Baked Ravioli

This is an easy one, sorta don’t even need a recipe kind of meal.   But, all my kiddos ate this and I liked the seasonings in it so I’m recording it here. 🙂

1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can diced Italian flavored tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2 lbs ravioli ( fresh or frozen, doesn’t matter)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 425. Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add minced garlic and sauté for a minute. Add thyme, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Blend tomato chunks till chunks are gone. You could use a hand blender, magic bullet, etc. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Cook ravioli until they float atop. Pasta doesn’t need to be completely cooked as it will cook more in oven. Drain water from pasta and toss with sauce. Poor into 9×13 pan. Top with parmesan, then mozzarella.  Bake for 20 minutes, until pasta is golden.  I served with salad, bread, and smoothies.  All kiddos loved it!

Peanut butter oatmeal bars

Yet another recipe found on pinterest. I love this one for many reasons. One, it’s so quick and easy to put together. Two, it’s a great snack, breakfast food with fruit, or as a source of protein in the kids lunch. Some of my kiddos aren’t huge sandwich fans, so this is nice to put in there lunch As a sandwich alternative.   This is very rich. You won’t want to eat a big portion at once. I had a very small piece with a smoothie for breakfast this morning.

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup honey

3 cups oatmeal

combine all together and press into 8×8 pan. Cover and let sit overnight. That’s it! Oh- and from now on I am going to add flaxseed also. Not sure why I didn’t think of doing that this time. 🙂

Crescent Rolls

I. Love. Bread. Of all kinds.

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I don’t like chemicals in bread, so when I saw this recipe for crescents, I decided to give it a go…I’d still been buying cans of rolls on occasion because they’re so easy, but now that I’ve made these, I won’t go back.

Yes…it takes some time to make them. BUT, one batch makes a whole lotta rolls. I baked all of them and froze the leftovers after they cooled, and they are absolutely delicious thawed and reheated, too.

I made mine a little smaller than the original recipe, which is good for portion size and for the number you’ll yield. My other changes from the original: I needed about 5 1/2 cups of flour to get to the point of the dough not being really wet and sticky. It was still a very soft dough, so I’m not sure why there was a difference (and I was nervous about having used so much), but they turned out perfect. The only other thing was that I didn’t use the Tbl of oil to coat the bowl…it’s just not necessary. And, I found the second rising time to be unnecessary, which speeds up this whole process considerably.

2 c warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 egg
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a Kitchenaid mixing bowl, stir in warm water and nonfat dry milk powder until it dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour.

Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. (You can switch your attachment to the dough hook at this point for easier mixing.)

Add 1/2 cup flour again, mixing on low speed until wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. You can add an additional 1/2 – 1 c if your dough is still too wet.

Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl.

Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick oil and place the plastic over the bowl. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size and rises to the top of the bowl.

Once the dough has risen, place your dough on a flat floured surface, then divide the dough in thirds. Roll 1/3 of the dough into a circular shape, and using a pizza cutter, trim around the edges to make it into a circle (unless you are a magical fairy, there’s no way you’re going to roll this into a perfect circle). You may be able to use the scraps to make another roll or 2, so don’t throw it out.

Cut the dough into 16 pieces, like you would a pizza. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the outside. Tuck the small point under the roll.

Place on parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown.

If you’re freezing them, just let them cool completely before putting in a ziploc bag!

Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

These were just so good and different…I only made these as a main dish for Matt and me, not the boys, because this just really isn’t up their alley. But we’ll have them again. I loved it! My version is if you’re making it for 2…bump up as needed for more, or to make it a side dish for company!

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Ours took so long to bake (read below – I bought a huge sweet potato) that we didn’t let them get to the crispy stage because we were pacing around the kitchen, waiting for them to be done. It didn’t matter…they were still delicious.

Original here, my few changes below:

1 large sweet potato
3/4 – 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
1 Tbl olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 1/2 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo), minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
1 1/2-2 cups ((half a 10oz bag) spinach
4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until fork tender (a very large sweet potato like I used takes this long…lesson learned. Maybe I’ll use smaller ones next time).

In a medium size bowl combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and wilt the spinach – this takes about 5-7 minutes, stir as needed. Toss the spinach and shredded chicken together, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a medium size layer of flesh inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own (save the remaining flesh for another use) and place in a baking dish. Brush the skins with with a little of the chipotle sauce and bake for 5-10 minutes until crisp.

