Breakfast Grilled Cheese

20130430-111912.jpgHappy National Grilled Cheese Month!! Well, happy last day of national grilled cheese month! I’m getting this one in just under the wire. But, I promise you, this sandwich is well worth the whole month I made you wait.

20130430-192033.jpgThis is a tasty, healthy and super FAST breakfast. It’s so fast and easy that you can hit the snooze button 5 times, take a long shower and STILL have time to make this sandwich before you leave for work. Yes, it is slightly more time consuming than pouring a bowl of cereal, but WAAAAY more satisfying. While your coffee is brewing, whip up this sandwich.

20130430-111855.jpgYou probably can tell from my Frittata post that I LOVE EGGS! The more ways to eat eggs, the better. This sandwich has lots of things I love in it. Eggs, apples, cheese, but more importantly, it has a flavor profile that I love: sweet and salty. Sweet, tart, crunchy apple with salty sharp melty cheese and a salty fried egg. MMMMmmm

The other GREAT thing about this sandwich is you only need 4 ingredients. That’s right, only FOUR.

1. Egg 2. Bread 3. Cheese 4. Apple

+ Salt/pepper/butter or cooking spray – these are freebies

I really outdid myself with the simplicity this time : )

So let’s get cracking on making this sandwich.

First prep your sandwich with cheese and 4 relatively thin slices of apple

20130430-111933.jpgYum. This is already a good sandwich. But it’s about to get better!

Next, fry up your egg. I chose to make a fried egg “over hard” for this sandwich, and then fold it to make it “sandwich friendly”. Over hard eggs hold together nicely, and you can keep the yolk a little soft, but not runny, if you like, by cooking it a little less (this is how I like it). If you make your egg “over easy” the egg will run when you put it in the sandwich and grill the cheese.

To fry up the egg, first spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray (or you can use butter) and heat up the pan on low-medium heat. **I usually crack my egg into a cup, and then gently pour it from the cup into a frying pan, this prevents the yolk from breaking and accidentally mixing up the white (scrambling). The egg should sizzle a little when you pour it in. If it isn’t, just turn up the heat on your burner. Cook the egg on medium heat until the white on top is solid. Then flip the egg over and cook it on the other side for about a minute or 2 until the yolk is soft but solid.  Then I fold the egg in half – fold one white side over to the other to cover the yolk (see below). This makes the egg a nice sandwich size

20130430-111959.jpg I squished my egg a little when I flipped it over in the pan and the yolk was not solid – and some yolk ran a little. But, hey, my food isn’t pretty like a picture, but it’s pretty damn delicious. When the yolk is cooked to how you like it, remove the egg from the pan and place the folded egg on top of the apples on your bread and top the egg with more cheese.

20130430-112007.jpgNow comes the familiar grilled cheese part. Place the sandwich back in the frying pan on medium heat. Gently press your sandwich down into the pan to help melt the cheese. You don’t need to squish the sandwich, just give it a nice, loving press. Cook on that side till the bread is a toasty color. Then carefully flip the sandwich and repeat loving press on the other side.

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The crunchy, sweetness of the apple gives a nice texture and flavor contrast to the melty, salty cheese and the tender fried egg.

Cut sandwich in half and dig in! This is your new, quick power breakfast! YUM!

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Recipe:

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Serving size: 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)
  • ¼ of Granny smith Apple (4 thin slices)
  • ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • generous pinch salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spread cheddar cheese on one side of the bread and add 4 thin slices of Granny Smith apple
  2. Prepare a frying pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and heat on low-medium heat
  3. Crack egg in a cup and pour egg into heated pan and fry egg on one side until whites are solid
  4. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the egg
  5. Flip egg over, cook for about 1-2 minutes, until yolk is solid, but soft. (Test by pressing with your finger)
  6. Folded in half and remove egg from pan and place on top of apples and cheese.
  7. Add more cheese to the top of egg and top with other slice of bread
  8. Place sandwich in frying pan used to fry egg, and grill sandwich on medium heat.  Press sandwich down with metal spatula to melt cheese – cook for about 1 minute – or until browned.  *if pan is dry, add more cooking spray or butter before grilling the sandwich
  9. Repeat on other side
  10. Slice up and enjoy, cheesy, eggy, apply goodness!

*To make this sandwich more decadent, pan fry the egg in a tablespoon of butter (instead of cooking spray) and add more butter to the pan before grilling the sandwich.

