Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Salad

Christmas is over and New Year's is on the way. How about an easy salad with balsamic roasted vegetables to feel better about all those treats you've been having? This takes some time to cook, so it's a good one to make on the weekend and refrigerate for a quick meal during the long work week.

This is my new addiction............

Pick out whatever veggies you want. I used a baseball sized beet, two carrots, an apple, two small whole onions, and Brussels sprouts. I also had some leftover chicken breast I wanted to use up.
Try to use veg that is on sale or in season to make this affordable.

Beets take a long time to cook (but are so worth it), so start out by peeling and chopping them to your desired shape. Add some olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper. Mix it all together. Bake them in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes. The goal is to get them soft and sweet and caramelized. After they are pretty much cooked, you can add your other veg, depending on how long they take to cook. For example, carrots take longer than apples to cook. It doesn't have to be perfect, and you will learn by trial and error how long they take to be done. Just test them out with a fork to see how far along they are.

For the chicken, I sliced it up, seasoned with salt and pepper, added to the veg, mixed it all together, and cooked for at least 15 minutes to ensure it is done.

When everything looks nicely caramelized and tender, douse it all with a few turns of balsamic vinegar, mix together to coat the veg and chicken, and roast for another 10 minutes, or until it has mostly evaporated. This makes everything taste a hundred times better!!!!

Let everything cool down a bit before topping your favorite greens with the veg and chicken mixture.

You may need a little dressing on your greens so here's how to make a simple balsamic vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, add some balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the same amount of olive oil as balsamic. It's as easy as that!

Toss desired amount into your greens and mix up with your hands to ensure every leaf gets a coating.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tis the Season! Overnight Coffee Cake

It's the week before Christmas, a wonderful time if you can take a few minutes to breathe and take it all in. Well, I have the perfect recipe to relax with! Overnight Coffee Cake. My friend Kathie found it online a few years ago and it's a hit!

I tried something new this year- mini muffin coffee cakes. They are bite size deliciousness. It only took 20 minutes to cook, instead of the 30-35 minutes the original recipe calls for. It was just a little more of a pain to grease and flour the muffin tins.

I've also done these in mini loaves as gifts. It's a very versatile recipe and makes plenty of servings for your eating pleasure.


Overnight Coffee Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (or crisco), then flour. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the butter, milk, and eggs. Beat until well combined; pour into baking dish, cover, and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon with the pecans. Sprinkle over the chilled batter and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut and serve warm.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas..........................

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Butternut Squash and Artichokes with Shells

I found this dish on the back of the Barilla pasta box and added some nice additions! It's easy, cheap, and healthy. I found it was a good way to use up some veggies I had in the house that otherwise would've gone to waste. How much do you throw away each week? I hate wasting food, especially since it is so expensive lately. This time of year, butternut squash is about 35 cents a pound, so take advantage.
Basically, this is cooked vegetables with pasta. So easy.
A lot of these ingredients are fresh and unprocessed which makes it incredibly healthy during this season of indulgence. Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


olive oil, kosher salt, pepper
small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
can of quartered artichokes
one small butternut squash, peeled and diced
one small broccoli floret, chopped (optional, had some left over that was steamed)
roasted red pepper, sliced (optional, i happened to have some handy)
one pound of box of pasta, preferably medium shells
handful of fresh parsley chopped
handful of parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of water on to boil the pasta.

Put squash in a large baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly coat with olive oil.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until it is just tender.

While it is cooking, heat the largest skillet you have over medium heat. Add olive oil to just coat the bottom of pan and add onions. Saute them for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the artichokes from their liquid and prepare the other veggies if using.

When onions are soft enough for you, add artichokes, broccoli, peppers and cooked butternut squash and mix all together. Heat through over medium heat while the pasta is cooking.

IMPORTANT! Reserve a coffee mug full of the starchy pasta cooking water!!

When pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the veggie mixture. Add the chopped parsley and the  cheese. Take off of the heat, mix together, and add some of the reserved pasta water to your desired consistency. If you don't do this,  the pasta will soak up all the juices from veggies and it will get dry.

Serve with warm bread.............mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.............................