Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


Baked Oatmeal from Super Natural Every Day

November 22, 2013

Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast dishes to make because it reheats so well. There are just two of us in the house, and we usually don’t eat breakfast at the same time, so having something ready to warm up comes in handy. A while back, I got a copy of Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day from the library, and I flagged her version of baked oatmeal right away.

Baked Oatmeal

It’s got bananas on the bottom, berries on the bottom and top, and walnuts mixed in and sprinkled on top. So many flavors and textures, and it all adds up to a delicious, hearty breakfast.

I made this recipe along with my blogging friend Michele. Be sure to check in with her blog, Veggie Num Nums, to see how hers turned out!

Recipe notes:

  • The recipe, which appears here on Williams-Sonoma’s site, is almost the same as the one in the book. The recipe in the book provides an option of using 1/3 cup natural cane sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw), added to the oat mixture, instead of the maple syrup. I’m not a big maple person, so I opted for the sugar.
  • When I scooped it out of the baking dish, I noticed that there was some extra liquid on the bottom, even though the oatmeal was cooked through. I think using frozen berries might have caused this. It wasn’t a big deal, but next time I’ll thaw and drain them first.
  • My husband, not a nut fan, declared this good, but “too nutty.” I think it would work out fine to leave the nuts out and serve them on the side for sprinkling on individual portions. More nuts for me!

If you have the book, here are a few other recipes that I’ve tried and liked:

  • Lemon-Zested Bulgur Wheat: This is another great hot cereal that reheats well.
  • Chickpea Wraps: This was a welcome change from the usual sandwich selections. I used pita bread instead of a tortilla or wrap.
  • Cabbage-Chickpea-Curry Soup: Tons of curry flavor; perfect for chilly weather.

Frozen Bananas with Magic Shell

November 18, 2013

Magic Shell, the ice cream topping that hardens when poured onto ice cream, is a blast from my past. When I discovered that you can make it with chocolate chips and coconut oil, I was thrilled. And then, America’s Test Kitchen improved on the recipe by adding vanilla, espresso powder, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla. Perfection! It’s super-chocolatey, hardens beautifully, and isn’t waxy.

Of course it’s great on ice cream. But what happens when you run out of ice cream? Well, you can put it on frozen bananas!

I got on a roll making chocolate-dipped frozen bananas when I saw this post on Sugar Hero. I made her version of the bananas a few times; toasted coconut is my favorite topping. Then one day I ended up with some leftover magic shell and no ice cream and wondered how it would work on a frozen banana. It worked quite well, thank you!

Chocolate-dipped frozen banana

Here’s how:

  • Peel bananas, cut in half horizontally, and insert a stick in each piece (I couldn’t find old-fashioned popsicle sticks, so I used cookie sticks). Wrap in waxed paper, seal in a plastic bag, and freeze a few hours or overnight.
  • Make the magic shell topping ahead of time so that it has time to cool to room temperature. I highly recommend America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe (you’ll need to scroll down a bit to get to the section titled Chocolate Ice Cream Shell.)
  • Remove bananas from the freezer and unwrap. Using a large spoon, spoon the magic shell over the banana. It hardens right away, so work quickly to evenly coat the banana. And, since it does harden so quickly, if you want to sprinkle it with any toppings, you’ll need to work incredibly fast – I recommend having a helper so one set of hands can do the coating and the other set can do the sprinkling.
  • Wait until the chocolate is completely hardened before setting the banana down. Serve immediately.
  • Note: I usually pop several bananas in the freezer at once and then pull out a couple at a time to dip and serve. I’ve left the undipped bananas in the freezer for several days with no problems.

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, and Olive Sandwich Topping

November 15, 2013

Sandwich Topping

This sandwich topping combines so many things that I love: roasted red peppers, fresh and sundried tomatoes, plus olives and pickles. It’s my adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe for Stuffed Focaccia – in that recipe, a focaccia loaf is heated, split horizontally, and filled with a version of this topping. It’s delicious served that way, but also works well on other types of bread (I put it on some naan in the photo above), and tastes great as part of a more traditional sandwich, with sliced ham, turkey, and/or cheese. It would also be a welcome addition to a green salad.

I should probably call this Trader Joe’s sandwich topping, because many of the ingredients are things I stock up on there – all of the jarred items in the ingredients list are things I buy there. I got hooked on the cornichons a while ago and haven’t tired of them yet. As much as I love dill pickles, those tiny, sour pickles are addictive!

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, and Olive Sandwich Topping
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed
3 oz sundried tomatoes in oil (I use a little less than half of an 8.5 ounce jar)
10 kalamata olives, pitted
10 pimento-stuffed green olives or pitted green olives
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cornichons (also known as gherkins)
small bunch of parsley
minced hot pepper, to taste (optional)
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan, for serving

Roughly chop first 7 ingredients (roasted red peppers through cornichons) and put in a medium bowl. Remove leaves from parsley and roughly chop; add to bowl. Add hot pepper, if using. Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. Store covered in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Serve on focaccia or as part of a sandwich. Tastes great with Parmesan grated on top.


Sweet Bourbon Corn Pudding

November 13, 2013

The first time I had this dish was at my in-laws’ house. When I heard we were having corn pudding, I was thinking “yuck.” One bite and that yuck turned to yum! I must have gotten pretty excited about it, because my mother-in-law has made it for me several times since then, and now calls it “Jill’s corn.”

