Monthly Archives: January 2014

A Party? In a Bowl? Why yes, thank you! (A Super Bowl Party Appetizer Wrap-Up)

As many of you know I love to entertain, mostly because I love to make mini-foods. But really because I enjoy hanging out with friends while celebrating something special. So, it’s been a pretty long tradition–ok so it’s only been 4 or 5 years, but what ‘evs–of hosting a small group of friends for a Super Bowl Viewing Party.

Normally, I will make a couple of heartier dishes and ask the other families to lighten the load by bringing a dish to share. Here are some of my favorite Super Bowl Go To Party Faves!

Nothing like a hot dip to get the party started, yeah? P1050450Baked Green Chile Artichoke Dip
Simply fresh flavors make this one pop.

P1050799Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You’ve got to have something for the kiddos, too.

Pizza Pop 'ems
Pizza Pop ’ems

Pizza Pop ’ems
And, who doesn’t love bacon? P1040448

Bacon Carmelized Onion Pinwheels
Ok, maybe the vegetarian doesn’t love bacon? Real men do eat quiche.P1030196

Spinach and Feta Quiches

I really don’t care who wins, FYI.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick BreadLately, I’ve been on this kick where I am trying my best to avoid buying so many prepackaged snacks for my kids. When they were toddlers it was no problem to get them to snack on fruits and veggies, but with the hectic lifestyle that seems inevitable for kids (and moms). All that running between activities after school, of course. I’ve fallen into that trap that I told myself I would never do…rely on endless carbs that result in my kids having no appetite for dinner.

In the spirit of making changes to our eating habits, this just seemed like a good fit. Over the past couple of years I have tried making Peanut Butter Chip granola bars, Peach-apple fruit leatherTropical Pineapple Smoothies and  of course Chocolate Chip Zucchini muffins, my neighbor’s favorite. But none of these truly felt all that healthy or satisfying for the kids.

And then, for a while there I went down the route of a mini-meal after school with Pizza Pop ’ems and chicken taquitos, but there is only so much reinventing I can do. That’s when I thought of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but this time turning them into a quick bread. What a fab idea, right? There must be a recipe out there for something like this, surely Quaker Oats might have one, but alas no. It was Sunset magazine that saved the day. With a few easy tweaks to suit our palate this became a winner. And it made a large enough loaf to last a long 3-day weekend.

Shopping List:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted butter.

For the streusel:

1/4 cup softened butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.

2. Stir in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.

3. In a separate small bowl mash together the ingredients for the streusel.

3. Pour into a greased and floured 9-cup loaf pan. And top with streusel mixture.  Then bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

A Healthier Side of Chili

P1060572It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog!   And of course with my New Year’s Resolution of a healthier lifestyle just a flash-in-the-pan behind me, I can’t forget how much I’ve ignored my readers this past year. I apologize and hope that you will all be satiated with a delectable dish for a cold winter’s night–Chili.

Ok, so it’s not all that cold this afternoon in Southern California, but I’m banking on the fact that our weather will flip-flop back to its fogginess in a few days anyway.  And who doesn’t love to whip up a bowl of chili after a busy day at work? Yes, in just 30 minutes or less!

I know most people think of chili as something that simmers away all day, and there are certainly some great slow cooking recipes out there that work magic, but so many of them have you prep way too much before you turn on the machine. I hate that! I mean, really, who wants to get up earlier just to get dinner going before you head out for the day? My kind of slow cooking is really dumping it all in and letting it all work its own magic….ok I’ll admit it–slow cooking is for my way too hectic days where I know I will be too lazy to cook at the end, and I want to avoid going the fast food route.

So if you are craving a little chili, but don’t want to waste your slow cooker day (mine is Wednesday, btw) give this recipe a try. I think you’ll really enjoy the fresh flavors and the added vegetables that give it a slight sweetness.

Shopping List:

1 pound ground beef, I prefer 7-15 % fat organic

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered and diced

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 teaspoons of cumin

2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder

salt to taste

Suggested toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, red onion, black olives, radishes, tortilla chips, corn chips…ok, so basically anything you like.

Instructions:

1. In a large sauté pan, sauté on medium-high heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic until the garlic begins to brown.

2. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown it for approximately 5 minutes until it is mostly cooked. A little pink is still ok, since you will continue cooking it from this point.

3. Push the meat to the edges of the pan, and add the zucchini and corn to the center, and then let it cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat and vegetables are nicely caramelized.

4. Reduce the heat on the pan and begin to season dish with the cumin, the chili powders and the tomatoes. Let this simmer at low for another 5-7 minutes. Then taste it! You might want to add some salt or of course your favorite hot sauce. Now it’s ready to enjoy with any (or none) of those yummy toppings.

Serves: 4-6