Monday, June 22, 2009

Baked Oatmeal

Or Oatmeal Breakfast as Scot calls it.

This is what Scot wanted for his Father's Day breakfast and like always, it turned out delish! This is great on its own or with a little milk poured over it. We eat it plain because I don't really like the texture of oatmeal, all soggy and mushy and stuff. Anyways, this is an easy recipe to adapt to your own taste bud's enjoyment - just switch up the fruit in it!

Baked Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can use half or all apple sauce if you want)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs or eggwhites
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBLS baking powder
  • 3 cups quick oats (I use rolled oats and it's just fine, but the consistency is best with quick oats)
  • about 2 cups dried fruit (I usually do craisins and raisins, but this last time I used a "Fruit Medley" with apples, pineapple, cherries, cranberries and raisins - it was SO good!)
  • 2 TBLS brown sugar, for topping
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, for topping
--Beat together oil and sugar
--Mix in remaining - minus the brown sugar and cinnamon
--Put in lightly greased deep pie dish
--Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top
--Cover and let it chill over night
--Next morning, bake 35 minutes at 350!


I have made this vegan and it's wonderful!

Substitute the milk for almond milk, the eggs for 2 flax seed eggs (6 T warm water w/ 2 T flax seed.  Let sit 5 minutes and whisk in!)!

I've also added nuts to the fruit mixture, and really gone "crazy" with the fruit combinations.  I've added coconut to some and it's always always turned out great, no matter what I do.

Oh, and I always use at least half applesauce and half oil  - cuts way down on the fat and retains the moisture!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tortellini with Tomato and Artichoke

I know that recipe title sounds pretty easy -'s even easier than you think. It dawned on me that I always like new really easy and really fast meal ideas and maybe you all would, too. So here's one I did last night and it seriously took me maybe, maybe, six minutes. It's not fancy, it's definitely not gourmet, but it's beyond easy and it's tasty. This is perfect for a quick summer dinner (or lunch) and it's just a perfect meal for those nights when you know you have a busy day or you're just not in the mood to cook, or just not in the mood to have the kitchen (and therefore your whole house if you're me) so stinkin' hot when it was 90 that day!! So here it is.

Tortellini with Tomato and Artichoke
  • 1 bag frozen tortellini
  • 1 3-pack tomatoes (I get them for a dollar at Walmart)
  • 1 can Artichoke hearts (You can sometimes find these on sale - when you do - grab a few cans!)
  • Olive oil
  • Basil (or other herbs you like)
--Heat tortellinis according to the package.
--Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and artichokes into bit size pieces.
--Drain tortellinis and return to pot adding tomatoes and artichokes.
--Add a little Olive Oil to coat things and then sprinkle with herbs!!
--We sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on ours to make it just that much better. Everything's better with Parmesan!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cold Berry Soup

As a child, this was my absolute favorite summer dish!! When we lived in Washington next to all those Blackberry bushes, we would always have Blackberry soup - but since then, we've done peach and ginger, strawberry, and mixed berry. Whichever you chose, it's delicious! This, though, is strawberry soup! I typically serve this as a side for summer salads or as the 'soup' course for a fancier summer dinner! You can also cut some of the liquid and up the sugar and make it a smoothie!

Cold Berry Soup
  • 4 cups berries (frozen work just fine if you don't have fresh - just defrost them a little bit)
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup O.J.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • Cinnamon or Ginger to taste
--Combine all and blend until smooth.
--Makes 5 cups.

Hints and short cuts:
You'd think with a recipe this simple, there would be no short cuts, but there are!! Sometimes if I don't have OJ, I just use all water. Or, if I have frozen juice concentrate in the freezer, I just use a spoonful of that with the cup of water. If I don't have plain yogurt on hand, I skip the sugar and just use vanilla yogurt - it's just as good. Also, I tend to make this in half-batches because I've learned that if I make the whole batch, there are never any leftovers for another night! :)

Greek Bean Salad

You remember last week when I said I wanted to make a cold salad and soup for dinner but it was gloomy out in the morning, so I went with a hot soup? Well, today was the exact opposite. It was hot out until the evening and then it cooled down quite a bit - but we still had out cold salad and soup! I got this recipe from my friend, Anne, who transcribed it from a Dutch recipe she has, which is funny, because it's a Greek salad. Either way, it was yummy. I tweaked it a little to our liking and it was fantastic. I used only 3 cans Navy beans, and 1 can Chick pea - I think next time, I can do even more beans. I also did 2 cucumbers because we like our cucumbers in this house! I did a whole 6 oz can of olives and more feta than it called for. This is a great base recipe - adapt it to what ever you like!! I served it with Pita Pockets, but you can eat is as just a salad - and I had my Strawberry Soup on the side. Delish!

