Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Find Me on Facebook!

It's been MONTHS since I posted my last recipe idea/review here, but that doesn't mean I'm not still cooking and sharing recipes I've made/found.  You can now find me on a closed facebook group, just ask to join!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1080963448712721/

The group name is the same as this blog "Life in my Kitchen...and Beyond."  (Search for it, or just click the link above).

It's much easier and faster for me to just post there instead of posting there AND here.  I hope to see you there! 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Candied Cherry Muffins

Well I've made it through 12 months of muffins from Food Network, which was printed in their January 2018 issue.  The final muffin (December's) was Candied Cherry Muffins, and I'll admit I made these a really long time ago (like back in February!) when I was able to get candied oranges and cherries on clearance at the grocery store.  Although I liked these muffins, I didn't love them.  They candied orange in the batter was too much for my group, BUT I would make these again and use orange flavoring like Orange Vitality Essential Oil to still give them the citrus flavor.  A co-worker told me that the muffin tasted like it had chopped up fruit snacks in it.  I'd say that probably isn't a texture that's appealing to most.   But having the orange flavor throughout with the candied cherries on top would probably be much better.  I need to get more almond paste now so I can try making these again. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup almond paste, crumbled (about 3 ounces)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped candied lemon and/or orange peel
1/2 cup candied cherries, quartered
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, milk, 1 1/2 sticks melted butter, the almond paste and vanilla in a large bowl (it's OK if the almond paste is still a little chunky). Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the candied citrus peel.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling them three-quarters of the way. Top evenly with the candied cherries. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the muffins cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack.

Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter in the microwave. Brush the muffins with the butter while still warm, then dust with confectioners' sugar. Let cool completely.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

#2,718: Banana Oat Bars

These banana oat bars (picture above isn't cut yet) are so, so, so easy, and my kids and I ate the entire pan one day for breakfast (we cut the above picture (8x8 pan) into 12 squares).  These bars are so moist and had the perfect amount of peanut butter and banana...it wasn't overpowering at all.  I made these the night before and just left them to cool on the stove until breakfast.  The kids were super excited when they came down to see it on the table.  We will definitely be making/eating these again next week!   

3 small ripe bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
2-4 Tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Mash bananas in a bowl.  Add oats, peanut butter, maple syrup and egg and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Let cool, cut and serve.

#2,817: Loaded Tater Tot Bites

We enjoyed these so much I think I've probably made them four times.  We've eaten them as a side dish at dinner, as an after school snack, and for breakfast.  They freeze well too so you can make a whole bunch ahead of time and just reheat in the microwave! 

32 oz Tater Tots frozen
1 1/2 c. Cheddar Cheese shredded
This is a mini tart shaper
1 lb Bacon cooked and diced
about 1/2 package of fresh chives, finely chopped

Note: You can use any ingredients you like on your loaded baked potato. These are just suggestions!

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a mini muffin pan and place five tater tots in each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove the muffin pan from the oven and use a mini tart shaper (or a small glass or even a spoon) to press the tater tots down into each cup. This will create a tater tot cup.

Fill the tater tots with the cheese,bacon, and chives (or your desired loaded potato ingredients).

Place the tater tots back in the oven and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes until the tater tots become golden brown.  If they don't want to come out of the muffin cup pretty easily (you might need to use a butter knife to loosen the edges), then it's probably not done yet. 

Remove from the oven and let the tots cool for at least 5 minutes.

Let cool completely if you want to freeze them to eat later.  To reheat, place frozen tater tot cups on a microwave safe plate and reheat for 30-60 seconds. 

#2,816: Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins

Banana + chocolate + muffins = a wonderful kid-friendly breakfast!!  Plus it's gluten free so that's an extra bonus!  These muffins were so moist, my kids totally devoured them.  I probably should put it on our menu again this week because I know they'd be excited.  They even loved them as an afternoon/after school snack too.  These were super easy to make and baked up easily.  Personally you can't go wrong with these flavors/ingredients though! 

4 eggs large
2 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. pure maple syrup
1 c. banana mashed
½ c. coconut oil melted
⅓ c. coconut flour
⅓ c. almond flour
⅓ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 12-count cupcake tray with liners and spray each one with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine eggs, extract, maple syrup, banana, and coconut oil. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until just combined.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. 

Slowly add dry ingredients into the larger bowl of wet ingredients. Mix by hand until just combined after each addition.

Stir in caco nibs or chocolate chips by hand until just combined.

Fill each cupcake liner with equal amounts of muffin batter.  Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes before eating.

#2.815: Homemade Organic Gummy Bear Fruit Snacks

The first time I made these, they were easy, but the worst part was straining the seeds out of the fresh strawberry puree.  My kids liked them, but I felt like it was too much work for the amount I got out of it.  Then I figured I'd take a shortcut step and find organic fruit purees to use in place of the fresh strawberries.  Plus, the original recipe I tried was orange-strawberry, and although I liked the taste of them when done, I didn't love the smell they were giving off when cooking.  So I went to Target in search of organic baby food pouches I could use in place for the puree (PLUS I was hoping to sneak in a veggie too!).  I found several different kids so I've made this recipe multiple times.  These are definitely a personal preference kind of recipe....we all like different ones the best!  I got the super cute gummy bear mold for about $6 at Walmart.  Personally, you probably should get 2 because you can make a batch quicker (you get 45 gummy bears per mold).  But each mold only has to be in the freezer for 15 minutes before they set so I just used one mold and kept dumping and refilling it.  You can freeze these to eat later, but you have to let them thaw in the fridge before eating.  (PS...keep these refrigerated). 

Here is the link to the original recipe for the strawberry-orange flavored ones. 
Below is the recipe for using the organic fruit pouches.  

1/2 cup fruit puree (from baby food/toddler pouches)
1/2 cup juice (apple, orange, cranberry, etc.)
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp gelatin

Combine puree and choice of juice in a saucepan. Heat on low until the liquid is almost simmering. Remove from heat. Let cool for a few minutes and then add honey to the mixture. 
In a small bowl add gelatin.  Add the slightly cooled puree stirring constantly until the gelatin is dissolved.

Use a dropper to fill the silicon Gummy Bear molds OR pour the gelatin liquid into the molds using a spatula to smooth it out and push all the puree into the mold. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until the gummies are firm.

#2,814: Classic Beef Chili

One thing my mom is known for is her chili recipe.  It's loaded with beans and is just the right amount of spicy.  This is NOT my mom's recipe, so I'm sure my sister is totally going to hate this.  However, being one who likes to try new recipes, I figured I'd give this one a try.  I have to admit, I really do like this chili.  I love that it has two different kinds of beans.  I especially love it served over elbow noodles, with some melted cheddar cheese, and some oyster crackers like my mom always served hers.  As with most chili's this is definitely better the longer it sits and you let the flavors meld.  You kind of get a little bit of the beer flavor in this, but it's super mild.  If you don't want to add beer, just use more chicken broth.  

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds ground chuck
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (15-oz.) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (12-oz.) bottle beer

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground chuck, and cook, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain beef mixture well, and return to Dutch oven.
Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano, and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, and beer, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

#2,813: Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast is the one meal I really struggle to eat sometimes because I don't sit down and eat.  I'm always either eating on the go, or while doing something else (lately it's usually cooking!), so anything that is pre-made for me and quick is what I'll gravitate towards.  I found a recipe for healthy breakfast cookie...all you had to say way "cookie" and my ears would perk up.  Adding the word pumpkin in there makes me listen even harder.  I've got to say, these are a bit strange but I like them.  I'd like them more if they were loaded with chocolate chunks and peanut butter, but I suppose that wouldn't be the same.  I still did like these though, and they are making an easy breakfast for me!  My kids wouldn't even try them, but I really didn't expect them to.  

1/4 cup coconut oil melted
1/4 cup honey
1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
1 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup dried cranberries unsweetened
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet.
In a small bowl warm coconut oil and honey (either microwave, inside preheating oven or on the stove top).

In a large bowl combine both kinds of oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add pumpkin puree, eggs and warmed coconut oil and honey. Stir until fully combined.

Drop about 1/8 cup sized scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten (cookies won't spread while baking). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet before moving to an airtight storage container.

#2,812: Coffee Cake Banana Bread

Here's another banana bread recipe for you to try!  I LOVED the addition of the cinnamon sugar topping to make this like a coffee cake.  My kids loved this too and devoured a mini loaf after school.  Ok, I maybe helped them eat it, but personally I would have loved to cut off the topping and just eat that!  Maybe I should make these in muffin top pans?!!?  

