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July 31, 2011

Everyday Food Feta-Stuffed BLT Burgers

In the summer my family eats their fair share of burgers. I try to prepare burgers made with a variety of different meats and flavors so my family doesn't get bored. I have found a number of turkey burger recipes that we enjoy, but I have had a harder time finding a stuffed cheese beef burger that lives up to expectations. The burger either ends up greasy or the cheese is overwhelming. The June issue of Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for Feta-Stuffed BLT Burgers, which looked interesting and different from the usual stuffed burger recipe.

This recipe has eight ingredients and takes approximately 35 minutes to prepare. For the beef, I used chuck roast and ground it using my mixer attachment. I left off the tomato portion of the BLT, since my husband isn't a fan of fresh raw tomatoes, so I actually made a bl not a BLT. I had no problem finding any of the ingredients and used Boston lettuce, which is what was available. Instead of pan frying my burgers, I used my indoor grill in order that all the burgers would be finished at the same time, my two boys can be very impatient dinner guests. I served the burgers with buttermilk mashed potatoes and squash gratin using fresh vegetables from a friend's garden.

My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe. Unlike previous stuffed burger recipes that I have tried, the cheese on this dish was not overpowering or greasy. The feta provided a nice contrast to the beef and my two boys got a kick out of the Boston lettuce, which they thought looked like 'baby lettuce'. This is a great alternative to overly greasy stuffed cheddar cheese burgers, and a nice change of pace from the usual BLT.

For the recipe go to Everyday Food Feta-Stuffed BLT Burgers .


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July 30, 2011

Bon Appetit Onion Frittata

My oldest son was picky about eating eggs for the last 3 years. All of a sudden in the last couple of months he has decided that scrambled eggs are his favorite food and requests them almost everyday. While, my husband and I like scrambled eggs, they aren't our favorite way of preparing eggs on a regular basis, so I have been looking for a compromise. The May issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Onion Frittata, which looked like an egg dish that my whole family would enjoy.

This recipe has 10 ingredients. I had to go to multiple stores in order to find fresh basil, sage and rosemary, however, the remainder of the ingredients were easy to find. I think it's another sign that I need to start my own herb garden next year. The prep for this recipe is very easy and the total prep and cooking time was approximately 25 minutes. I used vidalia onions for the sliced onions, since they are in season and a family favorite. I followed the recipe as stated and made no modifications. The one change that I did make to the original recipe was the cooking time, my fritata took closer to 15 minutes to fully set.

My five year old absolutely loved this recipe. He ate multiple servings for dinner and the leftovers the following day. My husband and I liked this recipe, but I felt that it needed more salt and pepper added to the seasoning. The fresh herbs provided a nice complexity, however, I actually think that the recipe could benefit from more flavor from additional onion or garlic. This is a very family friendly recipe and could easily be adapted for a variety of ingredients.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Onion Frittata.

July 29, 2011

Taste of Home Raspberry Onion Relish and Mango Cuke Relish

Growing up hotdogs were a summer food in our household and normally included ketchup and mustard. It wasn't until I moved to the state of West Virginia that I found out that hotdogs were a whole meal onto itself. People here can get very opinioned about the right hotdog stand and way to make the perfect hotdog. After eight years I am slowly accumulating to this new hotdog state and have come to appreciate a well made hotdog with 'slaw and sauce. Recently, the June/July issue of Taste of Home magazine had a recipe for Raspberry Onion Relish and Mango Cuke Relish, which I thought would be got accompaniments to brats and a new twist on my family's hotdog routine.

These two relishes are very easy to put together. The raspberry onion relish prep time is literally a couple of minutes. The mango cuke relish, takes about twenty minutes of prep due to the fruit and vegetables needing to be chopped. I had no problem finding any of the ingredients for either relish and had more than half the ingredients already in my pantry. I followed the recipes as stated with no modifications. I used the relish on stadium brats which I grilled on my indoor grill and used Heiner's sunny buns. My husband and two boys insist that sunny buns are the best buns locally available.

These recipes were a huge hit in my household. My two boys love fresh fruit and were enthusiastic about the raspberry onion relish. My husband liked both relishes, but preferred the mango cuke relish. I liked how easy these relishes were to prepare and they were a great summer spin on a traditional brat.

For the recipe go to Mango Cuke Relish and Raspberry Onion Relish.

July 28, 2011

Bon Appetit Spanish Trail Mix

As I've stated numerous times before, with two growing boys I make a ton of snacks. If given the option, my two boys would eat all carbs and no protein snacks, which would lead to two very cranky young men by the end of the day. Therefore, I try to make at least one snack a week which is high in protein and good fats, such as nuts. The January issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Spanish Trail Mix, which looked nutritious and full of protein.

