Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hummus Flatbread Pizzas

This is a Rachel Ray recipe that I found and tried, with great results. Brad and I LOVE these pizzas and they are so quick to throw together for an easy dinner. Aiden isn't a fan, but I keep a jar of pizza sauce in the fridge and a package of pepperonis and just make him his own pizza. This recipe makes 6 pizzas--I usually cut it down and make 3 pizzas for Brad and I to share and 1 for Aiden. Would also make a great appetizer for a party.


6 (6-inch) pitas or flatbread rounds
1/2 pint container store bought plain hummus
1/2 cup prepared olive tapenade
3 cups shredded provolone or mozzarella or Italian mix cheese
6 anchovies, chopped, (I leave these out)
3 whole roasted red peppers, drained, chopped (I buy these in a jar from the olive/pickle aisle of the grocery store)
1 can artichoke hearts in water, 6 hearts, drained well and chopped
1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini, chopped (you can also use banana pepper rings)
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the pitas on baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray. In a bowl combine the hummus and the olive tapanade. Spread the hummus on pitas and top with cheese, like pizza. Combine the chopped anchovies, peppers, artichokes, and pepperoncini. Cover the pizzas with the chopped mixture. Bake 10 to 12 minutes to melt cheese and crisp the pitas. Cut pizzas into wedges and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Greek Chicken Wraps

This is an Angela original creation. I had leftover flatbread from making Hummus Pizzas (see below), so I threw these together tonight for dinner. Very tasty and healthy, too! I've written the recipe to make 4 wraps--they are big, so plan on 1-2 wraps per person. Serve with pita chips and hummus or fries to make a meal.


3 Tbsp olive oil
4 pitas or flatbread rounds
1 pound boneless chicken breast tenderloins
Cavender's Greek seasoning (available on spice aisle in most grocery stores/Walmart)

1/2 cucumber, sliced into fourths lengthwise, then chopped
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
handful of pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
2-3 Tbsp. bottled Greek dressing
1/4 cup feta cheese

Preheat a skillet to medium heat with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season chicken tenderloins on both sides with Cavender's seasoning. Add chicken to pan and cook until lightly brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Cover with lid and turn off heat under pan, and allow chicken to sit and finish cooking through while you assemble the filling. Just before serving, remove to cutting board and coarsely chop chicken into bite-sized chunks.

In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, tomato, onion, kalamatas and romaine. Add Greek dressing and toss until well-coated.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-low heat. add flatbreads, one at a time, to skillet until warm on both sides. Remove from heat and fold into a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

To assemble: place a scoop of chicken on top of warmed flatbread. Top with veggies and sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsp. of feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pecan-crusted French Toast with Vanilla Syrup

Very decadent and rich, this makes for a fantastic brunch. This recipe will feed 3 or 4 people--the slices are large and the french toast is pretty rich, so plan on 1-2 slices per person, especially if serving with bacon/sausage and fruit to round out the meal.


6 slices Texas Toast-style bread or day-old French Bread, sliced into 1" thick slices
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup half-n-half or cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for serving

Preheat oven to lowest setting and place an empty cookie sheet in oven.

Mix together pecans, bread crumbs, and brown sugar in a wide, flat dish (I use a square baking dish), spreading indredients into a thin layer across the bottom of the dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-n-half and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Pour into a wide flat dish large enough to accomodate a slice of bread (I usually use a glass pie dish).

Preheat griddle and grease with 1 Tbsp. of butter. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, allowing to soak 5-10 seconds before flipping over. Lift out bread and place on top of crumb mixture; press lightly, then flip over. Using your hands, sprinkle more crumbs over the surface of the bread to ensure that it is evenly coated, then brush off excess. Repeat for all 6 slices.

Place coated bread slices onto hot griddle, allowing to cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until pecans just begin to turn brown (watch carefully--don't let the pecans burn!). Flip and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Keep french toast warm in oven until ready to serve (this also allows egg mixture to continue to set up in the bread, preventing soggy french toast).

In a glass measuring cup or bowl, warm maple syrup for approx. 30-60 seconds in microwave or until very warm. Stir in remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Serve hot french toast slices with butter and vanilla syrup.

Overnight Oatmeal

Recently, I've begun making this for breakfast Sunday mornings--I can throw the ingredients into the slow cooker the night before and just turn it to low before I go to bed, and when we wake up, we have a healthy breakfast ready to eat. Steel cut oats are much more effective at removing cholesterol from your bloodstream, they are a great source of fiber, and they have a nutty taste and texture when prepared well.


1 cup steel cut or Irish Oats
2 1/2 cups water
scant 1/2 cup of half-n-half
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup dried blueberries (you can also try dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Using a small 2 quart slow-cooker (available at Walmart for about $10), stir together all ingredients. Set cooker to low and allow to cook for 8 to 9 hours. (I usually prep this after dinner and put the crock in the refrigerator until bedtime--then I just pop it in the base and turn it on before bed).

In the morning, serve with additional brown sugar or maple syrup, if desired.

Banana Nut Pancakes

I made these just this morning--YUM! They are made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal and pecans, which gives them an added protein and fiber boost and makes them a healthier alternative to traditional pancakes. Serve with warm, real maple syrup or butter-pecan flavored syrup.


1 - 2 tblspn Canola oil, for griddle (cooking pan)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk (lactose intolerant? substitute soy milk)
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter (or vegetable/canola oil, if avoiding dairy)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined and make a well in the center. In another medium bowl, whisk all the milk, the bananas, eggs, and butter until well combined. Pour into the well and stir until all large lumps have disappeared; there can be a few little lumps remaining. Stir in the pecans. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to lowest temperature setting and place an empty cookie sheet in the oven. Using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, pour the batter onto the preheated and oiled griddle. Cook until the edges of the pancake appear dry and the underside is golden brown, about 3 minutes. NOTE: This pancake batter behaves differently from others--bubbles don't appear in the top when done, which is usually how you know the pancake is ready to turn. Check the edges and use a thin spatula to peek at the underside.

Flip the pancakes and cook until the other side is golden, about 2 minutes. Keep warm in the oven while preparing the rest of the pancakes. If the batter thickens too much upon standing, thin with additional milk.