Thursday, May 28, 2009

Egg in a Hole

These always feel kind of old-fashioned to me and definitely remind me of my grandmother. However, they're yummy and a really easy dinner.

Sliced Bread (I use 100% whole wheat)
Grated cheese (optional)

  1. Take a slice of bread and cut out a 2" hole or oval in the center.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Place the bread in the pan (along with the piece that's the hole) and break an egg into the hole.
  4. My kids prefer a scrambled egg, so I break the yolk and swirl the egg around, spreading it over the bread. If you like an easy-over egg, don't break the yolk.
  5. Fry until lightly browned on the bottom and then flip over (along with the hole). At this point, I sprinkle a little grated cheddar on top and cover with a lid until melted.
  6. Serve immediately... "Mmmm, just like Grammy used to make."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sweet Potato Pancakes

These are some super yum pancakes. Who says you can't eat them for dinner?  We love them for dinner.  Serve with some applesauce or cottage cheese.  

1 1/2 cups flour sifted (I use gluten free flour, and I don't always sift)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3 teaspoons apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves)
1 1/4 Cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 2-3 sweet potatoes pre cooked in the oven)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk (cow, soy, rice, almond)
1/4 cup butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl.  In separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, and stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Drop onto griddle and cook on both sides until brown.  

Szechwan Chicken

This recipe is really easy and is great served with rice or couscous. I found it in a cookbook "The Bountiful Arbor" from the Junior League of Ann Arbor and as always, I modified it a bit. I never would have thought of combining salsa a peanut butter, but it's really good! Make sure you use natural peanut butter and not the stuff that's full of sugar and partially-hydrogenated oils. 

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Tbs. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 red pepper cut into long, skinny strips
1/2 cut salsa (I use Pace Picante Sauce, medium, however go with a level of spiciness your kids like)
1 Tbs. natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts 

  1. Combine the chicken, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet. Cook mixture until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add red pepper, salsa, peanut butter and cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice or couscous and top with peanuts.
  5. Serves 4. My son tends to wipe off a lot of the sauce on the edge of his plate, so he only gets a little. But my daughter likes it. They both usually have seconds.

Friday, May 22, 2009


This is a big favorite in our house, although I don't make it very often because it takes a little more time. However, you can put it together it earlier in the day and then keep it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. 

Pizza dough (Or buy two frozen pizza doughs at the grocery store):
1 1/3 c. warm water
2 1/2 tsp. yeast (or 1 package)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 c. flour (I think it's worth using bread flour instead of all purpose; the texture of the dough is much more elastic-y. However, if you don't have it, use what you've got. I've also tried it substituting whole wheat flour. It doesn't work well if you substitute more than half.)

  • Combine water, yeast oil, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Add flour. Attached dough hook and turn on to lowest speed. Let combine and kneed for 6-7 minutes. Remove dough hook. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to double in size. Should take about one hour.

1/2 lb. sliced ham
1/2 lb. sliced pepperoni or salami
(You can really use any meat you like. Hot Italian sausage, ground beef -- just make sure you cook it first.)
2 tbs. crushed garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. thinly sliced and seeded jalapenos
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced (you can substitute a green pepper, or use half of each)
olives (optional)
4 c. grated mozzarella 
1 c. grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs. water to make an egg wash

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Cook onions, peppers and jalapenos until very soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning; stir and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. Punch down dough and divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to a large rectangle, about 10 by 14 inches. 
  4. Spread half of the cooled onion/pepper across the dough leaving a 1-inch border. (If your kids aren't huge fans of cooked onions and peppers, leave half of the dough empty... you'll be rolling up the long side.)
  5. Layer half of the ham, pepperoni, olives and mozzarella over the top. Using a pasty brush, paint one of the long side borders. Then starting on the opposite long side, roll up the dough into a cylinder, pinching the edges to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Let the dough rise again, 20-30 minutes. 
  7. Brush the top of each stromboli with egg wash. Bake until nearly completely golden brown and starting to crisp, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle each stromboli with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted and the dough is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Slice thickly and serve. (Some people like to dip these in tomato sauce, like a calzone, but we prefer them without sauce.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garlic Chicken

