Sunday, May 31, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I love oatmeal. It is so filling and there are so many ways it can be prepared. This is my all-time favorite way, full of flavor and so good for you.

1/2 cup 1 minute quick oats
1 grated apple
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
hot water
splash of milk

Mix together the oats, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Then grate the apple (skin on) and add that to the mixture. Add enough hot water to suit your oatmeal thickening preference. Add a splash of milk on top (optional)

calorie count: about 260 (300 if you add milk)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mongolian Beef

adapted from Foodie Bride

This is a take on the popular Chinese restaurant favorite. It was easy to put together, and had a light spicy flavor. Next time I would probably add some fresh chilies to make it a little hotter, but as is this dinner is a crowd pleaser.

1 lb flank steak, sliced thinly
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tsp oil, divided
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup water
1cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar (measured, not packed)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (I used 1 tsp chili powder)
Garnish with sesame seeds or sliced green onion

Pat steak slices dry and add to a bowl with cornstarch. Toss to coat and shake off excess starch.

Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and pepper flakes. cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl.

Turn the heat to high and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef strips and cook until browned on all sides. Pour the sauce back into the wok and stir for several minutes, then remove from heat. Serve with rice and vegetables, garnish and enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Divine Tuna Sandwiches

Ben and I love tuna fish sandwiches. They are so filling and light and can be made in a snap.

2 cans tuna
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup pickles, chopped
Swiss cheese
spicy mustard
tomatoes, sliced
avocado, sliced

Mix the tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper and pickles. Spread mustard on one side of the bread and cover with a little cheese. Toast the bread until the cheese melts. Put together the sandwiches and serve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whole Grain Chocolate Banana Bread

from Whole Grain Gourmet

This bread was great, 100% whole grain and studded with sweet, chocolaty goodness. Mine came out a bit crumbly, and next time I may add a tablespoon of lemon juice or oil to help it hold together better. Still, the taste was great and I will definitely be making this again.

1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 3-4)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthurs has extra gluten to help hold it together!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (dark is best!)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Combine flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
In a larger bowl, combine butter, honey and sugar and beat for two minutes. Add the eggs and lightly beat until just combined. Mix in the bananas and vanilla, being careful not to overmix. Slowly add the flour mixture.
Put the hot water in a separate bowl, and add the baking soda. Then beat it into the batter. Gently fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 325 for 52 minutes. A knife should come out clean when stabbed through the bread, if it is not, put it in for another couple of minutes.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuna Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

Adapted from Allrecipes

This is a great salad for those wanting to eat a light meal, but not lose out on flavor.

Large bunch of leafy greens
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans tuna, drained
1 jar Kalamata olives
crumbled Feta
1 cucumber, diced
3 tomatoes, diced

6 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Drain tuna and add salt and pepper. Combine salad ingredients, serving the tuna on the side. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Polynesian Style Meatballs

adapted from Don't Forget Delicious

Ok, I know this is my third meatball recipe, but for some reason (pregnancy?) I have been really craving meat lately... These meatballs may be my all-time favorite, the flavor was spicy and unique and they were a cinch to put together.

1 lb ground pork
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs (or quick oats)
1-3 tsp chili sauce (depending on how much heat you like)
3/4 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
2 tsp mustard
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz pineapple chunks, plus juice
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup beef stock
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together pork, egg, oats, chili sauce, ginger root, mustard, soy sauce and salt. Roll into balls and brown them in a frying pan on the stove. Once browned, put in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes (or until cooked all the way through)

In the same frying pan, heat the pineapple + juice and onion until just boiling. Add in the bell pepper, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine vinegar, brown sugar, stock and cornstarch and mix together. Add to the pineapple mixture and stir to combine. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Add meatballs back into the pan and toss to coat. Serve over hot rice.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

adapted from Make Healthy Meals

I love pancakes. They remind be of Saturday mornings in the summer when my dad would come in from mowing the lawn, turn on oldies music and make a special breakfast for all of us kids. We would sleepily stumble down the stairs, lured in by the good smells and music.
In trying to be at least a little bit healthier, I have been experimenting with different whole wheat/oat pancakes and these have been the best recipe thus far.

Makes about 8 medium pancakes (serves 2)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp oil

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Then add in the wet ingredients one at a time, stirring after each addition. Heat a skillet to medium, add a little bit of oil or Pam and pour about 1/2 cup of batter on to the surface. Once bubbles appear on the surface, check the bottom of the pancake. If it looks lightly browned, flip it over and cook the other side.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes

adapted from Mango & Tomato

Who doesn't love cheesecake? It is so decadent, I can never eat more than a small peice but that small peice packs in a punch. These were so good and went very quickly.

I decided that baking them into mini cheesecakes would help with portion control, and though it really didn't help THAT much, it made it much easier to put half locked up in the freezer for another day. Out of sight, out of mind right?

2 cups of mashed oreos (or other cream filled cookie)
1/4 cup butter, melted


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

24 oz cream cheese (I used lite)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 359. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into cupcake cups. Set aside.
Combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Then add the eggs one at a time, and gently incorporate them into the mix. Try not to beat it. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all of the air bubbles to the surface.
Bake for about 30 minutes. You are waiting for the cake to hold together, but still have a little jiggle in the center. Take them out of the oven to rest on the counter to cool. Once they are room temperature, put them into the fridge to chill.

To prevent cracks: Don't beat the eggs. Let the cakes cool slowly before putting in the fridge. Also, placing a dish with water underneath your pan called a "water bath" will help it bake more evenly, preventing cracks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Slow Roasted Lamb

Adapted from Dinner Diary

This recipe does not have many ingredients and is simple to prepare. It happily cooks for 4 hours while you go about your day and when you go to retrieve it, the meat just falls off the bone.

1 lamb shoulder (about 4 lbs), with the bone in
1 bunch fresh rosemary (or 2 Tbsp dried)
1 bulb garlic, broken into unpeeled cloves
olive oil
black pepper

1 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dried mint

Preheat your oven to 400. Using a sharp knife, cut gently into the fat layer of the lamb creating a criss-cross pattern about 1" apart. Pour some olive oil over the lamb, massage it in with your hands and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, rubbing in the seasoning well.

Lightly coat the bottom of your lidded casserole dish with olive oil and scatter about half of the rosemary and garlic at the bottom. Place the lamb into the dish, top with the other half of rosemary and garlic and put it in the oven, covered. Turn down the temperature to 325.

Cook for 4 hours.

Remove the lamb from the dish and cover it with foil to rest. Reserve the juices, skimming off the fat and discard any large sprigs of rosemary or papery garlic skins. Mash the garlic cloves into the liquid and transfer to a sauce pan. Combine the flour and stock, and pour it into the sauce pan, allowing the liquid to boil (stirring constantly) for about 5 minutes. Then add in the the capers, mint and red wine vinegar and boil a couple of minutes more, then pour into a gravy dish for serving.

The lamb should be tender enough where it falls off the bone. Gently pull it apart with two forks and serve with potatoes, green vegetables and plenty of sauce. Divine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal

Just like Elvis, I have always been a fan of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. It is such an ingenious combination, and it makes an easy transition into oatmeal. This is a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that will keep you going until lunch.

1/2 cup quick 1- min cooking oats
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a sprinkle of chili powder (slightly less than 1/8 tsp)
a sprinkle of salt
1 Tbsp peanut butter
boiling water (at least 1-2 cups)
1/8 tsp vanilla
1 medium mashed banana

Boil water on the stove. In a bowl, whisk together oats, sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and salt. Add the peanut butter in the center, but do not stir.
When the water boils, add water to oats mixture a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Stir until peanut butter melts, then add vanilla and mashed banana.

Calorie count: approx 400

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

Adapted through trial and error from Cafe Rio

Living in Finland, we are pretty hard pressed to find good Mexican food. There are some restaurants that make a stab at it, but it's just not the same. The best way to truly recreate it is to make it ourselves. The Tex-Mex style dish I crave the most is the Sweet Pork Salad from Cafe Rio in my native Utah. There for only 7 bucks you can get a huge delicious meal that will haunt your dreams.

Cafe Rio Style Sweet Pork
4 lbs pork loin
1 liter Coke (not diet)
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 can (7 oz) green chilies or 3-4 fresh chilies, minced
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1-2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground mustard
salt to taste

Marinate the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc back with 1 1/2 cup Coke and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Marinate for a few hours to over night.

Put marinade and pork in a crock pot (or in a large pot on the stove). Add the rest of the brown sugar, chilies, garlic, cumin, and mustard, plus enough Coke to cover most of the meat. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 8 hours. We usually start it late at night and it is done by the next morning. The pork should be tender and shred easily. Check on it every once in a while to make sure there is enough juice (you don't want it to get too dry).

Cafe Rio Style Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime, plus the grated rind
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro

In a saucepan, combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp lime, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender. In the meantime combine 1 Tbsp lime juice plus the rind, sugar and cilantro. Once the rice is done, mix the two together

Cafe Rio Style Black Beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c tomato juice
1 /12 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro

Pico de Gallo
6 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
2-3 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced *optional
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch:
1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalepeño

or you can use my personal favorite dressing,

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!

