roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli

roasted broccoliI thought instead of showing you all some fancy staged photo of a bowl of roasted broccoli, that I would show you my kids actually eating and liking it!  I know that if I hear about someone’s kids digging a veggie then I’m more inclined to make it up for my kids.  So, hopefully by seeing my kids enjoying this super healthy veggie, some of you may be more inclined to make this up for your troops!  I’m also letting you all know that this is not going to be a fancy post with jaw dropping photos, but instead it’s going to be a quick and simple post showing you all a quick and simple family approved recipe.  That’s how Marin mama rolls these days.  I’m a full-time working mama, working on some easy family approved recipes for you all!

… 

Read More »

lemon thyme popovers

lemon thyme popovers

lemon thyme popoversHappy Sunday everyone!  My gosh, I can’t believe that it’s been a little over 2 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe for you all.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of opening up my blog and looking at that picture of rosemary chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that chicken recipe and have been making it tons, but I’m tired of looking at it everyday, so I decided to get up early (I’m writing this at 5:00 on Sunday) and get a fresh post out to you all.  I’m hoping that with the new time change I’ll be able to get out more recipes, as there will finally be some light to photograph with come dinner time.  Fingers crossed.  

… 

Read More »

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

… 

Read More »

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almondsSome of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog.  I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish.  You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.

I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall.  I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers.  This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.

… 

Read More »

popovers with rosemary and sea salt

popovers with rosemary and sea salt

popovers with rosemary and sea saltWe’re a total popover loving family. We love the traditional popovers, sugar-crusted popovers and now these rosemary and sea salt popovers. Popovers are my carb of choice because they’re SO easy to make up and require a few simple pantry ingredients.  They may look all fancy and formal with their big puffy tops and seem difficult to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest recipes to make. They even have an exact cooking time which makes them even easier to make up.

… 

Read More »

avocado-tahini dip

avocado-tahini dip

avocado-tahini dipThis is the tale of the salad dressing that transformed into a dip.  It sounds like the start of a fairy tale don’t you think?   Except turning from a salad dressing into a dip doesn’t sound like a great transformation, (kind of like a prince turning into a frog) but it is, so it’s a story with a happy ending.

… 

Read More »

quinoa, tuna and corn salad

quinoa, corn and tuna salad

quinoa, corn and tuna saladQuinoa, quinoa, quinoa.  I’m sure you’re seeing that word everywhere these days and that some of you are tired of seeing recipes with quinoa, but here’s another recipe just incase you’re not tired of it yet.  I admit I did go on a hiatus from cold quinoa dishes for about a year, as I was tired of eating it day after day.  I discovered new and unique ways to enjoy quinoa like sautéed in a patty or cheesy cake, perfect for lunch or as a side dish to your favorite soup or salad.  I also discovered I liked quinoa in the morning mixed in with some steel-cut oats or quinoa flakes mixed with goji berries.  In fact I’m having a bowl of my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal as I type this post, so good!… 

Read More »

Israeli couscous salad

israeli couscous salad (1 of 1)

Israeli couscous salad I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.

I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner.  If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.

… 

Read More »

grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes

grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes

grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes (1 of 1) I’m sure you’ve all seen the cover for the July/August edition of Martha Stewart Living in either a book store or your grocery store. If you’ve seen it, then you know why I just had to run out and make up this bread. I opened up my mailbox last week and saw the cover showcasing this beautiful assortment of heirloom tomatoes on top of this toasted bread. I immediately went to the grocery store, bought me some heirlooms and made this up for lunch. I have to say that I was in food heaven. This bread is crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside from the juicy heirlooms and olive oil. The crunchy sea salt and fresh basil just give it another punch of flavor and texture. John and I split half a loaf up for lunch one day and paired it with my lacinato kale salad and drumsticks another night for dinner. I also brought this to a friend’s house and served it up as an appetizer. Let’s just say it was a hit with everyone. It’s truly the perfect summer bruschetta!

I cut Martha’s original recipe in half and only used the bottom half of the ciabatta bread instead of the whole loaf, (don’t fret, we used the other half for toast and jam the next morning) so feel free to double the quantities in the recipe if you’re serving a larger crowd.

… 

Read More »

Nepenthe’s garbanzo and kidney bean salad

garbanzo and kidney bean salad

garbanzo and kidney bean saladHere’s a simple but tasty bean salad to pair with your favorite burger, sandwich or simply to throw on a bed of greens. We first tasted this salad on our recent visit to Nepenthe in Big Sur. They pair this bean salad alongside their burgers, and I have to say that it’s the perfect side, as it’s a nice break from the traditional mixed greens, fries or coleslaw that most restaurants serve up with their burgers. Below is a photo of the amazing tofu burger that I had paired with this salad. Isn’t it adorable how they put it all in this cute little basket? I’ve already posted the recipe for their famous ambrosia sauce, which is the perfect sauce to slather on your favorite burger or a nice dipping sauce for your fries and onion rings. If you haven’t been to Nepenthe in Big Sur, then you must make the trek sometime. They have the most amazing views from the restaurant, and it’s truly a spiritual experience just sitting there surrounded by nature and those views.

… 

Read More »

quinoa cakes

quinoa cakes (1 of 1)

quinoa cakes (1 of 1)Ok, so remember when I was obsessed with kale and everything kale?  Well, I’m still pretty obsessed with kale, but now I’m obsessed with quinoa as well.  I have figured out my favorite way to eat quinoa, and that is warm, liked warmed up in patties or a cereal rather than cold like in a salad.  I’ve made more quinoa dishes in the last few months than I have in the past year that I’ve been blogging.  First, there were these quinoa patties.  Super yummy, easy to make and healthy.

quinoa patties

Then I tried quinoa for breakfast with steel-cut oats and goji berries. Say what, quinoa for breakfast?  Oh yes, try it!  It’s my new favorite way to start the day.  It’s a power house of a breakfast.

hot quinoa and oat cereal with goji berries

Now, I ventured into a crispier and cheesier quinoa cake.  Hey, I was thinking of my kids here, because they were not the biggest fans of the other quinoa patties. Kid verdict?  Zoe liked them better than the other ones, (that’s a step in the right direction, still working on her) and Eli LOVED them, so I would say that this recipe was a success. Dry toasting the quinoa before simmering it in the broth adds such a depth of flavor, and the quinoa gets all browned in color and forms into these tiny little balls. The mozzarella cheese gets all melty and crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. These cakes remind me in a weird but healthier way, of mozzarella cheese sticks. I know that’s a strange way to describe them, but they are crispy, cheesy and chewy cakes. I mean who said that healthy foods have to taste healthy, right?  Just give them a try and if you like quinoa and cheese, then you will love these.

… 

Read More »

twice baked potatoes

twice baked potatoes

twice baked potatoesOk, so these potatoes are not one of the healthiest recipes I have on the blog, but they sure are tasty.  I believe that life, as well as food, is all about moderation and balance.  If you have balance, then you are living in the natural harmony of life.  To eat too healthy is actually not healthy.  Too much of one thing is not good for anyone.  Look at nature, when there is too much sun the plants don’t thrive because they need the rain as well. The key to life is balance.

These potatoes bring back happy memories every time I make and eat them.  My dad use to whip up a similar version of these potatoes every Easter and Christmas.  I use to help him out by scooping out the insides of the potatoes after they were baked, and then putting everything back in the skins after all the goodies were added to the potatoes.  It was pure comfort family cooking, but a happy memory in my heart, and one I still cherish.

What’s great about these potatoes or really any potato recipe, is that you can play with the recipe and add what you like to it.  You can add more or less cheese, more or less milk, some other greens, basically you are the creator here, so feel free to create. Another reason I love these potatoes is that they can be made and assembled ahead of time and then baked up later. They’re the perfect potato to bring to a dinner party or potluck.

… 

Read More »

mashed potatoes with kale

mashed potatoes with kale

mashed potatoes with kaleI’m sorry that I’m not doing my regular weekly dinner menu post, but this considered a vacation week, so I’m kind of taking a vacation from cooking (until Thanksgiving that is). I’m also in the process of moving my site over to Wordpress, so I’m going to be busy working on getting that up and running with the help of my HTML goddess Wendy, thanks Wendy!  I can’t wait to move over, as I’m feeling limited on blogger and have finally decided that it’s time to make the move!  I promise to have my weekly dinner menu up and running next Sunday.

If you love kale and mashed potatoes, then you will love these.  Zoe and I were looking through Sprouted Kitchen’s new cookbook one afternoon where she saw the photo of these potatoes. She bookmarked the page, and told me that I had to make them.  I think her love of potatoes comes from John, as he loves any kind of potato dish. I honestly love what a foodie my daughter has become.  She would have never asked for potatoes with kale a year ago, (come to think of it, I don’t think I would have either) but our tastes change and grow, and now she and I both love kale.  

… 

Read More »

quinoa patties

quinoa

Happy day after Halloween!  Are you all candied out?  Are you putting yourself on a diet of kale salads and quinoa dishes till Thanksgiving? I’m not going to go that far, but I do need some sort of cleanse from all the sugar I’ve been eating lately. It’s not candy that I need a break from, but baked goods. I have been baking way to many pumpkin muffins, cupcakes and bundt cakes lately, and I need to stop!  Maybe with all of this new candy in the house, I won’t be asked to bake anything. I think the trick-or-treat candy will give me about a week off before the kids start getting sick of it and start asking me what I’m going to bake up. 

… 

Read More »

crispy & easy garlic bread

crispy and easy garlic bread
crispy and easy garlic bread

I honestly love where I live.  I just dropped off some of our favorite chocolate chip cookies to Zoe’s locker at school, as she has a reunion party with one of her favorite 6th grade teachers today.  As I was driving home, I just felt a sense of gratefulness, pride and love for where I live. There’s such a sense of community here, and everywhere I go, I always run into a familiar or friendly face.  It’s small town living, and I love it!

Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you all!  So, I’m in the process of planning out my weekly menu for next week, (which I posted for you on Sunday) and I put garlic bread on the menu.  I realized that I haven’t shared with you our favorite garlic bread recipe, lame, I know. This garlic bread is easy, crispy and tastes so darn good.  Garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment to any pasta, especially a saucy one. If you want to stretch a pasta meal into two nights, garlic bread helps you do that.  You can double the recipe to feed a crowd or add more garlic or less depending on how garlicky you like your bread.

In my old garlic bread making days I used butter and garlic salt.  One time I put too much garlic salt on the bread and it was so bitter that I swore it off from then on.  I’m happy I made the switch to the real stuff, as you can taste fresh garlic in every bite, but in a good way.  So move over garlic salt and say hello to the fresh stuff.

crispy garlic bread:

recipe from Everyday Food
serves 8
printer friendly recipe

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened – at room temp 
  • coarse salt
  • 1 loaf of italian bread (or your favorite crusty bread), halved lengthwise  

Note:  When I’m feeding my family, I only use 1/2 a loaf of bread.  I save the other half for the next night as well as half the garlic butter.  I just refrigerate the butter till the next day and take it out about an hour before I bake the bread to make it easier to spread.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel the garlic cloves.  Fill a small pan with water and bring it to a boil.  Add the garlic cloves to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves with a slotted spoon, and finely chop.In a small bowl, mix the chopped garlic with the butter and season to taste with coarse salt. Spread the butter mixture on cut sides of bread.Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sandwich both halves together and bake until the bread is crusty and the butter has melted, about 10 minutes.Slice it up and serve it up alongside your favorite pasta.  Throw on some fresh parsley for some color if you wish.Tip: I place a cutting board on the bottom of my sink and slice the bread there so I don’t get crumbs everywhere.  I know I’m a bit anal, but it’s nice not to be stepping on crumbs for the next week.    

roasted beets

beets

Finally a new post!  Can you believe it?  I took a mini blogging vacation as we were visiting John’s family in Minnesota. John’s parents, brother, sister and all their kids live there (6 cousins for my kids to play with). We always plan our Minnesota trip the week before the kids start school, as It’s a great way to close out the summer and the kids come back on Minnesota time, so getting them up for the first day of school is a breeze. Unfortunately, we were lame on taking photos. I think I have more photos of food than I do my family, so sad and so lame. I’m definitely going to change that though.

John and I treating ourselves to an ice-cream after our 3 hour bike ride at one of our favorite old haunts, Sebastian Joes.  Zoe took the photo with ice cream in hand.

