Breakfast, Brunch

Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal Muffins

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I like some variation in the morning.  Normally it is oatmeal with honey, almond milk and black pepper–yes, black pepper–try it, it tastes great! But I digress.  This is about fresh blueberries in your oatmeal muffin.  Good Morning never tasted so good.  I have tried several oatmeal muffin recipes and I have settled on this one–moist, yet a little crumbly for the almond meal.  I hope you like it, as much I did.

Yields about 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of almond meal

0.5 cups of quick cooking oatmeal

0.25 cups of AP flour

1 tbsp of baking soda

1tbsp of baking powder

2 eggs

0.5 cups of oil

0.5 cups of almond milk

0.5 water

0.25 cups of honey

zest of 1 lemon or 1tsp of lemon extract (optional)

1 pint of blueberries

sliced almonds for topping the muffins

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl

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Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowls or large measuring cup

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Slowly incorporate wet into dry.  The batter will be runny

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Fold in the blueberries

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Portion into a lined muffin pan.  There might be some extra batter, I put it in a ramekin and bake it off.  (serve this one with vanilla ice cream for a late night treat).

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Garnish the tops with sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-35 mins, till a toothpick comes out clean.

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Fish & Seafood, Gluten-free, Italian, Lent, Quick Dinner

Basil-Scallion Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash


I recently discovered spaghetti squash and I have fallen in love with it.  While it definitely does NOT taste like pasta, it certainly feels like you are indulging in it.  You can twirl long strands of golden squash in sauce and eat it out of a bowl and feel full–not a bad deal ! Then, shrimp was on sale and I had to finish up the basil and scallions in the fridge, and so this dish came to being.  May I just say, that sometimes, throwing things in together really work ! I hope you will try this dish.

Ingredients:

1, medium sized spaghetti squash

1lb of medium, peeled, de-veined  raw shrimp

7-8 scallions

1 bunch of basil

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 can of diced tomatoes (mine had garlic, basil and oregano added)

1/2 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

2 tsp of red pepper flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Heat oven to 400F

Cut squash in half, length-wise.  Remove seeds and drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add salt and roast the squash cut side down on a baking sheet for 40-50 mins till the squash is fork tender and you can run your fork through the flesh to produce “spaghetti”.

  
 Chop the scallions and set aside the green parts.


Heat 1Tbsp of oil in a skillet, add the garlic and white part of the scallions and saute till pale.

Next add the tomato, broth and the red pepper flakes.

  
 Simmer for 5mins and then add the shrimp.

Shrimp cooks very quickly, so keep an eye on it and the minute they are pink, remove them from the pan. Keep cooking the sauce till desired consistency.  

   Add the shrimp back into the pan, once the sauce is thick and take off heat.
Chop the basil and mix with the green part of the scallions.


Add the herb mixture once the dish in off the heat and stir to combine.  The idea is to keep the greens, looking green and rather raw–tastes really fresh and wonderful !

Spoon shrimp and sauce over spaghetti squash and enjoy !

  

Dinner, Fish & Seafood

Lemon-Pepper Cod with Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus


Another speedy weeknight dinner.  Once again, you can have an elegant and tasty dinner on the table in under 1hr ! You can even entertain with this meal, just add some starch (rice/orzo/quinoa/bread/potato) with a glass a wine !

Heat oven to 375F

Pat and dry cod fillets and season with salt, lemon pepper, parsley and paprika


Wrap asparagus either individually or in bundles with prosciutto

  
 Arrange everything on a tray (separate trays for veggies and fish) and bake for 20 mins

Serve hot !

Breakfast, Brunch

Gluten-free Blueberry Corn Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (one 6-ounce cup) vanilla yogurt Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Blueberries (fresh or frozen ones that have been thawed)
  • sugar for sprinkling.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (You can use liners, but I find the muffins can stick to the papers.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal,GF  flour, oatbran, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, beat the eggs, yogurt, milk, honey, and  oil and whisk to combine well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just incorporated. Add the zest and mix again.
  6. I like to use my ice cream scoop to fill the 12 muffin cups easily and without mess.
  7. Add  4-6 berries into each cup.
  8. Sprinkle sugar over each cup.
  9. Then bake 12-15 minutes or until the muffins are just cooked through. As all ovens vary, check a few minutes early; they will cook quickly at the high oven temperature and over-baking will create a dry baked good.   
Lunch, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Chicken and Asparagus roll-ups

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My favorite spring vegetable is Asparagus and I can never think of enough ways to cook it–not that you really need to do much to them if they are super delicious.  So I thought about making this recipe.  I had read several variations on this and I adjusted it to fit my busy schedule…..so here goes !

Preheat oven to 400F

Season a bundle of asparagus with salt, lemon pepper and red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil

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on the other hand, pat dry 1 lb of thinly sliced chicken breasts ( about 5 pieces in a packet) and season both sides with salt.

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wrap about 4-5 asparagus spears in the chicken breast and secure with a toothpick.

 

Place the rolls, seam side down in a glass baking dish and season the top sides of the chicken breast with Montreal steak seasoning and drizzle olive oil.

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Bake for about 20min till the chicken is cooked through.  Cook time might vary based on the thickness of the chicken slices.

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Enjoy warm with a bowl of soup or some buttered pasta !

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Comfort food, Soups

A Refreshing Spring Soup

I am not a fan of cold soups. But I REALLY love soups, so I try to make very light, refreshing soups for the warmers months.  Like most of my recipes, you can doctor it up to you and your family’s taste.  I was clearing out my pantry and I all I had were my emergency can of mixed vegetables and a two chicken breasts.  So I made this lovely, light soup—perfect for a relaxing spring evening.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion chopped

2 cans of mixed vegetables ( feel free to use fresh seasonal vegetables here)

cubed, chicken breast

Chicken stock enough to cover all the ingredients

1 Bay leaf

salt, pepper, rosemary (fresh or dried) and a splash of lemon juice (all according to your taste)

Method:

Saute all the onions and vegetables in a few drops of olive oil, enough to soften the veggies and give them a little light coating–remember the key to this soup is light !

Then add the chicken pieces along with salt, pepper, lemon juice and rosemary and saute till the chicken is lightly cooked.

Fill the pot with chicken stock to cover all the goodies and simmer on low till the chicken is cooked through.

You could add some rice/orzo or other short cut pasta at this point to add more body to the soup, but I did not.

Serve hot or warm with a crusty slice of bread !

 

 

Salad

Spinach Salad with a Strawberry, Basil, Red Wine reduction

I bought 2 lbs of strawberries and living by myself you only eat so many berries before they start taking a turn for the worse.  My solution to salvage fruit/veggies that could get spoiled, is to cook them.  They retain their flavor, its healthy and you won’t have to throw out food.  This is a warm reduction that you add to fresh baby spinach.  It’s a warm salad.  Feel free to add almonds, bacon bits, and even more fresh fruit like apples and pears.  Here goes.

Ingredients:

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp of fennel seeds

I medium onion sliced

1/2 cup red wine (any red wine–I normally use up half opened bottles)

sliced strawberries ( I had about 1.5 cups, use as much as you like, but keep in mind the more you use, the sweeter the reduction)

5-7 leaves of  fresh basil, sliced

Fresh cracked black pepper ( no salt).

Baby Spinach, enough to build a salad of your serving choice.

Method:

1.Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and when warm, add the fennel.  Stir for a few secs till fragrant and then add onions

2. Saute onions till pale and then add red wine and allow to reduce, stirring in between to prevent sticking to the bottom

3.  Add sliced strawberries and basil and allow to reduce.  The strawberry will cook down and the sugars will allow the onions to carmelize.

4. Taste the reduction, if it is too sweet, you can counter-act the sweetness with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.

5. Toss warm (not hot) reduction with baby spinach leaves and add freshly cracked black pepper.  I garnished with honeyed oats (granola would work too !!!)

 

Salad

Asparagus Egg Salad

I first read this recipe a few years ago in the New York Times.  I thought it was a little different but the ingredients were quite expensive.  I am not exactly in the position to add shaved truffles to my salad !  So this is my everyday adapted version of a what was once a very fancy salad.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of Asparagus cut into ~1/2 inch pieces

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 Tbsp of drained capers

2 tsp of chopped parsley

Lemon juice ( please use as much as you like, I like my salads tart and lemony so I added as much as 1 Tbsp)

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Bring water to a boil in a small pot and add one large egg and boil for 15min till hard-boiled.  You could go a little shy of that if you prefer a soft and runny yolk–I don’t.

Meanwhile, cut asparagus and gently heat through in a pan with lemon juice and olive oil.

Chop parsley and capers together, the salt and tartness from the capers blend in with the oils of the leaves and makes for a great ‘gremolata’.

Add, the gremolata to the pan and heat through.  The idea is to heat the ingredients through and mix them–not fry them.

While the asparagus cools, chop the hard boil egg and add to asparagus.

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy !

Dessert, Pastry, Treats

A very special Carrot Cake

Last week was “the boy’s” birthday :P.  Now, he is a man who is happiest with a simple yellow sheet cake with chocolate frosting.  Le Brantome would not work for him.  So I asked, “what kind of cake do you want for your birthday”.  He said, “Carrot Cake.”  Huh ! I did not even know he liked Carrot Cake–that is what his mother said too.  Well, birthday boy gets what he wants. Thank you to “The New Boston Globe Cookbook”

ingredients

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1/2 tsp of ginger

1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/4 orange juice

1 pound grated carrots

Frosting: 8oz cream cheese, 1 stick butter, 1 3/4 powdered sugar 1tsp of vanilla, 1tsp orange zest, red sugar crystals.

Process:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and butter and flour a 9×3 round cake pan.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl

3. With a wooden spoon mix sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice till smooth and creamy.

4. Gently fold in dry ingredients and grated carrots.

5. Add batter to pan and tap gently to remove air bubbles.

6. Bake for 65min till brown and the top springs back when touched.

7.  Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

8. In a mixer beat together cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla.  I removed a portion of the frosting and mixed it with the zest and red sugar crystals.  This orange/red frosting is for just the top of the cake.

9. Frost and dig in.

Note.  Feel free to add raisins and nuts to the cake–the boy does not like them so I did not add it.