Recent Recipes

Red Pepper Peanut Butter Hummus

Comments (1) | Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tahini is a wonderful thing.  It is tasty and can really be used to make a lot of yummy dishes.  Our problem with tahini is that it can be relatively expensive and it always seems to spoil before we can use it all.  That means that we tend to very rarely purchase it.  The other day while on her way to work Cassie caught the tail end of an interview on National Public Radio with a chef who had a new book coming out.  She was talking about some of her favorite holiday dishes in this new book.  Unfortunately Cassie did not catch who the chef was or what her new book was called, but she did catch her speaking about making hummus with peanut butter in place of tahini.  Peanut butter is a staple in our home and we always have some spare peanut butter around so we decided to make some hummus for a healthy snack on Christmas Eve.  We never got around to making it Christmas eve, but we did make it the day after Christmas and it was wonderful.  There isn't a huge difference from hummus with tahini, but it gives it a bit of a peanuty hint of flavor.  We both really enjoyed it.

Red Pepper Peanut Butter Hummus
Adapted from About.com  and the mystery interview on NPR
1 16 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1/4 c. water
juice from 1 medium lemon
2 T. all natural peanut butter
2 cloves garlic minced
1 t. salt
3 T. olive oil
1/2- 1 t. red pepper flakes

1) Add all ingredients to a mini chopper or food processor and pulse until smooth.  If the mixture is too grainy add some more water or olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. 

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Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

Comments (0) | Sunday, December 26, 2010

Buttermilk biscuits are a comfort food that we haven't indulged in recently.  We like biscuits a lot, but since they aren't normally the picture of healthy food we tend to only have them on special occasions.  Well we recently had one such special occasion...Christmas.  We decided to make some buttermilk biscuits for Christmas morning this year, but instead of using normal all purpose flour we decided to go ahead and try our hand at making them whole wheat as we both just enjoy whole wheat stuff so much more these days.

We selected whole white wheat flour since it tends to be more mild and palatable than a lot of normal (or red) whole wheat flours.  We also thought it would be mild in flavor to let the buttermilk and buttery flavors shine through.  We certainly weren't disappointed.  What resulted was a warm and flaky biscuit that had a great soft texture, but the heartiness of whole grain.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Epicurious.com
Makes 6 biscuits

1 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour +more for dusting
1 1/2 T. evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
4 T. unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 c. well shaken buttermilk
1 T. milk or cream for brushing

1)  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a medium bowl whisk together whole white wheat flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Whisk thoroughly so the ingredients are well combined and fluffed.  
2) Cut butter into small cubes and add into the flour mixture.  Using your hands combine the butter and flour mixture until it resembles fine meal.  

3) Using a fork stir in buttermilk until well combined.  Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and using floured hands knead dough 6 times.  Use your hands to form a 8 x 6 inch rectangle with the dough.  You can either use a glass or biscuit cutter and cut out 6 biscuits from the dough or you can use a floured knife to cut 6 square biscuits from the dough.  We opted for round biscuits.  

4) Brush the tops of the biscuits with either milk or cream and bake for 12-15 minutes on an ungreased/unlined baking sheet until they begin to turn golden brown.  

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Spaghetti with Calmata Olives and Capers

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Back in September we told you the story of Our Soup.  A dish that came about one night while scrounging in the cabinets to see what we had.  Well this pasta dish's beginnings were created in much the same way.  Since we have added on and perfected the mix, but we like to think of this (and frequently call it) Our Pasta.  It is an easy, but delicious meal and adds a bit of a kick to regular spaghetti.  We have used various forms of protein in this spaghetti and can be made with just about anything.  In this recipe we use Chicken Italian Sausages, but you can also use beans, tofu, ground meat, chicken breasts, etc. or you can just omit them totally.

Spaghetti with Calmata Olives and Capers
A Jason and Cassie Original
Makes 4 servings
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t.agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
4 chicken Italian sausages (we use Organic Valley precooked variety) (optional)
1/4 c. Calmata Olives, cut in half
2 T. capers
2 oz. feta cheese
2 oz. Parmesan Cheese

1) Heat oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and saute for about a minute.  Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, salt and pepper.  Stir well and cover and let simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. 

2)Meanwhile in boil water in a large pot and cook spaghetti until al dente.