While the skins bake, mix the spinach, chicken and chipotle sauce together. Remove skins from the oven and stuff with the chicken mixture, top with shredded cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the skins are hot and crisp.

**Suggestion: use your leftover chipotles in adobo for this Black Bean Chili!

Homemade Waffles and Syrup

Our family is going through the slow, sometimes-painful (when we realize a favorite of ours contains it) removal of red dye from our diets. There are lots of things that got cut out years ago: fruit snacks and the like, Koolaid type drinks, etc.  But it’s in SO much more than you realize when you try to completely cut it out. A few convenience foods that I still bought despite their lack of nutritional value (because let’s face it, sometimes we just need a quick dinner) contain red dye. Like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Hungry Jack Belgian Waffle Mix. Really? Why is red dye in these?

Sidenote: I’m not freaking out over birthday treats at school, a snack at a friend’s house, etc. The boys don’t have to be the odd kid out in these situations. I’m just taking it out of our diet at home.

So. Back to waffles.

I used 100 Days of Real Food’s waffle recipe as the basis, thanks to Sonya’s recommendation. I changed up a few things, primarily to make it easier to mix and to be able to use the ingredients I already had in my pantry (I didn’t have any King Arthur white whole wheat flour; just regular white flour and regular whole wheat flour). I made a batch and a half of the original recipe (and that’s what I’m posting below), so there are plenty to freeze. It made 8 huge Belgian waffles.

3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups + 2 Tbl skim milk
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil – because it’s a solid at room temp, melt it down to liquid before using by putting what you need in a measuring cup in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until it’s a liquid)
1/2 cup applesauce
1-2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tbl ground flaxseed

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, applesauce and honey.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together (doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed). THEN, add the coconut oil while you are whisking the batter, so that it gets evenly distributed. This is important, because the batter is cold and the coconut oil will harden in the batter; you want it to be in tiny bits, not large clumps.

When the waffle iron is hot, ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. I found that, due to the coconut oil, I did not need to grease my waffle iron. Cook as long as you need – my Belgian waffler takes about 3 minutes/waffle.

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These are delicious with maple syrup, of course, but if you want to try something really amazing, make this Buttermilk Caramel Syrup. Oh my goodness…it’s amazing and super easy to make. Three bits of advice: 1. use commercially-prepared buttermilk (instead of adding vinegar to your own milk to sour it, like you can when baking) 2. Using 1/4 cup of butter is fine. 3. Prepare the syrup in a big pan. Bigger than you think is necessary, because when you add the baking soda and have a bubbly chemical reaction, you don’t want to lose this delicious concoction all over your stovetop!

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Slimmed-Down Sweet Potato Casserole

From Prevention magazine.  These were really good per the adults. The rest of the family’s response was: 2 “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” and 1 gag-it-down-with-milk-so-he-can-have-dessert.

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat the potato pieces. Place mixture in 13″ x 9″ baking dish, covered with foil (otherwise they will dry out). Roast until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Serves 4.

You’ll probably want to salt them a bit (I took the salt out of the recipe prep portion).

Approximately 235 calories/serving.

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Oops. Forgot to take a pic of them while still in the roasting pan! Here are the leftovers.

Crunchy Stuffed Chicken Wraps

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to cook up stuffed tortillas like this, but it didn’t. I’m so glad I found this recipe!

The original is here. You can follow her directions and make an absolutely delicious dinner!

My takeaway from this recipe, though, was that this method is the perfect way to fancy up what’s leftover in your fridge. And, you can make as much or as little as you want! Several times now I’ve used leftover chicken from various other recipes, leftover rice or quinoa that I seasoned, some shredded cheese, and voila! Tomorrow I’ll be mixing together scrambled eggs, shredded cheese and some leftover turkey sausage to make breakfast wraps.

To assemble and cook: put the mixture down the center of a tortilla, roll it up, flatten it a bit, and then spray the seam side of the wrap with some canola, coconut or olive oil spray.

Cook them in a non-stick skillet on medium until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cook them seam-side down first to seal the edge.

Serve with any kind of dip that would go with however you’ve flavored the inside of the wrap! Sour cream, ranch, hummus, salsa, whatever!

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