champion Li Na’s speech after being presented the trophy. Take a few minutes, and laugh at this lady’s hysterical way of putting it out there. When she retires her racquet, she might want to consider stand-up.

And congrats to “Iron Stan” Wawrinka, who took the title on the men’s side–all the best to the ATP World Tour’s new #3! 

Joanna

French Toast with Dinner? Try This Spin on a Classic!

Happy Friday and upcoming weekend, everyone. Trying really hard to get back into a blogging groove and ideas that hit due to a no-big-deal error can really be a big help!

I was getting ready to bread chicken cutlets yesterday. Added too much milk to the egg mixture and was about to throw it out when a light bulb flashed: slice up the seeded Italian loaf staring me in the face and fry up as a French-style toast!  Honestly, a recipe doesn’t get much easier than this! (It looked really pretty too. Didn’t think to take a photo b/c I didn’t realize I’d be writing up the recipe and sharing it.)

You will need:

4-6 slices bakery bread cut no about an inch thick (you want the egg inside to cook);

1-2  eggs*, beaten (depends on how much you’re making and/or how eggy you want your bread to be)

salt to taste

fresh parsley, chopped (sometimes I just cut it up with a scissors)

1/4-1/2  cup of milk*

grated cheese* of choice (I always stock Parmesan but Adagio or even crumbled Feta might work nicely here too)

¼ cup (or so) of bread crumbs

*using egg whites and lower fat milk and cheeses might appeal to those conscious of fat and cholesterol)

With a fork or a whisk, beat together the egg, milk, parsley, salt and grated cheese. Dip the bread slices in the liquid mixture then coat on each side with bread crumbs. Fry over medium-high heat in a pan coated lightly with cooking spray until golden brown on each side. (I fried mine in the same oil I used for the chicken cutlet. I tend to be light-handed with the oil so I didn’t feel too guilty about any added fat.) Remove from heat, sprinkle with additional grated cheese and serve immediately. (Hubby wouldn’t try it but the boys and I will be partaking of such yummy concoctions during future meals.)

Topping this with some thinly sliced tomato (sprinkled with a touch of sea salt, oregano and more cheese of course) and putting under the broiler for a few seconds sounds like something I might try another time–maybe even with a fried green tomato.  Hey, this might work as an appetizer, too. Hmm. The recipe idea gears are grinding…

Your turn: what minor cooking gaff have you turned into an unexpectedly delicious meal or side dish idea? What about combinations you’ve tried that haven’t worked? Anyone have any big plans this weekend? Enjoy!

Thanks for indulging me. 😀 Until next time,

Joanna

Recipe Recap–Just in Time for Christmas!

Hello friends!

We’re winding down to Christmas and getting close to cooking time. Because life does things its way–and today I’m blessed with the ability to take what it brings and make the best of it–I wasn’t able to post the recipe I wanted to share. Here, though, are two I’ve run before: my super-easy stuffed mushrooms and make-ahead rosemary-wine chicken. And fans of pumpkin, check out this page at my website: you’ll find recipes for creamy pumpkin pie, cheesecake and cookies, too. 🙂

Now here are the easiest stuffed mushrooms ever: simple, elegant and absolutely delicious! Makes a great appetizer or side dish. (Stuff a Portobello and you have an instant meal!)

Ingredients:
10-oz package white mushrooms (not sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½-2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (add more as needed)
grated cheese (I use Parmesan)
fresh or frozen parsley (optional)
canola and/or olive oil
¼-½ cup white wine (or to taste; optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside. Under gently running water* wash the stems, carefully rubbing off any dirt by hand or using a mushroom brush. (Those can be purchased anywhere cooking gadgets are sold, but more easily found in a store like Bed Bath and Beyond. The brushes look like surgical brushes—a great substitute for those who have access to them . I simply wash them by hand.)

*Some folks don’t wash mushrooms—they simply brush off the dirt so that the mushroom doesn’t get mushy. I can’t go for that. Moving the cap or stem in/out of gently running water wets the flesh enough to loosen the dirt. The underside of the cap is occluded by the stem and can only have so much dirt in it. Soaking that part will make your mushroom soggy; keeping the round part of the cap upright under the water will easily eliminate this problem. Air dry each piece on a wire rack while making the stuffing. BTW, you can stuff them slightly damp.

Okay, the stuffing:
In a mini-food processor (or by hand) mince all the mushroom stems; add the garlic and continue processing until finely chopped. (It will look like a lot. Don’t worry—mushrooms really shrink when you cook them.) Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in bread crumbs, cheese and parsley.

Coat a 10- or 12-inch frying pan (preferably non-stick) with cooking spray then with enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat the oil (and the wine) over medium heat. Add the contents of the bowl, stirring to coat everything and moisten it. Saute for a minute or two and remove from heat.

Using a regular teaspoon (not a measuring spoon) stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture. You can level off the stuffing or mound it—your choice; depends on how much stuffing you have.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place caps (stuffing side up), if necessary, layer them across the spaces formed by the bottom layer (or get another pan). Cover with foil** and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 375˚F, or until mushrooms are tender. Serve immediately.

**At this point, you can refrigerate and bake the next day. Leftovers can also be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

As always, I thank you all for stopping by. Please keep someone (or two) very near and dear to my heart in your prayers–have a great day!

Joanna