3)  If you are using the sausages warm them according to package directions and then slice them into coins.  Add them to the sauce along with the Calmata olives and the capers.  Let simmer for another 10 minutes.  If you are using a different form of protein add it (fully cooked) at this time. 

4) Mix the sauce in with the spaghetti noodles and then top each serving with a 1/2 oz. of feta and a 1/2 oz. of Parmesan.  enjoy

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Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Comments (0) | Monday, December 20, 2010

Did you read that full title?  If not you should definitely go back and read it again.  The title tells you all you need to know about this recipe to know it is going to be amazing.  Let's see...chocolate...check.  Peanut butter...check.  Double chocolate...check.  Salted...check.  Yup pretty much the best cookies ever.  These cookies also made it in to our holiday cookie packages this year.

Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Food 52 found via Brown Eyed Baker

1 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. creamy all natural peanut butter
2/3 c. sucanat
1/3 c. evaporated cane juice
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
coarse sea salt or kosher salt for sprinkling

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3) In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer) cream together the butter, peanut butter, sucanat and evaporated cane juice.  Add each egg one at a time and let mix until well incorporated..  Add the vanilla.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients a little at a time until they are well incorporated.  Using a spoon stir in the chocolate chips and the peanuts.

4) Form 2 inch balls of dough and place them on the baking sheets.  Sprinkle a small amount of salt on top of each cookie and bake for 12-14 minutes until the outside edges begin to set, but the insides are still soft.  Cool cookies completely before serving.

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Avocado Cream Cheese Cookies

Comments (0) | Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tons of people like avocados.  Avocados are rich and delicious and just a truly satisfying food.  There are few people that you meet that don't like avocados.  Then just occasionally you meet someone that loves avocados that it borders on obsession.  That just might be Cassie.  She could eat avocados at every meal and any recipe that features a lot of avocados she automatically wants to try it.  It doesn't matter what the recipe is.  I can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner...or a dessert.  When we found this recipe for Avocado Cream Cheese cookies Cassie knew they were going to have to make them.  The result of these cookies were a nice creamy tasting cookie with a light citrus and poppy flavors.  They are a great cookie and I am sure that even people who aren't avocado enthusiasts like us will like them too.  We included these yummy little treats into our holiday cookie packages this year.

Avocado Cream Cheese Cookies
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum found via Angie's Recipes
7 T. butter, softened
1/2 avocado, mashed
5 oz. cream cheese, softened
120 g.evaporated cane juice or sucanat
2 t. lemon juice
1 T. poppy seeds
230 g. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t.  baking soda

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer) cream together the butter, avocado, cream cheese and sugar.  Add the lemon juice and the poppy seeds and continue to mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3) In a separate bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour and the baking soda.  Add the flour mixture in with the rest of the ingredients.  Work in small batches adding a little at a time mixing until it is well incorporated and then adding a little more.

4) Roll the dough into 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.  You should be able to put them fairly close together as these cookies don't spread much.  Bake them in the oven for about 13-16 minutes until they being to turn a light gold color.  Let the cookies cook completely on a rack.

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Chile Relleno Casserole

Comments (0) | Saturday, December 11, 2010

We admit that for the most part it tends to take us awhile to blog about meals.  Sometimes it will be weeks or months after we actually have the meal before we actually blog about it.  Not the case with this meal.  We were both just so excited about it and enjoyed it so much we wanted to get it up on the blog ASAP.  This meal came to be (at least for us) because of a huge hankering for chile rellenos.  We both just love Mexican food and we wanted to find a somewhat healthy recipe for them rather than cheese laden deep fried version that you normally get in restaurants here.  So we headed over to our old reliable source for delicious yet healthy recipes, Eating Well.  There we found this casserole that isn't only healthy and delicious, but it is ridiculously easy.  It takes just a few minutes to whip up before you pop it in the oven.  This meal is definitely going into our regular rotation from now on.

Chile Relleno Casserole
Adapted from Eatingwell.com
Makes 4 servings

2 4 oz. cans of diced green chilis, drained and dried
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed and dried
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 c. skim milk
6 egg whites
4 eggs
1/4 t. salt

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray.  

2) line the bottom of the casserole dis with green chilis, corn and scallions.  Sprinkle 1 c. of the cheddar cheese over the mixture.

3) In a medium bowl combine the milk, egg whites, eggs and salt and whisk well.  Pour the egg mixture over the green chili mixture in the casserole dish and then top with the remaining 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese. 

4) Bake for 45-50 minutes until the casserole is set and the cheese on top is brown and bubbly. 

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Seared Scallops Over Salad Greens with Blue Cheese

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 8, 2010

During her undergrad degree Cassie minored in Spanish.  When she had the opportunity to study in Spain for two summers she jumped at the chance.  She spent the summer of 2001 and 2002 in Madrid living it up, perfecting her conversational Spanish and having fun...and doing some studying too.  As previously mentioned Cassie is a reformed picky eater.  The first time there she wasn't too fond of the food offered, but during her second trip she gained a big appreciation for the wonderful flavors of Spanish cooking.  One of her favorite things to do during her second trip was to go to Tapas bars.  It was great to get a variety of delicious little plates of food.

Seared Scallops over Salad Greens with Blue Cheese
Adpated from Everyday Tapas
Serve 4-6
4 T. olive oil
3 T. almond oil
3 T. fresh orange juice
salt and pepper
1-1 1/2 lb. shelled scallops
salad greens, washed and dried
6 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2 T. fresh dill chopped

1) Whisk together 3 T. of the olive oil with the almond oil and the orange juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 

2) Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add teh scallops and cook on each side about 1 minute or until golden.  

3) In salad bowls distribute the salad greens.  Top with scallops, blue cheese crumbles and dill.  Drizzle the orange juice and oil mixture over the bowls and serve.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Comments (0) | Monday, December 6, 2010

Cassie is a reformed picky eater.  She used to not like anything.  With some challenging from Jason she has come to realize that not only does she not hate most of the foods she was so sure of before, she really likes most of them.  For the longest time mushrooms were solidly on the hate list.  In fact it wasn't until pretty recently that she has finally has eased up on the mushroom hate and decided to give them a genuine try.  So until recently our diets have been pretty devoid of mushrooms, but now we are certainly making up for some lost time. 

As part of her Impressive Dinner, Cassie made Stuffed Mushrooms as an appetizer.  These were really simple to make and turned out really delicious.  They were a great way to start out the meal.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Adapted from Epicurious.com
3 slices sprouted grain or whole grain sandwich bread
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
20 large cremini mushrooms + about 4 or 5 more
2 T. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 oz. Gorgonzola cheese 
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Tear bread into large pieces and place in a food processor.  Pulse in the processor until you have breadcrumbs.  Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper till they are well coated.  Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and place in the oven to cook for 6-8 minutes.  Transfer them back to a bowl.

2) Meanwhile, wash and remove the stems from all the mushrooms.  Separate the 20 you will make into stuffed mushrooms from the extra.  Put those 20 in a baking dish cap side down and bake about 10 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

3)  While the mushrooms are baking chop the remaining extra mushrooms into a fine dice.  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add the chopped mushrooms, onion, celery, garlic and oregano.  Saute till the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the vegetables cool slightly and then toss them with the breadcrumbs, Gorgonzola cheese and parsley.

4) Turn the mushroom caps in the baking dish stem side up and pack the empty space with the breadcrumb and vegetable mixture.  Bake in the oven for another 20 or so minutes until the filling is golden brown.  Serve warm.

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An Impressive Dinner

Comments (0) | Sunday, December 5, 2010

A few weeks ago Jason had a great idea.  We would take turns and make to plan, shop for and cook multi-course "Impressive" meal for the other.  It was a challenge, but not necessarily a competition.  Just a chance to do something nice for the other person and a way to celebrate the holidays.  Cassie went first.  She had about a week to plan her meal and then had a full day to prepare it (although she only needed about half of it).  One of her methods of approach for this impressive meal was to push herself outside her comfort zone to make a truly impressive meal.  While everything turned out wonderfully she definitely decided that she won't make a meal of that proportion without help again.  The menu included the following.

Course 1: Stuffed Mushrooms

  Course 2: Seared Scallops Over Salad Greens with Blue Cheese

Course 3: Grilled Marinated Steaks with Dill Butter, Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions with Gorganzola

Course 5 (not pictured): Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Homemade Dark Chocolate Sauce

Check back for a few of the recipes.

