Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baked Vegetable Rotini

I craved pasta like a mad woman this winter. Not only pasta, but any meal full of carbs and cheese…mmm. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had pizza every night for a week at one point. I have no regrets. I don't make pasta too often anymore, since Chris is still trying to be mostly gluten-free. I'm not giving up bread and butter any time soon, but I must admit it's better for me as well to limit my gluten intake. Thankfully, this recipe can easily be gluten-free *gasp*. That's right, I used corn pasta, and you know what? It was awesome. I haven't tried any other types of gluten-free pasta, because the corn just seems to work for us, and it's cheap at Trader Joe's. I was concerned how it would hold up in the oven (gummy pasta is disgusting), but it held up perfectly, just like regular pasta. Seriously, you can't tell the difference!

Anyhoo, there's actually not a ton of pasta in this dish, as there are a bunch of veggies to compensate. I sauteed mushrooms and zucchini, which I'm pretty sure is my favorite veggie combo (especially on pizza!). I also added garlic and oregano to the original recipe, to give it an extra kick of flavor. I'm so happy to have hearty pasta dishes like this back in my life, and am glad to have found this wonderful recipe! Bon appetit!

Baked Vegetable Rotini


Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces rotini (I used corn rotini to make it gluten-free…worked great!)
1 large jar marinara or pasta sauce of choice (about 24 ounces)
1 15-ounce container low fat ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Italian blend cheese


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta al dente and drain.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until softened and liquid has boiled off, about 7 minutes more. Add garlic and oregano, and cook for an additional minute or two. Remove from heat.

Add marinara, ricotta, salt, and pepper, and stir until evenly combined. Stir in the pasta until everything is evenly coated with the sauce.

Pour pasta mixture into baking dish. Top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes. If desired broil the last 3-5 minutes of baking to get a nice browned top.

Recipe Source: adapted from Oh My Veggies

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guinness Brownies

Happy St. Patty's Day!! I'm usually not one to make a big fuss over St. Patrick's day, but I was waiting to have an excuse to whip up something full of Guinness and chocolate. I originally had cupcakes in mind, but it's spring break and I wanted something easy (I don't think mother nature got the memo, it's definitely 30 degrees outside).

These brownies are very rich, chewy, super chocolatey, and have hints of Guinness to finish things out. They're truly decadent, and worthy of any St. Patrick's day celebration. Enjoy!

P.S. Looking to whip up something a little less sweet for the holiday? Try this Irish Brown Bread recipe!

Guinness Brownies


Cooking spray
1 cup flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup Irish stout beer (Guinness!!), room temperature and foam skimmed off
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Place oven rack in the center position. Preheat to 350F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in a small bowl.

Melt bittersweet chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Remove from heat.

Beat sugars and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add melted chocolate mixture and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, until just combined. Whisk in beer until batter is thin; fold in nuts. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs, 25-30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Recipe source: adapted from All Recipes

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oat Flour Pancakes

Dare I say I found my new favorite pancake recipe? Would you believe me if I told you they were gluten-free? Well, start believing. These pancakes are made with oat flour, and as a result, they have so much flavor! An added perk is that you don't feel too full or gross after eating them. The first time I made them, I immediately sent the recipe to my gluten-free friend Katelyn, and called to tell my mom about them. I know…totally geeking out over a stack of pancakes, but they were just that good! 

This was also the first time I used my food processor I got for Christmas to make my own flour. If you have one, it is SO much cheaper than buying oat flour from the store. I pulsed the oats for probably two minutes or so. It should work with a good blender, but I haven't tried it. My favorite version is in the photo above, where I topped mine with real maple syrup, sliced bananas, chia seeds, and candied pecans. Truly divine. Whether you're gluten-free or not, give these pancakes a shot!

Oat Flour Pancakes


1 3/4 cup freshly ground oat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Heat electric griddle to 375 degrees.

Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add all wet ingredients to a 2nd mixing bowl and whisk together. Add dry ingredient mix to wet ingredient mixing bowl and whisk until it just comes together. Let the batter sit for about five minutes.

