Loafing Around

My family and I have been craving comfort food lately. Sunday evening I made this simple turkey meatloaf. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just threw together some ingredients and it turned out great!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground turkey (I like the organic one from Gelson’s)
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 1/4 ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 raw egg scambled
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup onion sautéed   
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (to brush on top of the loaf)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (to brush on top of the loaf)

Preparation 

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your ground turkey in a medium sized bowl. Add the rest of your ingredients into the bowl and mix until well combined. Spray a loaf pan with olive or canola oil spray and place your meat mixture in the pan. Pat the mixture down until it’s evenly distributed in the pan. Take the additional ketchup and dijon mustard and mix it together in a small dish. Paint the mixture onto the top of the loaf. Place your loaf in the oven and let it bake for about 50-55 minutes. Drain off any excess juice from the loaf that might accumulate throughout cooking. I check mine half way through cooking to drain and then again at the end. 

 

 

Simple Fried Rice

I took my traditional fried rice recipe and switched it out for cauliflower rice for something different. Recipe below works for either white rice or cauliflower rice. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cup peas (or any veggies you would like)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cauliflower rice or 4 cups of white rice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

Preparation 

Heat your pan to medium heat, then add one tablespoon of oil to your skillet. Stir-fry your garlic and ginger until fragrant. Next, add your onions and stir-fry until clear. Add your vegetables and continue to stir-fry until tender crisp. Next, add your cauliflower rice and continue to stir-fry for 2-3 mins. Then add your soy sauce and sesame oil and stir-fry all together. Form a small hole in the middle of the pan and add your egg. Stir-fry the egg and the rest of the ingredients together until the cauliflower is cooked. Be sure not to overcook the cauliflower, you want it to have a tiny bit of crunch (not too soft or else it will get watery). 

 

 

Hot Potato

The other night I grilled sweet potatoes for the first time and they were so good! They were part of  the kids kitchen takeover. They made Cafe Gratitude inspired I am Mucho bowls. The bowls consisted of cilantro rice, cuban beans, grilled portobello mushrooms, sautéed kale, guacamole, creamy salsa, and grilled sweet potatoes. 

Music is a must for me in the kitchen. Thought you might enjoy a link to my most recent playlist. Julesee Spotify playlist

Ingredients 

  • sweet potatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • cilantro 

 Let your grill heat to medium heat. While the grill is heating up cut your potatoes on a diagonal about a 1/4 inch-thick pieces. Coat the sweet potato slices with olive oil.  Once the grill is hot lay the sweet potato pieces down onto the grill grates. Cover the grill and cook until each side gets some grill marks (and the potatoes begin to soften), between 3-6 minutes for each side, depending on how hot your grill is. Once your sweet potatoes are done drizzle with olive, salt & pepper, and sprinkle with cilantro. You can also sprinkle with cumin for a little extra flavor.

 

Classic Meatballs

Sunday evening I pulled a lasagne I had made out of the freezer and made my classic meatballs to go along with it. Everyone loved it so I thought I would share the recipe with  you.

Classic Meatballs 

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese or full fat greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups classic tomato sauce

Add ground beef, ricotta, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes into a large mixing bowl.  Mix the ingredients together with your hands until everything is well incorporated. 

Roll the mixture into round meatballs about 2 inches, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Heat a pan with oil to medium high heat. Place your meatballs in the pan to brown. Make sure you rotate them so they brown evenly. Be careful to not overcook, and be gentle with turning the meatballs so they don’t break. Heat your sauce in a separate sauce pan. Once your meatballs are browned, put them in the pan with the sauce and continue to heat on medium low until the meatballs are cooked through. 

Wetzel Pretzel

Last Friday afternoon the girls and I made pretzel bread challah together. It’s a fun activity for both adults and kids. 

PRETZEL BREAD

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups bread flour (you can also do half whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • 4 quarts water
  • ½ cup baking soda

Add yeast, water and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes. Put dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add oil and yeast, water, and sugar combo and mix (use your dough hook attachment). Add more flour if needed. Knead well. Dough should be slightly tacky, but firm. Oil a bowl, and place the dough ball in the bowl and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, knead the dough by hand until the dough is elastic and satiny. Place dough back in the bowl for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda (if you don’t add it slowly it will overflow).

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently degas it. Form the dough into a challah or any shape you want. Drop the challah into the boiling soda water, and let sit for 30 seconds, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or silpat. Brush with oil or melted butter, sprinkle with kosher salt and bake. Bake the bread for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.

 

 

Rice Wrap

Vietnamese Rice Wraps

Ingredients 

  • 1 package rice wrap paper (I like the 9 inch size easier to work with) 
  • 1 package rice noodles cooked and drained 
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint (you can add basil too if you have)
  • 2-3 cups of shredded cabbage slaw mix
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 block of firm tofu drained and cut into strips about 1/2 inch thick *you can use any protein you like.

Once the noodles are drained I add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and sesame oil to the noodles to add extra flavor. 

Directions

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place tofu, rice noodle, mint, slaw mix, and peanuts leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper to form a roll. 

