Thursday, August 13, 2015

Banana-Cinnamon Waffles

The original recipe can be found at Cooking Light here

I omitted the flax seed and buckwheat flour (because I didn't have any) and compensated by adding more whole wheat flour.  These are so hearty and delicious.  My kids even liked them!


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2-1  cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk $
3 tablespoons butter, melted $
large eggs, lightly beaten $
large ripe banana, mashed
Cooking spray
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Combine milk, butter, and eggs, stirring with a whisk; add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until blended. Fold in mashed banana.
Preheat a waffle iron. Coat iron with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per 4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Black Bean Soup

This soup is absolutely delicious.  Recipe courtesy of Food Network, with some alterations.

10 slices bacon, finely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped 

6 garlic cloves, pressed

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder

4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch cilantro

 Corn tortilla chips

juice of 1/2 lime

Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish

Grated cheddar, for garnish


Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder.

Place beans in a separate bowl with broth (or in a blender/food processer), using an immersion blender, blend the beans until they reach desired smoothness.  Return beans to pot with other ingredients;  turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Pancakes

These are a favorite of my kids.  Batter will keep in the fridge  for a few days, just be sure to stir prior to use!

1-1/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. rolled oats (not quick)
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 T wheat germ (optional)
2 T brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs (or egg whites)
2 t. canola oil, divided

Combine buttermilk and oats.  Let rest 20-30 min to soften oats.  Stir in flours, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Whisk egg and oil in a separate bowl then add to the oat mixture, stirring until just combined.

Lightly brush non-stick skillet with 1 t. oil and heat to medium.  Use 1/4 c. batter for each pancake and cook until the underside is brown and bubbles on top remain open.  Turn and finish cooking.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Baked ham & cheese party sandwiches

These tasty little sandwiches are very easy to put together. You can serve them warm or cold.
Original recipe found here.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dipping 101: Caramel & Chocolate

I was asked to do a demo on dipping with chocolate for a multi-ward relief society activity. I am certainly no authority on the subject. Through trial and error I do have a few basic tips to make dipping easy (and I really do mean basic). My friend (who requested I do the demo) specifically asked for pretzel rods. I had no previous experience making these, but found them really simple. Without further ado here's my 101 on dipping with caramel and chocolate. I've written this as basic steps for caramel and chocolate, therefore it can be translated to anything you want to dip. 

Dipping with Caramel:

Make a stand for your rods. I thought flower foam would be amazing. Turns out it wasn't that handy and I lost a lot of rods. I recommend using a narrow box (cracker box) and punch holes using a knife. The rods are more stable. You can also lay them down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. This will result in one flat side. I prefer mine look symmetrical. 

Scrub apples with water and a clean rag. Remove the stems and dry the fruit thoroughly. Place wooden sticks where the stem was and place fruit on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. I prefer using granny smith for a few reasons: First, the color is vibrant and really provides a contrast for the caramel and chocolate. Second, they are crisp and tart. This compliments the sweet caramel and chocolate perfectly. 
*Prior to dipping anything refrigerate it. Caramel clings to cold materials much better and will prevent the formation of large puddles of caramel at the base of the apples. 
Though homemade caramel is delicious, I don't recommend it for dipping. Werthers makes a soft caramel that is user friendly and delicious. There are also caramel melts and blocks that work great and don't require unwrapping. 

  1. Remove wrappers from caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons milk.
  2. Heat one minute at a time, stirring between. Once the caramel begins bubbling up in the bowl, is completely melted and very runny, it’s ready for dipping. Heating time varies greatly based on microwave, watch your caramel closely.
3. Work quickly. Your pretzels or apples should go in and out quickly. This prevents too much caramel from adhering. Also, the remaining caramel will harden quickly. You can     reheat it, but do so cautiously as too much heat can cause the texture to become grainy or burning can occur.
4.If adding toppings like nuts or sprinkles, do so immediately following dipping by sprinkling them over your item or rolling them. It’s important all items be chopped small or they will not stick to caramel. 
5. Once you’ve dipped your items, place them back in the refrigerator to set.

Dipping with Chocolate
-Use a chocolate melting wafers specific for dipping. Though you can add oils to stabilize chocolate bars and chips, it can be tricky and the hardening process is not as effective. The wafers have stabilizers that make melting, dipping and the hardening process so easy. Ghirardelli makes a dark chocolate and white chocolate. These are my favorite. They have the richest, least waxy flavor. Kitchen kneads also sells melting wafers that work great.
-Water will ruin your chocolate by causing it to seize. It is essential all fruit is thoroughly dried before dipping. 

I got working so quickly with the chocolate I forgot to take pictures. The process is essentially the same as dipping with caramel. 
  1. The easiest way to melt the chocolate is using the microwave. Place your chocolate discs in a microwave safe bowl. Heat 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between. The chocolate is ready for dipping once it is all melted and runny. Chocolate can be reheated as needed, but do so carefully as it can burn.
  2. Always dip using cold materials as the chocolate adheres better. Let excess chocolate drip off in bowl.
  3. If adding toppings like nuts or sprinkles, do so immediately following dipping by sprinkling them over your item. It’s important all items be chopped small or they will not stick.
  4. Once you’ve dipped your items, place them back in the refrigerator to set.
Because adding chocolate from a bowl to a piping bag can be difficult I use a glass and pour the chocolate directly into the bag. It works great.

