Happy February! With all the cold weather and snow, I have been baking and cooking up a storm…I mean what else is there to do? In the last few weeks, I’ve experimented with a ton of new recipes, so let’s get started. The first new recipe I tried was for cookies. As I am sure you know, I LOVE LOVE LOVE cookies. They are my absolute favorite dessert. I have a few chocolate chip cookie recipes that I use all the time, but this recipe looked different as it had oats in the recipe. I’ve made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies before, but this recipe was different than the one I used, so I decided to give it a try. I am happy to report that the cookies came out great. Ryan didn’t prefer them, but the rest of us liked them a lot. I used dark chocolate chips, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the flavor. I usually use semi sweet chocolate chips, so the dark chocolate chips were a nice change. I’d definitely make these again. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/02/low-fat-chewy-chocolate-chip-oatmeal.html
The next recipe was for spumoni cookies. I’m not really an ice cream person, but I do love me some spumoni. If you are unfamiliar with spumoni, it is a molded Italian ice cream. It looks like Neapolitan ice cream in that it has three distinct layers: cherry, pistachio, and chocolate. Heaven!! I mean cherry, pistachio and chocolate all mixed together?? DONE! Anyway, usually some time around Christmas I get in the mood for spumoni, so I will pick some up from the grocery store. FYI, if you like spumoni and really want to indulge pick up “Alinosi’s Spumoni,” it’s the best I’ve ever eaten. When we lived on the east side, I used to get it from Nino Salvaggio’s. Alinosi’s ice cream is still individually wrapped in single serve squares…so cute. Since I love spumoni, when I saw a recipe for spumoni cookies I knew I had to make them. I am happy to report that I love love love the mixture of flavors in these cookies, and I would definitely make them again. Ryan didn’t care for these cookies, but the rest of us LOVED them. Here is the link to the recipe that I used :http://thatmorninggirl.blogspot.com/2013/12/italian-spumoni-cookies.html
The next recipe I tried was for savory ricotta cakes. I had some ricotta left over, and wanted to try something new, so I selected this recipe. These tasted yummy, but I had an issue with the cooking time. The original recipe indicates to bake these cakes for 30 minutes. I increased the cooking time to about 50 minutes, and the cakes were still a bit soft. Next time I will bake them even longer as I’d prefer a crispier ricotta cake. We dipped them in marinara sauce, and that was a really nice combination of flavors. It goes without saying that Ryan didn’t try the ricotta cakes. Here is the link to the recipe that I used:http://www.food.com/recipe/savoury-ricotta-snacks-323458
The next recipe was for vegetarian meatballs. I totally love spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I make veggie meatballs all the time, but I am always on the hunt for a new recipe. To date, I’ve made veggie friendly meatballs using soy crumbles, cannelloni beans, and spinach. This recipe calls for nut meal as the main source of protein. I specifically purchased cashew meal from Trader Joe’s so I could make these veggie meatballs, but you can also use walnut or pecan meal. This was a really easy recipe to execute, and the result was delicious. As with the savory ricotta cakes, we dunked these in marinara sauce, and ate them with pasta. Dan, Victoria, and I really liked them. What did Ryan think? Yep, you guessed it…not even a baby bite. Oh well, maybe next time I make them he’ll give them a try. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.longwaitforisabella.com/2012/10/vegetarian-meatballs-recipe.html
The next recipe was for vanilla mug cake. Since Ryan didn’t prefer the last two desserts I made, I decided to bake a mini dessert just for him. He absolutely loves vanilla so I wanted to try and make a mug cake for him. Last year, we tried the 5 minute single serve cookie made in the microwave, and it was just okay. Personally, I’d rather make a regular ‘ol batch of cookies, than use that recipe again. Cake on the other hand is different. Sometimes you just want a single piece of cake, without having to put in the time and energy it takes to bake a whole cake. Well this recipe is perfect for that. I have wanted to try this for years, and am so glad that I finally got around to it. The recipe was simple, and I always have the ingredients on hand. Also, there is no egg required in this cake recipe, so it works for those that need to avoid eggs. The best part is that you only dirty one mug, and you end up with a little cake for one in under 10 minutes. After seeing Ryan’s mug cake, Victoria wanted to try one too. So, I ended up making a second one for her. For Ryan’s cake I used a few white chocolate chips as a frosting of sorts. Victoria prefers chocolate, so I used semi sweet chocolate chips for her. The kids loved the cakes, and I would definitely make these again. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=431093
