Thursday, February 25, 2010

Banana Nut Oatmeal

The three people in our household are big, BIG fans of oatmeal for breakfast on a cold winter's morning. We typically stick to our simple favorites, but do like to fancy it up sometimes. Last week I was surfing around Serious Eats (a website that makes me want to head into the kitchen every time I visit) and saw this article that gave a couple of delicious-looking and yet simple oatmeal recipes. I gave the choice of which we would eat the next morning to Aaron, and he chose Banana Nut Oatmeal, and oh, how glad I am that we ate this, because it was an easy, delicious alternative to our normal weekday morning oatmeal.

Banana Nut Oatmeal
source: Serious Eats

I doubled the original recipe and made a couple of other tweaks based on food allergies and preferences. Altered, the recipe made enough for the three of us to have a nice-sized breakfast.

2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
1 large, slightly overripe banana
1 c. Quaker old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 c. milk (we used 1%)
2/3 c. water
4 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A few shakes cinnamon
1 shake nutmeg
A few dashes Kosher salt

Mash the banana with a fork until it forms a wet puree. In a small pot, combine banana puree, oatmeal, milk, water, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. (Don't leave out the salt, it really helps enhance the other flavors.) Heat over medium until it reaches your preferred consistency, stirring occasionally. (I brought it to a simmer and cooked for five more minutes, which was perfect for us.) Top with pecans, and enjoy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oatmeal Scones

Aaron denies this, but he has had a major scone craving for a while now. We would be looking at a cookbook, and come across a recipe, and his eyes would roll back in his head, and with an acompanying Homer Simson drool, he'd moan, "Mmmm....scones...." The same happened when we saw scones on a cooking show, at the coffee shop, and a mix at the store. Yet he still claims he didn't have a yearning for scones. I made them anyway, and he's mighty glad I did. These oatmeal scones are delectable - great fresh from the oven, still light and fluffy the next day, dense and moist the third day. And that's as far as we got, because we were lucky they lasted that long. I cut them out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, which would make them a great addition to your Valentine's day breakfast (or brunch, which is how we're celebrating). Next time I'm going to freeze half of them after shaping but before baking so that I can pop a couple in the oven on a busy morning and have fresh scones before I head off to a busy day at the office.

Oatmeal Scones
Source: Epicurious

Note: the original recipe claims this makes 30 scones, but I patted them out as written (they were about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick) and cut with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, resulting in exactly 12 scones.

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. old-fashioned oats
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. dried currants (I left these out)
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
Additional sugar (I used turbinado sugar - red decorating sugar would make these extra Valentine-y)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Blend the first six ingredients in a food processor until the oats are coarsly ground. Add the butter, pulsing to combine until the mixture looks liek a coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl. Add in the beaten whole egg and the buttermilk. Using a fork, stir until just combined (do not overmix). This dough will be quite sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, shape the dough into an 8-inch round. Using a floured 1 3/4 inch cookie cutter, cut out scones. Gather scraps, reshape, and cut out more scones. Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg yolk and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake the scones until golden, about 18 mintues. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Veggie Lasagna

My department at work is fairly small, and approximately half of us are vegetarians or prefer to eat vegetarian food when possible. So, when I agreed to make the main dish at our holiday party, I had to come up with something that would please meat eaters and vegetarians alike. I made The Pioneer Woman's Lasagna (delicious!) for the meat eaters and an adapted version for the vegetarians. It was delicious, and I'm glad because I'm still eating the leftovers I froze (I made two full-size lasagnas and 12 people showed up - the meat eaters took home leftovers, but the vegetarians not so much).

Here's my adaptation:

Veggie Lasagna

1 bag frozen mixed vegetables - I got the broccoli, cauliflower, carrot version
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce - I used a roasted garlic tomato sauce
1/4 c. chopped basil
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 c. ricotta
2 whole beaten eggs
1/2 c. grated parmesan
4 c. mozzarella
1 pkg. no-boil lasagna noodles (you'll use about 1/2 a package)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Slightly thaw the frozen mixed vegetables and chop into small pieces. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is transparent. Add in garlic and sautee for 30 seconds more. Add in the chopped frozen vegetables and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the meantime, mix together the basil, parsley, ricotta and eggs. Set aside.

Spread a little of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Add in a layer of noodles (I think I used 3 across, so it didn't totally cover the bottom of the pan, but that's fine.) Top with a layer of veggies, a layer of the ricotta mixture, a layer of sauce, and a layer of mozzarella. Repeat the layers one more time, ending with the mozzarella, and then sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Bake for 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Meal Planning 2.8.10

It has been a long couple of weeks, for some reason that I can't seem to put my finger on, and I haven't had time to sit and think, let alone sit and blog. Add to that some general apathetic feelings toward my blogs lately, and that means I haven't been here. I'm coming around though, so I thought I would kick things off with a meal plan.

(Also to be noted - the macaroni and cheese experiment from the last meal planning post failed SPECTACULARLY. The whole thing was a curdled mess and we ended up just throwing the entire dish in the trash and ordering pizza. The black bean nachos were great, but nothing special like I wanted to try - just cheese, black beans, onions, green peppers and tomatoes on chips, baked until the cheese is melty, topped wtih pickled jalepeno, sour cream, and my new favorite food ever - Margaritaville salsa.)

We're still sticking with vegetarian eating for the most part (our new rules are - maybe once a week at home or a special occasion, or if we're eating out), and I'm also dieting, so the meals are lighter or filled with more vegetables so I can eat a smaller portion of the more calorie-laden meal that the rest of my family demands.
Anyway, here goes:

Monday: Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake, Roasted Broccoli

Last week I borrowed Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution from the library, and we spent the rest of the week drooling (not really) over the book. We're ordering our own copy post-haste, because this is a book I want to have on hand. Of course it also helps that Aaron and I both have kind of a crush on Mr. Oliver, and would eat pretty much anything he told us to eat. The book isn't very vegetarian friendly, but there are a few good non-meat dishes in there.

The broccoli is being roasted, because according to Aaron I can't steam broccoli right (he's mostly correct) and it typically ends up being mushy when I do try. So, roasting it is - just cut it up into bite-sized pieces, toss it on a baking sheet with a drizzled tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt and pepper. Then roast at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes until it's crisp tender (and delicious!).

Tuesday: Chickpea Korma on Pitas with Yogurt Dressing, Sauteed Zuchini

I'm adapting a chicken korma recipe from this month's Food Network Magazine (which I still love, but would probably love more if they could get their distribution better figured out) because the sauce sounds amazing but the chicken not so much. I'll post the recipe if it turns out. (I really hope it does!)

Wednesday: Veggie Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad

I made up a vegetarian lasagna recipe for the office Christmas party, and have been meaning to post it ever since. I froze some of the leftovers (it makes a lot, but could be easily halved), and we're eating those on the night I get home late because of Zumba class. It's easy and delicious! I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

Thursday: Lentil and Spinach Soup, Rolls

Another recipe from the Jamie Oliver book that I can't wait to try. I love lentil soup. I'll also post my rolls recipe shortly - they're called 60 Minute Rolls, a quick yeast roll recipe that my mom has made for years. So good!

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Food Network magazine had a little pull-out book of 50 pizzas either this month or last, so we're going to try out one or two of those. I'm thinking tomato, artichoke, roasted red pepper, and pepperocini. Okay, so that recipe's not in there, but I'll use their dough at least. And maybe make the meatball one too.


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