I switch between a peanut dipping sauce and a simple soy dipping sauce (3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, and 1 tsp chili paste) depending on how much time I have.

Peanut Dipping Sauce 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or canola whatever you have)
  • 1 tablespoon thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon lime
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce 

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add curry paste, sugar, and garlic. Cook stirring constantly until fragrant about 1 min. Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in peanuts, lime juice, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Cool to room temperature. 

 

Kitchen Chronicles

img_9813

Since many of us are cooking a lot more then we once were I compiled a list of my must-have kitchen essentials. 

  1. Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker Amazon, $169.95. This is a good size for a family of 4. A lot of people are intimidated by the pressure cooker but once you learn how to use it it’s so easy. Dinner is ready in 20 mins!
  2. Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven Williams Sonoma, $150-$400. I have several sizes of the dutch oven. I also use the braiser and roaster (above pic) pans a lot. 
  3. All Clad 10 Piece Set Williams Sonoma, $699.95. I’ve had these pots and pans since I got married you only need to buy them once.
  4. Hamilton Slow Cooker Target, $69.99. This is a simple slow cooker with easy to use settings nothing fancy. For a more sophisticated one All Clad Gourmet Slow Cooker Williams Sonoma, $249.
  5. Magic Linen Japanese Crossback Apron Verishop, $47 & Classic Linen Apron Verishop, $36. I don’t cook without an apron on I hate to ruin my clothes.
  6. Bron Coucke Stainless Steel Mandoline Amazon, $129. I have the stainless steel french one but the plastic ones work just as well. Benriner Madoline Williams Sonoma, $59 Cute color!
  7. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender Williams Somona, $349. This is the most used appliance by the kids. 
  8. Year & Day dishes Verishop. Made in Portugal beautiful quality for the price and 25% off now. 
  9. Pink Cuisinart Mini Prep Amazon, $32.99. The pink color way is supporting Breast Cancer Research.
  10. Tortilla Molds Amazon, $11.99. Tostada Tuesday is big at our house and it’s fun to make your own shells.
  11. Microplane Grader Amazon, $11.00.
  12. Open Kitchen Lemon & Lime Squeezer Williams Sonoma, $18

Brownie Bomb

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.” Viktor Frankl

I like connecting with friends and learning what rituals people have adapted to make their time at home more enjoyable. What is your ritual? For me it’s having tea in the morning with my husband (english in the early am and green in the late am), long walks listening to a book, cooking, blogging, organizing, talking with my family and friends, evening pool time with the kids, and playing Words with Friends. Whatever it may be we are all having mixed emotions about what’s going on in the world and doing our best to make the most of the situation. 

Now onto these amazing healthy no bake brownies that my daughter created the other day. It’s a fun project to do with the kids. 

No Bake Brownie Cookies

For the Cookies

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks or chips

For the Glaze

  • 1/4 dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • flakey salt to taste (for sprinkling on top of the cookies)

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the food processor or blender, grind oats to a flour like consistency. Add salt, flax, and cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add the almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup mix to combine. Lastly, add chocolate and pulse to combine. The batter should resemble a textured cookie like batter consistency. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough and form into cookie shapes by rolling into balls and lightly pressing them down (see above picture). Chill in the freezer while you make the glaze. Combine glaze chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl and melt until smooth. Take your cookies out of the freezer and dip each cookie halfway into the glaze, sprinkle with flaky salt, and set it on the cookie tray to dry. Put the cookies in the freezer to set for 1 hour. 

Enjoy!

Simple Slaw

Sunday night I made Ga Nuong chicken (see Banh Mi post for chicken marinade), asian slaw, and udon noodles. It was a really simple dinner that everyone loved. Below is my asian slaw recipe. 

Ingredients

  • Purple or green cabbage thinly sliced 6 cups
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 3 pealed and thinly sliced carrots 
  • 1/3 cup cilantro

Dressing 

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or substitute another oil if you don’t have)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar  (I don’t love a sweet dressing so I leave it out)
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Combine cabbage, kale, carrots, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together all your dressing ingredients. Simply add the dressing to your slaw and toss to coat. 

For a simple no fuss asian noodle dish just boil your udon (or any noodle you have in the pantry) noodles and drain. Then add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

 

 

 

Home Sweet Home

IMG_2220

Staying at home this past week has made me appreciate cooking even more, and sitting down and having a meal together as a family. I’ve enjoyed setting the table with nice plates (Year & Day is 25% off at Verishop also check out this), placemats, napkins, napkin rings, and simple flowers from the yard.

To keep busy we have been playing backgammon, making friendship bracelets, and I just ordered a tie-dye kit for the girls (tanktee, & sweatshirt for tie-dying).

