Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pasta with bread crumbs

Yes, this sounds simple and plain, but really I liked it.  I may have over crisped my bread crumbs a bit.  I didn't mind, (they definitely weren't burned) but 2/4 boys said they were either too crispy/tasted burnt.  Benjamin LOVED this.  He was so excited to have had 2 dinners this week that he really liked.  Even had seconds.  It truly is super simple.  I think if I had not toasted the bread crumbs as long I would have had 4/4 liking this dish.
Other tips for next time - don't add the olive oil to the butter - just add it all to the pasta, and unless using the good Parmesan, I think I could probably have doubled the amount of Parmesan.  (at least 1 1/2 times.)
I doubled this from the original - feel free to cut in 1/2.  I did have a decent amount of left overs, but DH did not eat dinner with us and I didn't know that when preparing.
As is, serves 12 as a side dish, 8 as a main


  • 1 16 oz. package short pasta (I used ditalini just because it was the only thing I had a complete package of other than spaghetti - time to go shopping.)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups coarse soft bread crumbs (4 slices of bread for me - I just tore them up and pulsed them in the food processor until crumbly.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (I'd use at least 1 cup next time, maybe 1 1/3) grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil (may omit this next time) and the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and salt and stir to coat the crumbs with the butter.  
  3. Cook and stir until crumbs are browned and crisp (6-10 minutes.)  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4.  When the pasta is done, drain, return to the pot and toss with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (I'd use a bit more next time.) and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix.  Just before serving, stir in the breadcrumbs.  

More notes --
I actually really worried that the crumbs wouldn't be crisp enough - part of the getting them too crispy problem.  I also added them right before I planned to serve this only to have a child knock a glass butter dish on the floor and I had to stop and clean the mess.  Luckily the pasta wasn't any worse for the wear.  The crumbs held their crispiness.  As left overs, the breadcrumbs are no longer crisp, but are not mushy either.  Totally still edible, and seem to have an even more intense buttery garlic flavor.  

Blueberry pancakes

Here is a new healthy pancake recipe I made this morning.  I like the addition of wheat germ and the tiny bit of sweetness added by the honey.  I also enjoyed the texture the wheat germ added - reminded me of a cornmeal pancake - in texture only.


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries (I actually only had a cup and threw in about 1/4 cup dried blueberries.  I'm officially out of blueberries.  :)
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.  (flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. (eggs, milk, oil, and honey.)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.  Fold in blueberries.
  4. Bake on a hot griddle until cooked.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheddar & Bacon biscuits with Rosemary

Brandon had been in the mood for biscuits for a while and we found this recipe in the Rodale whole foods cookbook so we tried them.  He actually made them, but I'm pretty sure I know the modifications he used.  
Warning:  These use A LOT of butter.  They also make very Large biscuits.  Original had you cut them in only 12, we went with 16 for ease of cutting, but they were still very large biscuits.

Like the scones from this book these had a nice and flaky texture.  Amazing what using some nice butter will do.  :)  

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), cold and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz. bacon bits (real bacon not imitation - if you want to be fancy, use prosciutto finely choped - 3/4 cup)
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk plus more for brushing
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, rosemary, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal but with some large pieces of butter remaining.
  4. Add cheese and bacon.  Stir in buttermilk just until the mixture forms a dough;
  5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured or greased surface.  Knead quickly to incorporated any loose crumbs.  Pat into a 12 inch square.  Cut into 16  3 inch squares.  
  6. Place on 2 ungreased baking sheets.  Brush the tops with buttermilk.  Bake for 30-40 minutes rotating the baking sheets in the middle.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

chocolate chip scones

Here's the recipe for the scones we tried this morning.  I really liked the combination of orange and chocolate.  YUM!  This recipe also started in The ROdale Whole foods cookbook, but I changed it around according to what I had in my kitchen and to add a bit more whole grain.  This is my version.


