Thursday, July 22, 2010

Simple Berry Sauce

Adam loves yogurt and can easily eat an adult size one for breakfast or snack.  I happily indulged him until I realized how much added sugar was in one (or high fructose corn syrup).  So I decided to try making a sauce that I could use in plain Greek yogurt.  Not only could I then control the amount of sugar going into my little one, but I could save some money.  Win-win. 

The recipe I found is so simple, I doubted how yummy it would be.  But it was delicious!  I mixed it to Adam's yogurt and he ate it up.  I even ate it on my yogurt and can see it working wonderfully on pancakes, waffles, french toast, ice cream........ 

I got the recipe from  The original recipe was for raspberry, but I had a carton of blueberries that was on its last leg, so I made 2 kinds.  The raspberries cooked faster because they were frozen, so I'd add a few more minutes to any fruit that has a tougher skin.  I used a potato masher with the blueberries too.  Next time, I might throw them in the blender.  Adam didn't mind the chunkiness, though.  If you want the sauce to be more like a syrup, omit the cornstarch.


Simple Berry Sauce

12 oz of fresh or unsweetened berries (raspberries, black berries, blueberries...)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)

1. Combine berries and honey in pot, stirring to combine and using spoon (or potato smasher) to smash down fruit.

2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until fruit is soft.

3. Whisk corn starch and water in a separate bowl.  Add to fruit and stir until fruit thickens. 

4.  Cool and serve.  Store the rest in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

Now that I have a bigger kid (11) and a littler kid (20 months), I realize that some recipes that little Adam loves might work great for him, but not for older kids or us adults.  Adam is such a good eater that he will eat most anything I serve him (how many toddlers do you know who eat radish salad and Brussel sprouts?)  But I know that the older kids have more complex taste buds, so to label something as "kid friendly" might be a bit misleading if Adam's the taster.

So, I came up with a new category: Toddler-Approved.  These recipes will be something that you can serve to older kids and even adults, but will be more geared toward our littlest ones.  Don't hesitate giving it a taste yourself to see if maybe you found a new favorite!

I wanted to find something to quickly serve Adam in the morning and had a zucchini to use up.  So, of course, zucchini muffins came to mind.  But the real recipe is usually filled with sugar and not that healthy.  So I went on a new favorite food blog,, and found a healthy version.  Adam loves them so much, he ate 2 full sized ones this morning alone (as I type this, he came running over for another bite!).

The recipe calls for agave nectar, but can also use honey or maple syrup.  I'm assuming you can also use sugar, but regular sugar might not be sweet enough for the limited amount used.   I used maple syrup.

I was out of eggs when I made it, so I used flax seed and water as a substitute.  They came out nicely, but I'll be using eggs or bananas next time.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (or 24 mini muffins)

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs, whisked
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/3 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
2/3 Cup Agave Nectar (or honey or maple syrup)
1 1/2 Cups Zucchini, shredded (about 2 small zucchini)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined.
5. Pour the zucchini mixture into large or small muffins cups.
6. Bake 15 minutes for small muffins and 20 minutes for large ones.
7. Cool and serve.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seared Mahi Mahi with Zesty Basil Butter

A simple and easy way to serve up mahi mahi.  Not much else to say about the recipe, just that's it's great in its simplicity.  Well, Adam gobbled his up, so if a toddler likes it, it's pretty safe that most kids will.

I got this recipe from

I served it with boiled salted potatoes and sauteed zucchini.


Seared Mahi Mahi with Zesty Basil Butter
Serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets

Zesty Basil Butter:

Combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the fish for 3 minutes; then turn and cook until just opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the fillets to individual plates.

Spoon the warm basil butter over the fish and serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Buccaneer Pork Kebabs

I had to look up what a Buccaneer was.... I guess it's a pirate who attacked Spanish ships in the Caribbean Sea.  So, feel free to slap on the eye patch, slam back a rum shot and belt out your best "Aaarrrr, matey!!" while dining on this tasty treat. 

For those who aren't familiar with jerk seasoning, it's a Caribbean thing.  Think spicy. This recipes adds a nice sweetness to balance the hot. 

I wondered where I'd get pickling spices, but the mix was right along the regular spices (and pretty cheap).  Not sure what I'll do with the rest of it, but hey, maybe you'll see a pickling recipe coming soon.  The jerk sauce was found next to the bbq sauces. 

I got the recipe from my Food Network "50 Kebabs" recipe booklet.  The photo comes from


Buccaneer Pork Kebabs

How to make kebabs:

1. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and prepare as the recipe directs. If marinating, refrigerate 1 hour for fish and up to overnight for meat and poultry.

2. Preheat a grill to high. Thread the ingredients onto skewers.
3. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are charred and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 15 minutes.

If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before grilling.

Buccaneer seasoning:

Boil 1 cup water, 3 tablespoons each salt and brown sugar, 2 teaspoons pickling spices and 4 garlic cloves. Add 1 cup rum, then cool.

Add cubed pork tenderloin and marinate.

Skewer with pineapple. Grill, basting with bottled jerk sauce.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Angry Chicken

Admit it.  When you hear of a dish called Angry Chicken, you can't help but sit up and wonder... what exactly does an angry chicken taste like?

Well, apparently pretty damn good.  Abe declared it one of the best chickens I've ever made and Jimi requested that we have it once a week.  I'll take the compliment.

I had really wanted to make the dish solely on the name.  But one glance at the Indian-inspired ingredients made me quickly realize that it was more than just spicy chicken.  The boys agreed that it was like Buffalo Wild Wings meets India. 

