Monday, March 18, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Ok. I'm awful at finding the time to update this.  Things have just been too busy.  I've been good at cooking our meals, just no time to actually write about them.  But sometimes I make things that are just too good not to share.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth but I love lemon poppyseed muffins/bread/pancakes.  This recipe was really easy to make and turned out really well.  I don't think the muffins would have had enough lemon flavor without the glaze though... so be forewarned if you choose to omit it.  Plus the glaze added just enough sweetness to really push these muffins over the top.  Depending on your measuring skills, you might also need to add a tiny bit more milk if the batter looks too dry.  Mine was scoopable (not pourable) without any extra milk and it baked up fine.

I will probably try doubling the recipe if I plan on sharing.  Jeremy and I probably aren't going to be letting any of these out of our sight anytime soon.

There was more glaze than what was needed to glaze these muffins.  I plan on making some pancakes in the near future and using that glaze as a syrup.  I can't think of any way that could possibly go wrong. :)

Recipe (makes 12 muffins):
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine (at room temperature)
2/3 c. sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs (at room temperature)
2 c. AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
4 tsp. poppy seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  
2. In a large mixer (or large bowl with electric mixer), cream sugar, zest, and margarine together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next.
3. Alternately incorporate the flour and milk, stir as little as possible so as not to overmix (1/3 of the flour mix, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour, rest of milk, rest of flour).  Stir in the poppy seeds.
5. In a muffin tin with paper liners (or well greased with butter/cooking spray), evenly divide the batter.
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
7. Allow muffins to cool on a cooling rack.  Glaze by dipping them (upside down) into the glaze.  Allow excess to drip off (glaze will harden as it sets).

Lemon Glaze:
Juice of 1 lemon
approximately 1 c. confectioners sugar

1. Mix juice and sugar together with a whisk or spoon.  Add more sugar if needed to achieve desired consistency.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

I know, two posts in 1 day!  But this recipe was just too good not to share.

I'm not vegan (if the rest of the posts on this blog didn't give that away...) but I ran across a recipe that was vegan, low-fat, AND chocolaty   Since I had a lot of applesauce to use in the fridge, I decided to give it a try.  After some tweaking, these cupcakes were delicious.

This was also a really easy recipe to pull together.  It uses all common ingredients (or at least common ingredients for my pantry).  Another plus of this being vegan: absolutely NO GUILT when you lick the whisk and/or measuring cup and/or spatula.  

I will definitely be doubling this recipe the next time I make it.  These were amazing!  I don't think it would be possible to identify these as vegan or healthy if you didn't know the ingredients.  Yum.

I dusted mine with powdered sugar because that's what I had.  These would be delicious with frosting though.  Maybe next time.
Recipe (makes 12 cupcakes):
2 c. AP flour
1 c. sugar
1 tbs. corn starch
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Whisk all of the ingredients, but the applesauce, together.  Add the applesauce and whisk until incorporated.  (The batter was a little thick for me so don't fret.)
3. Coat a cupcake pan with cooking spray.  Put approximately 1/4 c. of the batter in each cupcake.
4. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.  Frost or dust with powdered sugar.

Healthier Spinach Onion Quiche

So I've taken a lot of time off from blogging... I've been busy at work and we adopted a wonderful puppy from a local shelter.  Kirby's been taking up a lot of our time so even though I've been cooking, I haven't had time to write anything down. Since he's passed out next to me, he's not trying to lick my computer while I type.  

Since it's Superbowl Sunday, I'm making a big pot of turkey chili tonight.  But first, we needed to eat breakfast.  We didn't have any bread around so in searching for what to make for breakfast I decided to go with a quiche. (We had pancakes yesterday morning so I figured we didn't need those 2 days in a row.)

This isn't a cup-and-a-half-of-heavy-cream quiche.  The texture isn't quite as silky so it's probably a cross between a quiche and a fritata.  Not that I mind that. I'm very happy that this was a healthier breakfast, even if it did still involve a pie crust. :)

I cut this quiche into 6 slices and ate 1 1/2.  Jeremy had 2 1/2.  Not bad since that's all we had for breakfast.
Pie crusts and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love to eat them, but I hate making them, mostly because I'm pretty bad at it.  I've found a recipe for a oil crust that is much more forgiving.  It's not as tender and flaky as a traditional crust (which I don't think I'll ever be able to make as well as my mother-in-law does...) but it gets the job done.  And more importantly, you can roll this crust out right after you make it, no waiting time needed.  Which means this crust is perfect when I decide that I want to make a pie crust immediately before I start cooking.

