Monday, November 23, 2009

Apple Crisp


1 cup butter, cold
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
¼ tsp baking powder
In a large bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and baking powder just until butter is broken up and ingredients are mixed. Mixture should be crumbly. Set aside.

6 cups canned apples or 6 to 8 fresh apples, peeled and sliced *
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Place apples in 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Crumble crisp topping on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.(If fresh or rehydrated apples are used, bake 45 minutes.)Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Source: Lion House cookbook

Cooks notes:
*You can use rehydrated apples in this recipe.
How do I rehydrate apples for this recipe?
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour water over 8 cups dry apple slices in a large mixing bowl. Stir apples after 5 minutes and let stand for an additional 10 minutes. Drain excess water from apples and use in recipe.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken Potpie

This recipe is made to fit into a 2.5 qt pan. Mine is a deeper dish, and is approximately 3.5in. tall.

2 cup warm water
2 tsp chicken base
4 tsp chicken bouillon granules (or 4 cubes granules)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup cubed cooked chicken
1 jar (4 1/2 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained

Pastry for a single-crust pie (bought or your recipe of choice) *see below recipe for doing a top and bottom crust

Preheat oven to 450. Grease 2.5 qt baking dish.
Combine water, chicken base, and chicken bouillon in small bowl.
Preheat small pan over med-low heat with olive oil; saute onions until clear.
In a 2 qt saucepan, melt butter. Slowly stir in flour and thyme to avoid lumps, whisk until smooth (I love to use my Ikea sauce whisk here). Stir in bouillon mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add mixed vegetables, chicken, onion, and mushrooms into gravy like mixture and stir well. Pour into baking dish.
Roll out pastry to fit top of dish. Place over filling; trim and press edges to baking dish to seal. Cut ~1in slits in top. Bake at 450 for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

If you are planning to do pie crust for the top and bottom of the potpie, please see following directions:
No need to grease baking dish.

Flaky Pastry Dough for 2 crust 10-Inch Pie (or to line top and bottom of potpie)
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (I usually make this a heaping scoop)
About 1 1/2 Tbs butter (not margarine)
1 cup combined butter and shortening (please read full directions so you will better understand this)
6 to 8 Tbs cold water

Sift flour into medium mixing bowl; blend with salt. Place butter in 1 cup measuring cup; fill remainder of cup with shortening (basically you want 1 cup minus 1 1/2 tsp in shortening... but who wants to measure that out?). Add butter and shortening to flour; cut in using pastry cutter or fork. Add water, 1 Tbs at a time, tossing after each addition; form into 1 large ball and cut into half, but with slightly more in one half than the other. Roll out the larger half first, so trimmings can be combined into smaller half. As you roll out dough, turn over the dough frequently, to be sure it is not sticking.

After adding filling, roll out smaller half and cover pot pie. Pinch edges together, and cut slits in top. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cook's notes: I love that this freezes beautifully. I like to put 1 serving quantities in my small microwavable plastic dishes, so it can be warmed easily at a later time. The Flaky Pastry Dough recipe can be used for pies as well.

The recipe is a variation from Taste of Home's Chicken Potpie

The Flaky Pie Dough recipe was taken from The Everything Cookbook copyright 1970 by Betty Wason

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Granary Stir Fry

This is another guideline that I got at Enrichment in February. I REALLY liked this one. My husband felt that 1/2 sweet potato was too much (and he really likes sweet potatoes), so you may want to use 1/2 small sweet potato.

The Granary Stir Fry

This is a hot dish that is quick to make and can vary each time with what you find in your cupboard and fridge. This is a great way to add a variety of vegetables and grains into your diet.

Sauté chopped onion in a small amount of olive oil. Add minced garlic and vegetables in order of length of time required to cook to crisp-tender stage. Add a little vegetable or chicken broth. Season with herbs and spices of your choice. Plate dish by placing half a roasted sweet potato on serving plate. Add a serving of grain. Top with sautéed vegetables and add toasted pine nuts and a grating of Parmesan cheese. Ingredient suggestions follow.

