Recent Recipes

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles

Comments (2) | Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recently in our house we have started making our own butter.  It isn't anything all that exciting or difficult, but it is so nice to have fresh butter.  Just pour some cream in the Kitchenaid, turn it on and let it go for awhile.  It really can't get a whole lot easier.  Also if you want to add stuff like salt or honey you can really customize it to your dish.  Besides the awesome outcome of fresh butter you also get the bonus of fresh buttermilk!  We have had an abundance of buttermilk in our house recently and I must say we are loving having nice weekend breakfasts of buttermilk pancakes and buttermilk biscuits.  We decided last weekend to give buttermilk waffles a go and a quick Google search landed us with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  It was just what we were looking for and the result were light and fluffy waffles with an excellent flavor.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 4 generous servings

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. salt
2 T. evaporated cane juice or sucanat
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 3/4 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, seperated
4 T. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 t. vanilla extract
canola spray

1) Preheat your waffle iron.  In a medium bowl whisk together your whole wheat pastry flour, salt, cane juice or sucanat and baking soda.

2) In a separate bowl mix together the butter milk, egg yolks, melted and cooled butter and the vanilla.  Combine the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients. 

3) Either by hand or with an electric mixer (recommended) whisk the egg yolks until they hold soft peaks.  Gently fold them into the batter.

4) Spray the waffle iron generously with canola spray and then ladle the batter onto the preheated waffle iron.  Bake until the waffle is done.  It took about 6 minutes in our machine, but it varies machine to machine.  Serve warm with whatever topping you choose.   

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Mini frittatas

Comments (0) | Thursday, April 28, 2011

For Passover this year Cassie decided to make a big batch of mini frittatas for our breakfasts.  She got the idea from an old Clean Eating magazine recipe, but when the time came to make them she couldn't find to old issue with the recipe so we decided to wing it and make our own recipe.  These turned out great and froze very well to last us the entire span of Passover. 

These were made for Passover, but the recipe makes a great breakfast year round and would be great on your next brunch menu.

Mini Frittatas
A Jason and Cassie Original
Makes 9 servings (2 frittatas per serving)

2 c. grated potatoes
1 large egg
1/4 c. unsalted matzo meal (or breadcrumbs)
1 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 c. chopped broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic minced
12 large eggs
6 oz. jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste or Pepperman to taste

1) Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 18 muffin pan wells with non-stick cooking spray making sure to fully coat them. 

2)  In a clean tea towel place grated potatoes and wring out any excess moisture from the potatoes.  In a medium bowl mix potatoes with 1 egg and the matzo meal.  Place a small amount of potato mixture in the bottom of each muffin well.  Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften and brown at the edges.

3) Meanwhile heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet.  Add the onion, bell pepper and broccoli to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool somewhat.

4)  When the vegetables have cooled beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Mix in the cooled vegetables, cheese and salt and pepper or Pepperman.  Fill muffin wells mostly full (but not all the way to the top) with the egg mixture.  Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until the eggs are set and the tops of the mini fritattas begin to brown.  Let cool and either serve warm or freeze the frittatas in freezer bags for individual breakfast portions.  To reheat let the fritattas defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then place them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes until heated through.   

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

Comments (0) | Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This past weekend Cassie's parents came to our house so Cassie's dad could help us with a little work on the house.  A fringe benefit of having a carpenter in the family is that you get professional work done for minimal payment.  As payment we knew we needed to make a great meal that wouldn't be easily forgotten.  Since it was during Passover dessert posed a slight challenge, but when Cassie found the recipe for Lighter Air Chocolate Cake from Smitten Kitchen she knew that was our dessert.  We found the recipe originally through the Chocolate Cake Roll post this past week, but since we don't have the right pan for a roll cake we decided to go with the stacked round cake version instead. 

What resulted was a total winner.  It was so light and moist and had a wonderful rich chocolate flavor.  We used coffee flavored whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache to finish it off.  While Jason and Cassie's dad did the work on the house, Cassie set about assembling the cake.  She made the cake in two batches since we only had 2 9-inch round cake pans.  You can't let the batter sit for long since it consists of mostly beaten eggs.  Also she practically had to fight her mom off with a stick so she could get a picture of the cake before she started sticking her fingers in the ganache and the coffee filling. 