I always feel slightly better when we eat some veggies for breakfast.  I had a bunch of spinach in the fridge so I decided to chop and wilt it down as part of the filling.  Delicious!  You could certainly substitute your favorite veggies or meat to make this according to your own taste.

1 pie crust (see below)
5 eggs
1/4 c. skim milk
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg (freshly grated again)
3 c. fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. margarine
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add margarine.  Once melted, add the sliced onion and saute until soft.  Add spinach leaves and vinegar and saute until wilted and most of the vinegar has evaporated.  Remove from heat.
2. Beat eggs, milk, parmesan, nutmeg, and salt and pepper until well-incorporated.
3. Put the spinach-onion mixture in the crust.  Top with egg mixture.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Let quiche rest for about 5 minutes.  Cut into slices and serve.

2/3 c. white whole wheat flour
2/3 c. AP flour
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. skim milk (approximately, you might need a tablespoon more)
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine the crust ingredients and mix together with a fork (it will look crumbly).  Press the dough together into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, press the dough ball into a disc. Roll out so it will fit in a 9" pie plate.  (Just press back together any places where the dough cracks.)  Place the pie dough into the pie plate and prick with a fork.  Put 2 layers of foil on the dough. Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until slightly golden.  Remove from the oven.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zucchini Potato and Onion Latkes with Chipotle Scallion Sour Cream

Happy Hanukkah!  To celebrate the first night, I made latkes!  And I made these healthy by adding vegetables!  To those who might not know what a latke is (ahem, me before I met Jeremy), it's basically a delicious hash brown.

This recipe made 26 latkes.  Probably should've been more but I'm not very good at measuring. :)  This really should have been enough to feed a whole family, but Jeremy ate 11 on his own.  I had 5 and am stuffed.  For those of you who are good at math, that means we have 10 left.  Since Jeremy almost stabbed me when I went to take my fifth latke, I'm going to guess that I don't get any of the leftovers.  Oh well.

The sour cream with this was delicious.  Slightly tangy, slightly spicy.  A nice complement to the rich latkes.

Overall a great meal.  Now to lie on the couch and relax...

5 medium russet potatoes, peeled
2 large zucchini
1 large spanish onion
1 1/2 c. matzo meal
3 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper (or to taste)
vegetable oil

1. Grate the zucchini and onion (using the large holes on a box grater or a food processor).  Grate the potatoes. (Grate the potatoes after the zucchini and onion to avoid having the potatoes turn black.) Place the zucchini, onion, and potato in a large bowl, removing any liquid that seeps out.
2. Add the matzo meal, eggs, salt and pepper to the veggies.  Mix well.
3. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add some vegetable oil.*
4. Add 1/4 c. of the latke mixture for each cake.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes per side, flipping when the underside is golden brown.  Allow the second side to cook for 3-4 minutes as well.  (The latke should be fully cooked in the middle now, rip one open and taste to make sure the potato has softened completely.)
5. Repeat with the remaining latke mix, adding oil as needed to keep them sizzling (and to keep them from sticking if not using a non-stick pan).  (I kept my latkes warm in a 200 degree oven because I could only cook 4 at a time on my griddle.)

Sour cream:
16 oz. fat-free sour cream (or not fat-free... but we were eating fried potatoes... so we went with fat-free)
2 tbs. chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
3 scallions (green onions), minced

1. Mix everything. Done.

* How much vegetable oil depends on the pan.  I use a non-stick griddle so I only had 1-2 tsp. of vegetable oil (per batch of latkes... those suckers really soak it up).  If you're not using a non-stick pan, you need more oil.  Some recipes call for up to 1/4 inch of oil.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Marinara

A few weeks ago I made a huge pot of marinara sauce.  I've been getting a little annoyed by the high sodium levels in a lot of the jarred sauces on the market and the prevalence of ingredients I'd never heard of.  So I decided to make my own.  I buy canned tomatoes that have the lowest sodium content I can find (no sodium added? yes please! now I can season it myself!).  I used some of that sauce to cover a delicious braciole.  The rest of the sauce got frozen for use at a later time.  I pulled out about 6 cups of sauce for this yesterday and let it thaw overnight (because that was the smallest container I had in the freezer...).