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Sufganiyot (jelly filled donuts)

Comments (0) | Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Hanukkah and that can mean only one thing.  A whole lot of good food.  Not just any food either, fried food!  You eat fried foods on Hanukkah to celebrate the miracle of the oil.  For many that means latkes, but another traditional Hanukkah food is sufaganiyot, or jelly filled donuts.  Donuts were never a tradition in Cassie's family, but when we heard they were a traditional food we felt that they deserved to be part of a new tradition for the family.  So this year we gathered the ingredients and set about making some delicious donuts.  Theses were really easy to make and fun to do at the same time. 

Adapted from Epicurious.com
Makes 12 donuts
1 T. active dry yeast
4 T. evaporated cane juice, divided
3/4 c. warm water
2 1/2 c. all purpose flower
pinch of salt
1 t.ground cinnamon
2 eggs, seperated
2 T. butter, softened
Apricot preserves (or any flavor you want)
organic powdered sugar
vegetable oil for frying

1) Mix the yeast, 2 T. of the cane juice and the water.  Sit to the side and let it proof for a few minutes.  It should bubble.  If it doesn't your yeast is not active and you will need to get some more.

2) Sift the flour and mix it with 2 T. cane juice, cinnamon, and salt.  Then add the egg yolks and the yeast mixture.  Mix well until combined.  Knead the dough to form a ball and then add the butter and knead until it is well incorporated into the dough.  Place in a bowl and cover with a towel.  Let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. 

3) In the morning remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about half an hour.  Then roll it out till it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Take a juice glass or a any 2 inch circular cookie cutter and cut out 24 rounds.  Place a 1/2 t. of fruit preserves on 12 of the rounds.  Take the remaining 12 rounds and place them on top of the rounds with the preserves.  Using your thumb and forefinger crimp the edges of the rounds together very well and then seal them with egg whites. 

4) Cover the completed sufganiyot with a towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes. 

5) In a medium sauce pan heat about 2 inches of oil over medium heat.  Test the oil by throwing a small bit of bread into the pot.  When it bubbles your oil is ready.  Fry your donuts in small batches.  Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot.  You don't want to be left with doughy insides and burnt outsides.  You should fry the donuts about 3-4 minutes total flipping midway through.  Place them on a plate with paper towels to drain.  When they have drained roll the sufganiyo in the powdered sugar to add a thin coating.  Serve either warm or room temperature.  Enjoy!

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Asian Chicken Noodle Bowls

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recently both of us have gotten into clean eating.  Clean eating is a pretty simple concept.  You eat "real" natural food ingredients in a minimally processed state and you eat several (5-6) well balanced meals everyday.  On top of all this you reduce the amount of saturated fat and sugar in your diet.  It can be difficult to tackle some of the changes initially, but in our opinion it is well worth it.  It leaves you feeling energized and properly nourished. 

To begin researching clean eating Cassie read the book The Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno.  It is a really quick read and she highly recommends the book to anyone interested in eating more healthfully.  The book also has about 30 or so recipes included in it in the back.  This is where we found the recipe for the noodle bowl.  To be honest the recipe was a little poorly conceived ( for example called for way too small of a pot and we had to move the meal to a bigger pot twice), but in the end we felt like it was a good starting point for the dish and I think we ironed out most of the kinks in the recipe below. 

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl
Makes 4 generous servings
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 t. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed 
2 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sesame oil
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 package (8 oz.) dry soba noodles
2 c. broccoli spears
1 c. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
4 scallions, sliced
4 generous handfuls of spinach, washed
red pepper flakes

1) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Combine chicken, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar and sesame oil and cook mixture for about 5 minutes until chicken begins to brown.  

2) Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Let simmer till the chicken is fully cooked, at least 10 minutes.

3) Meanwhile prepare soba noodles to package direction in a separate pot.  When they are cooked, rinse the noodles and set them aside. 

4) Add the broccoli, mushrooms and red bell pepper.  Cook for another 5 or so minutes till the broccoli is bright green, but still crisp.  Stir in the carrots, scallions and soba noodles and let heat for another few minutes.  

5) To serve place a handful of spinach in the bottom of each bowl and ladle a 1/4 of the noodle soup over the spinach.  Top with a generous amount of red pepper flakes.  Server immediately.

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