Monday, February 27, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Oat Pancakes

When Scot is on-call there is really no need for me to cook an actual dinner.  And since I cook, on average, 5-6 times a week, I take a break when I can.  I love to cook for my family, don't get me wrong, but when the family's not whole, it's just more enjoyable to cook up something fun and delicious, and yet, still healthy.  Also, I like to serve a dish that takes no encouragement to scarf down.
Our go-to "daddy's on-call" meal is breakfast.  Pancakes and eggs with a spinach/berry smoothie is usually the crowd pleaser.  Sometimes we do muffins in place of pancakes, but, more likely than not, the request is pancakes.  The last time we had one of these nights, I was feeling extra ambitious on a "no cook" night, and decided to make an Apple Cinnamon Oat version of out favorite breakfast fare.  The key here, for me, is using the food processor.  I would not have gotten the result I was looking for, or spent so little time on the apples without using my most used and trusted kitchen appliance.

We topped these suckers with unsweetened applesauce.  They were good all by themselves, but they were amazing with the addition of the apple sauce.  And if I make them for breakfast, for real, then I can only imagine how syrup would taste with them.  YUM!  And as tempting as it was to drizzle some on there, I had to remember that this was dinner time, and we only had a little bit of time before bed.  And I wanted sleeping boys, not wired ones.

Apple Cinnamon Oat Pancakes
Makes 8  1/3 cup pancakes

Active time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 rolled oats - ground up until almost flour-like
  • 1/4 c rolled oats 
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T flaxseed meal (or an egg if you want.)
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 c almond milk + 1/4 c water (or regular.  or soy.)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, cut into chunks (optional)
-- In a medium sized bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
-- In a smaller bowl,  combine all wet ingredients.
-- Stir wet into dry until incorporated
-- Pop apple chunks into food processor and pulse until apples are fine chunks
-- Stir apples into batter and turn on griddle or pan to medium heat
-- Spray pan with a little PAM and pour 1/3 cup of batter and spread it out a little.  Flip when you see little bubbles.  Let cook that side another 2-3 minutes.
-- Top with applesauce, syrup, or whatever you wish.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

Oh, I know.  Spring is right around the corner and here I am posting a hearty soup recipe.  But you have  to give this recipe a try before Spring is really upon us.  It's so easy and so good.  And all you need is a hunk of crusty bread and a simple green salad to make this meal a complete one.

My boys loved it, my husband loved it, and I wish I had doubled it.    Next time I will double this and it will be a fabulous soup to pull out of the freezer on a night I don't feel like cooking.

I served this with that amazing No Knead Bread.  We will definitely be seeing this in our soup bowls again.

Red Lentil Carrot Soup 
Serves 6
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium is best)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t oregano
  •  1 1/2 lbs carrots - sliced thin
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red lentils - rinsed and picked through
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
-- Microwave carrots 5-6 minutes until soft.
--Place all ingredients into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour, until lentils and carrots are soft.  Mash with potato masher for a more consistent texture.
CROCKPOT:  Bring liquids and spices to boil in sauce pan and then carefully pour into a crockpot.  Add everything else and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No-Knead Bread

I think I've mentioned before that I don't bake.  Ever.  That's why I have a bread maker.  And why I use said bread maker to make the dough I use for pizza.  It's why the closest I come to baking is pushing the "start" button.

But a friend posted about this no-knead bread, and I had to give it a try.  Even though there is the tiniest bit of yeast involved.

It looked a little intimidating at first, but once I read through the directions, I was good to go.  Essentially, you start it at night, and then a few hours before you want it the next day you do about 5 minutes of "work" and 15 minutes of waiting, and then you wait another 2 hours and then you pop it in the oven for 40 minutes.  Voila.  Wonderful and delicious crusty bread.  From your oven.  Not the amazing bread place down the street or even the market.  But your very own oven.

I love it.  This is a definite repeat.

Detailed directions with pictures, here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stuffed Shells

Sorry it's been so long since the last post.  We've had sickness in our house and a little guy who's getting the last of new teeth and everyone is being effected by the change.  I haven't made new things and the things I have made have all been made one-handed or with a screaming 22 month old at my feet.  Last night was no different, except that I attempted something new.

Scot loves Italian food.  Anything that involves noodles, red sauce, cheese and flavor is a top-notch dinner for him.  When we first got married, I would make Spinach Stuffed Manicotti for him and he would act like he'd died and gone to heaven.  Well, I hated making it.  Something about trying to stuff those hard pastas just really turned me off. I tried it with the noodles al dente once and that was worse.  So I stopped making it.  And then we went heart healthy, so I had no need to make it.  And then it dawned on me.  I use tofu in my lasagna instead of ricotta, why couldn't I do that with the manicotti.  Except use shells instead.  And voila!  Dinner was created [in my mind].

This particular dish is vegan, but if you're not holding to a vegan/plant based diet, then feel free to sprinkle a little cheese on top to finish this off.  I served these delicious shells with some garlic bread and a simple green salad and Scot gave it two big thumbs up!

Stuffed and ready to be sauced

All done!  YUM!

Stuffed Shells
Serves 6 (4 shells/person)
  •  1 8 oz box jumbo shells (I used a 12 oz box and had shells left over.  You'll need only 24 shells)
  • 1 24 oz jar of your favorite full flavored pasta sauce
  • 1 16 oz box regular tofu.  Drained.
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 10oz box chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • shredded cheese for top (opt)
-- Boil the shells al dente according to the directions.
-- Preheat your oven to 350 and pour a half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan
-- In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining ingredients (minus spinach) and puree until creamy.  Stir in spinach.
-- Once shells are done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Once they're cool enough to handle, fill the shells with the tofu spinach mixture.  One large tablespoon scoop worked for me. Place in baking dish seam side down.
-- Cover the shells with the remaining pasta sauce.  Add cheese if you're using.
-- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hearty Lentil Stew

This dish comes together quickly and is incredibly tasty.  The sweetness of the coconut really gives this dish a twist that leaves us wanting more.  

We used this as our meal with just a green salad on the side, but if I were serving this to guests, I would also have a vegetable based pureed soup to go with it, as well as a salad.

Oh, and it's called a stew, but it's really not.  There's hardly any liquid to speak of, but maybe that's what constitutes a stew...??

Hearty Lentil Stew

Serves 4 main dishes (5 cups total)

Active time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  Eat this with a simple green salad.  If you want a larger dinner, or want to make this feed 6 people, serve with a pureed vegetable soup, like butternut, carrot, or sweet potato.  

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup dry lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups cleaned and cut (1/4 in cubes) red potatoes
  • 1 cup packed chopped baby spinach
  • 3/4 tsp coconut extract  
  • coconut flakes for garnish (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:

  • Cook your lentils.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep, skillet.  Saute onion 7 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the garlic and cumin.  Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and cook for about 7-10 minutes until slightly tender.
  • The lentils should be soft by now but still in some liquid.  Carefully transfer the lentils (with the liquid) to the skillet.  Stir, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes and lentils are fully done.  Stir occasionally if needed.
  • Add the coconut extract and spinach and stir for a couple minutes until wilted.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste