Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Buttermilk Quick Bread

This bread is just a little sweet and it's got a spongy texture. It uses things you probably have in your pantry/refrigerator, and is so quick and easy to make. It may be a new staple around here when I want a quick bread to go with dinner!

Original recipe credit: Cooking Light
yield: 1 loaf

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine flour through salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Combine buttermilk, butter, and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
3. Spread batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Apple Buttermilk Custard Pie

This is an old standby of mine: an apple pie that's better served cold than warm, and definitely doesn't need ice cream. It's been on the blog for almost 3 years now, but in light of a new camera and therefore a better photo, and a recent desire for apple pie, I'm highlighting it today.

Original recipe credit: Cooking Light
yield: 10 servings

6 sliced, peeled Granny Smith apples (about 2 lbs)
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter

1 9-inch pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Place apples, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in non-stick skillet. Cook 10 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Pour into prepared pie crust.
3. In medium bowl, combine remaining sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, salt and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes.
4. While pie cooks, make streusel. Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut butter in with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly. Store in fridge until pie is done baking for 30 minutes.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake for 40 minutes or until set. Let cool at least an hour before serving.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Braised Balsamic Chicken

I made this for dinner tonight and it. is. yummy. Kind of tangy but not too tangy. Light and healthy. (We ate it over brown rice and with green beans.) Easy. Delicious. I will be making it again.

Original recipe credit:
yield: 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle each chicken breast with pepper and place on top of onions/garlic; cook 5 minutes on each side.
2. While chicken cooks, combine balsamic vinegar, diced tomatoes, basil, and oregano in a small bowl, stirring well. Pour over chicken, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Barbecue Sauce

Ahh, the elusive quest for a good barbecue sauce recipe. We always liked Sweet Baby Ray's in the States, but here when the desire for barbecue hits I have to make my own sauce. It's taken me a few months to meld various recipes together into one that we like that can be made with things bought here. Finally, success.

yield: 3 cups

1 cup ketchup
200 grams (4/5 cup) tomato sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp apple vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion flakes
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp chili powder

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine ketchup, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, and molasses. Heat until boiling; add remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Reduce heat to low; simmer at least 20-30 minutes or until thickened.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've been trying for awhile to perfect my coleslaw recipe... something not too runny, not too sweet, not too onion-y (I don't like raw onions), etc. Here's the final result. Yum.

yield: 12 1/2-cup servings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp vinegar (I used apple vinegar)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6 cups shredded cabbage
2 carrots, finely shredded

1. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, and next 6 ingredients (through pepper). Stir in cabbage and carrots. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tarragon Chicken "Pot Pies"

This is one of our favorite dishes around here these days: it's quick and easy to make, features three food groups, and just tastes fabulous. Even our 14-month-old loves it!

yield: 4 servings

2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 lb chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
3 carrots, sliced
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, halved and sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp tarragon
4 kaiser rolls*

1. Place flour in a small bowl; slowly add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry. Add chicken broth, stirring well.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and chicken. Sauté 2 minutes; stir in carrot and next 4 ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 4 minutes. Stir slurry into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
3. Cut the tops off of the rolls. Hollow out, leaving 1/2-inch shells. Spoon chicken mixture into each shell.

*You can also use regular French bread...just tear in into pieces and put in the bottom of a bowl and spoon chicken mixture on top of the bread*

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oat Muffins

Mmm... these muffins are SO yummy! They're kind of chewy and not too sweet; perfect for a healthy afternoon snack. I meant to toss in a tablespoon of flaxseed but forgot, and I think they'd be really good with a cup of chopped apples as well.

yield: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp molasses
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine buttermilk through egg in a medium bowl; stir well.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk mixture; stir just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chocolate Marshmallow Meltaways

We still have some marshmallows left from the package my mom sent us back in December, and I've been trying to figure out what to do with them. did not disappoint. A few minor adjustments to their original recipe and yum. Shannon claims they're better than chocolate chip cookies. Get a full glass of milk, whatever you think, because these are rich and sweet.

yield: 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
18 large marshmallows, halved

3 Tbsp butter, softened
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp peppermint extract (option, if you want Chocolate Mint Marshmallow Meltaways)
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cookies, cream together butter and sugar in a mixer on medium speed; add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until combined and soft dough forms.
3. Using your hands, roll dough by the tablespoonful gently into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten dough slightly with your hand. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, press one marshmallow half onto the top of each cookie, and return to oven. Bake 2 minutes; remove from oven and cool cookies on a wire rack.
4. To prepare frosting, using a mixer on medium-high speed, combine butter, milk, cocoa, and salt (and peppermint extract, if you choose) in a large bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until well combined. Frost cooled cookies. Enjoy with a large glass of milk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spanish Rice

After trying what seemed like a million different recipes for Spanish rice, adding different amounts of jalepeños, tomato sauce, and spices, I finally came up with this recipe, which for me has the perfect amount of spiciness and not too much of the other things, like onions or tomato sauce.

yield: 4-5 servings, or about 2 1/2-3 cups

1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup white rice
1 large jalepeño, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender. Add rice, stirring well, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until rice has browned a bit and starts to puff.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Black Beans

We can't get black beans in Turkey, but I have a small supply thanks to some friends who brought me some out of Russia. I hoard them until we have Mexican food for dinner. And then I make a vat. These are simple to make, full of fiber, and make a complete protein if you serve them with rice. Yum.

yield: about 4 cups

2 cups dried black beans
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt

1. Place beans in a large stockpot and cover with at least 3 inches of water. Let soak overnight.
2. Rinse beans and return to pot. Add onion, salt, and water to 2-3 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours, or until soft, adding more water if necessary.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna is a healthy and tasty alternative to regular, meat-and-cheese-filled lasagna. This lasagna is full of healthy vegetables, homemade marinara sauce (although you could use store-bought instead), and just enough cheese.

yield: 6 servings

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups diced carrot
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups chopped spinach
3 cups marinara sauce
2 Tbsp pesto
2 cups cottage cheese (or in my case, 1 cup yogurt mixed with 1 cup feta-esque cheese)
6 cooked lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms through spinach; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.
3. Combine pesto and cottage cheese in a bowl. Spread 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of an 9 x 13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over vegetable mixture. Top noodles with half of the cottage cheese mixture and half of the vegetable mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
4. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Marinara Sauce

Homemade marinara sauce is the perfect addition to lasagnas, spaghetti, or even as pizza sauce. You can use this sauce anytime a recipe calls for jarred pasta sauce, like Prego or Ragu. This sauce is extremely easy to make, uses basic pantry ingredients, and tastes better than store-bought sauce.

yield: 5 cups

2 14.5 oz cans tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans tomato pureé
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Place diced tomatoes in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chunky.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until it begins to brown. Add tomatoes, puree, and remaining ingredients, stirring well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homemade Salsa

I'm not from salsa-eatin' territory, so I'm not sure how good this really is, or if it's more like pico instead of salsa, but we enjoyed it. I'd never made salsa before and many of the "normal" salsa ingredients aren't available on this side of the world, so this is my first attempt. We like it.

yield: about 3 cups

3 cups finely chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine. Let sit for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.

***If I could, I would add a bit of lime juice and maybe some cilantro. Alas, cilantro is never available in Turkey and I couldn't find any limes this time either.***