Recipe Source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

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Quick Wheat Bread

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Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a planner. This trait, or lack there of, makes it difficult to bake bread. Bread takes time. Bread takes planning. Bread takes a lot of waiting. I don’t do “waiting” very well. (Hence the DASH part of this blog). I do bake bread – if you want an easy recipe, I make Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread. Sure, I make this delicious yeast bread once a month or so, but not often enough to have it AS my sole bread source in the house. That all changed when my friend Emily, introduced me to this quick wheat soda bread recipe. This bread is a staple in her family, and I had never heard of it before. Now, I almost ALWAYS have this bread on hand, either on the counter or in the freezer.

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Whenever I hear “Quick Bread” I always think of banana, pumpkin or zucchini.  However, “quick” just refers to using another leavening agent, such as baking soda (as used in this recipe), instead of yeast.

This quick bread is so GREAT because it makes an actual SAVORY, HEALTHY, tons of FIBER containing wheat bread, and uses NO YEAST. Which means, you can decide you want bread, and have it made in under 90 minutes.

Let’s review the reasons why this bread is AMAZING:

  1. It is delicious! The wheat bran gives it a very hearty texture.
  2. This is healthy bread, no preservatives like in store bought breads.
  3. It is REALLY easy to make – it takes about 10 min to prep and 60 min to bake.
  4. The wheat bran adds 6g of fiber, 2.5g of protein, per slice!! (If the bread is sliced into 16 pieces)
  5. It’s homemade bread. MMmmm. Hot, soft and hearty, right out of YOUR oven.
  6. It goes great with Frittatas and my Hearty Healthy Broccoli Soup

20130422-195115.jpgI know this takes an hour to bake, and I said above, I don’t like waiting. But, I meant, like waiting for things to rise (LIKE 18 hours of waiting). Besides, when this is in the oven, you can do just about anything in your house. Let me offer some suggestions: gab on the phone, shower, clean the house, play a board game, watch tv, do some laundry… a combination of all these things… you get the gist.

Ok. To be correct, I should probably call this bread: Wheat bran bread. But that really doesn’t have a nice ring to it. Most importantly, it doesn’t do the bread JUSTICE. This IS delicious bread. And it has part of the wheat in it – not the germ, but it has the outer part of the kernel – which is the bran. You can certainly make this bread with 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour. That is actually the original recipe from Emily. However, I changed it for the following reasons: 1. I didn’t have whole wheat flour when I made this a few times 2. Using all-purpose makes the bread less dense and I liked it better for sandwich bread when it was a little lighter.

Now that I have you drooling for fresh bread, you probably just want to know how to make this in a DASH?

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix them well.

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Then in a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and milk to make easy buttermilk.  Stir and let this sit for about 5 minutes.

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The secret to this delicious, soft and healthy bread comes from these 3 simple ingredients I bet you have in your kitchen!

Next, pour the milk/vinegar mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, just until combined.  Don’t over mix.  The dough will be sticky.

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Then add the dough to your greased loaf pan or form a loaf on a greased baking sheet.  I have baked this bread both ways.  It bakes great both ways!  I just like doing it in the loaf pan, because it comes out shaped more like a loaf of bread.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour and TA-DA!  Fresh. hot. bread!

20130422-195059.jpgRemove from loaf pan and let it cool for a bit on a wire rack (if you’re fancy) or on a plate.  Then, dig in.  I love this bread with everything.  But nothing beats it smothered in sweet cream butter.  Mmmmm

20130422-195125.jpgDon’t deny it.  Your mouth is watering.  You wish you had wheat bran in your house so you could make this RIGHT NOW.  Go get some!  What are you waiting for?! It’s near where they sell oatmeal in your grocery store.  You can also order some online

20130422-195141.jpgLook how hearty that looks!  I promise you, it is surprisingly soft!  Mmm Mmm

You can also slice and freeze the bread in a freezer safe bag for a few months.

Yum!

Recipe

Quick Wheat Bread20130422-195115.jpg

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Wheat Bran
  • 3 cups white flour (you could do half wheat and half all-purpose – if you want a denser bread) – Be sure to measure flour by scooping into the cup.  Do not scoop with the cup.
  • 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 and ½ cups of milk ( I used 1% – you can use whatever you have)
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons of white vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Prepare a loaf pan (9”x5″) or a baking sheet by spraying with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Stir so they are mixed well
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vinegar.  Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the milk/vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients
  6. Stir ingredients just until combined.  The dough will be sticky
  7. Pour/scoop batter into prepared loaf pan or mold a loaf on prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until toothpick/butter knife comes out clean.

