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Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

12 Nov

In the midst of my crazy meal prep madness getting ready for Mia’s arrival, I had bought a big carton of buttermilk to use in an Ina Garten chicken recipe, as well as a batch of Bran Muffins and still had a good amount leftover.  I wanted to add another type of freezer-friendly breakfast food to my Babygeddon stash, and saw this recipe that also uses buttermilk on Smitten Kitchen.  They are SO good!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (I used Granny Smith)

Diced Apples

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
  2. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

    Don’t Overmix!

  3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Hot Out of the Oven

For a muffin that uses wheat flour instead of all-purpose, this sure was moist!  It had more of a cake-like texture than I was expecting it to have.  I went easy on the sugar for the crunchy top (probably only 1 TBSP brown sugar instead of the 1/4 cup the recipe calls for).

As with all of my food prep as of late, being able to freeze what we weren’t going to eat immediately was important.  These freeze really well, though I would skip adding the brown sugar on top since the crunchy top texture goes away once you microwave it.  YUM!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

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Bran Muffins

5 Nov

In the weeks leading up to what I fondly called Babygeddon, I went on a bit of a crazy cooking and baking spree getting meals prepped and into our freezer.  I had purchased too large a carton of buttermilk when I made Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken, and wanted to use it in some healthy muffins.  I turned to Smitten Kitchen and her recipe for Blue Sky Bran Muffins caught my eye.  I don’t mind bakery bran muffins, but they’re always LOADED with tons of added sugar – so much so that I actually always find them to be really sticky and gross from all the honey, juice, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and of course sugar in the actual batter too.  I was looking for a recipe that wasn’t going to give me cardboard muffins, but also not have so much sugar that I might as well have eaten a donut for breakfast.  This seemed like a great compromise, tasting much more like real breakfast than a treat.  Here’s the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) buttermilk (you can also use sour cream or yogurt thinned with a little milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) oil (such as vegetable, safflower, sunflower or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract, a little citrus zest (optional flavorings to add)
  • 1 1/2 cups (90 grams) wheat bran
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chopped mixed fruit (just about anything but citrus or pineapple will work, they say; I used frozen mixed berries for this batch here)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk buttermilk, egg, oil, brown sugar and any vanilla or citrus zest you’d like to use in a small bowl.

    Wet Ingredients – Buttermilk, Egg, Oil, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, and Tangerine Zest

  3. Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.

    Dry Ingredients – Wheat Bran, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt

  4. Spoon two 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 2 teaspoons fruit to each (dividing it evenly) and sprinkling the fruit with one of the teaspoons of granulated sugar.

    Sandwich the Fruit with Batter

  5. Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit and sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining teaspoon of granulated sugar.

    Sprinkle A Little Sugar On Top

  6. Bake muffins for a total of 16 to 18 minutes, rotating pan once midway through baking time for even browning, until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Let muffins cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin.
  7. Do ahead: Muffins keep for 3 days at room temperature, longer in the freezer.

NOTE: This recipe makes about 12 standard size muffins (use a cupcake tin, not a jumbo muffin tin).

These, like any baked good, are best eaten the day-of, but they also freeze well.  The top won’t have that semi-crunchy texture to it, but you can pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds and it is still as moist on the inside as the day it came out!  These definitely made my list of go-to muffin recipes, and I’m excited to try it with some other fruit!

Blue Sky Bran Muffins

Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice

14 Oct

Tomatoes this past summer were SO delicious!  One great thing about the Indian summer we had this year (and seemingly every year in LA lately) is the bounty of sweet tomatoes it’s brought us.

Gorgeous Summer Tomatoes

I saw this recipe on Kitchn a few weeks ago and was looking forward to giving it a whirl.  Instead of regular tomatoes, I used baby tomatoes since they are firmer and sweeter.  Here’s the recipe!

DIRECTIONS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves

INGREDIENTS:

  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Tomato Rice Mixture

  • Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pour the broth evenly over the rice. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and place them skin-side up on the rice.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and bake until the rice absorbs all of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, 30 to 40 minutes more.

    Bubbling Out of the Oven

NOTE: Kitchn says that leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  While this is true from a food spoilage standpoint, I would argue that this recipe is best eaten the day you make it.  The rice will be fine, but the chicken skin will not stay crispy in the fridge and we ended up just pulling it off when we ate the leftovers.

Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice

I served this dish up with a bit of broccolini roasted at 400°F for 15 minutes, adding a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt and a squeeze of lemon once out of the oven.

Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

9 Oct

I’ve been seeing Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken recipe floating around the internet for ages now, and I finally got around to giving it a try.  The original recipe calls for white wine for part of the marinade, and with no egg involved, I couldn’t see how the bread crumb coating would stick to the chicken.  Since I haven’t been drinking lately and Kevin isn’t much of a white wine drinker, I also didn’t want to buy a bottle of white wine just for this recipe either.  Luckily, I came across Alexandra’s Kitchen’s rendition of the recipe and really liked the fact that it used buttermilk in the marinade which would also tenderize the chicken.  I had also just bought a small carton of buttermilk to use in some breakfast muffins (recipes forthcoming!), so the timing was perfect.

Here’s the recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs and 4 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Small handful fresh thyme leaves (if the strands are soft, no need to strip the leaves)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (she uses fresh breadcrumbs; I used store-bought plain breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and buttermilk. Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the mustard-buttermilk mixture overtop. Toss to coat.
  2. Place the garlic, thyme strands (stems, if they are soft, and all), lemon zest, 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt (use 1.5 tsp if you are sensitive to salt), and 1 teaspoon pepper (or a few large cracks on the grinder) in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced.

    Thyme, Lemon Zest, Garlic, Salt, Pepper

  3. Add the breadcrumbs and olive oil, and pulse a few times to moisten the breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl or onto a large plate — something with sides is best.*

    Bread Crumb Coating

  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (for easy clean-up — this is not necessary, but I like using parchment.) Dip each piece of chicken skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on the sheet pan crumb-side up. After one or two pieces have been dipped, the crumb mixture might not adhere to the chicken as well. Just use your hands to press the remaining crumbs onto the chicken pieces.

    Probably Could’ve Used Another 5 Minutes in the Oven to Brown Some More…

  5. Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Check on the chicken. If necessary cook another five minutes or until the crumbs are browned. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

*NOTE:  The recipe makes way more bread crumb coating than you’ll need in my opinion.  I divided the bread crumb mixture in half and froze it for a later date.  What was left was plenty to coat the 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks.

The buttermilk and mustard really made a wonderful thick coating on the chicken for the crumb mixture to stick to, and the buttermilk did a great job of tenderizing the chicken too.  I was worried that the amount of mustard used was going to overpower the chicken, but it really didn’t.  I loved this recipe and look forward to using the other half of my bread crumb mixture on another batch of chicken!

Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

Since we had quite a bit of thyme left over, I whipped up one of my favorite sides to go with the chicken- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.  YUM!

Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables

1 Oct

“Quiche” is such a fancy word.  Every time I see them in bakeries, I always think about how much work it’d be to make one.  However, once you remove the crust factor from the equation, the steps are far less daunting!  This crustless quiche has been THE recipe of summer 2017 for me.  I’ve made it a dozen times to date, and it never gets old.  It’s low-carb, as healthy as you want to make it, and holds up really well as leftovers.  It’s a filling breakfast that you can just pop any leftovers in the microwave, top with a bit of avocado, and enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables*
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or other cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet isn’t ovenproof, transfer everything to a deep dish pie plate to bake it.) Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

    Spread the Onions Evenly

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the onions evenly across the bottom. Spread the vegetables evenly over the onions. The dish or pan should look fairly full.

    Layer with Vegetables

  4. In a bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs lightly with the milk, cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, just enough to break up the yolks and whites. This is a savory custard mixture. Pour the custard over the vegetables and onions and enjoy watching it fill in all the open spaces.

    Add Cheesy Egg Mixture

  5. Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across, it’s fully cooked. Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.

    Hot Out of the Oven!

*NOTE:  For hardier vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower, or winter squash — steam or cook them before adding them to the quiche to ensure they’ll be fully cooked. For tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, or any other quick-cooking vegetable, just use them fresh.  My favorite combination (and also what I used in these photos) so far has been zucchini, dry-packed sun dried tomatoes, and steamed broccoli.

Also, if you HATE scrubbing burnt egg and cheese out of a cast iron skillet, you can also make make this in an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish.  I would even recommend lining it with nonstick foil to make clean up impossibly easy.  Just use a frying pan to cook the onions prior to tossing them in the Pyrex. Your servings will be more like rectangles if you use a Pyrex, like the photo below:

Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables