Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweet Potato Muffins

These were a hit, both with Will and my co-workers! And just another way to sneak in those veggies. They're sweet, spicy and simply delicious. Will wolfed one down for breakfast today like someone was going to take it away from him!

Cranberry Sweet Potato Muffins (courtesy of CooksRecipes.)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. mashed sweet potato (cold or room temp, without added butter or milk)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (I only had dried, so I added another tablespoon of milk to offset the liquid from the crans)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in the center.

3. In another bowl, combine egg, milk, sweet potatoes and butter together; mix well. Pour mixture into well of dry ingredients, mixing batter until just moistened. Take care not to over-mix! Gently fold in cranberries.

4. Fill prepared muffin tin cups 1/2 full.

5. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool ten minutes in pan on wire rack.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Operation Deception.... a huge success!

We returned home from Philly today after a great visit with Brian's parents. We also ate a lot of junk this weekend, including donuts for breakfast twice, and an ice cream lunch on Sunday. So I was feeling pretty motivated to turn that around. All sugar for most of the day does not do a body good!

Upon returning home, I found that my veggie crisper was still pretty full with the week before's produce finds. So I turned out a batch of Sweet Potato Cranberry Muffins, and veggie pancakes. I offered Will "Chocolate Pancakes" which really are chock-full of zucchini and carrot shreds, and enough chocolate chips to cover them up. He devoured them! And talked about them for the next hour! I filled three freezer bags with the remainders and popped them in the freezer. I also had shredded carrot and zucchini left over, as well as some sweet potato puree, so I froze all of that as well. I'd say I put in about 45 minutes of effort today for several breakfasts. I can definitely do that once in a while!

No verdict on the muffins....but if Will likes them in the morning I'll post the recipe to share. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Veggie of an Idea

I've been working a lot of long hours lately, either going back to work after dinner or bringing a box of files home and poring over them at my dining room table while Will plays with my adding machine. (He loves that thing!) Most of the time I'm too zonked to think about dinner. We still write a menu, but Brian pays attention to it, and thankfully, does most of the cooking.

Will is still eating basic, toddler food. Mostly carbs, no veggies and only a little fruit. This bothers me, but I've been a bit distracted lately to work on it. His daycare provider writes down all of his food in a notebook every day for me and she always writes that he ate the veggies that she put out. She did mention that he loves butternut squash, but when I make it at home? HA! Maybe it's the fact that he sees other kids eat it, but not in our house. It might as well be Kryptonite!

Anyway, one night last week I posted on Facebook that I was caving in to Will's demand of pancakes for dinner. About ten of my "friends" (relatives, acquaintances, etc...) immediately commented on my status. Most of them were "We love pancakes for dinner sometimes! We add A, B, C to make them healthier!" Some of these ideas were pretty good. My brother-in-law puts shredded zucchini in them. One friend adds cooked sweet potato, another wheat germ. Awesome!!

I read "The Sneaky Chef" a while ago and while I liked the idea, it seemed like an awful lot of work. But this kind of stuff is something that I can do, and in this case, every little bit helps. I can make a batch of pancakes and shred veggie in them and have them for him at night if he's being picky. So to everyone on my Facebook page, thank you!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chip-Chop and Microwave Alfredo

This is a tale of two rich, fattening, unhealthy dinners. All in the name of cleaning out the fridge. Well...the first one more than the second!

Made chicken, broccoli and ziti last night. Unfortunately, Brian discovered that we didn't have any alfredo sauce in the cabinet. Oops....used it a few weeks ago with scallops and fettuccine. With the suggestion of red sauce over broccoli and chicken seriously unappealing, I hit the internet searching for a quick sauce idea. Oh Yeah.....microwave alfredo sauce. Not only that, it used up some of the butter, half and half and the rest of the fresh parmesan left over from Christmas. Score! I had to grind up the cheese in the food processor, along with some garlic and salt and pepper. (Thanks again for the great gift!) Then put the cheese mixture into a bowl and add milk and butter. You microwave on high for a minute, then stir. Repeat three times. It didn't make a lot of sauce and it was a bit gloppy, but it saved dinner. It was also more like cheese sauce than alfredo but it was delicous. A little goes a long way!

Tonight was Brian's chance to try an Alton Brown (AB in our house) favorite. It's called a "Chip-Chop" and AB praises it as "Trash Food at its best!" Pack of pork chops? Check. Salt and Vinegar potato chips? Check. Canola oil? Check. First you smash up the chips into crumbs. (which is actually kinda fun!) Then you "bread" the chops in the chips. You fry them for a few minutes in the oil on the stove, then bake them at 250 degrees in the oven. The chops were positively sinful! So moist, so flavorful, so fattening. As someone near and dear to me has said, "Fat tastes good!" Not something you'd want to cook all the time. But hey, once a year?? I say let it all hang out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Brian's Fabulous Kielbasa Pasta

Clean-out week continues in the G Household. So far we've killed off some frozen chili with beans, various canned goods, polished off some crackers and two boxes of cereal. All of the veggies left over from Christmas that I froze are gone. And I have to say, the beans and carrots still were delicious the second time around, both of them still had a bit of crunch instead of the sogginess that usually happens. Brian also cooked up some of his Kielbasa Pasta with some leftover kielbasa in the back of the freezer. This made dinner for two one night and leftovers for me for two lunches!

This is sooooo easy! Boil up some rigatoni or penne. Saute a little chicken breast, a can of diced tomatoes, chopped red and green peppers, onion and a little minced garlic. Slice the defrosted kielbasa into "coins" and stir them last into the saute(since they're already technically cooked and you're just warming them.) Once the chicken is cooked through, stir it into the pasta, dish it out and sprinkle the top with grated parmesan. Voila--an easy weeknight dinner. :)