Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

We picked three quarts of blueberries on Thursday morning. I froze most of them but couldn’t resist making one of my favorite breakfast treats — blueberry muffins! These muffins are surprisingly light given that they are made with 100% whole wheat flour. J enjoyed them (despite his disdain for whole wheat baked goods) and even had one for dessert along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c blueberries
1 T honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c butter, melted
1 1/2 c buttermilk or 3/4 c each milk and yogurt or 1 1/4 c liquid whey
granulated sugar for sprinkling

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees; grease muffin tin.
2) In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and blueberries.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together honey, vanilla, butter and buttermilk.
4) Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients; stir until just combined.
5) Spoon batter into muffin tin (overfill slightly); sprinkle with granulated sugar.
6) Bake for 18 – 23 minutes, until knife inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
7) Let cool for 5 minutes; remove from pan.

Yields 12 muffins.

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Beef Enchiladas

Thoughts of babies took over my brain in late March, and I clearly didn’t have room for cooking or blogging!  Now that we are six weeks in with our bundle of joy, I am ready to get into a normal routine and start cooking more.  This is the only new recipe we’ve tried lately, but it was a smashing success.  Although it seems like a lot of steps, the dish comes together fairly quickly.

I think these enchiladas would be good with a black bean filling; you could also make the filling using leftover cooked chicken.

I will update with a photo as soon as I figure out where I saved it :-/

Beef Enchiladas
Adapted from This Week for Dinner and Pioneer Woman

1/4 c olive oil, divided
1/2 c diced onions, divided
2 tsp minced garlic
2 T flour
2 T chili powder
8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp cumin
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 lb ground beef
4 oz can diced green chiles
6-8 corn tortillas
1 c grated cheddar cheese
chopped black olives
chopped green onions
chopped cilantro

1) To make the sauce, heat 1 T oil in a medium sauce pan.
2) Add 2-3 T onions and saute until translucent.
3) Add remaining oil, garlic, flour and chili powder; cook 3-5 minutes while stirring.
4) Add tomato sauce, water and cumin; simmer for at least 10 minutes or until desired consistency.
5) Season with salt and cayenne pepper; set aside.
6) While the sauce is simmering, brown the ground beef and remaining onions in a large skillet.
7) When meat is cooked, drain off excess fat; stir in chiles and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
8) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9) Pour 1/2 c sauce in bottom of 8×8 (or slightly larger) baking dish.
10) Heat the first tortilla in a small skillet until pliable.
11) Remove to work surface and fill with meat, cheese, olives and green onions.
12) Roll up tortilla and place in baking dish.
13) Repeat with remaining tortillas.
14) Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas; top with more cheese.
15) Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
16) Sprinkle with cilantro.

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Chewy Granola Bars

These granola bars are easy to make and they transport well.  Since my goal was to recreate the Quaker Chewy Fruit and Nut Granola Bars, I mixed in almonds, raisins and cranberries.  To keep the bars from crumbling, cut them when they are completely cool and use a sharp knife.

Chewy Granola Bars
Adapted from King Arthur Flour via Smitten Kitchen

1 2/3 c old-fashioned oats
1/3 c oats, finely ground in a food processor
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 c dried fruit and nuts
2 T peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 T butter, melted
1/4 c honey
2 T maple syrup
1 T water

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; butter an 8 x 8 baking dish.
2) In a large bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and dried fruits and nuts.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vanilla extract, butter, honey, maple syrup and water.
4) Pour wet ingredients into dry; stir until evenly coated.
5) Firmly press mixture into prepared baking dish.
6) Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until edges are browned.
7) Let cool completely.
8) Cut into bars and gently lift from baking dish.

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Shanghai Fried Noodles

This was a fun and easy dish to make.  Make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go before you begin stir-frying.  The original recipe calls for cooking over high heat but my attempts led to a blaring smoke detector and noodles stuck to the bottom of the pan; I’d rather cook a bit lower and slower.

I added a little more tamari and sugar at the end to make my noodles a bit saucier.