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sucanat (I think I actually used 2 T sucanat and 1 T coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons half and half
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in orange zest and chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg with 1/4 cup of the half and half.  Add to the flour mixture and mix just to combine.  
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (or just onto the silpat I was going to cook on if you are me.)  Pat it into a circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut into 8 wedges and separate so there is 1/2 inch between.  Brush with remaining 2 teaspoons half and half.  
  5. Bake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden.

herbed scones

Today was a day of scones at our house.  I made some for breakfast, then when looking for a biscuit or roll recipe for dinner I found this recipe on the same page as the breakfast ones.  These were more savory and the perfect compliment to our soup.  Tavio loved them.  The other boys didn't seem to be as big of fans of the scones.  I would have to guess it was the texture, but I thought the texture was great.  Nice and crisp on the outside, kind of flaky on the inside.  Very nice just like the breakfast ones (which will probably be my next post.)  Both came from yet another book I have checked out of the library called The Rodale whole foods cookbook.  Considering this was a "whole foods cookbook"  I was surprised that the original recipe didn't use any whole wheat flour, just unbleached.  I changed that in my version.  :)  I did still go with 1/2 and 1/2 - mostly to appease my teenagers.  I also just noticed that the recipe called for a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda that I missed.  Feel free to use it if you like.  Oh, and I guess I'd better go and change the name of these from herbed buttermilk scones to just plain herbed scones since I was out of buttermilk.  You can change the yogurt, and milk for buttermilk it you'd like.
1 final note, these are not low calorie with 1 stick of butter.  :)  Enjoy!

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. In a food processor, combine the flours, baking powder, thyme, mustard seeds, salt and pepper and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture forms course crumbs.  Add yogurt and milk and pulse just until combined.
  4. Transfer to a floured surface or silpat (I put mine straight on the silpat I was going to cook it on - less mess/dishes)  Knead until well combined if necessary.  Pat into an 8 inch circle (about 1/2 inch thick)  Cut into 8 wedges and separate/ place on baking sheet 1/2 inch apart.  
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes (12 was perfect for me) until lightly browned and crisp.  

loaded baked potato soup

I just did a lot of baking and am actually going to get it blogged right away.  This was the soup we had for dinner that everyone liked.  I was actually surprised because I expected some of my non baked potato lovers to dislike the soup, but everyone liked it.  I had to spoon feed Aaron because he hasn't decided he likes soup yet, but he ate at least 5 bites, maybe more all of which contained bits of potato.
The idea is from a book I have from the library called Cheap. Fast. Good!  This is only supposed to serve 4 according to the book.  I served it with scones and a salad and stretched it to all 6 of us.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion (about 1 cup diced- I used a heaping cup.)
  • 6 pre-baked potatoes, scooped from the skins and diced (about 3 cups diced - my third cup was heaping) or 2 packages refrigerated hash-brown potatoes
  • 1 32 oz box chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (I just added a few grinds of fresh)
Optional for serving (but tasty albeit not vegetarian :)
  • real bacon bits (not imitation)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. melt butter in a 4 1/2 -5 quart dutch oven or soup pot.  Chop onion and add to butter.  Saute until beginning to brown.  
  2. Add the stock bring to a boil.  Add the diced potatoes, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper.  Cook until heated through - 3-5 minutes.  Top with bacon bits and cheese.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Black bean salad

Loved this recipe.  Like the previous recipe this recipe came from a book I have checked out from the library right now called Clean Food by Terry Walters.  I have liked the things I've tried so far.
This recipe reminded me more of a salsa than a salad and we actually used it more like a salsa.  The  book gave the idea of wrapping it in a burrito with avocados and salsa, but we just put it on top of quesadillas or just a tortilla and ate it like that and it was delicious.
I loved that it used diced tomatillos.  That was new for me.  We love the tomatillo ranch that goes with cafe rio pork, but I had never tried it diced in a salad.  It was good.
I'd rate this one a 4.5 or 5 star.  I loved it's fresh flavors.  Of course my kids that don't like beans or salsa (not the same kids) were not thrilled with it.  I however enjoyed the left overs for lunch twice.  YUM!
I did do a tiny bit of modifying of this recipe making a bit less.  This way it serves about 6. (original was 8)


  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 15 oz. cans rinsed and drained)
  • 3 tomatillos, husked and diced
  • 2-3 mini sweet pepper diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend.

black bean patties with pineapple guacamole

Must. Start. Blogging. Again.
I've gotten so out of the habit of blogging since I've not had the greatest luck with computers this year that I can't seem to get myself to actually sit down and do it.  I have sat down twice in the last 2 days to blog and ended up getting up and heading off somewhere with the kiddos - trying to squeeze out the last bit of summer before school starts on Monday.  However, the downside of not blogging --- I'd LOVE to make those pecan balls I made before vacation, but I didn't blog them and have absolutely no idea where I got the recipe.  Boo!
I'm starting with tonight's dinner.  Although 3/4 boys didn't like it, I really did -- and so did 1 boy who had seconds.  I will warn that this is quite a time consuming dish, but I expected that with a homemade guacamole.
Typing the recipe followed by my commentary this time around so you can skip it if you like.  However, it really helps me know what to do for next time.    I'd rate this 4-5 stars.  My younger 3 boys would rate it 0 I'm sure.  Oldest would give it a 5 and DH was out of town.