So as you can see from the above photo, I ate tons of ice cream and basically ate tons in general.  That’s what you do on vacation, right?  When I got home I was craving salads, kale (no surprise there) and meatless meals.  I was also craving beets, so I decided to roast some up and take some photos along the way.

roasted beets:

  • fresh beets – I typically roast up 2 beets at a time
  • extra virgin olive oil - I use 1 tablespoon for 2 beets
  • salt and pepper to taste – I just use a pinch of salt and omit the pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  
Wash and peel the beets and then trim off the stems and root ends. 
Don’t worry about the reddish/purple stain on your fingers, it will come up when you wash up.
Slice the beets into 1/2 -to-1-inch thick wedges (make sure that they are even in size).  
Throw the beet wedges onto a sheet of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with some olive oil and season with a pinch or two of salt.  
You can also use pepper here, but I chose not to.
Create a roasting pouch for the beets by placing them in the center of the foil, and tightly sealing the foil around them. 
Roast for 40-60 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork.  
The cooking time will depend on the size of your beets and also on your oven.  Sometimes it take 40 minutes for my beets to roast while other times it has taken 50 minutes.  
Check them at 40 minutes and then gage the cooking time from there.  
Let the beets cool a bit and then refrigerate them in a sealed container till needed.  Cooked beets taste best when consumed within 2 days.  You can use roasted beets in a variety of dishes from pastas and risottos to salads.  I actually have 2 great salad recipes that incorporate beets, that I will share with you soon.  

mango avocado salsa and how to dice a mango

DSC_0002

This salsa is a preview to another recipe that I am showcasing on Monday, cilantro lime chicken tacos. This salsa and those tacos are rated a 10+ in my house and they pair so perfectly together. This salsa is a great stand along recipe, so I wanted to showcase it as a separate recipe, rather than combine it with another where it might get lost. 

This salsa is super easy to throw together and all of the ingredients are in season right now and as fresh as can be.  I love this salsa because it’s not your standard red or green salsa. It’s a unique combination of flavors and textures.  We love serving this salsa alongside some tortilla chips. Bring this to your next summer potluck and I guarantee it will be gone, you might even want to make a double batch.mango avocado salsa:

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 3 cups
Printer friendly version

  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced medium
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced medium
  • 1 small red onion or 1/2 of large red onion, diced small – I can’t seem to find small red onions around my neck of the woods so I always use 1/2 of a larger onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice  (1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Note:  Martha’s recipe included 1/2 to 1 habanero chile, (stem and seeds removed and minced) but I chose not to include that in this salsa because it would then be to spicy for my kids.  Feel free to add this to your salsa, if you want it to be spicier.
Prep all your ingredients.  Squeeze the 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, dice up your red onion, chop up your cilantro, dice up your avocado and mango.  
Note: If you are not familiar with how to dice up a mango, I will show you the step-by-step instructions below.  
Get out a large bowl and combine all the above ingredients, add the tablespoon of olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Gently combine all the ingredients together.  
That’s all there is to it!  
This salsa goes great with grilled chicken, pork, seafood, beef or just to serve on the side with some crunchy tortilla chips.  
I wanted to show you a photo of a champagne mango.  You may notice these mangos in the grocery store and don’t be afraid to give them a try as they taste great. Be sure to get ones that are soft and wrinkly, as shown in the below photo or else they won’t be sweet.  You will cut and dice these mangos the same way as a regular mango.
DSC_0002
Next, I’m going to show you how to dice up a mango.  My friend Cathie stopped by to pick up her daughter as I was making this salsa, so I asked her to demonstrate it for you, as she is an expert at mango slicing and dicing.  Thanks Cathie!  
First off, wash your mango.
Mangos have a flat, oblong pit in the center of them, so you don’t want to slice down the center of a mango.  You will want to cut the mango on both sides of the pit, as shown below.  Hold the mango with one hand, stand it on its end, stem side down, and cut from the top of the mango, down one side of the pit.  Repeat on the other side.  
Note:  If you hit the pit, try to cut a curving arc around it.  Also, the flatter sides of the mango are the better sides to cut off.  
Take a mango half and cut/score vertical lines into the cheek using a small paring knife. Make sure the knife tip goes all the way down to the skin, but not through it as you score the lines. The further apart you score the lines, the thicker your slices will be.
Turn the mango and make another set of vertical lines to make a checkerboard pattern.
Note: You can make these slices thinner or fatter depending on how big you want your mango chunks.
Turn the scored mango cheek inside out by pushing the skin up from underneath.
 Gently scrape the mango chunks off with a paring knife.  
 To get the most of your mango, use a paring knife to peel off the outer skin on the remaining piece of mango surrounding the pit.
Slice off any remaining mango meat on the pit and then cut those pieces into small chunks.
 There you have it, some diced mango!  Feel free to slice up your mango into smaller pieces if you want.
Thank you Cathie for being my hand model today. 
My blogger buddy Sharon from Likikoi Joy, made up this salsa for a party. I just loved her Instagram photo, so I asked her to send it to me! I think it’s helpful to see other people’s photos of dishes besides mine!  Don’t you just love the bowl she used?   
IMG_20130707_101316
BTW, I wanted to give a shout out to my brother today.
Happy Birthday Aaron.  I love you so much!

couscous cakes

couscous cakes

couscous cakesDid you ever have one of those Mondays where you get so much done and have tons of energy?  I had that day yesterday and it was an amazing way to start up the week.  I accomplished more in 2 hours then I had the whole weekend.  Whoo hoo!  I even had some extra time to write up this post, so you’re getting 2 posts already this week and it’s only Tuesday.  Bonus!  Who am I?  I don’t know, but I like this new me (don’t get too excited as this is not normal for me).

So I cooked up some salmon last week and whenever I cook up salmon my kids ask for couscous as their side dish.  Basically my kids equate salmon with couscous.  Anyway, I was getting bored of the traditional couscous fare.  Couscous reminds me of white rice, just plain and unassuming, so I was excited when I saw this recipe for couscous cakes in Fine Cooking magazine. These cakes sort of reminded me of my chickpea veggie burgers.  

