Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pesto Baked Chicken

This was such an easy dinner, perfect for weeknights.  I turned on the oven at 4 and we were ready to eat at 5.  The early bird special works for the kids, otherwise they are demolishing snacks and getting sleepy at the table later.  Last weekend Jon and I went out to dinner for the first time in, oh, 8 months. We put the kids to bed first so we didn't eat until 9.  I was demolishing snacks and getting sleepy at the table, because apparently I'm 4.  Or 94.

I made my own pesto, because bunches of basil were half the price of tiny containers of pesto, but either works here.

Pesto Baked Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on the thickness you may want to slice them horizontally or pound them)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (or use fresh)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour diced tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish.
Arrange chicken breasts on top.
Spread with pesto.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cherry Pie

The only regret I have about our wedding is that I didn't agree to Jon's request that instead of wedding cake we have wedding pie.  Everyone loves pie, but instead I insisted on a lovely tiered lemon cake that we had to cut immediately because it was a million degrees and the buttercream was melting.  This would not have happened with wedding pie.  

Pie is surprisingly easy to make.  The longest part is rolling the crust.  Then all that's left is to fill it up with sweetened fruit, pop it in the oven, and get ready with the ice cream.  My crimping skills are rustic at best, so cutting the top crust into cute hearts was not only seasonal, it was functional.  

Cherry Pie

1 recipe pate brisee pie crust (from the master herself, Martha Stewart)
2 pounds cherries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or flour
1/2 lemon juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make pie crust recipe in advance. I prefer to make it the day before, but at a minimum let it chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  
Roll out bottom crust and fit into pie plate.
Pour fruit mixture into crust.
Top with second crust. 
Brush with an egg wash (optional).
Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
Allow to cool before serving.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Carrot Cake Cookies

Friday we had our first real snowstorm of the season. About a foot of heavy, wet snow came down, taking down trees and branches all over the place.  We lost power for the day, it came back for an exciting 45 minutes, and then I woke up at 2AM with the hall light blinding me.  We've certainly seen worse.  But then, this morning, another storm.  High winds and frigid temperatures make sledding and snow ball fights impossible, so we're inside for the day.  Again.  Fortunately, it's toasty warm and we have the wonder of the internet to keep us busy when pillow piles, couch forts, knee hockey and car races stop entertaining the crew. No snow day is complete without baking, of course, so we whipped up these carrot cake cookies.  Good thing they are full of healthy ingredients, because I'm pretty sure Colin just polished off the last one.

Carrot Cake Cookies
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
3/4 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl (I use a 2c. measure), whisk together coconut oil, egg, vanilla, and maple syrup.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Fold in carrots.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Drop tablespoon sized balls onto a prepared baking sheet (lined with silpat or parchment).
Bake for 13 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Pizzas

Or maybe Sweet Potato Nachos.  In any case, these were a nice little change of pace.  I know better than to pass off alternate pizza crusts to Colin.  He is neither fooled nor amused.  Zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower pizzas have all been met with disapproval.  So, for the younger set, I made sweet potato, ham, and pineapple tasting plates.  The verdict was that round sweet potatoes don't taste as good as long sweet potatoes.  Live and learn.

The grownups layered roasted sweet potato rounds with barbecue sauce or tomato sauce, pineapple, ham, and mozzarella.  Popped under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and they were delicious. I'd even make them as an appetizer.  They were the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and salty.  

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Pizzas

sweet potato, cut into rounds and roasted 
ham, diced
pineapple, chopped
barbecue or tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Layer all ingredients on sweet potatoes and broil until melted.

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