Enjoy with butter, peanut butter and jelly, hummus, soups, cheese…

This bread is denser than bread made with just flour.  If using for sandwiches, I recommend slicing thin.

Store bread in sealed container or bag.  If you would like crust to stay “crusty” do not store in air tight container.  Freeze in sealed bag.

Recipe Source: Adapted from my friend Emily’s Soda Bread recipe

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

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My best friend, Chelsea, defended her doctoral thesis on Friday, and this post is in honor of her. What is her connection with these supposed “Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER”? Chelsea, is not a cookie lover. You know, she’s the type of person who will choose any other type of dessert over a cookie. Well, ladies and gentleman, this changed after she tried these cookies. She’s actually requested me to make these cookies multiple times AND she nagged me for the recipe. I say nagged, mostly because I took forever to give her this recipe. I stink at writing down recipes, which is one of the reasons I started this blog. It forces me to write down my recipes and it makes it easier for me to share them with my friends and beyond!

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These cookies have clearly changed Chelsea’s life (for the better), and I’m confident they will change yours. What makes these cookies the absolute BEST?

These cookies are super chewy and soft, and they are this way consistently. Look at those beauties. They’re nice and fat.

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If you like crispy cookies, sorry, these are not crispy. But I do beg you to try these, because I bet you will like them. No. You will love them. They might even convert you to being a chewy cookie lover. Seriously, if you follow my easy recipe – no substitutions, they will come out perfect every time you make them. These cookies don’t flatten and these cookies don’t run. The dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you bake them, but you can if you need to. Normally, cookies are a delicate beast, so to be able to say these are so easy to make and hard to mess up?! Well, we have a gem on our hands.

Another bonus? The peanut butter to chocolate ratio is perfect and they are not too sweet. I’ve worked really hard to perfect this. *disclaimer: your taste for chocolate/peanut butter may vary.

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Do you need anymore reasons? OK Ok, I have another one for you. The dough freezes really well. This means you can have fresh baked cookies in under 10 minutes anytime you want. ANYTIME. I guess this can be a pretty dangerous thing. But, eh. Enjoy life. You can whip up a batch and divide it into smaller portions and wrap 2x in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer.

20130418-075253.jpgThen when you want the Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER, you just take a frozen portion out of the freezer, let it thaw for ~ 1 hour on the counter, or a few hours to a few days in the fridge – and bake up a fresh batch. Simple, easy and amazingly delicious. I guess you could say these cookies are Delicious in a DASH : )

20130418-074844.jpgSo how do you make these chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery cookies in a DASH?

First, pull out your butter so it can soften at room temperature. You never want to melt your butter, just let it sit at room temperature about 5-10 minutes. While your butter is softening, gather up all the other ingredients and bowls and things. I usually prep my dry ingredients first, because my butter is still softening. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. **When measuring flour, be sure to scoop into the cup, and then level off with a knife. You never want to scoop with the cup. It will pack the flour down into the cup and you will measure too much. For more on how to measure flour, check out the King Arthur Flour website.

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Now tackle the step 1 wet ingredients. I cut the still cold stick of butter into 4-6 pieces, this way, it is easier to mix. **A tip for measuring out the creamy peanut butter – spray the cup with non-stick cooking spray – it will make the peanut butter slide out easier.** I also have always used Skippy creamy peanut butter with these cookies, but any creamy peanut butter will do. I’ve never tried natural peanut butter with these cookies, (I usually save that for sandwiches) so I can’t guarantee their perfection, however, you can try.

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In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter together. If you are using a mixer, do not go above medium speed, it will warm up the butter too much. It should look like the picture below. Make sure the ingredients are very well combined, mix for about 3-4 minutes. You want the sugar to poke holes in your butter so your cookies will have air in them (the baking soda needs some air in there to work with). Now, I should warn you, if you taste this stuff at this phase it will taste like peanut butter frosting. Careful, you need this stuff to make the cookies, but go ahead, taste it. : )

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Next, combine step 2 of the wet ingredients to mixing bowl that contains the well-creamed butter/sugar/peanut butter mixture. ** Tip for measuring honey. Just like the peanut butter, spray the tablespoon with non-stick cooking spray before measuring the honey. The honey will slide right out.** Mix all the ingredients till they are well combined.

