Homemade granola.

I LOVE homemade granola!  This has been my hand’s down favorite recipe.  We make this every other month (kept in an airtight container) it is perfect!  I make half the batch with dark chocolate and half without (hubby is allergic).  It does make a lot of granola I promise, it won’t last long :)  Perfect for yogurt parfaits for breakfast.  Top ice cream for dessert or just eat a handful when you need a snack.  This is also a wonderful gift idea for friends or during the holidays.  Totally addictive!

Ingredients:

8 c of rolled oats
1.5 c of wheat germ
1.5 c of oat bran
1/4 c of chia seeds
1/4 c of flax seed meal
1 c of sunflower seeds
1 c of slivered toasted almonds
1 c of cashews
1 c of chopped walnuts
1 tsp of sea salt
1 1/4 c of maple syrup
1 tbl of raw honey (or processed honey or agave)
1 c of vegetable oil
1 tbl of ground cinnamon
1 tbl vanilla extract
2 c of dried tart cherries (or blueberries, raisins or craisins)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax, chia, oat bran, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, walnuts and salt in a very large bowl.  In a separate bowl (or you can use your sauce pan) combine the maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon and vanilla.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Whisk until completely blended.  Then remove from the heat and pour over dry mixture.  Mix well and then spread on 2 baking sheets.  Make sure you have one layer in each pan. You can bake additional cookie sheets as needed.

Bake until crispy and toasted brown.  1 hour and 20 minutes.  Cool and then add your mix-ins.  Chocolate, dried fruit etc.  Store in an airtight container or ziploc baggie.

 

— Knead to Cook

Chicken noodle soup.

My teenage daughter is sick & requested chicken noodle soup.  I was all over it because I haven’t made it in so long – it’s just one of those comforting foods that you can’t wait to eat.  I also made some baguettes to accompany the soup and it was just what she needed.  Warms your from the inside out.   And perfect on a cold winter day.

Ingredients:

2-3 pound roaster chicken
2.5 quarts of water
3.5 tsp of salt
3 tsp of chicken bouillion or granules
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp of marjoram
1/2 tsp of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 lemon, juice
6 carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
Whatever pasta you would like to use – cook according to package directions.

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, place the chicken roaster.  I cook this for about 2 hours and then remove.  I debone the chicken and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.  I skim any fat that has risen to the surface and then return the chicken back to the broth as well as every other ingredient except for the pasta.  I cook the pasta separately and store it that way as well.   Before serving, remove the bay leaf and sample to ensure the seasoning blend is correct.  Adjust according to your taste.

Enjoy!

— Knead to Cook

Triple chocolate pancakes.

Today my youngest daughter is having some teeth extracted and I wanted to make her a super special, yummy breakfast to load her up with some calories before her procedure.  These, although look over-the-top, indulgent, aren’t as bad as they could be :)  I like these for a special birthday breakfast or on a snowy morning.  They are always well-loved.

Ingredients:

1 c of chocolate low fat almond milk or regular low fat milk works well
1 egg
2 tbl of I can’t believe it’s not butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 c of all-purpose unbleached flour
1/3 c of unsweetened cocoa (I used Wilbur)
1/4 c of sugar
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 c of chocolate chips
Powered sugar for dusting

Directions:
In a bowl combine milk, egg, vanilla and butter.  Whisk until blended.

In your mixer bowl with the paddle attachment on, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Mix that for about a minute.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend until incorporated but avoid over mixing.  The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Get your sauté or griddle pan nice and hot and spray with a nonstick spray or place a pat of I can’t believe it’s not butter in the pan.  Once melted, add the batter.  Once bubbles appear on the pancake –  flip.   This should take 1-2 minutes or so.  Watch closely to avoid burning.

I topped these with a dusting of powdered sugar and Chobani Vanilla with chocolate chip yogurt for added protein.  Let your imagination run wild with toppings :)

Enjoy!

 

— Knead to Cook

My big salad with chili lime rubbed chicken.

I adore farmer’s markets!  All of the veggies make me crave making my “big” salad and feeling like Elaine from Seinfeld.  The options are endless and the health benefits are just as impressive!  The downfall to any salad, is the dressing.  Remember to be mindful of what type you use and how much.  I prefer a splash of fresh lime or lemon juice without all the guilt.

Okay the salad is pretty much up to you.  Use what you love and what you have on hand.  Today I used:

2 heads of Romaine
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c of alfalfa sprouts
Garlic stuffed olives
1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4c of raw pepitas

Optional items:

Dried or fresh fruit (i.e. raisins, cherries, strawberries, pears, apples)
Any nut pretty much works on a salad.
Sesame sticks.
Asian noodles.

I added some chili lime chicken to my salad for protein.  The rub recipe is:

2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 serrano chili, seeded and minced

Combine together in a bowl and set aside.  Add the chicken to the rub and toss to coat.

Heat your sauté pan over a medium flame with some olive oil in the pan.  Once hot, add the coated chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from the heat and slice into bite-sized pieces.  Add to the top of the salad and serve.

 

— Knead to Cook

Olive tapenade.

 

I love olives!  They are my biggest weakness… I made this yesterday for our Super Bowl party that we were having.  It is always a hit and leftovers only get better the next day!