Base Grains (choose one)

Brown Rice , Wild Rice, Bulgur (cracked wheat), Quinoa, Whole wheat couscous

Base Vegetable (optional but tasty and nutritious)

Roasted Sweet Potato or Roasted Cubes of Butternut Squash

Sauté Vegetables (choose four or more) (listed in general order you would add to sauté pan)

Sweet onion, Garlic, Carrots, Broccoli Florets, Cauliflower Florets

Celery, Fennel, Red Peppers, Green Peppers, Sugar Snap Peas, Chinese Pea Pods

Asparagus, Mushrooms, Bok Choy (sliced), Bean Sprouts

Steamed Edamame (baby soy beans), Sliced Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fresh Spinach leaves

Vegetable Protein (choose one) (canned, drained and rinsed)

Cannellini Beans, Black Beans, Tofu, Red Kidney Beans, Great Northern Beans

Animal Protein (totally optional, choose one)

Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp Scallops


Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth


Sea Salt/Freshly Ground Pepper/Herbs


Toasted Pine Nuts/Toasted Almonds, Shaved Parmesan Cheese/Crumbled Feta Cheese

Alternative: Oriental Stir Fry. Sauté onion in small amount of oil. Add and stir fry animal protein. Add selected vegetables in order. Add pineapple, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Toss with bottled Teriyaki stir fry sauce or bottled Thai peanut sauce. Serve over rice (or not).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tasty Salad

I got this guideline at Enrichment a few weeks ago (thanks Jenn!), and I LOVE this salad. The dressing is perfect! Here's all that I add (and it's approx 200 calories with the dressing): Spinach, Green Leaf Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Green beans (fresh; cut unto 1in. pieces), mandarin oranges (6-8 slices; broken up), almond slivers, broccoli (fresh; broken up to be really small), sauteed mushrooms, a couple small strips of sauteed chicken (sauteed in olive oil, Italian seasoning, & a little rosemary; I break up the chicken into little pieces when I make the salad), a handful of grape tomatoes.
Doesn't this look tempting??

The Awesome Everything Salad:

This salad can be a little bit different every day, but in order to really be satisfying it needs certain core ingredients. Every salad must have a vegetable base, with a source of proteins and fats, something sweet, and something crunchy. There is overlap in these categories, but I will give you some ideas of what you can throw in below

The Green Base (choose one or more)

Mix of dark leafy greens

Baby Spinach

Thinly chopped Kale

Any favorite lettuce

Green Interest (choose one or more)

Chopped celery

Scallions/Green onions

Parsley or cilantro, chopped


Vegetables (choose 3-4)

(part of crunchy category)



Green Peas

Butternut Squash (microwave)

Red/Yellow Peppers (Fresh or sautéed)

Asparagus (Sautéed)

Mushrooms (Sautéed)

Protein/Fat Source (choose 1-3)

Meat Strips

Marinated Tofu (Refrigerated produce section)

Nuts (cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans)

Fresh Avocado

Something Sweet

Fresh Blackberries, blueberries or strawberries

Canned mandarin oranges

Dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries


Other Additions

Kalamatta Olives (Can buy in quantity at Costco)

Goat cheese, Feta,

Back-to-Basics Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 C. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (we just threw in some Mrs. Butterworth's)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular... sea salt is just healthier)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 small clove garlic (optional)

4 tbsp walnut oil...... (I usually use olive oil). (we go with olive oil, I'm sure it's far cheaper)

Combine all ingredients except oil and puree. Continue blending while slowly adding oil...

Lava cakes

Yes... this is COMPLETELY bad for you... but it tastes ohhh so very good. Before you check out the recipe... I feel the duty to tell you it is 621 Calories for one of these babies! (don't say I didn't warn you). This is definitely something that I will make if we have friends over for dinner. The recipe makes 6 lava cakes. I went ahead and took 3 of them upstairs to our neighbors so I wouldn't feel tempted to munch them. They said they tasted gourmet, and I agree. I don't feel it had anything to do with my abilities.. so go ahead and give it a try if you want to do something special when you have friends over (or if you have a big family). We served them still warm as the recipe suggests. I may warm the last one up in the microwave to see if leftovers work, and I'll let you know how that panned out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Basic Vegetable Soup

This is a recipe that has evolved over the last couple of months. There is always a great flexibility in vegetable soups, so feel free to personalize this to the tastes of your family. My husband really likes carrots in soups, and likes a little less potato, so we've tailored this to his preferences.

8 cups water
2 Tbs chicken base
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 small or medium potatoes, chopped into bite size cubes
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 can green beans (can substitute 7 oz frozen, thawed)
1/2 can peas (can substitute 7 oz frozen, thawed)

In 5 qt stock pot, add 8 cups water and 2 Tbs chicken base.
Add vegetables in following order: carrots, celery, potatoes, and onion.
Cover with lid, and bring soup to boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
Add green beans and peas, and let cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve; salt and pepper to taste.

