I enjoy making desserts that are authentic (white flour, white sugar) though as I sift through recipe ideas I discard those that start off with 1 c. heavy cream or 1 c. butter. Apple pie, when made with my oil crust, is “middle of the road” on the unhealthy spectrum, but it still clocks in over 500 calories with silly amounts of sugar.
Good morning America was on in my kitchen the other day while I was feeding both kids and grabbing handfuls of peanuts, almonds, and chocolate chips as my chosen, time-limited breakfast of champions (did you know that eating almonds and peanuts together creates a “complete protein”?). There was a segment on Kobe Bryant’s foray into “bone broth” and its life-giving qualities. There’s even a window in NYC’s East Village where a trendy chef sells it in coffee cups. Seriously? Well, mom, you’re way ahead of the game because we’ve been eating this since I was a kid.
Ok.. it’s oatmeal cookie week. The last recipe was SO DELICIOUS but had no redeeming healthy qualities. Take two, for the healthy folks. I’d borrowed the America’s Test Kitchen Light Cooking book from my friend Bri, and then forgotten that I had it and about six months went by. Once recovering it I scanned the pages I’d marked to see if I wanted to make anything before the return. These cookies looked interesting but I didn’t photograph my endeavors because I made them post-4 pm and there was no natural light to take pics. I regretted this later after several friends tasted them and wanted the recipe, STAT. A remake was in order!
Growing up in an Italian-American family introduced certain words to my vocabulary that I thought were commonplace until I got older. “Pastine” was in a pot on the stove every Saturday, and if you every groaned that your stomach hurt a mother (or aunt or mommom) would ask if you had “agita”. Now that I’m a grocery shopper myself, I’ve come to learn that chicken cutlets are merely a thin slice of chicken breast meat, though growing up if my mom told me we were having chicken cutlets for dinner, it meant a very specific recipe.
My mom’s split pea soup is memorable – as in some of my girlfriends are still after the recipe. I bought a bag of split peas figuring if I had them, I’d make the soup. I pulled out my copy of Mom’s recipe and grew tired just reading: soak the peas overnight? Make a roux? Pick a ham bone? There had to be an option out there that I could make during naptime (which is becoming “chase my 3 year old back into her room for an hour because she isn’t napping anymore – time”).
Clean, as in Clean Eating. I’ve gotten this magazine for years and though I’ve never followed their strict meal plan, I use TONS of their recipes. Clean basically means whole grains, no white flour or sugar, generally lower calorie, and chock full of veggies, fruits, lean protein and dairy. These snack bars fit that bill and would be perfect for (probably any) resolutions not to mention a healthy, sticky treat for young kids.
One of the basic underpinnings of economical cooking is to always buy food items as “least prepared” as possible. For instance, frozen chopped potatoes are usually more expensive than buying potatoes and chopping them yourself, because you essentially pay for the processing. When it comes to chicken, buying chicken breast cutlets would be the most expensive, and a whole chicken – you got it, the best buy.
The winter blues are affecting my cooking. Everything seems hard. My friend sent me a link for a pie that had at least five different parts. I told her I was tired just looking at it. And yet here I am, sharing a recipe with you that has multiple parts. The thing is, only one of the parts is actually requires your full attention, and most of the pie can be made ahead.
Pizza is definitely one of my favorite things to make (and eat, for that matter). I make my own dough which, though pretty simple, is an extra step in the process. I love veggie pizzas so I usually have some work to do for the toppings as well (sauteeing mushrooms, roasting eggplant, etc.). Making my own sauce is an extra effort I just can’t get into. No more dishes!
I’m a little resentful of the powerful role that photography plays in today’s cooking. If I search a recipe on Pinterest, the results I’m most likely to click on are the crisp, bright, professional looking ones. Occasionally I’ll look over the recipe on the site I get sent to only to realize it’s poorly written, missing steps, or made with artificial ingredients I don’t routinely use (cake mix, seasoning packets, etc). Why do we make such a direct connection between good photography and good cooking? The two are actually completely unrelated.
I looked back at a few dinners on this blog from PB (pre-baby). I had no qualms about taking on a super involved recipe with tons of ingredients and steps – why not, I had the time and energy. Well I’ve always strived to keep this as authentic as possible, and all I have to share right now is a “cookie” that no one should eat except a teething baby, because it’s free of sweeteners. This means that this recipe only applies to probably 1 percent of you.
My daughter calls these “crunchy” and while they were in the house she’d ask me about every five minutes, “Mom can I please have another crunchy?”. I made a 9×13 of these for NYE and over the course of the afternoon we ate half. Half. Half of the 9×13.
I think my favorite part about the internet is that the answer (or, “an” answer) is just a click away. I ask Google questions all the time. I love typing in “how do you” to the search bar and seeing what their top suggestions are. Apparently a lot of people are trying to avoid Ebola, because that was like the top three suggestions. So maybe you bought way too much bread for dinner and you’re about to toss it but then you think, maybe I’ll make breadcrumbs? Maybe you typed that into Google, and maybe you’re reading this RIGHT NOW.
I love when food is fancy and easy; the trifecta comes when it’s healthy, too. These egg spirals are different from anything I’ve seen out there and I make them almost every time I have someone over for brunch/breakfast. Being a balanced eater means when I eat something sweet/baked, I’d also like something savory/full of protein. Anyone can bake up some muffins or coffee cake but figuring out the protein option is harder; heck no am I going to make omelets to order and a big vat of pre-scrambled eggs makes me think of summer camp. Egg spirals to the rescue!
I loved raisin bran as a teenager; I’d graduated from the sugary stuff and felt quite healthy and mature eating a cereal that touted nutrition. While meandering the organic aisle one day at the grocery store I saw a Bob’s Red Mill bag of “wheat bran”, which is the outer shell of the wheat kernel, removed during processing to make “white flour”. The bran holds most of the fiber and a lot of minerals; a whole bag of the stuff? Nice. You can cook it up like oatmeal but it’s fairly gritty – I like it best added to yogurt and cereal the same way I add ground flax, wheat germ or chia seeds. Needless to say I usually have a bag on hand, and you can’t make bran muffins without it so I suggest you get some!
I like spaghetti squash – it sort of astounds me. It’s amazing that you cook a normal looking winter squash and you end up with golden strands of spaghetti. I bought one at my farmer’s market and for whatever reason, it sat on my countertop for weeks. There are a hundred easy ways to cook it, but I just never got around to it and it started annoying me. I finally cooked it (I pierce with a skewer and place in 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool, halve it lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Shred from stem to tip using the tines of a fork), and placed the golden strands in tupperware in the fridge, where it continued to annoy me and not get eaten. Pinterest to the rescue.
Two words come to mind with this recipe: church, and mom. One day last year when I was pregnant she rushed into church and handed me a bag with a quarter loaf of homemade bread inside, still warm. It was gone before the service ended. In between chews I asked for the recipe, and low and behold a few weeks later she thrusts it into my hand, again mid-church service. Wait, there’s more.
Oh, chicken breasts. I have a feeling that some of you read posts like this creamy corn and bacon spaghetti and think to yourself, “man, that looks good, but I’ll probably make some chicken breasts”. Why? They’re cheap, they’re healthy, and they’re generally well-received by family members. So here’s a recipe that zazzes (not a word) them up with just TWO INGREDIENTS. Salt and pepper don’t count.
This recipe comes directly from my “kitchen equipment” unit in level 1 cooking. We were learning about the pastry blender, as well as the term “cutting in”. I’ve said this before but if you beef up your knowledge of kitchen terms and recipe reading, you’ll blow the door to cooking wide open.