Also needed:
lettuce (Romaine or other leafy green, not iceburg)
guacamole (optional)
sour cream (optional)
Parmesan cheese
large tortillas

Ok, I know this looks like a huge ordeal. But it is definitely worth the effort.
You will have to start the day before to get the meat going (although in a pinch, you could probably do it in 4-5 hours). Then prepare the rice, beans and pico de gallo as directed.

When you are ready to eat, start with the tortilla. Warm it gently on the stove, then put it on a plate and add a scoop of warmed rice and beans, and a generous helping of pork (also warmed up). Add the lettuce, pico de gallo, a small scoop of guacamole and sour cream and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Serve the dressing of your choice on the side. Eat, and repeat.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thin Crust Pizza

Adapted from Frolicking Foodie

When it comes to pizza, I am a thin crust kind of girl. I think it allows you to enjoy the different flavors without filling up on bread. Anyway, after trying several recipes, I finally found a thin crust that we both liked.

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp oil (I used oil from sun dried tomatoes)
1 1/2 cup warm water

tomato sauce
mushrooms, sliced
zucchini, thinly sliced
olives, sliced
mozzarella cheese

Mix the sugar, yeast, oil and water together in a bowl and leave for 5-10 minutes, or until it is foamy. Sift salt and flour and combine wet and dry ingredients, slowly incorporating them. It will start out really messy and slowly come together to form a nice smooth dough. Knead together for about 10 minutes.

After the dough is mixed, put it in a bowl, splash on a bit of oil (just until coated) and let it rise in a sunny spot until it has doubled in size. (this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how warm the spot is)

Preheat the oven to 375. Once doubled, take the dough out and cut off a chunk that fits the size that you want. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is a little less than 1/2 centimeter thick and let it rest for a few minutes. Then slather on the sauce and toppings and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Niçoise Salad

from Dana Treat

This is a French cousin of the Cobb salad. While the exact ingredients vary, there are similar elements that make for a very interesting meal. And if I have to eat salad, it better be interesting.

leafy green salad, washed and torn to pieces
green beans, cut
tuna (canned or grilled)
tomatoes, diced
kalamata olives
hard boiled eggs, sliced
small boiled potatoes

Boil beans until crisp-tender (about 2-3 minutes), take them out and dunk them in cold water. Drain water and set aside. Boil potatoes until tender enough that a knife can slip in and out easily (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes and set aside.

Fill a pot with cold water, add the eggs and bring water to a boil. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Allow eggs to sit covered for about 12 minutes, then take them out and dunk them in cold water to halt the cooking process. Allow eggs to cool, drain the water, peel, and cut into slices.

Arrange greens with other ingredients placed decoratively around the platter. Serve dressing of choice on the side.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spicy Sloppy Joes

This is one of those childhood classics that I remember as a child. They are cheap, easy and liked by kids everywhere. As an adult I prefer my Joe a little spicier, but feel free to ease up on the heat according to the tastes of your guests.

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup (or tomato sauce)
dash of chili (adjust to your tastes)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
sandwich buns

Heat oil in a skillet and saute onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery, seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then add beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain off fat. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and sugar to beef mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, then scoop into sandwiches and serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Roasted Dill Chicken

adapted from Life's Ambrosia

This was so easy to put together and has a versatile flavor. Dill is such a fantastic herb.
Perfect for Sunday dinner!

6-8 chicken drumsticks
3 Tbsp olive oil
3-5 sprigs of fresh dill (or 1 Tbsp dried)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, dill, vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the chicken and marinade from 2 hours to overnight. The longer the better.

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a baking dish and pour marinade over the top. Put foil on top and bake for 1 hour, remove foil and allow chicken to brown for 30 minutes more.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rachel Sandwiches

Ben is a real sauerkraut man, so this is one of his favorite sandwiches.
Pickles on the side are a must!

Rye Bread (we used whole wheat this time, but Rye is proper.)
Swiss Cheese
Thousand Island Dressing

Lay the bread open faced on a cookie sheet. On one half of the sandwich, place meat and cheese, on the other put sauerkraut and mustard. Toast in the oven until crunchy, then put a layer of Thousand Island in the middle and enjoy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roasted Red Potatoes

adapted from Life's Ambrosia

This is easy and cheap and looks great as a side for any meal.

