Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caprese Baked Egg Cups

Along with pancakes and oatmeal, eggs are another thing we make the most of for breakfast around here.  They are quick, easy and filling, especially along slide some nice crusty bread. While during the week I usually keep it to scrambled eggs, on the weekend I like to indulge a little. 

My first experience with baked eggs were these Fontina and Spinach Baked Eggs. Boy did they make my mouth water! I probably ate them every day for like a week.  Since then I have discovered and fallen in love with Trader Joe's smoked mozzarella and this new version of baked eggs.  Caprese anything and you have me drooling.  Although these eggs aren't quite as quick to make as scrambled, they don't take  more than a few minutes extra to prepare. And bonus, it'll make a party in your mouth with every bite!!

Caprese Baked Egg Cups
makes 4 small ramekins
4 eggs
1 pint grape tomatoes
3-4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (I like to use smoked mozzarella from Trader Joe's)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp. cream or milk
softened butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the insides of 4 ramekins.  Crack an egg in each and add half teaspoon of cream to.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add some tomatoes, cheese and basil. 

Set ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-8 minutes.  Turn on broiler and bake another 5 minutes or so for firmer yolks, less time for more runny yolks.

Serve warm with crusty bread.

SOURCE: How Sweet It Is

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spinach, Artichoke and Pesto Pizza

We've had a long-standing tradition of having homemade pizza every Friday night and it's one of our family traditions that I absolutely LOVE!  When I was teaching school I always used to tell my students on Friday that it was party day because it was the weekend.  I couldn't wait to get home and celebrate, veg and make yummy food.  Although over the years our Friday nights have changed, we eventually settled into the Friday night pizza night, which I'm sure we'll keep for years to come.

On pizza night I usually make two pizzas.  My girls are still not adventurous when it comes to toppings, so I just stick with homemade sauce and mozzarella.  Thank goodness my hubby is a good sport because I always try to make something different for us to share.  MOST of the time, it works out great.  Tonight was no exception.  This pizza was fabulous!!  Maybe it's because it's slathered with pesto, I LOVE all things basil, or the combination of toppings, but it really hit the spot.  You'll love it!

Spinach, Artichoke and Pesto Pizza
1 recipe Perfect Pizza Crust
1 recipe Basil Pesto (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Prepare pizza crust according to directions.

Preheat baking stone* and oven to 450 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes.

Once dough has risen and doubled in size, roll it out on a pizza peel generously dusted with corn meal.  You can also roll it out on parchment paper.  Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border.  Layer the spinach, artichokes, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Slide dough onto pizza stone and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cool slightly before cutting into it.

*If you don't have a baking stone, you can use an inverted cookie sheet.

SOURCE: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

I don't know if I even dare make a menu for this week!  I've been living off of smoothies the past couple of days because I am sick yet again.  This is getting pretty old...being sick, not drinking smoothies.  I still love my smoothies!  This is one of the huge reasons I don't enjoy winter though.  I don't even mind the cold so much or the snow, but I haven't even been able to go out and play in it with my kids!!  I did finally break down and bundle up to take my 2 year old on a walk today. It was 19 degrees but we stayed warm and the sun was welcome!  I'll have to do that more this week.  Need that vitamin D.

Well, I'm still trying to clean out both my freezers and pantry.  It's going pretty well but I've still got a long way to go.  My shopping trips have been mostly produce, milk and eggs and I hope to stick to that in the coming weeks.  My hubby started grad school this month so he's gone two nights a week so I'm trying to keep most of the meals simple and kid-friendly.  We'll see.

Weekly Menu - January 27-February 1
Easy Sesame Peanut Noodles
Asian Slaw

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Tomato and Goat Cheese (probably homemade mac and cheese for the kids)

Broccoli and Ham Bread Pudding
fresh fruit

Baked potato bar
steamed veggies

Grilled Fontina and Arugula Pizza



BLT pasta
steamed veggies

Friday, January 24, 2014

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

I usually keep a bunch of bananas on my counter, some not quite ripe, some ready to eat and the rest ready to use in smoothies or baked goods.  When I bake with bananas I like to make sure they are nice and almost black,  so I let them sit out a good long time.  I always say the blacker the better.

Lately we haven't been eating bananas as quickly as we usually do so my black ones were piling up.  I didn't really feel in the mood to make bread or muffins and was trying to keep the sweets at bay, so I was kind of at a loss as to what to make.  Then I thought about breakfast for the week and realized some mashed banana would go great mixed into our regular baked oatmeal.

I like to make breakfast fresh for my girls before school so I had to get up a little early the morning I made this, but it was so worth it!!  The smell that filled the house was amazing.  It really did smell like banana bread baking.  The end result was so delicious, nice and moist and a little crunchy on top.  I even thought about sprinkling a little coarse sugar on top for brulee but was short on time, so I'll have to save it for next time.