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the Cake:
8 oz. good quality organic dark chocolate, chopped
4 oz. good quality organic semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 T. water
12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature. 
1 1/3 c. evaporated cane juice
1/2 t. salt

For the filling:
2 c. heavy cream
6 T. organic powdered sugar
4 t. water
3 t. instant coffee
1 t. vanilla

1 batch chocolate ganache (recipe follows)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep 4 9-inch round cake pans by greasing and then lining the bottoms with parchment paper.  In a small sauce pan heat chocolate and water over medium heat.  When the chocolate is all melted remove from heat and let cool till it is lukewarm.

2) While the chocolate is cooling beat together the egg yolks and 2/3 c. of evaporated cane juice and salt for about 5 minutes in a medium bowl.  The egg yolk mixture will get pale and very thick.  When chocolate is cooled to lukewarm fold it into the egg yolk mixture until it is completely combined.

3)  In a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment beat the egg whites until they begin to form soft peaks.  Add the remaining 2/3 c. evaporated cane juice a little at a time and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks. 

4) Fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk and chocolate mixture.  Then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until it is fully combined.  Divide the batter amongst the 4 prepared 9-inch cake pans and bake for 15-18 minutes until the cake is set and the tops are dry to the touch.  Let the cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake.  To make the layers easier to handle it is best to place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to an hour.

5)  Just before assembling the cake make the filling.  In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat the cream until soft peaks form.  Add in the organic powdered sugar and beat until well combined.  Meanwhile also combine the water, instant coffee and vanilla in a small bowl.  Add the coffee mixture to the cream and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

6) To assemble the cake place a layer of cake on a platter or cake stand.  Top with 1/4 of the filling mixture spreading it to the edges of the layer.  Add another layer of cake and another 1/4 of the filling until all layers of the cake are on.  Top with the remaining 1/4 of the filling mixture and the drizzle with chocolate ganache (recipe follows).

Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from Allrecipes
2/3 c. heavy cream
6 oz. good quality organic chocolate (dark or semi-sweet), chopped. 

1)  In a medium saucepan heat cream over medium heat until just boiling.  Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl with the chocolate pieces.  Stir the mixture until well combined and smooth. 

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Literary Lunch: Billy's Pan Pizza

Comments (0) | Friday, April 15, 2011

For our Literary Lunch this month we chose to focus on a series that we both just finished listening to on audiobook—The Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, which is comprised of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  Stieg Larsson’s eye for detail, skill at creating believable characters, and intriguing plot lines have a way of completely immersing the reader in a world that is familiar because of its extremely realistic feel, but also driven by larger than life characters.  The protagonists of the series are Lisbeth Salander, an oft-persecuted and socially awkward computer hacker, and Mikail Blomkvist, a moralistic journalist with whom Lisbeth gets entangled in the course of the first novel.   
The series is as much a critique as it is a thriller, exploring how easily modern society, when unaccompanied by a sense of equality, can be set loose against women in a nightmarish barrage of bureaucratically-sanctioned and medically-backed physical and mental torture, a veritable hell of misogynists and sadists administering what they dub as justice under the pretext of reason but ultimately driven by the need for dominance over women, very often in the form of sexual violence.  And this would all be too much to take if not for the clearly delineated good characters, who go to unheard of lengths before the series concludes to fight back against a conspiracy designed to keep the systems of control firmly in place. 
Along the way we watch this cast of mainly Swedes (Larsson was Swedish, the series itself was written in Swedish and then translated into English by Reg Keeland) doing a lot of normal, everyday things.  Larsson especially likes describing what the characters are eating and drinking, which is what gave us the idea to include this in our Literary Lunch. 
If you’ve read any of the books, you might think we’d post about some sort of sandwich, as Swedes, according to the books at least, seem to eat sandwiches morning, noon, and night, along with a fresh brewed cup of coffee.  It’s conceivable that the series could be cut down to a single book if Larsson had simply not included coffee breaks in the narrative flow.  But these details are exactly what make the books so compelling, and each time a new pot is brewed and a sandwich is prepared, we get to sit back along with the character and dwell on recent developments in the story.   
But as far as blogging goes, sandwiches are pretty boring fare, so we decided to go  with something that pops up almost as often as sandwiches in the story—pan pizza.  Specifically, Billy’s Pan Pizza, one of the foods Lisbeth Salander is so fond of buying from the convenience store (she has a horrible diet!).  Although we’ve never tried Billy’s Pan Pizza (yes, it’s apparently a real product), we imagine that it’s similar to other frozen pizzas, and so decided to honor one of our favorite literary characters by making a pan pizza worthy of writing home about, although Lisbeth would probably just shrug if we served it to her and say it was ok.  