I take a baguette and slice it on the bias (fairly thin).  Spray with olive oil and broil until golden brown.  Keep a watchful eye because it will burn quickly.  Remove and flip – repeat on the other side.  Set the bread aside.

In your food processor add olives (about a cup but this recipe doesn’t have to be exact).  I use pitted kalamata & green olives stuffed with a garlic clove.  3 garlic cloves peeled and left whole.  1/4 c of olive oil.  1 tbl of capers. 1 tbl of fresh parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Process until finely chopped.  You can add extra olive oil if needed.  You can either top the bread slices with the tapenade or serve in a bowl along side the bread.

— Knead to Cook

Bacon wrapped figs.

Okay if you are looking for the easiest appetizer EVER… you can stop looking!  I had something similar at La Cave in Las Vegas.  They served it with an accompanying blue cheese dip.  I bought figs last week at our farmer’s market and couldn’t resist giving this super easy recipe a whirl.  So glad I did!  The smell of bacon cooking is reason no. 1 why these are a winner and 2 – the sweet/salty combination is hard to resist.

I bought a half of a pound of Turkish figs.  Cut the stem from each top.  I took several pieces of bacon and cut them in half.  Wrap one piece around each fig and place the seam side down on your cookie sheet.  Place in a preheated oven at 350 degree for about 35 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and fully cooked.  I placed them on a paper towel lined plate to drain and serve.  YUM!

 

 

— Knead to Cook

Shrimp Margaritas.

 

This recipe is a bit of a departure from the shrimp cocktail typically served at parties.  This slight variation was extremely well-received by our guests at our Super Bowl party.  I also liked it because you can prepare it ahead of time so  you aren’t slaving in the kitchen while you’re guests are enjoying themselves.  Also no cooking or baking required!

Ingredients:

1.25 cooking, de-veined shrimp – tails removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tbl of Olive Oil
1/4 c of Tequilla
1/4 c of fresh lime juice
1/4 of orange juice
2 tbl of ketchup
2 tbl of hot sauce (Tabasco, Sriracha)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 medium sized tomatoes, diced (do this step prior to serving)
3 ripe avocados, pitted and chopped (do this step prior to serving)
1/4 c of red onions, chopped
Lime wedge for garnish

About 2 hours prior to serving – whisk together tequila, lime juice, orange juice, ketchup and hot sauce.  Place the shrimp into the mixture and toss.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Take your individual serving bowls/glasses etc. and layer the shrimp/marinade mixture in the bottom.  Alternate with tomato/red onion/avocados on top.  Do this until you fill it 3/4 way to the top.  Top with some salt and pepper.  Garnish with lime wedge.

 

— Knead to Cook

Tortilla soup.

After a very long day, hard workout and still some remaining jet lag… this soup was  exactly what I needed.  The fresh lime juice in this soup just brightens up the flavors, as citrus typically does to a dish.  Undeniably yummy.

Ingredients:

8 c of chicken broth
1 lb of boneless chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tbl of dried oregano
1 tbl of cumin
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 c of frozen corn kernels
2 limes, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
1 avocado
1 lime, cut into wedges
Fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

Over a medium flame, add the chicken broth to your Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil and then add the chicken.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Then remove the chicken and shred with two forks and set aside.  To the broth add, onion, zucchini, garlic, jalapeño,  bay leaf, oregano and cumin.   Bring to a boil again and let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Then add the chicken back to the pot along with tomatoes, corn and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Boil for about 10 minutes.  Then divide into bowls and garnish.

— Knead to Cook

Apricot Pork.

This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!  Super easy to prepare and so delicious.  Even your kids will flip over this sweet & savory pork.

Ingredients:
1 c chicken stock
2 tsp good quality Dijon mustard
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1/4 c apricot jam
2 tbl olive oil
6 boneless, center-cut pork chops, trimmed of the fat
2 garlic cloves, cut into large slices
1/4 c of chopped dried apricots
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a small mixing bowl whisk the stock, Dijon, red wine vinegar & apricot jam/preserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Salt and pepper the pork and place the chops in the hot pan.  Brown each side for about 7 minutes.

Remove the pork and place on a dish.  To the hot pan add the stock mixtures to the pan and scrape up the brown bits with a spatula (deglazing).  Add the garlic and diced apricots.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the pork back to the pan and cook for about 8 additional minutes.  Then place the pork on a platter (tent with foil to keep warm) and turn the flame up to high to reduce the sauce further.  Pour over the pork and serve.

— Knead to Cook

Spinach, mixed berry, Chobani, raw milk smoothie.

This is a great way to sneak in some veggies into your kids without them having any idea!  This smoothie is so versatile.  Add what you have or prefer and make it your own.

Into the blender add a handful of spinach leaves, 1/4 to 1/2 c of Chobani vanilla Greek Yogurt, 1.5 c of frozen berries (you can use fresh) and a cup of milk (I used raw).  Blend until smooth.  If you need to add more milk b/c the smoothie is too thick, do so.  If it’s too watery, add a banana or flax seed meal.  I have also used an avocado, protein powder etc.  Again, use what you love and have on hand.

Serve in a fun glass with a straw and watch it disappear!

— Knead to Cook