3-4 medium or large bananas
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
Crumb Topping
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two 8x4 pans.
In a small bowl, mash bananas, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and beat until mixed.
To the wet ingredients, sift in flour, baking soda, and salt.
Stir until just combined. Add in sour cream and stir.
Pour in mashed bananas, and mix until combined.

Crumb Topping
Combine cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, and mix until the topping looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle coating evenly over the batter in both pans.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Move to a wire cooling rack.

#2,811: (GF) Beef and Corn Noodle Bake

This recipe had the one ingredient in it that my boys (big boy and little boy) do not particularly enjoy...corn (although they hate peas way more).  I however, could eat corn probably every day and not get tired of it.  Even as I look at the photo above, I can barely see the corn and I used way less in the recipe because I knew they'd complain.  But the little one (6 yrs) saw one piece on his plate and immediately scowled.  The big one (41 yrs) managed to pick every little kernel out.  I swear if he just would have eaten it all mixed up he wouldn't have even tasted it.

Regardless  the girls and I loved this dish and were happy to go back for seconds (one of us may have gone back for thirds, but I won't rat anyone out!).  I made these with gluten free noodles and no one in the group could tell the difference.  I also wanted to give them more veggies (heck I was pushing my luck with the corn anyways!), so I added half a can of petite diced tomatoes, and then pureed the second half and threw that in there as well.  Mmmm....I might have to make this again this week!

2 pounds ground beef (I only used 1 lb. 2 lb seemed like a lot!) 
1 cup chopped onion
12 oz. can kernel corn, drained
20 – 24 oz. tomato soup – this can be creamy tomato soup that is gluten free or gluten free condensed tomato soup (I used a 14 oz can and then added another can of water)
1 Tbsp. ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked gluten free noodles (I used Tinkyada shells)
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
I also added: minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and dried basil.  
Brown the ground beef until no longer pink, adding the onion about halfway through cooking time. Put cooked meat mixture, corn, soup, ketchup, and seasoning in a bowl and mix.

Cook noodles (al dente). Drain. Mix into the other ingredients. Pour casserole into a baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, covered. Uncover for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  

#2,810: Thai Chicken Salad

We have a disagreement at school during lunch about which is better canned shredded chicken or fresh shredded chicken.  I am the minority of that vote who greatly prefer canned chicken over fresh chicken.  So in the recipe photo above (which I was making just for myself, I used canned chicken.  The salad was delicious and I decided to make it again for some friends, but this time I figured I'd actually cook and shred fresh chicken and add that into the salad.  Although I will deny saying this to my friends, the fresh shredded chicken was actually quite good!  The dressing in this salad is tangy, a bit sweet, and yet a tiny bit spicy.  I like it.  (In my head I said that last sentence with a weird, definitive accent, so please try to read it that way! 🤣).  I strongly recommend this salad...it was THAT good.  

2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 cups red cabbage, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted & unsalted
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp rice vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large bowl, add all ingredients listed in the order above and mix with spatula until well combined.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

#2,809: Chicken Sausage Egg Hash Brown Bake

Can you tell I'm on a sausage/egg/cheese/hash brown kick!?  That's what happens when you have leftover ingredients from a recipe and want to find a new/different recipe/way to use it up in.  I was super surprised how much I enjoyed this casserole/egg bake.  I was running out of cheddar cheese so I improvised and added sliced provolone on top (I pushed it into the egg mixture a bit) and the result was the super brown and crispy topping.  

2 lb bag frozen hash browns thawed
1 lb pork breakfast sausage sage or spicy (I used chopped chicken sausage)
½ onion finely chopped
8 eggs
½ cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a sauté pan, cook onions and brown and crumble sausage. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
In a baking dish, spread thawed hash browns into bottom of dish.
Spread cooked sausage on top of hash browns.
Next, pour egg mixture on top of that.
Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheddar cheese on top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Take foil off and bake for additional 10 minutes. Just keep an eye on it to make sure the cheese doesn’t brown up too much.