These patties are so easy to make and require a few simple pantry ingredients, AWESOME!  I even made the patties earlier in the day and then sautéed them up right before dinner, the perfect make-ahead recipe.

couscous cakes:

recipe from Fine Cooking

makes 8-9 patties

  • 3/4 cup couscous – I pack a hefty 3/4 cup of couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf or italian parsley leaves 
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten – I found using large eggs not extra large works best here.  
  • finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil – you will use this later to cook the cakes

Put the couscous and 1 teaspoon salt in a small pan.  Add 1 cup boiling water to the couscous, cover with the pan lid and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes.  

Coarsely chop the garlic in a food processor.  Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until coarsely chopped.Here is what your mixture will look like after it’s been chopped.Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork.  In a large bowl, add the couscous, the chickpea mixture, eggs, and lemon zest and mix until well combined. Press the couscous mixture into a 1/4 measuring cup, smooth the top, and invert the measuring cup to release the cake onto a plate.  Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture to make 8-9 cakes. 

I always throw my mixture in the fridge for a bit before I make the couscous cakes, so the mixture can gel together.   Note:  To make these a make-ahead meal, you can refrigerate the patties ahead of time and sauté them up right before dinner.  You can also refrigerate the mixture as is, and make the patties right before you sauté them.  Either way works.Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  

Add 5 of the couscous cakes to the skillet and then use a spatula to lightly flatten the cakes so they’re about 3/4 inch thick.   Just take a spatula and gently press down on the cakes once they’re in the skillet to flatten them. Cook, flipping once, until the patties are crisp and golden brown on both sides. The recipe said 2 to 3 minutes per side, but mine took a bit longer, like 5 minutes per side.  Just make sure to cook them till they are golden brown on each side.  Transfer the cooked patties to a paper-towel lined plate.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and cook the remaining cakes the same way. You can serve these up with just about anything. I gave the kids a couscous cake and some broccoli along with their salmon.  John and I paired one with a spinach salad and some salmon.  I also love serving these alongside a soup, such as my cauliflower soup.  These would even be great topped with my tzatziki yogurt sauce as a lunch-time entree.  Feel free to jazz these up anyway you choose. I could see adding some red or green onions to them as well as possibly substituting cilantro for the parsley leaves.  This is a great and basic couscous cake recipe.  

Family verdict?    These were rated a 10 in my house and I will definitely be making them again!  Got leftovers?  Just throw them in a 250 degree oven to warm them up.

couscous cakes

couscous cakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup couscous - I pack a hefty 3/4 cup of couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf or italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten - I found using large eggs not extra large works best here.
  • finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - you will use this later to cook the cakes

Instructions

Put the couscous and 1 teaspoon salt in a small pan. Add 1 cup boiling water to the couscous, cover with the pan lid and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes.

Coarsely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork.

In a large bowl, add the couscous, the chickpea mixture, eggs, and lemon zest and mix until well combined. Press the couscous mixture into a 1/4 measuring cup, smooth the top, and invert the measuring cup to release the cake onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture to make 8-9 cakes.

I always throw my mixture in the fridge for a bit before I make the couscous cakes, so the mixture can gel together.

Note: To make these a make-ahead meal, you can refrigerate the patties ahead of time and sauté them up right before dinner. You can also refrigerate the mixture as is, and make the patties right before you sauté them. Either way works.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

Add 5 of the couscous cakes to the skillet and then use a spatula to lightly flatten the cakes so they're about 3/4 inch thick.Just take a spatula and gently press down on the cakes once they're in the skillet to flatten them.

Cook, flipping once, until the patties are crisp and golden brown on both sides. The recipe said 2 to 3 minutes per side, but mine took a bit longer, like 5 minutes per side. Just make sure to cook them till they are golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper-towel lined plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and cook the remaining cakes the same way.

Got leftovers? Just throw them in a 250 degree oven to warm them up.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/05/couscous-cakes/

roasted asparagus

asperagas
Sadly asparagus season is almost over, so I wanted to make sure to post my family’s favorite way to enjoy it, and that is roasting it.  Roasted asparagus is so tasty and it’s a perfect healthy side to any spring meal.  We have been eating so much asparagus these past few months that if  you look closely at the photos below you will see that its everywhere in our household.  I kinda think my kids are glad that the season is coming to a close.

Have you ever roasted asparagus before?  If you haven’t, you have to try it.  It has converted me and many of my friends from asparagus haters to asparagus lovers!  It’s so easy to prepare.  All you do is rinse it, throw on some olive oil and salt, and bake for 7 minutes.  I mean, how easy is that?

Here’s a great tip for keeping asparagus fresh.  Fill a tall glass container with about 2 inches of cold water. Take each asparagus stalk and cut off at least half an inch from the bottom. Put the stalks into the glass container and set it in your refrigerator.  Make sure to replace the water if you are keeping the spears for more than a few days as it will get cloudy.

roasted asparagus:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea or kosher salt 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the asparagus and break off and discard the tough ends. 
Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the spears as well as a pinch of sea or kosher salt.  Toss the asparagus with the salt and olive oil until they are all are evenly distributed.
Place baking sheet in the oven on the middle or second rack from the bottom and cook for approximately 7-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are.  Roast until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  
Make sure to toss them a bit halfway through.
I usually pull them out at exactly 7 minutes and they are perfect every time!
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that pairs with just about anything.
Here are some meals we have been pairing it with below.
salmon with almond-lime yogurt sauceroasted red pepper and arugula whole-wheat pizza
Anyway, I hope you have a chance to roast up some asparagus before the season is over.

tomatillo and avocado salsa

tomatillo and avocado salsa
tomatillo and avocado salsa
OK, I tried to make this salsa look attractive and exciting, but hey let’s face it, it’s salsa.  It may not look enticing, but it tastes great.  I’m posting this salsa recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, (which is this Saturday in case you forgot). Are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo?  We’re not exactly celebrating it, but we’re definitely going to consume some Mexican fare and have ourselves a margarita or two.

