Monthly Archives: March 2012

Southwest Turkey Burgers

This one has been a favorite in my house for years.

It kind of evolved out of a turkey meatloaf recipe that I found in an awesome church cookbook that my grandmother gave me. Aren’t local church cookbooks the best? I love me some recipes from little old ladies in a rural small town. Good. Stuff.

So anyway, this recipe is something that I have been making for years and have been really excited to share with you ever since I started this blog. It is sort of a tried and true recipe for us.

The Hubs usually asks what we are going to have for supper when he is on his way home from work. Anytime these are on the menu, I can hear how excited he gets. And honestly, I do too. We love them.

They make a hearty, healthy meal. Full of lean protein, fiber, and even a few veggies thanks to the salsa (Hey! Every little bit counts, right?!) And if you are worried about them being dry little hunks of meat in a bun (Oh come on. Dont’ pretend you weren’t worried about that. It’s a turkey burger…I get it.), don’t be! The salsa, olive oil, and beans keep these babies totally moist and tender.

I can tell you that they are perfectly fine to be mixed up and formed into patties earlier in the day when kiddos are schooling, distracted, or napping. You can just put them in the refrigerator and pull them out when you are ready to cook them up. I can also tell you that they sadly do not work on the grill. They are a little too soft and have a tendency to fall apart on the grates. But don’t worry they are fabulous cooked up on a grill pan or iron skillet.

We all like to eat ours with thick slices of cheddar melted on top, and salsa smeared into the bun like ketchup. Other toppings we enjoy are avocado slices, baby spinach, fresh or pickled jalepeno slices, and spicy brown mustard.

I hope you guys like them!

Southwest Turkey Burgers

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/2 cup mashed black beans or pinto beans , drained and rinsed

1/4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 heaping teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder, and dried cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb ground turkey

Combine chips, beans, salsa, spices, olive oil and egg in a large bowl.

Add in turkey and gently combine all ingredients with your hands. Form into patties.

Preheat oven to 375.

Preheat a grill pan, iron skillet, or large oven safe pan to medium-high heat.

Turn pan to medium heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Fry burgers for about 10 minutes, and flip.

Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes.

If desired, top with cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.

Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

No I did not stutter in my title.

I am presenting you with a cookie made of old fashioned oats, that tastes like an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Ya feel me?

This whole thing came to be because I have a slight Mad Men obsession. Every time I get out our big canister of old fashioned oats, I think to myself, “Ha! I should make this bowl of oatmeal Old Fashioned just like Don Draper’s favorite drink.” Well, of course that would be ridiculous (…even though I am probably going to try it…), but then I got to thinking about what else old fashioned oats are good for.

Bam! A cookie idea was born.

I totally got in touch with my inner Betty Draper in order to make these too. Oh boy.

Well first off, I showed up at the liquor store right whenever it opened…at 11 AM…to buy bitters…with a barefoot Monkey on my hip.

Mmm hmm. I’ll just let that mental image sink in for a moment.

Classy huh? I felt like to really complete the picture I should have stood outside the store and smoked a cigarette while I let her play in the parking lot.

Well, as it turns out, the ABC Store doesn’t sell bitters. And apparently you can just buy it right at your grocery store.  It is over next to the grenadine and margarita salt. So you can save yourself the embarrassment and just keep your barefoot babies where the belong ya’ll — at the grocery store.

Shoo.

So when I got home after picking up The Dude from preschool I immediately mixed myself up a little Old Fashioned cocktail. You know, just a little something something to take the edge off with my lunch.

Okay I am totally kidding. I mean, I did mix up the drink, but only so I could taste it because I had never had an Old Fashioned before. And I figured I should probably try the actual drink before I attempted a baked good that it was inspired by. Now before you go calling DHR on me, I will have you know I only had a few sips. Promise. But I will tell you, even having only a few sips of hard liquor in the middle of the day made me feel so Betty.

I have never felt more strongly connected to the Draper family.

Wow. The 60’s must have been a real special time to be a parent.

You know what else is real special? These cookies.

