Posts tagged ‘food notes’

October 23, 2012

Recipe review: Sauteed Shrimp with Baby Spinach and Tomatoes – Food on the Table

Tonight for dinner we made Sauteed shrimp with baby spinach and tomatoes from Food on the Table. I used some of the heirloom tomatoes from the garden instead of cherry tomatoes. We had this over some spinach fettucini.

This was a delicious, super-fast, easy and healthy dinner! Sadly, the kids didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, so I don’t think we will be making it again for a while. I’m liking the ease of these Food on the Table recipes – short ingredient lists, but all “real food.”

October 20, 2012

Recipe review: Apple Pancake Rings


We made these Apple Pancake Rings for breakfast this morning – I cheated and used Krusteaz pancake mix instead of making my own batter. For about 1.5 cups of Krusteaz, I used 1 cup water and three sliced apples. The apples were Empires, from our apple picking trip, and worked really well – they softened up nicely in the cooking time for the pancakes.

We had these with a little maple syrup, and they were delicious! A definite win and will make again, especially while we still have plenty of apples. I lost count of how many pancakes the kids ate 🙂

August 31, 2012

Healthy breakfasts on the go

This post is for a friend of mine, who is looking for quick, easy breakfast options.

I’ve posted a few different muffin recipes on here before:

PB&J muffins – not the easiest to make, but very filling and lots of protein.

Low-fat banana muffins – pretty easy, this is my twist on a banana bread recipe

Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins – the kids and I loved these!

Here are some others that I have made, and my substitutions.

Chef Meg’s Zucchini muffins – I omitted the pecans and flax meal, and used orange juice concentrate instead of pineapple (couldn’t find pineapple). I also got 24 muffins out of the batter instead of 18, so these were less than 90 calories each – score. My “makeover” is here.

Lemon-Zucchini Loaf  – I made this as muffins, so they are easier to serve for breakfast on school days. I used applesauce instead of oil. If possible, zest two lemons, for even more lemony flavor – and don’t skimp on the glaze, which really keeps these moist and adds to the lemony goodness. These come out to about 108 calories, 1 g fat, 23.1 g carbs, 2.2 g protein each.

Banana Oatmeal muffins – I dropped the sugar to 1/4 cup, and have made this with both regular and Greek yogurt. Greek is good for the extra protein, but regular will work if it’s all you have on hand. I’ve also made this same recipe with blueberries and nectarines instead of bananas – you want about 1.5 cups of pureed fruit. These come out to about 117 calories, 2.2 g fat, 21g carbs, 4.8 g protein each (with the 1/4c sugar and Greek yogurt).

Non-muffin ideas

Breakfast cookies – These are just as good as the Quaker ones! There are lots of options on this blog, we did ours with fresh blueberries and they were sooo good. I’ve been wanting to try the carrot ones, but am waiting until I can get carrots at the farmer’s market again.

Another breakfast option is baked eggs – combo those with a slice of low-fat cheese and put them on an English muffin, and you’ve got a McDonald’s-esque Egg McMuffin without having to stop at the drive-thru. You can make enough for the week and store them, just like hard-boiled eggs but less mess.

Fruit or fruit and yogurt smoothies are a popular in our house – we tried this Mixed Fruit Smoothie today and it was a HUGE hit – can’t argue with getting the kids to drink their spinach! Can easily be made the night before, poured into a shake-able drink container, and you’re out the door.

Finally, you can make a crustless quiche – good for Sunday breakfast, then leftovers for the rest of the week (although these do require a fork, but since they are pre-made, it’s just a matter of a quick 30-second zap in the microwave, so they might be able to be snuck into a morning routine). Link goes to my makeover of another SparkRecipe – I used real eggs instead of eggbeaters and 1% milk instead of fat-free, because that’s what we buy, then divided it into eight pieces instead of six because that’s just easier.

April 28, 2011

Chicken and Sausage Stew

Tonight’s dinner was a hit with the adult set… but meh with the kiddies.

I made America’s Test Kitchen’s slow cooker chicken and sausage stew with corn, and had sides of rice and broccoli. I thought this would be total win… the kids could just pick out what they liked. And that kind of worked… they both ate all their sausage, nibbled on the corn and broccoli, and ignored the chicken and rice.

My favorite part was the roasted red peppers I stirred into the sauce at the end… delish. Shockingly, the kids wouldn’t touch those.

Despite the meh reaction from the kiddies, I think this is going on the make again list.

April 5, 2011

Sneaky Chef: Mini Pizzas


We made these pizzas off a combination of two Sneaky Chef recipes: Tomato Sauce and Power Pizzas. I made the sauce in advance, and it’s delish on its own – looking forward to using it on pasta! Instead of using full-size pocketless pitas for the crust, we got mini pitas with pockets, then split them open, so we got two crusts out of each pita.

KG spread the sauce on the crust, then topped each one with a whole basil leaf. W then dropped on the cheese.

We have made these a couple of times – great thing about getting the mini pitas is that they go far when split open like this! The kids love making the pizzas themselves, and the little pizzas are the perfect size for them to eat. And this is a 20 minute dinner! We turn the oven on, prep the pizzas, and by the time the oven is heated, we’re ready to bake. Eight minutes in the oven, two minutes to cool, and dinner is served.

Our sides for the meal were two of the kids favorites: spinach and pineapple. So the kids got dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fresh fruit, whole wheat, and low-fat cheese in one meal – Win!

March 18, 2011

Sneaky Chef: Lite Mac & Cheese

I knew I’d be very busy this week, so my goal when planning the menu was to make a lot of stuff ahead or toss stuff in the crock pot.

Yesterday, I went the crock pot route with a traditional St. Patrick’s menu, but today I used some of the items I made ahead earlier in the week.

When pondering make-ahead items, I stumbled on a blog entry talking about the Sneaky Chef. Most of the S.C. recipes call for make-ahead items, so that worked perfectly for us this week.

Tonight, we gave this one a try.

Not only is it a great make-ahead meal, I made it in parts. First the purees, which I then refrigerated. Then, this morning I measured out what was needed for the sauce into a pot and put that in the fridge. So at dinner, all we had to do was make the pasta, heat the sauce, and mix them together.

To say this dish was a hit would be an understatement. The kids wanted seconds and thirds. It tastes exactly like box mac & cheese, but without all that yucky processed cheese and with veggies! We’ll make again… and double the recipe next time.

March 15, 2011

Culture clash sandwich


Came home late Sunday night, so didn’t have time to go grocery shopping this weekend. What to do for Monday night dinner?

I dug some ground beef out of the freezer, flipped through the cookbook to the meatloaf section, and found a recipe that met these requirements: a) I could throw it together fairly quickly for the slow cooker and b) I had most of the ingredients.

This “meatloaf” called for salsa instead of the tomatoes/ketchup/sauce components, plus some chopped raw onion & oregano. It also called for oats instead of breadcrumbs, but I didn’t have oats, so I used panko instead. Worked great.

I also added some cheddar cheese on top after the meatloaf had come to 165, and let that melt on; then poured a bit more salsa on top (as per the directions).

The final result was this “culture clash” meatloaf sandwich. Delicious! The kids had their meatloaf with polenta and topped everything with more cheese.

February 25, 2011

Pigs in blankets


Both kids were home sick this afternoon, and we had a huge storm blowing outside. I had not planned on having two sick kids when I grocery shopped on Sunday, and hitting the store in the storm was not going to happen.

So I put out a call on Facebook, and a friend (who happens to be a mother of two and grandmother of one) responded with a great idea featuring items in my fridge & pantry – woo!

I found this recipe on and the following is my slightly modified version.

1/4 ounce active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar, plus
1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2/3 cup warm milk (110 to115)
1/3 cup warm water (110 to 115)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons oil or 2 tablespoons shortening, melted
2 teaspoons oil or 2 teaspoons  shortening, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3 2/3 cups flour
8 bun length turkey hot dogs
1 cup shredded carrots, steamed for 10 minutes, cooled and water squeezed out
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Prep Time: 2 hrs
1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in milk and water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Add egg, oil or shortening, salt, remaining sugar, and enough flour to form a soft dough. Dough will be very sticky.
3. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes), or use dough hook to knead in stand mixer.
4. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
5. Punch dough down and divide into 8 portions.  Roll into a 8×2 1/2″ rectangle.
6. Sprinkle dough evenly with shredded carrots and cheese. Wrap around hot dogs.
7. Pinch seam and ends to seal.  Place seam side down on greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

J, KG and I loved these as they were. W pulled the dough off and ate the hot dog plain, so next time I think I’ll make up a couple plain biscuits on the side. Could probably even add more carrots and cheese, too!

February 4, 2011

Tuna Salad “Faces”


Tonight’s dinner for the kids comes from the book “Silly Snacks,” which KG was given for Xmas. KG and I went through and picked out our faves.

And she though they looked great… but that the cucumber tasted “yuck.” So I ended up scraping the tuna salad back out and putting it on the bread they had with the “faces,” which she then ate. W would only try the plain cucumber (not a fan).

Guess this one’s going on the do-not-make list for a while too.

February 3, 2011

Anadama bread


The kids & I were home yesterday due to Snowmaggedon 2011. What to do with two kids when you’re stuck inside all day? I turned to my old friend, the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and paged to the “bread” section. I had one packet of yeast left from my weekend of bread making, and what better use for it than to show off  some fun food chemistry to the kiddies?

I let KG pick out what type of bread we were making. I think she picked this one b/c it’s fun to say: “Anadama!” According to folklore, the name came from a farmer saying “Anna, damn it” in response to getting served the same boring food over and over. LOL.

The kids loved watching the yeast bubble up in the water, and declared that the smell of the yeast was “yum.” KG was able to stir the cornmeal on the stove, add in the molasses (more stirring) and pour the measured ingredients into the stand mixer. She loved doing that, but got bored watching the machine knead. W thought the kneading was the best part 🙂 After the dough had risen, they helped me shape the loaf and put it into the pan for the 2nd rise.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe I used online, but this one is similar, except that ATK calls for milk & butter to cook the cornmeal in:

Plan to serve this both with dinner (slow cooker roasted pork & apples) tonight and to eat with my soup leftovers from earlier in the week.

More on Anadama bread on wikipedia:

Final review from kiddies: Nom!