3709freezer-breakfast-burritos-with-sausage-eggs-and-salsa-verde https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/freezer-breakfast-burritos-with-sausage-eggs-and-salsa-verde/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/03/IMG_7451-600x486.jpg They say the secret to having it all is believing you already do. If this is true, it must be why I feel most content when I have a well stocked freezer, full of things that are deliciously on hand and ready to heat. Yes, I love cooking, but I don’t love having to cook every night. Plus, I really like having something to look forward to. Nothing gives me greater joy that knowing I have something that I’ll be happy to eat banked away in the freezer. As we continue to chill through frozen food month, add some joy to your own freezer with these Freezer Breakfast Burritos with Sausage, Eggs and Salsa Verde. Stash these homemade delights among your frozen food and you’ll have something to look forward to for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Much better for you and less expensive than the store-bought variety, you can fill them as you like, then freeze for a time-saving, money-saving win.  You can buy tortillas that fit your style: low cal, low carb, gluten-free, high fiber, veggie, keto etc. Buy any size you like, but for best rolling look for ones that are at least 8 inches and avoid the street taco variety. You can make all of the burrito components in one large non-stick skillet, but you will cook each separately, so you’ll need several bowls to transfer the ingredients into as you cook them. Season each component as you go, so that every element  has lots of flavor.  Soy chorizo has been getting a lot of buzz, so I tried using Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, a spicy crumble that has quite the fan following. Because It’s plant-based it has a longer fridge life, but know that it requires cooking. Unlike pork chorizo, the casing is not edible, so you’ll need to squeeze it out of the plastic tubing. Cook it in a pan for about 5-7 minutes, until it has a browned, crispy texture and reaches a safe to eat temperature of 165º Fahrenheit.  Using thin-skinned Yukon Gold potatoes lets you skip peeling. I wanted to be sure they browned nicely and softened just right, so I used a lid when I started them in the pan, letting them cook mostly undisturbed. Cook the eggs until they are just gently set. They will cook further when you reheat your burritos and you don’t want them to be dry.  When you’re ready to roll, use a half sheet pan as your work surface. If the ingredients happen to spill out as you are rolling, this will help contain them so that you don’t waste. Warming your tortilla for 10 seconds in the microwave will make it easier to roll. Don’t worry about folding the sides in, just rolling them is fine, but do be careful not to overfull. For some added zip, shake in a little hot sauce. (A burrito-loving friend likes to use his leftover Taco Bell sauce packets for this.) Wrap tightly, freeze well, and reheat for a quick, easy and delicious meal. Serve with all the extras, like sour cream, guacamole, or fresh salsa.  Try something new. Take joy in what you have. Make some burritos and save a bundle. Freezer Breakfast Burritos with Sausage, Eggs and Salsa Verde makes 8 burritos Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up as it cooks, until cooked evenly. Transfer to a bowl. Add potatoes to remaining fat in skillet; cook until tender and browned in spots, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring when needed. Add diced peppers and onions and continue to cook until softened, a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl. Add butter to skillet. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Once butter has melted, add eggs and cook, stirring to scramble. Cook until set, but not completely dry. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.  Warm one tortilla in microwave for 10 seconds on high setting. Place tortilla on a clean surface, then add about 1/8 of sausage, 1/8 of potato filling, 1/8 of cheddar cheese, and 1/8 of eggs. Top with salsa verde, about 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on the size of tortillas. Roll into a tight burrito, then roll burrito in foil, folding each end in tightly to seal. Repeat with remaining tortillas.   Transfer foil-wrapped burritos to a large, freezer-safe resealable plastic bag, then freeze. Store in freezer up to 3 months.  To reheat: Unwrap burrito from foil and microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve with extra salsa verde, if desired. Option: place reheated burrito in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and crisp 2 to 3 minutes per side for a toasty quesadilla-style burrito. 


