February 26, 2013

Pesto Bean Soup

This week I made it my mission to find a new soup recipe to try as my "one new recipe a week."  Turns out this was not an easy task, despite my ever growing pile of recipes I have accumulated over the years.  As I tried to find something I wanted to make I decided it had to be something that would require no special trips to the store, hence the reason it turned out to be a little difficult!  
Then I stumbled upon a pesto bean soup in one of my old Food Network Magazines.  After reading it over and making a few adjustments to suite my tastes, I decided to give it a go.  I love soup in the winter for lunch, and since I was out of salad fixings I was hopeful that this soup would turn out OK so I'd have lunch for a few days.  Pesto is one of my most favorite things to eat, so as I could smell the soup simmering away I realized there was no way this wouldn't be good. 

I was right - I really like this soup.  It's delicious and hearty, and pretty much the perfect lunch on a dreary winter day.  Even my husband, who is on the fence about pesto, kept "testing" the soup and saying it had really good flavor.  Haha.....I think he loves pesto but just doesn't want to admit it!

PS - I don't know what it is about soup, but it is really hard to take a decent picture of it!  Sorry this picture is not only boring, but that it doesn't really showcase all the wonderful things going on in that bowl!

Pesto Bean Soup (adapted from Food Network magazine)

Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
1 cup water
3 tbsp pesto (click here & scroll down for my basil pesto recipe)
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2/3 cup ham, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium/large saucepan, and add the garlic, celery and red pepper flakes.  Saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the beans and water, and simmers for about 15 minutes or until it begins to thicken.  Add the pesto and chicken stock, stirring to combine, and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the roasted red peppers and ham, salt & pepper to taste, and simmer for another 15 minutes before serving.  Serves 4. 

February 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Is there anything better than peanut butter and chocolate together?  Try Nutella.  I had about 1/3 cup of it in my cabinet when my son asked for cookies....so, my first thought was to use up the Nutella in some type of cookie.  Then I spotted the enormous jar of peanut butter that we got at Costco and off went the light bulb - peanut butter Nutella cookies.

My husband has had a severe toothache and infection going on for the last few days which has caused one side of his face to swell and has also made him disinterested in food/eating.  I figured he wouldn't go near these because of his tooth issues, but alas...he just couldn't resist.  One bite, two bites, one cookie, two cookies.....not only could he not stop himself from eating them but he also couldn't stop raving about how good they were!  Try it....they are oh so good! 

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies (makes 18 cookies)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup Nutella

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer add both sugars, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and egg and mix until smooth and creamy.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Add the Nutella and using a knife swirl it into the batter.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While it's in the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 350 and spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.  When the dough is done chilling, scoop about a 1/4 cup of dough out and roll it into a ball and place on cookie sheet (no more than 12 on a cookie sheet).  With a fork, press down gently on each cookie to flatten it a bit and to give it the cookies a nice pattern on top.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

February 21, 2013

French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

I've had a craving for steak lately.  For me the perfect side dish for steak is stuffed mushrooms, but most of the time I don't feel like making them.  I usually tend to do a side dish of sauteed mushrooms and onions instead, and pair it with a salad.  However, it's been a while since I've made stuffed mushrooms so I decided to give it ago.  Only this time I decided to skip the usual "stuffing type" stuffed mushrooms and go with a french onion stuffed mushroom instead (a variation of the usual side dish).

I do believe I like these better than the "stuffing type".  I honestly couldn't get enough of them.  Rich, and just down right delicious.  I know there are people out there that actually don't like onions (I'm not sure how that's even possible, but there are a couple in my family), so this take on stuffed mushrooms probably wouldn't be for them.  However, if you like french onion soup and you like mushrooms, I do believe you'd love these babies.  They are pretty simple to make....actually they may even be easier to make than the traditional stuffed mushrooms!  Try them....I think you'll love them. 

French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

1 & 1/2 onions or 1 very large onion, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
2 packages of baby bella mushrooms (22-24) mushrooms, stems removed
Keep about 1/2 of the stems and chop them up finely
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium-low heat.  Add the onions and saute for 20 minutes, then add the chopped mushroom stems and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the wine, Worcestershire sauce, a dash of salt & pepper and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more or until the most of the liquid evaporates.  Remove the onion mixture from pan and place in a glass bowl or on a plate. 

To the now empty skillet, add the mushrooms and saute on each side for a couple of minutes (if the pan seems dry you can add a little more butter).  Remove from heat and add the onion filling to each mushroom.  In a small bowl and melt the 1 tbsp of butter in the microwave.  Add the seasoned bread crumbs to the melted butter and stir to combine.  Top each filled mushroom with the Gruyere cheese, then sprinkle on the bread crumbs.  Place mushrooms on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.  Serves 4.