Chicken Marsala Recipe

This is one of my classic recipes that I have been making for years. It’s simple, healthy, and delicious. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless pounded chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup white wine (doesn’t have to be marsala)
  • 1/2 cup veggie or chicken broth 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 

Preparation 

If your chicken is not already pounded place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to about 1/2 inch thick. Spinkle both sides evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, turning to coat, and shake off excess flour. 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken cooking until it’s golden brown and then flipping to brown the other side. Remove chicken from the pan. Add mushrooms, wine, broth, and lemon juice to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins until the mixture is reduced to about 2/3 cup. Return chicken to the pan, turning well to coat and cook for an additional 5 mins. Sprinkle with parley and ready to serve. 

Pan in the above picture is the Le Creuset braiser.

 

Caesar is a Crowd Pleaser

This simple eggless Caesar Salad recipe is a crowd pleaser! 

Caesar Salad Dressing 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1 small garlic glove
  • a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 white wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil 

Combine the first 6 ingredients into your Cuisinart and blend until smooth. Once that’s done slowly add your 1/4 cup olive oil and then the remaining oil. Continue to blend until it’s smooth and emulsified like the above picture. 

I use any leftover french bread or sourdough bread for the croutons. Cut into small size cubes and spread them out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and bake them in the oven at 325 Fahrenheit until firm and golden brown. 

Chop up your romance lettuce, add your croutons, and dress your salad! 

 

Chili Tonight

fullsizerenderI have been making this slower cooker chili for 18 years it’s based on the Wendy’s recipe (I’ve tweaked a couple of things). It’s so good and easy! It makes a lot so you will have leftovers. A nice way to switch up the leftovers is to serve it over pasta. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans (with juice)
  • 1 can pinto beans (with juice)
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup celery chopped
  • 1 1/2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • a dash of your favorite hot sauce to add some spice

Brown your meat in the skillet. Place your meat in the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low. 

Serve with shredded mexican cheese and your favorite tortilla chip. 

If you don’t have a slow cooker All Clad makes a nice one. All-Clad Slow Cooker Amazon, $179.

 

Sweet Treat

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Recipe created by Baked with Love By Ivy

Peanut Butter Layer:
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp maple syrup
4 soaked dates (soak them in a hot water for 15-20 minutes)
2 tbsp coconut full fat coconut milk (from the can)
Pinch salt
Chocolate Layer:
6 tbsp full fat coconut milk (from the can)
1/2 cup dark chocolate
2 tbsp shredded coconut (optional but we like the added texture)
2 tbsp cacao nibs (also optional but again nice texture)
Pinch salt
Topping:
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil
Flaky salt to taste (to sprinkle on top)
Directions:
Grease a standard sized loaf pan with coconut oil. Then, line it with parchment paper leaving the sides long so you are able to pull the bars out of the pan when they are finished. You can use a clothespin on each side of the pan to secure the parchment like we did in the picture. In a food processor, grind up oats until they reach a flour like consistency. Add the rest of the peanut butter layer ingredients and blend until smooth. Press the mixture to the bottom of your lined loaf pan and put in freezer to chill while you make your next layer. For the next layer, heat the coconut milk in a medium sized bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds. While the coconut milk is heating, chop your dark chocolate. Add the dark chocolate to the heated coconut milk and stir until smooth and fully combined. You can always pop it back in the microwave for a few seconds at a time if it is not melted all the way. Stir in the coconut and salt. Pour this layer on top of your peanut butter layer, then sprinkle cacao nibs on top. Let it set in the freezer for 30 minutes. To make the last layer, combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl and heat in the microwave until fully melted. Pour this layer on top of your other two layers. Top with your desired amount of flaky salt. Let the bars set in the freezer for 4-5 hours or overnight. After they are done setting it the freezer, use the parchment on the sides of the pan to release the bars from the loaf pan. Cut into 8 bars. Enjoy!
Notes:
*In the picture we used a half sized loaf pan, so we simply cut the recipe in half. This recipe will make enough for 8 bars and is made perfectly in a standard sized loaf pan.
*Extras can be stored in the freezer.

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs thinly pounded chicken breasts
  • 1 box woven wheat crackers or Triscuits (panko breadcrumbs also work)
  • Fresh basil or italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan 
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil 

Take your woven wheat crackers, parmesan, fresh herbs, salt & pepper, and blend it in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you are using panko you can skip this step. Pour your bread crumb mixture into a rectangular baking dish. Take your thinly pounded chicken and place it in a bowl. Drizzle it with olive oil until it’s fully coated. Line a baking sheet with brown parchment paper. Take your chicken and dust it with your breadcrumbs until it’s fully covered. Then place it on the baking sheet with parchment. Once all your chicken is breaded place it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s looking golden brown flip each piece of chicken. When it’s completely cooked, add a little bit of tomato sauce to each piece and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Let it cook for a little longer until the cheese is melted and bubbled. 

Vegetarian option substitute cauliflower steak for the chicken. I usually make both since one of my daughters is a vegetarian. 

Snack Attack

Over the weekend I threw together an easy appetizer that everyone loved and would work well for lunches or group snacks. I bought these cute to go containers on Amazon. I made a greek yogurt dip with good seasoning spices and scooped the dip into 2 oz. containers with lids. The 2 oz containers fit perfectly into the bottom of these containers. The veggies are put on top of the dip container and your healthy snack is done!