Sunday, April 10, 2011

Agave Granola with Mango

Well, I am now 6 days past my due date, I am growing impatient.  So once again, I am eating (and blogging).  This recipe is from Brunch at Bobby's.  I have never made my own granola, but this was a super easy recipe to make along with being healthy and delicious.  The only downfall... it is almost impossible to stop eating.  It may be more cost efficient to get some of the ingredients on the bulk food aisle of the grocery store.  

This recipe calls for Agave syrup.  It may be somewhat hard to find, but our local grocery store actually carries it.  Agave syrup comes from the agave plant, it is also the same plant from which tequila is made.  It is a natural sweetener that is similar to honey or maple syrup.  


Here is what you will need:
¼cup canola oil
¼cup agave syrup
¼cup clover honey
1teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, I am not a big cinnamon person)
2tablespoons light brown sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
3cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
¾cup slivered almonds (or whatever slivered/chopped nuts you prefer)
½cup raw sunflower seeds
½cup raw pumpkin seeds
½cup wheat germ
2tablespoons ground flax seed
¼teaspoon salt
1cup diced dried sweetened mango (optional, you may also add a different dried fruit if you would like.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a ½-sheet pan with parchment paper.
Mix together the oil, agave syrup, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until smooth. 
Combine the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, flax seed, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well to combine making sure everything is evenly coated. 
Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared sheet pan.
 Bake in the oven, until golden brown and crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. While still warm, break into clumps. Add the dried fruit (optional) after it has cooled. Serve the yogurt in bowls and top with some of the granola and a drizzle of honey. Store the leftover granola in an airtight container in a cool place.

I like to eat it on top of yogurt, or when you just need something to munch on.  My dog Bear also approves, apparently he loves the granola!



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Upside-down Pineapple Minis

At three days past my due date, I decided I would blog.  Maybe it will take my mind of being so antsy and impatient.  I made these a few days ago and they were a hit, with Kent and I, that is.  I was having a craving for something sweet, and then I started thinking about pineapple upside down cake and there was no going back... The only down fall was I only had 1 egg.  So my mission was to find a recipe that only called for 1 egg.  I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com, and tweaked it (of course).  
You will need the following ingredients: 


Topping:
cup brown sugar, packed
cup unsalted butter, melted
¼cup Amaretto (Amaretto is like chocolate, everything is better with Amaretto!)
12pineapple rings
12maraschino cherries
Cake:
1cup all purpose flour
¾cup sugar
½tsp baking powder
¼cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½cup pineapple juice, reserved from can
½tsp vanilla extract
1egg
Maraschino Cherry Whipped Cream:

¼cup heavy whipping cream
2 or 3cherries
powdered sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with baking spray or grease with Crisco (I used spray and mine stuck a little, I would recommend using Crisco or butter).
Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice for the cake batter. Combine brown sugar, Amaretto and melted butter in a small bowl.
Evenly divide among each of the muffin wells, about one teaspoon per well. 
Cut about ⅓ out of each pineapple ring and arrange rings over the brown sugar mixture. Add a cherry in the center of each ring.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add butter, pineapple juice and vanilla and beat on low until just combined. Increase speed to medium and beat two minutes. Add the egg and beat in until well incorporated. 
Evenly divide the batter among the muffin wells, filling each about ¾ of the way full. 
Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes five minutes in the pan and then flip onto a platter or covered rack. Cool and serve. Top with Whipped Cream, which is optional, but delicious!
For the Whipped Cream:
Mix heavy whipping cream until whipped. You will want to use a mixer.
Cut cherries into small pieces or puree in a food processor. Fold cherries into whipped cream. Add powdered sugar to taste.
Top upside down cakes with whipped cream.
These cakes are very light, airy and moist. They can also double as a great breakfast with a cup of coffee!  The recipe only makes 12, so if you need more, you will have to double it.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stuffed Cranberry-Orange Chicken

This was kind of one of those nights where, I was looking between the fridge, pantry and freezer and trying to figure out what I could come up with.  This is a recipe that I made up, it is similar to an apple stuffed pork chop recipe we make and enjoy.   I knew Kent was working until dark, so I figured I had time to experiment (play), although it really didn't take very long to make, once I had a plan.  


In the ingredients, you will see a bottle of olive oil.  This is by far one of my favorite things to cook with.  When we vacationed in San Francisco, we drove about an hour north and went to a winery/olive orchard called B.R. Cohn.  

We went for the wine tasting and ended up falling in love with the different olive oils (and vinegars; Kent likes vinegar, I don't).  You can find the olive oils and vinegars in small gourmet type grocery stores or you can order them online at http://www.brcohn.com/. The flavors we like best are: Meyer Lemon, Blood Orange and Basil Garlic, they are great for dipping bread, sauteing vegetables, marinating or just substituting for plain olive oil.   

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The people were very friendly and they said if you call and place an order of 6 or more bottles, they will give you a discount.  The olive oils also made great gifts, especially paired with one of their vinegars.  One of my goals in the future is to try and duplicate their olive oils, we will see if it happens.  

If you ever get the chance, I would definitely recommend going to wine country, even if you do not like wine, it is beautiful! 

Here is what you will need:


Chicken:
8chicken breast tenders (you can use 4 breasts if you would like)
1Box cranberry stuffing mix (if you don't have cranberry, you could use plain and add Craisins or even apples)
Cups water
¼Cup orange juice (Florida's Natural, again the only OJ you should ever buy!)
2Tablespoons olive oil, plus a little for drizzling
Zest of an orange
¼Cup pecans (optional, it's delicious and make sure they're Oklahoma pecans too!)
Salt
Pepper
Cream Sauce:
(optional, the chicken would be just as good with balsamic drizzled on top, or even plain, but I like the cream sauce)
Juice and zest of an orange
¼Cup orange juice
2Tablespoons Orange Marmalade
Handful of craisins
Salt
Pepper
¼Cup heavy whipping cream
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Pound out chicken using a meat tendorizer, or something hard such as the bottom of a pan. Tenders should be thin and flat, ⅛-¼ of an inch, but be careful not to get them too thin or make holes in them. I always put plastic wrap over anything when I tenderize it, because you do not want raw splatter all over your kitchen.  
Put water, orange juice and olive oil in a sauce pan and let come to a boil. Pour in stuffing mix. Let liquids dissolve in stuffing. Turn burner off. Add orange zest and pecans (if you are using) and fold into stuffing. 
Let stuffing cool a little, so you can use your hands.
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a casserole dish (I used my 9 X 13 inch stone) to put the chicken in once rolled.
Put a spoonful of stuffing on top of chicken tender, toward the middle. Start at one end and roll stuffing up inside chicken. 
Place chicken in dish with the sides out. It is okay if the stuffing looks like it is going to fall out, it will stay. 
Once all the tenders have been rolled up, sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. I then added the left over stuffing on top of the chicken.
 Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Let chicken set, covered for 10 minutes after pulling it out of the oven.
While waiting on chicken to set, place juice from the orange, orange juice, marmalade, salt, pepper and craisins in a small sauce pan. Let come to a boil. Add heavy cream. Let simmer, sauce will thicken a little. Taste the sauce and add ingredients as desired.
Drizzle on top of chicken.
I was surprised how delicious this recipe turned out.  It was just as good served as leftovers the next day for lunch.