I made a number of major modifications to this recipe. The stores in my area are limited, so I substituted based on what was available locally. First, I had chourico sausage which I had purchased on clearance a while back, which I substituted for the smoked chorizo. Since my sausage was different than the once used in the recipe, I cut the chourico into cubes and quickly cooked it on the stove-top. Second, the only paprika I have been able to find at the grocery stores in my area is McCormick, so I used what I already had, instead of smoked paprika like the recipe states. I understand that the smoked paprika would have had an earthier undertone, but I like to utilize the ingredient which I already have in my pantry. Thirdly, I used dried dates. The recipe uses cubed pitted dates (which I assume are fresh). I have never seen a fresh date in my area, so I used what was available. The dried dates added a sweetness to the almonds, which I liked.

My husband absolutely loved this trail mix. His favorite part were the smoked almonds, which he has now decided are one of his favorite snacks. My youngest liked this recipe, my oldest was indifferent. I liked how high in good protein and fats this snack is, making it a better option than white bread, which is the snack my two boys usually go for first. This is an easy recipe, which could be substituted with a variety of ingredients and makes a delicious, higher protein snack.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Spanish Trail Mix.

July 27, 2011

Everyday Food Chicken Koftas with Cucumbers and Yogurt

If left on their own the three men in my house, would more than likely eat pork at every meal. Yesterday my two youngest children successfully finished off an entire packaged of apple wood smoked bacon (don't worry it was cooked!). While, I appreciate pork as much as the next person, I also want my family to eat a well rounded diet, with a larger portion of white meat. Each week I try to make one vegetarian, one chicken, and one fish recipe, to both expose my children to new tastes and to make sure we all live a long healthy life. The one form of chicken meat that I have a harder time appreciating is ground chicken. Oftentimes, I find the meat to be dry due to its lack of fat. Therefore, I am always looking for new recipes involving chicken meat, and I was intrigued when the June issue of Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for Chicken Koftas with Cucumbers and Yogurt.

This recipe has 11 ingredients and I was easily able to find everything at my local grocery store. I normally grind my own chicken fresh, but for this recipe I used frozen ground chicken that I had made at an earlier date. My total prep and cooking time was approximately 30 minutes. I followed the recipe as stated, with the exception of adding 1/2 teaspoon of cumin as suggested, I made no other modifications.

Since I cook and bake so frequently, I am bound to run into recipes that are less than stellar. This recipe ended up being one of those occasions. My husband and I were not fans of the chicken being formed into patties. The chicken was dry, I would have preferred it crumbled and my husband thought it would benefit from the patties being as thin as a fast food burger. There was too little sauce for the amount of meat and I was not a fan of the mint being loose instead of incorporated into the sauce. I think that this dish would have benefited from the addition of more spice to the chicken patties. I love finding healthier ways to make common dishes, but this is one recipe that I will stick to the traditional lamb version, the taste is so much better!

For the recipe go to Everyday Food Chicken Koftas with Cucumbers and Yogurt.

July 26, 2011

Everyday Food Peanut Butter Waffles

As I've stated numerous times before, breakfast is a meal I struggle with my two boys over. Their idea of a healthy breakfast is a bowl of cereal if I'm lucky, and if given the choice it's something loaded with sugar like their daddy's box of Lucky Charms. The one dish that they seem to at least taste before dismissing it, is waffles. However, they get tired of having the same thing time and time again, so I am always searching for healthy breakfast options. The May issue of Everyday Food had a recipe for Peanut Butter Waffles, which look nutritious and perfect for my two growing boys.

This recipe has 11 ingredients, including the bananas and maple syrup for the topping. I was able to prep this recipe while my 2 year old "helped" me in the kitchen. A couple of comments on the ingredients used in this recipe. There are some products that I will use lesser quality ingredients, however, I'm insistent on using all natural peanut butter. I grew up with my mom going to the local natural food section of our grocery store and grinding the peanuts to make peanut butter (it was the funnest thing ever to watch!). I ended up having to buy bananas twice for this recipe because my boys ate them the first time :) I didn't make any major modifications to this recipe and prepared it as is.

My two boys absolutely loved this recipe. I put the leftover waffles in the fridge after breakfast and by lunch they had gone in and eaten all of them. I like that these waffles have extra protein from the peanut butter and the taste is delicious. These are a great way to get a healthy start to your day.

For the recipe go to Martha Stewart Living Peanut Butter Waffles.

Martha Stewart Living Pesto

Growing up my mother made a lot of pesto. I remember watching her put the ingredients in the food processor and loving the smell of the fresh basil and pine nuts. Over the years I have tried just about every pesto recipe I can find, from the basic to the unusual. However, I have always come back to the basic pesto recipe, which I love for its clean taste and simplicity. Recently, an issue of Martha Stewart Living had a recipe for Pesto, which like all pesto recipes looked simple and delicious.

