Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

We have these almost every Sunday morning. The kids love 'em and I do too! A lot of the best pancake recipes call for buttermilk. Well, I NEVER have buttermilk on hand. However, I almost always have lemon juice. I'm not exactly sure what happens when you combine milk and lemon juice other than it becomes a great facsimile of buttermilk. So, give these a try. They're the best whole wheat pancakes I've ever had!

1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups milk
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour because that's what I have on hand)
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  1. Whisk the lemon juice and milk together in a medium bowl; set aside to thicken -- at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl to combine.
  3. Whisk the egg and butter into the milk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the milk mixture and whisk gently until just combined. Don't over mix -- there will be a few lumps.
  4. Fry as normal.
  5. We top these with a little vanilla yogurt, toasted nuts (put walnuts, pecans or almonds in the oven at 350 degrees when you start making the batter -- they'll be ready when the pancakes are), fruit (if I have any on hand) and maple syrup. Wow. This is making me hungry!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cheesy Noodles

This is one of the most loved recipes in our house.  I started teaching the kids to cook this summer and had them start a blog.  You can check out my son's post on this recipe too.

1 16 oz bag of pasta (we used gluten free but any will work)
1 1/2 Cups of parmesan cheese
3 eggs
Salt to taste
Optional: mozzarella cheese

First cook the noodles according to package directions.  While the noodles are cooking break the eggs into a small bowl and add the parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  

Place drained noodles into sprayed crockpot (or oven proof dish).  Pour the egg mixture in and mix well.  Salt to taste.  (you could throw some mozzarella in at this step, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't).

Cook on High for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or low for 3 or 4 hours (if using oven cook at 375F for about an hour or till egg sets).

The kids absolutely love this and if you throw some pesto and chicken on it it's a hearty meal too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Roast Potatoes with Garlic

We all loves these -- they're great with hamburgers or any kind of grilled or roasted meat. I found this recipe originally in Cook's Illustrated, but I've modified it a bit.

2 lbs little red potatoes, scrubbed, dried and cut into 3/4" pieces
3 Tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper
3 large cloves garlic, crushed and mashed with 1/8 tsp. salt (set aside in bottom of large bowl)

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place potatoes flesh side down in a single layer on a shallow roasting pan. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove foil and roast until the side of potato touching the pan is crusty golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
  4. Remove pan from oven and carefully turn potatoes over using a metal spatula to safeguard the crusts. Return pan to oven and roast until the side of the potato now touching the pan is golden brown and the skin is kind of wrinkly, 5-10 minute more.
  5. Remove from oven and place potatoes in bowl with garlic paste. Toss to distribute garlic and serve immediately.
  6. This is really good without the garlic as well, so if you want something a little more traditional, skip it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I first had this several years ago at my aunt's farm in Maryland; it was so good that I made it soon after I got home for my own family. It's one way that I can get my kids to eat spinach or Swiss Chard without too many complaints.

I usually prepare two batches when I make it because then I use all the phyllo dough. If I don't, the left-overs just sit in my fridge... anyone have other good uses for phyllo sheets?

8 cups chopped spinach or Swiss Chard (or 2 packages frozen, thawed)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 pound feta, crumbled (or other mild white cheese, grated)
dash of nutmeg
8 oz of phyllo sheets (in the freezer section of the grocery store)
1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in frying pan, saute the onion until soft and then add the spinach. Continue to saute for 3-4 minutes until spinach is wilted and heated through.
  3. Stir in flour, gradually add milk.
  4. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in eggs, cheese and nutmeg until smooth.
  6. In 11X14 pan, brush and layer 8 sheets of phyllo with butter. Add filling and top with 8 more buttered sheets.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Butterscotch Yums

My kids all love these, they are easy and fun to make and taste absolutely fabulous!

1 bag (12 oz) butterscotch chips
12-16 oz jar Dry roasted peanuts
9 oz can pik-nik shoestring potatoes

Melt butterscotch chips on stove over medium heat until melted through (or use double boiler).  Remove from heat and add peanuts and shoestring potatoes.  Mix well.  Using a spoon place a small (bite size) piles of mixture onto wax lined cookie sheets.  Place cookie sheet filled yums into fridge until thoroughly cooled.  Makes about 100 yums.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spice Rub for Grilled Pork

I use this whenever we have pork chops -- it's best when you grill them, but even pan fried, this tastes great. It's also wonderful on grilled pork tenderloin. 

This recipe makes enough for about 6 chops or 2 tenderloins. 

1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. brown sugar

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Rub all over meat to be grilled.
  3. Yummy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spaghetti Pie

Huge hit with both kids and adults! This is a great recipe to cook ahead of time and store in the freezer - it's easy to cook from frozen...
  • 3 C Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 C Egg Beaters
  • 1 t Italian Seasoning
Mix ingredients together, then add 4 cups cooked spaghetti. Spread into a baking dish and cover with 2 cups marinara (or your favorite pasta sauce). Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When cooking from frozen, lengthen cooking time to 55 minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

Perhaps it's because of the carrots, but I love to pretend that this cake is good for you. It might be a little less sinful than other types of cakes, but probably not by much. For some reason, I find carrot cake to be a bit more forgiving than other types of cakes. So, if you're not much of a baker, this is a good cake to start with.

