Whole Wheat Apple Muffins


When I’m home alone, and no one is around, I kind of come up at a loss for things to do.  I kind of just stand around and think about what I should be doing.  Yesterday, I was in this predicament so while I was standing around thinking about what I should be doing, my eye caught the apples on the counter and I decided to make it my mission to bake something with apples.  Wah-la, the whole wheat apple muffins.  I found this great recipe online and used this as my base recipe and played with it a little.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (or nuked in the microwave for 15 seconds)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup skim milk
2 large apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix together the butter, sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Add in the egg and mix well.  Mix in the milk.  Slow begin to stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Then slowly fold in the apple chunks.

2.  Divide the batter evenly among muffin cops and sprinkle the remaining tops with 1/4 cup brown sugar (do not leave this part out, it completely makes or  breaks the muffin for me).  Bake for 10 minutes, turn heat down to 400 and bake about another five minutes.  Cool the muffins on a cooling rack.

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I’m gonna shish your kebab


I remember when I was a kid, my mom would always turn phrases into a threat.  If I would say “hey mom, I want some Subway,” she would say “I’m going to Sub your Way.”  Does anyone else have a mom that does that?  Or is mine just completely weird (just kidding, love you ma).  Monday night I gave in and snipped back my herbs, (which was very hard for me to do) and used them in my first recipe!  My mom told me that I need to begin to snip them back to make sure that they have strong roots.  A herb that has really tall growth at first will be top heavy and have less sturdy roots.  Therefore, I did as I was advised and plucked them back!  I used some oregano and parsley in this recipe, and put some cilantro in the fridge.  You can see in this picture that my basil is really starting to sprout up!  I think I’m getting really lucky with those.

Herb Update

Shish Kebabs with Spanakopita orzo

(courtesy of Rachael Ray’s Look+Cook)

Ingredients

1/2 pound orzo
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or dried)
5 tablespoons EVOO
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds New York strip (or another thick steak), cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup stock
3 cups spinach
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions

1.  Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat.  Soak wooden skewers in a bowl of water for 20 minutes (or use metal skewers).

2.  Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat and add in the orzo.

3.  Combine oregano, 3 tablespoons EVOO, onion powder, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper.  Toss the beef cubes in the mixture to coat.

4.  Thread the beef cubes on skewers and grill them 2 to 3 minutes per side.

5.  While the beef is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the remaining EVOO.  Once heated, add in the onions, garlic, and parsley.  Cook 5 minutes.

6.  Add stock and 2 cups spinach to a food processor and process until smooth.

7.  Add the spinach puree to the onion mixture and warm for about 30 seconds.

8.  Add the onion/puree mixture into the orzo and serve shish kebabs on top of the orzo.

This was one of those meals where you definitely wanted a bite of both the meat and starch.  The mixture of the tastes were so amazing!  I hope everyone else enjoys it!

Banana Nut Muffins


You know the greatest thing about banana nut muffins?  They are good for dessert and breakfast!  My boyfriend’s mom always makes banana nut muffins and I never get time to enjoy them before they are all eaten up; therefore, I did a little research to find a healthy recipe for banana nut muffins!

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

(courtesy of Made Healthier)

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 bananas
1/2 cup skim milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2.  In a separate bowl put in the bananas and cut in to small pieces with a fork.  Smash the bananas with your fork so that it is mostly mashed but with some small chunks of bananas.  With the smashed bananas, add in the egg, vanilla, and milk.

3.  Combine the dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and walnuts.  Mix briefly and pour into a nonstick muffin pan (or a muffin pan sprayed with nonstick oil).  If you really like walnuts, add some on top.

4.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thick Pork Chops


I promised you last time that I would give you the recipe for the pork chops that I made with my twice baked potatoes.  Well, here it is!

Smothered Pork Chops

(Recipe courtesy of Food Network)

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 pork chops
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

1.  Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.  Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge the pork chops in the seasoned flour; shaking off excess.

2.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and coat with the oil.  When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

3.  Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of the seasoned flour to the pan drippings.  Mix the flour into the oil to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth.  Let the liquid cook for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly.  Stir in buttermilk and make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce.  Simmer until finished cooked and season with salt and pepper.

Baked Potato + Mashed Potato = Twice Baked Potato


My herbs are growing so big!  I’m so nervous when it comes to pinching them off, but my mom assures me that I need to so my roots will be strong.  So, this is the last picture of them before I begin to start using them in my recipes.  I’ve created a new page specifically for my Herb Update!  You can scroll through and see the process of their growth and I will add each recipe that I use them in on that page as well.  My basil seeds are starting to come out of the soil and it is so exciting!  I was beginning to get really discouraged because everyone told me seeds were going to be really hard, but *fingers crossed* I hope mine grow.  I’ve got a few buds coming up already and I’m even more excited to showcase the growth of those.

