Monthly Archives: March 2014

Maple & Almond Granola-Cereal

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Hi everyone. We made it through the first work day of the week; it’s all downhill from here! Not only that, but spring seems to have sprung in Wisconsin. Who cares that it’s only supposed to be a high of 37 degrees on Friday. It was 65 today! I can’t resist showing you the buds that I found popping up in our garden this afternoon, these little guys get me so excited!

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Today’s recipe was a life saver for me. As many of you may know, I LOVE cereal. I love that it’s super easy, comes in a million different varieties, I love the crunchy texture, the cold milk … I could go on and on. What I don’t love is that I learned that it pretty much has no nutritional value and is basically sugar and carb-loaded empty calories. I also hate that I have to eat tons of it to keep me full for more than a couple hours, plus it’s so expensive.

Because of these things I have switched to steel-cut oats for my daily go-to breakfast. I can eat way less and feel full for twice as long. (Side note: my Mom makes the BEST overnight slow cooker oatmeal. I’ll post the recipe one of these days). But that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave a cold and crunchy bowl of cereal from time to time, so that’s where this recipe comes in.

Maple & Almond Granola-Cereal

  • 6 cups old fashioned oats (don’t use quick-cook oats)
  • 3/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ or flax seed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use closer to 2, but I’m a huge cinnamon fan)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey (I use 2, but if you like it sweeter use 3)
  • 6-7 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I use 6, but if you like it sweeter use 7)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, wheat germ and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the coconut oil in the honey and maple syrup over low heat. Once melted remove from heat and add the vanilla and almond extract. Pour the honey and syrup mixture into the oat mixture and stir very well until everything is evenly coated.
  3. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line two jelly roll pans with tin foil and divide the mixture evenly onto the two pans. Cook for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring after 15 minutes and again after every 5 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

This recipe makes a ton of granola/cereal and lasts for quite a while in an airtight container.

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Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce

Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce

This recipe is one of the regulars in our house.  My husband even declared it one of his favorites the other night! And it has inspired me to get creative with my chicken, turkey and beef burgers. You can jazz up a plain old burger so easily by adding some diced onions, feta crumbles, bbq sauce, I could go on, but those are a few of my favorite burger additions.

These burgers are super moist with the peanut sauce and veggies mixed in, and the flavor combo is awesome. They are somewhat fragile so I wouldn’t recommend cooking them on an outdoor grill. A grill pan, or even a plain old frying pan works just fine!


Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

Makes 6 burgers

  • 1 1/4 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • buns (I like to use sandwich thins)
  • baby spinach

Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (or you could use siracha)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch piece of freshly grated ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Make the peanut sauce by combining peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, honey, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Set aside. Note: this makes a lot of peanut sauce, if you aren’t a big sauce person half the sauce recipe.
  2. Combine 3 tablespoons of the peanut sauce, ground turkey, carrots, broccoli, green onion, cilantro, crushed red pepper, and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 6 patties. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat and spray with plenty of non-stick spray. Cook burgers for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. Serve on a sandwich thins or your bun of choice. Top with peanut sauce and baby spinach leaves.

This is what the uncooked patties look like, awesomely veggie packed:

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One last thing … GO BADGERS! I love March Madness 🙂 

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Chocolate Energy Bites

Chocolate Energy Bites

This recipe is for all you chocolate lovers! Like I have mentioned before, I have what seems to be a never ending sweet tooth (I should note that the one cure I have found for my sweet tooth is to drastically cut back on sugar, seriously the less sugar you eat the less you crave it). These little guys definitely cure my chocolate craving, without making me feel too bad at all. Plus they’re filling and energizing with the protein and oats.

This recipe is really versatile and can be tweaked easily. If you aren’t a honey fan, you could substitute maple syrup, you could also add finely chopped nuts or coconut flakes, whatever you like! But I would definitely keep the peanut butter (or some kind of nut butter), it’s the base that holds the bites together. Mmmm, homemade peanut butter …

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I also recommend trying a good quality raw honey. I recently switched to this brand from Roundy’s (I love lots of Roundy’s products but was pretty confused when I looked at my honey label and saw that it was produced in several different countries; what does that even mean?!). This stuff has a much deeper  flavor, and I like that it’s produced locally.