#2,808: (GF) Sausage and Cheese Hash Brown Cups

I have enjoyed eating these super simple gluten free sausage, egg, and cheese hash brown cups, that I've literally eaten them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (meals on different days, but still all 3 meal times).  These are great to make ahead of time and freeze.  Then to reheat and have a quick meal, just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and they reheat really well.  My kids actually like these too...but the more cheese I put in it, the more they seem to like it.  LOL 

4 Cups Shredded Hash Browns, thawed
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
8 Eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 ½ Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Sausage, cooked and crumbled

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl combine the shredded hash browns, butter, salt and pepper.  Spray your muffin tin VERY well with cooking spray and fill the cups about 3/4 of the way full with the hash browns.  I sued my fingers to mold them to the muffin cups.  It’s okay if they stick out a bit.  Try to make the sides all the same thickness so they will cook evenly.  You’ll also want to make sure there’s plenty of hash browns at the bottom of the muffin cups.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until they are starting to brown. Let cool slightly.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Take half of the shredded cheese and sprikle it in the bottom of the hash brown cups.  Repeat with half of the sausage crumble.  Whisk the eggs together and fill the cups until almost full.  Top with the second half of the cheese and sausage.

Bake until the eggs are set which takes about 20 – 25 minutes.  

#2,807: Sweet and Spicy Sticky Chicken

My family was such a big fan of this chicken that we literally ate it two nights in a row and both times we were fighting over the last piece!  And I don't even like chicken thighs...but I did for THIS recipe!  This recipe requires you to brown it on the stove and then finish baking in the oven.  But I wasn't happy with the sauce (it was too liquidy), so I threw it back onto the stove top at the end and it thickened up so nicely (see photo above).  We will definitely be eating this one again...soon!  

2 teaspoons , or to taste, chili powder
1 teaspoon or to taste , paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon unrefined , cold pressed coconut oil
6 to 8 boneless , skinless chicken thighs
green onions , for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.

Melt coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Combine the spice rub ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. 
Rub the chicken with the prepared spice rub and toss to coat.
Add chicken to skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
Prepare the honey sauce by combining honey and apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl; stir until well incorporated.

Remove chicken from heat and pour honey sauce over the chicken thighs, turning to coat.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove from oven and let stand couple minutes.
Plate and garnish with green onions.

#2,806: Caprese Lasagna Roll-up

When you have a whole lot of tomatoes and basil in your garden you've got to find a way to use them up!  I am a huge lasagna fan so I was excited to try this recipe when I found it.  I loved this lasagna and I loved that I was able to use fresh ingredients from my own garden for it too.  It would have been even more home made if I would have made the noodles from scratch but that would have really been pushing it! HA  

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
3 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg white
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
3-4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish)
2 cups marinara sauce 

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain pasta and align noodles in a single layer on a large sheet of parchment paper (I used a flexible cutting board).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in fresh Parmesan cheese.

Mix about 3 cups of the Mozzarella cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle, covering it completely from one end to the other.

Lay about 4 thin tomato slices over the cheese mixture and then sprinkle fresh basil over top.

Snugly roll lasagna noodles to opposite end.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 11x7'' baking dish.

Place lasagna rolls seam side down in dish and top each roll with a heaping spoonful or pasta sauce. Make sure to cover the edges of the pasta so they don't dry out while baking.

Sprinkle remaining shredded Mozzarella on top.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and garnish with more fresh basil ribbons. Enjoy!

#2,805: Thai Baked Chicken

I personally was so scared of this recipe because I don't love chicken if it's not grilled, or battered and fried.  I am really not a fan of baked chicken, but this recipe got such good reviews I wanted to give it a try.  Even as I was making it, I was thinking I wasn't going to like it because the chicken was too.........chicken-y.  (go ahead....give an eye roll!)  But I was pleasantly surprised that this chicken was so moist and tender.  Although I ate a little bit of it as seen above, I really enjoyed this in a quesadilla instead!  My kids loved this chicken and we even ate it two nights in a row (one as the chicken with a side dish and once as a chicken quesadilla).  I think this would also be good as a chopped up chicken filling for tacos or enchiladas. 

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or 12 boneless chicken thighs
1 tbsp oil (for skillet)

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
12 leaves fresh basil
1 large or 2 small jalapeños, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic
1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp packed brown sugar, or coconut palm sugar
2 limes cut into wedges, for garnish

Add marinade ingredients to food processor and purée until smooth.
Arrange chicken parts in a single layer in a large freezer bag. Pour marinade over chicken, seal tightly or vacuum seal and massage the marinade into the chicken a bit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours, or simply lay it flat in the freezer and freeze for another day.