20130416-215254.jpgFinally, Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) to the mixing bowl that has the well mixed wet ingredients. I add the dry ingredients in 2 batches – ½ in, stir till combined, then the other ½. Do NOT over mix your cookie batter at this step.

After the flour mixture is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Mmmm

To measure out the cookies, I usually use a tablespoon, this is the size cookie that my baking time is for. You can certainly make them larger. You will need to adjust the baking time. These cookies don’t spread, so you can put them closer together than I have pictured here.

20130418-075239.jpgNow you’re ready to bake. Get ready for peanut buttery, chocolatey deliciousness!

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Mmmm! Warm, creamy peanut butter and melty chocolate.

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Recipe:20130416-215148.jpg

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 and ½ cups of flour (I use all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Wet Ingredients – step 1

  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter (not natural kind – I like Skippy the best)
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup of white sugar

Wet Ingredients – step 2

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 and ¼ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients from step 1. Cream the ingredients until smooth
  4. To that same mixing bowl, add step 2 wet ingredients **To measure out the honey, use a non-stick cooking spray (like Pam) to spray the tablespoon. The honey will slide right off the tablespoon and you won’t loose any honey.
  5. Mix all the wet ingredients (step1 and 2) until well incorporated
  6. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. You may add the mixed dry ingredients in 2 batches to make it easier to incorporate.
  7. Stir the wet and dry until just combined
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips
  9. Drop cookies onto baking sheet using a tablespoon to measure. You can smoosh the cookies with your hands or mold them into balls if you like.
  10. Bake for 7-9 min. 8 minutes is perfect for my oven and the size I bake, but it may vary based on oven and cookie size. ** The cookies will be soft and a will look a little underdone – but will cook a little more as you let them cool on the sheet.  Do not over bake.  The cookies will come out hard and crumbly if you bake them too long. 

Enjoy!

Cooled cookies keep for a week in a sealed container.

Dough freezes well up to 3 months.

You can also refrigerate the dough for up to ~ 3 days before baking.

* I used a mixer because I have one. But you do not need any mixer to make these cookies.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hearty Healthy Broccoli Soup

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I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Boston, Spring is taking its sweet time to get here. One advantage of this extended “post winter” season is that it is still soup weather! Recently, broccoli went on sale for $0.99/lb. THIS NEVER HAPPENS at grocery stores by me. NEVER. I don’t think I can emphasize how rare this is. I took advantage of this amazing sale and bought a TON of fresh broccoli crowns, with no particular recipes in mind. Now I have a ton of broccoli and it is 35 degrees outside and cold pelting rain in April. Of course. I wanted soup. But not just vegetable soup, I wanted something hearty. I turned to my gajillion broccoli crowns and thought I would make a nice creamy broccoli soup. There was only one problem. I had no cheddar cheese and no cream. Boo.

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Suddenly, my craving for creamy broccoli soup became a little challenge. What ingredients in my cabinet would make a healthy, hearty and creamy soup? The answer: cannellini beans. These beans are soft and don’t have a very strong flavor, which is perfect for this soup. Another bonus of cannellini beans: they add fiber and protein to the soup, making it much more filling and less caloric than a typical creamy broccoli soup. The other secret ingredient in the soup is an apple. I know, I know, this sounds weird, but I swear, the sweetness of the apple balances out the slightly bitter broccoli and adds another delicious dimension to this quick and easy soup. MMmmm MMmmm.

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How do you make this soup in a DASH?

In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set the burner on low-medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion, garlic and diced apples to the pot.

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A little more about the apple addition: Make sure you peel the apple. The peel, although delicious and nutritious, does not blend well, (unless you have a super powerful blender, which I don’t). So if you leave the peal on, you’ll have pieces of peal in your soup. Not horrible, but not the best texture. As for choice of apple, a sweet, soft apple is probably your best choice, such as a macintosh or golden delicious, however, any apple will do. This is a great opportunity to use an apple that has seen better days, the softer and sweeter the apple, the better. I’m not suggesting you use a rotten apple, but just know it doesn’t have to be one of those picture perfect apples. Since you only need about half of the apple, you can cut off the bruised parts and still have plenty of apple for the soup.

