Monday, August 31, 2015

Flour, Too's Parmesan Polenta

I didn't grow up in a house where we ate any kind of southern food, so I didn't try grits until I stayed at a friend's house over night, and her mom made us grits for breakfast.  I loved them, promptly went home and told my mother that, and she just grimaced and said she wasn't going to make grits any time soon :).  I still don't have grits, or polenta, very often, but when I do I always enjoy them, and this is a delicious recipe from Flour, Too.  We had some short ribs along with the polenta, also from Flour, Too, but I am only going to feature the polenta.  It's an easy recipe, and we gave them a 9, and each serving was 155 calories for 9 servings.  Here's the easy recipe the way I did it:

3 c beef stock
2 c whole milk
3/4 t salt
1 c coarsely ground polenta
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the stock, milk and salt to a boil.  Whisk in the polenta in a slow, steady stream.  Reduce the heat to very low and simmer, about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan.  Season to taste and serve.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Picky Palate's Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cake Bars

Here is where we found this easy, delicious recipe from Picky Palate, and even Owen, who doesn't like pumpkin, gave this a 9, just like Noah, Jonah and I did.
Each bar, and we cut the pan into 16 servings, was 238 calories, and I used pumpkin spice chips rather than the cinnamon chips the recipe calls for, and we really enjoyed them.  It's a great, easy fall dessert, one I would enjoy making again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nacho Cheese Mac N Cheese

So this was one of Noah's ideas, he loves to think of fun foods.  We weren't sure how this would come out, but the end result was yummy and interesting.  It looks like mac n cheese, but it has a nice kick to it.  The sauce wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good, and we really liked it with chips, so that was a nice plus, because I love me some nacho cheese :).  We all gave this an 8, and each serving was 415 calories when divided into 8 servings, and that will leave some nacho cheese left over.

2 c elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente
1 T canola oil
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 t cumin
about 2 T Rotel
3 1/2 c milk
3 T cornstarch
6 c grated cheese, I used a mixture of pepper jack, cheddar, and Monterey Jack

Mix the cornstarch with the grated cheese.  Heat the oil, then add the jalapeno, tomato, cumin and onion.  Season the veggies and cook until they are tender, stirring often so they don't burn.  Add in the milk and Rotel, stir it well and make sure the milk is warm.  Remove the pan from the heat, add in the cheese, and stir well until the sauce comes together.  Use about 3 cups (more or less) of the sauce and mix it with the macaroni, then serve.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Flour, Too's Oven Baked Potato and Red Pepper Tortilla

I loved this, even though it is eggs.  The flavors and smells were so enticing, I couldn't wait to dig into this.  We found this recipe for a Spanish tortilla in Flour, Too, and as always, the recipe turned out really well.  Each serving, for a total of eight servings, was 274 calories.  Noah gave this an 8, Owen and I gave this a 9, and Aaron gave it a 7 (no meat :)).  I like that this is Spanish, a tapas, and the fried potatoes really make this a delicious breakfast meal.  Here's what to do:

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes
6 eggs
3/4 c whole milk
1 c grated Romano cheese, plus more for garnish
4 scallions, minced
3 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
5 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t paprika

Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain, and remove the peels after they have cooled a little.  Slice them into slices 1/2 inch thick.
Preheat the oven to 450.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, green onions, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat 1 T of the oil in a large oven-proof skillet, then add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften.  Season with salt and pepper, then transfer the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat 3 T of the oil over high heat.  Add the sliced potatoes and reduce the heat to medium.  Sprinkle with the paprika and more salt, then let cook for about 3 minutes.  Flip the potatoes over, drizzle with the remaining 1 T olive oil, and sprinkle with salt if desired.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes or so, making sure to get some crispy potatoes in there, even if not all of them are browned or crispy.  Remove the skillet from the heat.
Spread the veggie mixture over the potatoes, then pour the egg mixture over everything.  Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the middle is just set and the egg puffs and browns.  Let cool a few minutes, then serve.

This was great for breakfast the next day as well, so it holds up well in the fridge.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Yammie's Noshery's Cheddar Bacon Stuffed Pretzel Buns

We found this cool idea at this website, and although I had to adjust the ingredients a little to make the recipe work for us, these were still a delicious, fun treat.  I always love how creative Yammie is, and I love her photography.  Anyway, this pretzel bun recipe was good, but I added way more flour to make the dough come together, like 6 cups at least rather than 4 1/2 c of flour, but other than that, this worked out well.  I would also place these on parchment paper rather than on greased sheets, but those are just my thoughts.

Follow the top link to this fun recipe, each bun is about 450 calories with the extra flour.  We gave these an 8.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vicki's Nico's Super Fries

During the many years we lived in Tucson, one of the things we most enjoyed was the amazing Pima library system (really just I did :)), the cost of living, but mostly the variety of things to do and places to eat.  I am definitely a city girl at heart, and although Tucson isn't my favorite city ever, I loved living there.  Aaron not so much...:)  Anyway, they had a chain of shops there called Nico's Taco Shop, and we loved it.  They had these super fries that Aaron and I would split, and it was delicious.  We started going there while we were without kids, and continued going after both of our first two.  The boys loved their beans and rice.  Anyway, we don't have a Nico's here, so I decided to recreate the recipe.
One of the important things is the amount of cheese used.  I always love cheese, but for these, there doesn't need to be too much cheese.  Aaron and I both felt like this was a really good take on one of our favorite take-out foods, we gave it a perfect 10, and so did Owen, and Noah gave it a 9.  Each serving, for 5 servings, was 583, but that includes LOTS of steak.  Here's the easy recipe

Pico de Gallo:

3 Roma tomatoes (or a little less), chopped
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
2 T chopped cilantro


1/4 recipe Pico de Gallo
2 Haas avocados


1/4 c tequila (or a balsamic vinegar and some soy sauce might be good too if you don't use alcohol)
1 lime, juiced
dash of coriander
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1/2 large jalapeno, diced
1/4 c olive oil
1.5 lbs flank steak, trimmed of fat and seasoned

Fries-homemade or storebought
sour cream
1/2 c Mexican cheese

Mix together the ingredients for the pico and stir well, being sure to be generous with the salt.  Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Mix together the tequila, lime, coriander, garlic jalapeno and salt.  Drizzle in the olive oil, then pour over the flank steak.  Let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
When ready to prepare, cook the fries either in the oven, or if frying your own, in oil.  Mix together the guacamole, then portion the fries onto five plates.  Top each fry portion with cheese, then top with steak.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Flour, Too's Sausage and Lentil Soup

One of our most favorite soups ever, this stew from Flour, Too was amazing.  Aaron and I gave this a perfect 10, and the boys gave it a 9.  I made a couple of changes to make this more our style, and it was so flavorful and delicious.  Each serving, for 12 servings, was 189 calories the way I made it, and here's the recipe:

12 oz sweet Italian sausage
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
1 T paprika
1/2 t thyme
1 t turmeric
1 t oregano
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t fennel seeds
1/2 t curry powder
2 small potatoes, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
1 c tomato sauce
3/4 c green lentils, rinsed
2 c arugula

Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned, then with a slotted spoon remove the sausage to a plate.  In the left over grease, cook the onion, garlic, carrot, salt and celery until the onions are translucent, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add in the tomato paste and salt, then add in the bay leaves and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add in the spices, and toast the spices for 3-4 minutes.
Add the sausage back in, then stir well, add in the potatoes, parsnip, leeks, and turnip.  Add the broth and the tomato sauce, and stir in more salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add in the lentils and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Discard the bay leaves, then add in the arugula.  Serve.