-Wilton disposable piping bags are inexpensive and fantastic for finishing your dipped items with white or dark chocolate. You do not need piping tips. Simply cut the tip of the bag off with a pair of scissors. Click here to watch a quick tutorial on how to fill a piping bag (again, don't need tips, just fill the bag and then trim off the end) 

-Chocolate melting/warming pots are fantastic. Certainly not essential. However, if you do a lot of dipping they make the process much easier because they not only melt your chocolate quickly, they keep it warm. Wilton makes a small pot for $20.

Tips & Finishing: 

-It may sound strange, but a light sprinkling of kosher salt on wet caramel or chocolate really enhances the flavor.
-When dipping pretzel rods use a tall glass or vase for easy dipping.
-Adding some white or dark chocolate can really boost the appearance of the finished product. It’s so simple to do. Your items should be cold and previous chocolate/caramel should be set up. Use the piping bags, they make the process so simple.

Wrap them up and enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fiesta green salad

*this salad can be served as a side, or add grilled chicken or steak for a meal*

Salad dressing:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup cilantro

1 can corn (I use fresh)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 lb mixed greens
1 avacado, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup shredded jack cheese
Fresh lime wedges


For salad dressing combine all ingredients but canola oil and cilantro in a blender. Once combined, add oil and blend and then cilantro.
Next combine all salad ingredients and toss with dressing. If using meat, slice and place on top of salad. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Another great recipe from Cooking Light.  The original can be found here.  
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine) or 1/4 cup dry sherry mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
  • large egg, lightly beaten $
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders, cut into (2-inch) pieces $$
  • 1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons quick-mixing flour (such as Wondra)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
  • red bell pepper, chopped $
  • 5 tablespoons water $
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup $
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon plum sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • (8.8-ounce) package precooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. 1. Combine mirin and egg in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken; toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes; drain well.
  2. 2. Combine powdered peanut butter and next 3 ingredients (through sugar) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken; toss well to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  3. 3. Heat pan over high heat. Add onions and bell pepper; stir-fry 1 minute. Combine 5 tablespoons water and next 4 ingredients (through Worcestershire) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken and ketchup mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat.
  4. 4. Divide rice among 4 plates; top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Steak and asparagus stir fry

Another great recipe from cooking light found here. This is very easy and quite tasty. If you don't like spice omit the red pepper flakes. I think the heat is perfect.


1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 5 teaspoons canola oil, divided 
  • 12 ounces boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips 
  • 12 ounces medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • green onions, chopped
  1. 1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef; stir-fry until browned but not cooked through (about 1 1/2 minutes). Place beef on a plate; discard liquid in pan.
  3. 3. Return pan to high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add asparagus and bell pepper; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and green onions; stir-fry 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add stock mixture; cook 3 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Return beef and any juices to pan, and cook for 1 minute.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Baked potato wedges

This is a very simple yet delicious recipe from Ina Garten (recipe here). A variety of herbs could be used.
4 large baking potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Scrub the potatoes. Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in thirds lengthwise. Each potato will produce 6 long wedges. Place potatoes on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. With clean hands toss all the ingredients, evening coating potatoes. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with 1 cut-side down.

Bake the potatoes for 30-35 minutes, turning to the other cut side after 20 minutes. Bake until they are lightly browned, crisp outside and tender inside. 

Outrageous brownies

Another winner from the Barefoot Contessa (find recipe here). The original recipe calls for 3 cups chopped walnuts. As I still haven't been able to overcome my nut allergy, I omitted these. These brownies are decadent and fudgey. They are the best brownies I've ever had.
Also, I didn't have unsweetened chocolate so I made my own. 3 tbsp cocoa powder plus 1 tbsp butter, oil or shortening equals one oz of unsweetened chocolate  (1 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa plus 6 tbsp oil is what I did).

1 lb unsalted butter
1 lb plus 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
3 tbsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose four
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a jelly roll pan (12 x 18 x 1 inch baking sheet)

Melt together: butter, 1 lb chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate (I do this in the microwave, but can also be done with a double boiler). Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl stir together the eggs, coffee grails, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl sift together 1 cup of flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss 12 oz of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup flour (would also add nuts if desired at this point). Add this to chocolate batter and pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake (I only baked an additional 7 minutes, but I also have a convection oven which bakes faster). Allow to cool, refrigerate and cut into squares.

Pork & shitake pot stickers

This recipe is found in cooking light and can be found here. Though they are a lot of work, they freeze great (I have about 30 in the freezer) and are easy to pop out and cook. These are very tasty and fun.