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Sauté the onions, garlic and apple till the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli and the chicken stock. You can use vegetable stock here, too. Cover the pot and simmer until the broccoli is soft enough to blend. Don’t overcook the broccoli or your soup will be a really ugly color, devastating, I know.

ImageAfter broccoli is tender, remove from heat and blend until smooth. I used a hand immersion blender, because that is all I have, but you can use a regular blender. Next I add the beans and cook them for about 2 minutes, just to warm them up. They are already pretty soft and should blend easily. My blender is pretty wimpy, but if you have a more powerful blender, you can probably blend the broccoli and beans all in one step.

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Finally, after everything is blended, add the milk, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and just warm the soup on low. Do not boil.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or some shredded cheese and Enjoy!

ImageGo ahead, enjoy it with some cheese AND some tasty bread. Remember, this soup is filled with super healthy stuff! Beans, broccoli and apple!

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Recipe

Hearty Healthy Broccoli SoupImage

Makes 2 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ of sweet onion, diced ( you can also use a white or yellow onion – use half of the onion if it is small)
  • ½ of a medium-sized apple, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 cups of broccoli (about 1 crown)
  • 1 14oz can of chicken stock
  • ½ of a 15oz can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed
  • ½ cup milk (I used 1%)
  • ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your affinity for heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Saute onion, garlic and apple on low-med heat in a heavy saucepan/pot (see pic). Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent

2. Add broccoli and sauté for about a minute with onion and garlic

3. Add chicken stock to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat and puree soup. I used an immersion blender – but you can use a regular blender or food processor. *if you scaled up the recipe you may have to do this in batches.

5. After broccoli is pureed, add beans.

6. Puree beans into the soup – this will puree faster than the broccoli

7. Add milk, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and heat soup on low – just till warm, DO NOT boil.

8. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, or grated Parmesan (all optional). Enjoy with some tasty bread or crackers.

Additional ideas for this soup:

Once I added too much broccoli to this soup, so my broccoli to liquid ratio was too high. It was a very thick soup. Instead of adding more stock to thin it it out, I poured it over pasta and topped it with fresh parsley and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. This measurement mistake turned out to be a hit. It made a delicious creamy pasta sauce.

: )

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

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Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Warning. I’m about to share something with you that is very addicting and very easy to make. Maybe I should change the title of my blog to “Foods I’m obsessed with and eat a lot”. This is a recipe that fits under my “obsession” category.

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This granola is AMAZINGLY delicious! Homemade granola is healthier than store bought stuff (you can reduce the sugar/fat), and also soooo much more cost effective. I eat this granola very often, almost too much, which is why I reduced the amount of oil from the original recipe. I usually eat it twice a day. I eat it for breakfast with my oatmeal or top plain cheerios with it. I combine it with plain Greek yogurt for lunch and sometimes I just snack on it. My boyfriend, who was never really interested in granola before I started baking this, LOVES this stuff. Careful, I told you it was addicting!

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There are so many good bits in this granola. One, it has almonds that get toasted in the oven as you bake it. Two, have you ever had toasted coconut before?!! No?? It’s incredibly delicious. Toasty, crunchy and sweet. Three, it has cinnamon. Mmmm cinnamon. AND FOUR – yes, there is more, it has real maple syrup in it. Sweet, rich, maple syrup.

This is one toasty, crunchy, coconut-y, healthy, maple-y, cinnamon-y granola. And it takes under 40 minutes to make from start to finish.

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So, how do you make this granola in a DASH?

First combine the oats (old fashioned – not quick oats), coconut and almonds in a large bowl (use a large one, stirring this can make a hot mess).

Now for the almonds, you want raw almonds, not roasted or salted. If you use salted almonds, your granola will be too salty, and roasted are already done, so they will burn. You can use slivered almonds, but I don’t usually have those in my house. I just buy whole raw almonds, and put ½ cup in a bag and smash them using a jar or heavy can.

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This is also a good way to safely get out some aggression too. Had a bad day? Crush those almonds! You’re on your way to making some delicious, crunchy, mapley granola! That’s got to make your day better!

Also, whole raw almonds are the most versatile – if I want them roasted and salted, I can do that. Whenever raw almonds go on sale, I stock up!

Next add the salt and cinnamon. I usually use a HEAPING teaspoon of cinnamon. If you LOVE cinnamon as much as I do, feel free to use a HEAPING teaspoon (or more!). If you’re not the biggest fan of cinnamon, you can totally use less. Stir everything well.