3704steak-and-stout-pie https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/steak-and-stout-pie/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/03/IMG_7423-600x550.jpg Shamrocks and shillelaghs, it’s the wearing of the green! Everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, especially when it comes to celebrating. Make something feast- worthy with this spectacular Steak and Stout Pie. It’s cozy, company fare for sure, but you don’t need a special occasion to make this impressive dish. It’s easy enough that you can make it tonight. The steak and vegetable filling is meaty and delicious, but what really makes this a showstopper is the impressive crust. Using a 9-inch springform pan lets you bake up a genuine pub-style pie. Made from hot water pastry that’s sturdy, crisp and buttery, it holds up to perfectly to the heaviness of the meat and potato filling. The dough is simple to make and easy to work with. It rolls out easily and is very forgiving. Weights are included with this recipe so you can weigh out your butter, flour and water, which ensures accuracy and really speeds things along. But if you don't have a food scale, measuring with cups works just fine. If you are making this ahead, you can make the stew one day, and make the crust and assemble the pie the next. Brisket is soft, tender and juicy, but you can use other cuts like chuck roast, short ribs, or try-tip roast. You can also use pre-cut stew meat if you like. Served with a green salad (for something green) and the warmed gravy alongside, it will disappear just as fast as you can slice it. Move over corned beef, we've got pie. Steak and Stout Pie filling: pastry: For the filling: Preheat your oven to 325º F and heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add oil to pan, season beef well with salt and pepper and dust with 2 tablespoons of flour. Sear the beef in two or three batches, until browned on each side, about 8 minutes total; remove meat to a dish once seared.  Add butter to pan and turn heat down to medium. Add carrots, celery, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly brown. Add garlic and cook an additional minute or two. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, bay leaves and beef. Scatter with remaining 2 tablespoons flour and stir well to combine. Add stout, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits. Add beef stock and potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beef is tender.  Transfer beef and vegetables to a bowl, leaving the braising liquid in the pan. Place pan over high heat. Bring braising liquid to a boil and reduce by about half. Keep warm over low heat, or if prepping in advance, transfer to a container and place in fridge up to 2 days, or freezer up to 3 months. Season beef and veg with more salt and pepper if needed, then set aside to cool completely. For the pastry: Meanwhile, make the pastry by combining butter and water in a large saucepan, Bring to a boil and melt the butter, Remove from heat and add flour and salt. Stir to bring together; turn out on a lightly floured surface. When cool enough to handle, knead the dough until very smooth and little elastic, just a few minutes. Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.  When ready to bake, set a rack to bottom position and preheat oven to 400º F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. On a lightly floured surface, divide pastry in two portions, 2/3 and 1/3 size. Roll the large piece out to 1/4-inch thick and transfer to the springform pan, lining the bottom and up the sides. Fill with the cooled beef and veg. Roll out remaining pastry and drape over filling, crimping and sealing edges with a fork or by pinching with your fingers. Beat egg and milk together and brush over the top of the pie. Cut a vent into the center of the pastry and place on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 350º F and continue to bake until pastry is golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow pie to cool 10 minutes before unfolding, slicing, and serving with the reduced braising liquid as gravy.

