Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Down-to-Earth Granola

I have been making this granola for years and can't even remember where I got the recipe.  I like it because it is just a basic fancy ingredients and not expensive to put together.  It is also a wonderful way to use up a LOT of oats that are going out of date in my food storage.

I always double the recipe...since if I make just one batch, it is literally gone in about 2 days!

Here's what you need:

4 c. oats
1 1/2 c. sliced almonds (I double everything except the almonds--I think this is enough for 2 batches)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt--go a little easy, I think it can tend to be too salty...I use about 3/4 tsp for a double batch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup craisins, optional

***Here are some additions I have started doing since posting this.  It is really good with about 1/3-1/2 cup of raw sunflower seeds added in with the nuts. And I have started doing 1/2 almonds and 1/2 pecans.  I've started tripling the recipe when I make it and I now use 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup honey, and 1/2 cup applesauce.  It really holds it together a little better and you are eliminating a good amount of fat and sugar in the process.***

As far as the can use either quick or old-fashioned.  I use half and half because my food storage was all quick oats and I need to use them.  But if I were buying oats for this, I think the old-fashioned is better because they are bigger pieces and I like the texture better with the bigger flakes.

Preheat oven to 300*.
Combine oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.  Let the kids break up the little chunks of brown sugar!

Warm cooking oil and honey in saucepan.   Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Drizzle over oats mixture and GENTLY stir.  Try to leave some clumps together.  If it seems too dry, you can always drizzle a little more oil or honey into it.  Spread onto cookie sheet(s).

Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Cool completely.  Stir in craisins, if desired.

Your house will smell AMAZING...I made this yesterday, and all my kids were asking what I had made the moment they walked in the door!

You could add wheat germ, or flax seed, or any other mix in you would like.  I would just increase the oil/honey mix to compensate for the added bulk.

This is so delicious on top of vanilla yogurt...that is my all-time favorite way to eat it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grilled Stuffed Burritos

{Meatless Monday}

OK....just a really quick and easy dinner idea this week.

This is basically Spanish Rice, refried beans and cheese in a tortilla...rolled up and briefly browned on both sides in a skillet.

I just cooked the rice according to directions and heated up the vegetarian refried beans with a little (1/4-1/3 of can) tomato sauce and taco seasoning.  Layer rice, beans, cheese in tortilla.  Wrap up and brown on both sides in hot skillet.  Serve with sour cream, olives, and/or shredded lettuce as toppings.

I was out of sour cream and only had ours were just plain jane:

But they still tasted really good.  And since they are NOT crammed full of vegetables it was an uncharacteristically peaceful night at the dinner table!  ; )

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

{Meatless Monday}

This looked so yummy in my magazine, I couldn't resist trying it...and it was delicious!
I made it for the Teacher Dinner for our parent/teacher conferences.  I was in such a hurry putting it together, there was no way to get a "before" picture of all the ingredients.

2 medium-size zucchini (8 oz each), trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 medium-size yellow squash (6 oz. each), trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 large red onion, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 tsp. salt, half for veggies/half for sauce
1 tsp. black pepper, half for veggies/half for sauce

8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 T minced fresh basil

12 dried lasagna noodles
6 oz Fontina cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella since I could not find Fontina)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425*.   Coat 2 large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.

Spread zucchini, squash, red pepper, and onion in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets: coat generously with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle vegetables with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Roast at 425* for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until edges are browned.  Remove and transfer to a bowl.

These were SO yummy!!!!  I wanted to eat the whole bowl.

Place mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped.  (I just finely chopped mine.) Saute mushrooms with olive oil in skillet for 6 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in garlic and remaining 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook 1 minute.  Add milk and nutmeg and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes or until thickened.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in 2 T. of the parsley and all of the basil.  ( I just used dried herbs--I didn't have fresh.)

Cook noodles according to directions.  Drain and set aside.
Combine both cheeses together in a small bowl.

Coat 9X13 pan with nonstick spray.  Layer the lasagna in this order:

1/2 cup mushroom sauce on bottom of pan, then:

3 noodles
1/2 cup sauce over noodles
1/3 of the vegetables
1/2 cup cheese over veggies

Repeat twice.
Top with last 3 noodles and remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Cover dish with foil and bake at 425* for 20 minutes.  Raise heat to 475* remove foil and cook another 12 minutes or until browned.  Sprinkle with remaining parsley and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

I roasted my vegetables in the morning and then just stored them in the fridge until I put the lasagna together in the afternoon.  My house smelled so amazing all day long.  I love that this is not tomato-based.  The mushroom sauce was very creamy and delicious and I LOVED the roasted vegetables.  I could eat them alone!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pesto Pasta with Zucchini

{Meatless Monday}

I'm back!  Finally getting back into the swing of things.  Kids are back at school today...hooray!!  I love Christmas vacation, but I also LOVE going back to my routine!

This is a new recipe that I tried for the first time.  My husband and I and two of our kids really liked it.  The other ones ended up liking the noodles.  They didn't want to eat them at first, but once they tasted them, they liked them.  I have to confess that when we sat down to dinner, my 5 year old was making up a song about how she wished she were dead because we always eat gross stuff!  (I am not was kind of hilarious!)  But then she got a little lecture about how lots of kids die every day because they don't have anything to eat...that stopped her little tune.  ; )

So, if you are looking for an opportunity to talk to your kids about the starving masses in third world countries, maybe you should try this recipe!  ; P

Here's what you need:

2 large zucchini, sliced into half rounds
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off and raw (I had to substitute canned corn)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 large mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. penne or farfalle pasta
Pesto (see recipe below)...that's what is in the little green homemade pesto
Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to directions.  Add corn (if using raw)for last 2 minutes.  Drain, but reserve some liquid.  Saute mushrooms and zucchini, and onion in a little olive oil 5-6  minutes, then add cherry tomatoes.  If you are using canned or frozen corn, stir in at this point and let heat for a couple minutes.

Stir in pasta and pesto.  Add some reserved liquid to make it creamier.   Garnish with parmesan cheese and pepper.

Here's the recipe for the pesto.

1 cup fresh basil
1/3 c. pine nuts
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. grated fresh parmesan
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

We had 3 ENORMOUS basil plants over the summer, so I made huge batches of pesto and froze them in my cupcake pan then put them all in freezer bags.  (Learned this trick in a favorite book:  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver)

When I need pesto, I simply set one of the little disks in a bowl on the counter for about 30 minutes to let it thaw.
We love pesto, but I made ALOT, so I've got to be on the look out for some good pesto recipes!

Happy New Year!!

ps...Great news for the sweet friend gave me a vegetarian cookbook (and a cute apron), so now I'll have lots of inspiration to try some different things!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

(I've posted this bread before with a meatless monday, but I find that I refer to it so often, I wanted to re-post it separately.)


You really should try this bread!  It is the quickest bread recipe I've ever made!


3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 c. gluten flour
1 1/4 T. yeast
Mix together.....and add:

2 1/2 cups hot water (not scalding...just barely "hot")

Stir and then cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Then add:
1 T. salt
1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 c. oil
1 1/2 T. lemon juice
Beat one minute.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour--Add one cup at a time to make a soft dough.

Preaheat oven for 2-3 minutes to lukewarm.  Turn off.

Turn dough onto oiled countertop and divide into 2 loaves.  Put in greased pans.  Let rise in warm oven for 15 minutes. Do not remove from oven. Turn oven on to 350* and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Try is so yummy!  The gluten flour helps it to have a wonderful texture.  It is kindof pricey...but you don't go through it very fast!