4 medium red potatoes, washed and diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
dash of chili powder
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and spices and mix well. Pour the olive oil on the potatoes in a medium bowl and toss until evenly coated. Place potato mixture in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet or parchment paper, and bake on the highest rack for 3o minutes. Take them out half way through and stir the potatoes, being careful to return them to a single layer. If you want them to be golden brown and crispy, turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I love pie. Really love it. And strawberry rhubarb happens to be one of my all time favorites. Unfortunately, fresh rhubarb is only available in early spring (cooler climates), so you have to act quickly to get a piece of the action. Because this sour stalk waits for no one. And she is so worth it.

2 (9 inch) pie crusts *top and bottom
3 1/2 cups of sliced rhubarb
3 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg + 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 400. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Toss gently to combine.

This is a very juicy pie, so you may have to take some precautions so your bottom crust doesn't get soggy. I would recommend a "blind bake" where you press the crust into the pan, line it with parchment paper or a coffee filter and fill it with hard beans or rice to help it hold it's shape. Bake the crust for 20 minutes with the weights, then remove them and bake an additional 10 minutes. You can also brush egg white on the bottom before adding the filling to better seal it from the juice. Another tip is to bake the pie (when the filling is inside) on the lowest possible position to transfer more heat to the bottom crust and help dry it out before it absorbs too much liquid.

After preparing the bottom pie crust, pour the filling in the pie and place the other crust on top. Carve out a hole to release steam and brush on the egg wash and sprinkle the top with a little sugar. Cover edges loosely with foil and bake for about 25 minutes on 400, then remove foil, reduce the heat and bake an additional 25 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Red Potato Salad

adapted from Allrecipes

Spring means it's picnic time! For the May day celebration here in Finland, I was in charge of making the classic potato salad for our Vappu picnic. The bacon in this recipe adds some nice flavor, and the cucumber and celery have a nice crunch to them. Feel free to add or substitute as needed, this recipe is pretty flexible.

2 lbs scrubbed red potatoes
6 eggs
1 lb bacon
1 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small cucumber, diced
1 cup mayonnaise (could substitute 1/2 cup for light sour cream)
1 tsp dill
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp mustard
dill pickles, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain water and set in refrigerator to cool.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 10-12 minutes, then remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

Cook bacon in a deep skillet over medium high heat until evenly browned. Drain grease, crumble and set aside.

Chop the cooled potatoes, leaving the skin on. Add to a large bowl, along with the eggs, bacon, onion, celery, pickles and cucumber. Mix the mayonnaise with spices and mustard and combine with potato mixture. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pineapple Chili Chicken

adapted from My Kitchen

This chicken is hot and sweet. When choosing the chili sauce be sure to pick one that reflects the tastes of your guests, some can be really hot while others are mildly tangy.

3-4 chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 large can crushed or cubed pineapple (plus the juice)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour or cornstarch
green onion (garnish)

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Saute garlic and ginger about 1 minute, then add pineapple (plus juice), ketchup, and chili sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool.

2. Once the sauce is cool, pour over the chicken and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Then place the chicken and sauce in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 300 F for 2 hours.

3. Take out the chicken, reserving the liquid, pan sear and set aside (keep warm). Take the liquid and put it in a frying pan, skimming the fat off the top. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid, adding flour or cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Pour sauce over the chicken, garnish with green onions and serve.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spinach Quiche

Quiche is a dish my mom always made really well. It's pretty easy to put together and a great way to get kids to eat vegetables.
I found that this is a great way to clean out the fridge when you have just a little bit of everything left over. This is a very flexible recipe and feel free to add or remove vegetables according to your tastes.

This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, and I split them into one pie and a muffin tin of mini quiches. It's great for breakfast, parties or dinner.

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced ham
8 oz Feta
1 cup Swiss cheese
8 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 (9 inch) deep pie crusts

Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium skillet saute garlic and onion until lightly browned. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta, zucchini, diced tomatoes, diced ham and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir often until mixture is combined and heated. Spoon mixture into pie crust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper, add 1/2 cup cheese. Then pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until it is set in the center. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Smitten Kitchen

Peanut Butter has got to be one of America's greatest accomplishments. The majority of Europe really doesn't know what it is missing (although they did invent Nutella, which is pretty close to perfection). What peanut butter they do sell here really doesn't cut it (expensive and weird tasting), so I can see why people here don't have a good impression.

In an attempt to gently persuade my Finnish friends into seeing the virtues of peanut butter, I sought this recipe out. These cookies are great and really hold onto that unique peanut butter flavor all the while being a pretty fantastic cookie.

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (or half peanut butter chips)

Preheat oven t0 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly into wet mixture and then add chocolate chips.

Place 1 Tbsp sugar onto a plate and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough into the sugar, then onto a cookie sheet, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork or spatula, lightly indent or tap cookies (do not overly flatten). Bake for 10 minutes, careful not to overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.