Lightly spray hot griddle with cooking spray. I followed the original recipe exactly, even when it came to cooking time: 1 minute and 45 seconds on the first side and 2 minutes and 15 seconds on the second side. This may vary depending on your griddle.

Recipe source: adapted from The Food Prepper

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Arroz con Pollo

Saturday afternoons are my favorite. You still have one more day before the work/school week starts, and it's completely acceptable to stay in your sweats all day. It's also the perfect time to try out new recipes, especially ones like this that are a bit more involved than others. I'd been eyeing this recipe for over a year now, and was excited to have the opportunity to try it out. This was about a month ago…oops.

Nevertheless, I'm here now and am excited to share. For this recipe, I broke down a chicken for the first time, which was easier than I thought! I used this video to learn how to do it. If you like all the parts of the chicken, this is really the most economical way to do it. I've since decided that I really only care for dark meat, so I think I would just stick to legs and thighs next time. From start to finish, this took a few hours (including the time it takes to marinade the chicken), making it a perfect weekend kitchen project. We happily ate the leftovers for days! Enjoy!

Arroz con Pollo


for the marinade:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about one orange)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil

for the chicken and rice:
1 whole 4-4 1/2 pound chicken 
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 cups yellow onions (about 1 1/2 small onions or 1 large)
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1.5 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted is preferable)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups white rice, uncooked
1/2 cup green peas
1/3 cup pimento stuffed green olives, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.

Break down your chicken, and place in a large shallow dish (I used a deep 9x13 pan). Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour in the refrigerator.

Once chicken is done marinating, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat in a heavy 5 1/2 quart ovenproof pot. Once the oil is hot, brown chicken in batches on both sides, about 3 minutes per side (it will not be fully cooked, just browning it for now!). Remove chicken and set aside.

After all the chicken is browned, add the onions, diced green pepper and garlic to the hot oil. Saute veggies for about five minutes. Add cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and crushed saffron to the veggies and mix well. Add roasted cherry tomatoes and diced tomatoes and mix. Add the bay leaf.

Pour chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stirring well to combine.

Lay the chicken pieces in the pot, cover tightly with a lid and place in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. After baking, rice should have absorbed most of the liquid and be fluffy. The chicken pieces should be completely done.

Once cooked, stir in the peas and chopped olives. 

Recipe Source: adapted from Eat Live Run

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Puffy Apple Oven Pancake

Phew! What a month it's been. I've been so busy that I've neglected my poor little blog, but I'm back with this gorgeous pancake! When my sister and I graduated from high school, my mom bought each of us the cookbook we grew up with, the 1992 Betty Crocker Cookbook (I can't find it online, only making mine more special!). It's a classic, and without a doubt my most cherished cookbook, for obvious reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, school was cancelled for probably the 5th time (what a crazy winter we've been having), so I flipped through my cookbook and stumbled across this pancake. Instantly, I was reminded of my mom, and how she would make this pancake for breakfast. I had to have it! Conveniently, I had a few apples to use up, and about 40 minutes later I had an incredible breakfast, and ate over half of it by myself. I'm not sorry.

The apple variation was provided as an alternative. The original recipe omits the apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar, and instead suggests sprinkling powdered sugar on top as well as a squeeze of lemon juice. Sounds good to me! This was incredibly quick and easy to make, and the result is nothing short of decadent. What a lovely way to start the day.

Puffy Apple Oven Pancake


2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup thinly sliced peeled baking apple (about 1 medium)


Heat oven to 400F. Melt butter in a pie plate in the oven; brush butter up the sides of the pie plate. 

Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in flour, milk, and salt until just combined. Set aside.

Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the buttered pie plate. Arrange the apples over the sugar, then pour the batter over the apples. Bake 30-35 minutes. Immediately loosen edge of pancake and turn upside down onto heatproof serving plate.*

*It's okay if it doesn't come out perfectly, mine didn't and you can't even tell! Just piece it together, and you're good to go!

Recipe Source: adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook (1992 Ed.)
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