This is the perfect salsa to bring to a party or to serve up at home with your favorite chips and Mexican fare.  It’s got a bit of a kick to it, but not too much where your kids won’t enjoy it.  Eli kept dipping his chips in it, so I know it wasn’t too spicy for him. 

tomatillo and avocado salsa:

recipe adapted from the food network
    • 1 small red onion or 1/2 of a normal sized one, quartered 
    • 1 jalapeño, quartered, seeds optional – I omitted the seeds
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 4 medium tomatillos, (about 8 ounces) husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
    • 1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
These are tomatillos in case you were not sure what they looked like.  They don’t look so pretty on the outside, but take away their outer skin and underneath you will find a bright green beauty. 
Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash off the sticky film.  They are sticky little suckers until you rinse them.
Coarsely chop the tomatillos.
 Put the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a food processor and finely chop.
Add the tomatillos, avocado, and salt and pulse until chopped but still chunky. 
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cilantro.
 Blend in the cilantro.
That’s all there is to it.  Pretty easy!
Grab some chips and dig in!
tomatillo and avocado salsa
Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

wheat berries with charred onions and kale

wheat berries with charred onions and kale

wheat berries with charred onions and kaleAm I turning into a health nut or what?  I have eaten more kale in the past 6 months than I have in my whole lifetime, seriously. This blog is working wonders for my health and waistline (as well as my hubby’s).  It was actually John that picked out this recipe, can you believe it?  We received the recent issue of bon appetit on Friday.  John opened it up, pointed at two recipes, looked at me and said, “honey, we’re making this for dinner on Sunday.”  I  then took a look at the two recipes and happily agreed.  Did I mention that John is an amazing cook, even better than me?  I’m such a lucky girl.

Wheat berries?  You’re probably wondering what the heck they are.  Wheat berries are simply individual kernels of wheat.  They’re a true whole grain.  A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron.  Wheat berries have a chewy bite and a subtle nutty and earthy flavor.  You can find them in the natural foods section of your local grocery store. I found these at Whole Foods in the bulk bins.
DSC_0224-2

wheat berries with charred onions and kale: 
recipe from bon appetit
serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat berries 
  • 2 medium yellow onions – see instructions below
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - The recipe called for 8 tablespoons but we did not feel we needed all the oil, so we just added what we felt was necessary.
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 packed cups) – I used curly kale for this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine wheat berries, 1 onion half, 5 thyme sprigs, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches.  
The below photo was taken before I put in the water, of course, but I thought it was pretty so I snapped up a picture.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium or medium low (our stove has an intense flame so we went to medium low) and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. 
Drain in a colander and discard the onion and thyme sprigs. Place wheat berries in a large bowl and let cool.  
Meanwhile, rinse, de-stem, dry and tear up your kale into 2-inch pieces; set aside.  
Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add onions. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5 minutes. 
Transfer onions to the bowl with wheat berries
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to same skillet (we actually added about 1 teaspoon as there was oil leftover). Working in 3 batches, add kale and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper, and adding oil as needed between batches, until charred in spots, about 1 minute per batch.  
This is another tasty and kid approved way to get your kale in.  My kids loved the kale sautéed this way as it reminded them of kale chips but without the crunch. 
Add the kale to the bowl.  Drizzle with the 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and any remaining oil left in the pan; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
We served this up as a side salad for dinner, but I would definitely eat a bowl of this for lunch without the steak!
 Here were my leftovers the next day.  I topped the salad with some leftover steak and the herb salsa.  I then microwaved it for about 1 minute. 
 It was a two-nighter meal and tasted just as good or even better the next night.

What have you made with kale lately?
Are you becoming kale obsessed like me?
Bon appétit

chickpea veggie burgers & tzatziki yogurt sauce

chickpea veggie burgers

chickpea veggie burgers

I know this blog is about family friendly meals but I am also going to introduce you to “mommy” meals.  Mommy meals are meals that I typically eat for lunch while the kids are in school or on the weekends.  Mommy meals are nutritious, whole grain, chock full of vegetable meals.  I know most of these meals would not appeal to my kids yet so I eat them for lunch or dinner on those nights where there is an acceptable leftover for them.  

Anyway, I have had Heidi Swanson’s cookbook, Super Natural Cooking for about a year.  I love this cookbook as well as her blog, 101 cookbooks.  She is a local gal, just 15 minutes from me (somewhere in SF), so I feel a sort of local kinship with her.  This cookbook has so many beautiful recipes and photos that I often just browse through like I would a picture book.  My hubby was commenting to me the other day as I was paging through the book, how I still have not made a recipe from it.  I told him I have not made anything from it because most of the meals would not appeal to our kids.  He told me, in a loving way, to stop with the excuses and just make something from it. He also promised that he would happily eat anything I made from the book. I decided he was right, so I opened up to page 155 and got ready to make Heidi’s chickpea patties that I have been wanting to try for so long.

These are not your typical burgers that you put inside a bun.  These burgers are the bun!  You insert the goodies inside of the burger.  Genius!  I made these burgers the first time for lunch and they were so tasty that I decided I was going to make them for some friends that were coming over for dinner the next night.  We served them up with some Tzatziki sauce (recipe below), fresh avocado, sprouts, chopped tomato and my kale salad.  It was a fabulous vegetarian meal! I felt so refreshed and light after eating this dinner, that is until I had a huge piece of chocolate cake, ugh! This is a great do-ahead meal because you can make the burgers, tzatziki yogurt sauce earlier that day or the day before.  All you have to do when your guests arrive is heat up the patties and chop up the fresh ingredients to put inside.

I wanted to simplify this recipe so I did not get sprouted garbanzo beans nor did I make my own bread crumbs.  Sometimes we just have to cut corners and make things easier on ourselves. I kept Heidi’s recipe the way she wrote it below and noted my changes in green.

chickpea veggie burgers

chickpea veggie burgers:

Recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking
makes 8 hamburger-sized patties
printer friendly version
This is a great do-ahead meal; you can store shaped, ready-to-cook patties in the refrigerator for a week’s worth of lunches or dinner.  Just cook them up when you are ready to eat them.

