Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu 2

Stacie's Swedish Pancakes* - These were gone far too quickly. I doubled the recipe and we still had hardly any leftovers. Took me a little bit to really get them down, but even when they were a little misshapen, they were absolutely delicious! I also threw in some flaxseed meal.
Mexican Lasagna - SO easy and so yummy. I used the corn tortillas from last week's tostadas instead of spinach tortillas. I also added some zucchini and mushrooms in quartered small chunks and lowered the amount of meat in turn to about 1.3 pounds. Ground turkey works fine as well.

Spinach Artichoke Whole Wheat Penne - Very yummy. If you have nut allergies in your home, try using shelled pumkin or sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts in the pesto. I thought watermelon made a nice palate cleanser, as well as a rustic loaf of bread. I added quartered mushrooms and zucchini to the pasta and some basil to the pesto for a little added flavor. Your family won't even notice it's healthy!
Indian Dahl With Spinach - This is a hearty, delicious dish, and I especially loved the spinach in it. However, if you aren't used to Indian food or vegetarian food, you might want to try adding some sour cream and nutmeg to it - and maybe serve it over potatoes or rice to add some interest to new-to-the-taste palates. Also, I used just a little oil instead of ghee or butter to reduce cholesterol.

Veggie burgers (or burgers, whichever you prefer)
Sloppy Joes - just any old house-brand can and buns

Halibut with Grilled Eggplant Salad
Steak with Spinach Couscous - To cut costs, I used Sirloin tip side steak, thin sliced. This was a fabulous meal. I also beefed up the side dish by adding red onions, mint, and basil - and I used quinoa instead of couscous to add a little more health to the dish. I then froze the left-over spinach to use in the Dahl a couple of days later.

MAKE AHEAD (I am missing my slow cooker this week, but it will be back next week!)
Macaroni and Cheese - Very forgiving recipe. I use whatever cheese I have on hand. I also use Shallots rather than garlic. You MUST sprinkly some nutmeg on it before putting it on the table, it just makes the thyme sing and the whole dish comes together.
Chicken Salad


Sweet Treat: Rice Pudding, I'll just use left over rice and leave out the this recipe.

Stacie's Swedish Pancakes:
3 Eggs
3/4 C Flour
1/4 C Sugar
1 C Milk
Mix in a blender - pour onto a hot griddle. Top with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, butter, etc.

Chicken Salad
However you like it.
I like it like this: spinach, pre-cooked chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, avocados, nuts or seeds, feta cheese, Poppyseed Dressing, etc......

Thursday, August 27, 2009

After School Snacks

Its that time of year again when kids are going back to school, the weather is beginning to cool down, and people are wanting one thing.... snacks! So I decided for my first post I would give some fun ideas for snacks. Whether you have kids to entertain after school, all day long, or you're like me and you just like to have a good snack, these will be sure crowd pleasers. Enjoy!

Crunchy Monkey Peanut Butter Banana Sticks
soooo yummy, soooo easy, and even fun to eat...
Applesauce Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
truth be told I've had these for breakfast. They're delicious and healthy!
Fruit Kebobs
For an elegant twist to an older crowd, cut out the peanut butter and try dipping the fruit in different chocolates

And some "originals" (although I'm sure they've been done a hundred times...)
Sushi for kids!
just use any tortilla or wrap, roll it out and spread cream cheese over the whole thing, cover it with one layer of your choice of cold cut meat. Roll tight and cut it up into slices. Serve it with chopsticks for some added fun =)

Personal Pizzas
Always a hit! Whether you use bagels, english muffins, or tortillas, you can pile it high with sauce, cheese, and any toppings you like. Just put it under the broiler on high for a few minutes and you'll have pizza before you know it!

of course the regulars will always be good... ranch, peanut butter, yogurt, etc. but try using a fun, easy fruit dip like the one below. Give your kids toothpicks or stemmed cherries to make it more appealing.
fruit dip:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs brown sugar

Monday, August 24, 2009

Guest Blogger: Summer of Pie

Hello, my name is Stacie and I'm addicted to dessert.
This summer, I've unintentionally found myself hooked on pies. I've done fruit, and I've done chocolate. But for my husband's birthday a few weeks ago, I knew I had to make his favorite- banana cream- and I wasn't looking forward to it. No matter how I try, I just don't like bananas. Mash 'em and bake 'em up in bread, and I can't stop eating them. But just a slice of banana? No thanks.

Enter the perfect solution to banana cream pie: chocolate. Also goes by Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. Have you seen her? The perfect marriage of fruit and chocolate. So good, I didn't even pick the bananas out. That's saying something.

Black Bottom
Banana Cream

3 1/2 tbsp. butter, divided
1 1/2 c. whipping cream, divided
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 1/2 c. half & half
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
Chocolate curls

Crust: Spray a 9-inch pie plate with Pam. Mix 2 1/2 c. crushed oreos with 2 1/2 tbsp. melted butter. (I just used one bag of the mini oreos and it was perfect- and cheaper than a full package.) Press into bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes.

Ganache: In a saucepan, heat 1/2 c. whipping cream with 1 tbsp. butter. Heat until it's hot but not boiling. Add 1/2 c. semi-sweet chips and 1 tsp. good vanilla. Stir till smooth. Pour into crust and chill for 30 minutes.

Arrange thin slices of banana on the ganache, top with 1/2 the vanilla pastry cream, arrange more thin slices of banana on top, and spread remaining vanilla pastry cream over top.

Vanilla Pastry Cream: In a saucepan, heat 1 1/2 c. half & half until it's simmering. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 c. sugar, 2 tbsp. flour, 2 eggs, and 1 egg yolk. Gradually whisk into hot half & half. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool in fridge at least 2 hours.

Vanilla Whipped Cream: Beat 1 c. whipped cream, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla until stiff. Once vanilla pastry cream and bananas are on pie, spread vanilla whipped cream on top and save some to spoon mounds around the edge. Top with chocolate curls and enjoy!

Not sure how to make chocolate curls? I followed this tutorial and loved how they turned out. I used about 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips because I didn't have any Baker's on hand.

Tip: since this pie is step-intensive, I suggest making the vanilla pastry cream first, since it has to chill for a few hours. You can also make the oreo crust at that point and let it start chilling as well. From there it shouldn't be too bad.

See you in a few weeks with another dessert!