Browsing articles from "December, 2011"

New Year’s Appetizers – times two!

Sometimes I am the type of person who slaves for 3 hours over delicate mushroom filled pastry dough triangles . Annnd…sometimes I am the type of person who spends 20 minutes smearing cream cheese on canned crescent roll dough and calls it a day. These two sides of me often battle it out. The first side nags at me with her instance that everything must be made from scratch, artfully arranged, and taste like it came straight from the kitchen of Martha Stewart. The latter scoffs at this ridiculous notion that time and perfection equal taste and satisfaction. Usually, I can manage to broker some sort of compromise between the two, but not today. Today, on this New Year’s Eve Eve, the lazier (and more realistic) side won hands down- she even went so far as to buy dough in a can!


So what’s the bonus to taking the quick approach? More time to do laundry? Wash the dishes? Make New Year’s resolutions? Nope, nope, and nope. How about make more appetizers? Now that’s just my style. Actually, the second app didn’t take any extra time because I made it while the crescent rolls were baking. Multi-tasking and dough from a can…I must be channeling some sort of domestic goddess today.

Well, from one domestic goddess to another, I am here to tell you that you too can make not one, but two, impressive and delicious appetizers in a mere 20 minutes. And if that little voice in your head starts screeching about homemade dough and organic goat cheese infused with herbs, you can tell her I said to shut it! Sometimes simpler is better – especially on Friday.

TAW03624-1These mushroom cheese roll-ups are so simple that they take just four easy steps to make. Ready? Step one: sauté some mushrooms and onion. Opps…forgot to take pictures of this step, but you know what mushrooms in a pan look like.

Step two: mix together cheese, herbs and garlicTAW03586Step three: Spread cheese and mushrooms on the rolled out doughTAW93547

Step four: roll up, slice and bakeTAW03596-1

That’s it. Four steps to cheesy baked goodness. And while these little guys are in the oven you can make a creamy white bean dip that I swear tastes just as good as some other dips that shall remain nameless (artichokes and sour cream you know who you are) but with none of the fat and more of the fiber. The best part of this dip – it only take two steps to make. Ready, set, go!

Step one: Combine everything in the food processorTAW03600-1

Step two: scoop into a bowl and eat with crackers or bread. Or skip the bowl part and eat it right out of the food processor…who I am to judge? TAW03630

That’s it. Twenty minutes and two appetizers. Throw in some champagne and you’re ready to celebrate New Year’s in style! Best wishes for the last days of 2011 and I’ll be back in the new year with more recipes.

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Roasted Veggie Lasagna (Gluten-free)

Roasted Veggie Lasagna
I don’t know about you but after all the sugary treats I’ve been stuffing my face with the last few weeks, I really need a hearty dose of veggies in my life. Besides, I am about to indulge in the next snack-filled, champagne drenched holiday so I figured there was just enough time to squeeze a healthy meal in there. And let me tell you, this gluten-free, mega veggie filled lasagna fits the bill perfectly. Gluten-free lasagna? That’s right, I wasn’t messing around with this one. This is a full out health fest on your plate…oh, except for the cheese…lots of ohhy gooey cheese. What, how healthy did you expect me to go? Technically it is still the “holidays”. We’ll eat salad next week, I promise. For now though I am satisfied that I got in my veggies, even if they were covered in melted cheese.

Back to the gluten-free part though. If you’re like me the idea of a gluten-free noodle conjures up images of a gummy, mushy mess that tastes more like soggy socks than an actual noodle. Well, I am here to tell you that you (and I) are wrong. I found these wonderful brown rice noodles and used them in my lasagna exactly how I would have used the regular wheat based noodles. Guess what? They tasted exactly the same! Not only that, but the texture was the same and I swear If someone made this for me and didn’t tell me it was gluten free I would never know the difference.
Does this mean I am ready to go gluten-free? Ha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Let’s not get carried away now. I am far too much in love with bread to ever even consider this silly idea. But it was fun to experiment and I will definitely be using these noodles again.

Let’s get back to the veggies.  Here they are ready for roasting.

And here they are after roasting- yumm!

The cheesy mixture

All layered up

More cheese on top!

Out of the oven…

and with a glass of wine!

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Cranberry-Pear Mini Loaves

Cranberry-Pear Bread
This bread is amazing. In fact, this bread is so amazing that I guarantee two things will happen when you make it. First, you will consume an entire loaf… by yourself. Second, you will need to make another batch because you just consumed an entire loaf. My advice to you- make two batches from the start. Or better yet, make one batch of mini loaves to give away and one large loaf to devour nibble on yourself. Go ahead, it’s the holidays, you deserve it. TAW33525

All joking aside, eating a whole loaf of this bread really isn’t the end of the world. Why? Because it’s actually pretty healthy. The recipe is based on Cranberry-Nut Mini Loaves with Flax from Liv Life (remember the ones I dropped on the floor). It includes healthy ingredients such as ground flax seed and whole wheat flour. It also has a minimal amount of oil and very little sugar. While the original recipe was pretty tasty I’ve been inspired lately by recipes that combine cranberries and pears. When I saw a recipe for Pear Cranberry Walnut Bread from Tracy at Shutterbean I just knew I had to make something like it. In the end I made a sort of hybrid version of the two recipes, and if I do say so myself- it was delicious!

Cranberries and pears hanging out together

The cranberries get chopped

The pears get grated- messy, messy

Combine the dry ingredients. Fresh Nutmeg rules!

Wet ingredients in another bowl. Don’t forget the pear.

Wet and dry ingredients combine

Fold in the cranberries

Into the mini loaf pans and pop in the oven

Good enough to eat!Cranberry-Pear Bread

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