February 19, 2013

Cherry Pie Muffins

My son is FINALLY getting his appetite back after weeks of being sick.  He lost 8 lbs over the last couple of weeks!  I am looking forward to fattening him up again.  Since I had the day off yesterday I decided to make him some muffins for an after school snack.  I think the days of him bringing a snack to school are over now.....that means he's really growing up and that realization makes me sad.  However, he comes home starving on most days and I am more than happy to feed him.

I took a quick inventory of my cabinets and spotted a can of cherry pie filling.  I bought it for something else....and I can't remember what that something else is anymore, therefore I decided to make cherry pie muffins. For some reason I have a thing for making muffins using pie fillings, although I don't usually used canned pie fillings.  Still can't remember why I bought that.....

Anyway, these muffins really do taste like cherry pie.  My son ate two when he got home from school and that made me very happy.  He's looking way too thin....but I guess I'll have to suppress the urge to shove food down his throat!  I'm so glad he's eating again ☺

Cherry Pie Muffins

1 can cherry pie filling
1 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoon butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and melted butter.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients, and gently stir until just combined.  Fill muffin tins half full, then add a heaping teaspoon of the cherry pie filling to each one.  Top with the remaining batter.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar to cover the top of each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes

February 17, 2013

Coconut Cake

This past week was week #3 of having a house of sickos.  It started with me, then my son, then my husband, and now me again.  AGAIN!  It's just lingering for all of us.  My son is almost better now though - finally after 2 weeks of being so sick, loosing 8 lbs and going to the doctors twice.  Now he's on medication for an ear infection and finally feeling much better.

My birthday was Friday, and since Monday is a holiday I decided to take my birthday off also so I could enjoy a nice long weekend.  Too bad both my husband and myself were too sick to do anything for Valentine's Day or on my birthday.  It was still nice though staying in and snuggling.  I did manage to muster up enough energy to make one of my favorite cakes for my birthday though - coconut cake. 

This cake is just so good.  It has the perfect amount of coconut, and it's not overly sweet.  It's delicious.  My sister called on my birthday and asked me what I was doing, so I told her I was making coconut cake.  Her response was "Ewww, yuck."  I guess not everyone likes coconut!  She got all the chocolate genes, which is fine by me!  I'd take coconut over chocolate any day.....although, a combination of the two does sound yummy! ☺

Coconut Cake

5 egg yolks, at room temp
5 egg whites, at room temp
2 cups sugar
3 sticks butter, unsalted & softened
3 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 ts salt
3 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

12 oz cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, unsalted
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar  

1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350, and butter & flour 2, 9" cake pans and set aside.  In medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 6 minutes).  Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix the buttermilk and coconut milk together and add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk/coconut milk mixture, beating after each addition until smooth.  

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter until combined.  Add the 3/4 shredded coconut and gently stir to combine.  Pour batter into your cake pans, and bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Run a spatula between cakes and side of pan, and set aside to cool.  It doesn't have to cool completely before removing from the pan, but I'd wait at least a half hour.  After removing from pans, place on wire rack until cooled completely.

*Note*  Sometimes I will use 8" cake pans and make 6 cupcakes with the left over batter.  Just watch the cooking time because cupcakes only need about 15-20 minutes in the oven.  I will then freeze the cupcakes to enjoy at a later date ☺

Frosting:  Cream together the butter, cream cheese and the two extracts until combined well.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until nice and smooth.  Frost cake once it is completely cooled.

February 15, 2013

Quick Winter Salsa

If you are like me, you just can't get fresh local ripe tomatoes for most of the year.  In fact, for us, our summers are so short that we barely have enough time to harvest our tomatoes before it starts getting cold again!  The amount of time we have up here for gardening is very short.  It often makes me long to live in a warmer climate where we can enjoy our garden for a longer period of time.  The upside is that we are so excited for fresh local produce in the summer that we hit all the local farmers markets as often as possible so we can get our hands on produce we don't grow ourselves.  Summer is a fun and wonderful time of year in Vermont, not to mention beautiful!