  • 2 1/2 cups sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed – I used the boxed variety and 2 boxes gave me 2 1/2 cups plus some leftovers.  I’m assuming it would take 2 cans as well.
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 onion, chopped - I used a yellow onion on the first batch and a red onion on the second batch.  I loved both, but really preferred the red onion as it had a bit more flavor.
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (either broccoli, onion, clover or alfalfa sprouts) - I used clover sprouts
  • 1 cup toasted whole-grain breadcrumbs - I was to lazy to make bread crumbs so I just used Ian’s whole wheat panko bread crumbs and they worked perfectly
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter  for sauteing the burgers- I used 2 tablespoons here, one for each batch that I sauteed
I found these chickpeas at the market and grabbed them as they were in these BPA free and recyclable boxes.  I also use Eden Organic chickpeas which are in BPA free cans as well.  If you don’t have the time to soak beans its nice to know that there are great alternatives out there that are BPA free.  
Isn’t the packaging cute?
If you are using sprouted garbanzos, steam them until tender, about 10 minutes.  If you are using canned or boxed beans (which I did), jump right in.  Combine the chickpeas, eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. 
Note:  I used my mini-prep so I added 1/2 of the chickpeas and 2 eggs plus the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pureed it, and then added the rest of the chickpeas and the other two eggs and pureed it again.Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus.
Pour into a mixing bowl and add in the cilantro, onion, lemon zest, and sprouts. 
Mix all the ingredients together.
Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes so the crumbs can absorb the moisture.  This is where I clean up the kitchen a bit.
 After about 5 minutes or so, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into patties.  
I formed mine into 8 hamburger-sized patties.  
These patties are moist but will hold their form quite well.  You can always add more breadcrumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if needed.  
 Heat the tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  I happily got out my cast iron pan for this culinary adventure.  Add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown.  Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes.
Note:  If you are just making one burger for lunch or dinner then just pour enough olive oil in the pan to coat the bottom and cook up your burger.  The cooking time might be less per side as there is only one burger.       
Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and cool patties on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.  I added another tablespoon of olive oil before I put in the rest of the patties, as I did not want them to be dry.  
Carefully cut the patty in half, insert your favorite filling and enjoy! 

 I filled mine with some of the tzatziki sauce, avocado and some clover sprouts. 

tzatziki yogurt sauce:

Note:  It’s recommended that this sauce chill in the refrigerator for a few hours in order for the flavors to blend together.  You can even make this sauce the day before.  This recipe makes a lot of yogurt sauce, so please feel free to cut it in half.  

  • 1 pound (1 pint) plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar – we used champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill – I added a bit more to flavor it up
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper


This yogurt sauce is also great to use as a dip for veggies for a healthy after school snack or with pita chips.  Peel and grate the cucumber.  Wrap the grated cucumber in a paper towel and squeeze it to get out the excess water.  You may have to re-wrap and squeeze it a few times to get out all of the water.

Scoop out the yogurt into a bowl.  Add the grated cucumber, 3 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil,  1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced dill, and a pinch of pepper. 

 Mix the ingredients together.Cover and put the tzatziki in the refrigerator for a few hours so that the flavors can blend together.  

That’s it, easy peasy!Hubby Verdict?  He loved these and was actually the one who suggested that we serve these up for dinner for our friends.  This is coming from a Midwestern meat and potato guy.

He has had one for lunch the past two days as well. 
Kids Verdict?  Eli wouldn’t even try one, Zoe tried it and liked it, but could only handle a few bites!Have you ever made a veggie burger before?  

Do you prefer a beef/buffalo, turkey, salmon or veggie burger?

whole-grain skillet corn bread

whole-grain skillet corn bread

Remember when I went crazy over the November issue of Whole Living Magazine?  I made about 4 recipes from that one issue and they were all fantastic.  This corn bread recipe was in it as well, and I couldn’t wait to make it, but I wanted to wait till Santa brought me the cast iron pan I had asked for.  Well, Santa came through and my pan was under the tree Christmas morning wrapped in a big red bow tie.  Thanks Santa. I use my cast iron pan all the time now and recommend picking one up.  They’re a workhorse of a pan and so inexpensive.  This 10″ pan cost $22 and the 12″ costs $28.  I think that is going to be my next purchase with the gift card to Sur La Table that I received from my wonderful brother-in-law, Brandt.  Thanks Brandt!  

The cast iron pan is the key to a perfect crust.  The crust gets all brown and crispy when it cooks in the pre-heated pan.  Add some fresh honey to the top of this bread when it comes out of the oven and you have yourself a healthy grainy bread with a touch of sweetness. 

Whole-Grain Skillet Corn Bread:

Recipe from Whole Living Magazine

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • honey

DSC_0012Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Preheat (about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven) an 8-inch or 10-inch cast-iron pan, or pie dish if you don’t have a cast iron pan.  I used my 10 inch cast iron pan, and the bread turned out great.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
DSC_0015In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and 1/4 cup of olive oil.
DSC_0014Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
Note:  The batter will be thick and a bit lumpy.
DSC_0022
Take out your preheated pan or pie dish and add the remaining tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat the bottom.  Pour in the batter and smooth the top with a spatula.  I know it looks a bit rough on the top, but the dough is thick and sticky.DSC_0026Bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean from the center, 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your pan.  Note: My bread took 20 minutes because it was in a 10 inch skillet and was spread out more than it would be in an 8 skillet or pie dish.

DSC_0043Brush with honey, then let cool a bit.DSC_0052

DSC_0075Cut into wedges & add a drizzle of fresh honey or butter to each slice and serve up with your favorite soup or chili.  Take the remaining bread out of the skillet and store in a covered container.  Don’t store the bread in the skillet. 

This bread is also tasty in the morning as a breakfast treat.  Eli has been having a slice with his eggs every morning!

roasted fingerling potatoes with salt, rosemary and thyme

roasted fingerling potatoes with salt, rosemary and thyme

roasted fingerling potatoes with salt, rosemary and thymeI received a cast-iron skillet for Christmas and couldn’t wait to break it in.  I was cooking up some lemon chicken breasts and roasted cauliflower for dinner and decided that some roasted potatoes would be the perfect accompaniment.  Comfort food at its best, but healthy comfort food.  I took a look in my pantry and noticed I had about 16 fingerling potatoes just sitting there waiting to be used, so I pulled out one cast iron skillet and got to work.

BTW, my kids love these potatoes (they rate them a 10).  They really taste like thick cut french fries, as they get super crispy on the bottom when you roast them in the skillet

roasted fingerling potatoes with salt, rosemary and thyme:

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

serves 4

  • 15-16 or 1 pound fingerling potatoes, well scrubbed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Note:  There are really no precise estimates for oil, salt, pepper and herbs.  Just use the amounts you want and like when seasoning your veggies as some people like more seasoning and some people like less.  It’s really an individual preference.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large ovenproof gratin dish or skillet in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  I used my 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

DSC_0002Wash and scrub your potatoes and then cut them in half lengthwise.

DSC_0007Combine the salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary in a small bowl.

DSC_0016Toss the potatoes in a medium bowl with the tablespoon of olive oil.

DSC_0020Add in your seasoned-salt mixture and mix well to combine.

DSC_0021-2Arrange the potatoes cut side down in a single layer in the preheated pan.

The potatoes will be tight here, but try and just wedge them in as best you can.  I filled mine with 16 potatoes and it was a tight squeeze.

DSC_0039Roast until they are golden on the outside and tender when pierced with fork, 20-25  minutes.roasted fingerling potatoes with salt, rosemary and thymeEnjoy!

cranberry orange sauce

cranberry orange sauce
cranberry orange sauce
Thanksgiving is almost here and everyone needs a cranberry sauce to compliment their Turkey dinner, right?  This cranberry sauce is so simple to make and tastes 100 times better than the canned stuff.  I remember devouring the canned stuff as a kid each Thanksgiving.  I would peel open the can and dump out that big glop of gelled cranberry sauce onto the serving dish and call it a day.  Easy peasy right?  Well, yes, it was easy, but not so tasty, so move over canned sauce and say hello to the fresh stuff.  

This recipe has been passed down from John’s mom, aka, mama mama.  She got the nickname from Zoe when she was 2 years old, and it has stuck ever since.  We all refer to her now as mama mama and she loves it!  This sauce also makes a great hostess gift. We like to put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow and give them away throughout the holiday season.
cranberry orange sauce

cranberry orange sauce:

recipe handed down from mama mama

  • 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed cloves - if you can’t find crushed cloves, just crush them with the back of a spoon or in a coffee grinder
  • 1 orange cut into small chunks
  • zest of one orange
Rinse your cranberries, zest and cut up your orange and measure out your ingredients. 
Combine all the ingredients into small sauce pan.  
Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until most of the cranberry skins pop.
I wish it was more complicated, but it’s not.  Serve this up to your guests at Thanksgiving and they will be very thankful.
cranberry orange sauce
Remember, this sauce makes great hostess gifts.  Just put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow, and give them away throughout the holiday season.

Popovers with fresh thyme and gruyere cheese

popovers

Here is great addition to the basic popover recipe that I posted last month.  I am giving full credit to my friend, Amanda Baker (aka theBaker mama), for her twist on the traditional popover.  She decided to add fresh thyme and gruyere cheese to her popovers one day and texted me a photo.  My mouth was watering just looking at the photo, so I knew I was going to have to make them soon.   John was making some orange glazed ham and sautéed spinach with shallots for dinner so we decided these popovers would be the perfect compliment to the meal.   Needless to say, they were delicious!

Note:  Popovers are best when served warm.
 
Popovers with fresh thyme and gruyere cheese:
  • 2 eggs @ room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and butter a popover pan.  Note: You will want to heavily butter your pan even if it’s a non-stick popover pan otherwise the popovers will stick and be hard to get out.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, butter, flour and salt.  I use a whisk here and mix until the ingredients are just blended and only tiny lumps of flour are visible, about 1 minute.  
Add your gruyere cheese and thyme and combine.
Once the cheese and thyme are combined, pour the mixture into your popover pan.  Fill popover cups about halfway with batter (make sure you pour an even amount into each cup).
Bake popovers at 425 until they begin to brown and rise, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.  Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until popovers are brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes more.  Please just keep an eye on your popovers and gage your own cooking times.  I usually gage 45 minutes or so to cook my popovers from start to finish.  We like them to be brown and crisp not doughy and yellow.
 
When you pull them out they should look like this:  Note:  These popovers will not rise as high as the traditional popovers due to the gruyere cheese.

Popovers are best served when they are just out of the oven, so try and time them with your meal.  

These were amazing and the thyme and gruyere cheese added such an intense flavor to the traditional popover.   

Roasted Brussles Sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

How are you feeling about Brussels spouts?  Do they bring up childhood memories of being stuck at the dinner table for hours until you finished every last one?  Do you have memories of gagging each time you ate one?  I do!  I use to hate Brussels sprouts, especially ones that were boiled.  They were sodden and vaguely buttered and hard to chew.  Then I tried them roasted, and I was converted.  Roasting them takes away that bitter taste and brings out their nutty flavor.  I’m hoping to convert those of you that are Brussels sprouts haters to Brussels sprouts lovers.

OK, lets get started!  You don’t need much to make these;  just some olive oil, salt & pepper.  First wash up your Brussels sprouts and then pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

DSC_0006

Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves.  Then cut them in half from stem to top.DSC_0020

On a rimmed baking sheet, gently toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.

DSC_0029

 Roast, tossing occasionally, until sprouts are browned and tender when pierced with fork, about 15 minutes.

roasted Brussels sprouts

Serve them up alongside your favorite dish.

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflowerWant to get your kids to try and love cauliflower?  Then try roasting it. We all want to get more veggies into our family’s diet, right?  Well, a few years back, I tried cooking cauliflower for dinner. I steamed it as you would any vegetable and it tasted OK to John and I, but my kids HATED it!  There was a lot of gagging going on at the dinner table that night.  So I took a break from cauliflower and went back to the old familiars like broccoli and green beans, but I really wanted to get some new veggies into our diet, so I was determined to find other ways to cook them.

I heard that roasting cauliflower brought it to a whole new level, so I decided to give it a try.  The response I got that night from the kids was way different then the one before. The kids were like, “This can’t be cauliflower, it tastes too good, what is it really?” I told them it was indeed cauliflower but that I cooked it a different way. From that night on they were hooked!  Roasting cauliflower intensifies its flavor, rendering a caramelized, crispy product. Tender, aromatic, and slightly sweet, oven-roasted cauliflower is a wonderful veggie accompaniment to any meal.  Give it a try and I bet your pickiest eater will love it!

roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse kosher salt

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Cut up your cauliflower into even sized pieces.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower and put it on a rimmed baking sheet.  Season with a bit of olive oil and a few pinches of salt, toss to mix well.

Spread the cauliflower out on in a single layer.

chopped cauliflower (1 of 1)-2Bake, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is browned and tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes.

This is what your cauliflower should look like when its finished!

roasted cauliflower on baking sheet

roasted cauliflowerPair it up with any entree or throw it into a pasta. We paired it below with a buffalo burger and kale salad.  

roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger roasted cauliflower, kale salad and buffalo burger Have you tried roasted cauliflower? If not, you should give it at try and I bet you will become a fan!

