Friday, March 29, 2013

Roasted Radishes

Yes, I realize that radishes are not most peoples favorite food, or even on their "like" list. The strong peppery flavor is definitely a deal breaker one way or the other. I was raised growing radishes in our garden so I actually don't mind them. But when I came home from Bountiful Baskets with two bags of them, I knew I would have to get a little creative in eating them. The hubby will not touch them, even in a salad. I don't want my kiddos to have his picky palate though so I like to try to find a way for them to eat, even like, all veggies. After reading some ideas on Bountiful Baskets facebook page I decided to try roasting them. I was so pleasantly surprised. They lost most of the peppery flavor and become much more mild. Almost a mix between cauliflower and potatoes. We had pork verde tacos and fiesta rice that night so I threw in a little cumin to give them some Latin flair. There is a city in Mexico that actually celebrates the "Night of Radishes" so I felt the Latin flair for these radishes was well suited!

Roasted Radishes

Radishes, washed andcut into quarters
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Pile radishes on a cookies sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. You don't want to overdo it, especially on the pepper. Toss with your hands to evenly coat. Arrange in a single layer and roast at 400° for 20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times during cooking.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easy No-Roll Biscuits

I love rolls. But I usually don't remember to make them until about the same time I'm making the rest of dinner. When that happens I turn to biscuits. But sometimes I don't even have time for rolling out biscuits. That's when I turn to these. They are actually really good! I know they look like muffins but don't dismay, they are biscuits. Perfect for butter and honey and served with soup and salad or whatever you are cooking for dinner.

Easy No-Roll Biscuits

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix all ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour batter into baking cups. Fill 2/3 full. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pesto Salmon

This recipe is so easy, I almost debated not posting it. I decided to post it anyways because it may just be something you haven't thought of yet. Plus it's something that can be baked from frozen and I love those types of meals for crazy busy days.

Pesto Salmon

Place salmon in a single layer on a greased shallow baking pan. Tuck any thin edges under. Spoon pesto over fish. For fresh or thawed fish, bake uncovered at 450° for 4-6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness. For frozen fish, bake uncovered at 450° for 9-11 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness.


Monday, March 11, 2013


aka Leeky Potato and Chicken Soup

 I love soup! I would make it every day if my hubby would let me. It's such a great way to eat veggies and make them taste great. I got some leeks from Bountiful Baskets a couple of weeks ago and they have just been hanging out in my fridge, begging to be used since. I debated make this Potatoes and Leek Soup because I had the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and leeks to make it. However, I love trying new things so I decided to play a spin off of this recipe for Waterzooi. I changed it up a bit to suit my families taste. It's a winner for sure! Makes me want to grow leeks in my garden just so I can make it all the time. I looked up what Waterzooi meant, and loosely translated I think it means "boiled water". But trust me, this soup is more than just boiled water. In fact the exact text from my hubby when he ate it was "This soup is awesome babe, I approve!" which is really high praise coming from my not-so-in-love-with-soup hubby.

2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 leeks, chopped, rinsed and dried (white and light green parts only)
2 all-purpose potatoes, peeled or unpeeled and diced
Salt and white pepper (or black, I used both)
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
2 sprigs oregano, chopped fine
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Crusty baguette, warmed, for passing
In a deep pot over moderate heat melt butter and saute the vegetables for 5 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper. Add oregano and rosemary to the pot with stock or broth. Cover the pot and raise heat to bring liquid to a boil. Add chicken to the pot, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Poach the chicken 10 minutes. Uncover the pot. Remove chicken and dice. Whisk cream and egg together. Add a ladle of cooking broth to cream and egg to temper it. Stir cream and egg mixture into the waterzooi and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Add chicken back to the pot along with chopped parsley. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Ladle waterzooi into warm shallow bowls and serve with crusty baguette for dipping.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


102 University Ave.
Provo, UT

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to go somewhere good. I had been wanting to go to communal for about three years, no joke. The one-time I did attempt to go we didn't make reservations and there was no chance we were going to be seated without one. So finally, three years later, I returned excited to try it out because I had only heard good things.

We had a large group, nine of us, and it is family-style so we ordered about 12 different dishes to share. I like this because you get to try so many different dishes in one visit. The portions end up being small because we split them between nine people and you end up getting a sample. By the end, the women were full but all of the men joked about stopping at in-and-out burger on the way home. We reassured them quality over quantity and they couldn't argue about that.

What We Got...

Caramelized Fennel and Mushroom Tart-A great appetizer to share, because it was big enough to split between the group.  I never have cooked with fennel, but it tasted so good on the tart.

Shrimp Cocktail- your average, nothing special shrimp cocktail.

Roasted Winter Squash Salad- This was the groups favorite salad of the night. The little bits of squash were so good in the salad.

Fried Clifford Farm Egg- It was good but we liked the squash salad better.

Pan Seared Salmon- Good but nothing special.

Roasted Mary's Farm Chicken- I loved the maple sauce that the chicken was served with.  It was moist and the maple compliment the dish well.

Asian Pork (special that night)-This was the tables favorite protein choice. It was delicious!

Roasted Root Vegetables-Perfect blend of vegetables. I think the secret ingredient was butter. They were drenched in butter, I think that's why they tasted so good.

Macaroni and Cheese-Good Mac and Cheese. We all wish this had been a bigger portion because we literally only got one small bite.

Anson Mill's Fried Polenta

Yukon Gold Potato Puree-Fancy mashed potatoes with cheese curd. Mmmm, they were good.

The service was good. Our waitress explained the menu to us and she recommended that we get the mashed potatoes with cheese curds and I'm glad she did because they were delicious.

Green light restaurant. Everything we got tasted amazing. The top favorites and what I would recommend getting are the roasted winter squash salad, Asian pork, roasted Mary's farm chicken, and yukon gold potatoes.  Don't waste your time with the average dishes, ask for their most popular dishes, and enjoy them.  The menu is always changing and I like that they try to use fresh, local ingredients in the dishes. Because it is a little pricier it wouldn't be a place that I would be able to go to all the time. But when I can find a good excuse, special occasion, or whatever reason, I'll take it so that I can go back.

Scale Rating Descriptions
Green Light: I'll be coming through all the time, call me a regular, recommend to everyone and all, I'll crave this place when I'm pregnant, loved it!

Yellow Light: I'll be slow to go through,  I'd go back if someone suggested it,  nothing special, not something I'm going to crave, it was ok.

Red Light: STOP! Don't go, tried it once and that's enough, warn people not to go, thinking about it brings back bad memories, didn't like it.

Communal on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 4, 2013

Make Ahead Breakfasts

Breakfast is the busiest meal for most people. Trying to get your hubby or kids to eat something healthy and filling to get them through till lunch or trying to feed yourself while getting ready. I would much rather my husband eat a home cooked breakfast every morning than running to the drive-thru on his way to work. It's generally healthier, faster, and cheaper. I, on the other hand, just don't want to eat a pile of carbs known as pancakes even though I make them for the kids. Here's some tricks and recipes to having a healthy fast breakfast every morning.

Breakfast Burritos
     This is not a new concept but it's a great one. When Bountiful Baskets has their tortillas I always order them and then stock the freezer with breakfast burritos. You get 3 dozen huge flour tortillas, 2 dozen small flour and 2 dozen small corn tortillas. You can do this with any large tortilla but I find that I really like the ones from my baskets. You can customize these with any veggies, meats or cheeses that you like. Here's a couple tips with these:
  • When in doubt, overcook the eggs. I usually put milk in my scrambled eggs but not when making these burritos. As they freeze the extra moisture will make everything soggy. I have also read somewhere of making them in the oven and that helps but I have never tried it.
  • Spinach is great in these but squeeze out ALL of the water. Spinach is the worst culprit for moisture.
  • Any potatoes/hashbrowns work but I love these from Our Best Bites. They take more time though. Most times, when I know I'm going to be doing breakfast burritos, I serve baked potatoes the night before and I just bake up 4-6 extra and make them into hashbrowns. Just shred, toss in a skillet with butter, salt and pepper (may need to work in batches) and let them hang out, flipping once or twice until golden and a bit crispy.
  • Make them for dinner! I always make breakfast burritos for dinner the day I'm going to freeze them. Why go through all that effort and then need to make a separate dinner as well? 

Breakfast Burritos
Scrambled eggs (I make a bunch so I use about 24)
Breakfast potatoes or hashbrowns (4-6 potatoes worth)
Veggies (I like to saute red, green, and orange bell peppers, zucchini and onions)
Shredded cheese
Breakfast meats (Sausage, bacon, ham)
To assemble: Make an assembly line but having everything in order set out. I do potatoes, eggs, meat, veggies, then cheese. Microwave tortillas covered with a damp paper towel for about 10 seconds. Then pile on the goodies. When folding, first fold over each side and then hold those in while you fold over the bottom. Finish rolling and wrap in plastic wrap. Then just pop them in the freezer. If you have freezer paper, that works the best but I just use plastic wrap. When you're ready to microwave, take off plastic wrap, wrap in napkin or paper towel, and microwave for 1-3 minutes depending on the size. Enjoy! My husband loves these for breakfast or lunch.


