Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘easy’

A trip to the farmer’s market might inspire you to bake this simple summer dessert.  The night before we went berry picking, I happened to watch an episode of “Pioneer Woman” on The Food Network and I was drawn to Ree’s simple, down-home country style of cooking (and life!)  She seems so cheery and at peace, despite jugging quite a lot.  Anyway, this dessert looked so simple to pull together that I just had to try it.  We came home from berry picking with pounds of boysenberries, so I used them instead of blackberries (I’m sure juicy blueberries would taste great too).  This couldn’t have been easier, the kitchen smelled so good, and served warm, this cobbler was crispy on the top, a little cake-y in the middle, and the warm fruit melts in your mouth.  Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was an awesome summer treat.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Cobbler

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman show.

Blackberry Cobbler

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1/2 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup whole milk
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries
Whipped cream and/or ice cream, for serving

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter.

Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry. Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Top with whipped cream or ice cream … or both!

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My neighbor Jess was telling me about a smoothie that she made everyday for a year.  I figured if she did that, it had to be good.  But once she starting telling me the ingredients, I wasn’t so sure about the peanut butter.  Peanut butter in a drink?  But trust me.  It’s delicious.  I’ve now been making this smoothie for a regular afternoon snack and my boys can’t get enough of it.  Enjoy!

Crazy good spinach smoothie

Recipe from my neighbor Jess

Ingredients:

1 cup milk, almond milk, or coconut milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter

3 handfuls of fresh spinach (pre-washed)

1 banana, sliced

1  1/2 handfuls of ice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and puree, adding ice at the very end.

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I’m always looking for a fresh, new salad dressing and when I learned how easy this one is to throw together, I was thrilled.  My mother-in-law Cille served this to us this summer and I’ve made it a handful of times since.  I tend to double the recipe so I have it in the fridge for the next night or two.  Great on a salad with toasted nuts/seeds, avocado, edamame, and/or chopped yellow peppers.  Enjoy!

Japanese Style Sesame Dressing

Recipe slightly adapted from La Tourangelle Artisan Oils.

 

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Blend ingredients thoroughly and enjoy.

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Think of this as an Americanized version of a Chinese stir fry — tasty and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.  What’s not to love?  Also a good excuse to use up any ground beef and/or pork in your freezer (before it sits in there for too long!)  Serve with brown rice and put a bottle of Sriracha at the table for those who want more heat.

Mapo Tofu

Recipe slightly adapted from Food and Wine; contributed by Chef Kuniko Yagi.

“This is totally my way of making this dish,” chef Kuniko Yagi says. “I’m sure Chinese people wouldn’t let me call this mapo tofu.” Yagi’s version has more meat than tofu, but she still relies on jarred toban djan, the chile­-bean paste that gives this Chinese takeout staple its signature heat and deeply savory flavor.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 pound ground beef chuck (85% lean)
1/2 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon chile-bean sauce, preferably toban djan (or 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce or tenmenjan (soybean paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
One 14-ounce package soft tofu, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 scallions, finely chopped
Brown rice, for serving

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the oil, followed by the beef and pork. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat, until crumbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the chile­-bean sauce, hoisin and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Gently fold in the tofu. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the water. Add to the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and serve with brown rice.

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I don’t own a Vitamix.  I’ve never done a cleanse or a detox.  But I do love a good, healthy smoothie every now and then.  This is a great way to start your morning or makes a great snack.  My kids love this too (although I could put just about anything into a blender and they’d be hard-pressed to not like it!)  I try not to have juice around the house (we have diabetes in the family and juice is filled with sugar) but this smoothie is plenty sweet without it.  This has become my “go to” green smoothie because it actually tastes good and it’s good for you.  It’s from Brit Morin, who is a young Martha Stewart type.  Her website Brit + Co is fun to check out for DIY and craft ideas.  Enjoy!

 

Spinach Smoothie

Recipe from Brit + Co.

Ingredients:
– 2 cups spinach
– 1/2 cup almond milk (original recipe uses sweetened, but I buy unsweetened)
– 1/2 cup frozen mango
– 1/2 of a small banana (2 ounces if you have a scale)

Directions:

Place your spinach in the blender. Add the almond milk and frappe until smooth. This step is key for a smooth texture. Add the frozen mango chunks and banana. Blend again until smooth. Your smoothie will be thick, but not so thick that you can’t drink it from the glass without the help of a spoon.

Total Calories – 145 calories.

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Wondering what to do with Swiss chard?  It’s one of the healthiest vegetables out there and bountiful at the grocery store and at farmers markets almost year-round.  I’m always looking for new, simple recipes that use this superfood.  This one is wonderful – it’s basically a Swiss chard pesto that would be great on orecchiette or penne pasta.  If you double the recipe, the pesto would freeze well for future dinners.  Enjoy!

 

Orecchiette with Swiss Chard and Parm

Recipe from Mario Batali; featured on the Today Show.

Orecchiette with Swiss chard and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
Preparation

Combine the oil, onion, garlic, and chard in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and chard are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Season well with Maldon salt, add 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is very tender, about 20 minutes. Season with pepper and remove from the heat. Place ingredients into food processor and finely chop. Set aside in large bowl.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Drop in the pasta and cook until just al dente.

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the chard ragu and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated (add a splash or two more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce). Stir in the cheese.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and serve with additional grated Parmigiano on the side.

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