Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cranberry Bran Muffins

Here's a recipe for some super healthy and very yummy muffins that'll fill you right up!  :)  Bran is great for your digestive health, and overall nutrition.  So this is a great way to add some more into your diet!

Cranberry Bran Muffins:
1/2 c. Craisins
2 c.  All Bran Original
1 c. Water
1-1/2 c. Flour
1/2 c. Sugar
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1 c. Milk
2 eggs
2 T. Oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  (350 if high altitude)
2.  Soak craisins and bran in water for about 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in flour, sugar, soda, powder and salt until combined.
4.  Add milk, eggs and oil and stir until well combined.
5.  Grease muffin tins and fill tins.  (Make 12 muffins at sea level and make 15-18 if at high altitude.)
6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

Enjoy hot, warm or room temp!  :)  Yum!

These also freeze super well!  I recommend wrapping them individually before freezing for a quick breakfast or snack!  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Graham Crackers

Do you love graham crackers?  Or do you love things containing graham crackers?  Like cheesecake? S'mores? etc...?  Well, here's a pretty easy recipe that will get you singing baking in the kitchen even in this heat!  :)  Enjoy!!!! 
Graham Crackers:
1c.  Whole Wheat Flour
1c.  All Purpose Flour
1/4c.  Granulated Sugar
1/4c.  Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 t.  Baking Soda
1/2 t.  Baking Powder
1/4 t.  Salt
4 T. Butter, cubed
1 T. Vanilla
1/2 c.  Milk (Skim, or any!)
optional:  Sugar or Cinnamon Sugar for dusting tops of crackers

1.  Mix flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well combined.
2.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the cubes of butter until it is somewhat combined.
3.  Add vanilla and milk and mix with a sturdy spoon until combined.  (You can also use your {clean} hands at this point because it's a stiff dough.:)
4.  Divide dough in half.  Set one half on a floured surface and put the other one in the fridge for now.
 5.  Roll out the dough to your desired thickness (or about 1/8").
 6.  Cut out your desired shapes/sizes of graham crackers. You can go with large rectangles, squares, sticks or funky cookie cutter shapes.  I just used a pizza cutter to make the cutting super quick and easy!  :)
 7.  Place the roller/cut out crackers on a piece of parchment or lined baking sheet.  Dust with some sugar (if desired) and poke holes if desired.  I forgot to get a pic of my poking the holes... You can use a fork or something like a kabob stick--like I did.  :)
8.  Repeat steps 5-7 for other half of dough.
9.  Bake in a 350degree oven for 10-20 minutes depending on thickness of your crackers.  Check them at 10 minutes (or before if you want) and then go from there.  You want them crisp but not burned or limp.
I made some of mine into sticks for this key lime cheeseball dip we have!  Yummy!  :)

I also did some the more traditional way...mostly so we can make s'mores on them! :)

Yum!  Possibilities are endless!
  Have fun!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Easy Chicken Alfredo (with Veggies)

So, I don't know if you've ever had those skillet meals out of the freezer section?  I don't know all the names of the brands, but I know Voila by Birdseye is one of them and PF Chang's now does some too.  The idea is so nice, right?  A (somewhat) balanced meal ready in a bout 10 minutes in your kitchen in one pan.  Sounds good to me.  The only I'm not a huge fan is the price tag and not being able to control the sodium/fat in the meal.  So, here's a meal you can make and then freeze in portions (or make a double batch to freeze).  This is also a pretty quick and yummy meal too.  From start to finish it took me less than 30 minutes tonight to whip it up. : )

Chicken Alfredo (with veggies)
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts
3 T. Butter
4 T. Flour
1 c. Milk
Pasta (your choice)
Optional 1-2 c. Veggies (fresh or frozen)

1.  Start boiling water for your pasta.
2.  Trim and cut up chicken into little bite-size pieces.
3.  Work on pasta, and start sauteing chicken in 1 T. of butter.
4.  Continue to cook chicken until it is no longer pink.  Then add the rest of the butter and flour.  Stir.
5.  Stir in the milk and add some salt/pepper.  Bring to a boil.
6.  Drain pasta when it's done.  Set aside.
7.  Add veggies to the pan with chicken alfredo if desired.  Turn down to medium, cook for about 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
8.  Serve over pasta and enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

I've never been too big of a fan of sugar cookies to be completely honest.  I've always been a HUGE fan of sugar cookie dough, but just not the baked version.  My Mom makes the best of, well, everything!  So of course I would eat some of hers whenever I had the chance.  But I've never been too big of a fan of any sugar cookies I've made.  I'm not sure if I didn't read the instructions carefully enough, or if I ended up either not baking them enough or over baking them...but they just never have tasted that good to me when I make them.  Until now.  So I will share my findings with you and you can check out my summery, and themed cookies I made today!  :)

I'm still not quite sure what convinced me to bake today though...  Maybe it's partially the fact that I could have just gone outside and cooked anything, probably ever cookies, on the sidewalk.  I don't know about you, but it's been super duper hot here this week!  We've had heat advisories (and I know much of the country has too!) and today alone it had a heat index of 105!  So, yeah...don't really know why I wanted to bake, but we do have AC so I guess that's part of the reason.  I can't really tell the heat unless I'm out in I bake.  :)  And apparently ramble on...  :)  On to the cookies...

Sugar Cookie  (Originally Better Homes and Gardens, tweeked by A Delicious Melody:)
  • 2/3
    cup butter, softened
  • 3/4
    cup sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt
  • 2
    egg whites 
  • 1
    tablespoon milk
  • 1-1/2
    teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2
    cups all-purpose flour

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2.  Beat butter and sugar until well combined.
    3.  Beat in baking powder, salt, egg whites, milk and lemon extract until smooth.
    4.  Carefully add about 1/2 c. of flour at a time mixing in each one, until all the flour has been added.
    5.  Refrigerate to cut out later, or scoop and flatten right away and bake for about 7 minutes each batch.
    Yields about 36 cookies.

    Cool completely before frosting.

    Here are the designs I came up with today when frosting them.  :)  I used Royal Icing (actually from a mix...I know that's lazy...but it was convenient...)  and made it regular royal icing for the white parts and then diluted it a tad to be able to mix the colors into as well as just smoothly cover the cookies.  I really like (for the most part) the way they turned out too!!!  :)
    What says summer more than little smiling cookie suns?  :)

    I think these would be super cute for a baby shower.
    (And no, that's not a hint here.)

    I can't wait for football season, so even when I iced them pink and lavender they still looked like footballs to me!  :)


    UNC Chapel Hill  (Their logo is really hard to do....)

    The faceoff...  Who.  Will.  Win?  ;)
    Hope this gives you some inspiration!  And I really hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do!  :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Easy Asian Pasta Salad

This is a super easy salad to make either from scratch or from leftovers from other meals!  It's easy and perfect for hot summer days!  We just ate this on our picnic this afternoon and really enjoyed it!  :)

Easy Asian Pasta Salad:
2 c. Cooked Thin Spaghetti
1 c. Veggies (Brussel Sprouts, etc...)
1/2 c. Cooked Meat or tofu, chopped
2 T. Sesame Seeds
Asian Salad Dressing

1.  Mix together spaghetti, sesame seeds and cooked meet.
2.  Prepare veggies, and then cut into bite-size pieces.  (Wash, Peel and whatever else may be needed.  If using brussel sprouts I recommend sauteing them like this tutorial.)
3.  Mix in veggies and add dressing until it is to your desired consistency.  I used about 3 T. of dressing.  :)
4.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Enjoy!
 Enjoy!  You can even make this a day ahead and refrigerate until serving!  

Oh and this is the dressing I used. (and love for regular salads too!!)
I love this dressing because it's the perfect mix of sesame goodness (think Wendy's old Asian Chicken Salad) and really good ginger-ness! (think good Japanese Steakhouse's Salads) Yum!

Brussel Sprouts (and three ways to fix them!)

It's turns out...that my hubby and I both hadn't ever (at least as far as we could remember) had brussel sprouts before.  So, when I was talking to my Mom a few months ago and she told me that she had recently bought and fixed some of them....I was intrigued and had to go out and buy some.  And after buying them about 10 times more, I can bet you can guess that we both liked them!  :)  So, here are a few ways to cook these little tiny adorable cabbages!  :)

(This post is referring to fresh brussel sprouts because they are the best--however frozen aren't too bad either.  So if you are using frozen thaw slightly in the microwave before chopping and sauteing, k?)

Start by giving them a gentle wash.  A colander works well.  :)
 Then trim the little stemmies off.  Like so.  (I <3 the mini cabbages. SO cute!)
 Now you can either slice them like this for either a cabbage-like salad or a shredded stir fry.
 Here's what a pile of shredded ones looks like...
 From here either do A or B but probably not both. :) 
A.  Put the shredded brussel sprouts (raw) in a bowl and add salt, pepper, vinegar and miracle whip until desired flavor for a cole slaw salad.  I loved hubby not so much...  :)
B.  Gently saute the shredded sprouts in olive oil until just getting greener (trust me, their color perks up) and slightly browned.  Don't over cook or else you (or I) won't like it.  Sprinkle with salt and peppa and serve.  Also delish! :)  You could also just add the raw shredded sprouts to any stir fry. 
Sauted shredded sprouts. 
 Here's option C.  This is probably our very favorite!  You can make it Italian style, stir fry style, Asian pasta salad style.....or any style you like!  :)  Yum!  Just trim the stems and then quarter the sprouts.  
 Saute in some olive oil or veg. oil until more green and slightly golden.  Again, don't over cook...It's better to have them on the crunchy side than the overcooked side.  I hear overcooking them is what has given these little cuties a bad rap.  :(  Sad day.  They are SO good, and good for you!  :)
 Take them off the heat and serve with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese or any way you like! :)
Yum!  Enjoy!!!!!!!!  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tortilla Pizzas

These aren't anything new, but they are SO quick and easy to whip up.  I just had to share them with you because, well, they are SO quick and easy...and yummy.  :)  I just made these for our non-dinner Sunday night.

What you'll need:
Toppings, optional

Just place the tortillas (and size will work) on a baking sheet.  Then spread on some sauce and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  Then you can add toppings if you'd like.  Bake at 400degrees for about 5 minutes or stick under the broiler for an even quicker snack! (just wait until the cheese is melted under the broiler)  Cut up and enjoy!  :)

Yum! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Healthier Pizza Crust?

I have been wanting to experiment with making healthier versions of pizza, and pizza crust, since I love pizza SO much.  So, tonight I added shredded carrots and here's how it turned out....    

I used my regular pizza dough recipe with the changes below...  :)
1 c. shredded carrots mixed with 3/4 c. water and microwaved for about 3 minutes.

Yeast, salt, sugar, oil and flour added.  (I only needed about 1.5 c. of flour.)

I wanted a rustic italian style pizza tonight, so I shaped it like this and then topped it with sauce, cheese and basil.

Ready to eat!  Yum!

Overall, we both liked it.  But I do however think it would be improved if the 1 c. of carrots was cooked and pureed instead of being shredded and partially cooked. So that's what I'll try next time! :)
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