Whole-Wheat Apple PancakesI

Some of you may know that when I make pancakes, I add water and shake. They’re pretty good, right? More importantly they are easy! I think thought making homemade pancakes was more along the lines of baking. And I’m NOT a baker! I just don’t have the patience.  But when my November issue of FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE came with a recipe from Ellie Krieger for Whole-Wheat Apple Pancakes, I was  willing to step outside of my comfort zone.

Ellie Krieger’s recipe appealed to me for many reasons. One she’s a dietician as well as a chef. Second, it involved whole wheat flour and apples!

They were AMAZING!! Daken actually ate three (not small ones either), and Matthew ate five! They will definitely take their turn for weekend breakfasts, alongside pb&J pancakes, egg sandwiches, egg skillets, and biscuits and gravy.

Not only were they delicious, but they were super easy. Daken did most of it (except the dicing and the measuring)!

I preheated the oven to 250 degrees and place a cookie sheet in it to warm. Then Tony diced the apple (one medium). The recipe called for me to put the apple in a microwave-safe bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap, and cook on high for about two minutes until the apple was soft. I didn’t do this, and the apple still was soft.

Daken mixed 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. In another bowl Daken mixed 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, 3/4 cup skim milk, 2 large eggs, and 1 tablespoon honey. After that was mixed, we slowly added the wet ingredients with the dry; Daken mixed them together before adding in the diced apple.

In my wonderfully huge skillet, over medium heat, I cooked them like normal. When they were done, I kept them warm on the cookie sheet in the oven.

I served the pancakes with pure maple syrup and bacon. SO GOOD!! Breakfast for dinner was a hit!

And since it was a healthy meal, here are the details:
Per 2 pancakes with 2 tablespoons maple syrup: 230 calories;  3 g fat (1 g saturated); 75 mg. cholesterol; 290 mg. sodium; 46 g. carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; and 8 g protein.

Barbecue Roasted Salmon and Roasted Corn and Garlic Couscous

So I thought that I wasn’t a fan of salmon. Boy, was I wrong!

Tony loves salmon, but I have never cooked it before because I didn’t like it. After taking a break from cooking (our schedule has been SO crazy, but that’s another story), I decided that I really needed to start choosing healthier options. If you know me, you know I could basically live on potato chips!  Well, what’s better than fish? When we made tilapia, the boys loved it. So I found this recipe for salmon and thought, why not? It’s worth a try. And if I don’t like it, I knew I’d like the veggies and couscous!

This summer (I’m getting to the recipe!) I watched Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller in the mornings on Food Network. I have tried some, so I thought I would check out her recipes again. I found an easy recipe under an episode called “To Your Health.” I figured, hey, I can still enjoy my Hawaiian Onion Krunchers!

Barbecue Roasted Salmon was incredibly easy, and AMAZING. Matthew wasn’t digging it, but Tony and Daken sure did! Me, too, actually.

The recipe calls for 4 6-oz salmon filets (I got mine at the Fresh Market and they were delicious!). Here’s the rest of the recipe:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

You will need to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then I sprayed a 8×8 inch pan with the cooking spray and added the fish. In a small bowl, I added the rest of the ingredients. After whisking the liquid and spices together, I poured the mixture over the salmon and flipped the fillets a couple of times to make sure both sides were coated. I then added the filets for 15 minutes. I tested the salmon with a fork. It wasn’t cooked 100%, but it was still delicious!

As for the side dish, I made Roasted Corn and Garlic Couscous which was a great compliment to the fish. Tony even added the extra sauce to his couscous. Yum! This recipe was another one courteous of Robin Miller.

I started out by roasting one package frozen corn along with four cloves of garlic (wrap the peeled garlic in foil) in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. You could use corn-on-the-cob if you’d prefer. I did have to keep checking the corn to make sure it didn’t burn. I had put a sheet of parchment paper down on the cookie sheet so that helped.