Since there are about 9 months a year where we can not get fresh local tomatoes, I have put together a homemade salsa that can be made any time of the year.  Yes, the tomatoes come from a can, but it still has the homemade "flavor" to it.  And hey, anything that's homemade is better for you than store bought!  This recipe also comes in handy when you have company and need to whip up something to munch on fast.  It's worth a try....you just may like it ☺ 

Winter Salsa

1/4 cup red onion
1/2 of a small jalapeno, seeds removed (or you can keep them in for more heat)
1 large clove of garlic
1, 14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes with green pepper & onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cumin
1 tsp lime juice 
small handful of cilantro

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or chopper.  Pulse to a few times until all the ingredients are chopped to your desired consistency.  If you like somewhat chunky salsa, add only half of the can of tomatoes at first.  After you chop up all the other ingredients, add the second half of the can of tomatoes and pulse once or twice.  Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

February 13, 2013

Peach Pancakes

I got the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas this year.  I've heard of the blog, but haven't really seen any of her recipes so I was looking forward to browsing through the cookbook.  There are a few that caught my eye, but unfortunately I don't see my "meat & potatoes" family members being too keen on much from the book.  However, when the hubby is out of town I will probably attempt a few to try for myself.

However, after reading the story before the sour cream peach pancake recipe, I decided I had to try it out.  Her friends think she's a pancake snob, and I can totally understand where she's coming from in that regard!  So I knew I needed to try the recipe to see if her pancakes would make myself and my family a fan.  I was a little worried that they would be too heavy, and since it's not peach season and I was going to use sliced canned peaches (I know she would be horrified at that) I was also worried it wouldn't work out so good. 

I am happy to report that all three of us liked these pancakes.  They were dense and thick, but it actually seemed like the perfect match for the peaches.  I know without a doubt this recipe would be even better with fresh ripe peaches, however using canned peaches still made for delicious pancakes.  Now I am even more eager to see how I like some of her other recipes!  Thank you Smitten Kitchen ☺

Peach Pancakes (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook)

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 peach, cut into thin slices (or 16 thin slices from a can of peaches)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, yogurt, egg, vanilla & sugar.  In another small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the wet ingredients and stir gently until just combined.

Heat your skillet on medium heat and melt about a tablespoon of butter.  Pour a 1/4 cup of the batter onto the bottom of the skillet, and repeat making sure to leave about 2 inches between each pancake. Place two peach slices on top of each pancake, and flip each one once it starts to look dry and bubbles form on top.  You will have to flip them fast because the peaches have a tendency to slip off.  Cook until golden brown and cooked through.  Serve with Vermont maple syrup ☺  Makes 8 pancakes.

February 11, 2013

Sesame Ginger Dressing

One day a couple of weeks ago I asked my son what he had at school for lunch, and I was surprised to hear he had salad!  He said they had this really good Asian sesame dressing that he loves and now he gets salad all the time.  Interesting.  I asked him if he remembered the dressing I used to make in the kitchen where I used to work but of course he didn't.  

Since he likes the school's dressing so much, I figured I'd whip up the dressing I used to make in hopes that it would make him as enthusiastic to eat salad at home!  Unfortunately, he has been so sick for almost 2 weeks now, so when he tried it he said he couldn't taste anything.  Bummer.  I'll be taking him to the doctor AGAIN today, so hopefully he'll better later this week and he can give this dressing a try again.  Fingers crossed he likes it as much as the school's version.  Both my husband and myself really like it.  It's a nice change from the usual balsamic dressing I always have on my salads for work.  It also makes a great marinade for meat.  

Sesame Ginger Dressing

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil (can add another tablespoon for more sesame flavor if you prefer)
3/4 cup olive oil

Add all ingredients to a mason jar fitted with an airtight lid (or whatever container you have with a lid).  Shake vigorously until well combined.  Store in the refrigerator.

February 9, 2013

Oriental Beef with Snow Peas

For all you Northeast coast readers - hope you made it through the storm OK and that you have power!  Snow is one thing, but loosing power in the winter is just no fun at all!  Up here in N. Vermont we didn't get the crazy amounts that MA & ME got, which is a first.  We got about 8-10 inches, which is not bad at all for us.  Hope everyone is safe, warm & cozy and eating good food!  Cheers to staying in and snuggling with your families ☺

I'm sure it's not a surprise that I love watching cooking shows on the Food Network.  I think if I had to pick a favorite it would be Ina Garten's show.  I love what and how she cooks, and I find her to be very inspiring.  However, last weekend I caught an episode of Ree Drummond's show.  Her recipe for beef with snow peas caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  One, because it was quick to prepare and two, because my husband loves stir fry.  I thought this recipe would be perfect to try as my "one new recipe for the week", especially because I knew there was one day during the week where I wouldn't have a lot of time to throw dinner together.  