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Chocolate Energy Bites

  • 3/4 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used homemade, but store bought would work just fine)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional, but strongly encouraged 🙂 )
  • 1/2 teaspoon water (if needed to be able to combine all ingredients well)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly until everything is evenly distributed. Roll by hand into small balls (about 1 to 2 tablespoons each). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 10-12 bites, depending on size.

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Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes

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I have a confession to make … I absolutely love pancakes! I’m basically in love with breakfast food in general, and we have breakfast for dinner often in our house.

I have become kind of a pancake snob, no boxed mixes here, always from scratch, and I like to try different varieties. Pumpkin, blueberry and banana, lemon poppyseed, carrot, I love them all. But this one is my new favorite. I love the way it makes the kitchen smell like apple pie when I’m cooking the apples, here’s a preview:

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Oh yeaaaah!

I make pancakes as an occasional indulgence, and I always try to keep the amount of sugar I use to a minimum and use 100% whole wheat flour, so that they aren’t totally guilt-provoking. And 100% pure maple syrup is a must, none of that imitation syrup junk!

Whole Wheat Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple mixture:

  • 2 small or medium apples, diced small (I use fuji apples)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Batter:

  • 1 1/3 (or up to 1 1/2 depending on if your batter needs a little thickening) cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, combine milk and 1 teaspoon of vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes, then voila you have buttermilk!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the diced apples and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the spices and brown sugar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter. Add all of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the apple mixture into the batter. Note: you want the batter to be somewhat thick, if it seems thin just add a bit more flour.
  3. Preheat a large pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Melt butter in pan or spray with olive oil. Pour 1/3 cup of batter per pancake, flip pancake when small bubbles start to form or when it is golden brown on the bottom. Keep pancakes warm on a plate in a 185 degree oven until ready to serve.

This makes 10-12 good sized pancakes and are great for leftovers! Now go ahead and make these for dinner, yum.

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Chicken Enchiladas

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One of the things I have been trying to do in the last year is to make as much food as I can from scratch. Since learning about “real food,” I am constantly reading ingredient labels and trying to buy foods with fewer ingredients (the fewer the ingredients, the less processed the food).

I decided to attempt homemade enchilada sauce, and it was surprisingly easy and delicious! Don’t be turned off by the long ingredient list in this recipe, many of them are things you probably already have if you keep your kitchen well stocked 🙂

Chicken Enchiladas

Sauce:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pepper

Filling:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium to large chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili power
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 7-8 tortillas (I haven’t tackled homemade tortillas yet but am anxious to try!)
  • 1 1/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • garnish with green onions, chopped cilantro and sour cream
  1. In a medium sauce pan saute garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil for 1 minute. Add chipotle chilis, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Cook the chicken breasts. My favorite method for shredded chicken is poaching them. Bring a medium sauce pan filled half way with water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and poach for about 10-12 minutes or until no longer pink. Allow them to cool slightly and shred with your hands.
  3. Saute the onions in a large, deep pan on medium heat until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute one more minute. Add the chicken, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, chicken broth and tomato sauce. Cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Butter or spray a deep 9×13 baking dish with olive oil. Put a light layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish. Put 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in the middle of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat until the dish is full. Top with lots of enchilada sauce and the shredded cheese.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until nice and bubbly. Serve with green onions, chopped cilantro and sour cream.

Have a great weekend!

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Grilled Citrus Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa

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Hello from sunny Florida! I’m currently on vacation and boy was it much needed after our brutal Wisconsin winter. I just can never get enough of seeing the palm trees!

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And this wasn’t a bad view to wake up to either…

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Now on to the recipe. When we kick off summer grilling season, this is what I want to grill first (and of course in close second is a good old Wisconsin bratwurst). The chicken has a delicious citrus and garlic flavor and doesn’t need to be marinaded for long, which makes it a quick and easy dinner.  I like to serve it with my “cheaters guacamole.” Basically I smash up an avacado and mix it with some fresh store bought salsa. One of my favorite foods is homemade guacamole, but sometimes you just don’t have the time for that!

Grilled Citrus Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa

  • 3 medium chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a shallow dish, wisk together the lime and orange zest and juice, minced garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the chicken breast in a gallon sized plastic bag and pound to about 1/2 inch thick (this step is optional, I just like that they cook quicker and seem to be more tender this way). Place the chicken in marinade and marinade for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Place the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for a minute or two. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the lime zest, juice, cilantro and salt and pepper.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, put the chicken on the grill and grill for 8-10 minutes per side. Let chicken rest a few minutes before serving.

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