In late February, Mike and I tried Blue Apron meals for a few weeks. We really enjoyed them and ended up trying many new foods as result. It was a fun experiment and I think we will probably do a few more weeks again in the future.
One of the recipes we tried was a chickpea and cucumber salad. It was paired with salmon and I ate the leftover salad for lunch the next day. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the salad out of my head — so I made my own last night, with a few modifications. This recipe is loosely based on that meal. Even Mike ate it — and these are mostly ingredients he won’t typically eat.
This salad makes a great side dish for fish or poultry. It’s also a great lunch dish or a side to take to a cookout or potluck. It seems perfect for the season as everything is finally turning green in our area after a very long, snowy winter. This salad tastes like Spring!
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, goat cheese, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir to combine into a dressing-like texture. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and dill weed. Mix well and add dressing -- stirring to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
I might have to rename this site, “Jamie Makes Banana Bread.” I’ve been making other recipes lately — this weekend I made Cinnamon Sugar Pecans that I thought I’d share with you — unfortunately, they don’t believe in photographs. They tasted pretty awesome though… Just so you know, I don’t only make banana bread… but as I’ve said before, it is a weekly event, so when I’m in need of a recipe to make the blog look like someone cares about it, I just change it up a bit. 😉
This double chocolate banana bread turned out amazing. We had it for dessert as part of a delicious Sunday dinner. Even though it was only in the low 30s, Mike and the kids spent a few hours outside yesterday afternoon working in the yard and running around. We are so desperate for Spring! After they came in we had hamburgers on the grill (Bo ate nearly two!), coleslaw, baked beans, and baked French fries — followed up by generous pieces of this banana bread (Bo also ate two — he must be growing…). Of course the trio loved this — it was banana bread — plus it had chocolate chips. I couldn’t really go wrong.
As with all banana bread, this was quick and easy to throw together. The chocolate make it rich and dessert worthy. Definitely a new keeper to add to our banana bread rotation.
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the sugar and the eggs. Add the oil and bananas until the bananas are well mashed and combined. Add the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.
Since it has still been snowy and cold here (seriously, I’m over it…), I made a large batch of beef and barley soup in the crockpot this week. This recipe makes a full crockpot so I had plenty leftover to freeze. The best part, it’s healthy — what many would consider “clean eating” and it’s super easy to throw together in the morning, forget about, and have a nice warm dinner ready and waiting in the evening.
I served mine with homemade green bread (recipe coming soon) in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to convince the trio that it was Leprechaun Stew but they weren’t fans. Bo ate two bites, Clara and Anna ate one. Personally, I thought it was delicious.
At our house, banana bread is nearly a weekly occurrence. The trio loves it. It’s easy. And we seem to always have ripe bananas ready for mashing on our counter. I abide by the philosophy that one can never have too many bananas…
Since I make banana bread so often, I’m also often looking for ways to change it up a bit and this banana bread has a delightful cinnamon ribbon in the middle that gives it just a bit of crunch and extra cinnamony goodness. This recipe makes two loaves, but it could easily be halved to only make one.
The trio and I had it for dessert last night and again this morning for breakfast. It was a huge hit — and they appreciated the cinnamon ribbon. Anna thought it tasted like a cookie. Bo exclaimed that it was the best banana bread ever — but he often says that. And Clara licked the plate, which I took as a compliment instead of poor manners.
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two loaf pans by spraying with Baking PAM and place them on a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time and then add the bananas. Mix until the bananas are no longer lumpy. Add the yogurt (you can use any kind you have on hand -- I actually used strawberry with chunks that the kids don't like, but by the time it was baked you couldn't tell there was strawberry yogurt in it). Add the flour mixture until the batter is just combined. In your prepared loaf pans, spread ¼ of the batter into each. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle ½ of the sugar/cinnamon mixture over each half loaf. Spread ¼ of the remaining batter on top of each of the loaves. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and mostly set.
Most weekends, we make a big breakfast at least one weekend morning. Favorites include pancakes, waffles, Mike’s famous cheesey scrambled eggs, and bacon. This weekend, I decided to try out these protein pancakes. I’m trying (and mostly failing) to eat more protein and fewer carbs and I was curious to see if the trio would eat this creation.
All three of the kids liked them. Clara wasn’t as in enamored as Bo and Anna, but she ate them as well. The combination of ingredients seems a bit strange, but the taste is really quite good — and I didn’t even miss all of the flour and sugar in my traditional recipe. I served ours with a small amount of maple syrup. If you want a real protein bang, try them with almond butter or peanut butter on top!
If you’re visiting from my friend Amber’s blog, Becoming a Coupon Queen, welcome! I hope you enjoy the recipes and knowing that Amber needs a recipe each week is helping me to be a bit more motivated about taking photos of the food I making! If you haven’t visited Amber’s site, go check it out. She has lots of good money saving tips!
In a high-powered blender (I used a Ninja) combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth. Cook pancakes over medium heat until cooked through. Serve with maple syrup and butter, almond butter, peanut butter, or other toppings of your choice. Recipe can easily be halved or extra pancakes can be frozen for quick breakfasts later.