Shanghai Fried Noodles
Adapted from Feeding the Dragon as published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

12 oz udon noodles
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1 T cold water
2 T + 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 T coconut oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 T minced garlic
3 green onions, chopped
1 c snow peas
1 c sliced broccoli
4 c shredded cabbage

1) Prepare udon noodles according to package directions.
2) Drain and rinse under cold water; toss with 2 tsp sesame oil; set aside.
3) In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in water; whisk in tamari and sugar.
4) In a large skillet, heat oil over med-med-high heat.
5) Add ginger, garlic and green onions; stir-fry for 10 seconds.
6) Add snow peas, broccoli and cabbage; stir-fry until vegetables are crisp tender.
7) Add soy sauce mixture and noodles; toss until coated.
8) Saute until heated through.

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Sweet and Spicy Asian Meatballs

We have been on a meatball kick lately, and this recipe is another great variation.  We used Wei Chuan teriyaki sauce.  I wish I could say what brand of chili sauce we used, but the only English words on the bottle, aside from chili sauce, are “for a healthy tomorrow”, sweet and lycopene.  We purchased both at an Asian market.

The trick to the dish is to add just enough sauce to the cabbage to lightly coat it.  If you saturate the cabbage with sauce, the dish can become cloying.  A side of plain rice also serves to cut the sweetness.  I recommend using plain meatballs for this dish, seasoned with just salt, pepper and garlic (no cheese!).

Sweet and Spicy Asian Meatballs
Adapted from Check It Out

1/4 c Thai chili pepper sauce
1/4 c teriyaki sauce
1 T honey
1 T toasted sesame seeds
pinch ground ginger
pinch garlic powder
2 T olive oil
approx. 4 c shredded cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/2 batch mini meatballs

1) In a small bowl, whisk together chili pepper and teriyaki sauces, honey, sesame seeds, ground ginger and garlic powder; set aside.
2) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; saute cabbage, carrots and green onions until tender, approx. 10 minutes.
3) In another large skillet, saute meatballs to reheat (if made ahead of time).
4) Pour about 2/3 of the sauce over the warm meatballs; toss to coat and saute until heated through.
5) Pour remaining sauce over cabbage mixture; toss to coat and saute until heated through.
6) Serve meatballs nestled on a bed of cabbage.

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Bacon Cheddar Dip

I made this dip for our Super Bowl dinner at Mama K’s tonight.  I was tired of making the usual spinach artichoke and buffalo chicken dips, so I switched things up by using bacon.  I baked the dip in a smallish dish, maybe 6 x 6, which worked out perfectly; to make enough for an 8 x 8 dish, increase the ingredient quantities by half (e.g. 12 oz cream cheese).

Bacon Cheddar Dip
Adapted from Spinach Artichoke Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c (heaping) mayo
2 tsp minced garlic
4 oz sharp cheddar
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (reserve some of the cheese).
3) Transfer to baking dish; sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
4) Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Italian Wedding Soup

I’m really pleased with how this soup turned out.  None of the recipes I found online included all of the components I wanted (greens, pasta and chicken), so I had to improvise.  Now, this may not be the most authentic Italian recipe, but it’s definitely tasty.

This recipe is a great way to use a whole chicken.  Use the broth and some of the meat for the soup and save the rest of the meat for another meal.

Italian Wedding Soup
Inspired by Ina Garten and the kitchn

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
8 c chicken broth
6 cups (loosely packed) chopped escarole
3/4 c mini pasta (e.g. pastini, stars, etc)
1 c cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 lb (about 35) mini meatballs
1 egg
1/4 c pecorino romano
1/4 c parmesan
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2) Add onion and carrots; saute until tender.
3) Add garlic; saute for 60 seconds.
4) Add chicken broth; bring to a low boil.
5) Reduce to a simmer and stir in escarole; simmer for 5 minutes.
6) Add pasta; simmer for 5 minutes.
7) Add chicken and meatballs; simmer until warmed through and pasta is tender.
8) In a small bowl, combine egg and cheeses.
9) Add egg/cheese mixture to soup, stirring until incorporated.
10) Season to taste.

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