Aside from a few nuts, this carrot cake is not full of chunks, so everyone in my family really loves it. Gavin still tends to pick out the walnuts, but I'm hoping he'll grow out of that. If your family really doesn't like nuts at all, just eliminate them from the recipe.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup melted, browned butter, cooled slightly
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups shredded carrots (5-6 medium-large carrots_
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (pecans are a great substitute) 
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, not softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with oil.
  2. Cake: put first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir to blend. Make a well in the center, add oil, butter and eggs. Stir with spatula until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide evenly between pans. Bake 35-40 minutes (the 9-inch pan will take less time) until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer until blended. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in sugar.
  4. To frost: Place one cooled cake layer (make sure it's cool or the frosting will melt!) on serving plate. Spread top with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with a second layer, bottom side up. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Pat sides with chopped nuts.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken

I made this last night and it was a huge hit. Both kids as well as my husband, loved it! It's a great option in the summer when you have readily available herbs.

4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (13 1/2 oz) coconut milk (I used low-fat)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup each: chopped cilantro and chopped basil
3 Tbs. grated ginger root
2 Tbs. brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; or one whole chicken cut into pieces
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Ziplock bag. Seal bag and turn to make sure all chicken pieces are coated. Place in fridge at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat grill. Remove chicken from bag and grill until nicely browned on each side.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grilled Pizza

There is no better way to make pizza at home. Conventional ovens just don't get hot enough to make really good crust, so the grill is a great solution. This is not a quick meal, so save it for a weekend. However, my kids think this is the best pizza ever and would likely eat it every night if I was willing to make it.

This makes enough for one pizza. I usually double it so we can have left-overs and if I'm feeding two families, I'll make three pizzas. Also, many recipes have you do everything on the grill. We're using an old Weber gas grill and it just doesn't get hot enough inside to make the cheese get really melty. So, I always throw the pizza under the broiler for 2 minutes to finish it.

The first two toppings (garlic oil and tomatoes) should be made while the crust is rising or before you even start.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 Tbs. whole wheat flour (if you don't have whole wheat, substitute an additional tablespoon of bread flour)
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
2 cups bread flour (it's worth getting "Bread Flour".  All Purpose doesn't work nearly as well.)

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Put on a dough hook and combine and then knead for 6-7 minutes on lowest speed.
  2. Pull out the dough hook and remove the bowl from the mixer. Leave dough in the bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours. (You can adjust the amount of time the dough rises by changing the amount of yeast -- if it's a warm day and I make the crust 6 hours ahead of time, I'll only use 1/4 tsp. yeast, or if I only have an hour, I'll add 2-3 tsp. and put the dough somewhere really warm.)
  3. Preheat gas grill on high.
  4. Punch down dough and remove from bowl. If it feels like a lot to handle, divide into two or three crusts. Take one piece of dough, gently form a disk and then stretch it, using your hands, until it's a nice round shape and fairly thin across. Don't worry if some sections are thicker than others or if it's not perfectly round... many of my pizzas are quite oddly shaped.
  5. Place dough directly on grill and reduce heat to medium-low. I know this sounds crazy, but I promise that the dough will not fall through the cracks. 
  6. Until you've done this a few times, you'll need to keep a close eye on the crust so that it doesn't burn. I usually let mine grill for 3-4 minutes, until there are dark brown grill marks on the bottom of the crust. Adjust heat and time according to how quickly your crust cooks.
  7. Remove crust from grill and place on a counter or board dusted with corn meal. (If I'm doing this for company, I'll usually make the crusts up to this point and then do the final assembly and grilling just before we're ready to eat. The half-grilled crusts are fine on the counter for an hour or two.)


Garlic oil (this should be made ahead of time):
1/3 cup olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves crushed 
  1. Cook over medium heat until garlic starts to brown
  2. Set aside to cool
3/4 lb tomatoes (about two medium-large tomatoes) cored, seeded and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1/4 tsp. salt
  1.  Combine tomatoes and salt in a bowl and then place in a sieve 
  2. Let drain for an hour or two
1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 lb. grated mozzarella
Optional toppings: pepperoni, spinach, feta cheese, sauteed mushroom, carmalized onions, greek olives, sausage, ham, pineapple, etc.

Assembling the Pizza:
  1. Preheat broiler and place rack in the middle-top position.
  2. Flip the crust over so that the grill side is up.
  3. Brush grilled crust with garlic oil.
  4. Sprinkle tomatoes over crust. Then top with cheese and any other toppings that sound good.
  5. Slide back onto the grill with the un-grilled side facing down. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until dark brown grill marks appear.
  6. Remove from grill and place on rack under the broiler for 2 minutes. (If the toppings look piping hot when you remove your pizza from the grill, you may not need to use a broiler.)
Serve immediately! If you have left-overs, they're better warmed up in the oven than a microwave... microwaves will make the crust really limp.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

In honor of the 4th of July, I thought I would share this recipe. It makes enough for 8-10 people, so serve it to a crowd. It's a huge favorite in our house... especially if the kids get to put on their own whipped cream!


8 cups (2 ½ lbs.) strawberries

6 Tbs. sugar



2 cups flour

5 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

8 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup plus 1 Tbs. half-and-half or whole milk

1 large egg white, lightly beaten


2 cups Whipped Cream


  1. For the fruit: slice strawberries and toss with sugar. Set fruit aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. For the shortcakes: Adjust the oven rack to the lover-middle position and heat to 425 degrees. In the food processor, pulse the flour, 3 Tbs. sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl.
  3. Mix the beaten egg with the half-and-half in a measuring cup. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn the mixture onto a floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.
  4. Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a 9 by 6-inch rectangle about ¾ inch thick, being careful not to overwork the dough. Flour a 2 3/4 –inch biscuit cutter and cut out rounds. Pull together left over pieces and cut out a few more rounds. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a small baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar. (Dough rounds can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
  5. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and cool the cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.
  6. To assemble: When the shortcakes have cooled slightly, split them in half. Place each cake bottom on an individual serving plate. Spoon a portion of the fruit and then a dollop of the whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with the cake top and serve immediately.