I’ve written over on ParentLife about my love for the Weelicious Lunches cookbook by Catherine McCord. While it’s full of recipes that my picky eater wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole (sigh), there are tons of great recipes, and it’s helped me to think outside the box a little bit.
I wanted to do something productive Saturday afternoon, and baking is way more fun than cleaning, so I opened the cookbook. I started from Catherine’s recipe for Whole Wheat Raspberry Baked Doughnuts, but kept making tweaks, as I often do.
I think my strawberry twist makes a really hearty, appealing snack or breakfast for your wee ones! The cinnamon glaze isn’t necessary, but it makes these feel more like doughnuts instead of muffins shaped in a circle.
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a doughnut pan and sprinkle with flour.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add coconut oil and whisk in as well as you can.
Add sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Fold in strawberries.
Gently spoon into doughnut pan until cavities are three-fourths full. Bake 14 minutes.
(If you have made baked doughnuts before, this is a little longer than usual. This is so they firm up and don't fall apart when you try to take them out of the pan, due to the strawberries.)
Let cool a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack placed over some protection for your counter (wax paper, silpat, baking sheet).
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Drizzle should be runny but not watery. If you need to, add more powdered sugar or milk.
I’m asked often about meals that are good for the freezer. I do a lot of freezer cooking when I can, just to get on top of the hunger of three little ones! Even when we’re eating dinner in the dining hall, they have to have lunches packed or at home, breakfast, and snacks.
To make it easy on me and as a great go-to to send to friends, here are our favorite freezer meals that I know work well, because I’ve tried them again and again! I hope to update this list as we add more to our repertoire.
Let’s be honest: despite the shelves of cookbooks, I get nearly all my recipes from blogs. A couple of weeks ago I made a menu plan, went to the store, and came back and cooked those meals I had written down. But when I got to this one I absolutely could NOT find the recipe!
I searched my computer histories to no avail. I checked a couple cookbooks I knew I had referenced in the last week. Nada. Well, I decided, I would just have to improvise.
And this sauce was so dang delicious! I am glad I didn’t give up on it. I knew the recipe I’d seen had shallots (because I bought one), Dijon mustard, and sour cream. I went from there. I ended up eating the sauce on the salmon, asparagus, AND the rice.
Yield: 4 servings, with extra sauce for vegetables or rice
You can cook the salmon any way you like, but I prefer roasting in the oven to pan-frying. I feel like it's easier to catch it before it overcooks.
4 salmon fillets
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 large or 1 small shallot, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill
about 2/3 c. sour cream
Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. If you want to roast asparagus or green beans along with the salmon, toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper as well. Lay on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 10-13 minutes, until salmon flakes easily. (Time will depend on the thickness of your fillets. May take longer.)
Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add minced shallot and cook until very soft. Turn heat to low and stir in mustard and lemon juice.
Remove from heat and gently stir in sour cream and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Plate salmon and drizzle/pour/dollop sauce over it to serve (or serve on the side, if your husband is nuts and doesn't like sour cream, like someone I know).
It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal time once again. Which means it’s been a month since my blog went ballistic and HostGator tried to shut me down and I almost (yet again) swore that I was just going to stop blogging because I HATE THE TECHNICAL STUFF. Of course that all happened about one hour before my SRC post was supposed to go up. So in case you didn’t see it, last month I served up Arroz con Pollo y Frijoles.
This month I was assigned to the blog Why I Am Not Skinny by Maxcie. The author grew up in South Africa and now lives in Brussels, Belgium, from where she shares restaurant reviews as well as delicious recipes.
I admit that I get very scared by recipes in metric (being your basic American home cook). I had my mathematician husband work out this cake recipe for me. I rounded up or down in some cases, but the cake turned out great so I feel good about it. Instead of a traditional pineapple upside-down cake with brown sugar, this version has homemade caramel and mangoes.
Maxcie used fresh mangoes, but I had a giant bag of frozen chopped ones so I used some of those. I still think it’s impossible to find really ripe mangoes here like you can in Thailand (oh, I still have fantasies about mangoes there!) so I won’t blame you if you decide to use peaches or nectarines instead. But the slight bite of the mango went well with the sweet cake and caramel, and we all enjoyed the cupcakes tremendously!
These adorable cupcakes with a fancy caramel and mango topping are adapted from Why I Am Not Skinny. Like Maxcie, you can also make this into an 8x8 cake and cook for 45-50 minutes.
1/2 c. white sugar
2 T water
3 T butter
1 c. diced mango, fresh or frozen
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 2 T water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil without stirring until the sugar turns caramel brown. Remove from heat; add butter and swirl in by shaking the pan. When butter is fully incorporated, pour into 12 muffin cups evenly. Set aside to cool. When slightly hardened, divide mango pieces among the cups, pressing slightly into the caramel.
With an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and 3/4 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a small mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to mixer and mix until combined. Carefully add milk and gently stir until the batter is uniform.
Spoon or scoop the batter on top of the mangoes in the muffin cups.
Cook cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto a plate or cooling rack.
I was assigned to La Cocina de Leslie this month. At first I was a wee bit scared about venturing out of my comfort zone, because she shares authentic Mexican recipes. Leslie, a mom of 4, grew up in Southern California but moved to Mexico, where her husband grew up.
In the end, I stumbled upon Leslie’s recipe for Arroz con Pollo y Frijoles, Mexican rice and beans. It didn’t have any ingredients that were too foreign for me to find here (we don’t have a huge Hispanic population in Chattanooga) and sounded amazing. And it was. SO AMAZING. We ate the rice mixture burrito-style, with thick flour tortillas, sour cream, lettuce, and cheese. Everything came together simply, and the flavors worked so well.
And now I want to make EVERYTHING from Leslie’s site.
15 oz. canned pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
if desired, tortillas and taco toppings like lettuce, sour cream, salsa, cheese, etc.
*You can substitute regular chili powder for the ancho chile powder, but I loved the smokiness of it. And if you like spicy, spicy foods, you can use some chipotle chile powder in place it or some of the regular as well.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with salt, the ancho chile powder, and 1 tablespoon regular chili powder. Cook until the chicken is browned on all sides, then use a slotted spoon to remove to a plate. Set aside.
In the same skillet, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the rice and saute, stirring often, until the rice is golden in color.
Meanwhile, add tomatoes, peeled and quartered onion, peeled garlic cloves, and chicken broth to a blender. Blend until pureed.
Add the blended mixture to the rice, then add remaining tablespoon of chili powder, cumin, and a little more salt. Stir until combined. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 10 minutes.
Gently add the chicken and beans. Bring back to a boil, then reduce again and simmer, covered, until the liquid has all been absorbed. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Keep a careful watch on the pan.
Let sit off the heat for 10 minutes before serving.
As a sidenote, I also made these Caramel Pecan Paletas, with some melted chocolate drizzled in to make them “Turtle Popsicles.” Unfortunately I had a hard time getting them to release from my molds, so I didn’t get a good picture. But they were delicious, too!
I picked up an extra reveal for this month’s Secret Recipe Club at the last minute – and I am sure glad that I did! These little tea cakes come via Angela of Spinach Tiger. Angela’s site has a wealth of recipes. She’s a Nashville blogger, too, which makes me wish I still lived there so we could hang out! Or, you know, she could make me dinner. I wouldn’t mind having these chicken thighs with pavlova cups for dessert. I’m only 2 hours away, Angela! You let me know when!
Anyway, when I saw the link to her recipe for Tennessee T Cakes, it definitely brought a picture to my mind. I live in Chattanooga, after all, just an hour-and-a-half from Knoxville.
But the recipe really led to a lovely tea cake recipe, made famous by a baker in Nashville when Oprah named her cakes one of her favorite things in 2006. While a quick skim shows that it was a secret recipe but consisted of just flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla, Angela adds cream cheese to her recipe for a divine richness.
These tea cakes are not quite cake, definitely not the cookie type – they are gooey caramel deliciousness. They come together in a snap with ingredients you probably have around. Make some for a quick treat for the family!
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray or lining with papers (I use silicone muffin liners).
In a small saucepan, melt brown sugar and butter together on medium-low heat, stirring often. Once melted, turn heat to low. Add cream cheese and whisk until cream cheese is all melted and the mixture is uniform. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and apple cider vinegar. Let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
When the brown sugar mixture is cooled off, whisk an egg into it. Add flour mixture gradually and stir until all the flour is incorporated.
Divide batter among the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes*, until a tester comes out mostly clean and tops don't look gooey.
Sift powdered sugar over the tops. Cool and then enjoy!
*Angela said hers only took 16 minutes. My muffin liners are kind of small, so my muffins may have been taller and taken longer to cook. Start checking muffins for doneness around the 16-18 minute mark.