Monday, September 28, 2009

Smoked Cheddar, Turkey and Apple Monte Cristos

These are a tasty and quick weeknight meal. Makes 2 sandwiches.

4 slices good-quality white bread (you can use wheat, but nothing too 'grainy')
6 thin slices of honey-roasted deli turkey
4 slices smoked cheddar or Irish white cheddar
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 eggs
1/4 cup half-n-half or milk
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 Tbsp. butter
jalapeno jelly

Layer cheese, three slices of turkey, a slice or two of apple and another slice of cheese between 2 slices of bread. Cut off crusts and use a toothpick to secure the layers. (I use a giant round cookie cutter to do this). In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, half-n-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pre-heat a skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once butter melts, dip each sandwich in the egg mixture and add to skillet. Cook until heated through and browned on each side. Remove to plate and serve with jalapeno jelly.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roasted Zucchini

So simple, so easy, and yet it results in a side dish that is almost a dessert. Slow roasting veggies brings out their natural sweetness, so this is a great way to get your kiddos to eat their veggies.

3-4 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-circles
1 small yellow onion, sliced
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh-cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, then spread out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Turn oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes, or until all pieces are lightly browned. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

I love granola bars, but I hate that when you read the ingredients list on the package, there are about 12 different kinds of corn syrup, not to mention all of those preservatives. So, I've embarked on an adventure of making my own. I can sneak in all kinds of healthy grains, like wheat germ and flax, which gives additional fiber and adds omega-3, omega-6, folic acid, vitamin E and zinc. And with the addition of dried blueberries, you get all of those great anti-oxidants. I borrowed from a few different recipes, tweaked and adapted them to suit my family's tastes--hope you like them!

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax meal
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey**
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup dried "cherries and berries mix" (dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries and strawberries)
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 12-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of parchment on 2 sides.

Toss together oatmeal, pecans, wheat germ and flax meal on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Reduce oven temp. to 300 degrees.

While the oats mixture is toasting, combine butter, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for one minute, then pour over toasted oatmeal mixture. Add dried fruit to bowl and stir until combined. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then dump in chocolate chips and quickly toss. (Do not over stir or chocolate chips will completely melt and incorporate.)

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Wet your fingers and press mixture into the pan evenly. Bake 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then grasp parchment paper and pull granola out of pan, quickly placing on a flat surface to finish cooling. Let cool completely, 2-3 hours, before cutting into squares. Makes 12-16 bars.

**TIP: When measuring honey, syrup or other sticky liquids, spray the inside of your measuring cup with cooking spray first--the honey will slide right out!