Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Blood Orange Sorbet

 It's almost summer vacation! We started out with a chain this long (27 links) a few weeks ago and now we're down to 8 links.
We had Open House at the girls' school and Mother's Day & Father's Day events in both preschool and kindergarten.  I went with Middle to her last field trip of the year and took Big to visit family and friends in the Midwest.  It seems like now the To Do lists are in full effect . . . everything I need to do to finish up my quarter at work, to get ready for 2 months away, and to get through the last two weeks of the school year with the girls.  It's exciting!





One of the almost summer things we've been doing is using our ice cream maker.  I found David Lebovitz's method for sorbet (link below in the recipe) and I'm sold.  I usually make a simple syrup adding water to the sugar but with his technique, the flavor and texture was outstanding.  I think it's the lack of water and/or the addition of a couple tablespoons of champagne.  Serving sorbet with champagne is always a good idea but adding it to the mixture is something I haven't tried before.  These ratios and the method will work for other fruits / citrus as well.  Two additional notes:  Lebovitz doesn't strain his juice and I recommend tasting the sweetness of your juice and adjusting the sugar amount slightly.  My juice was really sweet so I used less sugar than what it says below.


Blood Orange Sorbet
from David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

Blood oranges
Sugar
Champagne or sparkling wine (optional)

Method:
1.  Juice your oranges and measure the juice
2.  For every 1 cup of juice, add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
3.  Put the sugar in a small saucepan and add enough juice to saturate the sugar.  Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
4.  Add the liquid with the dissolved sugar to the rest of the juice and place in the refrigerator until chilled.  Optional:  When completely chilled, add 2 tablespoons of champagne or sparkling wine per cup of juice mixture.
5.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chicken & Mushrooms


This was a great weeknight meal that reminded me a lot of the  Peppered Beef Stroganoff - you could use this method of making the mushroom sauce without heavy cream to lighten up that recipe or make a dairy free version.  If dairy is an issue, also use all olive oil and no butter when you saute the chicken initially.  I put a note also about gluten - just skip the flour part or use a gf flour if you need to.  Finally, if you don't have or don't want to use the white wine, just substitute more chicken broth for that ingredient.
  
I served this with some roasted veggies and everyone in the family liked it!


Chicken and Mushrooms in a Garlic White Wine Sauce (serves 4)
Skinny Taste Blog
Ingredients:
8 chicken tenderloins, 16 oz total 
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour (use a gf flour or skip this step to make it gluten free)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 200°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour. 
Heat a large skillet on medium heat; when hot add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside in a warm oven.

Add additional oil and butter to the skillet, then garlic and cook a few seconds; add mushrooms, salt and pepper stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, chicken broth, parsley; stir the pan with a wooden spoon breaking up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook a few more minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. Top the chicken with the mushroom sauce and serve.
4sp

    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Hash Waffles

    I know I'm late to the waffle party - I haven't made much other than actual waffles in my waffle iron although I've been wanting to try the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls since Hannah told me they work great.

    We're not big potato or hash brown people in general but this recipe has been popular around our house.  Well, after the first time when my husband though it was an actual waffle and poured syrup all over it.  I'll typically make one and split it between the two of us as a side with eggs or omelets.  There's a picture of this with the fritatta in the last post.

    Recipe notes . . . I buy the frozen hash browns that don't have extra ingredients - that are basically just the potatoes.  I imagine you could shred your own and it would be the same but I usually take the short cut and keep a bag in my freezer.  Where the recipe says "Other seasonings," I've tried this with diced green chiles and cumin and usually put hot sauce on it after it's cooked.  You could do chopped spinach, other diced veggies, cooked diced bacon etc.

    Hash Waffle (makes 1 large waffle)

    3/4 cup frozen shredded hash browns (thawed)
    1 egg
    3 T egg whites (about 2 large)
    salt and pepper to taste
    any other seasonings

    Preheat waffle iron.  Beat eggs and seasonings in a bowl.  Stir in thawed hash browns and mix well.  Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray.  Pour mixture into iron and spread evenly.  Cook until browned and cooked through - or when your waffle iron light comes on (or goes off?)

    3sp

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    Butternut Squash Fritatta

    After a busy April, I'm back on the blog for May!  In case you forgot what we all look like (or want to see how quickly my kids have been changing and growing), here are a few recent photos.



    Crazy right?  Some days I look at her and wonder where my little Big went . . . sigh . . .

    I've been on a "breakfast-for-dinner" kick since Valentine's Day.  I think it started with my new waffle iron and my discovery of the hash waffle - hash browns in the waffle iron.  These are two of my favorite recent recipes and I think you'll love them for breakfast or for dinner.

    Look at this yummy base for the fritatta!

    Butternut Squash Frittata (6 slices)
    from Emily Bites Blog

    1.5 tsp canola oil
    2 cups butternut squash (cut into bite sized cubes)
    1.5 oz proscuitto or center cut bacon
    1 cup fresh spinach
    8 eggs
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
    1/2 tsp. dried sage
    1/2 tsp. dried thyme
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 oz parmesan cheese (grated or finely shredded)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat an oven safe skillet on the stove top to medium high.  Add the oil and butternut squash and stir to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the proscuitto or bacon and cook, stirring, for another two minutes.  Add the spinach and cook for two more minutes or until the spinach is wilted and everything is nicely browned (like in the photo above).