This is really good served with rice or couscous. I always have to remind my son that the green stuff is parsley and not spinach so that he doesn't try to wipe it off. Serves 4.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
1/4 c. flour
1 c. water
3 Tbs. rice vinegar
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 2 Tbs. dry

  1. Place flour in a bowl and toss the chicken in it. Mix water, vinegar, garlic, soy sauce and parsley in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Add sauce and lower heat.
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes, turning chicken pieces a few times. Liquid will reduce and thicken to the bubbling stage. Serve over rice or couscous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thai-Style Noodles

My daughter loves these. My son isn't as much of a fan, because he only likes peanut butter if it's on a banana. So, when I make them, I always set aside some plain noodles for him.

3 Tbs. natural peanut butter
2 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. honey
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger, grated (I keep ginger in 1" pieces in the freezer. They're much easier to grate when they're frozen. You also don't need to worry about the peel -- I just grate the whole thing.)
8 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped dry roasted peanuts, chopped green onions (all optional)

  1. Sauce: combine peanut butter, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
  2. In large serving bowl, toss spaghetti with the sauce. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts and green onion (I let the kids put these on themselves if they want).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

I probably make these once a week. My kids like them and I LOVE them. They don't really taste like regular fries, but they're yummy and it's much easier to get my kids to eat them in this form than it is when they're mashed at Thanksgiving!

2-3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick french fry shapes (don't cut them too thinly or they won't fit on the pan and they're more likely to burn; mine are usually about 1/2" thick)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin (optional)
3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine olive oil, cumin and garlic in measuring cup, stir to combine.
  3. Place fries in a large bowl or plastic bag. Pour oil blend over potatoes. Mix gently to coat potatoes.
  4. Place on large cookie sheet in single layer. (The single layer part is important. If you stack them, they'll end up kind of mushy.)
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eggs & Bacon Spaghetti

I think this has a fancy, Italian version, but this simple one is easy to make doesn't require special ingredients. If your kids like eggs and bacon, they'll probably like this.

Enough spaghetti for 4 people
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 oz. shredded cheddar (or parmesan)
salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices bacon

  1. Fry the bacon until crisp, chop into small pieces. Wipe grease out of pan, but don't wash it yet!
  2. Mix eggs, milk, shredded cheese and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cook the spaghetti until done, drain.
  4. In the frying pan (the one you fried the bacon in and haven't yet cleaned!), add a dollop of olive oil (around 1 Tbs.), and turn on heat to medium. Pour the spaghetti in the pan. Pour egg and cheese mixture on top and using a fork, combine with the pasta. Keep mixing until eggs are cooked. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top. Serve immediately.
  5. This is also good if you saute some garlic and onions in the bacon pan before you add the spaghetti. But if you're short of time, skip it. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Black Bean Soup

This is the first soup that BOTH my kids would eat and ask for seconds. I think the original recipe was in Family Fun magazine, but I've modified it a bit. I love this recipe because it's really quick -- I can have it on the table in 15 minutes.

2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can chicken broth
1 cup salsa (I always use Pace Picante Sauce, medium -- but, I recommend using whatever your family's favorite salsa is, so that the flavors are familiar)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
Toppings: grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips

  1. Heat beans and chicken broth to a low simmer. Add salsa.
  2. Place in a food processor to puree or use an immersion blender in the pot.
  3. Add corn and reheat until corn is hot. (If your kids don't like "chunks" in their soup, skip the corn.)
  4. Add lemon juice
  5. Serve with toppings on the table: grated cheddar, chopped cilantro and tortilla chips

Lemon-Cilantro Marinade

We used this on some chicken the other night that we grilled. Everyone loved it. For my kids, it was worth the step of putting the whole batch in a food processor so that the cilantro pieces got really small. If I just chop it, they see little green leaves on their meat and try to wipe them off.

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and loosely chopped (if you don't want to use a food processor, chop it finely)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process briefly so that cilantro pieces are teeny-tiny.
  2. Place chicken and marinade in a large plastic bag and marinate for several hours.
  3. Grill chicken.
  4. Yummy!