Monday, September 29, 2014

Whole Grain Buckwheat Pancakes

I love breakfast.  Love it!  But when you're trying to go dairy- and gluten-free, breakfast can be hard.  Well, hard if you're like me and love carbs for breakfast.  Pancakes weren't something I ate every morning but when they were gone, they were missed.  In the few months that I've been eating this way I've tried a few pancake recipes;  and they were okay.  When I found this recipe I really didn't have high expectations.  And when I saw the batter, my expectations dropped even lower.  (Seriously, it looks like mud.  And don't the pancakes look more like hamburger patties from a distance?)  But I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite.  So happy I decided to try these!

Ingredients:
1 cup whole grain buckwheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 egg, separated
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. melted ghee
coconut oil for cooking

1.  In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon).  Whisk and set aside.
2.  In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, egg yolk, maple syrup, vanilla, and ghee.  Whisk well to combine.  Add this to the dry ingredients and stir well until just combined.
3.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form.  Fold this into the batter gently.
4.  Coat griddle at medium heat with coconut oil.  Pour batter onto griddle, forming 4" cakes.  Cook until bubbles form on top and the edges are no longer shiny.  Then flip and cook on the other side until done.

Serve with maple syrup.  Like, the real stuff!

Makes 8 four-inch pancakes

Source:  mountainmamacooks.com (very slighly adapted)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Are you holding up an umbrella?

I got so many inspirational messages in last night's General Women's Meeting from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I especially loved the addresses of Sister Marriott and President Uchtdorf.  One thing he said stuck with me, and with many others I'm sure since a graphic depicting the message had already begun circulating only an hour or two after the talk.

President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we imagine that Heavenly Father has this store of blessings locked away with Him and that He will only send them down to us when we have done a list of certain things.  But President Uchtdorf said this is not true.  He said that Heavenly Father is constantly raining down blessings upon us but that we often block these blessings, not recognizing them, because of our own actions.

Image Credit:  lds.org

This made me think of a few things.  First of all, it made me realize that Heavenly Father is indeed always trying and wanting to bless me.  He loves me.  Not just as one of billions of His children, but that He loves me uniquely and individually and really is interested in my happiness.  He knows my name and everything else about me.  He knows me better than I know myself and knows what blessings I need, not just the ones I may ask for.

Secondly, it made me think of all the blessings that I do receive but take for granted.  In a video presentation during the same meeting I noticed a woman walking to her front door.  Her door was made of just plywood, unpainted and unadorned.  This scene pierced my heart because I thought of how often I have complained about my house being too small, not pretty enough, etc.  I was humbled.  I need to be content with the blessings Heavenly Father has already granted me.

Lastly, I began to think of what I am doing to block the blessings my Heavenly Father is so earnestly trying to give me.  How is fear stopping me?  What doubts are blocking the blessings?  What sins are acting as an umbrella?  These are deep questions and ones that I need to ponder for a long time to figure out.  Deep questions require deep thought and meditation.  Once the answers are unearthed, deep commitment is then required.  This will be a long process for me, I am sure.

Are you holding up an umbrella?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Pasta Salad



This is just a simple pasta salad that I thought I would try out from SAVING DINNER (see below for link).  I really like the subtitle on this cookbook: "The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table."  Well that is a mouthful, isn't it!  So far, I have really like the recipes in the book and they are all pretty healthy.  This will be supper tonight.  Well, I also brought some to work for lunch so I will be getting a double dose! 





Ingredients:

1 pound ziti pasta
1 T. olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cups chopped zucchini
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chopped fresh tomato
1 cup fresh corn, or 1 cup frozen, thawed (I re-hydrated 1 cup of freeze dried corn--always trying      to rotate my food storage, you know!)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (more if you want spicier)
1 cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (I didn't have any so I used the Romano Asiago blend from   a jar)
Salt and Pepper to taste 

1.  Prepare pasta; drain and set aside.

2.  In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add red onion and zucchini and cook until the onion is golden, stirring frequently.

3.  Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato, corn, red pepper flakes, milk, and Romano cheese.

