Thursday, December 4, 2014

Italian Meatball Soup

My big Le Creuset soup pot is in near constant use during the winter.  I love a bowl of soup with a baguette for dinner, and leftovers can be eaten for lunch the next day while trying to juggle a 4 month old baby who makes it his life mission during every meal time to hurl himself onto the table and try to grab all the food. For a kid who has never actually eaten anything solid, he puts a lot of effort in.  He swiped an orange slice off Colin's plate the other day and spent several minutes trying to get it into his mouth.  Another foodie in the making.

This is a healthy and hearty meal that is family friendly.  Although, if you have a small child like mine who is wary of soup and usually bathes in it instead of eating it, it's easy to portion out the components onto a tasting plate.  You can easily make this vegetarian friendly by substituting white beans for the meatballs and vegetable broth.

Italian Meatball Soup
recipe from Skinny Taste

20 oz. ground turkey
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
parmesan cheese rind (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
2 Tbsp. basil, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup zucchini, chopped
2 cups spinach or other green

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and cheese.
Using a wooden spoon, or your hands, gently mix all ingredients until combined.
Form small meatballs and place on a prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.
Add in diced tomatoes, broth, herbs, cheese, and salt and pepper.
Add in zucchini, meatballs, and greens and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or more, until meatballs are fully cooked and zucchini is tender.
Remove cheese rind, bay leaves, and thyme and rosemary stems before serving.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Baked Apple Chips

So, remember that time that I wrote a food blog?  About 6 months ago, it stopped being a priority. I was pregnant and in my third trimester, and the precious hours of naptime were used for napping myself.  Then, in the middle of July, our family grew by one.  Baby James has a sweet, easy going personality, an impressive capacity for handling his big brother's antics, and a giant, round head.  Our lives went from busy to chaotic, but now I feel like I have mastered the art of one handed cooking, eating, and toddler wrangling.  At least, sometimes.

I've thought about how I'd like this blog to evolve with our changing lives.  I will share the food that our family enjoys these days.  Maybe the occasional menu plan for the week. This means the recipes are fast, easy, and (mostly) kid-friendly.  On that note, I'll now share a recipe that takes upwards of 3 hours to prepare, but it's all hands off.

These apple chips are delicious, and make your house smell wonderful.  It's a great way to use up the results of an overzealous apple picking adventure.

Baked Apple Chips

Apples, usually 1 per baking sheet - sliced thinly on a mandolin

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Arrange apple slices in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 90 minutes, flip, and bake for another 90 minutes.
Allow to cool in the oven.
Store at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salmon Cakes - Paleo and Delicious!

I've been wanting to share this recipe with you for a while, for several reasons.  First, they are my favorite salmon cakes, which is saying something considering how many I've tried.  Second, because Colin will actually eat them, and in this time of toddler finickiness, that is never a guarantee.  I quite frequently hear that something I lovingly prepared for him is yucky.  So rewarding. And finally,  they fit into a Paleo diet.  We, quite clearly, don't eat Paleo, but it's great to have a tried and true recipe to fit any special dietary need.  I've been burned (literally) by trying a new complicated recipe for guests.

Salmon Cakes
recipe from Everyday Maven

1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed
2/3 cup almond meal*
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon hot sauce (or to taste, depending on your spicy preferences)
1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
2 14.75 ounce cans Wild Alaskan Salmon**
Oil, for cooking

*Almond meal is available at Trader Joe's, or you can just pulse raw almonds in your food processor.  If you choose this route, be careful not to process so long as to make almond butter.  
**I use the cans of Wild Alaskan Salmon at Trader Joe's.  They contain skin and bones.  Remove them if you like, or leave them in for some extra calcium.  I personally find the larger bones unappealing, so I take those out but leave the smaller ones in.  If you are mixing in the food processor, it will mash the little bones so you can't detect them.

Cook your sweet potato either by baking for an hour at 375 or steaming.  Allow to cool and mash.
Preheat your oven to 300 to keep the salmon cakes warm as you are cooking them.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or food processor and mix to combine.
A bowl works perfectly well, but a food processor makes it a little easier to combine everything and you don't have to get your hands into the mix.
Portion the mixture into cakes.
I use a 1/3 cup measure for this.
If you have time, chill the cakes before cooking.  If not, place them in a large pan with oil heated to medium high.
Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

I serve these with a spicy remoulade for dipping (mayo, sriracha, and lemon juice, to taste).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spinach Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese

Sometimes turkey burgers can be bland.  Or dry.  Or you try to cook them on the grill and they don't work because they are so low in fat.  These turkey burgers, however, were delicious.  Adding a couple extra ingredients gave them a great texture and flavor, and the layer of goat cheese on the bun was just the thing to take them to the next level.  After photographing, I topped with a little bbq sauce and lettuce, but you can roll however you like.  

Colin and I eat dinner at the early-bird-special hour of 6:00.  Now that daylight savings has come this means it's light enough when we eat to photograph my food with the benefit of natural light as opposed to the yellow hue of our dining room chandelier.  Colin finds this fascinating, and this photo shoot went like this:

C: What are you doing with your plate on the window sill, Mommy?
A: I'm taking a picture so I can share the recipe.
C: I'll help.  I have a bite?
A: I'm almost done buddy, your plate is on the table.
C: I'll help. 

And that's how there came to be a little hand stealing a sweet potato off my plate.  

Spinach Turkey Burgers
adapted from Eat Live Run
makes 6 large burgers

2 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning

For serving: goat cheese and rolls

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, spinach, bread crumbs and seasoning.  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil or coat with cooking spray.
Portion turkey mixture into 6 patties.
Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once.  Internal temperature should reach 160 degrees.  
I turned on my broiler for a couple minutes at the end just to brown the tops.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweet Potato Millet Muffins

Muffins just might be Colin's favorite food, and I can't blame him.  Perfect little snack sized treats, delivered in a cute tin, filled with delicious fruit - you can't go wrong.  That being said, we go through a batch of baked goods at an alarming rate around this house, even when they are hidden on top of the refrigerator (the last remaining surface that is out of reach of tiny hands).  We made these muffins to accompany our vegetarian chili last week, thinking they'd be a good replacement for cornbread and also be a nice snack for anytime.  Plus, they are full of healthy sweet potato and millet, so they are nutritious and it's ok to eat two (or four).

Sweet Potato Millet Muffins
recipe from Eat Live Run

Makes about 16-20 muffins

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry, but all purpose would work, too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup millet
2 eggs
1 medium sweet potato, baked and mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2-2/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, prepare muffin tin by spraying or lining.
Toast millet in a dry pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes, until lightly golden and nutty smelling. Be careful to toss it frequently and do not wander off.  If you burn it, start again.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and millet.
In another bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato, coconut oil and brown sugar.  Mix in the milk
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


There are few things quite so satisfying as baking homemade bread.  But, let's be honest, I rarely have the foresight or inclination these days to plan ahead a day in advance and go through all the steps.  As such, it's been quite a while since I made bread.  So long, in fact, that when Jon saw this he asked where it was from, ate some, and commented that it was good, like real bread.  I don't even know what that means, but I chose to take it as a compliment.  My little bread monster could barely wait for it to cool down before digging in himself, but he is an easy win with anything freshly baked.

There are several great reasons to make focaccia.  It can all be done in one day.  It's essentially a glamorous version of pizza dough.  It makes a whole tray full.  It has an olive oil crust.  I could go on, but I don't think I need to.

recipe based on Anne Burrell

Total time: About 3 hours
Prep: 20 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Baking: 20-25 minutes

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 cups all purpose flour, plus any additional for kneading
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil, divided

Dissolve the sugar in warm water in the bowl of your mixer.  Sprinkle in yeast and allow to sit until bubbling, 10-15 minutes.
Add flour, kosher salt and 1/2 cup olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on low speed.
This is a good step for your little helper, especially if you turn around and he has already started scooping flour.

Once dough has come together, increase to medium speed (4) and knead for 5-6 minutes until it forms a soft ball.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand a few times, forming into a ball.
Place dough in a large bowl drizzled with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
Put bowl in a warm place (I put mine on top of the refrigerator).  Allow to rise until doubled in size, at least one hour.  If you are going about your day, it's ok to let this rise go longer.
Coat a jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides) with a layer of olive oil.
Put the dough in the pan and press it out to fit the size of the pan.  Once dough is stretched to fill the pan, use your fingers to poke holes in it.
Put the dough in a warm place for a second rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Sprinkle the top of the focaccia with coarse salt, parmesan cheese, or a mixture of herbs (or all three).
Bake until the top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

This lasted for a few days, even around here in carb heaven.  One night we made sandwiches with pesto chicken, tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic dressing.  So good!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

If you follow At Home With Ann on Facebook  you saw this picture last night.  If you don't, you are missing out on even more of my hilarious commentary and pictures of Colin wreaking havoc in the kitchen.

Given that Colin is a toddler and prone to occasional pickiness or completely nonsensical mind changes, the success of dinner can be quite varied.  There are days he surprises me and eats two cups of green beans, and days he decides he doesn't like pasta anymore.  Who doesn't like pasta?  In any case, I knew the Cobb Salad would be a bit of a stretch for him since he's been wary of any red vegetables since the hot pepper incident last summer, and eggs go in and out of favor daily.  He ended up eating mostly bacon and chicken with a side of yogurt.  I, however, loved the salad and even he agreed the dressing is good.

I usually make a very simple vinaigrette for our salads, a quick combination of salt, pepper, dijon, vinegar and olive oil.  This is really just an enhanced version of that, but the added creaminess makes it extra good.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
recipe adapted from Gourmet Kosher Cooking

4 cloves garlic, grated

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
With an immersion blender, regular blender, mini food processor or by hand with a whisk, combine garlic, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, pepper and vinegar.  
Slowly add in the olive oil while mixing until emulsified.
Makes 1 2/3 cups.
photo 1-1 photo 1-2