  • 2 tablespoons
     dark sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 5 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces lean ground pork
  • 40 gyoza skins or round wonton wrappers
  • Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)--I didn't have this so I omitted 
  • Cooking spray
  1. 1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/2 cup onions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Combine mushroom mixture, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, hoisin sauce, pepper, and pork (that's been browned in a sauté pan) in a medium bowl.
  2. 2. Arrange 8 gyoza skins on a clean work surface; cover remaining skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons pork mixture in the center of each skin. Moisten edges of skin with water. Fold in half; press edges together with fingertips to seal. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch; cover to prevent drying. Repeat procedure with remaining gyoza skins and pork mixture.
  3. 3. Combine 1/4 cup hot water and brown sugar in a small bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add remaining 1/4 cup green onions, remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, vinegar, and sambal, stirring with a whisk until well combined.
  4. 4. Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat. Generously coat pan with cooking spray. Add 10 pot stickers to pan; cook 30 seconds or until browned on one side. Turn pot stickers over; carefully add 1/3 cup water to pan. Cover tightly; steam 4 minutes. Repeat procedure in batches with remaining pot stickers and more water, or follow freezing instructions. After cooking, serve pot stickers immediately with dipping sauce.
  5. TO FREEZE: Freeze dumplings flat on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn­starch 10 minutes or until firm. Place in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag with 1 teaspoon cornstarch; toss. Freeze sauce in a small zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months.
  6. TO THAW: Thaw sauce in the microwave at HIGH in 30-second increments. No need to thaw pot stickers.
  7. TO REHEAT: Follow recipe instructions for cooking, placing frozen dumplings in pan and increasing steaming time by 2 minutes.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Curried Coconut Soup with Chicken [gluten free]

I think this soup was delicious, but would benefit from something a little extra.  Maybe a little more chile paste or some kefir lime leaves (Marybeth's suggestion).  It was simple and different.  Also, something I recently learned about rice noodles-- there are two types, one made from basmati rice, and the other from sticky rice.  I think the latter can only be found at asian markets, but I think it would be extra good in this soup.
Original recipe here

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil 
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced cucumber (This was weird in a soup.  I tried it but took them out)
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chile paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice noodles (I used the thin kind.  I think next time I will try the thicker version)
  • lime wedges


  1. 1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add curry paste and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add stock and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes.
  2. 2. Combine chicken, cucumber, basil, sambal oelek, and sesame oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture and 1/2 cup noodles in each of 4 bowls. Pour about 1 1/4 cups stock mixture into each bowl. Serve with lime.

White Chicken Pizzas

These were my favorite.  The original recipe is here, in March's Cooking Light magazine.  I forgot to buy refrigerated pizza dough, so I made my own, using this recipe from All Recipes.  Patrick said it was the best pizza crust yet.  I think it had something to do with pre-heating the pan.
I found all the steps a bit overwhelming, but I do think it was worth it for a delicious finished product!!

  • 30 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough, divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil $
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • garlic cloves, crushed
  • thyme sprigs
  • 4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk 
  • 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt 
  • 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast  (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • 6.5 ounces preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Italian-blend cheese (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 3 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup small fresh basil leaves


  1. 1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
  2. 2. Let pizza dough rest, covered, at room temperature as oven preheats.
  3. 3. Combine oil and next 4 ingredients (through thyme sprigs) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve over a small bowl; discard solids.
  4. 4. Combine milk, yogurt, and vinegar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 6 minutes. Gently stir to form small curds. Strain curds through a fine sieve; let stand 5 minutes. Discard liquid. Combine oil mixture, cheese curds, and salt, stirring gently.
  5. 5. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2.5 ounces each). Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface (keep dough covered with a damp towel to prevent drying). Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons oil mixture over each pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Divide chicken, Italian-blend cheese, and mozzarella cheese evenly among pizzas; sprinkle evenly with thyme leaves and black pepper. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Arrange 3 to 4 pizzas on pizza stone. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes or until dough is golden and cheese browns. Repeat procedure with remaining pizzas, or follow freezing instructions. Sprinkle pizzas evenly with fresh basil leaves.
  6. TO FREEZE: Bake pizzas on preheated stone for only 5 minutes. Cool; wrap individually in heavy-duty foil, stack, and freeze up to 2 months.
  7. TO REHEAT: No thawing: Place frozen pizzas on a baking sheet that's not preheated; bake at 450° for 13 minutes or until cheese browns.

Chicken Cutlets with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions [gluten free]

This was one of many delightful recipes from March's Cooking Light.  Find it here.  I liked it, so did my kids.  I didn't have brandy, so I subbed chardonnay, and it tasted wonderful.

Chicken Cutlets with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

  • (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 3/4 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
  • 8 ounces quartered button mushrooms 
  • 2/3 cup brandy/white wine
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson) 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. 1. Cut each chicken breast half in half horizontally to form 8 cutlets. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  2. 2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 cutlets to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 4 cutlets.
  3. 3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pearl onions and mushrooms; sauté 6 minutes or until browned. Remove pan from heat. Carefully add brandy to pan; return pan to medium-high heat, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates (about 2 minutes). Combine stock and cornstarch, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add stock mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, and thyme.