   Pretty easy and a lot of people do these but I do mine a little different. Most people make little baggies of cut up fruit and put those in the freezer and that works great. Really. As long as you don't mind washing the blender everyday. I already do enough dishes so I don't do that. I make a big batch of smoothies and pour then into mason jars or these from Tupperware (I love them because they have fitted lids, my hubby loves them because it doesn't look like he's drinking a jar of jam like it does when he's drinking out of mason jars.) and freeze them that way. You can pop one in the fridge the night before to help thaw or just grab one in the morning and drink as it defrosts. My husband prefers just grabbing one in the morning because he's not usually hungry for a couple hours. That way it just sits on his desk at work until he's ready for it. 
For my smoothies I just use whatever fruit I have on hand (I'm not a big fan of frozen berries for this because you'll just be refreezing them and it makes them taste freezer burnt sometimes). I always have over ripe bananas to throw in, that gives the smoothie a good base. Then work from there. I do peaches, blueberries, strawberries, apples, even grapes. Then I throw in a peeled carrot or two to add some veggie power since you can't taste it. Fill up the blender to half way with juice or milk and blend away. If I'm using frozen juice concentrate then I don't mix the apple juice before hand, I just scoop out some concentrate and then fill the blender with water.

 If you're doing hard fruits and veggies, having a good blender is a must. After I've made 2 or 3 blenders worth of smoothies I keep about a cup of smoothie in the blender, toss in some baby spinach, kale, zucchini or crookneck and ice and whip up a green smoothie for me. Just so you know, the flavor of the green smoothie gets more potent in the freezer so I hardly ever freeze my green smoothies.
Bagel Sandwiches

  Ok, I've never frozen these before because I only make up six at a time and they'll keep in the fridge the whole week. These are pretty basic. I fry up six eggs, breaking the yolk so it gets hard. I put those on the bagel bottoms then add a slice of cheese. Take some Canadian bacon, ham, regular or turkey bacon and fry that up (optional) and place on top of the cheese. Put each sandwich in a little ziploc bag and your done! Easy peasy and very filling. I've also done this with those multi-grain sandwich thins for those that are watching their carbs.

Baked Veggie Frittata
   This one is mostly just for me because it's so healthy. At the beginning of the week I will saute up some veggies (I love red and green peppers, onion, and zucchini but use whatever suites your fancy) with some olive oil, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil and salt and pepper to taste. You could also put some diced ham in there. Divide it into oven-safe ramekins, I use 5 (picture #1). Put the lids on or wrap in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge (picture #2). Each day while I'm getting kids ready and making their breakfasts I turn on the oven to 350°. Pour an egg or two in depending on the size of your dish (picture #3). I actually just use 1/3 cup of egg whites. You can top if with a bit of shredded cheese after it's baked. I don't always, depending on the day. After your oven has heated up, put the dish in there for 20 minutes (picture #4). It's the perfect amount of time to get the kids dressed and make their breakfast, maybe even get ready before the timer goes off.

  Any type of muffin will freeze well. I make banana, pumpkin, and apple muffins pretty routinely. I usually don't freeze mine because we eat them so fast. Here's a couple recipes that I really love!

Bran Flax Muffins (sorry no pic)

Pancakes (and French Toast)
I make these A LOT. Pancakes are a staple at my house. On Saturday mornings I go do Bountiful Baskets though and just don't have time to cook up a stack. That's why I love to freeze my leftover pancakes or French toast and then my hubby can just pop them in the toaster or microwave and they are ready for the kids. Try these Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes, or these Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes, or these Banana Oatmeal Pancakes or these Carrot Cake Pancakes.
Breakfast Pockets

I love these Breakfast Pockets from Our Best Bites. The recipe says Homemade Hot Pockets but if you read through her post she tells you how to make them breakfast pockets. She also has freezer instruction but I've learned that if you microwave them for 5 minutes on 50% power they turn out way better. This is another one that we eat for dinner when I'm going through the trouble of making it.

Any other ideas? I would love to hear it! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Growing up we rarely went out to eat. When we did we didn't get all the extra appetizers, desserts, or drinks. When I started dating my hubby, he didn't hold back. We ordered everything. One of the things I tried and fell in love with is Spinach and Artichoke dip. Every restaurant seems to put their own spin on it and so do I. I like it extra cheesy! I actually like to use fresh baby spinach but frozen works in a pinch, it's just a bit more of a spinach-y flavor.

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

4 Tbsp garlic, Minced 
1 box frozen spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste 
2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped 
6 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour 
1-1/2 cup milk (more if needed) 
1 package (8 oz) softened cream cheese 
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1 cup grated Mozzarella plus more for topping 
Pita Wedges, Tortilla Chips, Crackers, Veggies

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Throw in the artichokes and cook over medium high heat for several minutes, until artichokes start to get a little color. Toss in spinach and cook for a couple more minute. Remove artichokes and spinach from pan.
In the same skillet melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more milk if needed.
Add cream cheese, Swiss, Parmesan, and mozzarella, and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Add spinach and artichokes to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Top with extra grated pepper jack and bake at 375° for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with pita wedges, chips, veggies, or crackers!