-recipe by Mary Berg 

3700classic-italian-meatballs https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/classic-italian-meatballs/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/03/IMG_7398-e1677999563469-600x389.jpg Celebrate National Meatball Day this March 9th with easy, oven-baked Classic Italian Meatballs. Seasoned to perfection and ready to serve in just 30 minutes, homemade meatballs are always a crowd pleaser. Baked just right, they're melt-in-your-mouth incredibly tender and juicy. There is nothing complicated here, just simple old-school meatballs. Rolled Grandma-style, so they are larger size than usual, pair them with spaghetti for a meal that will bring everyone to the table.  The hands down, all star, best meatballs I ever ate were made by Mrs. Deniro senior, the matriarch of our next door neighbor’s family. They were absolute perfection. Light as a feather, perfectly seasoned and amptly sized, they were everything a meatball should be. I ate one, and then another. I ate two more, and when I finally got the chance I sidled up to her and asked her what her secret was. She leaned over and said a single word, “cheese.” I pressed her further and she disclosed a bit more. “Use more cheese than you think, and less breadcrumbs.” I have been trying to replicate those meatballs for years and these are the closest I’ve come.  A few tips to get you rolling. First, use fresh (not previously frozen) ground beef. It will give you the best results. You can add in a half ratio of pork, sausage, or veal if you like, or just use ground beef as is in the recipe. If you want those meatballs tender and juicy, use beef that is 80-85% lean. For authentic, restaurant-style meatballs, you need fat. A lot of it will cook off and you can transfer your meatballs to paper towels to drain them when they’re done.  If you are using panko, or don’t have Italian breadcrumbs, you can make your own. Season one cup of plain breadcrumbs with 1/2 teaspoon of each: salt, dried parsley flakes, ground black pepper, and garlic powder, then add 1/4 teaspoon of each: onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil. Make these gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko, or you can use 1/2 cup of almond flour. Reduce the milk to 1/2 cup for any of the gluten-free options, and feel free to use an alternative milk if needed.  Don’t overmix. Too much handling equals tough meatballs. Break the ground beef up into small chunks as you add it to the mixing bowl. You can then use your hands to quickly combine all of the ingredients. Use a large cookie scoop to quickly portion and get the basic shape, again, with a lot less handling. Don’t compress more than necessary when you roll, as pressing too tight will lead to dense meatballs. Finally, don’t overcook. Remove from oven as soon as they register 165º F in the middle with an instant-read thermometer.  My very best meatball tip: before you roll the whole bowl, portion out a single meatball and cook it fully in the microwave. Give it a try and see if anything needs adjusting. If it’s as delicious as it should be, get rolling! Tuck some of those meatballs into the freezer for a quick meal anytime you don’t feel like cooking. Let meatballs cool completely, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer container or bag. Use for spaghetti, sandwiches, or pizza topping. Serve them up in a skillet with some pasta sauce, topped with some melted provolone or mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Add some crusty bread for dunking, and a green salad and you’re done.  For vegan meatballs and more meatball recipes, go to blogs.columbian.com/home-made.  Classic Italian Meatballs Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine Italian bread crumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl. Stir together, then set aside while preparing other ingredients, allowing to sit at least 10 minutes. Add onion, garlic, egg, salt, black pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley to the breadcrumb mixture and stir together. Add ground beef and mix with clean hands. Do not overmix. Portion onto prepared baking sheet using a cookie or ice cream scoop. Using wet hands, roll meatballs into 2-inch diameter balls, pressing just enough to gently mold them into shape.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165º F. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.   Air fryer:  Place meatballs in a single layer in air fryer basket. Cook for 10-12 minutes at 400º F or until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F.  Simmer: Bring marinara or other pasta sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F.   3694chicken-cordon-bleu https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chicken-cordon-bleu/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/02/IMG_7378-e1677399473519-600x481.jpg Elegant, and oh-so-delicious, Chicken Cordon Bleu is a classic dish that stands the test of time. Crispy breadcrumb-crusted boneless, skinless chicken breasts wrapped around thinly sliced ham and melted cheese, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to make this special dish.  For Traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu, pound the chicken breasts so that they are thin enough to roll. After you stuff them with the ham and cheese, dredge them and then pan fry until golden. Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu has all the flavor and all the crunch, but it’s baked, instead of fried. You can skip the pounding and just cut a pocket into the chicken breast, then stuff it with cheese rolled inside the ham. You can also skip the dredging by coating with a Dijon-mayonnaise mixture and sprinkling with pre-toasted breadcrumbs. I tried making both recipes, and while I love the classic, the easy prep is so speedy  you can make it on a weeknight.  Pie plates work well for the dredging station components. Use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs if you would like to make this gluten-free. The Shallot-Dijon Cream sauce is easy to make and it's delicious. A little goes a long way, but you can use any that you have left to serve over vegetables, fish, potatoes, or meat. Try one, or try both. Freeze a few, and you can toss them in the oven for an easy, yet impressive dinner that never goes out of style. Chicken Cordon Bleu Shallot-Dijon Cream Sauce Place one butterflied chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet or wooden rolling pin to about 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken. Working with one flattened piece of chicken at a time, position chicken with the long side facing you and season with salt. Lay a slice of ham on top of chicken, then top with a slice of cheese. Roll up tightly into a long log, secure with a toothpick and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken, ham and cheese. Season each log with salt.  Prepare a dredging station. In a wide, shallow dish, add the flour and season with salt. In a second dish, add the egg and water mixture and whisk together. In a third dish, combine the breadcrumbs with thyme, garlic and onion powders, and 1 teaspoon salt. Working with one chicken breast roll at a time, dip into flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into egg, then transfer to breadcrumbs, pressing crumbs down to ensure they adhere to chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.  Preheat oven to 350º F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and let melt. Working in batches, if necessary to prevent crowding, add the chicken to the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Bake until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165º F, about 6 to 8 minutes. For sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine and reduce for 1 minute. Add cream and mustard and whisk to combine. Squeeze lemon juice over sauce, season with salt and pepper and cook, whisking continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in chives. Set aside and keep warm. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove the toothpicks. Slice the chicken crosswise into 5 rounds and arrange in a single layer on a plate. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken. Spoon sauce on top of and around the chicken. Repeat plating with the remaining chicken and sauce. 