I made this baked oatmeal on Tuesday morning for my trio to have for breakfast before school. We had several very ripe bananas that needed to be used after spending the long weekend in the Wisconsin Dells. The trio love to help me cook and both Clara and Bo helped to mash the bananas and combine the ingredients, which helped them to think that breakfast was extra wonderful since they helped make it. Anna was still asleep (by some miracle) and they were sure to encourage her to thank them for making breakfast. 😉
This recipe is a great weekday morning breakfast — it’s healthier than many breakfast options and tastes great with a smear of peanut butter on top. I served it to the kids with glasses of milk – and enjoyed a cup of coffee with mine.
This makes 12 servings, but it is very good leftover and can be frozen in squares for an extra quick “on the go” breakfast option.
½ cup brown sugar (you can use an alternative sweetener)
3 cups quick cook oatmeal
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup almond milk (any milk you have on hand will work fine)
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with PAM. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the eggs and brown sugar and continue mashing until it is well combined. Stir in the oatmeal, baking soda, salt, and milk. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Great topped with a smear of peanut butter.
Dislocated Olneans — this post is for you. Growing up in Olney, Illinois, one of my most favorite places to eat is Joe’s Pizza. The number of memories I have of eating Joe’s Pizza is a bit ridiculous — extra cheese, extra sauce pizza on Jenna’s 16th Birthday, countless orders of breadsticks with Mandy, and Sunday night pizza night at home. Joe’s Pizza is an Olney staple and one of the places that requires a visit each time I return to my hometown.
Now that I live in North-Central Illinois, I’m still shocked that the pizza places here don’t have breadsticks. The “thing” in the Illinois Valley is garlic nuggets — which are okay — but I still crave and miss the traditional breadsticks from Joe’s. Amazingly, I’ve figured out how to make them at home — and they are delicious. Easy to make and oh, so good. Now if I can just figure out Joe’s pizza sauce…
These breadsticks are great served with pizza sauce and cheddar cheese sauce (mixed together — it sounds odd, but trust me) for dipping.
I made these breadsticks twice this week. The kids had friends over on Tuesday so I made a batch to have with our spaghetti dinner — and then I made them again last night — just to be able to eat more of them! So much for that low-carb diet… Last night, Bo came into the kitchen when they were almost done baking and exclaimed, “What is that amazing smell!?!” (Yes, he’s 6…) These breadsticks were a huge hit with the trio.
Using a bread machine, combine all ingredients in the order listed. Turn the machine on the dough cycle setting. When the dough cycle is complete, roll out the dough and cut into 20ish slices and place on baking sheets lined with parchment. Let rise for at least an hour (I let mine rise for nearly 2 hours as it was pretty chilly in my kitchen).
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes until just beginning to brown. They are great plain or you can brush with a bit of butter for some extra flavor. Serve with pizza sauce and cheese sauce for dipping.
*If you don't have a bread machine, I think you could use the dough hook on a mixer to make the dough -- just make sure you let the dough rise twice -- once before cutting into breadsticks and again after*
While we were all home for Christmas break, we made sugar cookies with the trio. Of course, decorating them was completely messy, but it’s become a Christmas tradition at our house. This cookie recipe is my favorite because the dough doesn’t have to be chilled, it’s easy to work with, and the taste is delicious (the secret ingredient is the almond extract!). These are perfect for any type of cutout cookies — they don’t have to only be made at Christmas.
I made yellow, blue, green, red, and white icing (just add food coloring) and the trio had a lot of fun decorating them. I had several different types of sprinkles, squeeze bottles, and bowls of icing that they shared. Santa was left three of their masterpieces and there were two carrots for the reindeer.
Preheat oven to 350. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add extracts and eggs. Add the baking powder and then add the flour a bit at a time. The dough does not need to be chilled. Divide into several batches and roll onto a floured surface to cut. They should be ⅛ to ¼th of an inch thick. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
Decorate however you choose -- the trio used royal icing and sprinkles.
On Christmas Eve, Mike made bolognese sauce. This recipe is originally from Mike’s dad, Jim, but has become one of Mike’s speciality recipes when he has a hankering to cook. We had this for lunch on Christmas Eve and everyone enjoyed it. Bo has deemed it the best sauce ever. I think it helped that Daddy made it!
If you’re looking for a special pasta sauce with lots of flavor, this one is perfect. I served it with Pioneer Woman’s Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks. Bo and I enjoy watching Pioneer Woman’s show on Food Network and she made these in one of the episodes we watched the day before. They were a great accompaniment!
Saute ground beef in a heavy skillet or dutch oven until color is no longer red. Remove meat, set aside, and drain fat. Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in butter and olive oil until softened (if you prefer to have minimal chunks in your sauce like my family, then puree these ingredients -- if you don't mind chunks, finely chopped is fine). Add Italian sausage, pancetta, and garlic and cook until color of the meat is no longer red. Be sure to chop up the meat as it cooks.
Return beef to the pan and add white wine. Turn up the heat to high and cook until wine is cooked off. Add whole milk and continue cooking. Add chopped tomatoes, dash of cloves, black pepper, and tomatoes sauce. Slow simmer for a minimum of 2 hours.
Just before serving, add heavy cream. Add salt if needed.
I’m joining the Food Blogger bandwagon with a post of the 10 recipes that were most frequented here on Five Wooden Spoons in 2013. Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest and I’d love for you to pin any of these recipes to your boards to add to your cooking list in 2014. I have many goals for 2014 and among them is being healthier (expect more recipes like the #1 hit of 2013…) and to blog more regularly. Thank you to all who have read this year and an even bigger thanks to those of you who have tried one of my recipes! Enjoy and Happy New Year!