We decided to make a sausage pizza since most of Lisbeth's choices usually included some sort of meat.  You can choose your own toppings, but we wanted to share the whole wheat pan pizza dough recipe because it really turned out great.  We used to be fans of thin crust pizzas, but I think from now on we will be making pan pizzas instead.   

Whole Wheat Pan Pizza Dough
Makes 1-2 medium pan pizzas (depending on how thick you want the crust). 
1 c. warm water, divided
1 t. evaporated cane juice
2 1/4 t. yeast (1 packet)
3 c. whole wheat flour (white wheat works best)
1 t. salt
3 T. olive oil, plus more for greasing

1) Combine 1/4 c. of the warm water and the evaporated cane juice.  Stir until the cane juice is dissolved.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit for 1 minute.  Stir the yeast in and let it proof for 10 minutes.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the flour, salt, remaining 3/4 c. water, olive oil and yeast mixture.  Knead on medium for 10 minutes.  Remove the dough and set aside for a moment.  If needed clean out the bowl of the stand mixer.  Oil the bowl and press the dough into the bottom.  Flip the dough over and so both sides are covering in the oil.  Let rise for 30 minutes.  
3) Roll dough out to desired thickness.  For our pizza above we used about 2/3 of the dough for the 1 pan pizza and made a small thin crust pizza with the rest.  Place the dough in a well oiled large cast iron skillet.  Cover the pan with a tea towel and let rise another 30 minutes.  

4) Bake dough in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  Top with desired toppings and then bake for an additional 8-12 minutes until your cheese is brown and bubbly.  Slice and enjoy. 

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Baked Lemon Pasta

Comments (1) | Thursday, April 14, 2011

We have both enjoyed cooking for a long time, but to be honest our cooking wasn't exactly the healthiest.  It consisted of carbs, cheese, fat, more cheese and more carbs.  In the last 4 years we have really worked hard to clean up our diets and work to make some significant changes to the way we eat.  One of the biggest things that spurred this change was Cassie's health.  She was only 25 years old and found out that because of her weight she had high blood pressure.  That was the kick in the butt that we needed to really make some significant changes to our diets.  These changes didn't happen overnight and in some instance we still have more changes to make, but little by little it has added up to a huge difference and meant a significant amount of weight lost for Cassie and blood pressure that is now maintained at a healthy level.

One of the challenges of going to a new way of eating is feeling like you have to give up your old favorite staple meals that you used to always eat.  We really enjoy taking a lot of those recipes and really working to cut out significant portions of unnecessary calories and bad fats without sacrificing  flavor (It helps to really like spicy food).  Some previous posts where we have done just that are our Huevos Rancheros and Pizza along with many others.

We participated in yet another recipe swap this week.  The theme of this week's swap was side dishes and once again we were given another great recipe.  We received this recipe from the blogger over at Lemons & Love.  Definitely check out the blog lots of other great recipes.  We really enjoyed the pasta and it really made a great side dish.  If you are interested we shared browned onion kugel as our entry into the swap.


Baked Lemon Pasta
Adapted from Lemons & Love
Makes 4 Servings
6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1.5 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a medium lemon
zest of 1/2 a medium lemon
1/2 c. non-fat Greek yogurt (we recommend Fage 0% yogurt)
1-2 T. chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 oz. shredded Parmesan

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti until al dente.