-Geoffrey Zakarian

  Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread breadcrumbs on a foil-lined baking sheet and season with thyme, garlic and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper; spray with oil. Bake for 3 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven.  Cut a pocket into the long side of each chicken breast. Roll 1 slice of cheese into thirds, then roll up inside 1 slice of ham. Place ham and cheese roll into pocket, then repeat, so that each chicken breast has 2 rolls; close pocket and seal with 1 or 2 toothpicks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Mix mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl. Spread onto top and sides of chicken (not underside). Move breadcrumbs to sides of baking sheet, then place chicken in center. Spoon crumbs over chicken, pressing onto sides. Spray with oil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked throughout, and a thermometer inserted in center measures 165º F. Remove toothpicks. Serve with Sahllot-Dijon Cream Sauce. 

-adapted from recipetineats.com 

3687oven-roasted-frozen-broccoli-and-15-minute-miracle-minestrone https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/oven-roasted-frozen-broccoli-and-15-minute-miracle-minestrone/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/02/IMG_7365-600x324.jpg March is National Frozen Food Month and it’s a great time to stock up and save money. Peruse the frozen food aisle and be sure to take advantage of the sales and specials many stores will be having. Frozen fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest picks at the grocery store, and because they are harvested at the peak of freshness, they can often be even more nutritious than fresh-stored ones. Keeping some on hand is a speedy and convenient way to make it easy to enjoy a healthy diet.  According to nutritionists, the 9 best frozen vegetables to keep stocked are edamame, spinach (buy the bag, not the box, so you can pour out only what you need), asparagus, butternut squash, kale, zucchini noodles, broccoli, artichokes, and mixed vegetables. Using any of these will add a nutritional boost to whatever it is you happen to be making, and having a well-planned stash of them ensures you can always make dinner in a pinch. Best of all, there is no prep, cleaning, or cutting, so they’re lightning fast to use. And there’s no hurry to use them, like there is with fresh ones. Most frozen fruits and vegetables keep for 6 months or longer and many can last up to a year.  Don't forget about cauliflower, the frozen veggie that can do it all. Roast and season, and you can use it to stuff tacos. Simmer it in milk and purée to make a creamy sauce for rice or pasta, deep fake mashed potatoes, or a light, creamy soup. A handful of frozen cauliflower will thicken your smoothie, adding fiber and creaminess, without adding any sugar or dairy. You can also stir-fry, turn it into fritters, add it to pasta, bake it into a low-carb casserole, or use it to lighten your mac and cheese. (You should definitely keep cauliflower in your freezer.) Look for a frozen entree or two that you can keep on hand for dinners in a pinch, being mindful of whatever nutritional considerations you may have. Stock up on frozen pizza when you find a sale. You can add additional toppings like veggies, crumbled sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pineapple, or jalapeños for considerably less than delivery or restaurant prices.  One of my favorite frozen dinners is Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken. I follow the package directions to brown the chicken, then I toss in the veggie packet that’s provided along with about 3 or 4 cups of frozen Normandy Vegetable mix to bolster it. I use a lid to help the veggies  steam and keep them vibrant. Once they’re cooked, I add the sauce packet and sometimes I will also add about 2 cups of raw shrimp. Stir well, put the lid back on, and let everything simmer away until the shrimp are just right. Add the peanuts, serve over rice, and dinner is done!  Here are two ways you can use some of those frozen finds. Oven-Roasted Frozen Broccoli is a delicious change from the microwave variety. Start by preheating the baking sheet, then cook the broccoli at high heat to ensure it roasts instead of steams. Add a sprinkling of Parmesan for a boost of flavor, then give it a brief stint under the broiler to ensure a bonus level of caramelization. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. If you have a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and some canned, or shelf-stable, tomato soup, you can transform them into 15-Minute Miracle Minestrone. Add the pasta from a box of mac and cheese (save the cheese for sprinkling over popcorn) and a drained can of cannellini beans, and in under 12 minutes, you’ve got dinner. Soothing and satisfying, this amply feeds 6 to 8. You can keep it vegan and enjoy as is, or add meatballs, cooked sausage, rotisserie chicken or steak bites.  Oven-Roasted Frozen Broccoli Arrange one rack in the middle of the oven and one rack in the highest position; place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven, then heat to 450º F. Add broccoli to a large bowl and season with olive oil, salt and a few grinds of black pepper; toss to coat.  Remove hot baking sheet from oven, add broccoli and spread it into an even layer. Roast on middle rack until broccoli is tender and beginning to brown at edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven. Switch oven to broil. Scatter Parmesan evenly over broccoli. Return to oven and broil on upper rack until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Squeeze juice from one lemon half over broccoli and toss to combine. Cut other lemon half into wedges and serve alongside broccoli. 