4.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the vegetables are hot.  Add the pasta and mix thoroughly.

5.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


NOTE:  There was no mention in the original recipe on whether this is served warm or cold--by trial and error I have found that this is a dish best served HOT.  Trust me on that.



SOURCE:  "Saving Dinner", Leanne Ely.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw


A little sweet, a little creamy and a little tangy (with a little kick for good measure).

Ingredients:

1 large cabbage, cut into thirds and core removed
2 large peeled carrots
1/2 medium sweet onion
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. spicy brown mustard
2 T. dijon mustard
2 t. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. salt

Directions:

1.  Cut two of the cabbage thirds, onion and carrots into large chunks and place in a 12 cup food processor.  (Note:  If you do not have a food processor you can shred the cabbage and carrots by hand.  It will take longer but taste just as good!)

2.  Pulse in food processor until carrots and cabbage are both chopped into small pieces.

3.  Chop remaining cabbage into larger pieces.  Blend all cabbage together in a large bowl.

4.  Whisk together mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, sugar, peppers, and salt in small bowl until smooth.  Add more or less cayenne to taste.

5.  Pour dressing over cabbage mixture.

6.  Mix well until all cabbage is well coated.  Refrigerate at least one hour to let flavors blend.

Source:  www.livingwellspendingless.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mediterranean Inspired Orzo Salad

 So, in April I went to Utah to surprise my sister for her 30th Birthday. Her husband then surprised us all by taking us by limousine to The Roof Restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. They had a salad there that was made with Israeli couscous and was full of Mediterranean flavors. I was determined to re-create it at home. I searched high and low for Israeli couscous, but when I turned up empty handed, I decided to just use orzo past, which I love.
It is a simple pasta salad using my Greek Style Vinaigrette.


Ingredients: 
1 C. orzo pasta
1/3 C. pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped (about 10 olives)
1/3 C. crumbled feta cheese
1-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
Salt and Pepper if needed 

Directions:
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. 
Chop Kalamata olives
Chop dill

Place orzo in a bowl, add olives, feta cheese, dill and dressing. Toss to coat. Adjust dressing or S&P according to taste. 

You could easily add whatever other ingredients you want. Chopped spinach, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts would be great additions. 
And, if you are lucky enough, you could try it with Israeli couscous. 


 




Monday, September 15, 2014

Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

This is a great sauce and it's full of healthy fat and flavor.  I served it with some cubed, cooked chicken and rice vermicelli noodles (since I'm avoiding wheat).  But you could serve it with any noodle you wish and have it as a main dish or as a pasta side dish.

Ingredients:
1 ripe medium or large avocado (pitted and scooped out of the skin)
1/2 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

(Begin cooking your pasta before you start the sauce.  By the time it's al dente, your sauce will be all ready to go!)

In a food processor blend the garlic, the juice from the half lemon, and the olive oil.   Add the avocado, basil, and salt.  Process until smooth.  If too thick, add water a couple of Tbsp. at a time through the feed chute until it reaches the consistency you want.

Garnish your pasta and sauce with zest from the lemon half and with extra chopped basil if desired.  You may also want to add some salt and pepper.

Mine was pretty thick even after about a third cup of water added, but once it was mixed in with the pasta it was perfect!

Source:  greatist.com

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tin Foil Dinner



This is easy to make several of (I usually make enough for 5 zip lock bags), and cooks up really fast for when you are in a pinch!

All you need is:

Hamburger
Veggies of choice (I use Zucchini, Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, and Green Beans)
Ketchup
Mustard
Salt
Pepper

Precook the veggies until soft then mix them in with the raw hamburger and add ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper to your liking.  Once combined put it into your frying pan to shape it to fit, then slide into a 1 gallon zip lock bag and lay flat to freeze (as you can see in the picture above it is still frozen but fits nicely in my pan).  When you need it just take it out, pop it in the frying pan you measured it in. Cover and cook until the hamburger is cooked through.  The reason I have not given amounts is you can make it more meaty or veggie depending on your preference.  We usually serve it with a big salad.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Freezer Meal: Cafe Rio Chicken





A little confession.  I know the food is good at Cafe Rio.  I ate there once or twice on a trip to southern Utah a few years back.  But I don't go ballistic nuts over it.  Just sayin'.  Maybe because I have had so much authentic Mexican food that I never feel like I have been deprived, you know? (Not sure if this is a copycat recipe or what, but my source is noted at the end of this post). This was really tasty.  I used it in a salad, but there was plenty left over to do burritos or fajitas, tacos...OMGoodness, this would be amazing in Sopa de Pollo!

Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz.  zesty Italian dressing
1/2 T. minced garlic
1 packet ranch dressing mix, combined with 1/2 cup water
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 T. ground cumin

1.  Place all ingredients in a zippered freezer bag (gallon size). Close bag and smoosh all the ingredients together.  Place bag in freezer until ready to use.

2. Take out of freezer one hour prior to prep time--this is also a slow cooker recipe--OR run room temperature water over the bag for about 30 seconds.  Then, empty ingredients into a slow cooker.

3.  Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.  Remove from slow cooker and shred with forks.



NOTE:  Great in tacos, salads, burritos, etc.

TIPS:  You might want to put this in two quart-size bags, depending on the size of your slow cooker.  What I have found with these recipes is that however you place them in the freezer is the shape and size you are going to have of your frozen meal.  Hopefully, that fits in your cooker.  Mine barely did on this.  But I tried a different recipe the other day (yuck!!) that I laid out flat to freeze and it wouldn't fit my smaller cooker and even with my larger oval one I had to chop away at the corners of the food to get them down in order to get the lid on securely.  Good things to know before you start.

Source:  Chef In Training.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells


This is a recipe you can make and freeze and cook at a later time.  These were yummy but I think I would cover them with foil when baking and/or add some sauce to make them juicier.

Ingredients:

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
water for boiling pasta
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese + 1/4 c. for topping
3 T. prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 c. shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package, cook pasta shells only until al dente.  The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.  Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 c. of cheese for the topping.  Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c. of cheese over filled shells.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

To make ahead/freezer meals:

1.  Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven and freezer proof baking dish.  Top with remaining 1/4 c. of cheese over filled shells.  Cover and freeze.

2.  When ready to prepare, defrost, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese is melted.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Law of the Fast


Today is Fast Sunday!  I know what that means to me.  But, what does it mean to you?

According to LDS.org, "To fast is to go without food and drink voluntarily for a certain period of time. Fasting combined with sincere prayer can strengthen us spiritually, bring us closer to God, and help us prepare ourselves and others to receive His blessings."

In the April 2001 General Conference, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared his insight into fasting and prayer.  His words follow:

"In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members are encouraged to fast whenever their faith needs special fortification and to fast regularly once each month on fast day.  On that day, we go without eating or drinking for two consecutive meals, commune with our Heavenly Father, and contribute a fast offering to help the poor.  The offering should be at least equal to the value of the food that would have been eaten.  Typically, the first Sunday of each month is designated as fast Sunday.  On that day, members who are physically able are encouraged to fast, pray, bear witness to the truthfulness of the gospel, and pay a generous fast offering.  “The law of the fast,” taught Elder Milton R. Hunter, “is probably as old as the human family. … In ancient times, prophet-leaders repeatedly gave to church members the commandment to observe the law of fasting and praying.”    
 
We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer.  Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry.  If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father.  Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.  It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit.  It can strengthen us against times of temptation."
 
Fasting is not simply going hungry for two meals because it is a commandment, or because we have to fast; we fast to help others and to help ourselves.  By giving money or resources to the church instead of spending the money on food for ourselves, we are able to help the church to help those in need.  By fasting, we are better able to maintain control and power over our bodies, which so often are weaker than the mind and spirit.  By fasting and prayer, we are able to more fully and readily feel the Spirit, receive revelation and answers to specific prayers, and acquire a greater relationship with our Heavenly Father. 
 
