Thursday, October 9, 2014

Marcy's Amazing Apple Crisp

It's fall. It's apple season. We eat a lot of apple desserts in addition to the ones we prepare and freeze. I've shared my streusel-topped pie recipe on this blog. Here's my super easy, super amazing apple crisp recipe for you. I adapted this from an old rhubarb crisp recipe. I LOVE the crunchy topping so I worked it out so it would have far too much on top of apples. I exaggerate; but it is pretty generous. It's a classic oatmeal crust mixture that you just can't mess up. It goes together quickly especially if you have an apple peeler. If you don't have one and still cut up apples by hand... get thee to a Runnings Farm and Fleet to buy an apple peeler post haste. (I use a clamp down one, not a suction cup. Personal preference.) With a peeler you can whip up any apple recipe in no time. Side note: my dog loves to eat the peels that cascade off the counter. Weird, I know. Try this apple crisp. You'll like it.

Marcy's Amazing Apple Crisp
6-8 apples, I use Bonanza but any good baker will do.
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. white sugar

1-1/4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1-1/4 c. brown sugar
1-1/4 c. white flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°F. Pee, core and cut apples. Arrange apples evenly in a square 9x9 baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Combine topping ingredients with the pastry blade of your stand mixer until it forms a crumbly coarse mixture. Layer on top of the apples. Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon. Bake 45 minutes. Serve warm with a caramel drizzle and whipped cream.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crockpot Corn Chowder

Crockpot again? Yes. Once school cranks up, the crockpot is my staple kitchen tool. I am lucky enough to live close to work and can run home at noon to start my crockpot for supper. (That's the evening meal.) I find a lot of recipes online and all recommend sauteing something first, then simmering in a pot on the stove. Well, I'm not keen on putting anything on the stovetop while I'm not home or dirtying too many extra dishes. I find the flavors work together just beautifully when cooked for sometime in the crockpot. We had finished up freezing corn a couple weeks ago and I wanted to try a corn soup recipe. I found a few starter ideas in an old church cookbook but none that would work for the crockpot or for my low-dairy household (lots of heavy cream!). So I took the basic ingredients and came up with this soup. We really liked it. I find that the best potatoes to use in soups are the tender yellow rose kind. They are red skinned with a buttery yellow flesh. Yum. Try the soup. It takes just a few minutes to throw together and a few minutes of finishing at mealtime. If you put in a loaf of french bread to bake (like the Pillsbury fresh dough kind) you'll have the soup finished in the time it takes to bake the bread. Enjoy!

Crockpot Corn Chowder
1 T. butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups diced ham (bacon would work too, if that's what you have on hand)
1 T. minced garlic
4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I used yellow rose potatoes and didn't peel them.)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
3 large carrots, shredded
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. chopped Italian parsley (dry is okay.)
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 c. milk*
1/2 c. sour cream*
2 T. flour mixed with 1/2 c. cold water
1 green onion, chopped

Melt the butter and pour into crockpot. Add onion, green pepper, chicken broth, ham, garlic, potatoes, corn, and 1 of the carrots. Salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne and 1 T. parsley.  Stir together, cover and cook on high for 4 hours. At meal time, stir in the remaining carrots, 1 T. parsley, milk, sour cream and flour mixture. Cook another 20-25 minutes to let the soup thicken. Serve hot with green onion for garnish and a bit of fresh cracked pepper to taste. Great with a warm, crusty bread.

* Note: I used 1 c. unsweetened almond milk and 1/2 c. soy sour cream.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crockpot Ratatouille Spaghetti

Ratatouille spaghetti. Is that a thing? Could it be? I think so. It's farmer's market season and the goodies of the garden are abundant. I found some beautiful eggplant, summer squash in yellow and green, peppers in red, green, yellow and purple, fresh garlic, tomatoes. Good Lord, it's a beautiful thing. I like all the ratatouille flavors but I have a pasta lover in my house so I know I can get her to eat anything if I serve it with pasta. Again I utilized the crockpot so I could have some hearty food ready for supper (that's the evening meal) on a weeknight. Lunch time I run home to let the dog out and often throw something together. (And cross the fingers all afternoon!) This was amazing and was so easy to make. I cut some corners with some leftover spaghetti sauce from another meal, but you could easily use some jar sauce and really make it in a flash. 

Ratatouille Spaghetti
3-4 Tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin 
1 medium sized eggplant, sliced thin
1 yellow squash, sliced thin
1 zucchini squash, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce/marinara/spaghetti sauce
1 pound box of pasta, spaghetti/angel hair/linguine

Drizzle the bottom of the crockpot with enough olive oil to coat it well. Layer onion, eggplant, squash, pepper in alternating layers until you've used up all the veggies you've cut up. Combine garlic and the tomato sauce. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of the veggies. Cover veggies with the tomato sauce. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4-5 hours. Prepare a pound of your favorite pasta according to directions on the box. Serve ratatouille over pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marcy's Amazing Crockpot Meatloaf

Okay. So you've seen a hundred crockpot meatloaf recipes on Pinterest. Which one to try? It's hard to decide. Have the pinners actually tried the recipe or did they just pin it to try later. My tip? Go with one that's easy. I created a recipe using inspiration from a lot of recipes and a few relatively successfull attempts of my own. I like making meatloaf in the crockpot so I don't have to worry about the grease spillover in my oven. Plus, it cooks while I'm gone at work and it's super easy. I make a big 3-pound meatloaf so we have leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches, and I use a big 6-quart oval crockpot. I've tried a few different dry ingredients from bread crumbs to oatmeal to graham crackers. All pretty good. My latest victory was with rye flakes. Yeah, totally. Rye flakes make for some really good breakfast cereal if you like oatmeal give it a whirl. I also use rye flakes in my granola recipes so I do have it on hand and its heartier flavor goes nicely with the beef. We all agreed it was one of the best meatloaf efforts in recent memory. 

Marcy's Amazing Crockpot Meatloaf
3 lbs. lean ground beef
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 c. rye flakes, crushed into small pieces
1 T. minced onion flakes
1 T. minced garlic (or 1 T. Garlic Garlic from Tastefully Simple)

1 c. ketchup
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. Worchestershire sauce

Place a wide strip of aluminum foil in your crockpot. This will work like a sling so you can easily lift out the meatloaf later. Combine the ground beef with the rye flakes, egg, milk, onion and garlic. Smash and smoosh with your hands to really get the ingredients well mixed. Shape into an oval loaf that is relatively even from center to edges. Make sure it doesn't touch the sides of your crockpot. Cover and cook on high for about 5 hours. I put mine in at noon and it's ready at 5pm. Right at the end, combine the topping mixture and spread on the meatloaf. Allow to cook about 10 minutes. Then using the foil sling, remove the loaf to a platter and allow to sit for a few minutes before you cut into it. That keeps the juicy goodness inside. Juicy meaty goodness.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Apple Pecan Coleslaw

I try to keep meals simple in the summer. I think I have mentioned before that I live in a really old house that is cooled with just two window air conditioners, one upstairs, one downstairs. So rather than heat up the house, we grill a lot. I mean a lot. And I made easy salads to go with the grilled goodies. And since we are FINALLY in farmer's market season, I am loving the fresh cabbage I've been buying! There's something about cabbage locally grown in the rich black dirt of southwestern Minnesota that was harvested mere hours before I buy it. Yum. We go through a lot of cabbage anyway, but this stuff is really good. So I have another COLESLAW recipe! This is an imitation of one I saw at the deli counter of the local grocery store. Rather than pay a premium price for it, I thought, "HEY! I can make that!" So using what I had on hand, I made up the recipe and it was a big hit. It makes a big batch, so it would make a perfect picnic or potluck salad for a crowd. If you follow my blog, you know I like Jimmy's Coleslaw Dressing, made right here in Minnesota and sold at my local grocery store. I used that here, but you could use any creamy style store bought or homemade coleslaw dressing that you like. In fact, Jimmy's makes a pineapple coleslaw dressing, if you used that that you could skip the last two ingredients.

Apple Pecan Coleslaw
1 small head of cabbage (roughly 6-7" diameter)
1 cup pecans
1 apple
1 cup coleslaw dressing
1 can of crushed pineapple drained*

Chop the cabbage and discard the thick, bitter parts. Put in a large bowl. Crush the pecans by putting them in a zipper lock freezer bag, seal the bag and press a rolling pin on the bag of nuts to break them up. Add to the cabbage. Chop the apple into small pieces. Add to the cabbage. Mix the dressing with the pineapple and pour over the cabbage. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the dressing to soften the cabbage and release a little liquid. At this point you'll know if you need a little more dressing or not.

*Note if you are making your own dressing, use the pineapple juice in the dressing for extra flavor!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Smoked Salmon Omelet

My daughter and I spent a splendid week in Grand Marais, Minnesota the last week of June. It was amazing. There's something special about Grand Marais in that it combines the northwoods with the seaside. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, but for all practical purposes it feels like the ocean minus the salt. The fresh fish is second to none. I argue that there isn't a better tasting fish and chips anywhere than the kind made with Lake Superior herring.  Yes, herring. Not pickled. Trust me. It's amazing deep fried AND smoked. Dockside Fish Market does it best. They have incredible fish and chips, made with the morning's catch as well as a great variety of soup and chowder. Each day is something different. My daughter wanted to eat soup there every day. So we did. Cheddar Vegetable with Smoked Salmon, Corn and Trout Chowder, I could go on. I hope to make some equally wonderful soups this winter but may have to get the smoked fish shipped from up north. Their brown sugar brine smoked bluefin herring, lake trout, whitefish and salmon are fabulous. But I am not here to sell you on the smoked fish, the soup, or the town, though I highly recommend a visit there if you have never been. We took in as much fish as we dared to eat and then brought home a good variety of smoked goodies to enjoy at home. We had lake trout and three kinds of salmon: coho, king, and sockeye. This recipe uses sockeye, but you could use your favorite smoked salmon and it would be great. It was a nice way to use the last little bit of salmon in a way that really let the flavor shine.

Smoked Salmon Omelet
Serves 1
1 t. olive oil
3 eggs 
splash of water 
1/2 tsp Redmond Real Salt's Organic Season Salt
1/4 c. smoked salmon, broken into small pieces and checked for bones
1/4 c. steamed broccoli
2 slices havarti cheese (muenster or provolone would substitute nicely)
1/4 tsp. dill weed

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Beat the eggs with just a splash of water and add season salt. When oil is just heated, add the eggs and let them set a little on the edges, which only takes a few seconds. Using a spatula, 'break' the center and 'scramble' the eggs gently so the uncooked egg can move beneath the ones that are beginning to set. When the edges are cooked and the center is still soft, add your toppings. I put toppings on the half closest to me, so when I slide the omelet on the plate, I use the pan edge to flip the 'empty' half on top of the 'full' half. I make omelets folded in half, they are a bit easier to make than rolled ones. Personal preference. sprinkle with a bit of dill and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kale and Sausage Soup

It's the season for fresh garden kale in Minnesota. Sure, you can buy it in the store year-round, but nothing beats the tenderness and mild flavor of kale grown in a Midwestern garden in June when the nights are still a bit cool and the bugs haven't ravaged the greens looking for moisture. August kale can be a little bitter so late June kale is ideal, in my opinion. July will do okay too, at least until it gets hot out. 
This week we had some unusually cool days. July 1st was downright cold. We had just spent a week in Grand Marais where the temps didn't break 70, at all. It's fine weather for the great soup options they have in town featuring locally caught Lake Superior fish. We had soup or chowder EVERY DAY and we loved it. I came home hungry for more soup so I was thrilled to have some soup weather! A friend shared some excess kale so I cooked up this tasty recipe with what I had on hand. It was great. My 9 year old devoured the leftovers for lunch and her afternoon snack. A winner in my book. Hope you enjoy it; it's so easy!
Kale and Sausage Soup
2 T. olive oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1lb. sausage, I used regular Jimmy Dean
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
4 cups kale, chopped
3/4 cup mini pasta like acini de pepe (frog eyes) or pastarina (stars)
2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney) drained 
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a 6 quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and sausage. Sauté until sausage is browned and onion is translucent. Add garlic and heat slightly. Add broth, water, and kale. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes. Add beans, stir in until just heated. Season with pepper and pepper flakes as desired. Serve with warm bread. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Curried Cranshew Coleslaw

I go in spurts and sputters cuisine-wise. I can go for a stretch and make lots of Tex-Mex style food. Then I'm all about salads. Talk to me in a week and I'm making soup 3 times a week. Right now I'm into curry. I made one of those Campbell's Slow Cooker sauces, Moroccan Spiced Stew with Green Olives and Lemon. WOW! It's made with chicken. I used chicken breast and served it over tri-colored couscous. I love crockpot cooking, especially in the summer. I live in a very old house and we cool it with a couple of window air conditioners. So a quick Moroccan Stew in the crock is easy summer eatin' AND it was a big hit with the family. I do need to develop a 'from-scratch' version of this stew, but in the meantime, it will do. The good part is that it got me started on curry-flavored foods. I make a quick and yummy coleslaw with cranberries and cashews that seemed just the right accompaniment for curry spice. And, boy, was it ever! I hope you'll give it a try. It takes the everyday coleslaw and knocks it into a whole different league. I'm drooling now, just writing about it. (And p.s. if you're in a real hurry, you could make this with the pre-shredded coleslaw mix in a bag! Super easier for those last minute picnics and potlucks!)

Curried Cranshew Coleslaw

1 small head of cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 cup roasted and unsalted cashews
1 T. curry powder
1/2 c. Jimmy's Cole Slaw Dressing (this is the best refrigerated dressing where I live)

Put the cabbage in a bowl, stir in the Craisins and cashews. Combine the slaw dressing with the curry powder and stir into the cabbage. Chill for a bit and serve. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

EAT This Sandwich

Okay, it's Easter Season... or should I say Egg season. And if you're like me, you've got a few hard boiled eggs to eat. I love hard boiled eggs. I'm just not that consistent with making them or making them well. I don't like the green edge and I admit I sometimes forget that I have them boiling on the stovetop and cook them too long. BUT... My last batch turned out great. I'll share that recipe in another blog post. It's from another blogger and it worked really well for perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs. So now I have eggs. I made deviled eggs (which I love) and egg salad sandwiches (which I also love!) But I was hungry for something different so I hatched a plan (hatched... get it?) on my way home for lunch the other day. It combines some of my favorite things loaded on super fresh oat bread; it was a-maz-ing. I call it "EAT This Sandwich." You've heard of a BLT? This is an EAT. (Egg, Avocado, Turkey). Hope you like it!

EAT This (Egg, Avocado, Turkey) Sandwich
4 slices of wholesome oatmeal bread or other sandwich bread
1 avocado
12 slices of smoked turkey, thin cut from the deli (I like DeLusso)
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Horsey Sauce 
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Salad dressing
3 T yellow mustard
3 T horseradish, do not drain

Cut the avocado in half. Spoon the flesh out and put in a bowl. Smash it with a fork and add a little salt and pepper. Combine the horsey sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the plain mayo on two of the slices of bread. Cut the egg with an egg slicer and arrange slices from one egg on each slice of bread. Layer 6 slices of turkey on top of each sandwich. Spread some horsey sauce on the turkey. Spread the remaining bare slices of bread with the smashed avocado. Layer the sandwich and EAT this sandwich!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spinach Meatballs with Cabbage and Tomato Sauce

This recipe was developed in my effort to reduce the amount of refined flour products we eat. My husband is watching his carb intake and, honestly, we all just love cabbage, so it was a natural fit. I grew up on foods like cabbage rolls, meat and rice cooked inside of a cabbage leaf and simmered in tomato sauce. It was a hit. I searched for some meatball recipes that I could bake in the oven. I don't like pan frying them. I found a good recipe on from Alton Brown, but I didn't have the three types of meat, or the bread crumbs, so I took a shot at my own modifications. Worked for us! I hope you enjoy them. Seriously try this with the cabbage instead of spaghetti noodles. You'll be surprised. And for an easy way to add chopped spinach: buy a bag of spinach leaves and put it all in a zipper freezer bag. When it's frozen just squeeze the bag to break up the leaves, stems and all. You can scoop out a cup of spinach already chopped. It's so easy to add spinach to almost anything if you keep some on hand frozen this way.

Spinach Meatballs
3# ground beef, thawed or fresh
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup spinach leaves chopped into small pieces
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. crushed graham crackers (yes!)

Heat oven to 400°F. Combine all the ingredients with your hands until well blended. Prepare two cookie sheets by covering with foil and spraying the foil with some pan spray. Using a spring scoop (size 20) form meatballs and arrange 12 each on a pan. Bake about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and carefully add to a crock pot with 1/2 cup beef broth. Heat on low for 3-4 hours.** At mealtime, warm your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce and add 2 T. minced garlic, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. oregano. Heat. In a large skillet, melt 4 T. of butter and add 1 small head of cabbage cut into ribbons. Saute cabbage until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, layer cabbage on plate, place meatballs on top and ladle a bit of sauce on the top. Delish.

** to skip the crockpot part, just bake the meatballs 30-35 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Marcy's Korean Beef Tacos

I really made this dish by accident. I had a coupon for the Campbell's Crockpot simmer sauces and thought I'd give it a try. We have a few beef roasts left in the freezer that I need to use before we get another order split quarter of beef. Crockpot meals are such a great lifesaver for weekdays. I'm not organized enough to be a hard-core meal planner with 5 days of crockpot meals in the freezer by Sunday night. But I do like to be able to throw something in the crock before work and have dinner ready when I walk in the door at night. We enjoyed the Korean BBQ the first night just served over rice with some steamed broccoli and pineapple chunks. The leftovers were another question. The package suggested tacos with cabbage. I had lunch at my mother-in-law's (their famous walleye!) and she served one of those complete salad mixes. It was an ah-ha moment. The salad was the perfect thing to put on the Korean BBQ beef instead of just plain cabbage. My taco concept was complete. This is so easy and so good. I hope you enjoy.

Marcy's Korean Beef Tacos
1 pouch of Campbell's Korean BBQ crockpot sauce
3-4 lb. beef roast
1 pouch of Marketside Pantry Asian Chopped Salad  (from the Walmart produce department)

Put the roast, frozen is okay, into the crock. Cover with the sauce. Cook on high for 8 hours. When you get home, drain some of the juice so there is only about 1-1/2 cups left. Then tear the beef with two forks and stir into the sauce. Turn to warm while you prepare the salad. Warm your flour tortillas, fill with some salad, top with strips of beef, spoon a bit of the au jus on top, and fold. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chicky Chickpea Curry

At a meeting over lunch one day last week I saw a friend enjoying a curry dish. I recognized it as a curry I've eaten before. Chickpeas and green peas. I don't have an Indian restaurant where I live. Our local Chinese restaurant serves a few really lovely Thai curries. And the ethnic food store makes some fabulous stewed chicken and curried goat. Great stuff. But I thought I can surely make chickpea curry at home. We like curry and I am not sure why I don't make it more often. Cauliflower curry is one of my top five favorite dishes. I am not sure of the name of proper name of the authentic chickpea curry, or where the dish originates. So I did some curry research online and in my own cookbooks. I got some ideas. I didn't have coconut milk in the pantry, so I eliminated that as an option. I also wanted to include chicken, to give it an extra protein punch. We are omnivores in my house, I confess. So I took my research as inspiration and started cooking. Here's the recipe I came up with. It must have been pretty good as my husband asked for the leftovers to take to work for lunch. That's got to be a first. The item that takes a bit of guess work is the final amount of water/broth. You don't want it to be as thick as mashed potatoes, and you don't want it runny like a soup. Somewhere in between is just right. I figured about 4-5 cups, but start on the low side and add as needed. I hope you enjoy. I know I'll be stocking up on chickpeas so we can make this more often. 

Chicky Chickpea Curry
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
4 c. water
2 tsp. of granular chicken bouillon
6 large russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large onion sliced thin
2 T. butter or ghee
2 T. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne (or more to taste)
1 T. minced garlic (or one clove)
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained
2 cups frozen peas 
1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves
Jasmine rice
Boil the chicken breasts in water with bouillon until done. Do not drain. Add potatoes and cook until done, about 20 minutes. While the potatoes cook, heat the butter in a saute pan. Saute onions until very soft, but not brown. Add garlic, ginger, spices ans stir to coat onions. With a hand masher, smash the potatoes a little. Not completely, just enough to blend the potatoes in a bit with the water. It should be chunky. Add spiced onions to the pot with chicken and potatoes. Reduce heat to low. Add chickpeas and peas. Heat on low until peas are done, about 15-20 minutes. This is just enough time to cook the rice: We like jasmine rice. 2 cup water to 1 cup rice boiled in a covered pot with 1 T. of chicken bouillon and 2 T. parsley.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Caramel Pull-Aparts

Super easy breakfast. Put it together in 10 minutes the night before. Pop it in the oven in the morning. Voila! Fresh caramel roll taste without all the work. That sounds pretty good to me. Now, I don't know if everyone is on to this recipe where I live, but I can have a hard time finding the cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding. Instant pudding, easy to find, every flavor from pumpkin spice to white chocolate. But if you need the non-instant kind. The choices are limited to vanilla and custard at times. So if I can find the cook kind of butterscotch pudding I buy a couple for the pantry. You must use this cook variety or the caramel sauce won't thicken properly. Once you've got that pudding, and a Bundt pan, you are golden. And the caramel sauce this recipe makes up is rich and yummy. This is so easy it's almost embarrassing. Almost. I just love how easy these are and my family loves how delicious they are. I do too. 

Caramel Pull-Aparts
1/2 bag frozen dinner rolls, Rhodes (I use 18 rolls)
1 pkg cook and serve butterscotch pudding, not instant
2 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. pecans (Optional)

Night before: Spray Bundt pan with pan spray. Put frozen rolls in the pan, distributed evenly. Sprinkle with the dry pudding, cinnamon, sugar and nuts (if using nuts). Melt the butter, pour over the frozen rolls. Cover with wax paper sprayed with a bit of pan spray. Let the rolls rise overnight on the counter. 
In the morning: preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes then invert on a plate and serve warm. (Don't let cool longer than 10 minutes or the rolls will stick to the Bundt pan.)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blueberry Pecan Granola

Blueberry Pecan Granola ©Marcy Olson
Well, now that I've enjoyed the holidays and stuffed myself with sweets and fancy foods, it's time to get back on track. Not really a New Year's resolution, just reality. The holiday season is great—runs from about Thanksgiving to New Year's and at our house we also celebrate a birthday and Christmases with two families between those bookends. Now most of the celebrations are centered on food whether that means snacks, baked goods, or meals, we are sharing the table with friends and family. It's great. Here in Minnesota the days are short, the weather is cold (really cold this year!) Cooking, baking and preparing meals are the perfect way to warm the house and the heart and not get too discouraged by the long, dark nights. It also helps us spend time together as a family. We did a great deal of baking and cooking over the holidays. My last post was one for a super easy holiday cookie. We also made sugar cookies, gingerbread men, caramel corn, and spiced nuts. I'll be sharing all these recipes on the blog in the days and weeks ahead. 

Today I am sharing my original granola recipe. We like granola in the winter. It is hearty and delicious. It's great to eat with milk or by the handful. It is pretty calorie dense so keep mindful of the serving size. Or be sure you have a big day of activity planned... like snowshoeing which we enjoy here on the prairie. We get on a granola kick after the holiday season ends. I bought my husband a certain Minnesota made CRanberry APple granOLA a few Christmases ago, but it was expensive to buy regularly so I searched and searched for a good granola recipe.  I found a few that came close, but they just weren't right. So I ended up taking those attempts and experimenting with my own recipe. I started with the cranberry apple variety so I could get the flavor down that we wanted. Once I got the grains to the perfect crunchiness and sweetness, I created some variations based on what I had on hand. This one came from the combination of dried blueberries and chopped pecans. We LOVE it. I hope you love it too.

Blueberry Pecan Granola 
3 c. rolled oats (Quaker old fashioned oats)
2 c. rolled rye flakes
1-1/2 c. puffed rice cereal (see note below) 
1 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. honey roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 c. ground flax
4 oz. dried wild blueberries (wild berries are smaller than 'domestic' berries)
1/4 c. safflower oil
1/2 c. orange blossom honey (or your own favorite)
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup (use real maple, not flavored corn syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine GRANOLA ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine and bring the GLAZE ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over granola. Stir and spread coated granola on 2 bakers half sheets (13"x18"). With the oven racks placed in the middle of the oven, bake the granola for 10 minutes. Stir the granola and switch the pans top to bottom and vice versa. Bake 10 minutes more. Stir and scrape the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Do this until completely cool. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy with cold or warm milk. 

Note: I use a combination of puffed and crispy rice cereal that is called "Rice Twice" cereal, but it's hard to find so feel free to substitute puffed rice and Rice Krispies OR just add another cup and half of oats and rye flakes

© Marcy Olson