Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Very Berry Muffins

These little guys remind me of the Very Berry Coffee Cake from Starbucks... except I think my muffins are better. :) I adapted this recipe from THIS post on The Pioneer Woman's blog.  Go make these. Now. You'll be so very happy.

You'll need:
3 cups minus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Cooking spray (I used olive oil spray.)
Brown sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Set this aside for later.

Whisk together sugar, oil, beaten egg, yogurt, and vanilla.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the yogurt mixture. Stir it only 10-15 times... you don't want the flour to completely disappear.  (The flour and the liquid will cause gluten to develop that will hold the muffins together, but if you overstir, too much gluten will develop and the muffins will be tough and heavy.)

Wash berries and pat dry.

Gently fold in berries, only 4-5 folds.

You should still see small traces of flour throughout the batter.

Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and fill each cup almost to the top with batter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, about 1/2 to 1 tsp on each.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Sending you love from my kitchen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pesto & Mushroom Chicken Sandwich

When I was making this sandwich yesterday, one of my roommates walked by our kitchen and asked what I was making. When I replied, "Just a sandwich," she laughed, claiming that I never make normal sandwiches, only "gourmet sandwiches." Well, that's not entirely true... I enjoy a traditional PB&J every now and then. But when my fridge is full and I have time on my hands, I try to channel my inner-Panera and be creative.  Most of these creations are pretty tasty, but every once and a while I stumble upon a fabulous combination of ingredients, and I just have to blog the result.

You'll need:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/4 cup shredded chicken (I used leftover dark meat from a rotisserie chicken.)
Splash of chicken broth (about 2 Tbsp)
Pinch of crushed saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 oz. mozzarella, shredded
1 tablespoon pesto (I used Giada's basil pesto)
1/2 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
2 slices of bread, toasted (I used Nature's Own Multigrain)

Heat olive oil and mushrooms in a small sauté pan on medium heat.

Once the mushrooms start to become tender, add the chicken and a splash of chicken broth to keep the mixture moist.

Once the broth begins to evaporate, turn the heat down to low. Then, add the pinch of saffron (not more than a pinch!) and a bit of salt and pepper.  Form the mixture into a sandwich-sized rectangle...

...and sprinkle on the cheese!

While that's melting, slice your tomatoes and spread pesto on once slice of toasted bread.

Using a spatula, move the cheesy chicken and mushroom mixture to the second slice of bread.

Add tomatoes...

...and you're ready to eat! See that didn't take so long, and it's way better than PB&J.  :)

Sending you love (gourmet-style) from my kitchen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is one of my new favorite recipes, and I can't wait to experiment with it. My favorite little four-year-old suggested substituting strawberries and blueberries for the bananas, and I think she may be on to something. For now, let me tell you about this yummy bread! I love the bananas and chocolate pairing, and the oats mixed in adds a bit of nutrition amidst the sweet, chocolaty goodness. And it's unbelievably easy. This is another recipe from Multiply Delicious - find her version HERE.

You'll need:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 large)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Add the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and whisk together.

Add oats and stir until just combined.

Measure the buttermilk...

Mash the bananas...

Whisk the eggs with a fork...

And melt the butter...

Stir together buttermilk, bananas, eggs, and butter and until just combined, and add to the flour mixture.  Whisk together.

Now for the best part...

Add the chocolate chips...

And stir until evenly distributed.

My batch made a loaf of bread plus 11 muffins.  The muffins need about 25 minutes in the oven, and the loaf will take about 45 minutes.

Muffins are a good way to make a dessert look like breakfast. :)

I just love this... I think I'll go get another piece right now.

Sending you love from my kitchen.

Almond Basil Asparagus

This is a quick and simple dish that I make very, very often. It goes well as a side with almost anything!

You'll need:
20-25 stalks of asparagus
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. sliced almonds (or as many as desired)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

After you rinse and pat-dry the asparagus, throw all the ingredients into a large bowl.  Use a rubber spatula or tongs to combine everything, making sure the asparagus are evenly coated in olive oil and basil.

Spread out on a baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Love this!  Sending you love from kitchen.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Balsamic Chicken & Tortellini Salad

This recipe is another steal from Multiply Delicious. All I changed were the proportions of the ingredients because, to be honest, I really despise exact measurements.  With the spinach, for example, I'd so much rather just grab a gigantic fistful of it and let that be my form of measurement... That's acceptable, right?

This pasta is phenomenal. I made it once for a baby shower to go with a few other appetizers, and I recently made it as a main dish for an Italian-themed potluck dinner.  It's served cold, and the dressing keeps the dish light and healthy without compromising the flavor. Feel free to play around with the proportions yourself!

You'll need:
2 lbs. tortellini (from the frozen food aisle, pre-cooked)
3 cups shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
2 fistfuls spinach
1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, cook the tortellini. Drain and set aside.

Shred chicken, cut tomatoes, dice pepper, and chop basil.

Whisk together the balsamic and mustard with a fork.

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top.

Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Add your fistfuls of spinach.

Toss together!

I like to refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving to let all the flavors marinate together.  Enjoy!

Sending you love from my kitchen.