Making pesto literally takes about five minutes. This recipe has 6 ingredients and all the work is done in the food processor. The recipe that I used is slightly different than the web version, my version only makes about 3/4 of a cup of pesto and uses two cups of fresh basil. I freeze my pesto in ice cube trays and then pop out a cube when I run out of time to make dinner and stir it together with pasta.

Homemade pesto is a delicious, quick way to get dinner on the table. It's also a great way to use extra fresh basil from your garden and works well frozen in ice cube trays for later use. Pesto is always a hit with my family and is a stable in my household, especially during the summer months. This is a great recipe for people that don't cook frequently and want to make more meals from scratch, it goes together quickly and can be used on meat, pizza or pasta.

For the recipe go to Martha Stewart Pesto Recipe.

July 24, 2011

All You Peanut-Coated Drumsticks

Growing up my mother made or bought fried chicken at least once a week. When I moved out on my own, I stopped making fried chicken and didn't make it again until I got married. My husband loves pan fried chicken and my attempts at making it when we first got married were less than stellar. Since that time my fried chicken has vastly improved and I am always looking for new recipes. A recent issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Peanut-Coated Drumsticks, which looked like a delicious oven fried chicken dish.

This recipe has 9 ingredients and goes together quickly. I don't currently have wire racks, so I baked my drumsticks directly on the baking sheet. Most of the prep work is done in the food processor and shaking it in a plastic bag makes the clean-up very easy. Be warned this recipe takes a 1/4 cup of curry powder, I only had part of a bottle left and had just enough!

My four year old loved this recipe. He ate two drumsticks for dinner and multiple pieces as leftovers. My husband and I thought that this recipe was delicious hot, but was even better cold. This recipe would be perfect for a picnic, or to prepare multiple meals.

For the recipe go to All You Peanut-Coated Drumsticks.

July 23, 2011

Everyday Food Classic Roasted Salsa

My two boys are huge tomato fans. They have been known to take tomatoes out of the fridge and eat them like apples. My husband and I love tomatoes as part of recipes, but aren't big fans of the fruit/vegetable raw. The compromise that I have been able to find that pleases everyone is salsa. I make salsa at least once every couple of weeks and it has become a stable in my household. A recent issue of Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for Classic Roasted Salsa, which looked simple and a perfect way to use tomatoes.

The majority of the work for this recipe is done in the broiler. My kitchen broiler is still broken, so I used my toaster oven. It took me 20 minutes to adequately blister the vegetables, instead of the 8 minutes suggested by the recipe. The remainder of the prep work is done in the food processor. My garlic cloves were on the large side, so my salsa had more garlic than if I had used smaller cloves. I made no other modificiations to the recipe.

This salsa has a nice clean taste. The recipe is on the spicy side, if you want to cut down on the heat the jalapenos could be seeded after roasting. My husband appreciated the spiciness and preferred that the jalapenos were unseeded. This is a great, simple salsa recipe that would be great for a party or a homemade snack.

For the recipe go to Everyday Food Classic Roasted Salsa.

July 22, 2011

All You Triple Chocolate Cookies

As I've stated dozens of times before I have a massive sweet tooth. If I go a few days without some type of sweet, I start adding sugar to my cereal. My husband is more of a fan of salty or savory snacks, so I am normally left on my own about deciding on what baking recipes to try. However, my whole family will eat whatever sweets I bake, so I make a lot of chocolate desserts, since they are my favorite. The July issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Triple Chocolate Cookies, which appealed to my sweet tooth.

This recipe has 11 ingredients and takes approximately 20 minutes to prep. I found that the dough was a little too soft to work into balls, so I stuck the bowl in the freezer for five minutes and then it much easier. I followed the recipe as stated, with the only modification being that the cooking time was a little too long for my oven, my total baking time was only 12 minutes.

If you aren't a chocolate fan, these aren't the cookies for you. My two boys loved these cookies. I liked that they had a different texture than most cookies, with an almost cracked top. I did notice that they went stale quicker than most cookies, even when stored in an air-tight container. This is a great recipe for a chocolate lover and would be great for a party or cookie platter.

For the recipe go to All You Triple Chocolate Cookies.

July 21, 2011

Bon Appetit Whole Wheat Couscous with Lemon, Peas, and Chives

I love making fish as a main dish, and I try to prepare it at least once a week. However, I am always at a loss as to what to prepare as a side dish, and end up making the same recipes over and over. I have been attempting to remedy this situation and was intrigued when Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Whole Wheat Couscous with Lemon, Peas, and Chives.

