Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Tart with Glazed Carrots

{Meatless Monday}

I got these recipes from Parents Magazine.  They were both a hit with my family!

I only got a before shot of the carrots.  They were simple but very tasty.  All my kids love them.  They like carrots in the first who wouldn't love them with a little butter and brown sugar?
The recipe calls for frozen carrots, but I found these carrot "chips" in the fresh produce and thought they would be perfect.
Glazed Carrots:
1 12 oz. bag frozen carrots
1 T. butter
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Place all ingredients into skillet or small pot and bring to a boil.  Cover.  Reduce heat to medium for 7 minutes.  Uncover and cook another 10-12 minutes until liquid evaporates and carrots are tender.

Cheese and Spinach Tart

1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups diced onion (I used just over 1 cup)
1 9 inch pie shell
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out

Preheat oven to 350.  Heat oil and onions in skillet on medium for 10 minutes to carmelize the onions.  Set aside.  Whisk together milk, eggs, cheese, garlic,  Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Add onions and spinach.  Pour into pie shell and bake 45-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  I recommend putting strips of foil on your pie crust for at least 15 minutes of the baking time, so they don't get too dark.  
Here's how mine looked when it came out of the oven:

I've been using my whole wheat flour for pie crusts and they are so flavorful!  Just use a little less flour so that they don't get too tough.  I've been really pleased with how flaky and tender they still are!  Of course, I still do the cold butter trick, so that probably helps a lot. (Reduce shortening by 2-4 T and add 2-4 T. of sliced cold butter).

**I actually made more filling by using 5 eggs and 1 1/2 cups milk and just adding a little bit more of the seasonings.  I wanted my "tart" to be a little bit thicker.  Depending on the size of your family, you can easily increase the amounts.  Don't worry too much about it, as long as the egg to milk ratio is roughly the will cook up fine!

I've made a lot of quiche in the last few years.  This was REALLY good.  My whole family liked the entire meal.  No complaints, no whines, no exclamations of "Gross!"  It was a beautiful evening!
We were given a bag of GIGANTIC potatoes from our neighbor, so I microwaved one really quick and made hashbrowns to go with our meal.

Wow...I'm hungry right now and that looks really good!  I think I'll go have the last leftover calzone in the fridge.  I love leftovers!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentines Day Cookies

Just wanted to show you why I need to STOP BAKING!

This is what I always make for Valentines Day.  A whole batch only makes 16.  And they take a lot of time, but I LOVE THEM.  And have NEVER tasted a cookie as delicious as these!


They are layered sugar cookies with raspberry jam in the middle, frosting on the top, and drizzled chocolate all over! very good.  You have to make them and then let them sit in an airtight container for at least 4 hours.  They become so soft and yummy!
The top cookies have a small heart cut out of the middle so you can see the jam.

These are the softest, yummiest sugar cookie I have ever tasted.  The recipe is just out of my Betty Crocker cookbook.  The dough is the smoothest dough ever because it only has powdered sugar...not granulated.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours.  

Roll out and cut.  Use a small heart cookie cutter on half of your cookies to make the "tops".  Bake for 7-8 minutes at 375*.  Let cool.  Frost the "cut-out" hearts with pink frosting, spread raspberry jam on the whole hearts.  Then layer, drizzle with melted chocolate, and store in an AIRTIGHT container overnight.  These are AMAZING.  The flavors just melt together!

I'm linking this to the CSI Project:


Monday, February 15, 2010

Stir Fry--Super Easy!

{Meatless Monday}

Just a real quick idea today!

I bought this stir fry packet at the store and also some veggies I don't normally buy: snow peas, fresh green beans, zucchini.  I threw them in with onions, mushrooms, carrots, peas, and some broccoli.  You could also use bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

We ate this over rice and it was delicious and most important:  easy and quick!

I am currently trying to switch my family over to brown love it, hubby is not so sure!  ; )
But I do a mix of 2/3 brown and 1/3 rice.  (Yes, I cook them separately, then mix!) I really want to go to 100% brown rice, but then my dilemma is this:  what do I do with all the rice I have in food storage???  Isn't it ironic that we can't store the stuff that is actually good for us??

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!  My goal this week is to STOP BAKING!! Valentine's weekend was not good for my eating habits!  Too many delicious sugar cookies and beautiful chocolate-cream cheese and raspberry cupcakes....mmmmm....those were good!  Now back to my new year's resolutions! ; )

Monday, February 8, 2010

Creamy Rice with Peas and Mushrooms

{Meatless Monday}

I got this recipe out of Kraft Food and Family magazine that (sadly) used to be free but now is not!  I am just glad that I have at least a dozen old issues in my possession.  They are great for quick and easy ideas.
This recipe is a wonderful one to use up leftover rice.  The recipe actually calls for Minute Rice, but I have always just used leftover rice.

I was in a great hurry the night I cooked this for my family, so I didn't even pause to take a "before" picture of any ingredients! ; )

This is the recipe out of the magazine.  I will explain how I did it a little differently as I go through it.

Creamy Rice with Peas and Mushrooms:
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup Italian dressing (I used sun-dried tomato vinaigrette)
1 pkg (8 oz) mushrooms, sliced
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth  (I really need to find a good vegetable broth!)
1 cup peas (I used almost 2 cups)
2 c. Minute Rice, uncooked (I use leftover rice and use about one cup less broth)
4 oz cream cheese (I use nufchatel--less calories and fat!)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook onion in dressing 4-5 minutes. (I extend the cooking time a little so that the onions are softer.  Nothing incites riot at the dinner table like crunchy onions!)

Add mushrooms.  Cook 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add broth (use only 1/2 cup if rice is already cooked) and peas.  Bring to boil.  Add rice and cream cheese.  Cover.  Remove from heat.  Let stand 8 minutes.  Stir in lemon peel and parmesan before serving.

I happen to have peppers coming out my ears, so I sauteed some up and put them over the top.  They were delicious!! least to me and my hubby!

***I add my rice at the same time as the cream cheese, but I just stir and heat until it is warmed through.  If your rice is already cooked, then you don't have to let it stand so it can absorb all the liquid.  If you happened to use a little too much broth, just keep it on the stove and let it boil off a bit.  This is a really easy recipe that turns out great every time.
Go easy on the lemon peel if you don't love that flavor.  And be warned:  your leftovers will taste more like lemon as time goes by.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Healthy(er) Cake Mix Cookies

You've got to try this!!  They are incredibly yummy and it's so great that you skip the cube of butter!


One chocolate cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup black bean puree**
about 2 T water

Mix together and bake at 350* for 9-10 minutes.  It is quite sticky, so mine turn out like drop cookies.  We made these this weekend and put mint frosting between two of them to make homemade mint oreos.  Man, they were delicious!

**To make the black bean puree you can simply blend up one UNDRAINED can of plain black beans.  I hate the thick slimy liquid they are packed in, so I drain and rinse mine out and then refill the can with water before blending.   I PROMISE you cannot even taste a hint of the beans and it makes them SO moist.  They end up very brownie-like. 

I have also made a chocolate zucchini cake and pumpkin bread using the black bean puree instead of oil.  They were both incredibly moist and probably the best tasting I've ever made of those recipes.
I'll post both of those recipes soon!

I LOVE that you are replacing all of that fat AND adding protein at the same time!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lemony Lentil Soup with Greens

{Meatless Monday}

I have never cooked with lentils or kale before, so I was excited to try this new recipe.  It's one of those soups that you look at and think, "Wow...this is SO healthy"...but you wonder how it's going to TASTE!!  ; )  As I got out all the ingredients, I was showing my daughter how beautiful the kale was.  If you've never bought kale before, it really is beautiful with its deep, deep green color and the ruffly leaves.  My daughter responded with her nose wrinkled up, "It's good for the eyes, but not for the taste buds!"

But I am happy to report that, MIRACULOUSLY, all of my children ate their bowl for dinner.  It had a really good flavor and the kale, even though it had been simmering for 30 minutes, never got all limp and wilty.  My one daughter that has VERY adult taste buds ate the leftovers with me for a couple of days.  The other kids, including my husband ; ), did not eat the leftovers.  And there were SO MANY leftovers that I ended up giving a tupperware full to a friend.  The recipe was so huge that I am going to split it in half here.  It originally calls for 12 cups of broth...I should have known to split it from the beginning, but it said it made 8 servings....yeah, right!  More like 18!

So here's what you need:

1 tsp. canola oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 oz. lentils (they normally come in 16 oz bags)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups chopped kale leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

Cook onion in oil for 5 minutes.  Add the carrot, celery, and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes until carrots are softened.  Add broth, lentils, basil, thyme, and salt.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and add kale.  Cook 30-35 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

Add additional broth if necessary.  Stir in lemon juice and top with grated peel before serving.

I served this with my Easy Whole Wheat bread and I thought the soup was absolutely delicious with little pieces of bread broken into it.