They are soft and chewy (aren’t the best cookies always soft and chewy?) with a nice little spicy punch from the orange zest and bitters which, as it turns out, is a really fun little flavoring (think along the lines of pumpkin pie spice). The bourbon is understated and lends a heady sweetness that is balanced out by the tart cherries.

Here’s the recipe.

Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

makes 1 dozen cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milled flax seed + 4 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)

1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

4 tablespoons bourbon

4 tablespoons dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add flax “egg” (I used the flax egg method in my testing because I wanted to taste the dough as I went along, but had every intention of making the cookies with a real egg. However, I liked the nuttiness the flax gave the cookies so much, I decided to keep it in my final recipe. You can add a real egg if you prefer, though.) and stir until combined.

Mix in bitters, vanilla, orange zest, and bourbon to the butter mixture.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir until combined.

Give the cherries a rough chop and fold them into the cookie dough.

Mound the dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls onto a greased cookie sheet, and gently flatten out just a bit with your hand.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

I’ve got something I am pretty excited to share with you this weekend.

How about some pancakes? How about some pancakes that don’t weigh you down and make you feel all blah? How about some pancakes that are actually hearty and keep you full for longer than an hour? How about some pancakes that taste like Girl Scout Cookies?

Well, come on over here and let fix you some!

Now don’t be all weirded out by the whole gluten free thing. This is absolutely no different than making regular pancakes, except that we are going to make our own fancy pants healthy “flour” first. You could by all means buy your own oat and coconut flours at the store, but I assure you this is a much cheaper way to go. Trust me, this takes about 60 seconds and then you are off mixing up a pancake batter.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats, and 1/2 cup of dried coconut (NOT the shredded, unsweetened stuff that you find in your baking aisle. Regular shredded coconut has too much moisture still in it to be ground into a flour. What you want is DRIED or DESSICATED coconut. It is a bag of really small dried flakes of coconut. You are probably going to have to walk over to the health foods area of your grocery store, but it is worth it. So go find it!). Now all you do to make the flour is dump the oats and coconut into a food processor and pulse until it is the consistency of cornmeal.

See? Nothing to it.

Then we simply proceed like normal pancakes. We mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then the wet in another. Then mix them all together. Now at this point, you are probably going to notice that the batter is pretty runny and you might feel inclined to mumble a bad word or two to me about how this pancake batter looks more like a crepe batter and you knew this gluten free thing wasn’t going to work out. Well to that I would say, “Hold your horses! And please go pour yourself another cup of coffee, because you are kind of cranky this morning!”

You definitely need to let this batter sit for at least 5 minutes before you start to fry them up. You need to give the oats a chance to do their oat thing where they start soaking up the liquid in the bowl and get all thick and gluey. So seriously just give it a minute. Set your pan to preheat, warm up your coffee, and straighten up the kitchen, then come back and get started on the pancakes.

Turn your pan to medium low heat and then cook them for 3 minutes. Right before you are about to turn them, sprinkle on a few chocolate chips. Flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes. At this point, I like to place them in a pan that I have sitting in a 200 degree oven to stay warm until all of the pancakes are made.

Look at this. I kind of blew The Dude’s mind when I busted out a stack of cookies, and a plate of pancakes.

Hahaha. Poor kid. I tried to be fast so she could get in there.

These pancakes are moist, and slightly chewy from the coconut. They are slightly rich from the coconut oil and dark chocolate chips. I don’t know how else to convince you to make these. They taste like Samoas!!!

Totally irresistible.  I am kind of in love.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup dried or dessicated coconut

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200.

In a food processor or blender, pulse oats and coconut until a coarse powder (similar to cornmeal) has formed.

Pour flour mixture into a bowl with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine milks, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil.

Whisk in eggs.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken.

Spoon the batter onto a pan at medium/low heat. Cook for 3 mintues. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips, and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat.

Ding Dong!

Reuben Fries

Do you guys remember those old Guinness commercials where it would show the grown men running down the stairs in their jammies like Christmas morning to the keg of beer sitting in their living room for St. Patrick’s Day?

Honestly, that is totally how The Hubs and I feel on this day.

