Monthly Archives: November 2012

cranberry-oat cereal bars

I had a bag of marshmallows to use up and needed some new snacks my eldest’s lunch. I perused the web for a while and stumbled upon this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. I figured I’d give it a shot because I had all the ingredients on hand and it seemed pretty straightforward. It was! And the boys liked it, too!

Ccranberry-oat cereal bars

Nonstick cooking spray
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bag (10 ounces) marshmallows

2 teaspoon salt
6 cups toasted oat cereal
1 cup dried cranberries, or raisins

Spray a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with waxed paper; spray paper with cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows have melted, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in cereal and dried cranberries.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula (or your fingers) coated with cooking spray, press in quickly and firmly. Let cool, about 1 hour; cut into 24 bars (3 rows lengthwise by 8 rows crosswise).


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chocolate chocolate-chip banana bread

I was rather distracted by the boys whining at my feet when I was making my regular banana bread recipe and actually put cocoa instead of baking powder into my bowl. I decided to make the most of it and turn my plain ol’ banana bread into chocolate, chocolate chip banana bread. It turned out great and is still low-fat (well, except for the chocolate. ;) )

Chocolate chocolate-chip banana bread

3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend well. Add in the chocolate chips and stir gently. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake on centre rack for 50-60 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on a cooling rack and slice.


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pasta with chicken, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes

I had a whole bunch of basil growing old in my fridge that I had to use up quickly. I usually chop up and freeze my fresh herbs if I can’t use them all but this time, the leaves had already started to brown and I didn’t think they’d hold up to freezing very well. I also had two large-ish chicken breasts in the fridge that needed to be cooked up so I came up with this recipe. It was great! Something I would choose to eat in a restaurant, for sure!

First, I made some pesto. Unfortunately for you, I don’t really follow a recipe when making pesto. I just eyeball a few handfuls of fresh basil, about 1/2 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, a few handfuls of toasted pine nuts, a splash or three of olive oil and toss in some salt and pepper for good measure. I throw it all in the food processor and voilà! Basil pesto! Just so you know, it freezes very well! For the rest of the meal ingredients… here’s the recipe!

Ppasta with chicken, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes

Spaghetti noodles (I really wish I could tell you how much to cook but I always cook WAY TOO MUCH pasta. I try and estimate that the diameter of a quarter is 1 portion size of spaghetti but I still can’t get it right. I’ll just say try to cook enough for 4 adults.)
2 grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1/3 cup oil packed or rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup basil pesto
3/4 cup pasta cooking water
Handful of toasted pine nuts

Cook the noodles as the package instructs. Drain and save approximately 3/4 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Toss the noodles with the sun dried tomatoes, cheese and pesto. Add the cooking water as needed so that the sauce smooths out. Pour it in gradually, you don’t want wet, runny pasta! Serve and top with a few toasted pine nuts and some fresh basil leaves if you have.


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red wine-braised short ribs roast with oven-roasted butternut squash

I’ve been charged and found guilty of blog-neglect. I haven’t posted in over a month, and even before that my posts were more and more sparse. I’ve just been utterly burned out by the thought of cooking and you’d all be appalled by what I’ve been serving the family. In my defense, many meals have also been “repeats” because obviously, I like to repeat family favourites often too! Because, you know, my kids will (mostly) eat them! My 2-year-old is now in the “I don’t like that.” and the “What’s this sauce on my food?” phase. He’s been surviving mostly on Cheerios and milk, apple sauce and rice crackers with some yogurt and cheese thrown in for good measure. Knowing kids, he’ll outgrown the phase soon enough and I can hope to regain a semi-decent eater at the end of it!

I’m going away on business for 10 days on Monday and decided to make a little feast for the family to a) use up some freezer meat and b) spend some quality time with them! I found a short-rib roast in the freezer that was getting a bit on the old side and decided to cook that up. I’ve made hoisin/beer braised short ribs in the past but I had a bottle of red wine open in the fridge already and figured I’d give this recipe a try instead! The recipe is for actual short ribs, but clearly, my roast was just short ribs that hadn’t been trimmed down into smaller pieces. It turned out perfectly!

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs
5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine, like a Cab sauv.
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano (I omitted the oregano)
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves (and forgot the bay leaves!)
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low-salt beef stock

Preheat oven to 350°. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Brown the short ribs/roast on all sides until you achieve a nice rich brown colour.

Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.

Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.

Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.

I tried to edit the juice box out of the picture but who am I kidding? You all know I have kids!

I served this deliciousness up with some caramelized butternut squash which was equally divine! I stole this particular recipe from Ina Garten. I halved the recipe and it turned out lovely.

Caamelized Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1″ pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven at 400F

Place diced squash on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Serve hot.

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