15-Minute Miracle Minestrone Combine tomato soup, water, vegetables, and shells in a large soup pot; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in drained cannellini beans. Serve with slices of crusty bread. 

-Busy Philipps

3684bananas-foster-pancakes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/bananas-foster-pancakes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/02/IMG_7318-556x600.jpg   Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras Day is a chance to indulge - the last hurrah - before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, when Christians fast and obstain from meat. Besides all the parties and parades, there’s another Mardi Gras tradition that you may not know about: eating pancakes. This centuries-long practice dates back to 600 A.D., when Pope St. Gregory prohibited Christians from eating all forms of meat and animal products, including dairy, during the 40 days of Lent. Eager to use up their supplies, Christians made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to make use of their butter, milk, and eggs before Ash Wednesday. Why just have pancakes when you can have Bananas Foster Pancakes? Jazz up your celebration and add some Big Easy flair with this riff on the popular dish. Made from bananas cooked in butter, brown sugar and rum, Bananas Foster is prepared tableside, dramatically flambéed, and then served over ice cream. Created at Brennan’s by Paul Blangé and Ella Brennan in 1951, it was named for Richard Foster, who was Paul’s friend, and a civil leader in New Orleans at the time. Bananas Foster remains Brennan’s top-selling dessert, and has become one of New Orleans' most famous treats. Because the banana topping is so decadent, I kept the pancakes a bit healthier with Healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes. Made from oat flour for added fiber, and yogurt for added protein, they are fluffy, moist and delicious. To save time, feel free to use a boxed pancake mix or you can substitute any pancake recipe that you like. To make this dairy-free, use any kind of dairy-free milk or yogurt. Good pancakes require a hot griddle, and butter browns too quickly, so use a fat with a higher smoke point, like canola oil, shortening, or coconut oil for greasing your griddle.  Bananas that are barely ripe or underripe are best, so that they don’t get mushy when they’re cooked. The Caramelized Bananas and Bananas Foster Sauce contains a bit of rum, but you can make these without alcohol. Just use a teaspoon of rum extract to keep the flavor. If you have high-quality vanilla extract, use it here. It has a more complex flavor profile, and because there are so few ingredients, it will noticeably enhance the others. The pancakes can be stored airtight for up to two days in the refrigerator, but the sauce is best served on the day you make it. There is something about the commingling of bananas, butter, brown sugar and rum that is just divine. It has an aroma all it’s own and dare I say, it’s the signature scent of New Orleans. Just one whiff and it brings back memories of every great meal I have had in that great city. Whip up some Bananas Foster Pancakes in your kitchen this Tuesday and let the good times roll. Healthy Greek Yogurt Pancakes Combine oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk together. Combine Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl; whisk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk to combine. If batter is too thick, add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until an oatmeal-like consistency is reached. Let batter rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Grease hot griddle or skillet with oil, then scoop 1/4 cup portions of pancake batter onto the heated surface. Cook until bubbles start to form, sides become set, and the bottom of pancake is golden brown. Flip and cook other side until golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack placed inside a baking sheet and hold in a 200º F oven. 