2) Meanwhile in a separate bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, Greek yogurt, parsley, salt and pepper.  Toss spaghetti with this mixture and put into a oven proof dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle on top with Parmesan and then bake for 15-17 minutes.     

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Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta

Comments (1) | Monday, April 11, 2011

Since we used to be vegetarians (and Jason was even vegan for awhile) we are not afraid to eat a lot of meals that don't center around meat.  A lot of people have recently started trying to have meatless Mondays or are trying to give up meal for 1 meal a week.  We think that is a really great effort and really applaud anyone who is willing to try it.  There are so many really delicious meatless meals out there too many people are missing because they think it HAS to have meat to be a "real" meal.  We really recommend to everyone to really give it a fair chance and you may find that you actually like (possibly even love) plenty of vegetarian dishes.  Just remember that not every dish is suited for every palate and not every cooking technique will be liked by every person.  So if you try something and aren't thrilled with the results don't give up.  Keep trying!

While perusing the Cooking Light website not to long ago we came across this wonderful looking dish that we knew we just had to try.  It looked super easy and really tasty.  Plus we just love to use eggs in our dinners.  They are a very healthy and really cheap source of protein.  Even if you buy pasture raised eggs and a dozen runs you closer to $4 than to $2 you can still get a lot of good meals out of that dozen eggs.

Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta
Adapted from Cooking Light 
Makes 4 servings
1 16 oz. tube of polenta, cut into 12 slices
cooking spray
2 c. tomato basil pasta sauce (fresh or store bought)
1 5 oz. package of Fresh baby spinach, washed
4-8 eggs (depending on if you want 1 or 2 per person)
2 oz. Parmesan
Fresh basil, shredded for garnish

1) Preheat your broiler to high.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray polenta rounds with cooking spray and place them on the baking sheet.  Broil for about 3-5 minutes until heated through and begin to get crispy on top.  Set aside.

2) Meanwhile bring your sauce to a simmer in a large skillet.  Add the spinach.  Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.  Make 4-8 (depending on how many eggs you are using) indentations in the spinach mixture with the back of a spoon.  Carefully crack an egg into each indentation.  Reduce heat a little and cover.  Let eggs cook about 5-7 minutes till they are the desired doneness.  Serve by placing 3 polenta rounds in a dish.  Spoon the spinach mixture over each round and top with one or two eggs.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and basil and serve.

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Southwestern Egg & Black Bean Skillet

Comments (0) | Friday, April 8, 2011

We have to say that we were pretty shocked that we had yet to blog about this recipe yet.  It is one of our favorite weeknight meals.  It is easy, healthy, and inexpensive to make.  We usually end up making it about once a month, which for us is quite frequent. 

We found this dish on one of our favorite food blogs Cara's Cravings.  We have eaten a ton of her recipes and enjoyed every one we made.  We definitely recommend it as a great source for new eats.  One of the things that originally sold us on the dish was the giant fan of avocado across the top of the dish.  You can almost always guarantee that if a dish uses avocado (even if just for garnish) we will end up trying it.  It did not disappoint and while the avocado may look like garnish we would definitely recommend that you NOT skip it.  It really adds a nice creaminess and great flavor to the rest of the dish.  It is pretty integral in our opinion.  Along those same lines don't skip the cilantro garnish either.  We are also of the mind that cilantro makes many things better.  

Southwestern Egg & Black Bean Skillet
Adapted from Cara's Cravings
Makes 2 Servings
1 t. olive oil
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. frozen corn
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1 10 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (we use Rotell Original or with habanero) 
2 large eggs
1-2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
chopped cilantro and sliced avocado for garnish

1) In a skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until it begins to be translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, corn and black beans and cook another 2 or so minutes until the garlic is fragrant.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. 

2)  Add the diced tomatoes with green chilies to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Remove the cover and make two small indents into the beans.  Carefully break an egg into each indent and then replace the cover.  Continue to cook covered for another 5 minutes until eggs are set and depending on your desired results (runny yolks or fully cooked).  Serve with feta cheese, avocado and cilantro.

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