• Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal with Streusel

    DSC_0299

     

    We’ve tried a few baked oatmeal recipes, but this one is the keeper.  It’s like dessert, but it’s breakfast.  How can you go wrong with that?  It tastes a lot like apple crisp, but there’s all this oatmeal in it, so it’s good for you, right? ;)

    Steve loves crunch, so he asked me to double the topping next time. :)  The streusel topping below is the double recipe (but a single for the butter).

    Definitely a company worthy breakfast/brunch!

    Recipe adapted from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles.

    Ingredients:

    Oatmeal:

    • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted (I used Country Crock Light)
    • 3 c. skim milk
    • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 c. brown sugar (if you like your oatmeal less sweet, then add 3/4 c. of brown sugar, or whatever you desire; we like sweet)
    • 1 heaping T. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • 2 20 oz. cans of sugar free apple pie filling, apples chopped
    • 3 c. old fashioned oats
    • 1 c. steel cut oats

    Streusel Topping:

    • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 c. old fashioned oats
    • 2/3 c. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 4 T. unsalted (real) butter, at room temperature, cut into pea size pieces, (do not melt)

    Directions:

    1. Spray a 10 x 10 (4 qt. or 10 x 13) baking dish with cooking spray (or larger pan if doubling the streusel topping).
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk, applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. Chop the apples in the pie filling and stir in the apple pie filling; then add in the old fashioned oats and steel cut oats and combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish and spread oatmeal mixture evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
    3. In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter with the same fork until there are large pea-sized crumbs. If you prepare this the streusel topping the night before, cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, just don’t add it to the oatmeal mixture until you are ready to bake it in the morning.
    4. Bake: Preheat oven to 375*.
    5. Take the plastic wrap off the baking dish and top it with the prepared streusel. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until oatmeal is thoroughly hot and the streusel is golden brown. If you’d like a crisper streusel, set the oven to broil and let it crisp up to your liking.

    Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal with Streusel:
    5star

  • Courtney’s Frittata

    DSC_0267

     

    Our good friend Courtney gave me this recipe.  We had it a potluck breakfast/brunch.  It is beyond good.  Both kiddos loved it, so I knew I needed the recipe.

    I adapted the recipe by replacing the goat cheese with feta, because at least 2 of the 4 of us don’t like goat cheese, and I also replaced the eggs with egg beaters to “lighten” the dish up a bit.

    I made it for dinner and we got 2 dinners out of it, and the leftovers were just as good heated up as the dish was the first night.

    This dish is sooooo good that you can proudly serve it to company!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
    • Butter
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ bundle of asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 c. cottage cheese, drained
    • 8 oz. goat cheese or 6 oz. crumbled feta (reduced fat)
    • 14 eggs or large carton of egg beaters
    • Cavender’s Greek seasoning

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Thaw spinach and squeeze it out in paper towels to get all water out.
    3. Heat butter in a pan and caramelize the onion.
    4. Heat water to boil, add some salt, and blanch asparagus until just tender.
    5. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and sprinkle with spinach through cheese; beat eggs with seasoning (or sprinkle with Cavender’s add the egg beaters and sprinkle with additional Cavender’s).  Pour into dish and swirl contents a little with a knife.
    6. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until just set.

    Courtney’s Frittata:
    5star

  • Easiest Apple Cake Ever

    DSC_0272

     

    This is the easiest apple cake ever!  It’s “healthy” too since the recipe uses a boxed angel food cake mix, and there’s no added fat.  It’s delicious, and everyone loved this treat.

    Top with fresh fruit, like strawberries, or strawberry coulis and add whipped cream.

    Note: when cake cools it does deflate a bit, but it’s just as tasty!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 box of angel food cake mix
    • 1 20 oz. can of apple pie filling (sugar free), cut apples if desired

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl combine the angel food cake mix and the apple pie filling (if you want smaller pieces of apple, cut the apple pieces before mixing with the cake mix), and stir to combine.
    4. Poor batter into the prepared pan and cook for 30-35 minutes or until done (knife will come out clean).
    5. Top with fruit and whipped cream.

    Easiest Apple Cake Ever:
    5star

  • Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

    DSC_0151

     

    Ssssshhhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone that this chocolaty decadent dessert actually has zucchini in it!!!!!  If someone didn’t tell you there was zucchini in it, you would never ever know, and I’m not kidding.  The zucchini just melts into the cake, and you are left with an incredibly moist chocolaty treat!

    As far as desserts go, it’s on the “healthier” side.  My kiddos devoured it (and so did Steve and I)!

    Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 1/2 c. grated zucchini (about 2 medium size)

    Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (or preferred chocolate)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
    3. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
    5. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. The mix will be quite dry… TRUST the recipe; then gently stir in the zucchini and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
    6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake is done.
    7. While cake is cooling, combine butter, milk and sugar in a small pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Allow mixture to boil vigorously for 30 seconds; then remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Immediately pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting so the frosting has a chance to set.

    Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake with Chocolate Frosting:
    5star

  • Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting

    DSC_0263

     

    When I make cinnamon rolls, I usually make my grandmother’s recipe, which is more like a sticky bun/cinnamon roll.  This weekend I tried a new recipe…one with frosting.  It was a hit.  Everyone loved the frosting!  How could you not love a cinnamon roll with frosting?!?!?!

    I lightened the recipe up by using Country Crock Light spread in place of the butter for both the cinnamon rolls and frosting, and it worked very well.

    Recipe adapted from Temp-Tations.

    Ingredients:

    Dough:

    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 (1/4-oz.) packet active dry yeast
    • 1 cup milk, heated until warm
    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, melted
    • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 c. Bisquick baking mix
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 3/4 tsp. salt

    Filling:

    • 5 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. dark brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Frosting:

    • 3 TBSP butter or Country Crock Light, softened
    • 1 c. powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in yeast, milk, and melted butter and let sit for 10 minutes.
    2. Add the remaining Dough ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix into a sticky dough. Transfer to a well-floured surface and knead, adding additional flour, just until no longer sticky. Return ball of dough to the mixing bowl, cover, and put in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
    3. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out dough, until it is a large, 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the surface of the dough to start the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.  Roll the rolling pin over the brown sugar and cinnamon to press all of the filling into the dough (and it makes it easier to roll).
    4. Line two jelly roll sheets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
    5. Grab the short side of the dough, and roll entire length of dough into a pinwheel, pressing firmly as you go. Slice rolled pinwheel into 1 1/4 inch thick rounds and evenly spread about 9 (3 rows of 3) onto the jelly roll sheet.  You may need to pinch the ends so the roll doesn’t unroll.  One sheet may have fewer rolls, but that’s ok. Cover and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
    6. Preheat oven to 400* and bake cinnamon rolls 18-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
    7. Combine melted butter and powdered sugar to create the frosting. If frosting is hard, microwave 10-15 seconds to soften. Spoon frosting over cinnamon rolls while still hot, and serve.
    8. The next day, microwave your rolls for 15-30 seconds, and it tastes like it’s right out of the oven.

    Cinnamon Rolls with Frosting:
    5star

     

  • Beer Mac-n-Cheese and Beer Bread

    DSC_0256

    If you like homemade mac-n-cheese you’ll definitely enjoy this version made with beer and bacon.  It’s so creamy and so flavorful.  If you don’t like bacon, leave it out, but bacon is a favorite in our house.  It was kid approved by the man-cheese eating kiddo (the non mac-n-cheese eating kiddo wasn’t home for dinner).  I added chipotle Tabasco to mine and that put it over the top for me!

    Beer bread: we’ve been making it for quite some time.  It is beyond good and beyond delicious and beyond easy!  We usually make a loaf, but this time we opted to make biscuits.  We’ll stick with the loaf from here on out because the biscuits didn’t have the same moist tenderness that the loaf has.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

    Beer Bread recipe from Food Network.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow pasta
    • 12 oz. Shiner Bock (or favorite beer)
    • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used cream cheese with Greek yogurt)
    • 1 lb. cheddar cheese (not preshredded)
    • 1 c. crumbled bacon

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese directions:

    1. Place a large pot water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add generous amounts of salt and add pasta; cook pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, pour a bottle of beer in a skillet. (Choose a light crisp beer that you like to drink.) Turn the heat on high, and add the cream cheese in medium sized chunks. As the beer starts to simmer, break the cream cheese into pieces with a whisk and whisk into the beer.  Add the shredded cheese and whisk until completely smooth.
    3. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into the cheese sauce. Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another 3 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
    4. To serve, scoop the beer mac and cheese into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese:
    4star

     

    Beer Bread

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. self rising flour
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 12 oz. bottle of Shiner Bock beer (or favorite beer)
    • 3 TBSP melted butter

    Beer Bread Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
    2. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.

    Beer Bread:
    5star

  • Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting

    DSC_0132

     

    These muffins are beyond delicious.  They are moist and flavorful and you would never know that they are healthyish!

    Think banana bread meets maple frosting.

    Think muffin meets cupcake.

    Think delicious.

    I combined two different recipes to create these muffins.

    Muffin recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  Frosting Recipe from Crazy for Crust.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 4 large ripe bananas (about 1 3/4 c. mashed)
    • 1 c. packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted and cooled
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on muffins before baking, optional

    Frosting Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. maple extract
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • Milk or heavy whipping cream

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
    3. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork. Place the mashed bananas in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    4. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
    5. For the frosting: whisk melted butter and powdered sugar. Add extracts, whisk until smooth. Add milk or heavy whipping cream (to desired consistency…start with just a small amount (1-2 tsp.) at a time and add more, if necessary), whisk until smooth. Immediately frost completely cooled muffins.

    Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting:
    5star

  • Banana Nutella Swirl Cake with Nutella Frosting

    DSC_0077

     

    Bananas and Nutella.

    Need I say more?

    It’s a great use for overripe bananas, and this cake is well, think banana bread meets Nutella….perfection!

    This cake is so good.  Steve said “I’d serve this to company”.

    Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. all-purpose Gold Medal flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 c. vanilla Greek yogurt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (to equal 1 c.)
    • 1/2 c. Nutella

    For the Nutella Frosting:

    • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 c. Nutella
    • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • 2-3 TBSP milk
    • 1/2 tsp. hazelnut (or vanilla) extract, optional

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix in the mashed bananas.
    4. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until flour disappears. Spread cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Swirl the Nutella into the cake using a knife of toothpick.
    5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 35-40 minutes, so keep checking), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.
    6. While the cake is cooling, make the Nutella frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and Nutella on high until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat on high until powdered sugar is incorporated. Add the milk and hazelnut extract, if using. Beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency. If you need to add more milk, add a little bit at a time.
    7. Frost the cake with Nutella frosting. Cut into squares and serve.

    Banana Nutella Swirl Cake with Nutella Frosting:
    5star

  • Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

    DSC_0065

     

    This dish is a one skillet dish…yes even the pasta!  It is extremely flavorful, and we loved the bold lemony garlicky sauce.  Everyone had seconds, even Ellie, who doesn’t eat much pasta.  It’s so good, that it tasted restaurant quality…yes, it’s that good!

    Ethan proclaimed: “This is a keeper”.  There you have it.

    We will most definitely be having this dish again and again.

    Since we love garlic, lemon, and Italian seasoning, I added way more than the original recipe.  If you’re not into those bold flavors as much, reduce those amounts to your liking.

    Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, cubed
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 TBSP oil
    • 2 heaping TBSP of minced garlic (I use pre-minced garlic in a jar
    • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
    • 2 1/2 c. water
    • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • Zest of three lemons
    • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 lemons, use the same ones you just zested)
    • 12 ounces penne pasta (I use Barilla or Ronzoni Smart Taste)
    • 2-3 c. chopped fresh broccoli florets
    • 3/4 c. milk
    • 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch
    • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    1. Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the chicken and saute, stirring frequently, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much oil/liquid in the skillet as possible.
    2. Keep the skillet on medium heat and add another teaspoon of oil if needed (I usually don’t but you’ll want to keep an especially close eye on the garlic). Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add the water, broth, lemon juice and pasta. Stir to combine.
    3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally just to keep the pasta from sticking, for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is tender – it will cook for a few more minutes in the next step. (Depending on the type of pasta you use, your cooking time may differ, so keep an eye on the pasta so you don’t overcook it).  There will be a bit of liquid left in the skillet; that’s ok.
    4. Add the broccoli and lemon zest. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk together the milk and cornstarch.
    5. Uncover the skillet and stir in the milk mixture along with the Parmesan cheese and reserved chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes.
    6. Season with additional salt and pepper (this is really important – don’t skip this step!) and serve.

    Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli:
    5star

  • Apple Zucchini Muffins

    DSC_0063

     

    These muffins are healthy, delicious, and kid approved.  Need I say more?  I admit I was a bit skeptical given how little fat is in the muffins, but they turned out extremely moist and flavorful.

    They freeze wonderfully.  After they cool, I simply put them in a freezer bag, and then each night I pull 2 out (one for each kiddo), and put them in a sandwich bag for their school lunch the next day.  Perfect!

    Recipe adapted from Two Peas and their Pod.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
    • 3/4 c. dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1 c. buttermilk
    • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 TBSP oil (melted coconut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 c. grated apple (approximately 2 Granny Smiths)
    • 1/2 c. grated zucchini, moisture slightly squeezed out
    • 1 c. chopped peeled apple (approximately 1 Granny Smith)

    For the Topping: use more if needed

    • 4 TBSP crunchy sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    Directions:

    1.  Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all-spice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the grated apple, zucchini, and chopped apples.
    3. To make the topping, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir well.
    4. Fill the prepared muffin pan with muffin batter, filling each cup about 3/4 the way full. Sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool to room temperature and serve.

    ***Note-these muffins freeze well

    Apple Zucchini Muffins:
    5star