We are beer drinkers through and through. So when the one day a year comes around that celebrates the drinking of tasty Irish beers, we get pretty excited about it. It has become a tradition for us to park it on the couch with a tall glass of Guinness or Killian’s, and watch Boondock Saints. We never miss it. Our St. Patty’s Day dinner has changed over the years, but most recently (except for a couple of years ago when I was pregnant with Monkey and couldn’t stand the site, smell, or thought of corned beef) we make a big deal out of noshing on Reuben sandwiches.

This year, I thought I would shake it up a bit and make the sandwich into a sort of french fry nacho thing.

Pretty excellent huh?

And since this is really more of a grown-up holiday, I had my special grown-up helper in the kitchen to help me.

I am trying really hard to resist the urge to say here, “so easy, even The Hubs can do it.”

…oops. Never mind.

Hang on tight friends, this takes pretty intense culinary know-how.

First you bake up some (gasp!) frozen french fries.

Then you brown up some thinly sliced corned beef in a pan, and chop it up along side some Swiss cheese.

Then you layer on the toppings, and put it back in the oven until the cheese melts.

Crazy difficult.

Crazy good.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Reuben Fries

serves 4 to 5

28 oz bag frozen steak fries

1/2 lb thinly sliced corned beef

1/2 cup sauerkraut

6 oz Swiss Cheese, chopped or grated

Thousand Island Dressing to taste

Cook fries according to package directions, and leave on baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium sized skillet, brown corned beef slices over medium high heat.

Chop meat into small pieces and layer over the french fries.

Top meat with sauerkraut, followed by the cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Top with desired amount of dressing.

Baked Oatmeal Cinnamon Toast

A few months back, I did something pretty outrageous for a busy mom of two small children to do.

I outlawed cereal in this house.

Yes, when you are all bleary eyed first thing in the morning, haven’t even had a sip of coffee yet, but have two kids who are depending on you to feed them, you just want to throw something at them fast. And I’ll be the first one to admit, it doesn’t get any faster than cereal and milk.

When I really thought about it honestly though, cereal (especially the ones you can get kids to eat the easiest) really aren’t that great of a way to start the day. And I wasn’t even feeding them the “bad” kinds. I knew better than to be feeding them the ones that are obviously just sugar, but even the varieties that are touted as healthy are really just a bunch of empty calories. Still, I kept ignoring that little voice that kept trying to tell me that this probably was not the best way to start the day.

But then I realized we were all starving about an hour after breakfast. Amazingly, right around the same time I would start trying to think of a way to sneak out of whatever game I was playing with the girls to go grab a handful of nuts or something, The Dude would start asking to eat again. And once she was able to communicate it, Little Monkey Mode would do the same.

Well I don’t know if there many things more annoying to a mom who is cranky from a blood sugar drop than two whiny kids who are also cranky from a blood sugar drop and asking to eat again when she just cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast. Then said mom looks at the clock and realizes it is only 8:30. So she  starts banging around in the cabinets to find something else for everyone to eat while hearing herself say something brilliant like, “Ohmagosh! How can ya’ll seriously be hungry again already? We just ate?”

And that is why the cereal madness had to stop. Tasty and easy as it may be, I basically just figured it was a waste of everyone’s time to eat it.

So a couple of nights a week, I will whip up a quick oatmeal to bake the next morning while I am working out before everyone else is awake. We never eat the entire pan, which has turned out to be a good thing because I have figured out a really tasty way to eat those leftovers.

Basically, I am going to break down a method for you rather than a recipe, but I will tell you the basic formula for my baked oatmeal because I rarely make it the same way twice.

I let the oatmeal that I am making depend on the mood that I am in that evening or what kinds of things I think the girls would like, or what types of fruit or veggies I think that they haven’t had enough of at the time. But the formula roughly consists of 2 cups of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup of liquid (some type of milk or leftover smoothie…yes that’s right smoothie…), 1/2 cup mashed up fruit or veg (banana, applesauce, pumpkin…), 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or silken tofu, 1 egg, and 1 to 1/2 cup of dried fruits (apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries…).

