Thursday, November 28, 2013

Layered Party Punch

Aside from the ridiculously delicious and refreshing taste, the best thing about this punch is the way it looks.  Somehow it magically stays separate enough to view layers of individual colors.
Once you dig in and start serving it up however, the raspberries turn it a bright pink.  Its a win win.
I served this for my sisters baby shower, and it was a huge hit!
The juice concentrates can be substituted for whatever you can find in your local store - An equal mix of orange and pineapple juice (no water added) is also fantastic!
Layered Party Punch
Recipe from No Biggie

1 can frozen pina colada concentrate, thawed
1 can frozen orange pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
4 cans of water
4 liters diet lemon-lime soda (I found a pina colada flavored one that made it take on the green/blue hue)
4 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Pour thawed concentrates into punchbowl and stir.
Use one of the empty concentrate cans and fill it up 4 times with water, add to the punchbowl and stir.
Add soda to the mixture.
Do not stir.
Add ice - you can really add as much or as little as you wanted, I add about 16 cups.
Top with raspberries.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Apple Chips {Oven Baked}

Before I dive into this, be sure to head on over here to view the Biggest Food Storage Sale of the Year.  There is a giveaway and a chance to earn some free product as well.

Apples are one of those fruits that don't last very long at our house.  My 5 year old eats at least 3 a day.   I have to hide them from him.  In an effort to get something more than the regular applesauce, apple slices, apple pie filling and apple juice we tried dehydrating for the first time.
One day I will get myself a dehydrator.  But not this year.  We used the oven instead. 
These apple chips make for a great snack, and are a good way to preserve what is abundantly in season at the moment by baking in the oven.
Apple Chips

Use a mandolin, or slice apples as thinly as possible.
Remove seeds, but don't worry about cutting away the middle section altogether (I love the star shape that it makes!)
Layer individually over silicone lined baking sheets.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at the lowest temperature your oven will allow (for me that is 170).
Time will vary on the thickness of your slices.
I baked mine for about 5 hours, and then turned the oven off but left them sitting overnight with the oven light on.
If you used a mandolin they could be done in 2-3 hours.
Cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Waffle Iron Hashbrowns

This is not necessarily a recipe, but if you think crispy crunchy hashbrowns are a must, and you hate waiting for them to get that way standing over a skillet then this is for you!
These can be made in either the traditional or belgian waffle makers.

Waffle Iron Hashbrowns
Idea from Nature's Nurture

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.
Layer shredded potatoes on iron, about 1/4" thick.
Season with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning that suites you.
Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins

These muffins were amazing... Are amazing.  I was really worried about the tartness of the cranberries, but the orange and almond flavor mellowed it out nicely and the honey gave it just the right amount of sweetness.  These were great plain, which I prefer, but would be fantastic with butter or a drizzle of extra honey if you want something sweeter.

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins
Recipe modified from Chef in You

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest from 1 orange
3/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2/3 c. orange juice
2 eggs
1/4 c. applesauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c. slivered almonds

Combine flours, baking powder, salt and orange zest in a bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine honey, orange juice, extract, eggs, applesauce and olive oil.
Whisk wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Make a well in dry ingredients and add in the honey mixture.
Gently fold into each other, careful not to over mix.
Fold in cranberries and almonds.

Divide among 12 muffins.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Coconut Lime Chicken and Quinoa

I was hesitant to try this recipe at first.  My husband is not a lover of sweet and savory dishes, so I wasn't sure how he would react to the coconut milk, and neither of us are major curry fans.
My only regret now however, is that I didn't try it earlier in the year.  As winter approaches it means less time cooking out on the grill, and this simple chicken dinner is amazingly delicious!  So much in fact that I will now have to try it in a frying pan throughout the colder months.  It was moist and flavorful and came together quickly.  
I came up with a great quinoa side using the same flavors as the chicken to soak up the extra sauce.  It was a perfect pair.

Coconut Lime Chicken
Recipe from Pinned by dani

1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken
3 Tbsp. olive oil
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 c. coconut milk
pinch cayenne
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges, optional

Mix all ingredients except chicken and cilantro in a quart ziplock bag.
Add chicken and marinate in fridge for up to 2 hours.
Cook chicken on grill, reserving marinade.

Pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drizzle chicken with reserved marinade and sprinkle chopped cilantro over everything.
Garnish with fresh lime wedges if desired.
Serve over coconut lime quinoa.

Coconut Lime Quinoa
Menu Managed Original

1 1/2 c. quinoa
1 1/4 c. coconut milk (remaining from can used to make marinade)
1/4 c. chicken broth or water
1 can diced green chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. onion, minced
1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Soak quinoa for 30 minutes in cool water and rinse thoroughly to remove bitter coating.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except quinoa and cilantro and mix thoroughly over high heat.
Add quinoa and bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Fluff with fork.
Stir in chopped cilantro.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chili Mac

This grown up mac and cheese with chili is quick, delicious and filling.  It makes for a great leftover, and we all loved it.  If you don't have cheese powder you can use 2 boxed macaroni and cheese mixes.  Prepare as package directions state and omit the butter, milk, cheese powder and noodles from the recipe below.
Chili Mac
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

1 lb. groud beef
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cans tomatoes, drained
2 cans beans (I used kidney and canellini), rinsed and drained
13.25oz box elbow macaroni (about 3 1/2 c.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 c. milk, plus more if needed
salt and pepper to taste
large handful cilantro, chopped
sliced green onions

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles until al dente, drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet.
Add beef, onion and seasonings, and cook until meat is no longer pink.
Drain any fat, and add tomatoes and beans, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until heated.

Once noodles have been drained, add butter and cheese powder to the noodle pot.
Whisk in milk.
Stir in drained noodles and coat in cheese mixture.
Add noodles to beef and been mixture and stir to coat evenly, adding more milk if needed.
Sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
Recipe modified from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1 quart seasoned diced tomatoes
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. water, divided
1 15oz. can chicken broth
12 oz. pasta of choice 
1 c. grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. cooked cubed chicken
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

In a large oven proof skillet, add tomatoes, pepper flakes, broth, 1 c. of water and the pasta.
Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in 3/4 c. Parmesan cheese and the chicken.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If the mixture seems dry, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.
Sprinkle mozzarella and remaining parmesan over the top.

Bake at 475 for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and mixture is bubbling.
Garnish with fresh chopped basil.

Monday, November 4, 2013

5 Grain Cereal

I grew up on oatmeal and germade.  Surprisingly, I also grew up hating both of them.  As a mother, I understand completely why my own served it to me regularly.  Cheap, filling and so much better for you than the alternative cold "sugar" cereal.
I have been experimenting with different hot cereal variations to try and find something that I personally like.  This is my favorite option so far, which completely came as a shock to me since it has the same texture/consistency as germade.  But the flavor is SO much better!  I also like the fact that it uses grains that I typically don't consume very often.

5 Grain Cereal
Recipe from Blendec

1/2 c. millet
1/2 c. barley
1/2 c. brown rice
1/2 c. cornmeal

Add all ingredients to blender in order listed.
Press "speed up" to Speed 4, let run for 10-12 seconds, and press "pulse" to stop.
**If you don't have a blendtec, just blend it up until it is cornmeal consistency

To prepare hot cereal:
Whisk 1 c. water per 1/3 c. cereal in a saucepan.
Reduce heat, ans simmer for 3-5 minutes until thickened.

I like mine with a drizzle of honey, fresh fruit and milk.

Store unused cereal in the freezer to maximize shelf life and nutrient level.