I did make a couple of adjustments based on our tastes.  We found the marinade was just a tad bitter due to all the soy sauce, so I increased the amount of brown sugar a little.  I also added garlic....just because everything is better with garlic.  Overall, we all enjoyed this recipe, especially my husband.  I asked him if he preferred this to the usual stir fry I make and he said yes.  He said he'd thought it would be better with some more veggies in it, but other than that he really liked it.  Alrighty then, I guess this recipe will be added to my ever growing list of family favorites!  Thank you  Ree ☺

Oriental Beef with Snow Peas (adapted from www.thepioneerwoman.com)

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp cooking sherry
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs London broil steak, sliced very thin (can also use flank or skirt steak)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
8 oz fresh snow peas
5 scallions, chopped into large pieces
Crushed red pepper to taste (I might have used about 1/8 tsp, which gave it just enough kick for us)

In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, sugar, ginger and garlic.  Place your beef into a large Ziplock bag and pour in about 1/4 cup of the marinade, seal and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Set remaining marinade aside for later use.

Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet until nice and hot.  Add the snow peas, stirring for about 1 minute, then remove from heat and transfer to a large plate.  Place the skillet back on the stove and get it nice and hot again.  Add about half of the meat and let it sear on one side for about a minute.  Add half of the scallions, and flip the meat over to let the other side brown for a about a minute.  Remove meat from pan and place on the same plate as the snow peas.

Place pan on stove and allow it to get nice and hot again, then repeat the process of cooking the second half of the meat.  After flipping the second batch of meat, add the snow peas and first batch of meat, the reserved marinade and the crushed red pepper.  Stir while cooking for another 1-2 minutes.  Serve hot over rice.  

February 7, 2013

Goat Cheese & Apple Stuffed Chicken

As I've mentioned before, my husband travels often for work, and when he does I take that opportunity to cook things that he wouldn't be interested in.  This particular recipe was inspired by my wonderful Aunt Judy, who absolutely loves goat cheese.  In this beautiful state of Vermont we have many local goat cheese makers to choose from, so every summer when I visit my Aunt I bring her some goat cheese.  She's been on my mind lately because my cousin (my Aunt's only daughter) just got engaged and so we've been doing a lot of emailing about wedding plans. Today is my Aunt's birthday:  Happy Birthday Aunt Judy!  If you lived closer I would make this for you tonight ♥

When my husband told me which day he'd be out of town this week, I knew instantly that I was going to make this dish.  It's so good....but you have to like goat cheese.  If you don't, you may not like this recipe.  I happen to think that the tang of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the apple are a match made in heaven.  You can of course skip making the sauce, however I like it because it keeps the chicken nice and moist.  It also adds just a little more sweetness with a bit of herb flavoring as well.  It's perfect....if I do say so myself!  PS - I apologize for the not so great pictures - they really don't do this dish justice!

2/8/13 Update:  So, when my husband came home he saw the leftovers of this dish in the fridge and asked what it was.  I explained the dish to him and he asked if he could try it, so I warmed it up for him, all along thinking "Oh boy, he's so not going to like this."  He took one bite and said "THAT is REALLY good!  I would love it if you'd make that for me sometime."  Go figure.....every time I think he won't like something he surprises me.

Goat Cheese & Apple Stuffed Chicken

4 skinless chicken breasts
4 oz good quality goat cheese
1 apple - peeled, cored & diced
1 egg
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2/3 cup white wine (I used Reisling because it's sweeter, but you can also use apple juice or cider instead)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
Sprig of fresh rosemary
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
Salt & Pepper

Sauce:  Bring the wine, chicken stock, sugar & rosemary to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.  In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and water until smooth, then whisk it in to the sauce to thicken it a little.  Add a dash of salt and pepper, stir then set aside until it's time to serve.

Place the chicken breasts in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and pound them out until they are about 1/4" thick.  Season with salt & pepper.  In another bowl, mix together the apple and goat cheese.  Divide the cheese mixture between the 4 pieces of chicken, spreading it on just one 1/2 of each piece.  Fold the other 1/2 of each piece of chicken over, pressing the edges together to form a pocket.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil until hot.  In another bowl whisk the egg, and place the 1/2 cup bread crumbs on a plate.  Dip each piece of chicken into the egg to coat each side, then dredge each piece of chicken in the bread crumbs to coat each side.  Place the chicken into the skillet, and cook until browned all over and juices run clear (about 8-10 minutes on each side).  While it's cooking you can turn the sauce back on low heat, stirring to get it warmed through.  When chicken is done, serve it with a drizzle of the sauce on top. 

February 5, 2013

Bar Nuts

Don't you love it when you are at a bar having drinks and the bartender or waitress brings you a bowl of nuts to munch on?  There's just something about salty crunchy nuts that seem to go hand in hand with a beer or cocktail.  It's also perfect to have on hand when friends stop by for a drink, or when you are having a dinner party at home.