    While the squash is cooking, crack the eggs into a large bowl, then add the yogurt, sage, thyme, and parmesan cheese.  Whisk to combine into a smooth custard.  Season with salt and pepper.

    When the squash, proscuitto, and spinach are cooked, spray the pan (get the edges and any part that doesn't have some oil from the proscuitto) with olive oil spray.  Then, pour the egg mixture over, stirring slightly to evenly combine with the squash mixture.  Cook on the stovetop at medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the very outside edge looks cooked.  Carefully transfer to the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the center of the fritatta is set.

    Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then slice and serve!

     5sp per slice

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Veggies


    Okay, super easy and healthy weeknight dinner coming up!  My kids ate this (they picked out the veggies they didn't like and ate the ones they did) and I chopped the vegetables earlier in the day so I could throw it all in the oven after we were done at tennis practice that afternoon.

    You can substitute dried herbs for fresh if you want (reduce to 1tsp each) or breasts for thighs but I think both the fresh herbs and thighs make this melt in your mouth!  You can also add different vegetables.  Just make sure that the chicken and vegetables don't touch (don't crowd the pan - use two if you need to) so it roasts instead of steams and that you cut your vegetables into similar sizes so they cook at about the same rate.

    Balsamic Roasted Chicken & Veggies (serves 4)
    from Skinny Taste blog

    1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs
    10 medium asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
    2 red bell peppers, sliced
    1 red onion, cut into chunks
    5 oz sliced mushrooms
    2 zucchini, cut into long wedges
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    6 T balsamic vinegar
    2 T olive oil
    1 T chopped fresh rosemary
    1 T chopped fresh sage
    1 T chopped fresh thyme or oregano
    cooking spray
    salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and spray rimmed baking sheets with olive oil or cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, combine everything (chicken, veggies, vinegar, olive oil, herbs) and massage with your hands.  Add more salt and pepper if you'd like.  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
    (8sp)

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    No more 3 year olds!


    One of my favorite ages (so far) has been 1.5 - 3 years old . . . I love hearing their ideas and discoveries and their general enthusiasm for life at this age.  So, this week the baby turned 4 and I will never have a 3 year old again!  While that did make me sad for a little while, we had a weekend away with the girls and I can honestly say they are a lot of fun (even after 3 years old!) and my favorite people to be around!

    Here are some photos of Little and a couple of recent stories.  The other day she asked me, "I know that babies come from the belly, but where do grown ups come from?"  I thought I explained it pretty well (that babies grow into kids who grow into big kids who become grown ups) but then at my mom's  house, she still wasn't sure where they come from.  My mom used some of my old photos as a baby and kid to help out.

    For the last week or so, she's asked  us to call her "the birthday girl" instead of her name and on her actual birthday, wanted me to tell everyone we met that it was her birthday that day.  We hung out with one of her uncles who she doesn't see often and later said that "seeing her uncle" was the best part of her birthday.  She loves being fancy, taking care of her dolls, and the movie Frozen.  She is an amazing eater and often cleans her plate before her sisters do.  When she grows up, she wants to be "a mermaid, a fairy, a police officer or a hair saloner."  She knows how to spell her name and is often on the lookout (on signs when we drive in the car or in books we read) for the letters in her name.

    We love you 4-year-old Mini!


    She did not make this snowman but wanted her picture taken with it "like Olaf!"

    Look!  It's love!

    Future occupation - fairy


    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Happy Birthday to Me!

     

    My birthday is the day before Valentine's Day and I often make myself a cake.  We had friends over for dinner on Friday night, so I did it early to celebrate with them.  It was a big hit - little kept telling me "you should always make this cake" or  asking "when will you make this cake again?" and ate most of the leftovers herself!  We have meyer lemons on our trees and if you have access to a few fresh lemons, chances are, you also have the rest of these ingredients on hand.  You could even pull this off for Valentine's Day today!  Don't skip the lemon syrup at the end!

    How cute is my new spatula?!?

    Lemon Bundt Cake
    from Martha Stewart

    For the cake:
    2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
    3 c. all purpose flour
    2 T finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
    1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    2 1/2 cups sugar
    6 large eggs
    1 cup sour cream

    For the lemon syrup:
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1/2 cup sugar

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bundt pan with baking spray (or coat with butter and flour).  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking soda, and salt.

    In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes).  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in the lemon juice.

    With mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and sour cream (beginning and ending with flour mixture) until blended but do not overmix.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula and tap the pan on the counter to level the batter.

    Bake until a tester in the center comes out clean (50-60 minutes).  My cake got pretty brown in the first 30 minutes so I tented the top with aluminum foil for the rest of the time.

    Make lemon syrup by combining the lemon juice and sugar in a small sauce pan.  Whisk it over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool to room temperature.

    Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes and then turn out on a rack to cool completely.  Poke holes all over the cooled cake and brush with lemon syrup.  If it won't absorb it all, let it sit for about 20 minutes and continue to brush with the rest of the syrup.