I will pour the mixture into a greased 8×8 pan, cover with tin foil, and place in the refrigerator until the next morning. I will bake it for about 30 to 40 minutes at 350.

You might notice that my “recipe” is not very sweet. This is because I have weaned us off of a lot of real sugary foods. But to make The Dude feel special, I will usually let her dip her squares into a small cup of maple syrup.

Plus, I don’t feel bad about dousing it in cinnamon sugar the next day. Here is how we do that.

Cut your remaining pieces into desired sized squares. Then cut down the middle into two thin slices with a sharp, serrated knife. (This is why you just about have to use leftover oatmeal. It needs to be a little firmer to work well.)

(wow this shot looks rather violent huh?)

Then spread on some butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Place these puppies under the broiler until the sugar is melted and bubbling with the butter, and the edges of the oatmeal are turning brown and starting to crisp.

Holy smokes! Do you see that crispy edge?? Now this is some seriously tasty, non-blood sugar crashing, non-cereal breakfast, friends!

P.S. If you would like a more concrete baked oatmeal square recipe than the one I gave you, here are a couple of good basic ones that I really like a lot. (They happen to be vegan, but that is really just a coincidence…)

Mama Pea’s Baked Oatmeal Squares

On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares

Apple Pie “Lara”balls

Wanna hear a cute yet slightly embarrassing story?

Wow. You answered,”yes” really quickly to that.

I have felt so blessed and proud of my sweet girls the past couple of days. All of a sudden, they have started genuinely playing together. And not in that, they are both interested in the same toy so it looks like they are playing but The Dude is really only seconds away from snatching it from Monk and getting the heck out of there, leaving me to discipline and wipe away everyone’s tears kind of way. But genuinely enjoying a little activity together to the point where they do not need nor do they want me around to supervise. Amazing. It has been the very thing that The Hubs and I have imagined ever since I found out I was pregnant with sweet Monkey.

And SO helpful! Holy cow. You would not believe all of the stuff I am getting done while they are playing together. I will get within earshot and take the opportunity to fold laundry, actually put said laundry away (shocking!), and sometimes even get to the really important task of checking my twitter feed every five seconds.

Yep. Life has been grand around here for me. Until I had to make the party stop yesterday afternoon.

The Dude walked in with her new “kite.

(Update: The Hubs thought maybe a picture of The Dude holding her “kite” was probably inappropriate. And I figure he is probably right.)

…a feminine hygiene product.

Mmm hmm, that is what I failed to tell you about the sweet game that Monkey and The Dude have been playing together. They found a couple of boxes of those under my sink and that was what they were playing with.It was a pretty simple game, but apparently loads of fun. The Dude would sit in my bathtub and throw them out onto the floor; then Monk would go around and pick them up and throw them back in the tub. Now they obviously have no idea what they were playing with, and I had been waiting for this glorious playtime for so long that I just let them keep at it.

But once The Dude managed to get inside the package and come out swinging the contents by the string, I decided it was time to end the little game.

Bummer.

So this story had absolutely nothing to do with today’s recipe, other than this is what I was whipping up when The Dude whipped out her kite.

Now I know that homemade Larabars are totally predictable. Yes, you have seen them time and again from food bloggers. But friends, these are awesome! They taste like a treat, but they are actually healthy; chocked full of heart healthy walnuts and flax seed. The apples are sweet, but not to the point of tasting like candy and you get a nice punch from the cinnamon and allspice. I really wanted to add some cayenne to these, but since I was planning on sharing them with little kids, I decided to abstain.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some cleaning up to do in the bathroom.

No wait.

Maybe I will just leave them scattered all over the bathroom to scare The Hubs.

Apple Pie “Lara”balls

makes 12 balls

1 cup raw walnuts

2/3 cup dried apples

2 tablespoons chopped dried dates

1 tablespoon golden flax seed

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon apple juice

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the walnuts and apples are in pea sized chunks.

Then turn on high speed until mixture is beginning to smooth and will form a ball if you press some pieces together with your fingers.

Press mixture into walnut sized balls, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

I mainly added this picture to document that I actually had my nails neatly painted for five minutes. (The sparkly top coat was all The Dude’s idea.)