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

popovers

popoversI just love fall.  When the air starts to get crisp and the nights get shorter, I crave afternoon chai tea, comfort food, a fire in the fireplace and my big soft blanket to nestle in.  One of my family’s favorite comfort foods is popovers.  When you come by my house and start smelling these in the oven, then you know fall is here. Popovers are a bit funny!  I mean look at them, they each have their own unique appearance.  Its like they’re having a competition to see who can rise the highest or popover the most.  Get it, popover?  Ha Ha, see I crack myself up sometimes.  

Popovers seem like they would be difficut to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest things to whip up, and you most likely have all the ingredients on hand at home. I’ve been making these for years, and they’re still a crowd pleaser.  I got this recipe from an old William and Sonoma catalog.  Remember when they use to send out their catalogs with some of their favorite recipes inside?  Well, that’s where I got this recipe from, and I have tried other popover recipes, but this is still my favorite and it’s the simplest. 

You just need 5 ingredients!  Yes, just 5, can you believe it?
Flour, butter, salt, whole milk & eggs.

Popovers:

Recipe from William Sonoma
Note:  Popovers are best when served warm.
makes 6 popovers or 12 mini popovers in a muffin tin
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted – You’re going to use this to grease the pan
Note:  You’re going to pre-heat the oven once the popover mix has been combined.
In a mixing bowl with a wire whisk, blend together the 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, and one tablespoon melted butter until completely combined.
DSC_0046-2
Add the 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and blend until frothy and bubbly.
Now it’s time to pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Let the popover mixture rest while the oven is heating up. Note: Letting the mixture rest, gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and gives the popovers a better texture.

Put the empty popover pan in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes to warm up. I usually put my pan in when the oven temp reaches 400 degrees and then take it out when it reaches 450 degrees.

While the pan is heating up, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter.

Take the popover pan out of the oven and divide the 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the cups. Just pour the butter into the tins and let it rest at the bottom. The butter will sizzle and brown, but that’s fine.

Whisk the batter one more time to froth it up again. Give it a good whisk!

Fill popover cups halfway with batter. Make sure that you pour an even amount in all cups.

I love this grand popover pan from Nordic Ware.  It may cost more than the normal popover pan, but it makes the perfect popover and they don’t stick to the pan. The pan is made of cast  iron, so it cooks up the popovers evenly.  I’ve had mine for 3 years now and I use it at least once a week, if not more, and it’s still looks brand new.   If you find yourself making popovers quite often, then I would invest in a good quality popover pan.  For  those of you that are local, Sur La Table carries this brand.Put the pan in the oven and bake the popovers at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they begin to brown and rise. I usually set my timer for 16 minutes and that seems to be the prefect time in my oven.
Do not open the oven door during baking, as this will cause the popovers to deflate.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake the popover for another 15 minutes or until the popovers are brown and crisp.
Note: Finished popovers will be golden-brown, feel dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.  Turn the popovers out onto a drying rack or plate to cool for a few minutes.

Note: Don’t leave the popovers in the tins, as the bottoms will get all wet from the butter.

Popovers rise up and come out differently each time, so don’t be weirded out if you see some strange looking ones.Popovers are the best when they’re fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, just warm them on a tray in a 250 degree oven until warm and crispy again, about 5 minutes.

Here’s a photo of what popovers look like when baked in a muffin tin.  They still come out beautiful.popovers made in a muffin tinMy kids don’t mind them cool as leftovers.  If I’m serving them up as leftovers for breakfast, I will either throw them in the oven to warm up, (if I have time) or I will throw one in the microwave for 10-12 seconds to warm up.  Eli absolutely loves these for breakfast warmed up with some jelly inside.  My kids are also addicted to a warm popover with Nutella inside, as it tastes like a chocolate croissant.  You can serve these up with just about any dish.  We love to pair them with soup, steak and chicken dishes. Serve a fresh batch of these to your kids as an afternoon snack or top them with some jam for breakfast. I wish computers had a smell button so you could smell how amazing these are.  Now, if you want a sweeter version of this popover, try some sugar-crusted popovers. They’re a cross between cinnamon toast, a sugar and cinnamon donut and a popover.  

Make these for breakfast, your family will thank you!Try these rosemary and sea salt popovers. These are my kid’s new favorite!

popovers with rosemary and sea saltI also love these lemon thyme popovers.

lemon thyme popovers

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: makes 6 popovers or 12 mini popovers in a muffin t

Popovers :) Kid rated 10

Popovers are best when served warm.

Ingredients

  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted - You're going to use this to grease the pan

Instructions

Note: You're going to pre-heat the oven once the popover mix has been combined.

In a mixing bowl with a wire whisk, blend together the 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, and one tablespoon melted butter until completely combined.

Add the 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and blend until frothy and bubbly.

Now it's time to pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Let the popover mixture rest while the oven is heating up. Note: Letting the mixture rest, gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and gives the popovers a better texture.

Put the empty popover pan in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes to warm up. I usually put my pan in when the oven temp reaches 400 degrees and then take it out when it reaches 450 degrees.

While the pan is heating up, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter.

Take the popover pan out of the oven and divide the 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the cups. Just pour the butter into the tins and let it rest at the bottom. The butter will sizzle and brown, but that's fine.

Whisk the batter one more time to froth it up again. Give it a good whisk!

Fill popover cups halfway with batter. Make sure that you pour an even amount in all cups.

Put the pan in the oven and bake the popovers at 450 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they begin to brown and rise. I usually set my timer for 16 minutes and that seems to be the prefect time in my oven.

Do not open the oven door during baking, as this will cause the popovers to deflate.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees* and bake the popover for another 15 minutes or until the popovers are brown and crisp.

Note: Finished popovers will be golden-brown, feel dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.

Turn the popovers out onto a drying rack or plate to cool for a few minutes.

Note: Don't leave the popovers in the tins, as the bottoms will get all wet from the butter.

Popovers rise up and come out differently each time, so don't be weirded out if you see some strange looking ones.

Popovers are the best when they're fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead, just warm them on a tray in a 250 degree oven until warm and crispy again, about 5 minutes.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/10/popovers-kid-rated-10/