Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Petite Blueberry Oatmeal Scones

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Wow!  Can you believe it’s Secret Recipe Club time again?  I have no idea where time is going but it’s suddenly Spring and Easter is just around the corner.

This month, I was assigned Mangia!, the blog that the beautiful Chelsy calls home.  Even though our cooking styles are different in many ways, she also believes that cooking=love.  Because her younger sister has Celiac’s, Chelsy herself cooks mostly gluten-free which is a huge testament, I think, to her love for her family.

Since yesterday was the first day of Spring, I made my big celebratory dinner last night (as opposed to on Easter).  I found a sodium-nitrate free ham at Whole Foods and not just a little ham nugget!  I brought home a 12lb bone-in picnic ham.  Growing up, ham was always a favorite dinner of mine, so when I went away to college, Mom would always make a ham dinner for me when I’d come home to visit.  When I discovered that sodium-nitrite was a migraine trigger for me, it made me REALLY sad because that meant no more ham.

I also knew I wanted to make something to go with my Spring meal that incorporated blueberries and I knew Chelsy would have something for me on her blog.  I was right!  These Petite Blueberry Oatmeal Scones were a perfect accompaniment.

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The main different between mine and hers was the fact that I used all-purpose flour instead of almond flour.  I had to use a little water to get the dough to stick together as well but that’s probably the result of the flour switch.  Mine also did not turn out a nice looking but I think I’ve proved time and time again that I’m good at ugly but delicious.  🙂

Since there are leftovers of these scones and since I have A LOT of ham leftover, I want to toast these and smear them with a bit a butter and honey before sandwiching some ham inside for breakfast.

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Petite Blueberry Oatmeal Scones
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Makes: 8 scones
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 c fresh blueberries (I used frozen that had been thawed)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and honey.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the blueberries.
  6. Using your hands, pat the dough into a large round ball. If it's too crumbly, stir in water, 1 Tbsp at a time until it comes together.
  7. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough, flatten the dough by pressing down on top of the dough with your hands. You want the dough to be about 1½ inches thick.
  8. Use a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 triangle shaped pieces.
  9. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Notes
Adapted slightly from Mangia!

 

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Snickerdoodle Apple Bread

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Happy Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last month… I’m sorry about that.  There will be a future post about all that has been going on but that will be later because I need to tell you more about my assignment for this month!

I was assigned Amy’s blog, The Savvy Kitchen.  She is a beautiful lady with an adorable family and I really enjoyed her site!  Sure, she specializes in low-carb, low-calorie and gluten-free recipes which is a far cry from what I do here but I have a lot of new recipes I want to try.  For instance, cook-free pizza sauce!  What a fabulous idea!  And her Brussels Sprouts Gratin sounds absolutely divine.

Because it’s been cold lately, though, I decided to choose one of her many quick bread recipes and made the Snickerdoodle Apple Bread.  Snickerdoodles were one of the first things we made in Home Ec in Junior high so they hold a special place in my heart.  Of course, I had been cooking and baking for a few years before that but it was still cool to get to cook at school. 🙂

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Mr. O agreed: this bread tastes just like snickerdoodles!  I diced the apples pretty fine so you didn’t get huge pieces of apple but more of a subtle under-flavor that really seems to work and helps keep the bread nice and moist.  This is also one of the rare recipes where I did not change a thing!

(*shock*)

(*awe)

I know!  Sometimes perfection doesn’t need to be altered. 🙂

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This is definitely best enjoyed warm but even at the cooled off room temp, it is still really enjoyable and will likely be a common visitor in the apartment. 🙂

Snickerdoodle Apple Bread
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Makes: 12 slices
 
Ingredients
Snickerdoodle Bread
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ c flour
  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • ¼ c granulated sugar
  • ½ Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ½ c milk
  • 1 baking apple, peeled and finely chopped (I used Granny Smith)
Cinnamon sugar topping
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray. Line bottoms and up the ends with a strip of parchment paper (for easy removal) and spray again. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together salt, baking powder and flour. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter, both sugars and cinnamon for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides as necessary. Add in both eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth, again scraping sides as necessary.
  4. Turn mixer to low and add in flour mixture and milk in alternating additions, starting and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.
  5. Finally add in apples and stir until just combined and pour batter into prepared pan. Spread with a spatula to evenly distribute the batter in the pan.
  6. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle on top of batter.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes until bread is set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
Recipe minimally adapted from The Savvy Kitchen

 

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Strawberry Jam Cinnamon Muffins

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Happy Secret Recipe Day!

For January, I was assigned Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits, which made me happy because her blog seems to have a little of everything so it was really just trying to figure out what type of thing I wanted to make and then choosing from there.  Because she has so many baked goods, I decided I need to go that route for a change around here so ultimately ended up choosing her Raspberry Jam Cinnamon Muffins.

I made a good choice!

I didn’t have raspberry jam, though, so used strawberry which paired really well with the cinnamon in the batter.  The jam I used was a little thin, though, so when these baked, I had a lot of baked-on jam-juice on top of the muffin tin.  That just meant I had to loosen the muffins with a knife first.

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I can definitely see making these with different kinds of filling as the batter seems to be pretty versatile.  I have apricot and blueberry unopened in the pantry so there are 2 more choices right off the bat!

Oh!  And she covered my blog last year as part of the Secret Recipe Club!  🙂  (even though she got my name wrong LOL)   I will certainly be visiting her blog and making more of her recipes  because there are SO MANY good things there!

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Strawberry Jam Cinnamon Muffins
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Makes: 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • ¼ c butter, melted
  • 1½ c all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Spray a 12-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter and ½ cup sugar until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and salt.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture and stir gently just until combined. The batter will be thick and lumpy.
  5. Divide ⅔ of the batter between the 12 muffin cups, putting about 1 Tbsp of batter into each.
  6. Scoop 2 tsp of jam into the center of each muffin cup. If your jam is thinner, you may want to reduce it to 1 - 1½ tsp.
  7. Divide the remaining ⅓ of the batter equally on top of the jam. Use your fingers to gently spread the batter over the jam, making sure as much jam as possible is covered.
  8. In a small bowl, mix together the 1 Tbsp sugar and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the muffins.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Let muffins rest for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the muffin cups. Invert the tin over a baking rack to release the muffins.
  11. Let cool for a few minutes before eating warm.
  12. If eating these later, let them cool completely before storing in an air tight container.
Notes
Adapted very slightly from Our Eating Habits

 

Lazy kittens enjoying some sunlight 🙂

caturday

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Banana Blondies

banana-blondies-titleIf you love bananas and all banana related food, these bars are for you!  There is no mistaking the main ingredient in this deliciously moist baked treat.


 

Happy Secret Recipe reveal day!

This month, I was assigned the Sara’s delectable blog Cook with Sara.  She is definitely more of a baker than I am but she also had so many delicious recipes that would have been great for dinner time as well.  She even had a huge pork section which just made my bacon-weaved heart happy.

I seriously considered making her Honey-Garlic Pork Chops, Sesame Pork Tenderloin, or a version of her Sweet ‘n’ Sour Polish Sausage but I’ve been in the mood to bake so I had to go through her many, many delicious baked good recipes.

The winner?  Banana Blondies!

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I really, really had a hard time deciding so I gave myself the extra challenge of choosing something that used ingredients that I already had on hand.  I ultimately whittled it down to this one and Strawberry Banana Bread.  I literally flipped a coin to narrow it down from there.

I definite won!

Now, I will fully admit that I added extra banana to mine.  After thawing and mashing my bananas, I had a scant full cup.  I decided to just add them all in which, of course, added a lot of time to the baking time but it was worth it.

SO worth it.

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Mr. O is not a fan of things overly banana so I got to enjoy most of these all by myself.  I was nice, though, and brought one to work for Ms. B who sits in the cube directly across from me because her love of banana surpasses even mine.

But I only brought her one. 😉

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Blondies
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Makes: 9 - 12 bars
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ - 1 c mashed bananas, about 2-3
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ c all-purpose flour
  • ½ c white-wheat flour
  • Optional: ½ c chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray an 8" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and melted butter until well combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla and stir until smooth the stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the salt and flours until just combined. If using the nuts, fold them in now as well. Batter should still be lumpy.
  3. Pour the batter in the baking pan and spread to the corners until it is even. Bake for 20-25 minutes (30-35 minutes if using more banana) or until golden brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Notes
Adapted slightly from Cook with Sara

 

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Chicken Ranch Lasagna

chicken-ranch-lasagna-titleShredded chicken, a white cheese sauce with ranch seasonings, and lots of veggies?  Oh, yes, please!


 

Mr. O was nice and is helping me out a bit again this week.  I got the idea for this while trying to put together a meal using as much as possible from the pantry and freezer.  All I had to buy was milk and mushrooms.  Yay for creative-thinking! 🙂

 


 

Hey, all!  Mr. Onion-Hater here!

Everyone has a favorite meal from their childhood. I mean I don’t care if we’re talking about Grilled Cheese, or maybe Mom’s Pot Roast (even if it’s as tough as an old leather boot), or even Mac and Cheese from the box! We all have meals that just make us kids again when we think about them and especially when we eat them!

Mine is lasagna. No question. My mom made a killer lasagna. It was a family staple. Hell, it was such a huge part of growing up that the first thing my sister ever learned to cook on her own was lasagna since she considered herself to be part Garfield!

This lasagna that Sashi came up with. . . isn’t your mother’s lasagna.

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The basic concept is the same, sure. We have pasta, cheese, a sauce, and it’s baked. But that’s about where the similarities end.

This lasagna has layers of shredded chicken with mushrooms and broccoli. Not something that my Midwestern household would have ever considered even on our most adventurous days! But then the traditional red sauce, marinara if you like, is completely turned on it’s ear and replaced with a white cheese and cream sauce with ranch seasonings.

But never fear the cheese is still here! In this lasagna we have some homemade ricotta and a generous portion of mozzarella. I mean you HAVE to have the brown bits of cheese to fight over and with right? Otherwise what’s the point of having lasagna?!

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Truth be told though the plan was to have bacon in this as well. Big surprise huh? It would be best browned to a crisp and crumbled on the top prior to baking. But the bacon gods decided that this was more than good enough without. . . because we didn’t have any in the house. And, if I’m being honest here, this was a fabulous dish that was both reminiscent of my childhood favorite while, at the same time, still pleasing my more grown up palate.

 

Chicken Ranch Lasagna
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Makes: 8-12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 3 c milk (I used whole)
  • 2 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 16 oz mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ c fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 lb cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 12 - 16 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 c ricotta cheese (I made my own)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a deep 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. When boiling, add the noodles and cook for the minimum time on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Meanwhile, place large 12" nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking until smooth and golden. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Let cook until it starts to bubble. Stir in the garlic, parsley, garlic powder, salt, dill and chives. Continue heating until bubbly and starting to thicken, 5 min or so. Turn off the heat and . Stir in ¾ of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the chicken.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, tomatoes and mushroom with a large pinch of salt.
  5. Add about 1 cup of just the sauce (a few chicken pieces are okay) into the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 4 of the noodles over the sauce in the pan, overlapping as needed to fit.Top with ½ of the remaining sauce, ½ of the vegetable mixture and ½ of the ricotta. Repeat with 4 more noodles, the rest of the sauce, the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the ricotta. Top with the remaining 4 noodles and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ of the mozzarella.
  6. Bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

20 Easy Holiday Sides

Just 3 weeks until Thanksgiving!  Are you excited?  I’m excited.  I’m so excited that my menu has been finalized for well over a week, my shopping lists are done, and a few things have even been purchased already.  I’ve even made my chicken stock/broth and it’s in the freezer, ready to go.

I’ve been told that I don’t approach my holiday meal the same other people do and have even been called “anal” in how I organize my meal planning.  I’m okay with that, though.  I’d rather plan things out ahead of time and be less stressed the day of.  I’m a frazzled cook so the easier I can make it on myself, the better!

This year, it’s a little harder, though.  I’ve been in a funk lately which is why there hasn’t been that much activity.  Some days, the thought of cooking after work just makes me want to cry which is especially sad because I *love* cooking.  Mr. O has been a HUGE help, though, and is happy to be allowed in the kitchen more often.

With Thanksgiving approaching, though, it’s forcing me to think more about the things I am thankful for rather than the stresses that are eating away at me.  And planning my T-Day meal is helping with that!

Below are some of my favorite recipes that I think would good additions to a holiday feast, whether it be this one or the ones that will follow over the next couple of months.  I’m going to put a star (*) next to the ones that I am actually making for Thanksgiving myself.

In the Atlanta area and wanna come over for dinner?  Just let me know. 🙂  I’m serious!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese *

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Jalapeño Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

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Simple Mashed Potatoes * (just the potatoes from this post)

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Smashed Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

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Vegetable Rice Pilaf

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Apple Cider Braised Cabbage

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Cheesy Baked Broccoli and Cauliflower

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Cheesy Corn & Red Peppers

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Crispy Baked Mushrooms

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Crunchy Baked Green Beans

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Crunchy Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

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Gingered Peas & Carrots

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Ginger-glazed Carrots

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Italian Zucchini & Tomatoes

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Pan-seared Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Mushrooms *

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Roasted Broccoli *

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Rustic Mushroom Tart

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Broccoli Salad

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Sweet Pea Salad

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Vegetable & Couscous Salad with Lemon-Lime Dressing

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Bonus #1

Here are the desserts I am making for Turkey Day 🙂

Apple Cake

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and, of course,

Bacon Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Bonus #2

We had a costume contest at work for Halloween and I got 2nd place as

The Evil-Fairy-Step-Queen 🙂

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I look dorky (dorkier?) when I try to look evil and mean 🙂

 

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