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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sneaky Wrappers


I decided to wrap up our last challenge of 'how to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies' with these really easy won ton wrappers filled with corn, black beans, chicken, and shredded cheese. Fill these wrappers up with all kinds of different goodies. When you are finished setting down your toppings, brush around the outside with some egg wash, then fold all corners into the center. Get your frying pan on medium heat with some olive oil and fry them for about 30 seconds on each side until golden brown. Cool them on some papertowel.


Since my toddler enjoys dipping his food, I made a side of guacamole on the side with half a ripe avocado, bit of lemon juice, and some low fat sour cream.


This recipe can be found in The Sneaky Chef except it's with a different filling. These wrappers were a great idea and really didn't take much effort.


For dessert, I cut up some of my little guy's favorite fruit with some Greek yogurt mix with Epicure's fruit dip mix for dipping and a Bear Paw cookie. I really enjoyed this week's challenge and learned a lot about feeding my ever growing toddler! Hope you enjoyed the 4 week challenges too!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Banana Bread

Banana Bread w/ Peanut Butter Frosting
Nothing beats the smell of hot banana bread fresh from the oven. I still consider myself to be a 'baking' newbie so I have to admit this was my first bread. I bought two bread pans today and I'm looking forward to many more breads. I searched allrecipes.com and found this easy banana bread recipe which made one loaf. My mom used to put a peanut butter frosting on her banana breads once in awhile so I figured it would be a great addition and found another recipe for a peanut butter glaze. I made my icing more thick without adding too much water but if you want it to have a glaze then just water it down more. I also only had crunchy peanut butter on hand but I think it made it that much better! Here are the recipes:



Banana 'banana' Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.


Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Directions

  1. Stir together the water, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth.

Sneaky Leftover Potato Cakes

Leftover Potato Cakes w/Salmon
For supper yesterday, I was able to use up some leftovers from our supper the night previous into a recipe found in The Sneaky Chef called 'Leftover Potato Cakes'. They were pretty similar to the Salmon Potato Patties I had made before but these didn't have a bread crumb on the outside. I had some mashed up potatoes and leftover salmon to use up so I decided to make this recipe from the sneaky chef and just add in some salmon as well as some shredded cheese, onion powder, oregano, and parsley. I made the cakes small like the pancakes. Now, my little guy didn't eat his mashed potatoes the other night but when I gave him one of these little cakes, boy did he ever enjoy it! I think this is where food needs to look really appealing for kids to want to try new things. I also made a dill sauce with some dill, a touch a lemon juice, and sour cream. I was elated to be able to use up my leftovers. Try it with your own potato leftovers!






Nutrition Highlights: whole grains
Rich in vitamins B6, C, E, iron, potassium, folic acid, manganese, fiber and protein. 
Makes 8 small pancakes
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional dips: applesauce or low fat sour cream
Mix 1 teaspoon of flour into cold, leftover mashed potatoes. If still too wet, add the other teaspoon of flour. Pinch off tablespoon sizes of the mashed potatoes and use your hands to form about 8 balls. Add the oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat. Turn down to medium if oil starts to smoke.
Mix the wheat germ with the parmesan cheese and salt on a plate. Roll the balls in the wheat germ mixture, covering completely. Add 4 potato cakes to the hot skillet, flatten gently with a spatula and cook until they have browned on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turns cakes over with a spatula and cook the other side until golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with next 4 cakes, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Place cooked potato cakes on a plate lined with paper towels to blot excess oil.

Sneaky Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes
My little guy really enjoyed his Peanut Butter and Jelly muffin for breakfast yesterday and I decided to make him some pancakes for lunch... the sneaky kind of course! This challenge has been so much fun and is actually giving me more of a variety of what to feed my toddler. It has also taught me that kids eat first by what they see not what they taste, so if it doesn't look fun on the plate then chances are it will end up on the floor even if it's a food he might normally like. All kids have their fussy days, right? I knew the pancakes would go over well and there wasn't anything all that 'sneaky' into the recipe anyways. The thing about these recipes for kids is that you don't have to be exact at everything that it calls for. Just use what you have! I didn't have any almonds so I omitted those and I didn't have any eggs but the pancakes still turned out great! I made them small and added some strawberry jam, banana slices, and whip cream as garnish. It made about 15 and I froze the rest!







Makes about 18 pancakes
3/4 cups Flour Blend (see Make-Ahead Recipe #13)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor (omit if allergies)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or grated fresh apple)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup 
1/4 cup chocolate chips 
Butter or cooking spray, for greasing skillet
Optional Extra Boost: 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Mix together Flour Blend, baking powder, salt and ground almonds (optional). Set aside, if using immediately. (To store for later use, triple the dry ingredients and keep in a sealed, labeled plastic bag. You’ll have instant pancake mix anytime you want it.)
In another bowl, whisk together the applesauce, yogurt, vanilla, milk, egg, and honey (or maple syrup) and optional blueberries, if desired. (If using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before adding; this will prevent bleeding). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just blended. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk. Add the chocolate chips and mix lightly.
Butter or spray a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan to see if it’s hot enough by tossing a few drops of water in — it should sizzle. The skillet will grow hotter over time, so turn it down if it starts to smoke.
Drop tablespoons or small ladles of batter onto the skillet in batches. Try to get chocolate chips in with each pancake. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the skillet-side is golden (peek under), gently flip them over. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set. 
Serve stacked high drizzled with warm maple syrup or, for an extra boost of fruit, Homemade Berry Syrup.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sneaky Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins from The Sneaky Chef
So tonight I played 'Sneaky Chef' in the kitchen with some leftovers from supper and put them into a muffin. Sound gross? Kinda... but this is what being a sneaky chef is all about! First, I pureed up my cooked carrots and sweet potato so that I had roughly 3/4 cup which is what the 'Orange Puree' is in The Sneaky Chef. Then I made my flour blend which is just 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1 cup of wheat germ. Just make it up and put it aside for another sneaky recipe because all you'll need is a cup of the mix. My hubby said he was actually 'excited' to try one of these when they came out of the oven which was quite surprising! They were a hit and I can't wait for Leeland to have one for his breakfast tomorrow morning. He is going to love it!

The only adjustments I made to the recipe was I used applesauce instead of oil and all I had on hand was crunchy peanut butter.



So here is the recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins from The Sneaky Chef!

Nutrition Highlights: vegetables, whole grains, nuts, Rich in vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K, manganese, iron, potassium, folate, riboflavin, selenium, fiber, and protein. 

Makes 8 Large Muffins: 
(or 16 mini muffins) 
- 1 cup Flour Blend (1/3 cup whole grain flour, 
1/3 cup white flour, 1/3 cup wheat germ)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 
- One-half teaspoon baking soda 
- One-half teaspoon salt 
- 2 large eggs 
- One-quarter cup brown sugar 
- One-quarter cup canola oil 
- Three-quarters cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #2) 
- Three-quarters cup smooth peanut butter 
- 8 heaping teaspoons favorite jam* 
*Note: Jelly doesn't work as well as the thicker variety of jam; jelly just disappears into the muffins. 

> Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. 

> In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the oil, Orange Puree and peanut butter. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until flour is just moistened (don't over-mix or the muffins will be dense). 

> Scoop about two tablespoons of batter into the large muffin cups until half full. Place a heaping teaspoon of jam in the center of each muffin. Cover the jam with another 2 tablespoons or so of batter, filling the cups just over the top. If you're using mini muffin cups, scale back quantities to fit into the smaller sized cups. 

> Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Pizza Bagel


Pizza bagels are a great quick lunch choice. Grab any bagel you have, add some pasta sauce, seasonings, and then add any toppings you want! I had some Chris Brother's pepperoni in the fridge and topped it off with some marble, Monterey jack, Parmesan cheese, and some fresh parsley. It was filling and delicious.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Breaded Pork & Greek Yogurt

Italian Breaded Pork Loin w/ Roasted Asparagus & WW Rice
I love using Italian bread crumbs and they were a great choice to put on our pork loins. To get that nice crispy coating on your meat all you need to do is add an egg with a bit of milk and whisk it up in a bowl. Pour some bread crumbs into another bowl. Get your frying pan on medium heat (but not too hot) with some olive oil. Dip the meat into the egg then into the crumbs and repeat if desired and add to the frying pan. Sear them on each side (about 3 minutes on each side until it's golden brown). Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and finish them off in the oven (I put mine in a glass pie dish sprayed with some oil) for about 20-25 minutes (depending on how thick your meat is).

For dessert I kept it easy with some Greek yogurt (which is a lot thicker than regular yogurt) and some ripe plums and sprinkled on some of my Epicure Summer Berry fruit dip mix with a bit of whip cream.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Challenge Week 4 - Your Children & Food

We're at our last challenge which is 'How to get your children to eat more fruits and veggies.' This may be easier for some parents than for others. I'm a new parent myself but I want to feed my children healthy snacks and meals, but not all kids like their fruits and veggies! This is when I lean on my Sneaky Chef cookbook and have learned about pureeing veggies to sneak them into meals. The recipes in this book can seem complicated but they are a great foundation and inspiration for sneaking in the good stuff. Start with your basic pasta sauce (unless you like to make your own) and add a couple of purees such as squash, peas, spinach, broccoli, carrots etc. to your sauce. The bonus is that all of this is freezer friendly so you can store it in ice cube trays or freeze the entire pasta too.

So the first challenge is to check out The Sneaky Chef website and get inspired to get those veggies into your meals! Sneaking veggies isn't just for children either... it works great for fussy husbands!

Smartie Chocolate Chip Cookies

Smartie Chocolate Chip Cookies
It's not a secret that you can always find chocolate in my house. Chocolate is basically a food group if you ask me, a necessity for any woman. My hubby heads back to work tomorrow so today I made him some cookies with the 3 boxes of Smarties I had hanging around. I did one cup of whole wheat flour, one cup of white flour, one cup of chocolate chips along with the 3 boxes of Smarties and turned my oven on to 350 degrees instead of 375 (my oven gets really hot!) Here is the recipe! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Annas-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies/Detail.aspx




Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes

Dr. Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes
Here's a decadent chocolate cake recipe to try out. I thought the taste of Dr. Pepper would be the big surprise but I didn't taste it at all. It made for really rich and dense chocolate cupcakes. The frosting is nice and fluffy. If you want to pipe it on, leave it in the fridge to harden up then set it out long enough that it's a good consistency for piping. Thanks to my friend Somer for always finding neat desserts to try out!


Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake
Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup Dr Pepper
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate once and they were great, too)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (or 9x13 or prepare cupcake liners).  Sift together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa and baking soda and set aside.  Heat the Dr Pepper in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla for 2 minutes.  At lowest speed, slowly add the Dr Pepper mixture and beat for 1 additional minute.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks, lift off pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.


Dr Pepper Frosting

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening - (I changed this to butter.  Personally I do not like shortening in frosting. Ever.)
6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup Dr Pepper (I added an additional 1-2 Tablespoons once, and I actually liked that better.  However it did make the frosting thinner...)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter [and yucky shortening if you choose to use it - :)] until light and fluffy.  At low speed, gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa.  Add the Dr Pepper and vanilla, and turn mixer to high speed until frosting is light and fluffy ~ about one minute.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monterey Jack & Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Monterey Jack Cheese & Spinach stuffed Chicken w/ Whole Grain Rice
This is a way to have fun with your chicken... stuff it! Just slice it down the middle and make a pocket and stuff it with whatever you want then close it up (use toothpicks if needed). I wrapped my hubby's chicken up with a couple slices of bacon and it adds lots of flavor. The chicken was also tossed in some Italian bread crumbs. As a side we had some whole grain rice (for a fiber boost) with some fried asparagus, mushrooms, and boiled corn. What would you put in your chicken? 



Monday, March 21, 2011

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles
Found this recipe for Snickerdoodles which I've been wanting to try out! Thanks to one of my favorite food bloggers 'That Skinny Chick Can Bake'. These cookies were nice and light and shared with some friends this evening!


Snickerdoodles...adapted from All Recipes

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2  cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ยบ.

With mixer, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix till combined.

Scoop out rounded teaspoonfuls of dough and shape into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl.  Roll dough balls in mixture. Place about 2 inches apart on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.


Breakfast Sandwich


This morning we made a breakfast sandwich... our way! There are lots of options for toppings. Start with a bagel or English muffin and go from there! I opted for a toasted everything bagel, fried egg, bacon, shredded cheese, and avocado slices. The sauce was a homemade one with one part ketchup and one part mayo. It's delicious! These sandwiches were a great way to start a Monday. Don't forget: breakfast is the most important meal of the day!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Garlic Alfredo Leftovers


We had a great roast beef meal at my sister's place after church for lunch today so when it came to supper, I saw an opportunity to use up some leftovers. And not only use up leftovers but found a way to get some fiber into this meal too in order to keep up with our challenge of getting more fiber. I had one cooked up sausage to use and some cooked up chicken as well as some leftover roasted garlic. I ended up making Garlic Alfredo by using a package of Alfredo mix (or you could use the bottle type but it is really high in fat) and instead of fettucini noodles I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles. I added the garlic right to the sauce then combined it with the noodles when they were done. I really try my best to use up my leftovers and I think this was a great way and it was a great meal too! Look in your fridge and see what you can come up with. You might surprise yourself too!