-adapted from joyfoodsunshine.com 

Caramelized Bananas and Bananas Foster Sauce Melt butter In a medium skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, rum, and cinnamon, stirring well until sugar dissolves. Let cook for several minutes until mixture is thick and bubbling. Stir in vanilla extract and banana slices, tossing gently to coat bananas in sauce. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes; remove from heat. Spoon bananas and sauce over pancakes and serve.

-adapted from cheneetoday.com

3667chicken-stir-fry-with-thai-peanut-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chicken-stir-fry-with-thai-peanut-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/02/IMG_7288-e1675570459739-600x483.jpg Valentine’s Day calls for a special dinner and since it falls on a weeknight, something quick, easy and fun is in order. Cozy in with a take-out meal that captures all the fanfare. Make it at home and you can save a bundle. Celebrate this sweet day with Chicken Stir-Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce. Loaded with colorful veggies and chunks of juicy chicken, the deliciously creamy peanut sauce is just the right amount of sweet, and only as spicy as you want it to be. Follow this up with something chocolate for dessert, served with fresh raspberries for a pop of color, and you’re all set.  Stir-fry’s are a fast, healthy option for busy weeknights. Using frozen veggies saves time and money, letting you stock up while frozen foods are on sale. You can also use fresh vegetables, but adjust accordingly to allow for extra cooking time. Peanut butter adds budget-friendly protein, and you can use chicken thighs to save even further. The addictively delicious sauce is made from mostly pantry ingredients, so if you have peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and peanuts on hand, you have most of what you need. This recipe makes a generous 6 servings, enough to feed all your sweethearts, or if your household is smaller, you’ll have some nice leftovers. This recipe comes together very quickly, so have everything prepped ahead of time, starting with the peanut sauce. The ingredients will whisk together much easier after they sit a bit. Just give them a preliminary quick mix with a fork, then thoroughly whisk right before you add them at the end. Get some small bowls ready so that you can keep your stir-fry ingredients separated as you prep them. Slice the onion and mushrooms, then mince the garlic and ginger. Give the cilantro a rough chop and do the same with the peanuts, then dice the chicken, so that it’s the last thing on the cutting board. Doing so helps prevent cross contamination with the raw meat. Wash the cutting board and your knife with hot soapy water, then put your board into the dishwasher, if possible. Thoroughly wash anything else that may have come into contact with the raw meat or its juices, including your hands.  I used avocado oil in place of the olive, but you could use peanut, grapeseed, or canola oil if you like. Wanting to keep this a little less spicy, I only used 2 tablespoons of the curry paste and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper flakes. I recommend adding less of these two ingredients and adding more, if needed, after tasting. You can do the same with the sugar. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons, then add more if you want it sweeter. You can also make this with beef, pork or shrimp, or use tofu and make it vegan. Swap honey for the brown sugar, or use maple syrup. Serve over brown rice, or try it over noodles or quinoa. Enjoy with someone you love and have a happy Valentine’s Day. Chicken Stir-Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce Combine peanut butter, water, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, fish sauce, curry paste, rice vinegar, ginger, and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large wok or deep skillet set over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt; sauté, stirring occasionally, until juices run clear and chicken is fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Add mushrooms and sauté 2 minutes. Add vegetables and sauté, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender, about 6 to 8 minutes, depending on veggies selected. Return chicken to pan. Add reserved peanut sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Toss to coat evenly and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in peanuts and cilantro. Serve stir-fry with prepared brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat spaghetti. Garnish with additional chopped peanuts and cilantro, as desired.