This oatmeal is easily doubled to fit a 9x13 pan.  I sometimes like to make a big pan and eat on it for the next few days.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large)
1/2 milk
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
scant 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or butter)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8 or 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine banana, milk, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and coconut oil.  Whisk until well combined.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and pour into prepared baking pan.  Bake 28-30 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Serve warm.  Top with a splash of milk, extra pecans and sliced banana, if desired.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chili-Lime Chicken Taquitos

I seriously can't believe I have not posted about these taquitos until now.  They have become the number one thing requested for dinner lately.  I don't even know how I stumbled upon making them the first time around, but they were a HUGE hit from the get-go.  After that my oldest daughter has consistently asked to have them for dinner about once a week.  Thankfully they are so quick and easy to throw together and just take a few simple ingredients; you're sure to have most of them on hand.

Chili-Lime Chicken Taquitos
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 Tbsp. chili powder
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (mozzarella or Mexican blend  is good too)
salt and pepper 
uncooked flour tortillas

sour cream

Cook chicken using your preferred method.  For a quick and easy method, add uncooked chicken to a pot with 3 cups water, 1/4 tsp. salt, 8 black peppercorns, half an onion, quartered, and a bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Cook 20 minutes or until done.  Remove from pot, cool and shred.
Add shredded chicken,  chili powder,  lime juice and cilantro to a large skillet.  Gently warm over medium heat.  Stir and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as necessary.  Stir in cheese and remove from heat.

Lay out one uncooked tortilla at a time.  Place 3-4 tablespoons of filling along one end, pushing it out to the edges.  Roll up and place seam side down on a baking sheet.  Continue with remaining filling and tortillas.  Make sure you leave a little space in between each taquito so they will be cooked all around.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush olive oil over the tops of each taquito (you could also use an olive oil spritzer).  Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt over each.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Bake taquitos about 15 minutes or until tops are lightly golden.  Serve warm, with your choice of guacamole, salsa or sour cream. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Crockpot Pork Posole

I seriously under-use my crockpot.   I don't even know why, but I just don't ever think of things to cook in it.  It really is  a wonderful way to cook up something warm and cozy, especially during the winter time when comfort food, warm and tasty are key words!

Anyway, I love soups and I love the flavors of Mexican-types foods; one of my favorites! So this posole is right up my alley.  It is nice and brothy with tender pork and veggies.  Also delightfully contrasted with a little bit of crunch from some freshly shredded cabbage and radishes.  Everything is topped with cilantro,  avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  What's not to love!!

Crock Pot Pork Posole
2-3 lb. pork shoulder roast
16-oz chicken stock
1 onion, sliced
1/2 head of garlic (no need to remove paper)
1-2 large jalapenos, cut in half and seeded
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 cups diced roma tomatoes
1 30-oz can hominy (yellow or white)
2 large carrots, diced
juice of a lime
salt and pepper

thinly sliced radishes
shredded green cabbage
diced avocado
lime wedges
chopped cilantro

Cut roast into 3-4 pieces and place in crock pot. Liberally season with salt and pepper.  Layer onion, garlic and jalapenos over it.  Add the chicken stock, bay leaves and oregano.  Cook on high until roast is tender and falls apart.

Remove roast from crock pot and cool long enough to shred it.  Remove jalapeno and garlic, taking off skins.  Finely dice both and return to crock along with carrots, tomatoes, hominy and shredded pork.  Cook another half hour or so, or until carrots are tender.

Add lime juice.  Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish as desired.

SOURCE: Adapted from Foodie Crush

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Triple Berry Orange Smoothie

Wow,  it's been a while since I posted a new recipe.  The holidays are always a LONG and busy time around here since all three of my daughter's birthdays come in between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  By the time January rolls around, I just want to sleep for a month and not eat a bite of cake again....well until the next birthday rolls around anyway.

Speaking of birthday cakes, I think I finally nailed a homemade version of box mix birthday cake (after three birthday parties, haha) that tastes phenomenal and is also light and fluffy.  Unfortunately I was not in the blogging mode when I made them and will have to wait until April for the next birthday to blog about it.  Super delish though!

Anyway, I digress.  I don't really make new years resolutions because they always seem to get broken.  I rather like to take every day and make the best of it as I can.  But, if you're the resolution-making type and have made a goal to eat better or even if you just like smoothies, this post is for you!

I whipped this up one afternoon for my kids' lunch, trying to keep it sweet and fruity enough, while still being healthy.  It was delicious!  I love the berry combination, and bananas always make things nice and smooth. I used half milk and half water since I was serving it to my kids, but you could certainly just use all milk or all water, depending on your tastes.  I also only used 1 handful of spinach when serving to my kids, but for me, I usually put in 2 big ones!  

Triple Berry Orange Smoothie
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 cup water
1 ripe banana
1 orange, peeled
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 large handfuls spinach or other greens
1 Tbsp. ground flax

Put all ingredients in blender in order listed and blend until smooth and creamy.  Adjust liquid as desired.

*NOTE: If you don't think your blender would blend up the whole orange, you can just use the fresh juice.

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