These "bar nuts" are a knock off from Union Square Cafe in NYC.  They serve these during their cocktail hour everyday.  They come out warm, which is the best way to eat them.  They are a little sweet, a little salty, a little spicy and they also have an nice hint of herb to them.  They are perfect.  They are addictive.  They are delicious.  I urge you take make these when you have people over.  Your guests will love you!

Bar Nuts

2 1/4 cups mixed nuts, salted
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour nuts onto a cookie sheet and toast in oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.

Add the melted butter along with the rest of ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir to combine.  Add the hot nuts and toss to combine, making sure all the nuts are evenly coated with the mixture.  Serve warm.

February 3, 2013

Applesauce Bars

While I realize today is the super bowl, I have to admit that I couldn't be happier that I married a man who is NOT a sports fan!  I hate football, and while I like baseball, I really couldn't say that I enjoy watching it on TV.  The only "sport" that my husband and I both really enjoy watching on TV is boxing.  I guess you could say that we are a match made in heaven....at least from my perspective!  (We just celebrated our 9 year anniversary last night with an AMAZING dinner at The Guild in South Burlington, VT.  If you are in the area and looking for a good place to have steak you definitely need to go there!  Best steak I've ever had.)

My son, on the other hand, loves all sports and will definitely be watching the super bowl.  It is very disappointing to him that we won't watch it with him.  I try to cheer him up by making him a special super bowl day treat, but he's been sick all weekend so I'm not sure he'll be up for it today.  If he's feeling better later maybe I'll whip something up for him to munch on.

This recipe is not intended to be a super bowl treat, however you could certainly make it for your super bowl party.  This one comes from the kitchen where I used to work, and it was always a big hit.  I like to trick myself into believing it's somewhat healthy because it has a layer of applesauce in it, but as I'm making it I realize there is no denying that it is in no way healthy!  But that's OK because desserts are not intended to be healthy.  The only criteria they need to fill is that it's yummy, and this one falls into that category. Enjoy! 

Applesauce Bars

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of shortening
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp milk
1 1/4 cup applesauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400.  Mix shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mix to the shortening mixture, alternating with the milk and mix well.  Spread 2/3 of the dough into baking dish.  Add the apple sauce and make sure to spread it out evenly.  

To the remaining 1/3 of the dough, add the extra 2 tbsp of sugar & flour and mix until it forms medium sized crumbs.  Sprinkle of top of applesauce evenly.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the topping starts to brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely before serving.  Store left overs in refrigerator. 

February 1, 2013

Lemon & Dill Fish

I love fish.....my husband, not so much.  He likes fried fish, and that's about it.  However, once in a great while I decide he needs more fish in his life and I'll make him eat it.  Such was the case with this meal.  I decided to keep with last year's goal of trying one new recipe a week this year as well, and came across this one.  It looked really good and the list of ingredients sounded tasty, so I figured I'd give it a try.  

The verdict - I really enjoyed it, my husband thought it was "pretty good", and my son hated it!  He's 14 and it's been about 5 years since he's sat at the table soooo  long trying to finish what's on his plate!!!  Afterwards he begged to never make him eat it again, to which I agreed.  When I asked him what he didn't like about it he said it was the lemon flavor.....OK, guess he doesn't like lemon!?!?!  

However, I'm not ready to toss this recipe out because I thought it was good.  It was nice and light, very moist and very tasty.  I thought it had just enough lemon and it wasn't at all overpowering (like my son seemed to think).  Perfect for a summer dinner, or a light lunch.  When my husband travels I usually take that opportunity to make something for myself that he wouldn't normally eat, and I let my son choose something he wants as well.  So, I will keep this recipe for one of those occasions.  If you like fish, lemon and dill I would recommend this recipe!

Lemon & Dill Fish Fillets (adapted from www.ifoodreal.com)

2 lbs any white fish fillets, whole (I used 4 large tilapia fillets, which could have easily served 6)
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 carrot, medium, coarsely shredded
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
2 lemons, sliced about 1/4" thick
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375  and spray a 13 x 9 dish with cooking spray. Rinse fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet.   Add the fish fillets to skillet and brown on both sides,  about 2-3 minutes per side.  Place in baking dish and set aside.

Using the same skillet saute sliced onion until golden brown on medium-low heat. Add shredded carrot and brown for another 5 minutes.  In a medium bowl add the Greek yogurt, chopped dill, onion and carrot mixture, salt & pepper to a bowl and mix to combine.

Place slices of lemon on top of fish (one or two per piece). Spread yogurt mixture evenly over fish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.