We also bought some spaghetti squash at the public market and so I decided to make spaghetti squash marinara.  I had something similar to this once when we were out to dinner and loved it.  That was actually the first time I'd ever eaten spaghetti squash, which makes tonight's dinner the second.  :)

I hacked into these squashes with a large chefs knife.  I really had to work to get them to cut in half (was wishing I had a hack saw or an axe at various points...).  In the end I succeeded and scooped out the seeds and roasted the squash.  A delicious meal.  Would've been vegan if I hadn't added the cheese at the end... oh delicious, delicious cheese... :)

The spaghetti squash was similar to angel hair to me.  Definitely delicious.  And incredibly healthy!  You can eat a lot more squash than pasta for a lot fewer calories.  We ate most of this squash with probably one serving left over... although Jeremy might be polishing that off in a little while if the first serving doesn't keep him full.

Picture courtesy of Jeremy.  His bowl right before he dug in. 
The squash right after they came out of the oven (except for the fact that I turned them over...)
Spaghetti squash:
2 3 lb. spaghetti squashes (or 1 large... a few small...)
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash in half (This is kind of tough... be very careful.  You can also roast them whole (there are directions all over the internet -- prick the squash with a knife first) but it will take longer.  I wanted to get the seeds out before I roasted them... so I had to cut them in half.).  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
2. Season each cut side with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (probably 1 tbs. total among all the squash halves).  Brush the oil over the cut sides.
3. Place the squash cut side down on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
4. Roast for approximately 45 minutes until the squash can be pierced easily with a fork (exact time will depend on the size of your squash(es).
5. Allow to cool until cool enough to handle.  Use a fork to scrape the flesh into strands.
6.  Mix into a couple of cups of the marinara sauce (recipe follows).  Heat through.  Serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

1/4 c. olive oil
4 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
4 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 c. dry white wine
2 medium yellow onions, diced finely (about 1 1/2 c. diced)
6-8 cloves garlic (between 1/3 and 1/2 c. minced -- I love garlic)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flake
2 medium carrots, grated
1-2 tbs. sugar (depending on how sweet you want the sauce)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
5-6 basil leaves, minced
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, minced

1. Heat olive oil in a very large soup pot over medium heat.  Add crushed red pepper flakes and stir to combine.  Add onions and garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat (not saute... use a lower heat so they don't brown) for 7-9 minutes until very soft.
2.  Add carrots and tomato paste and stir to combine.  Cook for an additional minute or two.  Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Add crushed and diced tomatoes, salt, black pepper, basil, and parsley.  Add desired amount of sugar (the carrots add some sweetness so you may not need sugar if you're happy with how it tastes.  I added 1 tbs.)
3.  Simmer for approximately 45 minutes until flavors combine.  Use/freeze as desired.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spicy Chili-Veggie Mac-n-Cheese

I love mac-n-cheese.  We don't eat it very often (because it's not very healthy...) but when we do have it I try to include some veggies so it isn't quite so bad.  I also cut out the heavy cream/half and half that a lot of recipes call for and use skim milk (sometimes a combination of milk and chicken stock).

I also love sloths.  I accidentally uploaded this picture that I found online before... and decided to leave it.  Don't you just love that face?

I recently bought a huge butternut squash (5 lbs!).  I diced and roasted all of it and used some in a butternut squash risotto last week (which was also delicious... Just a regular risotto with the roasted squash mixed in toward the end).  I had some left over and so I mixed that into the cheese sauce for this meal.  It was delicious.

This didn't taste like squash.  The cheese sauce was really creamy and rich without being overly fatty.  A perfect compromise. The yellow squash made the sauce look even more cheesy than it was.  If I hadn't put the peppers and onions in here, it probably would've been next to impossible to tell that there was veggie in it.  :)

I cooked the onions and peppers earlier in the day when I didn't feel like doing much else.  Then it was a snap to bring everything else together at dinner-time.

I thought this had a decent amount of spice in it.  But of course Jeremy didn't think it was spicy.  Maybe I shouldn't let him eat the raw chile tops that I cut off... might be getting him too used to eating chiles.  Not that it's really a problem.

We had a salad to go with this so that we added some extra veggies and cut down on the amount of cheese we ate at one meal.  We didn't end up finishing the whole dish of mac-n-cheese.  We probably have another 2 servings in the fridge for another meal.