The recipe comes from a chef who has a restaurant in Mumbai, India and apparently it's their most popular dish.  The recipe looks like it could be a bit elaborate, but it really came together nicely.   You will need to plan a bit ahead to allow the meat to marinate.

The ingredient list calls for lots of whole spices ground down with a pestle and mortar.  Yeah, no.  While I do have a few of the ingredients in their whole form, I'm 32 weeks pregnant and not about to hand grind anything right now.  So, if you're like me (well, perhaps not the pregnant part), you can just use the spices already in their ground form.

Garam masala is a delightful Indian spice mix that can be found in any spice shop or Indian market.  It makes all the difference in taste, so I'd really suggest getting some (or look up a recipe for making it at home).  I use it a lot in dishes, so I always have some on hand.

Last minute I omitted the blistered chilies step, which I now regret.  I will for sure do it next time and definitely if I serve this to company.  I think they really are the "angry" in the Angry Chicken.  I also omitted the fried noodles part (laziness), but I can see how this would add a bit of drama to the dish.

I got this recipe from


Angry Chicken
Serves 4

2 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chickens quartered (I got mine ready packaged as whole chickens cut up)
Spicy Yogurt Marinade, recipe follows
2 cups chicken stock
24 assorted long fresh hot green and red chile peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch Fried Rice Noodles, recipe follows
Lime wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Place the chicken quarters in a large bowl. Measure out 1 cup of the Spicy Yogurt Marinade and reserve for the sauce; refrigerate in a small covered container.
Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Turn the pieces to make sure they are all well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange the pieces on 1 or 2 half-sheet pans or large baking sheets. Discard the chicken marinade.

Roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken is tender and lightly browned and the juices run clear when the thighs are pricked with the tip of a small knife. Transfer the pieces to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
While the chicken is roasting, make the sauce. Boil the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to 1 cup. Whisk in the reserved 1 cup Spicy Yogurt Marinade and cook just until heated through. Do not boil, or the yogurt will separate. Keep the sauce warm.

As soon as the chickens are done, preheat the broiler. Toss the chiles with the oil to coat lightly and spread them out on a broiler rack or small baking sheet. Broil the chiles about 4 inches from the heat, turning them a couple of times, until they are blistered and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

To serve, layer the chicken and chiles on a large platter. Pour the sauce around the chicken. Top with the Fried Rice Noodles. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the chicken.

Spicy Yogurt Marinade:

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot sauce (recommended: Frank's)
1 1/3 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/3 cup soy sauce

To make the marinade, grind the peppercorns, cumin, coriander seeds, and cardamom in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle (or use ground). Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Add the hot sauce, yogurt, cream, and soy sauce and whisk until smooth and well blended.

Yield: about 3 1/2 cups

Fried Rice Noodles:

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 bundle thin rice noodles (mai fun)
Add vegetable oil to reach about 2 inches up the sides of a large saucepan or a wok. Heat the oil over high heat to 340 degrees F. Separate 1 bundle of thin rice noodles into 2 portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, add the noodles to the oil. They will puff up almost immediately. Using a large wire skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

Pork loin was on sale for $1.97 a pound, so I had to snatch one up.  I figured apples and pork paired well together, so this healthy recipe would be a winner.  It's low in fat and calories, so you can have an extra slice.

I don't have an oven-safe skillet (mine have silicon handles), so I used my Dutch oven instead.  If you don't have either of these, you can cover your handles with aluminum foil to keep them safe.

I got this recipe from

I served it with rice and a green salad (first lettuce of the summer from our garden!)


Roast Pork Loin with Apples
Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed and tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon dried)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 3/4 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, such as Cortland or Rome peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.

3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes. (See Cook's Note.)

4. Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Remove the strings from the roast and slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

 Cook's Note: Pork cooked this way will be slightly pink. If desired, cook the pork to 160 degrees F, but be aware that this lean cut will not be as moist at the higher temperature.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Portobello-Goat Cheese Pitas

Something a little different for dinner.  I've been trying to add more vegetarian meals to our rotations; you'd think after being veggie for over 13 years, I'd have a ton.  But I don't.  So I'm trying to mix it up a little.  This turned out surprisingly good and makes for a great light dinner on a warm summer night.  It's a great meal to serve your vegetarian friends at your next barbecue (hint for those inviting me over for dinner this summer ;-).

You can use a well-oiled grill pan or throw everything, except for the tomatoes, on the grill. If you like a chewier pita, opt for the Greek style or don't over-grill the regular kind.  If you like your pitas crispy, grill away!

I got this recipe from (including photo) and made some adjustments.


Grilled Portobello-Goat Cheese Pitas 
Serves 4 (they are more filling than you'd think)

1 1/2  teaspoons minced garlic
1  teaspoon  olive oil
4  (6-inch) pita rounds
1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper, divided
Balsamic vinegar
1  (6-ounce) package portobello mushrooms
2  medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/3  cup  (3 ounces) goat cheese
1/2  cup  chopped fresh basil
2 roasted red peppers, jarred

Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.

Combine garlic and oil; brush evenly over pitas. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly over pitas. Place pitas in pan, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar over mushrooms and tomatoes and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper evenly. Place mushrooms in pan (grill); cook 6 minutes or until tender, turning once. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add tomatoes to pan; cook 1 minute.

Spread goat cheese evenly over pitas. Arrange the mushrooms and tomatoes evenly over pitas. Sprinkle with chopped basil and top with roasted red peppers.