** Make sure you stir all the ingredients before adding the salt and cinnamon. If you add these and the coconut is on top, a lot of salt and cinnamon could stick to the coconut and not get evenly distributed. I’ve made this mistake before, the granola comes out a little sub par.

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Now, time to combine the wet ingredients. In a small or medium saucepan, add the brown sugar, butter, water, oil and maple syrup, stir this while on low to medium heat until melted and just combined. ** Tip: Add in the order of the list so that the maple syrup is measured using the same tbsp. and added after the oil, so the maple syrup easily slides out of the tablespoon (because it is lubricated with the oil). Don’t overcook this part. Your sugar could lump up. Shut off the stove and add the vanilla and stir. YUM. Your house will now smell like butter and vanilla.

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Now pour the melted wet ingredients all over the oat mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. (this stuff is very sticky, so rubber spatulas are easier to clean).

Make sure you get all the oats and almonds nicely coated with this sugary stuff. I usually have to stir for a minute or so and scrape up the bottom a few times with my rubber spatula to get some sugar/butter/water/oil mixture off that has stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

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After everything is coated with the warm sugar/butter/water/oil, pour onto a baking sheet that has non-stick aluminum foil on it. I like to use Reynolds non-stick aluminum foil **Another cost effective tip – save the aluminum foil after you are done and reuse it the next few times you make granola.

Spread the granola into one even layer on the foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. You want to stir it once during the cooking process, so I usually stir after 15 minutes in the oven Usually my granola takes about 25 minutes to get to the golden brown color I like. But depending on your oven, and your tastes in golden brownness, you might want to bake it for 30 minutes. Just be sure not to go high on the temperature, because you don’t want to caramelize the sugars – which will BURN your granola : ( I’ve done this once by accident by baking at 350. Do NOT bake at 350.

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Around the 15 minute mark during baking, your house will start to smell like cinnamon rolls. That’s right. You’re making granola, but your house will smell like buttery, melty, cinnamon rolls. If you’re like me, and love cinnamon, you will probably start to salivate and want to bathe in this smell. I’m not kidding here, your kitchen will smell SO GOOD. You’re welcome.

granola bowl and plate

Let the granola cool, about 10-20 minutes, and enjoy!

Recipe

Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Makes 4 cupsMaple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds (I just smash raw almonds with a can or heavy pan)
  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F and place oven rack towards the top third of the oven

2. Line baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper

3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to make sure all ingredients are mixed well

4. Add Wet ingredients except vanilla to medium saucepan. Add in the order of the list so that the maple syrup is measured using the same tbsp. and added after the oil, so the maple syrup easily slides out of the tablespoon (because it is lubricated with the oil).

5. On low heat slowly melt the butter and sugar and stir/whisk (I use a fork) to incorporate all the ingredients.

6. Once the ingredients are melted and combined, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

7. Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together using a rubber spatula – till all the oats and almonds are covered by the sugar/oil/butter mixture

8. Spread granola out into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet

9. Bake at 320 F for 15 minutes. Remove and stir granola

10. Bake at 320 F for an additional 10-15 minutes.

11. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Granola can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks (good luck getting it to last that long!)

: )

Recipe source: Adapted from Joy the Baker

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

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About a year ago, I become addicted to frittatas. Like, really obsessed. I’d have friends over for brunch once a week and they would bring different things like pancakes, scones or muffins and I would ALWAYS make a frittata. Sure, I love eggs scrambled, fried and poached. But nothing is as versatile and as easy as the amazing frittata. One of my favorite reasons for loving the frittata is that you can put almost ANYTHING in it and it will taste great! Leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner you don’t want? Throw it in the frittata. Have some extra onion you need to use up? Throw it in the frittata. Do you have a little salsa left that is not enough for all those chips? Go ahead, it will taste GREAT in a frittata with some cheese! Ok, I hope I’ve sold you on the versatility and simpleness of a frittata. So keep reading. If I haven’t sold you yet, keep reading anyway. I bet you will be convinced by the end.

One of my best friends from grad school came to visit this past weekend. She was around for my frittata phase – that has clearly persisted – and so I made us a frittata for breakfast, you know, for old times sake. *I promise I won’t post frittata recipes too often, but here is the first one.

One of the best things about this frittata recipe is that 2 of the ingredients I have in the freezer pretty much at all times – bacon and spinach. The sweet piquante peppers (shown below) are jarred and DELICIOUS! They are slightly sweet, a little crunchy (even though they are jarred) and have a spicy kick to them. They are great in eggs, sandwiches and salads or just right out of the jar. I buy Peppadew peppers and keep them stocked in my fridge. Most people have pickles stocked in their fridge. I have peppers.

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*If you don’t have these peppers, you can always substitute jarred jalapenos. They are not as sweet, but have a similar spicy kick.

Oh yeah, and then there are the eggs. Of course I have eggs (well, most of the time). So a BONUS about this recipe is that I always have the ingredients on hand! And you can too!

The bacon I keep in the freezer and cut across the strips.

ImageThis way my eggs get a ton of flavor from the bacon, but not too much fat. You only need a little bacon to flavor your eggs. (I got this frozen tip from one of Melissa d’Arabian’s cooking shows) This tip changed my life with buying bacon.

Usually, I would buy bacon, and only use a few pieces and then it would go bad in my fridge. Now, I buy bacon, and whatever I have leftover that I haven’t cooked, I put in the freezer and save for eggs, chilli or whatever else needs a little bit of bacon. Well, I guess you’re probably saying right now, what couldn’t use a little bit of bacon, or a lot. : )

Ok, I digress, back to the almighty frittata!

First cut up the bacon, I used probably about 1/8 cup. But you can use more or less depending on your love of bacon. Fry up the bacon in a oven safe pan. I used a cast iron pan. While the bacon is frying on medium heat, thaw the spinach in the microwave. Spinach cooks down A LOT. I used about ½ to ¾ cup of thawed and drained spinach. When the bacon is just about crisp (or however you like your bacon). Add the spinach and stir. Next add the jarred piquante peppers – halved. Stir these.

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Your pan size, will dictate the amount of eggs you use in your frittata. My pan was about 6 and ½ inches and I used 4 eggs. If your pan is bigger, you probably need to use more eggs. If you increase your pan size and don’t use more eggs, your frittata will come out thinner (which is fine) but you will need to reduce the cooking time – about 6-10 min in the oven.

Add eggs and cook over medium heat until sides touching pan start to firm.

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At his point, place the pan in the oven at 400F and cook for about 10-15 min. until egg is fully cooked. Your kitchen will smell like bacon and delicious peppers. MmmmMMmm

If you like cheese, this is the point you can sprinkle some cheese on top and put it back in the oven for about 1-2 min. to melt Watch this! You don’t want your cheese to burn! I grated fresh pecorino romano cheese on top, but you can also you cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella – or really any hard cheese that you like!

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Let it cool for a few minutes and cut in 4 slices and enjoy!!

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Besides being super flavorful with bacon and sweet peppers with a spicy kick, did I mention this is actually good for you? Look at all those veggies you’re getting! And it’s only brunch. Now that you’ve had this, you can totally have that doughnut, muffin or scone!

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RecipeImage

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

Serving size: 2

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup of bacon, sliced (or more, depending on how much you like bacon!)
  • ½- ¾ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 Sweet piquante peppers, halved (Peppadew Brand peppers) –you can substitute jarred jalapenos
  • ¼ – ½ cup of shredded pecorino romano cheese (you can use really any cheese – cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan. Or even better – all three!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F

2. Cook bacon in a small (around 6-7 inch) oven-safe pan or skillet on med to med-high heat until almost crispy (about 5 min) – if bacon is frozen start at the lower heat setting and slowly warm up to prevent burning bacon.

3. Sauté spinach and peppers with cooked bacon for 1-2 min – just to warm up the components

4. Scramble 4 eggs well and add to pan. Stir so all the ingredients are spread evenly through the eggs

5. Cook on the stove top till eggs cook along the outer edges.

6. Transfer pan to the oven and bake at 400F for 10-15min, until firm in the middle. (gently shake pan and egg should not wiggle)

7. Remove pan, add shredded cheese and place back in the oven, just for 1 or 2 min till cheese in melted.

8. Let frittata cool for about 5 min. Run a knife around the outer edge to loosen egg away from side of the pan. Slice in quarters and serve

If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge. Leftover frittata makes a great lunch!

* If you are only using turkey bacon and/or are using a pan that sticks a lot, you may need to add a tbsp or 2 of oil (olive, canola, or vegetable) to prevent the egg from sticking.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com