Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuscan Style Turkey Breast

I have never made a turkey before and thought it might be a good idea to try cooking a turkey breast first to see how I did. I know it's not too different than a chicken...just a longer cooking time. I found a great recipe to make a turkey breast in the slow cooker. Score! Throw a few ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on and let it go.

This was the most moist turkey I've had in a long time...no need for gravy! The flavors of lemon and rosemary were subtle, but added a nice flavor. We had half of it one night for dinner and then I made a delicious soup with the leftovers. I'll be sharing the recipe later this week.

1 large turkey breast, bone-in
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1 medium onion, quartered
2 lemons, cut in half
3 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried thyme
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In the bottom of a large slow cooker, add the garlic, 3 lemon halves and onions. Place the turkey breast on top and add the sprigs of rosemary instead the cavity of the turkey.

Sprinkle the salt, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika over the top of the turkey. Slowly spoon the olive oil and squeeze the remaining lemon over the spiced turkey. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours until completely cooked through.

Remove from the slow cooker and allow to cool before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Source: Innocent Delight 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lentil Beef Stew

How is this week Thanksgiving already? Where did November go? I thought things would slow down since Madeline's cheer season ended earlier this month, but somehow we just filled the rest of the month with other things to do. Granted, I do enjoy having my Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings free...I'm missing hanging out and chatting with the other cheer moms.

I haven't made beef stew in so long and with the cold snap we had last week, I knew it was time to find a new recipe. This was a super simple recipe and made just enough for dinner and one extra serving for leftovers the next day. I loved the addition of lentils, something different than traditional beef stew.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb beef cubes
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, cut into large, 1" chunks
1 cup mushrooms, quarters
1 cup lentils
1 Tbsp honey
fresh ground pepper

Season beef cubes with salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch Oven. Add the beef cubes and allow to brown on all sides.

Add the red wine and water to the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add the chopped vegetables and lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the stew to simmer on low for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is fork tender and the lentils are fully cooked. Serve with crusty bread or a green salad. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wild Rice Butternut Squash Salad

Are you planning your menu for Thanksgiving? It looks like I'm hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, so I'm excited to try a few new recipes in addition to our family favorites. This is one of the dishes I'm planning to make. It's refreshing and the flavors scream fall. Both my husband and I loved it, the kids weren't sold on it, but I'm going to make it anyway.

Do you experiment with new dishes for holidays or stick with your family favorites? Share your Thanksgiving sides with me! I'm always looking for new ideas.

2 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped butternut squash
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced kale, lightly massaged
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 cups cooked wild rice, warm

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the cubed butternut squash with the olive oil and spread over a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 25 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients together and mix with an immersion blender.

In a bowl, combine the kale, cranberries and basil. Toss in the warm rice and roasted squash to slightly wilt the kale. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. This salad should be served at room temperature.

Source: Heart Beet Kitchen 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

I'm always looking for different recipes to make for breakfast, especially ones my daughter will eat before school. She loves her carbs and is always hungry, so anytime I can add in a little protein to her breakfast, I know she'll be good. Plus, she's not a milk drinker anymore, so these little jars of overnight oats give a good amount of calcium each morning. She has become pickier over the last couple of months....I wonder if taste buds really do change as we age? 

I had some leftover pureed pumpkin and thought it would great to make a pumpkin pie flavored overnight oats. It was so good!! I topped mine with some chopped walnuts and loved the bit of crunch they added. I'll definitely be making these again this week. 

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
2-3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
splash of vanilla extract
splash of pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a mason jar, mix together all the ingredients, Refrigerate overnight. Top with your favorite nuts and enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Almond Crusted Chicken Bites - The Secret Recipe Club

It's time for my reveal for this month's Secret Recipe Club! This month, I was assigned Sid's Sea Palm Cooking. I was Sid's assignment a couple months ago (she made my recipe for crispy edamame) and was impressed with how many dinner parties she throws! I would love to drop in for one of her tapas nights! I was inspired by tapas and chose her recipe for Almond Chicken Fingers. I cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces instead of strips, and made them more kid-friendly. Both my kids gobbled them up...after dipping them in honey-mustard.

I have to apologize for my picture..darn daylight savings time!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. 

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, bread crumbs, paprika, and salt. Dip the chicken pieces into the melted butter and then coat with the dry mixture. Place on the rack and continue until all pieces have been coated. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles #FilltheCookieJar

It's the first Thursday of November and that means time to Fill the Cookie Jar! Where did October go? I can't believe we're already six days into November and the holidays are right around the corner. This month's theme was Thanksgiving and I really struggled finding a recipe to make. I was originally thinking about something with cranberries, but after asking my husband for suggestions, he wanted something with pumpkin.

I found an easy recipe to make pumpkin snickerdoodles. OMG...they're amazing. I'm trying to resist eating the rest of the container as I type this up. They're what you love about snickerdoodles - soft and full of cinnamon - but with a twist of pumpkin thrown in there. 

2 3/4 cup whole wheat white flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Mix in the egg at medium speed and then the pumpkin puree. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until the cookie batter comes together. 

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. Using a small scoop, roll 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and continue until all the dough has been rolled into balls. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies start to lightly brown but still look puffy. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall for Greek with Debbie Matenopoulos: Cookbook Review & Giveaway

 I was asked to participate in a blog tour of Debbie Matenopoulos' new cookbook, It's All Greek to Me, and let me tell you, this cookbook is a winner! Plus you have a chance to win a copy for yourself at the end of this post!

Greek food is a little greek to me. Yes I know about gyros, though always pronounced it wrong and was taught to say it correctly by an owner of a Greek restaurant in Detroit while I was traveling a few years ago.

This cookbook is a great introduction for me to all the different types of food and the meanings behind them. Debbie shares more than 120 of her family's recipes, with a little twist to make them healthier and easier to prepare. I love how much family tradition went into this book; it's one of the reasons why I started my blog. Debbie says that her "favorite part about putting this cookbook together was gathering all of the recipes from my family and translating them into English. There is so much history in these recipes. It was very nostalgic.  My mother  gave me my grandmother’s hand written recipe books that were written in Greek along with her own. There were pages that were coming out that were obviously worn by the years of being referenced time and time again. I felt as if I was holding our most valuable family heirlooms in my hands. I feel very honored that my entire family was willing to share their treasured recipes with me and allow me to share them with the world."

After going through the cookbook, I chose the recipe for Kolokithopites (aka zucchini fritters). I have bags and bags of frozen, shredded zucchini waiting to be use and this was a great way to use it! I had to make a substitution when I made my fritters because I couldn't find brine-packed feta. The fritters turned out great and my husband I both loved them. One warning..be care when you're frying them. I had one stick and when I flipped it, some oil splashed up and hit my forehead...I'm ok!

3 pounds medium zucchini, washed and stemmed
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 ounces brine-packed Greek feta (about 1 1/2 cups), crumbled small
2 tablespoons finely grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Olive or vegetable oil for frying
1 recipe Tzatziki (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Cut the zucchini in half down the center into half cylinders. With a small teaspoon or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out the zucchini skins by scooping out all the pulp, leaving about 1/8 inch of zucchini intact next to the skin. Leave the bottoms intact so that you are left with a “zucchini cup” that can be stuffed later.

Take care not to crack or puncture the skins. Cover the zucchini skins and reserve in the refrigerator to make Kolokithakia Gemista me Kima. Transfer the pulp to the bowl of a food processor or high-performance blender and pulse a few times to chop finely. Place the finely chopped zucchini pulp into a colander and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

Cover the zucchini with a plate and put a weight on top (such as a large can of tomatoes). Drain for 10 minutes, briefly rinse, then squeeze as much moisture as possible from the pulp with impeccably clean hands.

Whisk the flour, eggs, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until
smooth. Gently fold the drained zucchini pulp into the flour mixture along with the feta and kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (if using). Stir until the mixture resembles a thick batter.

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch of the oil until it shimmers. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, scoop out heaping tablespoons of
the batter and carefully drop into the oil. The fritters will naturally flatten out. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown, flipping them over carefully, just as you would a pancake. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a large, oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Keep fritters warm in the preheated oven as you continue to fry the remaining fritters in batches. Serve plain or with Tzatziki.

Now here's your chance to win your own copy of Debbie's cookbook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway