Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

I think these cookies speak for themselves.

A friend recommended these to me after I gave birth to my baby girl in February. I think they work, although they aren't proven, I will use any excuse to eat a baked good.

The great thing about these cookies is that you can exchange many of the ingredients. I like to add chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, cinnamon and walnuts. You can certainly add any dried fruits or any kind of nut that you like. I think they taste a bit like the cake doughnuts I get at the cider mill--it's probably the cinnamon I put in them.

And don't worry--these aren't just for nursing mothers! My husband and father in law equally enjoy them!

The key to the cookies: Brewers yeast, Oatmeal, and Flaxseed Meal. I had a hard time finding the brewers yeast. You can find it in the vitamin section of Whole Foods. I would imagine any health food store would carry it also.

For the recipe, click here.

Alterations: 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chicken Piccata

Lately, my husband hasn't been the biggest fan of chicken. I'm not sure what brought on this new aversion, but I personally love chicken.

I think chicken is one of the most versatile things to create a dish, plus it's an inexpensive purchase at the grocery store. Since I am all about easy these days, I took my inspiration from Ina Garten's Chicken Piccata.

To save myself time and stress I prepped the chicken ahead of time while little "G" took her nap. So when dinner time came along, my hands on time was very minimal--with exception of standing near the stove to flip the chicken.

I pretty much followed Ina's recipe to a "t" with exception of the white wine. We don't drink white wine (only red), so I couldn't see opening a full bottle of white when I knew for sure it would go bad. So I used vermouth instead. Let me tell you, vermouth has been my best friend lately (no...I'm not drinking it). I've been using it to substitute white wine in a ton of dishes and it's worked rather nicely. I also doubled the recipe for the sauce. There just didn't seem to be enough with her recipe.

I served it with baby roasted potatoes* and steamed baby carrots. Turns out, my husband loved it despite his new found dislike for chicken. The bonus: the dish is super easy...with ingredients I always have on hand plus it's pretty impressive looking!

For the recipe, click here!
Alterations: Use vermouth instead of white wine and double the sauce recipe. I also added capers to the sauce. I added chicken/poultry seasoning, salt/pepper, and parsley to the bread crumb mixture.

*The baby roasted potatoes I just washed, and put on a roasting pan with olive oil, salt/pepper and put in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I must say, I've been lucky to have a baby who takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. It gives me enough time to cool my jets, throw in about 3 loads of laundry and possibly consider baking something (or prep dinner).

Just after bringing home the baby, Food Network had a pie special that had my toungue wagging. I for one, am not a pie person. I never really cared for it, therefor, I haven't really made many pies! For some reason every pie on this show, I wanted to try. So I printed off most of the recipes and vowed that they would not collect dust.

My husband made a Costco run last week and purchased a huge 5 lb package of strawberries. We eat quite a bit of fruit, but eating 5 lbs of anything in a limited amount of time is pushing it. So when I was leafing through my pie recipes I figured, why not try a strawberry rhubarb pie! I've never prepared rhubarb and I am pretty sure I've never even had a strawberry rhubarb pie. So when I put little G down for her nap I decided to get started. I worked in stages so that if I got interrupted I could work in pieces. Luckily, the filling came together in minutes.

Now when I say, it came together in minutes, I have to admit--I cheated and purchased a pie crust. I've made my own pie crust before, but I do need a bit of practice. And since I have very limited time for just 'practice', I had no other choice but to use the store bought in this case if I was going to get this pie completed during one afternoon. Has anyone ever tried Trader Joe's pie crust?? If you haven't...try it! It's soo good. It tastes homemade and certainly not the cardboard taste of the Pepperidge Farm brand.

Hey, I told you...I have a baby. I'm all into a short cut if it's good!

The verdict? Despite the very 'rustic' look of the pie it was sooo good! (I won't go into details as to why--lets just say I forgot to add something and had to rip off the top and surgically put it back together). The crust was flaky and buttery. I really loved the raw sugar sprinkled on the top. The filling was just the amount of tart and sweet. I couldn't resist and cut into it before my husband got home. He's lucky I didn't eat the entire thing.

I can't believe I never make fruit pies...they are so easy!

For the recipe, click here!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shrimp with Cheddar Polenta and Cilantro Pesto

Since I've become a mom, I've learned that I have very limited time to make dinner. (not to mention limited hands!). BUT we still have to eat and I need to put food on the table. So you will probably find many more 'mom inspired' meals around here! (Don't worry, I still hope to keep baking!)

I found this on the "Cuisine at Home" website. I get the magazine and I must say its great. All the recipes are very good, but family friendly, and pretty easy. I love all the step by step photos they provide--I love a good visual!

Speaking of good visuals, can you believe the photo?? My husband actually took it--he's getting better at this every day! And he took it with my new cannon rebel 15mega pixel camera. How is that for a 'push prize'? I love it and I hope it helps enhance the blog!

Anyway, I prepped the shrimp ahead of time and popped them into the refrigerator until my husband got home from work....and the rest of the meal came together in 5 minutes. Yup...5 minutes. How great is that?? The key: buy quick cooking polenta.

I didn't quite follow this recipe for the polenta on this recipe. Follow the package instructions on the quick cooking polenta, I used Colvita 5-minute quick cooking polenta. I added whatever cheese I had in the fridge--a little sharp cheddar and a little parmigiano reggiano. You could use whatever you have on hand.

Good meals DON'T have to take you hours!


For the shrimp recipe, click here!
-Alterations: Toss ingredients with shrimp. Saute on medium/high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet with olive oil. Cook until pink on one side and flip. This should only take about a minute a side if that. Keep an eye on them. You want them to be in the shape of a C NOT and O. O=overcooked! You don't want that.

For the cheddar polenta recipe, click here!
-Alterations: Use quick cooking polenta. Add whatever cheese you have on hand!