After the corn and garlic had roasted, I added them to a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (my sodium intake is from my chips!). The burner was on medium-high and I waited for the liquid to boil. Once boiling, I took the pan off of the heat and added one cup couscous. I covered for 5 minutes, before “fluffing” with a fork. Then I added two chopped green onions and a couple of tablespoons of pimentos.

The combination of the citrusy salmon with the roasted garlic and corn was amazing! The salmon was so soft while the corn and couscous added a different texture. The sauce for the salmon was a little spicy, but not bad.

Overall, it was delicious–and healthy! Definitely a 5 out of 5 for both taste and ease! Let me know if you try it!

Souper Sundays: This week is Clam Chowder

A tradition that Tony and I started a couple of years ago was what we called Souper Sundays. The first Sunday of football season kicks it off, and it lasts until the first weekend in March. It’s a tradition that we sincerely hope will last even when our boys are grown and have kids of their own. Last year we made them promise that they’d come back home each Sunday to watch football with their dad and eat their mom’s homemade soup. They promised! Despite the fact that they were 2 and 5, I’m going to hold them to it!

Tony got to choose the soup this week, so of course he picked clam chowder. I made this lighter version last year and it was a hit. The recipe is from a Rachael Ray magazine. It’s called New England Clam Chowder–not exactly what I would call authentic, but good none-the-less! Here’s the recipe:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 yukon-gold potatoes, chopped (about 3/4 lbs.)
2 cups fish stock or clam juice (I used clam juice)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (I know, soybeans. However, I actually really like them. Daken even likes them!)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound frozen chopped clams, thawed, with their liquid (I CANNOT find these! I have substituted 3 6.5 oz cans chopped clams)
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and clam juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the edamame and thyme and keep warm over low heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour  and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in 1/2 cup milk until thickened. Whisk in the cornstarch into the remaining 1/2 cup milk, then whisk into the hot milk mixture; stir in the cream. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and steaming, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir the cream  mixture into the potato-broth mixture; add the clams with their liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes more; season with salt and pepper.

Of course, we served it with oyster crackers. It was a fantastic meal! We LOVE Souper Sundays!

Let me know if you have any fabulous homemade soup recipes. We have a lot of Sundays left!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

So yesterday when I was googling whether or not I could freeze shredded zucchini, I read a post from a mom who was raving about chocolate zucchini cake. I was telling Matthew, and he asked me to make it. I was a little hesitant b/c he doesn’t really like cake, but I thought it was worth a try. I could always take to school and someone would eat it, right?! Especially because I didn’t think it sounded good AT all!

Boy, was I wrong! I love it when that happens That never happens!

The cake is chocolaty, but not too much, and moist…oh so moist! So good with a big glass of skim milk. You can’t even tell that zucchini is in it. And it doesn’t taste anything at all like the zucchini muffins I made  yesterday.

Here’s the recipe I adapted from mommysavers.com thanks to mommy2mercedes:

1/2 c butter
1/2 c applesauce
1 3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c cocoa
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2
c zucchini, grated
3/4 c
chocolate chips

Cream butter,add applesauce and sugar,mix.

Add next 8 ingredients; mix well.

Fold in the chips.

Put in a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour or til done.

I still have 2 cups of the zucchini left from the one I shredded yesterday…what will I do with that? Not to mention the other two HUGE zucchini that I picked yesterday!

Zucchini Bread or Muffins…Whatever!

Who would have thought that the zucchini plants we planted would grow such humongous zucchini! The one I shredded today ended up producing six cups of shredded zucchini. I have two even bigger ones on my counter waiting for their turn!

Tony and I love zucchini bread–or boys still haven’t quite decided. Anyway, since I’m back at school I thought that making muffins would be easier to eat and travel with then loaves of bread. I started shredding one of them and couldn’t believe how much it produced. Good thing you can freeze shredded zucchini!

The recipe I used was from Paula Dean, gotta love her. I didn’t add the walnuts though–not a fan of nuts in my muffins! It takes a lot of flour, sugar, and eggs and requires getting  quite a bit of dishes dirty, but the end result is worth it. I think her secret is just the right combination of nutmeg and cinnamon. The muffins taste almost like Amish Friendship Bread. Out of the 36 muffins I finished making 30 minutes ago, we’re already down to 30. So much for not overeating!

I’m definitely going to freeze the shredded zucchini though. Homemade zucchini muffins sure do taste better with the zucchini that you grew in your own garden!  Okay, I’m proud of my garden. Give a girl credit! I’ll stop harping soon.

Back in the Kitchen Again with Items from Our Garden

School started on the 17th. I headed back to my classroom the week prior.  Getting the room ready + lesson plans + first week of school = no cooking for two weeks. Burgers, pb and j sandwiches, easy mac, and eating out don’t count!! But tonight I went back to what I love doing–cooking! And it feels good! Especially cooking next to my husband (thank goodness for fenced in backyards)!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Tony, me, and the boys planted our first garden this spring. Well, the tomatoes are starting to get ripe so we decided to make a tomato sauce for pasta. Not as thick as we would have liked, but besides the white wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and an onion from my aunt Terri’s garden, everything in the sauce was from our home grown, organic garden!! And it tasted DELISH!

Using my new favorite tool, the alligator, we chopped two of our green peppers and three of Aunt Terri’s onions. Tony sauteed them before adding them to some olive oil, six or seven home-grown tomatoes, garlic, white wine, salt and pepper, and chopped up rosemary, basil, and oregano from our herb garden. We brought it to a boil then covered and simmered for about a half hour.

Meanwhile, we decided to also make pork sausage meatballs with the left over pork sausage from our morning breakfast, biscuits and gravy (a recipe I’ll never reveal!). I added some more basil, a handful of bread crumbs, and an egg before Tony lightly fried them in olive oil. For an after thought of an idea, they were really good!

Penne pasta, topped with meatballs, and homemade tomato sauce made for a great meal. One that Matthew said, “Oooohhh, I don’t like it. It smells really good but looks bad!” Of course, after his first bite he immediately liked it and only ate three servings!

Man, does it feel good to eat something that you grew in your own garden! Rewarding as well as delicious! YUM-O!

Destihl

So Tony and I met friends out for dinner on Saturday night at one of my favorite restaurants in B/N–Destihl. It was amazing!

Tony, of course, got this:
Gaucho Skirt Steak
Grilled Skirt Steak topped with Ranchero Sauce and served with Grilled Red Onions and a Grilled Jalapeño over Ancho Rice.

It’s his favorite and was amazing!

I tried this: (not sure why the font changes here–can’t seem to fix it either)
Green Chile & Cavatappi Pasta
Cavatappi Pasta with Ancho Chicken, Roasted Corn, Green Chilies and Black Beans, tossed in a Light Corn Cream Sauce and topped with White Cheddar Cheese.

I had been wanting to try this for a while, but the last time we went the waiter told me that he would absolutely not let me order that. So I tried again this time. This time our server said it wasn’t very good, but recommended that I get it with the mac-and-cheese sauce b/c it’s melted cheese rather than just shredded cheese on top and broth as the main sauce. Anyway, it was really good! I don’t usually order pasta when I go out to dinner, but I would definitely order this again. Too bad they are taking it off the menu!

Our friends ordered these dishes:

Stuffed Roasted Poblano Pepper(s)
Fire Roasted Poblano Pepper(s) stuffed with White Cheddar
Cheese and Mashed Potatoes, served on Ancho Rice & Beans and a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Basil Oil and Chili Oil

Top Sirloin
Grilled 8 oz. Top Sirloin served with Mashed
Potatoes and Sautéed Green Beans

They ate them up, too!

Besides the food, the other great thing about Destihl is the beer and their drink menu. Tony loves their Redbird Ale while I really like their more fruity beers! Saturday I got the Raspberry Wheat Ale which is really good! A very light beer, not as strong as Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, but similar.

Seriously, if you haven’t been here, you really should go!