The next recipe is for vegetarian fried rice. I LOVE fried rice, but what I don’t love is how much salt Chinese take out usually contains. Also, the closest Chinese restaurant is about 25 minutes from our house so we never get Chinese take out. If we eat fried rice in our house, it is because I bought a package at Trader Joe’s. Or at least that’s how it used to be…until I found this recipe that is. It is so simple to make this fried rice, I can’t believe it took me this long to do it. The best part was that I could control the salt, as well as all the other ingredients. I used brown rice instead of white, Bragg liquid aminos instead of soy sauce, and I added green beans and broccoli in addition to the peas and carrots. I also used a veggie chik’n substitute, and served this rice with veggie egg rolls. YUM! We all loved it, except for Ryan. I think he ate pasta that night…or any night I let him 🙂 Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/baked-sweet-and-sour-chicken-with-fried-rice/
The next recipe was for tomato pie. I have made dozens of tomato pies, but it’s been a really long time since I last made one. To be honest, we got sick of this dish. You know how it is…you find a new recipe that you really love, so it becomes a “go to” meal. Well that was tomato pie in our house, especially in the summer when I have tons of tomatoes in the garden. Dan and Victoria actually requested that I stop making tomato pie, so I did. It’s been a few years since we had it for a meal, so when I mentioned that I was making one, I got a few groans. Well that night at dinner, the groans changed into “Mmmmm’s,” as Dan and Victoria were reminded why this pie had been a staple in our house. It really is delicious. If you like tomatoes (or even if you don’t…Victoria isn’t a huge fan) you will love this pie. It is ridiculously simple to make too. I made one pie for the three of us, (of course Ryan wouldn’t try it), and there was only one piece left over after dinner. I am happy to report that the left over piece made a great breakfast for me the next morning. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/1302520-Summer_Tomato_Pie
The last two recipes, I made the same night for dinner…vegetarian meatloaves with roasted potatoes. I have made roasted potatoes a bunch of times, but I always look for different flavor variations. I’d never used this recipe before, so I decided to give it a shot. Additionally, I’ve made veggie meatloaf for years, but I always use soy crumbles. I have mentioned in numerous past posts, that I am trying to limit how much soy we eat. With that in mind, I decided to use this recipe as it calls for oatmeal and not soy. The mini meatloaves have great flavor, and the potatoes were a nice complimentary side dish. Dan, Victoria, and I really enjoyed this meal, and I will definitely use both recipes again. They made for a hearty and healthy meal. The vegetarian meatloaves recipe made quite a few mini loaves, so we were able to stretch the meal for two days. Here are the links to the recipes that I used: http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-vegetarian-meatloaf-part-2-the-redemption/comment-page-1/#comment-113249 and http://www.plainchicken.com/2010/04/easy-oven-roasted-potatoes.html
We have been really busy over the last few weeks. Victoria started archery which is scheduled every Friday night! I don’t know about you, but by Friday night I am toast. All I want on Friday night is a quick easy dinner, and then a relaxing evening with my family in our jammies. Well that is out the window for the foreseeable future. Happily, Victoria loves her archery sessions, and shows some natural talent with her bow. Ryan is considering archery as well, so I guess that means we are busy every Friday night.
Also last weekend, Victoria had her orchestra ensemble festival. She had a solo at 8 a.m., and a duet at 8:40. Well, she had to be there an hour early, and the venue was an hour from our house. I’ll patiently wait whilst you do the math. ☺ Yes, that meant, we had to be there by 7 a.m., so we had to leave the house by 6 a.m., so we had to get up at 5 A.M!!! Holy cow!!! 5 a.m. on a Saturday?!? Yep. Thankfully she got 1’s on her solo and on the duet, so it was totally worth the ungodly early wake up, and predawn ICY hour long drive.
Later that afternoon, we had my nephew Ian’s birthday party to attend, so it was a FULL day. By the time we got home we were all exhausted. The next day was Superbowl Sunday, and we just hung out at home. Over the next few weeks, we have even more events and activities scheduled. Despite all the hustle and bustle, I am certain I will still manage to test out a few new recipes. I look forward to being able to share them with you.