For more information on fasting, please see LDS.org and visit the full General Conference talk by Elder Wirthlin here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/04/the-law-of-the-fast?lang=eng&query=fast
 
Sources LDS.org for definition and General Conference talk

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas


I know that there have been a few different versions of enchiladas posted on the Mormon Mavens blog, but this is my version and it is also one of my favorite freezer meals. I usually make 3 or 4 pans at a time and freeze a couple.
This recipe is a take on my mom's enchiladas that I LOVED eating as a kid. I simplified the recipe to make it fit my lifestyle more. I do not cook the sauce and I do not combine the sauce and the chicken like my mom does.

Also note-almost everything in this recipe is APPROXIMATIONS. I know that is horrible for a food blog, but, I have never used a measuring cup or spoon when I make this. Just tweak it to your liking!

2 Chicken breasts cooked and chopped (I broil mine sprinkled with garlic salt, cumin, chili powder, lime juice and oil.)
2-3 Cups shredded cheese (mont jack, colby jack, mexican blend, whatever you prefer.)Flour tortillas-soft taco size

Sauce:
Saute  in a pan til soft, 1 onion-chopped and one garlic clove minced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 to 2 C. sour cream
1/2 to 1 C. salsa
1 can diced green chilies
1/4 to 1/2 C. green salsa (I only add this if I have it on hand)
A couple or a few shakes of hot sauce
A few shakes of chili powder
A few shakes of cumin
Just mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a big bowl.
Lay out a 9x13in. pan, your tortillas, your chopped chicken, your sauce and your cheese . You can add the shredded cheese to the sauce (reserving a bit to sprinkle over the top) if you want to skip a step.
Put a blob of sauce in the bottom of your pan and spread around. Then get to filling and rolling your tortillas. NOTE: Make sure you do NOT use all your sauce on the inside of the tortillas, you want some left to spread over the top of all the rolled enchiladas.
Sprinkle a small handful of chicken in the middle of the tortilla, put a blob of sauce on there and a sprinkle of cheese, then roll up. Place in the pan, seam side down. Continue this step until your pan is full (I can normally get about 10 in there) I squeeze them in there.
Place the rest of the sauce on the top of the enchiladas and spread around, making sure to get all the tortillas covered. Then sprinkle a little more cheese on top. You can cover and freeze them like this or you can just bake them right away.
Cover with foil and bake for about 20-30 mins in a 350 degree oven. Remove the foil and bake another 10 mins or so, til the edges are bubbly.

If you freeze them, just cook them at about 350, covered, for a couple hours until the center is warm and the edges are bubbly.

Serve with Rice, beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, chopped olives, and whatever else you like.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Itty Bitty Pancake Muffins

It's time for us to share some freezer meals on Mormon Mavens in the Kitchen!  I mean, it's back-to-school season and we are all pressed for time with all the added stresses that entails.  So how about we take the next couple o' weeks and share some of our favorite freezer-friendly recipes with you?


I chose to share a breakfast freezer recipe.   Pancakes?  Well, not exactly.  These are pancakes disguised as muffins!  Make a big batch ahead of time, cool, freeze, and take them out the night before to thaw.   Serve with warmed maple syrup and you've got a great breakfast treat without having to get up early!


Itty Bitty Pancake Muffins
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
blueberries or chocolate chips, optional
warmed maple syrup for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients and whisk well to combine.
2.  Combine milk and vinegar and allow to sit for one minute.  Then whisk in the eggs and the vanilla.  
3.  Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and mix by hand until just combined.  Then added the melted butter adn stir to combine.  (Add more milk if batter is too thick, more flour if it is too runny.)
4.  Spray a mini-muffin tin with baking spray and fill cups only 2/3 full.  Then top with 3 blueberries or a few chocolate chips (I use maxi chips, so I only need 3 chips).
5.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Tops don't really brown much, but the sides do.  Let them sit in the pan for a minute or two and then take them out of the pan.  I use a plain ol' cereal spoon for this.  I run it around the edge and then the muffin scoops out easily!

To freeze, just let them cool completely and then place them into a freezer bag in one layer, flat.  Seal the bag almost all the way and then use a drinking straw to suck out as much air as you can.  Seal, date, and freeze.  Use within a few weeks to avoid freezer burn.

Source:  very slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman