Friday, August 30, 2013
THE WHINE CRITICS
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce
- Wash and cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Place both halves in a microwavable baking dish with the cut side down.
- Fill the dish with about an inch of water.
- Cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes, until you can easily pierce the exterior with a fork.
- Using a fork, scrape the flesh into spaghetti-like strands.
- Cover each half with 1/2 cup cottage cheese, then 1/2 cup of marinara sauce, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Sprinkle each half with 1/2 tbsp of basil and oregano.
- Place squash on a baking sheet and cook under a broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.
Makes approximately 4 small side servings.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
My kids love having fruit snacks as a treat, but usually I avoid them because so many of them have no nutritional value whatsoever. I like that these fruit snacks are made with real fruit and vegetable juices, and that one pouch contains 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C...but the boys don't really care about that, they just like that they taste really good.
I tried making my own nutritious gummies once, and well...I think I'll just leave it up to the experts at Mott's from now on.
Visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page to enter to win three $500 gift cards until September 8th, 2013. That would sure come in handy with back-to-school shopping! While you're on the facebook page, grab a coupon for $0.50 off Mott's Fruitsations + Veggie Fruit Snacks (while quantities last).
Now, what else can we pack in lunches to go along with these yummy fruit snacks?
Over the summer I've been stockpiling my freezer with creative foods for lunches so I can grab them instead of resorting to making the same old sandwiches every day. It's not only great for the kids, but also for my husband who needs quick and healthy lunches to bring to work.
Here are some of the lunch foods that will be filling my freezer this year.
Macaroni, Cheese and Spinach Muffins by Emily Bites
It's portable mac and cheese! How great is that? Cole wasn't crazy about the spinach part, but Bennett gobbled them up.
Egg, Cheese and Broccoli Cups
Use one egg per cup (so if you're doing 12 then use 12 eggs), beat the eggs together with a little salt and pepper. Pour evenly into well-greased muffin tins. Add a spoonful of cooked broccoli florets to each cup and sprinkle the tops with a spoonful of shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.
They freeze well, and the boys didn't mind eating them cold or room temperature, so I think these will work fine for their lunches. I found them a little soggy when cold though, so I prefer them hot. You can heat them and store them in a thermos for lunch, or enjoy them as a quick hot breakfast before school.
Use whatever fillings you want, like ham and cheddar, chicken and spinach, or tomato sauce and mozzarella (Cole's favourite).
Try the Black Bean and Pepper Quesadillas pictured here, or make cheese and chicken quesadillas using deli chicken and shredded cheddar cheese. They're so easy!
Baked Chicken Nuggets with Quinoa
These nuggets are made with ground chicken and cooked quinoa for added nutrition. It's easy to make them into fun shapes your kids will love.
Zucchini and Yam Fritters
Veggie and cheese fritters make perfect finger food for busy kids on the move.
Healthy chickpea patties in fun waffle shapes would make a tasty lunch served in a mini pita pocket.
Fruity Granola Bars
This is my all-time favourite granola bar recipe and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. They're low in sugar, and they're nut-free.
Banana Blueberry Muffins
Muffins are always a good idea in lunch-boxes because they're portable and can be enjoyed as either a snack or the main event. I like pairing them with cheese and grapes for a satisfying lunch. I'm not sure why that is; maybe my mom used to do it. These banana, blueberry and oatmeal muffins are one of my favourites.
So what will you be packing in school lunches next month?
Disclosure – I am participating in the Mott’s Fruitsations & Veggie fruit snacks Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
This crockpot pudding cake fits the bill. I have a plethora of berries in my freezer from our family excursions to a local u-pick berry farm this summer, so I used some of them for this recipe. Blueberries and raspberries combined with a cinnamon vanilla cake topping makes a perfect summer treat.
Cole liked the pudding cake, especially with ice cream. Tony liked it a lot! He was the one who ate most of it and took it to work the next day too. Bennett, who usually loves everything, actually didn't like this. He said it was too sweet. A kid who doesn't like sweet things? What's that about? I'm not complaining though, it's a good thing...because it means more for me.
Crockpot Berry Pudding Cake
Adapted from Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lemon juice
- Grease bottom and sides of slow cooker. Add berries. Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and cornstarch, then pour over the berries. Stir them together.
- For cake topping, beat together butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.
- In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to butter mixture a third at a time, alternating with half the milk at a time. Use a spatula to scrape the batter over top of the berries and smooth the top.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice. Heat to boiling, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour over top of the batter.
- Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, until the batter has cooked through. Remove the insert and allow to cool for at least an hour.
If you liked this recipe, try out these other summer berry desserts from Life Made Delicious:
Hot Fudge Cherry Pudding Cake
Triple Berry Angel Shortcakes
Three Berry Cheesecake
Chocolate Berry Cheesecake
Blueberry Pudding Pie
Fresh Blueberry Cobbler
Speaking of Life Made Delicious, it's a big month for our friends at General Mills. Old El Paso has a new Facebook page; so check them out for exciting meal ideas.
You’ll also be seeing some back to school lunchbox essentials from Mott’s with great coupons to go along with them. I'll be posting more about this shortly, so stay tuned!
I am part of the Life Made Delicious Connector program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Kabobs are one of my favourite things to grill on the barbecue. They're simple to make, they taste delicious, and they look beautiful too. They're the perfect thing to serve when company comes over on a summer evening.
THE WHINE CRITICS
Again with the so-so gesture! This time Cole said it was because he liked the chicken and peppers and mushrooms but hated the onion. Bennett liked it all.
Pesto Chicken Kabobs
3 chicken breasts, cubed
3 tbsp pesto
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 small lemon
1 half of a red onion, cut into squares
1 orange bell pepper, cut into squares
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
- Combine pesto and lemon juice. Place chicken cubes in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours.
- Thread chicken and vegetables through skewers, then barbecue the kabobs over medium flame until chicken has cooked through, for about 15 minutes.
Makes approximately 6 kabobs.
Friday, August 2, 2013
Until recently, the barbecue has always been my husband's domain. He enjoyed sitting out on the deck with a beer, pretending to be hard at work at the grill, and I enjoyed fooling him into actually helping with dinner. Also, to be completely honest, I was a little scared of lighting the thing. Gas scares me.
This arrangement worked out alright for a while, but problem that I kept running into with Tony in charge of the barbecue is that I had to work around "Tony-time." Say, for example, he tells me he'll start the barbecue in 10 minutes. 10 minutes to Tony inevitably turns into 30 minutes, because he gets distracted by other tasks like working on his car or playing Scrabble on his iphone. This "Tony-time" phenomenon also applies to showers. A "quick" shower to Tony can often be around 45 minutes.
Anyway, one day when I was waiting around for Tony to start the grill, it dawned on me: why don't I just start it myself?? And so I did. Nothing blew up, and I managed to make a pretty tasty grilled dinner.
Now that I'm no longer intimidated by the barbecue, I've been getting a little more adventurous. I had been wanting to try grilling pizza for a long time, so I finally did it. I wasn't sure how raw pizza dough would behave on a hot grill. Wouldn't it stick? What kind of texture would it have? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It did not stick at all, and it was wonderfully crispy on the outside while staying soft and airy on the inside.
I started off with Pioneer Woman's recipe for pizza dough. It's easy, it's relatively quick, and it's delicious.
I took handfuls of dough and stretched them into something roughly resembling a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, I like them very imperfect.
I tested one on the grill...
I closed the lid for about 3 minutes to let the dough cook, then flipped it onto a plate...
I put toppings on the grilled side. This particular evening, I made a simple vegetarian pizza, with tomato sauce, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, red onions, and mozzarella cheese.
I placed it back on the barbecue and closed the lid to cook the underside of the pizza dough until it was crispy.
THE WHINE CRITICS
Cole seems to love to use this non-committal gesture lately. I asked him to explain to me why he didn't give it a thumbs up, and he pointed out the darkened part of the pizza crust and said, "That's why. It's this burnt part that I don't like." I would argue that it's more "charred" than "burnt" but I didn't think I'd win that argument with a 6 year-old.
Bennett gave it one thumb up, although he doesn't look completely happy about the meal in this photo. I think it was because I also served them grilled zucchini with pizza toppings and it didn't go over very well.
I admit, I didn't like it either. I think I may have cooked it on the grill for too long, so it was a little mushy, and I hate mushy zucchini. Actually, I don't even like properly cooked zucchini that much either, unless it's concealed by other flavours and textures. The pizza toppings didn't conceal it enough for me. But if you really like zucchini and you cook it better than I do, then grilled pizza zucchini may be a great idea to try. It's a nice low-carb alternative to pizza too.
What's the most interesting thing you've grilled on the barbecue?