Yesterday, my boy and I had a great night in the house.  We played some Wii and cooked an amazing dinner.  Some edamame, pork loin and twice baked potatoes.  Twice baked potatoes is like getting the best of both worlds.  You get the taste of the skin of the potato with the texture of the mashed potato!  So delicious, and I hope everyone else enjoys these as much as I did.  Next time I’ll post the pork loin recipe that I made with these!

Twice Baked Potatoes

(Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens)

Ingredients

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 sour cream
1 scallion, finely chopped
Nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Salt & Pepper

1.  Preheat the over to 400 degree and place the potatoes on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, pierce the potato several times with a fork and continue to bake another 30 minutes.  Remove potatoes from the oven and turn the heat down to 375.

2.  Hold the potato with an oven-mit or towl and trim the top off the potatoes.  Reserve the tops.

3.  Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl.  Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together.

4.  Mash the potato lightly with a fork along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter and the 1/3 cup of sour cream.  Stir in the scallion, nutmeg, and season with salt & pepper.  Season the skins with salt and pepper.

5.  Refill the shells with the potato mixture mounding it slightly.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of the potato filling.  Add a nice spoon full of butter on top and season with salt and pepper.

6.  Set the potatoes and lids on baking sheet and back for another 20 minutes.

* Sorry that it seems I’ve only been posting about potatoes lately.  I Just realized this when I was posting this last picture.  Guess I’ve been on a potato kick? 😛

Rachael Ray’s “Real-deal Rellenos”


Rule number one when looking for a cookbook?  Must have pictures.  Seems kind of childish right?  No interest unless there is a picture on every page for me!  I love seeing a picture of what the food looks like, the name isn’t enough to bring me in.  And, when flipping through my cookbooks to decide what I want to eat during the week, I don’t want to have to look at all of the ingredients to decide what it is that I want to cook for the week!  That’s why pictures are so important!  Cookbooks that have absolutely no pictures are completely boring.  The majority of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks have absolutely no pictures and that drives me crazy because I love her recipes, but can’t bring myself to buy her cookbooks because there are no pictures, except…

This week I tried Rachael Ray’s “Real-deal Rellenos” from her cookbook Look + Cook.  There was so many different flavors in this recipe that I didn’t know what to do with myself!  I hope everyone else enjoys it just as much as I did.

Ingredients

4 poblano peppers
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 pound ground pork or beef
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup beef stock

1.  Broil the poblano whole under the broiler for about 10 minutes on each side.  When they are done put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow them to cool.  When cooled, peel the skin off very carefully and do not tear into the pepper.  Then, slice it like a book and scoop out the seeds.

2.  Toast the walnuts for about five minutes at 400 degrees, and pulse them in a food processor.  Combine the walnuts with the cream, orange zest, salt and pepper and put over medium heat.  Simmer for about five minutes until thickened.

3.  Place a large skillet with the EVOO and the ground pork/beef over medium heat.  Cook until browned.  Add in the garlic and onion.  Stir in the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, raisins, tomato paste, beef stock, salt and pepper.  Cook until the liquid has reduced.

4.  Fill the poblanos with the meat filling and top with the thickened cream.  Serve with rice.

Potato killed the egg


Lame title, huh?  I couldn’t think of anything else original for this meal.  Eggs in purgatory is already taken and potato hash is too boring.
Anyway, I’m super excited because I planted my herbs into their pots last night!

My mom pulled up some of her chives for me and we decided on planting the basil in its own pot.  Obviously it looks just like dirt now, but the seeds will grow eventually!  I’ll post pictures as it starts to grow.  I’m really excited to document the growth of my herbs with you guys!

This morning my boyfriend and I were starving and I’ve been seeing a million different posts with the potatoes and eggs in the middle.  I have been really wanting to try it, and so we did!  We resisted the temptation of McDonald’s breakfast and donuts and ate some yummy breakfast at home.

Ingredients

Russet potatoes
Onion
Nature’s Seasoning
Cilantro*
Sausage
Egg
EVOO
Salt

*I can’t wait till I can use my fresh cilantro with this!

Directions

1.  Heat a pan over medium heat with the EVOO.  Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into little less than bite size chunks, and add them in.  I then just took some sausage patties and cut them up and added them in.  It made for a great flavor.  (Bacon/turkey bacon would be good as well!)  Then cut the onion in small chops and add them in as well.  Season with the Nature’s Seasoning, Cilantro, and salt.  Let them cook covered for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir a lot or they will begin to stick.

2.  About half way through I added some more EVOO and more seasoning.  The EVOO will need to be added to make sure once the eggs are in, they won’t stick (since you can’t really stir it with the eggs in.)

3.  Make a small little hole in the potatoes where you want to put your eggs.

4.  Crack the eggs into each little hole you made, and cover and cook until the whites harden.

When I made this I let the eggs firm up a little too much, so if you want them not to be runny cook them for about 6 minutes and if you want them to still be runny cook for 3.  Next time we are going to make them runny.