Greek Bean Salad
  • 6 Large tomatoes
  • 4 cans navy beans - drained
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 7 oz feta cheese (opt)
  • 3 oz sliced olives
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

--Dice everything as large or small as you want it and put it in a bowl.

  • 6 T Ketchup
  • 2 t dried Italian herbs
  • 3 T lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

--Mix or shake very well and pour over salad.
--Let salad sit for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.

Anne told me that is keeps really well for quite a few days!

It makes a TON!! I had another smaller bowl in the fridge, too. You can't really tell in the picture, but this is one of those big mixing bowls.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

When I lived in Washington state, our house butted up against this immense open space littered with humongous blackberry bushes. My mother would often send Jared and I out with her biggest bowls for us to collect the juicy, ripe, fruit. We would always come back with our hands, and invariably our mouths, too, stained from blackberry juice. There are few things better than fresh off the vine blackberries as big as your thumb. I have always loved berries, but since then, those black beauties are a favorite. In tribute to my love for the berry - here is my favorite cobbler recipe strait from my mother's kitchen. You can substitute any fruit or berry, and I'll bet you've never seen a recipe this easy from scratch. :)

Blackberry Cobbler

Serves 8
Active time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving suggestions: Great by itself, but it's wonderful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some coffee or tea.

What you'll need:

  • 4 good sized cups/16 oz bag of berries, fresh or frozen.  Blackberries or Mixed berries are best
  • 5 TBLS flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter

What you'll do:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Lightly grease an 8x11 baking dish.
  • Pour berries into the baking dish.
  • Mix the 5 T flour with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the berries.
  • Mix the flour and sugar together and then cut the butter into it until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle flour mixture over berries and bake 30-40 minutes until top browns.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hamburger-Vegetable Soup

When I got up this morning, it was cold out and drizzling. Not a good day for the summer soup and salad I had planned - and since I was still needing to go tot he market, I changed my menu for this evening to a warm soup and some hearty bread. Go figure Colorado weather was against my meal planning and it was almost 70 when we sat down to our hot bowls of soup! Well, I love soup. It's in a bowl, you eat it with a spoon (something Scot loves!), and most times, it's hearty enough that I don't have to worry about a side dish! So I went on a hunt for a new soup and I found this in my Better Homes and Garden cookbook. It's so easy and very filling, also it's healthy and freezes well! But there were a few things I tweaked. Here is my version with my tweaks in italics:

Hamburger-Vegetable Soup
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped orange bell pepper -I'm not a huge green pepper fan and I like color in my meals!
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth (bullion cubes/base work great)
  • 1 14.5 oz can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup chopped potato
  • 1 cup chopped carrot - I don't have time to make those skinny slices, so I just chop them.
  • 1 t dried basil leaves
  • 1 t BBQ sauce - I wasn't about to buy a whole bottle of Worcestershire sauce when I never use it!
  • 1/8 t pepper

--In large sauce pan, brown meat, onion, and pepper until vegetables are soft and meat is no longer pink. Drain.
--Stir in remaining ingredients.
--Bring to boil and then reduce heat. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes!

Check the link I provided for the crockpot version!

Perfect Sweet Tea

What is summer without sweet tea? Well, if you're from the south, it's just not summer!! And if you're not from the south, well, it's still not truly summer until you have that pitcher full of the sweet goodness just sitting in your fridge for you to enjoy whenever you wish! I found this sweet tea recipe on one of my favorite recipe site, Enjoy and let your summer begin!

Sweet Tea
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tea bags
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 cups cool water
--Boil water, and add tea bags. Cover, and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
--Sprinkle in the baking soda - THIS IS KEY!!!! Don't forget the baking soda, it neutralizes the tannic acid in the tea and makes it smooth, removing the bitter taste you get after you drink tea. You can do this with normal iced tea, too, if you're taste buds don't like it sweet!
--Remove tea bags, and discard; stir in sugar until dissolved. Pour in cool water, then refrigerate until cold.

--Very easy to double!!

Aromatic Chicken

I tried this new dish last night, courtesy of my friend Rebecca, and it was amazing. And it was amazingly easy, too! Don't you love it when that happens?

Aromatic Chicken

  • 4 Boneless/skinless chicken breasts - or 8 thighs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 t ground cloves (I used a little more than this, and it was fantastic!)
  • 2 T Soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced

--Mix it all together in a crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. My chicken went in still a little frozen in the middle but they were done and just perfect after 5 hours.
--Serve over rice (I used Jasmine rice and spooned extra sauce over it and it was great!)

This meal got a pause and an "oh man....this is soo good!" from Scot after the first bite. Haha. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!