• Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal with Streusel

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    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

  • Easiest Apple Cake Ever

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    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

  • Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Maple Frosting

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    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

  • Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

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    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

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    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

  • Jerk Chicken Sliders

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    Oh man are these sliders delicious!!!!  Everyone devoured them, and asked for more!  I love finding new recipes that everyone enjoys.  Yay!!

    We’ve made these with the pineapple mango salsa (recipe below), with the pineapple salsa (recipe below minus the mango), and with just the mango salsa (recipe below minus the pineapple).  Use what you have on hand or what you like best.  It’s all good!

    Recipe adapted from Chef in Training.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 dinner rolls (I used the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and you can use the leftover rolls for the Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls!)

    Jamaican Jerk Sauce

    • ½ bunch green onions, chopped
    • ½ c. peanut oil
    • ½ c. vinegar
    • 3 TBSP ground allspice
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP Ketchup
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Pineapple Salsa

    • ¼ pineapple, peel and diced
    • ¾ mango, diced
    • ½ red onion, finely diced
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped
    • juice from 1 lime
    • salt to taste

    Directions:

    1. Mix the Jamaican Jerk Sauce ingredients until smooth.  Place the sauce in a large Ziploc bag and then add the chicken.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
    2. Prepare the Pineapple Salsa.
    3. Grill the chicken; then cut each breast in half (or smaller, if necessary).
    4. Slice each roll in half, place chicken on roll then top with Pineapple Salsa.

    Jerk Chicken Sliders:
    5star

  • Chicken Carnitas Tacos

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    My new favorite chicken tacos!!!!!!!!! These tacos have a slight kick, so if you don’t like spice reduce the chili powder.

    I prefer to cook boneless chicken in a crockpot on HIGH for 2 hours, but you can always lengthen the cooking time and cook on low (the usual cooking time conversion is when you cook on low you double the high cooking time, so in this case it would be low for 4 hours).  The original recipe call for cooking on low for 6-8 hours.

    Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
    • 3/4 c. orange juice (~2 oranges)
    • 1/4 c. lime juice (~2 limes)
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, torn
    • Toppings: Salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, etc.
    • Limes, cut into wedges

    Directions:

    1. Place the chicken in the crockpot.
    2. In a bowl mix the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper together and then pour over chicken.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or until tender.
    4. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Reserve the juices.
    5. Spread the chicken out in a single layer on a baking sheet and add 1/4 c. of juices and broil until it starts getting crispy, about 5 minutes. Mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices, mix everything up and broil for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices.
    6. Assemble the tacos on the tortillas with the chicken carnitas along with the  cilantro salsa and whatever toppings you like and serve with the lime wedges.

    Chicken Carnitas Tacos:

    5star

     

  • Mexican Quinoa Salad

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    Don’t be scared of quinoa if you’ve never had it.  Quinoa is very healthy for you and has lots of fiber and protein, and it’s actually very tasty.  There are a couple of varieties: red and white.  I personally prefer the red just because it visually looks more appealing and looks more gourmet.  The red quinoa is harder to find and is generally more expensive than the white, but use what you like.

    This salad is very flavorful and makes for an excellent side dish.  It’s also great for a picnic or potluck because it doesn’t need to be kept cold.

    Recipe adapted from Jeanette’s Healthy Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. uncooked quinoa (whatever color you prefer)
    • 2 c. water
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 3 c. corn
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 1/2 c. cooked black beans
    • 1 c. cojita or feta cheese, crumbled
    • 3 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
    • 3 TBSP scallions, minced
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • a few dashes of cayenne pepper (can omit)
    • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    • sea salt, to taste
    • fresh ground pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in cold water before cooking.  Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
    2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute corn and garlic until corn has some brown spots (that’s the caramelization that makes the corn even sweeter). Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the quinoa and the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking with additional chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

    Mexican Quinoa Salad:

    5star

  • Quick Chicken Cacciatore

    I really love chicken cacciatore, but it takes too long to make.  I found a recipe that reminded me of chicken cacciatore, and it took a fraction of the time to cook.  Everyone devoured their dinners.  Win, win!

    Note: the original recipe (and as pictured) called for celery, but I’ll omit the celery next time.  Add mushrooms if you’d like.

    Adapted from “Chicken Creole” from The Southern Lady Cooks.

    Ingredients:

    • Olive oil
    • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • 2 zucchini, chopped
    • 6-8 mushroom, sliced (if desired)
    • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 c. chicken broth
    • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
    • Serve over egg noodles

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil and saute chicken pieces until no longer pink.  Remove and keep warm.
    2. In the same skillet, saute the onion, green pepper, and zucchini in the remaining oil until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and seasonings.
    3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Return chicken to the pan; heat through.
    4. Serve over hot egg noodles.

    Quick Chicken Cacciatore:

     

     

  • Bean and Cheese Burritos – Freezable!

    These burritos are soooo good and the fact that they are freezable are going to be life savers when the kiddos’ swim schedule kicks into high gear and we need nutritious and quick meals.  If you wanted to add meat, just substitute meat for the Morning Star veggie crumbles.

    This recipe is adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    Rice:
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 c. long grain white rice
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 lime, juiced
    Filling:
    • 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
    • 3 TBSP tomato paste
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 package of Morning Star veggie crumbles
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 6-8 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas (the ones boosted with fiber)
    • Shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterrey jack)
    • Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, etc.

    Directions:

    1. For the rice, bring the broth/water, rice, garlic, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 16-18 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat, keeping it covered, and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. When ready to use, add the cilantro and lime juice and fluff with a fork.
    2. For the filling, combine the broth and half of the beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork until the beans are coarsely mashed with the broth (reserve the whole beans for later). In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil until hot and rippling. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and chili powder and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the Morning Star veggie crumbles and cook until done about 6-8 minutes.
    3. Stir the mashed bean mixture into the meat mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the rest of the whole beans, lime juice and salt. Remove from heat. If serving immediately, follow the instructions in the next paragraph. If freezing for later, let the bean mixture and the rice cool to warm room temperature before proceeding.
    4. Wrap the tortillas in between damp paper towels and microwave until the tortillas are soft, about 1 minute. Arrange the tortillas on the counter and divide the rice, bean filling and cheese evenly among the tortillas and place the filling in the bottom 1/4 of the tortilla facing you.  You can also add salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, etc. to your liking.
    5. Fold the sides of the tortilla toward each other over the filling while lifting the bottom edge over, rolling into a burrito shape. Serve immediately (if desired).
    6. For freezer burritos, wrap each burrito in plastic wrap. Place burritos in a gallon-sized freezer ziploc bag. To reheat, unwrap the burrito from the plastic wrap and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Poke the burrito with the tines of a fork all over and continue microwaving in 30-second increments until heated through.

    Bean and Cheese Burritos: