For a nice change of pace in the spring and summer I try to make lighter AND healthier dishes. I ran across this recipe at the dentist office and instantly fell in love after a few adjustments for our tastes, especially with my new restrictive diet! I’m ALWAYS looking for more flavor and it has been hard to come by – until now!
CARROT ORECCHIETTE serves 4
1 pound large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2+2 tablespoons cup avocado oil
4 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped chives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat.
- Add carrots to a large bowl.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
- Generously season with the salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat well.
- Spread carrots onto baking sheet in an even layer.
- Nestle thyme sprigs randomly into carrots.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until tender and carrots are beginning to curl at the edges.
- While carrots are roasting cook pasta per package directions. DO NOT ADD THE SALT OR FAT.
- Drain pasta WELL.
- Add pasta to large mixing bowl.
- Add vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
- Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat.
- Remove thyme sprigs.
- Add carrots and GENTLY toss again.
- Divide among the plates.
- Top with chives and Parmesan cheese.
I saw this on Damaris Phillip’s show, Southern at Heart and fell in love almost immediately! I made just a few alterations to fit with what I had on hand, but we love it and have had it several times, several ways since.
BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATLOAF
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 25 min COOK TIME: 1 hour PREP TIME: 25 min
1/3 cup ketchup**
1 tablespoon hot sauce
- Whisk together the ketchup and hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced celery (2-3 stalks) + leaves reserved for garnish
1 cup small diced onion or shallot
3 tablespoons Frank’s original hot sauce
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 cup blue cheese crumbles (GORGONZOLA works well too as does sharp cheddar)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons FRESH coarse ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and saute the celery and onion until softened, 3- 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture, plus the drippings, to a large bowl.
- Add the hot sauce to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken, blue cheese, salt, pepper, eggs and 1 1/2 cups of the panko and mix until well combined.
- Press the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, pressing more in the center of the loaf to create a divot. This will allow the meatloaf to bake evenly and not create a mound after it is baked.
- Spread half of the sauce over the top of the meatloaf.
- Mix the Parmesan with the Panko and sprinkle the mixture on top of the sauce.
- Bake until the center is set and the top is golden brown, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting to serve.
- Garnish the meatloaf slices with remaining heated sauce and chopped celery leaves.
**NOTE: Use jalapeno ketchup if you want a bit more spice.
I originally found this recipe through America’s Test Kitchen. Their changes to a typical recipe are awesome. I just made a few flavor profile changes for my family’s likes. Brisket is one of the most versatile cuts of beef. While every culture treats it a little differently they all agree that a brisket takes TIME! So many other recipes either turn out watery and tasteless, super sweet or dry and chewy. BUT, this recipe turns out PERFECT!
Keeping this brisket moist is essential to its flavor profile. Keeping it moist is best done by making it the day BEFORE you want to serve it. By not cutting the beef until it is chilled it holds together into slices better. This also helps on the clean up level if you’re making this for company. Removing the fat from the sauce is essential to a smooth rich sauce.
ONION BRAISED BEEF BRISKET
4-5 pound flat cut brisket
2 large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick (thick slices hold up better)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 cup chicken broth, yes I said chicken broth
1 cup cabernet sauvignon
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs FRESH thyme (I’ve used parsley in a pinch)
FRESH ground salt and pepper
- Bring brisket to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Lower oven rack to lower middle.
- Line your baking dish, preferably cast iron) with two to three heavy duty sheets of foil in opposite directions and long enough to fold over to seal the brisket inside.
- Pat brisket dry and place fat side up on cutting board.
- Using a fork or needle meat tenderizer, poke holes in meat through the fat layer.
- Generously season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
- Place brisket fat side up in skillet.
- Weight down brisket with bacon press or cast iron skillet and sear until well browned, about 6 minutes.
- Remove weight and turn brisket to sear fat side another 6 minutes or so until well browned.
- Transfer meat to platter.
- Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.
- Add onions, sugar and sea salt, cooking 10-12 minutes until onions are soft.
- Add garlic, cooking another minute or so until fragrant.
- Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, about 2 minutes.
- Add paprika and chipotle powder.
- Add flour and stir until well combined.
- Stir in wine, broth, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and simmer 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.
- Pour onion mixture into the prepared dish and nestle brisket fat side up into the onion mixture.
- Fold foil over and seal.
- Bake 3 1/2-4 hours until fork slip easily into the meat and fat is broken down.
- Carefully open foil and let brisket cool 20 minutes.
- Transfer brisket to large bowl or baking dish.
- Use a fine colander to strain sauce over brisket.
- Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Place onion mixture in a small bowl.
- Cover brisket and onions with Press and Seal.
- Cut a couple small vents into plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate the meat and onions separately at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. I do it overnight.
- An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°.
- Transfer brisket to cutting board.
- Skim fat from top of sauce and discard.
- Pour sauce into a saucepan
- Slowly reheat sauce, skimming as needed to get rid of excess fat until you have about 2 cups of sauce.
- Stir in vinegar and reserved onions.
- Season to taste.
- Slice brisket against the grain and place in baking dish.
- Pour sauce over brisket.
- Cover dish with foil.
- Bake until heated through. About 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
BAKED HONEY LIME CHICKEN adapted from Dinner Then Dessert
With just 4 total ingredients these chicken thighs are first browned and then baked in the same skillet which results in PERFECT crispy, sweet and a little sour tender chicken that looks like you slaved over a hot grill.
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 limes, 1- zested and juiced, 1-halved
5 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
- Whisk together the Bragg’s liquid aminos, honey, lime juice and lime zest.
- Add chicken thighs to a ziploc bag.
- Pour marinade over chicken, seal bag and rub marinade into chicken.
- Heat the avocado oil in a large cast iron or oven ready skillet over medium high heat.
- Using tongs add the chicken to the skillet and brown with the skin side down for 3-5 minutes. Reserve marinade.
- Flip the chicken over so the skin side is up.
- Add on the remaining marinade and halved lime.
- Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
NOTE: This recipe also works with any other type of citrus – lemon, tangerine, blood orange, grapefruit…
Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.
SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE NUT BARS – the ultimate cookie bar for those that LOVE both sweet and salty mixed together! adapted (but not by much!) from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 16 cookie bars Prep:15 minutes
Cook:30 minutes Total:45 minutes
2 1/8 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips**
1/2 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk
Fleur de sel (Sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Grease a 12×5 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips, toffee bits and walnuts.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream.
- Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.
- Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
- Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about ½ inch around the border.
- Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt.
- Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered.
- Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set.
- Cut into squares and serve.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
NOTE: ** I like to use mixture of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.
With this horrible recuperation and limited food, eating out is a real pain in the butt. BUT, I’m in love! In love with restaurants that have great appetizer menus. LOL 😀 I ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wraps at P.F. Chang’s the other day from their appetizer menu and got 4 meals out of it! But, what I fell in love with was the actual flavor. The added bonus was the small chop on all the ingredients making it easy for me eat AND it heats up in the microwave for subsequent meals tasting the same as it did served fresh! So, of course I had to duplicate the recipe for home use and believe I have come REALLY close.
P.F. CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnut, diced small
2⁄3 cup mushroom, diced small
1 small shallot, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 leaves butter lettuce
1/2-1 cup crispy rice noodles
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
- Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
- Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
- Add shallots and green onions to pan sautéing until soft.
- Add water chestnuts, garlic, mushrooms and ginger, sautéing a few minutes more.
- Add stir fry sauce and stir until well blended.
- When chicken is cool, shred it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts pieces are.
- Add chicken into mixture, toss to blend and coat well.
STIR FRY SAUCE
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
1 -2 teaspoon Siracha
- Whisk together the sugar and water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
- Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, hoisin sauce and desired amount of Siracha whisking until well blended.
- Serve each helping in a lettuce leaf.
- Top with a handful of crispy rice noodles.
- Pour Special sauce over the wraps.
SINFUL MAC & CHEESE adapted from Incredible Recipes from Heaven
MAC & CHEESE
1 pound macaroni
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
8 slices provolone cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare pasta al dente per package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
- In a large skillet melt the butter over medium high heat, and whisk in flour stirring occasionally until golden.
- Reduce heat and whisk in the milk, mustard, cornstarch, evaporated milk and all seasonings, one at a time, stirring constantly until it reaches a boil, allow to simmer while still whisking occasionally until SLIGHTLY thick
- Remove from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese until melted.
- Add macaroni and lightly toss until evenly coated
- Pour half of the macaroni and cheese into greased baking dish.
- Layering evenly with provolone cheese followed by an even layer of sour cream.
- Pour remaining macaroni over sour cream then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/4 cup pwdered Parmesan cheese
- In the skillet melt butter in avocado oil over medium high heat.
- Add breadcrumbs and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Cook until crumbs become a golden brown.
- Sprinkle over top the mac & cheese
- Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.
My brother got me a wonderful new cook book for Christmas, THE IMMEASURABLE PLACE – FOOD AND FARMING FROM THE EDGE OF WILDERNESS by BLAKE SPALDING & JENNIFER CASTLE and LAVINA SPALDING. He even had it signed for me. I read it from cover to cover already and made a list of 46 recipes I want to make.
I started with this one recipe since I can eat carrots mushed up and we LOVED the flavor! I had 3 slices of crumbled bacon leftover from a recipe I took to Christmas Eve at a friend’s house that I sprinkled over the carrots. I really think they enhanced the flavor a lot. So, we’ll start with several more next month when I can eat “regular” food again!
CANDIED MAPLE THYME CARROTS ala HELL’S BACKBONE GRILL
2 pounds carrots, sliced on an angle
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
2 teaspoons FRESH ground black pepper
1 LARGE clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup PURE maple syrup
2 sprigs FRESH thyme
3 slices bacon, diced and browned crisp
- In a small saucepan whisk together everything EXCEPT the carrots, bacon and thyme, heating until well blended, syrupy and warmed through.
- Remove from heat and toss with carrots until they are well coated.
- Pour into a baking dish.
- Nestle the thyme among the carrots.
- Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, cover and bake 30 minutes.
- Uncover and back another 15 minutes until carrots are cooked through and caramelized.
Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.
These really are the best soft and flavorful homemade dinner rolls ever! I found the recipe over at The Stay at Home Chef and all I can say is that she did not waste that 5 years perfecting this recipe.
Prep time 3 hours
Cook Time 12 mins
Author: Rachel Farnsworth
Yield: 24 rolls
2 cups warm milk
2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
¼ cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs.
- Add in 5½ cups of flour. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on to a low speed. Once the flour starts to incorporate into the dough, increase the speed to a medium range. Slowly add the remaining ½ cup of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough mixture should be slightly sticky and soft. Add more or less flour until the dough reaches the desired consistency. The amount of flour you add in bread making is always an approximation and you should go by feel.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise 90 minutes – it should double in size.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and form into 24 rolls. Place on the greased baking sheet in six rows of four.
- Cover and let rise 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Remove rolls from oven and brush with melted butter. For a sweet twist I sometimes use a honey butter.
- Serve the rolls warm, or to cool, let rest on the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Once cooled completely, store in a plastic bag.
TATER TOT GRILLED CHEESE & BACON WAFFLE SANDWICH
1 bag frozen tater tots, thawed (give or take depending on your waffle maker size)
4 – 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp
4 – 6 slices of cheddar or ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced or thin red onion slices
- Preheat waffle iron on high.
- Place thawed tater tots closely together in an even layer on the waffle iron.
- Close the lid and press it down tightly.
- Cook until the tater tot waffle is crisp, about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Remove the waffle from the waffle iron and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
- Repeat the process to make a second tater tot waffle.
- When the second waffle is crisp, top it with half of the cheese, the cooked bacon, and the sliced green onions.
- Using the bottom plate of the waffle iron, heat the sandwich until the cheese has melted on the bottom waffle.
- When the cheese has melted, carefully flip the sandwich over and allow the cheese to melt on the other side before removing the sandwich from the iron.
- Cut it into quarters and serve.
SHARING with FOODIE FRIDAY and FULL PLATE THURSDAY.
Here is another Dorie Greenspan cake that topped my list from when I did the meme several years back.
DOUBLE APPLE BUNDT CAKE
2 cups ALL PURPOSE flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup apple butter
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
½ cup plump golden raisins
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.
- Butter a 12 cup Bundt pan.
- Dust the interior of the pan with flour, then tap out the excess.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
- Working with a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scarping the bowl as needed for 3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition; until you have a light, fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the apple butter. It may appear to curdle the batter, don’t worry it will be okay.
- With the mixer still on low speed add the grated apples and mix to completely blend.
- Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins.
- Turn the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with the rubber spatula.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a think knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes before inverting and cooling the cake to room temperature.
- If possible, once the cake is completely cool, wrap well in plastic and let it stand overnight at room temperature to ripen the flavors.
- If you’re not going to ice the cake, you can dust it with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange or lemon juice
- Put the sugar in a small bowl and stir in a squirt or two of either orange or lemon juice. Keep adding the juice a little at a time until you have a glaze that falls easily from the tip of a spoon.
- Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake letting it slide down the curves of the cake in whatever pattern it makes.
- Let the cake stand until the glaze dries before slicing.
SHARING with FOODIE FRIDAY and TASTY THURSDAY.
8 or 9 years ago when I was a new food blogger, I joined a MEME group known as Tuesdays with Dorie where we made a different recipe from her cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, each week. Of ALL the recipes we made this was one of my all time favorites! It is PERFECT for this time of year!
FRENCH PEAR TART
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
- To make the dough, put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely.
- Add egg and process in long pulses about 10 seconds each until smoother.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
- Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to 1 day.
- Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- You want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don’t want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.
- Freeze the crust for an hour before baking.
- To partially bake the crust, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°.
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust.
- Bake the crust 25 minutes.
- Then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
3 medium pears, firm but ripe
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups water, optional
1 1/4 cups sugar, optional
- Peel the pears.
- In a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears, whisk together the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cinnamon stick and the juice of the lemon.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add the pears to the boiling syrup, reduce the heat so the syrup simmers to GENTLY poach the pears for about 15 minutes. They should be tender when pierced with a knife.
- Remove from heat and set pan aside to cool the pears to room temperature.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons dark rum or 1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Add butter and sugar to a food processor and process till mixture is smooth and satiny.
- Add the ground almonds and continue to process until well blended.
- Add the flour and cornstarch, process,.
- Add the egg, processing for about 15 seconds more, or until the almond cream is well blended.
- Add the rum or vanilla and process just to blend.
- Scrape the almond cream into a container and either use it immediately or refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours.
ASSEMBLY & BAKING
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.
- Line a baking sheet and set aside.
- Cut the poached pears in half.
- Core them and make sure to pat them dry so that their liquid won’t keep the almond cream from baking.
- Fill the baked crust with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal icing spatula.
- Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on a spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly.
- Place it, wide-end toward the edge of the crust, over the almond cream. The halves will form spokes.
- Put the crust on the lined baking sheet, slide the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50 to 60 minutes.
- The almond cream will puff up around the pears and brown. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to room temperature.
- Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar..
NOTE: Almond cream pairs well with a variety of fruits such as apricots, peaches and apples as substitutes or combinations.