Monday, October 31, 2011

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal

A friend of mine posted this recipe last October.  I finally made it at the end of September.  I'm sad I waited so long to make it.  It was easy, my kids loved it, my husband and I loved it, and it was a recipe the kids could help with (that seems to really help my kids try new things). I was never a fan of oatmeal when I was growing up.  I eventually learned to like flavored instant oatmeal, then moved on to flavoring my own quick cook oats.  This was my first time trying steel cut oats.  They were great and I know I will be making them again...especially when there are so many yummy varieties of apples in season!

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from Mom Makes
Makes 4 servings

1 cup steel cut oats
1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used coconut sugar and it turned out great)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large apple, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1) In an nonmetal bowl with a cover, combine oats, milk brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, and salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

2) Transfer oatmeal mixture to a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of the apples (save the rest for topping the oatmeal). Heat just to boiling. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, or until oatmeal reaches desired consistency. If you like thinner oatmeal, add more milk.

3) Spoon into 4 bowls and top with remaining apples. I also added a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar to the top of ours.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

French Onion Soup

I love French onion soup!  Until recently, I had no idea how easy it was to make.  I had some beef soup bones in my freezer, so I bought some oxtail and made some beef broth.  Homemade beef broth is a lot of work, but it is worth it!  I make mine in the crockpot so it can simmer all day.  My favorite recipe is Alton Brown's recipe.  I packaged the broth in a few different sizes and tossed it in the freezer.  I decided to use one quart of it for French onion soup.  I'm so glad I finally made it on my own. It was delicious! My husband and I ate a ton of it (the kids stuck to grilled cheese that night).  I will definitely be making this again!

French Onion Soup
serves 3

2 large yellow onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 quart beef stock
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
seasoned salt, to taste
Sliced white cheese (muenster, swiss, asiago, etc.)

1) Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) While onions are cooking, combine beef stock, worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt in a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. 
3) Preheat oven to 400. Add onions to broth and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. 
4) Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls. Top with croutons and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemade Energy Bars

My favorite spot to look for homemade energy bar recipes is Enlightened Cooking. I've used her recipe for lara-type bars in the past and they were delicious. A few weeks ago, she posted a recipe for homemade TRIO and KIND bars.  I recently discovered KIND bars, but was not thrilled with the price (anywhere from $1.75 to $2.19 each). I was really happy to see a recipe for these on Enlightened Cooking.  My favorite type of KIND bar has chocolate in it, but all the recipes on Enlightened Cooking were the fruit and nut bars.  I decided to follow the proportions given on Enlightened Cooking and substitute chocolate chips for the dried fruit.  I also added a scoop of peanut butter, just because. The bars turned out great! I enjoyed eating them in the morning with coffee, or breaking one in half and eating it as a snack when I needed my "chocolate fix."  I also made the TRIO bar recipe from her post and used a mix of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and dried cranberries.  They were also delicious.  Most variations can be found on Enlightened Cooking, but I will post my chocolate peanut butter bars, since they were not on her site.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Adapted from Enlightened Cooking 

1 1/3 cups mixed nuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup, honey, or barley malt syrup (honey will be very sticky)
2 tablespoons peanut butter

1) Preheat oven to 325.
2) Line an 8-inch square pan with foil.  Grease well.
3) In a medium-sized bowl, mix nuts, crisp rice cereal, and chocolate chips.
4) Mix salt, syrup, and peanut butter in a small bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until well-mixed. It will be very sticky.
5) Spread bar mixture into pan.  Use a spatula to to make even.
6) Bake for 14 - 18 minutes.
7) Cool for 15 minutes.  Cut into 8 bars, but do not remove from foil yet.  It will be too sticky.
8) When bars have cooled completely, remove from foil.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh rarebit has been on my "to make" list for a while.  I knew my kids would love bread and cheese for dinner, and it is a lot less work than fondue.  I used Alton Brown's recipe and only made one change- I grilled some 5 minute bread instead of toasting rye bread, so I won't retype the recipe.  I also added some sliced celery and apples to dip in the extra cheese sauce.  One of the reviews I read suggested adding a pickle...we love pickles, so I added one.  This was a great, kid-friendly meal. It doesn't look like much food, but trust me, it's pretty filling!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yellow Rice and Chicken

This is one of those meals I love to make because it is simple, I usually have the ingredients on hand, and my husband and kids love it.  I've watched shows on the Food Network about how to do this the authentic way, in one pot, seasoning your own rice, and using the chicken on the bone.  I honestly love my recipe and it's so easy that I don't really want to complicate it.  I remember eating "mojo chicken" and yellow rice quite a bit growing I know why my mom made it.  It is so easy and everyone likes it.  If you don't live in an area that sells mojo marinade (it is usually found on the "ethnic foods" aisle of the grocery store), use a tequila lime or other citrus marinade for the chicken.  If you do not like boneless, skinless chicken breast, substitute your favorite cut of chicken, just make sure you marinate it.  I started adding peas to this recipe when my husband mentioned that he liked peas with it.  He also loves green olives added to it...but green olives are not very kid friendly, so I leave them out.  My favorite side dishes to have with this are fried sweet plantains (recipe coming soon) and a canned black beans.  You can even mix the black beans with the chicken and rice if you are feeling adventurous.

Yellow Rice and Chicken
1 large bag of yellow rice
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup mojo marinade
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1) Marinate chicken in mojo for at least 1 hour.
2) Cook yellow rice according to package directions.  I usually cook my yellow rice in chicken broth.
3) While rice is cooking, saute chicken breast in olive oil until done (about 10 minutes)
4) Cook frozen peas according to package directions.
5) When rice is done cooking, combine rice, chicken, and peas.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

September Menu

Yellow Rice and Chicken

A few weeks ago, I promised to post my menu from September. Quite a bit of the month was spent trying to clear out space in the freezer so that we would have room for our share of some yummy grass-fed beef that will be arriving soon. I only ended up with one meatless meal this month :(  Between cookouts and dinners with friends, clearing the freezer, and some extra hot dogs in the fridge, it wasn't a great month to be a vegetable.  There are a few meals that say "meal co-op" next to them.  Meal co-ops are a great time saver.  For one co-op, I made 4 baked zitis, kept one for myself, and gave the rest to friends. I came home with chicken pie, enchilada casserole, and lasagna rolls.  As long as you have the freezer space for the meals, these co-ops are wonderful! Not all of the recipes have links.  If you want any of those recipes, just let me know and I'll share them. Some of them will be posted soon, so I'll be sure to update the links.

September Menu (Can you tell I don't like to cook on Fridays?)
1: Calico Beans with baked sweet potatoes on the side
2: Out
3: Bean Dip (football game)
4: Grilled London broil, pork chops, and veggies.
5: BBQ with friends
6: Pulled pork tacos (pork cooked in the crock pot and shredded, with taco seasoning added after shredding)
7: Chicken Pie from meal co-op
8: Out
9: Hot dogs with pasta and sauce (I was celebrating a friend's birthday, so daddy cooked)
10: Red beans and rice with grilled cheese
11: Thai chicken burgers with fries
12: Out- original plan was sausage and apple stuffing in the slow cooker, but it burned...
13: Enchiladas from meal co-op
14: Baked delicata squash with hot dogs and cheddar brats
15: Slow cooker stroganoff
16: Out
17: Football game- lasagna made by a friend
18: Out (family trip to Sea World).
19: Slow cooker Asian short ribs with mashed potatoes
20: Cranberry bean and sausage soup
21: Bacon and egg pizza
22: Zatarain's frozen blackened chicken alfredo pasta
23: Out
24: BLT with buffalo blue cheese aioli
25: Birthday party for a friend
26: Welsh rarebit
27: Yellow rice and chicken
28: Chicken parm. from meal co-op
29: Apple cider stew
30: Out