Yields appx. 10 cups.

Cook's notes: I tend to add the vegetables as I'm cutting them. For time purposes, the most important thing is to get the water heating first, then start the rest of your preparations.
I love using chicken base in my soups. I feel that with bouillion cubes you are always trying to do a balancing act with the salt. I purchase the chicken base from Sam's for about $3.50. Generally, you use 1 tsp for each cup of water that is used. This is such an inexpensive alternative to buying chicken broth! Especially since each container (remember... $3.50) will make about 76 cups of broth. I also appreciate that it is a paste rather than a powder. I don't particularly like the powders because they sometimes make the broth slightly granular.

Sour Milk?!??

So I know that I've mentioned using sour milk in some posts, and it probably doesn't sound good at all. Well, if you've ever had any of our homemade batter breads or anything batter based that calls for milk... then you've had it. When my husband and I were first married, he introduced me to this concept which I nearly dismissed upon hearing. I just couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that I wouldn't get some type of awful food poisoning from this. Hesitantly, I tried my first pancake... and it was actually tasty! Now we use it in pancakes & waffles, batter breads, and muffins. In all of these recipes you can use regular milk, buttermilk, yogurt, or sour milk. Of course with each you have a slightly different flavor, and to be honest, the sour milk hands down tastes best.
If there isn't much milk left that is going bad, typically I will transfer it to a quart jar so that it will not take up much space in the fridge (do be sure to label the jar so no one takes a swig of what's being cultured in the jar). If you leave it on the counter for a while, then it will sour faster. The longest I will typically leave it out at a time is about 6 hours. When you go to use your sour milk, if there are chunks (eww right ? :) then I will use an electric hand blender to break them up, otherwise you will get a burst of sour in your final baked good... which really doesn't taste good.
So... next time you notice that the milk taste is altering... go ahead and use it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Here is the double of the original recipe:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (we used wheat and it tasted so good!)
  • 2/3 cup wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats (I used just regular oats)
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (the original recipe would have you add more, just go with what your family likes on this one)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk (sour milk worked wonderfully too... if it's got clumps in the milk, make sure to break up the clumps with an electric blender first)
  • 2 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
  • 6 T. Maple syrup (a little over 1/3 C if you're not into measuring out syrup... yeah... that would be me!)
  • 2 T. canola oil, plus more for skillet

In a large bowl, stir flour, wheat germ, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add milk, mashed banana, maple syrup, and 2 T canola oil and whisk thoroughly.

Pour milk mixture over flour mixture and stir until combined.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease with canola oil. Pour ¼ cup (we do 1/3 cup) batter per pancake. Flip with spatula when tops bubble and edges look slightly dry. Cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Use a cookie cutter to press out pancakes in any shape your kids like.

Cook's notes: I LOVE to make pancakes in larger batches than what the original recipe would make. A lot of this has to do with saving time in the long run. Honestly, I hate to make pancakes and waffles because they take so long, and typically make a bit of a mess. BUT- when I do have time to make them... I'd rather have a lot leftover.
But what do I DO with the leftover?? The best thing to do is to freeze them so it's a quick fix on the mornings you're wanting pancakes, minus the effort.
This is what works best for us in our home: I place the pancakes that we will not be eating on cooling racks, since this prevents them from getting soggy and flattened. Once they have completely cooled (usually by the end of breakfast), I go ahead and lay them out in a gallon size freezer bag (typically 8 pancakes will fit comfortably in one bag; be sure to get as much air out as possible). I then go ahead and freeze these. So... when you want warm pancakes, just go ahead and thaw them in the microwave. For 2 pancakes, I usually do 30 seconds on high on each side (basically... you just want to make sure that they no longer feel frozen in the middle). Then toast them on your toaster's medium setting (just necessary to crisp it up a little).
This is such a great alternative to buying pancakes in the freezer section because A) it costs so much less! B)
it's much more filling and C) you know exactly what's going into your family's body.
Please take note that you can freeze and reheat waffles in the same way, you just may need to adjust the microwave times down a bit.

This recipe yields about 15 pancakes.

I got the original recipe from Healthy Food Ideas for Super Healthy Kids. If you haven't been to this site before, I think it's definitely worth checking out.
Comments (not to a specific recipe), questions, submissions?
Please send them to

Also, please feel free to send me the info about your favorite cookbooks.