This recipe actually took longer than the Slow-Baked Salmon I prepared as a main dish. The total time was approximately 25 minutes. I modified this recipe part by neccessity and partly due to forgetting to add an ingredient. I was unable to find whole wheat couscous at my local grocery store, I was able to find one brand of couscous, therefore that was what I purchased. Additionally, my two boys ate all the almonds before I prepared this dish, so I left out the toasted almonds as a topping. Lastly, I prepared the peas and then completely forgot to add then to the recipe before serving, opps!

My family enjoyed this side dish, and it was a great accompaniment to the slow-baked salmon. I loved the lemon flavor and it was a great compliment to the lemon in the salmon. The leftovers heated up great the next day, and would work well as an ingredient in a wrap. My husband preferred this dish without the peas and almonds, he found the texture more to his liking. This recipe would be a great side to any baked fish recipe and is very simple to prepare.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Whole Wheat Couscous with Lemon, Peas, and Chives.

July 20, 2011

Bon Appetit Slow-Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

Since my family eats a lot of meat every week, I have been trying to include more seafood in our diet. If my five year old was in charge of meal planning we would have shrimp every night, but I enjoy a larger variety of fish and shell fish. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I love salmon and could eat it practically everyday. I have been trying to introduce more fish to my children's diet and was pleased when a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Slow-Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme.

With only six ingredients, including salt and pepper, this recipe goes together very quickly. The total time was approximately 30 minutes, with 10 minutes being for the fish to marinade. The ingredients are simple. allowing for the flavor of the salmon to take center stage.

This recipe went over well in my household. My five year old loved the salmon and ate his serving and the leftovers later in the evening. I appreciated that the salmon was left to speak for itself, instead of relying on a heavy sauce or marinade. This is a great simple, salmon recipe.

*I will be posting the recipe for the couscous seen on the side of the plate tomorrow*

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Slow-Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme.

July 19, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Carrots

My two boys have a serious sweet tooth. They are good about eating a variety of foods, but still come back to wanting sweets. I think they must get it from me, I can go about three days before I start adding sugar to my cheerios. I just can't give up sweets, I've tried unsuccessfully many times. So instead of giving up on making sweets I have been trying to find ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into the sweets I bake. The April issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine had a recipe for Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Carrots that looked like a great way to get more vegetables into my family's diet, while still having the sweets we love.

From start to finish this recipe takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes, 55 minutes of which is baking time. There are 11 ingredients in the cake (not including ingredients for the frosting and candied carrots). All of the ingredients I either had in my pantry or I was able to find at my local grocery store. I used ground nutmeg, instead of the cardamon, since I already had it on hand. Additionally, I currently don't own any mini loaf pans, so I just made one large loaf.

Everyone in my house agreed that the best part of this bread was the icing and candied carrots. My two boys preferred the cream cheese icing and my husband really enjoyed the candied carrots. The actual carrot bread tasted like a basic sweet bread recipe. I like that it uses 2 cups of carrots, but doesn't taste overally vegetable based. This loaf of bread only lasted about a day, so was well received by everyone in my house and is a great way to get extra vegetables into my sweet oriented family's diet.

For the recipe go to Better Homes and Gardens Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing .

July 18, 2011

Martha Stewart Living Pork and Bean Sandwiches

As I've stated numerous times before, my family loves pork. My husband and two boys can do without almost every meat, with the lone exception of any pork product. They can go about a week and then start getting cranky and requesting me to make a pork recipe. One of my favorite ways to prepare pork is to buy a pork shoulder and slow roast it until it falls off the bone. Since I make pork shoulder so frequently, new magazine recipes always capture my attention. Recently, Martha Stewart Living magazine had a recipe for Pork and Bean Sandwiches, which looked perfect for my family and their love of slow roasted pork

This recipe is not something that can be started at the last minute. The whole point of slow roasting pork shoulder is to let it cook until it literally falls off the bone and this recipe is no exception. Start to finish this dish takes about 7 hours. There are 16 ingredients, including salt and pepper. All the ingredients are basic and I either had in my pantry or they were easily available at my local grocery store. I had fully intended to make the pickled vegetables, to accompany this recipe, but ended up having my jalapenos go bad and therefore left out this accompaniment. I found that my pork and beans had more liquid than I prefer at the end of the cooking time, so I skimmed off the fat and removed some of the liquid before serving.

If your expecting a crowd this would be a great recipe. It could easily feed more than twenty people and my family ended up having leftovers for multiple additional meals. If you are expecting a sweet bbq sandwich, this is not the recipe for you. This recipe is a savory bean dish and is not very sweet at all. My husband appreciated that the pork was not sickenly sweet, like many pulled pork recipes can be. I appreciate that most of the work is done by the oven. This recipe would be a great to feed a large group of people and I look forward to making it in the future with the addition of the pickled vegetables (I will re-review when I do).

For the recipe go to Martha Stewart Living Pork and Bean Sandwiches.

Taste of Home Roasted Poblano Beef Stew

From as far back as I can remember I have loved makings soups and stews. I love how easy they are to put together and how great the taste is once they're done. My youngest son has inherited my love of anything soup and will slurp up the last bits from his bowl. During the summer months I cut down on the number of stews I make due to 100 degree plus temps my very old kitchen assumes during this time period. However, if I find a recipe that looks different than other recipes I have tried, I jump on the opportunity. The June/July issue of Taste of Home magazine had a recipe for Roasted Poblano Beef Stew, which looked delicious and of my ordinary stew routine.

This recipe contains 13 ingredients, all of which I was easily able to find at my local grocery store. My oven broiler is broken, so I broiled the peppers in my toaster oven. The toaster oven always takes a lot longer than the recipe suggestions, so my total time was approximately twenty minutes. The total time for prep and cooking was about 3 and half hours. The potatoes that I found were very large, so I only used one instead of two. The additional potato would have made the stew too potato based and taken away from the delicious flavor of the beef. I skimmed my fat after initially browning the beef and was pleasantly surprised that I had no additional fat that needed skimming once the stew was finished cooking.

I made home-made French bread to accompany this stew and the combination was delicious. The poblano peppers in the stew created a delicious undertone and the beef was cooked perfectly. My two boys were skeptical of the soup the first day, but really enjoyed the leftovers, especially the beef. This is a great recipe regardless of the season and would make enough to feed a crowd or leftovers for multiple meals.

For the recipe go to Taste of Home Roasted Poblano Beef Stew.

July 17, 2011

All You Shrimp Po' Boys

In the last year I have been attempting to make seafood as least once a week. My two sons have embraced this increase in seafood, and will eat anything I make. The seafood that I make the most is shrimp, which is versatile and delicious. Since I make shrimp so frequently, I change the recipes I prepare regularly and am always looking for new dishes to try. The May issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Shrimp Po' Boys which looked easy and family friendly.

This recipe uses 18 ingredients, all of which I already had in my pantry or were easily found at my local grocery store. My husband is obsessed with hot sauces, so I had a variety to chose from and Tony Chachere's Original Creole seasoning is a stable in our house. This recipe from start to finish took approximately 45 minutes, 30 minutes of which was prep time. I prepped my shrimp earlier in the day and it took about an additional 1/2 hour. The first two or three batches of shrimp came out of the pan looking better than the last two batches. The later batches tasted great, but the flour mixture had gotten gummy so the appearance of the shrimp, wasn't as good as the earlier batches.

These Shrimp Po' Boys were very popular in my house. My two boys ate all their share and most of the leftovers later in the day. The tartar sauce gave a nice compliment to the shrimp and the overall taste of the dish was delicious. I liked that even though the shrimp were deep fried, the sandwich didn't seem greasy. This is a great kid friendly recipe.

For the recipe go to All You Shrimp Po' Boys.

July 16, 2011

Family Fun Orange Cornmeal Cakes

My husband is a big fan of anything with orange flavoring. He was not pleased when a certain national coffee chain decided to get rid of their Valencia flavoring. This is the same man that waits until the day after Christmas and buys every single chocolate orange clearanced at the store. My boys share his love of anything orange, but I have never been as big of a fan. However, I decided recently that I needed to try baking more orange flavored treats for my family and have been looking for new recipes to try. The December/January issue of Family Fun magazine had a recipe for Orange Cornmeal Crisps, which looked perfect for my family and their love of anything orange flavored.

The cookie in this recipe has 10 ingredients and the glaze 4 ingredients. Most of the work is done in an electric mixer, with the majority of the prep time coming from the time waiting for the dough to freeze. I followed the recipe as is, with no modifications to the ingredients. However, I did find that my cooking time was slightly longer than the 10 to 12 minutes recommended. Additionally, I added more orange juice to the glaze in order for it to be the right consistency.

My two boys really enjoyed these cookies. I was suprised how much I liked these cookies when I don't normally liked orange flavored sweets. The first day my husband thought the cookies were a little gritty from the cornmeal, but he was impressed how well the cookies stood up over time and by the third day he really liked them. These cookies are a wonderful blend of crispy and sweet and would go well on any cookie platter.

For the recipe go to Family Fun Orange Cornmeal Crisps.

July 15, 2011

Redbook Oat-rageous Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

I've been struggling with getting my two growing boys to eat breakfast. Some weeks they love eggs, the next they hate them, and so on and so forth. I have tried just about every breakfast recipe I can find, with no luck in getting them to eat anything more than a bite or two. The one breakfast food that they have been pretty good about eating at least a little of, is pancakes. I love pancakes also, but most of the time I prepare them with white flour, sometimes with fruit, but overall they are lacking in the nutrition department. I have been trying to find a healthier pancake recipe and was pleased when the July issue of Redbook magazine had a recipe for Oat-rageous Chocolate-Chip Pancakes.

This recipe has 10 ingredients including salt. I used regular egg whites, rather than liquid egg whites and tripled the recipe, so I used 3 egg whites total. I made the rest of the recipe as stated with no modifications. I did notice that even when tripled, the recipe made far fewer pancakes than the 5 suggested per serving. In total my tripled recipe made about 10 pancakes.

My two boys really enjoyed these pancakes. They only noticed that the pancakes had chocolate chips, not that they also included whole-wheat flour and old-fashioned oats. I liked that since only egg whites were used that the fat is lower and that there are whole grains, which Im trying to incorporate more in my kid's diet. I would recommend using two eggs whites per serving. I felt that the pancakes were a little thick and increasing the egg whites would make for fluffier pancakes. Overall,  a great nutritious way to get healthy grains into my family's diet.

For the recipe go to Redbook Oat-rageous Chocolate-chip Pancakes.

Bon Appetit Cacio E Pepe

Dinner is served early in my house, at around 4:30, due to my husband's work schedule. This early dinner time during the week can lead to a hectic dinner preparation. I try to have at least one recipe a week which uses few ingredients and can be thrown together in less than 20 minutes. Pasta dishes are my favorite go to quick weeknight meal and I am always trying out new simple flavor combinations. The May issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Cacio E Pepe, which looked very quick, simple and delicious.

This recipe has 6 ingredients, including salt. I doubled the recipe in order for it to feed my family of four. It took me less than twenty minutes to prepare this entire pasta dish, with the majority of the time spent cooking the pasta and shredding the cheese. This dish is so simple to prepare that my two boys were able to help me in the kitchen.

My husband and I felt that this dish was lacking a flavor, so we added crushed red pepper. The cracked black pepper didn't add enough depth, but the addition of the red pepper provided the perfect flavor. I liked that this recipe takes few ingredients and can be done at the last minute when a busy weekday turns chaotic. This is a perfect quick, 6 ingredient meal, which can be modified to feed a family of two or many more.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Cacio E Pepe

July 14, 2011

Bon Appetit Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

 Between the two growing boys and the two adults in my house, we consume a large amounts of snacks each week. One snack that goes over well with my whole family is salsa and homemade tortilla chips. Instead of following the same recipe repeadidly, I try to look for new flavor combination and ingredients that I haven't  previously tried. The May issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa, which looked simple and full of flavor.

With only 5 ingredients (including salt) this recipes is beyond simple to prepare. Almost all of the prep is done in the broiler. Currently, my oven broiler is broken, so I used the broiler on my toaster oven. It took longer than the stated 10-15 minutes for my tomatillos to char, it was closer to 20-25 minutes total. The remainder of the prep work is done in the food processor with a total time of about 45 minutes including the cooling time for the tomatillos. Make sure to adequetely salt after the salsa is completed.

This salsa on the first day lacked salt and tasted a tad bit too much like cilantro. After the salsa had sat overnight it tasted delicious and not too salty and the cilantro was a nice undertone, instead of overpowering. I liked the smokiness provided by the chipotles and the charred tomatillos were delicious. This salsa is quick and easy and after sitting for a day would be great with tortilla chips or as a topping.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

July 13, 2011

Bon Appetit Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies



Each week I try to make at least two desserts for my family. If it was left up to me every sweet would involve chocolate, but my husband and two boys prefer a larger variety of tastes. Given that I make cookies and cakes as often as I do, we can get tired of recipes pretty quickly, so I'm always on the lookout for interesting or unusual combinations. A recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies, which looked different than the usual cookie recipes I make.

With seven ingredients, this recipe goes together very quickly. Most of the prep work is done in the food processor, making for a very quick dessert. The total time including cooling, is approzimately an hour and 15 minutes, with 20 minutes of active time. I followed the recipe as stated, with no modifications.

I was suprised that my two boys liked these cookies as much as they did. The use of the basil left me unsure if my kids would endorse these cookies or not, but my five year old loved them! My husband liked the burst of lemon flavor that came through with every bite. I liked how easy these cookies were to make and that they used fresh herbs, something that few dessert recipes utilize. These cookies are a perfect combination of sweet and tart and would make a great addition to any cookie plate.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies.

Martha Stewart Living Chicken and Chorizo Paella



When my second son began eating table foods, I started trying to introduce both of my sons to a large variety of foods. They have had just about every type of meat, vegetable, fruit and cheese that can be found in my area, in addition to foods that friends and family have shipped from other areas. Some they have fallen in love with and some they have not been thrilled with, but they have been pretty good with at least trying all of them. I have attempted making paella recipes  a number of times and the results have been okay, not great. The June issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine had a recipe for Chicken and Chorizo Paella, which looked simple and I hoped would be a great paella recipe to share with my family.

There are 13 ingredients in this recipe (including salt and pepper). I made a couple of substitutions, the first being with the type of rice. I already had jasmine rice in my pantry, so I used what was available. Second, I had bought a number of packages of linguica when I found in on clearance and froze it, so I substituted the linguica for the chorizo called for in the recipe. The linguica is milder sausage, which is more child friendly for my household. Finally, I used regular paprika, not smoked Spanish. I keep a pretty strict budget and paying to special order one spice for a recipe, isn't something I can justify. However, I did buy new saffron. Saffron is expensive, but lasts a significant amount of time and adds a necessary flavor to a number of dishes. The total time including prep, took approximately an hour and 20 minutes. I did not use a paella pan, but rather my favorite oven-proof skillet.

This dish turned out better than any of the previous paella recipes I have tried. My two sons loved this recipe so much that they ate 5 of the 8 pieces of chicken over the course of the two days following the meal. Additionally, everyone in my family agreed that the best part of the dish was the rice. The chicken cooks on top, leaving the rice with a delicious flavor, that even my two boys went back time and time again to the fridge for leftovers. This is definitely a family friendly recipe, which I will be making again in the future.

For the recipe go to Martha Stewart Living Chicken and Chorizo Paella .

July 12, 2011

All You Lamb Burgers with Greek Salad

In the last 6 months I have been making an attempt to encourage my two young sons to eat a larger variety of vegetables. Most weeknights I don't have the time to make a separate vegetable dish in addition to the main course, so I look for recipes which incorporate vegetables and protein. Burgers are a popular protein choice in my household, but very few recipes use vegetables as anything other than a topping or coleslaw. I was pleased when the July issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Lamb Burgers with Greek Salad.

There are 13 ingredients in this recipe, all of which I was easily able to find at my local grocery store. The prep took me approximately 10 minutes, with a total time of 20 minutes. I grind my own meat, which I did in the morning, which took another 10-15 minutes. I used an indoor grill for the burgers; I am still trying to convince my husband to scrape and paint our outdoor charcoal grill before it can be used for the season. For the salad greens, I used bagged baby lettuce.

This is a very quick recipe to prepare. The flavors of the burger and salad work well together and are a nice compliment. The star of the dish is the dressing, which is delicious and has a nice citrus taste. This would be a great weekday meal, with no need for a vegetable side dish.

For the recipe go to All You Lamb Burgers with Greek Salad.

July 11, 2011

Taste of Home Sweet and Spicy Fusion Burgers

We are big burger eaters in my house and I make about one burger recipe a week during the summer months. Most of the burgers that I make are beef, which my family loves, but I have been trying to make a larger variety of ground meats. I have tried a number of different turkey burger recipes, but haven't found one that my family is in love with. The June/July issue of Taste of Home magazine had a recipe for Sweet and Spicy Fusion Burgers, which looked like a contemporary spin on a turkey burger dish.

This recipe has a large amount of ingredients, 16 in total. However, all the ingredients were easy to find at my local grocery store or I already had them in my pantry. I ground my own turkey meat, which I did in the morning and it took about 10 minutes in total. The prep took me about twenty minutes, with a total time of approximately 30 minutes. I used my indoor grill to prepare the burgers, so my grill time was less than if I had used a traditional grill. Instead of spreading the cheese on the naan, I crumbled it over the burger.

My family thoroughly enjoyed this recipe. The taste of the burger is sweet, with a nice bite from the sriracha. It reheated well the next day when my husband took the leftovers for lunch, since only the burger needed to be microwaved. This burger is a knife and fork burger, it isn't very easy to pick-up and hold, which my two sons got a kick out of. This recipe is one that I will use again, it's a great turkey burger recipe.

For the recipe go to Taste of Home Sweet and Spicy Fusion Burgers.

Bon Appetit Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

Growing up my mom made a large amount of pasta. I remember having pasta dishes at least once a week and loving pretty much every one of them. My two boys have followed my tradition of loving pasta and request it frequently. The only problem with making pasta so often, is the tendency to follow the same recipe over and over again. I have been making a conscious effort to expose my children to as many different flavors and dishes as possible, so I am always on the look-out for  a new recipe to try. The March issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch, which looked appetizing and out of my family's ordinary pasta routine.

Since this is a baked pasta dish, the total prep and cooking time is a little longer. The total prep time was approximately 30 minutes, with a total time of about 2 hours. The ingredients in this recipe were all readily available at my local supermarket. The prep for the recipe goes together quickly, with the roasting of the vegetables taking the greatest amount of time. Make sure to adequately salt the pasta water and to taste the sauce. I had to add a decent amount of salt to the sauce in order to make the taste not be bland due to the canned tomatoes.

This recipe was a hit at my house. My husband liked that the pasta wasn't burnt on the outside and soggy on the inside like most pasta bakes end up being. I appreciated that there was enough leftovers for 3 more lunches, saving me money and time later during the week. We all agreed that the best part of the dish was the pine nut crunch on top, it gave the dish an added flavor, which was delicious. This recipe would be great to serve at a large dinner or to make and have leftovers for multiple additional meals.

For the recipe go to Bon Appetit Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch.

July 10, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens Honey-Glazed Chicken with Peppers and Goat Cheese

My whole family really enjoys eating chicken dishes. Each of us has their own preferences for which type is our favorite, I'm personally partial to whole roasted chicken. Roasted chicken reminds me of my mom growing up, she absolutely loved chicken prepared this way and she would make or buy it frequently. I lost my mother before my kids were able to meet her, so I cherish these food memories and try to pass her on to my kids through cooking. The July issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine had a recipe for Honey-Glazed Chicken with Peppers and Goat Cheese, which looked delicious and easy.

This recipe has 11 ingredients (10 if you cut out the red jalapenos). I was unable to find red jalapenos at any of the stores I frequent in my area, so I cut them out of the recipe. The recipe has them as an optional ingredient and they are roasted under the chicken, so I don't think it would have made a significant difference to the taste. The 3 chickens which I purchsed were closer to 4 to 5 pounds. making my baking time significantly longer, about an hour. My total time for the recipe was approximately 10 minutes of prep and about 2 hr 15 min of roasting.

These chickens turned out delicious. The skin was crisp and the goat cheese was delicious. I am planning on using the leftovers tomorrow for chicken salad and I will still have enough for a pasta dish later in the week. That's one of the great things about this recipe, it makes a lot of chicken. There was easily enough for two more meals after my family of four had eaten their fair share. This recipe would be great to feed a crowd or to prepare for dishes using the leftovers later in the week.


For the recipe go to Better Homes and Gardens Honey-Glazed Chicken with Peppers and Goat Cheese. (registration required).

July 9, 2011

Everyday Food Pork Loin with Pearl Onions and Apricots


We eat a lot of pork in our house. My two sons and husband absolutely love the meat and if it was up to them, we would eat it at almost every meal. While I enjoy pork, I do not have the same absolute necessity that they have, so I am always experimenting with new recipes to appease everyone's tastes. A recent issue of Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for Pork Loin with Pearl Onions and Apricots, which looked like a recipe which would work well for my family's varied taste preferences.

This recipe has 11 ingredients, all of which I was easily able to find at my local grocery store or I already had in my pantry. I found my pearl onions hard to peel even after sitting in warm water for ten minutes, I don't know if I got a harder to peel batch or if my water needed to be warmer. This recipe is a little more time consuming, with an hour of total time, 25 minutes of which is active.

My family had mixed feelings about this dish. The dish looked great on the plate and in photos, but it contained a couple of problems. I don't know if it was the cut of pork I was able to find at my store or what, but I found my pork to be dry. The dryness would have been less of a problem if there was more sauce. I would suggested doubling the amount of liquid in order to have enough sauce and not letting the sauce thicken as much as the recipe suggests. Additionally the sauce lacked flavor, it needs more spice of some kind, either an increase in the coriander or another spice added. All-in-all this recipe has potential, but needs some further tweaking in order to be great.

For the recipe go to Everyday Food Pork Loin with Pearl Onions and Apricots.

All You Lemon-Garlic White-Bean Dip



With four people in our house we go through a large amount of snack foods. I try to make at least two home-made snacks a week, with at least one of them having an element of protein such as beans. I have made a number of hummus recipes, and while everyone in my family loves it, making the same snacks foods every week can get boring. The July issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Lemon-Garlic White-Bean Dip, which looked like a great way to get a new type of beans into my home-made snack foods.

Almost all the work for this recipe is done in the food processor. The total prep work takes less than 10 minutes and then 30 minutes of refrigeration. I made pita chips to go along with the dip. Pita chips are very easy, I just cut each pita into eight triangles, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt (and sometimes a bit of cumin), and bake for about 15-20 minutes at approximately 375 degrees.

This dip is a great way to get more beans into my family's diet. I did think that the dip is a tad bit too lemony for my tastes, I suggest decreasing the lemon juice to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Pita chips are always popular in my house and last less than a day, they make a great  addition to this recipe.

For the recipe go to All You Lemon-Garlic White-Bean Dip.

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