Bourbon Corn Pudding

This dish is a little sweet, a little bourbon-y, and full of corn goodness. Last year I made it for Thanksgiving instead of my family’s usual corn dish, and it went over really well. I made a double-batch to ensure that I had leftovers; it’s just as good reheated in the microwave the next day. 

Sweet Bourbon Corn PuddingFrom AARP The Magazine

3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups canned cream-style corn (note that this is 2 cups, not 2 cans – you’ll need a little more than 1 can)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

  1. Spray an 8″ square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and bourbon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until combined. Whisk in the cornstarch and bourbon mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir with a spoon. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 45-48 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer jiggly in the center. Serve warm.

Note: I usually have to bake it longer, especially if making a double-batch.


Two-Ingredient Chocolate Buttercream

November 12, 2013

Frosting made with just butter and chocolate chips? Believe it!


It looks like frosting, tastes like frosting, and is really easy to make.

Cupcakes with frosting

Heads up:  You need to plan ahead a bit because the butter and chocolate chips are melted, cooled, and then brought back to room temperature before mixing into a fluffy, smooth frosting. But it’s worth the wait! You’ll find the recipe here on Cookies and Cups. I made a smaller amount, using 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, which worked just fine.


New York-Style Pizza Sauce

November 10, 2013

This is my go-to pizza sauce. It’s quick to make, no-cook, and most importantly, it’s delicious.


I like a not-so-sweet sauce and this fits the bill. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add some extra sugar.

It makes about 2 2/3 cups, which is more than I need for one pizza. The rest goes into the freezer for an even quicker pizza next time!

Pizza Sauce

I found the recipe long ago in Cooking Light; you can find it here on My Recipes. It is best with fresh basil, but in the winter, I substitute about 3/4 Tablespoon dried for the 2 Tablespoons fresh called for in the recipe.


Sloppy Joes from Ellie Krieger

November 9, 2013

Happy Saturday! How about a sloppy joe?

Sloppy Joe

I wouldn’t normally put sloppy joes in the “exciting meal” category, but this recipe made an impact. They don’t have the typical sweet-smoky flavor – not that there’s anything wrong with a standard sloppy joe – but these were a nice change.

I loved the addition of pinto beans and red bell pepper, both of which add a nice flavor and texture. My husband described this as having a “fresh, light” taste and he appreciated that it didn’t make the bun soggy. Speaking of buns, I went the extra mile and made King Arthur Flour’s Beautiful Burger Buns, which are oh-my-gosh so delicious. Homemade buns or not, give these sloppy joes a try!

Recipe notes:

  • The recipe is on page 91 of The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. I’ve made lots of recipes from this book and have enjoyed all of them. You can also find it here on the Food Network’s website.
  • I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • I didn’t want to deal with leftover tomato sauce, so I put in a whole can, which was a bit more than the 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans: a Tale of Two Beans

November 3, 2013

We eat a lot of Mexican food, and refried beans are a favorite side dish. After trying a few recipes, I found one that I liked, but didn’t love. I made it quite a few times, always trying to liven it up a bit with things like cumin, chipotle in adobo, or hot sauce. Each time, it was good, but not quite there.

And then…I switched the bean. The recipe calls for pinto beans and says that you can also use black beans. I had been making it with black beans, so I decided to try pinto beans instead. What a difference! Tastiest refried beans ever!

You can find the recipe (and a lovely photo) here on Alaska from Scratch. Note that this recipe makes a whole lot of beans; I usually make a half batch.


Rosemary Focaccia

November 2, 2013

I’m a big fan of focaccia. I’ve made quite a few different recipes but this one might be the one.

Rosemary Focaccia

Could you say no to this wedge of deliciousness?

It takes just moments to mix up the starter, which sits overnight. On baking day, there is some amount of tending to the dough between several short rises. Nothing complicated and it’s totally worth it. If you’re ready to get baking, you’ll find the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated here.


TwD Baking with Julia: Baked Yogurt Tart

July 2, 2013

I’m a huge fan of yogurt, so when I saw this recipe for a Baked Yogurt Tart, I was ready to give it a try. Topped with fresh local strawberries, this was a delicious summer dessert.


The filling has nonfat yogurt, eggs, sugar, flour, and a whopping 2 tablespoons of vanilla. The filling goes into a partially baked pie crust , the fruit goes on top, and the whole thing is baked until it is set and lightly browned. If you have pie crust in your freezer like I did, this is quick and easy to make.

The end result was a soft, fluffy, light, very vanilla-y filling inside of a flaky pastry crust. Baking it with fruit was tasty, but this would also be good baked without fruit and topped with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce.

Recipe Notes

  • I used an 8″ pie dish instead of the 9″ specified in the recipe, so I had some extra filling.
  • I served it directly out of the baking dish rather than inverting it to remove it from the pan.
  • In most cases, when a recipe says it is best served the day it is made, I think it’s perfectly fine the next day. This recipe, however, was by far at its best the day it was baked. After a night in the refrigerator, the texture and flavor couldn’t compare with the previous day (though if I had let it warm to room temperature, it possibly would have been better).

This recipe, baked by the Tuesdays with Dorie group this week, is on page 378 of Baking with Julia. You can also find the recipe here.

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