String Beans with Shallots

May 3rd, 2010 // Dinner, Healthy, Recipes, Sides

While strolling in the produce section of the market, my kid asked if he we could buy string beans. I was astonished and delighted! We usually just steam them but in the interest of broadening his palette, I asked if he’d like to try a new recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook. Whenever I suggest a recipe like this I always show him the picture. He checked it out and obliged so we got cooking. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I really love all of Ina Garten’s cookbooks. This following recipe is a modified version of her String Beans with Shallots recipe. I modified it by making it with less shallots (I didn’t want to push my luck) and by upping the oil and decreasing the butter (healthier). My kid devoured these beans!

String Beans with Shallots Recipe

Prep Time: 5 mins  Cooking Time: 10 mins

1 pound string beans (ends removed)
sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 large shallots (diced)
fresh pepper

Blanch the string beans in a pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes only. Drain immediately and run very cold water over them until they are no longer hot. Meanwhile, heat the butter an oil in a large saute pan and saute the shallots on medium heat until translucent and browning. Add the drained string beans to the saute pan and toss. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Heat for only a moment or two and serve. Serves 4 to 6.String Beans with Shallots

Apple Turnovers

May 2nd, 2010 // Breakfast, Desserts, Easy Cheats, Recipes

Apple Turnovers

We are apple fanatics in this house. We’ll eat ‘em whole, peeled, unpeeled, sliced, diced – you name it. We’re especially fond of anything that combines apples and cinnamon to make a warm, sweet treat. This morning I had the bright idea to use the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets in my freezer to make “homemade” breakfast pastries. This apple turnover recipe is as easy as it is delicious and as you can see, it was a blast for my kid to make.

Apple Turnover Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 20 mins

3 large granny smith apples (peeled and cubed)
1 lemon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon  brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pasty Sheet
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
flour for rolling

Sprinkle counter with flour and allow one puff pastry sheet to thaw on top of flour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl squeeze lemon over apples and toss to coat. Add sugars, apple pie spice and flour. Mix together and set aside. Roll out puff pastry sheet and cut into 6 square shaped pieces. Scoop apple mixture into the center of each square divide the mixture evenly. Fold over squares to form a triangle shape and crimp at the edges. Press with a fork to seal. Arrange on a Silpat covered baking sheet (parchment paper will work too). Meanwhile, whisk together egg and water to make egg wash. Brush each triangle with egg wash. Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit into each triangle and cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve as a warm breakfast treat or heat it up later and serve with a scoop of ice cream for desert.Apple Turnovers

Chicken & Mushroom Bolognase

May 1st, 2010 // Dinner, Healthy, Recipes

Chicken & Mushroom Bolognase

I find that it is easier to get my kid to try new things when they are mixed in with old favorites. Since my kid loves pasta, I decided to introduce mushrooms into this Bolognese Recipe and see if he’d “bite.”  (Pun intended!)  To my surprise, he actually asked to taste the mushrooms when they were still raw. For the record he was not a fan, but once they were cooked down into the sauce he dug right in. Important note about this recipe: to ensure that the chicken in this bolognase recipe was not too dried out, I went to Whole Foods and asked for 1/2 pound of dark meat and 1/2 pound of white meat then I combined the two at home. I do not recommend making it with all white meat.

Chicken & Mushroom Bolognese

Prep Time: 10 mins  Cooking Time: 30 to 40 mins

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onions (finely diced)
1 garlic clove (crushed)
2 carrots (peeled and diced)
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 pound ground chicken (light and dark meat)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1 15 oz jar of good tomato sauce OR canned diced tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese (for serving)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in garlic, carrots and mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add chicken. Cook until chicken is just browned, stirring to crumble. Add oregano, broth, milk and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until much of the liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta sprinkled with cheese.

PS: I like to use Rao’s brand sauce. It’s pricey, but you can really taste the difference.Chicken & Mushroom Bolognase

Multigrain Blueberry Muffins

Apr 30th, 2010 // Breakfast, Easy Cheats, Healthy, Snacks

Multigrain Blueberry Muffins

If you’ve been following the blog, you already know that my kid is the Muffin Man. He wants to bake muffins every single morning. We’ve tested various recipes and although I’m all for making things from scratch, I swear by the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix as a base for the best multigrain blueberry muffin recipe. These little goodies came out so perfectly moist and delicious. After devouring a few, we put the remainder in a pretty tin purchased at Cost Plus (only $4) and brought them to a friend’s house for a play date. It was the perfect little healthy snack.

Multigrain Blueberry Muffin Recipe

2 cups TJ Multigrain Pancake Mix
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup frozen blueberries barely thawed

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients: pancake mix, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg. Set aside. In a smaller bowl whisk together eggs, apple sauce and vegetable oil. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add blueberries. Mix together but do not over stir. Scoop batter into well greased mini muffin pans. Cups should be almost full. Bake for 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. For a moist muffin, be careful not overcook! Makes 24 – 30 mini muffins.Multigrain Blueberry Muffins

Quick Spanish Rice

Apr 29th, 2010 // Dinner, Healthy, Recipes, Sides

Quick Spanish Rice

Now on to Part 2 of the rice and beans combo. This Spanish Rice Recipe is my first attempt at making a healthier version of Spanish Rice without a “flavor” packet. I figured it had to be relatively easy to do considering that Uncle Ben makes quick cooking brown rice. This took just about the same amount of time as those boxed “flavored” rices but is much tastier and far better for you and your kiddos.

Quick Spanish Rice Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins  Cooking Time: 10 to 15 mins

2 carrots (peeled and diced)
1 shallot (peeled and diced small)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup instant brown rice
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 cup good salsa
salt and pepper to taste

Saute shallots in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Pour in rice and stir to combine. Let cook for 2 minutes then add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and add carrots. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 10 mins. Add salsa and stir to combine. Recover and cook for a few more minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.Quick Spanish Rice