When ready to cook, thaw completely. The safest way to thaw is in the refrigerator overnight.

To bake: Preheat oven to 375F. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium to high heat. Add oil and wait until it ripples or shimmers. Add chicken pieces and sear on each side for 3-4 minutes, then place skillet in oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Cover with foil and let stand on a platter for 5-10 minutes before serving.

If you want to grill it instead: Place chicken on medium-hot well-oiled grill. Turn when chicken has grill marks (approx. 5-6 min). Cook until internal temperature is 165 degrees at the thickest part (about 7-8 minutes).
Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

#2,804: Parmesan Hash Brown Cups

I had some leftover hash browns in my freezer and wanted to find a quick way to use them up, so I gave these baked cheesy hash brown cups a try and they were a big hit with my crew!  The kids didn't even mind the specks of "grass" they saw on top (ignore them, they get that from their dad...it was just chives!).  These are so simple and as long as you bake them long enough, they pretty much pop out of the muffin tins.  If they won't come out, you either didn't grease the cup well enough or it's just not ready (it's probably not ready!).  I used Parmesan and a little mozzarella, but you could use whatever cheese you have on hand.  The original recipe also says to grate a potato, but the thawed shredded hash browns was so much easier!

These also reheat well from frozen (just microwave for about a minute). 

1½ pounds potatoes (I used a bag of defrosted hash brown potatoes)
1 small yellow onion
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chives, minced
2 tablespoons garlic herb seasoning (I didn't have this so I used a little bit of brown sugar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and parsley)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or parchment line the wells of a 6-well jumbo muffin pan (I used regular muffin tins).

Cut ends off onion, remove outer later, and grate.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir well to combine, then add to the prepared wells in the muffin pan.  Bake in preheated oven 30-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown. 

#2,803: Gluten Free Chocolate Doughnuts

So the original recipe for these chocolate doughnuts called for gluten free oat flour, which I did not have on hand.  I debated about grinding up some oats in place, but that seemed like too much work (it's not, I was just being lazy!).  So I figured I'd dry brown rice flour instead since I had it on hand and it was ready to use.  First of all, the batter alone for these doughnuts is pretty darn good!  But baked and glazed, these doughnuts are SO good.  I had enough for the kids to have one for a snack and one for breakfast the next day.  They tried to convince me to let them have it for dessert and not wait until breakfast...nice try kiddos.  

3/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour (I used brown rice flour)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) potato starch or tapioca starch (I used potato starch)
1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
6 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
nonstick cooking spray

For the Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together oat flour, granulated sugar, potato starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Add egg, sour cream, milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. Allow batter to stand for five minutes. Lightly coat pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fill cavities about halfway with batter.

Bake until doughnuts spring back to the touch, about ten minutes. Turn doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Allow doughnuts to cool completely. Place a wire rack into a parchment-lined baking pan. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract in small bowl. Dip doughnuts, one at a time, into glaze. Shake off excess glaze. Place dipped doughnuts onto wire rack. Store doughnuts covered at room temperature for up to three days.

#2,802: Mashed Potato Puffs

So one of my kids is a self-proclaimed mashed potato hater.  Actually he hates all forms of potatoes if it's not a hash brown, a french fry, or a potato chips.  So when I told him we were having these mashed potato puffs for dinner he was not happy.  We told him he had to take one bite, and boy was I shocked when he said he liked these and asked for seconds (he had to dip it in catsup though).  These are a great recipe to use with leftover mashed potatoes.  Or, if you get the steam and mash frozen kind (that you microwave) from Ore Ida, you can whip these up super fast!  You know when these are done when they start to pull away from the sides.  If you can't get them out of your muffin tins, they probably aren't done.  As you can see from the photo, I used my square muffin tin, but any muffin tin would work! 

2 eggs
⅓ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 8 - 9 of the wells of a cupcake pan - preferably nonstick.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the eggs then whisk in the sour cream. Mix in both cheeses and the chives.  Season with salt and pepper. Add them to the bowl and mix well.

Spoon them into the pan filling the cups just to the top or a little below.

Bake 25 - 35 minutes until they pull away from the sides of the cup and are golden brown all over.

Remove from oven and let them cool 5 minutes in pan. Turn them out onto a platter. Serve with sour cream.