The whole lovely casserole dish. 

My serving... my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  I ate probably half of that and Jeremy ended up finishing it (along with his serving that was larger than this to begin with).  He really liked this mac-n-cheese. 
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 c. butternut squash, diced and roasted*
chile peppers, minced (amount up to you, to taste)**
1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat elbows (or whatever pasta you want)
7 oz. sharp cheddar, grated, divided
4 oz. parmesan, grated (approximately 1/2 c.), divided
2 tbs. margarine
2 tbs. AP flour
2 c. skim milk
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. parsley flakes, divided
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet.  Saute bell peppers, onion, and chili peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper until tender, 5-7 minutes.  Set aside.
2. Blend squash and milk (in a blender or food processor) until smooth.
3. Mix breadcrumbs, 1/4 c. cheddar, 2 tbs. parmesan, and 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes.  Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt (about 1 tsp.).  Cook pasta just shy of cooked (it will finish in the oven).  Drain and set aside.
3. While the water is coming to a boil, melt margarine in a medium saute pan.  Add flour and whisk until smooth.  Cook for 30 seconds until bubbly.  Add squash mixture and mix well.  Add chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, and cayenne.  Add parmesan and cheddar in small handfuls and whisk until incorporated (make sure each handful is fully melted in before adding the next).  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I added probably 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt).
4. Combine pasta, pepper/onions, and sauce and mix well.  Pour mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish.  Top evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (uncovered) until lightly brown on the top.

* If you don't have pre-roasted squash, roast the squash as directed below approximately 1 hour before you're ready to begin making the mac-n-cheese.  That way it has time to cool before you blend it.

Directions to roast squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and dice the butternut squash.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1-2 tbs. vegetable oil and sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper.  Mix to combine.  Roast for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  (Time will depend on the size of the dice.)

** I used 5 chile peppers from a mixed variety we bought at the public market.  I don't know what peppers I used... although looking at pictures makes me think I had 1 chile de arbol, 3 numex twilights (from what I can guess from looking at pictures), and 1 that was longer and green-yellow-orange (absolutely no idea...).  You can use jalapenos or whatever mix of peppers you like.  You could go with none... but then it wouldn't be spicy.  Or you could substitute by putting more cayenne pepper or hot sauce into the cheese sauce.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple Streusel Muffins

I had a few apples that I didn't really care for eating fresh (they were a little too soft for my taste).  So I baked them!  These muffins are amazing.  Deliciously sweet and tender.  I haven't (yet) joined the pumpkin craze so baked apples is what really screams fall for me.  Yum.  My whole apartment also smells amazing. :)

I don't bake much... and when I do I usually (mostly) follow a recipe.  This one combined my normal blueberry batter with a streusel topping (and some extra spices that I like).  The batter was a little thicker than my normal blueberry batter because of all of the apple in these.  I was a little nervous that they would be dry but they were perfect.

Jeremy doesn't usually like cooked fruit but he actually enjoyed these muffins.  As he said, you can see the apple, but it doesn't feel like you're biting into one when you eat the muffin.  However, we don't need two dozen muffins sitting around so my coworkers are getting a nice treat tomorrow. :)

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe (makes 24 muffins):
3 medium apples (whatever baking apples you prefer), peeled, cored, and diced (1/4" dice)
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 1/2 c. c. AP flour, divided
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 tbs. margarine or butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper cups.
2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 c. flour, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Cut in the margarine or butter until fine crumbs form (this is the streusel topping).  Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Beat milk, veg. oil, and eggs.  Add apples.  (I beat the eggs together and then peeled and diced the apples.  If you peel and dice the apples too early they will brown on you.  Doesn't change the taste, but it won't be as pretty.)  Add remaining cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
4. Add remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until just combined.  (Don't overmix.  It's ok if you still see a little bit of flour, it will bake out.  Overmixing will create a tough muffin.)
5. Spoon the batter evenly into muffin cups (mine were about 3/4 full).
6. Evenly divide the streusel topping among the muffins (around a tablespoon on each muffin).
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and they're golden brown and delicious.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove the muffins to wire wracks (run a knife around them if you didn't use paper cups) and allow to cool completely (or eat them right away like we did... hot but yummy).  Enjoy!