Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All-in-One Breakfast Muffins

These muffins are really taking my breakfast routine by storm. First of all, they are so easy to prepare ahead and freeze. When its time for breakfast, pop it in the microwave for a bit and you've got a fresh from the oven tasting muffin.

On top of all that, these muffins take the stars from all your favorite breakfast classics and roll them into one quick bite. You've got your eggs, some oatmeal, bananas and throw in some chocolate chips for good measure. I mean, who wouldn't want to start the day with some chocolate.

To make a dozen muffins, you are going to need

3 medium bananas, extra ripe
1 cup milk (I've used both regular and almond milk and they both taste great)
2 large eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
3 1/2 cups oats (see note below)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat up your oven to 375F degrees and prepare a muffin tin by lining each cup with a muffin liner.

Now we can 'prepare' the oats. To do so, I use old fashioned oats and pulse them in a food processor until about half are shredded. Make sure to leave some of the oats whole as they add a nice texture to the muffin.

Ready for the really easy part? Put all of your ingredients in one bowl (EXCEPT the chocolate chips) and mix together using a hand mixer or your stand mixer. Yup, toss them all in there for one big party.

Toss in your chocolate chips and mix in with a spoon.

Scoop the mixture into your muffin liners so they are just filled, right to the top. These muffins do not have a big rise, so don't be afraid to fill them right to the top. Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top for good measure. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before you freeze, or enjoy them right away.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crispy, Crunchy Broccoli & Asparagus

Now that spring is just about in full bloom, it is only a matter of time before the BBQs and picnics start rolling around. This simple side dish is going to be your favorite companion. Broccoli and asparagus are a match made in heaven when you toss in a little garlic and some breadcrumbs.

In order to make enough to share with 3 of your friends, your going to need:

2 heads of broccoli
1 large bunch of asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Chop the asparagus into bite sized pieces and cut the stems off the broccoli. Toss together in a colander to rinse off.

Add half of the oil to a large skillet and toss in your finely chopped/minced garlic. I like my garlic to be chopped so I can really chunks of it in each bite, but feel free to mince it into a paste for a more subtle flavor.

Drop in the cleaned veggies and top with the other half of olive oil. Give everything a good stir. Lower the heat to medium and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or so with the cover on to soften up, especially the broccoli.

Remove the cover and bump up the heat. We want to get the veggies browned and slightly charred so they can be nice a crispy. Toss in the breadcrumbs and mix it around. Continue to cook so the breadcrumbs become toasted and crunchy.

Remove from the skillet into a large serving bowl. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Extra Large, Super Moist Corn Muffins

As promised, here is a great new recipe for those corn muffins that snuck into some photos last week. These muffins rise to high heights but still stay moist with the addition of yogurt. Plus there is a dash of cinnamon in there that adds the perfect taste to cut the heat in a bowl of spicy chili.

Ingredients (6 super large muffins)
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/4 canola oil
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and grease your muffin pan. Whisk together the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the corn kernels.

Whisk yogurt, milk, oil and eggs.  

Pour the mixture of wet ingredients into the dry ones and give it a good mix, but be sure not to over mix. 

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full.

Cook until lightly brown and until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18-22 minutes. 

These will keep fresh in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quick & Dirty Turkey Chili

Man do I love chili! It's just so good.

So here in New York, good old Mother Nature has been giving us a bit of the run around. Monday was a sunny 75 degrees. A perfectly, lovely spring day if you ask me. Then Tuesday came and brought with it freezing rain. And to make matters worse, I woke up to snow on Wednesday. Yes, snow! I'm not sure what is going on around here, but this chili sure brightened me right up, regardless of all the rain and snow.

Chili is so great because of its many complex flavors, from various peppers to spices. Some people make their chili a scientific formula, with hours of slow cooking and getting the balance just right. That's great and all, but lets be honest, we don't always have 5+ hours to sit around and cook up a bowl of chili. That's where the quick & dirty turkey chili comes into play. Done in under 30 minutes, this is your go to chili recipe for a last minute weeknight meal.

30 minutes, you're asking? Yea, you heard right. Here's what your going to need for about 6 servings:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small pepper (you chose the type based on your need for heat!)
2 lbs ground turkey (you can also use ground chicken or beef, whatever your heart desires)
2 tsp chili powder
29 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
16 oz jar of your favorite chunky salsa

In a large pan, heat your olive oil and throw in the pepper. Make sure to finely dice the pepper. No one wants a big chunk of jalapeno in their first scoop of chili. Saute for about 30 seconds, just to heat up and then add in the ground turkey. Cook on medium heat until turkey is cooked through and starting to brown.

Sprinkle the mixture with chili powder, toss in your beans and pour in the water and salsa. Make sure to drain and rinse your beans so they are not sticky or gooey. 

Give everything a good stir and cover to bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove cover and let simmer, while continuously stirring. This is going to help the chili really thicken up. Also, using a potato masher, gently smash some of the beans to add extra thickness. Be sure to keep some whole, as this will give your chili some body.

Once you reach your desired thickness, about 15 minutes or so of simmering, cut the heat and transfer to a serving dish. Or if you are a savage like me, serve yourself straight from the pan. Now feel free to add some toppings, such as sour cream or shredded cheese. Me, I am good with just my chili and a corn muffin. 

Now that's what I call a good bowl of chili. Enjoy!

PS - check back next week for a new recipe for the corn muffins. They have a special kick due to a few secret ingredients I think your going to love!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Coconut & Vanilla Rice Pudding

For the past week or so, I have had a craving for rice pudding. Since a little girl, I've always loved rice pudding. I don't know what it is, but it is so different from most desserts I usually have my eye on. Additionally, it can be easy to customize with your own favorite flavors. After this batch, I am curious to try swapping out the coconut milk for almond milk and seeing how that goes. Don't worry, I will make sure to keep you posted.

To get started you will need the following for about 6 servings.

1 1/2 cups cold cooked white rice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt

Scrape out the insides of the vanilla bean into a large sauce pot and toss in the remaining ingredients. Cook on medium-low heat at a simmer. Cook for 40-45 minutes until liquid is soaked up and mixture is creamy.

Remove into a serving dish and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before cooling in the refrigerator. Serve cold. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top too! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Patty Melt

Who doesn't love a patty melt? The gooey, melted cheese on butter toasted bread that comes from a delicious grilled cheese, stuffed with a juicy burger and sweet, caramelized onions. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. These are extra delicious and so quick to whip up on short notice. I would give it 20 minutes tops!

To make 4 delicious patty melts, you will need:

4 sirloin burgers or about 1 lb of chopped meat
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
1 tsp Worcester sauce, optional
1 large or 2 medium onions
4-5 tbsp butter
8 slices of bread, I used whole wheat
8 slice of cheese, I went for good ol' American

Let's get started by slicing our onions and tossing them in a skillet with 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter. Keep the heat on medium-low and allow these to slowly caramelize for the best flavor. Keep these going while you start to prep your burgers.

Season your burgers with a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper on each side. Feel free to also add a drop of Worcester sauce to add some extra flavoring. Again, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in your skillet and throw in the burgers. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side for medium well, making sure to only flip the burgers once so they get a nice char.

As your burgers are finishing up, we can start to get our bread ready for toasting. In a third skillet (I never said clean up would be easy), melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Place two pieces of bread on the melted butter and top each with a slice of cheese.

Next up, add a burger and top with a generous helping of your caramelized onions. Just look how delicious those onions look, so soft and sweet.

Another piece of cheese? Yes, please!

Top with the other slice of bread and flip to toast the other side. Why don't you toss in some more butter before the flip. It really wouldn't be fair if only one side got the special treatment. Cook on medium heat until the bread is toasty, the cheesy is gooey, and the smell is unbearable.

Remove from the skillet, slice and eat right away. Mmm, delicious!

As these can be quite heavy, best to serve with a side salad and some fresh veggies to lighten things up. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Italian Chicken & Broccoli with Gravy

I'm backk! It has been a long (slightly painful) three months, of which I have neglected you. But now I am back and I am here with an easy weeknight dinner option that you are going to love.

As much as it pains me to admit, I have been practically living off junk food and take-out these past few months due to, lets call it, "job restrictions." This means, no cooking, no baking, no nothing! However, there was one little bright light in all of this - I found some very interesting inspiration for the blog in the never ending sea of take-out menus.

This dish here is great because it requires a lot of ingredients you would normally keep on hand (well at least we do in my house - as broccoli is just as much as a staple as salt and pepper!)

To get started you will need the following items to make 4 servings

1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced chicken breast (no skin and no bones)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt & fresh black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp butter
2 large heads of broccoli, keep those stems on nice and long
1/4 lb mozzarella (fresh will work, but Polly-O just melts so nicely and is extra delicious)
4 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 hearty pour of your favorite red wine

Start off by 'flouring' the chicken breast. On a plate, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drop each piece of chicken into the mix being sure to coat both sides with the flour mixture. Repeat on all pieces.

In a large skillet (oven-proof is best, as this will make your job easier later on), gently melt your first tablespoon butter, being sure not to brown or burn it. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides and white through the middle, roughly 5 minutes each side (depending on how thick the chicken is). Remove the chicken to a dish and set aside.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Toss in your broccoli (cut long and thin). Cook for 8-10 minutes until broccoli is tender, but not too soft. You want to make sure it still has some bite to it! Once the broccoli is finished, set it to the side in a bowl or dish.

Now lets get back to our skillet because its time to make our gravy. Without cleaning out any of the bits left behind from the chicken, melt the second tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Throw in the minced garlic and let it lightly brown for about a minute, just until fragrant. It is very important here not to let the garlic burn or you could ruin the flavor of your gravy. Once browned, pour in your chicken stock and red wine and bring to a boil. Make sure to stir and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Let boil for 5 minutes or so, until the gravy starts to thicken.

If you can't get the gravy to thicken up, toss in about a teaspoon of flour and quickly stir it into the mixture so that it doesn't 'clump up.'

Once your gravy is in a good place, time to add the chicken back in the skillet. Make a small pile of broccoli on top of each chicken breast and then cover with a slice of cheese. Toss the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two to get the cheese to melt. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.

There you have it, a delicious dish that covers off a bunch of your daily food group requirements in one. Plus, not sure if you were keeping track, but we only have to clean 1 pan and 1 pot. Not too bad if you ask me!

Also, as sneak peak, there are going to be some make-overs going on with the blog in the upcoming weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for that! Enjoy!