Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baked Oatmeal : Pumpkin Apple Cranberry or Blueberry Banana

Lately, Jon hasn't been getting home from work until late.  This means that my dinners have been less than creative.  Leftovers and egg sandwiches are frequently gracing my coffee table while I watch the Food Network. It is a glamorous life I lead.  One thing I have been cooking, however, is breakfast.  I wake up starving.  Ready to gnaw my arm off starving.  It's best if I don't have to spend a lot of time dilly dallying in the kitchen.  These baked oatmeals have been perfect.  They are healthy, quick, and easy to whip up the night before (or even that same morning if you don't have the same arm-gnawing tendencies as me).  

I naively started writing this post after lunch while Colin toddled around.  I had to take several breaks to retrieve random containers he had removed from recycling and strewn around the house.  Then when I suggested he might want to stay nearby, he took all the cords out of the desk and chewed on them.  Babies are not great writing assistants. And thus I am finishing this post after bedtime.

I make two variations of this oatmeal, as you may have gathered from the post title.  The base is the same, but then I add either pumpkin, apple and cranberries or blueberries and banana.

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup wheat germ (or more oats)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (can sub pumpkin pie spice for the the pumpkin apple oatmeal)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or chopped walnuts)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries


2-3 bananas, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a bowl, stir together oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egg, milk, vanilla and either pumpkin or banana.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine.  
Mix in the apple and cranberries or blueberries.
Spread in the baking dish and sprinkle with nuts.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Reheat in the oven or microwave to serve warm.
If you're feeling fancy, drizzle with a little maple syrup.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Squash and Carrot Macaroni and Cheese

My lack of posting is correlated to the speed at which Colin moves.  Gone are the days when he would bounce in his exersaucer while I cooked.  Gone are the days when he would sit on the floor in the kitchen and play with toys.  Now he toddles around, I'm lucky if he stays in the kitchen, which means he is taking everything out of the recycling bins.  More likely, he is practicing his new climbing skills on the stairs, so that when I say "where's Colin?," he peers his little face around the corner and smiles at me.  Too cute, but not conducive to cooking.  We manage just fine, but I admit the new recipes and photographs have gone by the wayside.

I turned on the end of the Rachael Ray show a few weeks ago to see her plating up this mac and cheese.  Baked mac and cheese is a weakness of mine, and I love butternut squash, so I thought I would give it a try.  It was good, but next time I think I would skip the carrots and go with squash only.  

Roasted Squash and Carrot Macaroni and Cheese
recipe slightly modified from Rachael Ray

6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
1 1/2 pounds butternut, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 pound pasta
4 Tablespoons butter
3 round Tablespoons flour
1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dry mustard
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and monterey jack)   

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
On baking sheets, toss carrots and squash with olive oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.  Under cook pasta by a minute or two, drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Stir in flour and cook for a minute or two until lightly browned.
Add shallots/onions and garlic, sprinkle with mustard, salt and pepper.
Pour in Worcestershire and gradually whisk in the milk.
Cook, whisking frequently, until sauce has thickened.
Place half the roasted squash and carrots into a food processor with chicken stock and puree.
Whisk puree into milk sauce.
Stir 2 1/2 cups of cheese into the sauce.  
Add in the pasta and remaining vegetables.
Transfer to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake casserole in the oven until lightly browned and bubbly.     

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