  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple (I actually used frozen that I let thaw)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced jicama
  • 2 baby sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (feel free to use a whole mine was just kind of big so I only used 1/2 here and 1/2 in the burger.)
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced (save pits)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  (I felt like having my avocado a bit more smashed so I took a potato masher to the side were I put the avocado in.  I still had some chunks of avocado, but it looked more like guacamole that way than salsa with avocado.)  Place pits on top of guacamole to keep avocados from browning.  Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to develop.
Black bean patties

  • 1 Tablespoon ground golden flax seeds (see commentary)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded (again I used a half, but feel free to use a whole)
  • 1/4 onion, peeled (I used a sweet onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (1/2 Tablespoon)
  • 4 cups cooked black beans (if using canned you'll need 3 cans minus about 1/2 cup.)
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil for frying (although see my commentary)
  1. Soak flax in a bowl with 3 Tablespoons water for 20 minutes.  (I did this while preparing the rest of the burgers and was fine.)
  2. In a food processor, finely chop garlic, jalapeno and onion, stopping to scrape the sides down if necessary.  Add the cilantro and cumin and pulse to combine.  
  3. Add 2 cups black beans and cornmeal and process just until combined.  Pour into a large bowl.  Fold in soaked flax seed and remaining 2 cups black beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.  (see commentary below)
  4. Heat skillet over medium high head.  Add 2 Tablespoons oil.  Form bean mixture into 8 patties.  Fry 3-4 minutes on each side adding more oil as needed.  
  5. Serve topped with guacamole.
  • flax seeds - I ground my 1 Tablespoon of seeds in a coffee grinder.  That made 2 Tablespoons of flax seed meal.  I used only 1 Tablespoon of that but think I could have/should have used it all.  The gel it made was a bit watery on top and I didn't really want to add that to the beans because it would make them a more mushy texture.  I added them anyway today, but next time would just go ahead and toss in all of the ground flaxseed.
  • black beans - I have a small food processor so only 2 cups of black beans fit in it.  I chopped that with 1/3 cup cornmeal, dumped it into a bowl, then did the other 2 cups black beans with the other 1/3 cup cornmeal.  I know the recipe says fold them in, but I know my youngest won't try beans if they look at all like beans and he will spit them out if he feels something in his mouth that feels like a bean.  Knowing that, I wanted to chop all of my black beans.  That worked out just fine. After I chopped the second batch of beans, I put them in the bowl and mixed the 2 batches together.
  • Oil for frying - I actually preferred the way these cooked on the second side - the side that didn't have much oil.  (because it had absorbed into the first side as it cooked.)   They seemed to hold together better and crisp up a bit better without the oil.  I almost wish I would have tried my second batch without oil.  I cooked these in a ridged pan that makes them look like they have grill marks - mostly I like that is is square and fit 4 patties nicely.  But the oil seemed to do something to the cornmeal that made it crumbly or something - just on the outside layer -I just didn't have this problem on the second side when the pan didn't have much oil left in it.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mexican coleslaw

Yet again I'm super far behind in blogging.  Darn computer issues.   We just need a new one that the teenagers are not allowed to touch (aka dowload viruses to.)  I seriously need to find a recipe I made before vacation.  They were some raw pecan balls.  I totally thought I blogged them, but went to make them again and didn't.  Aargh!
This coleslaw recipe was super tasty - that's saying something because I'm not always the biggest fan of coleslaw.  I tried another one a couple of days later with the other 1/2 of the cabbage and it wasn't nearly as good.  This one however is a definite winner.  (and I didn't even put in the avocado or the pepitas.)  I found the recipe cooking club magazine.  So without further ado, here is the delicious dish.


  • 6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 8 oz jicama, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (I used a combination of colored mini sweets)
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1/3- 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas (although I forgot these)
  • 1 avocado, chopped (I forgot to add this as well.
Dressing ingredients
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I used about 1/2 an orange for both of these)
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime peel (I used 1 lime for both of these)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Place all coleslaw ingredients except pepitas and avocado in a large bowl.  Toss to combine.
  2. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until blended.  Stir into coleslaw.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
  3. As a bonus, just befor serving, don't forget to sprinkle the pepitas and avocado - I got side tracked looking for the pepitas, finally gave up and totally forgot the avocado.  Go figure.  :)  It was still wonderful without them.


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