3662buffalo-chicken-dip-and-vegan-lentil-chili https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/buffalo-chicken-dip-and-vegan-lentil-chili/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/01/IMG_7277-e1674957802344-600x402.jpg Football’s biggest party is just around the corner. Be ready for all the Super Bowl action with some winning food that’s guaranteed to please all your fans. Here are two ideas for easy game day food that you can make at home.  Tackle one dip and spice up your game day lineup with this Buffalo Chicken Dip. Filled with hot wing flavor, this riff on the fan favorite is sure to score a win. It’s hot, spicy buffalo chicken but in creamy, cheesy, dippable form.  Remove your cream cheese from the refrigerator ahead of time, and let it warm up for about 20-30 minutes, so that it softens. If you are short on time, give yourself a break and use rotisserie chicken. Reduce the hot sauce by half to make a milder dip, or add more hot sauce if you want to make it spicier. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, leave it out. You can also make this in a 1-quart baking dish. Prepare ingredients as directed in a pan on the stove, transfer to your baking dish, then top with cheese and bake. Serve with the traditional carrots and celery, and add red bell pepper sticks and cucumber slices to sneak in some extra veggies.  This Vegan Lentil Chili is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Thick, chunky, and satisfying, even meat lovers will enjoy it. Hearty lentils and meaty mushrooms are a healthy swap that mimics the texture of ground beef. Use your food processor to quickly dice your onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and make quick work out of all the chopping. Pulse until your vegetables are chopped, but use care not to overprocess the bell pepper or it will become watery.  I like using tomato sauce for this chili, but you can use diced tomatoes if you prefer the chunks. Rather than using a can of lentils, I decided to use dried. I prepared one cup of dried lentils and used 2 cups of the cooked lentils for this recipe, a little more than what would have been in the can. It left me with enough to freeze, so that I can make a quick soup or use them in another recipe. I used a heaping teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base to add extra flavor, but you could omit it if you don’t have this on hand. Serve it in bowls and enjoy the chili as is, or let everyone use it to top nachos, baked potatoes, tater tots, or fries.  Buffalo Chicken Dip Preheat oven to 375º F with oven rack placed in middle of oven. In an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, or other ovenproof pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic to butter and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and hot sauce and simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, stir in cream cheese, and mix until combined. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and top with shredded cheese. Bake 10 minutes, until cheese has melted and bubbling around edges. Place under broiler for a few minutes to brown on top. Garnish immediately with blue cheese and green onions. Serve with vegetable sticks and chips for dipping. 


  Vegan Lentil Chili Add olive oil to a large soup pot or heavy Dutch oven and warm over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes until softened. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, 8-10 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, about 1 minute, until spices are fragrant. Stir in chiles, tomato sauce, tomato paste, smoked paprika, vegetable bouillon base, kidney beans, lentils, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper and brown sugar; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Ladle into bowls and top with fresh cilantro.  3656citrus-braised-pork-with-crispy-shallots https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/citrus-braised-pork-with-crispy-shallots/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/01/IMG_7264-e1674352034446-600x534.jpg You can’t help but notice the jewel-toned lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and limes brightly lining the produce aisle. More than just a pop of zingy color, citrus adds a vibrant burst of flavor, a delicious and nutritious way to help bring sunshine to any cold and wintry day. Wake up breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, or make a simple salad of sliced clementines, shaved ricotta salata, and toasted pistachios. Citrus brightens everything! Citrus-Braised Pork with Crispy Shallots is supremely simple. Just 3 hours stovetop yields savory, fork-tender carnitas-style shredded meat with a tangy, glossy sauce. Served over jasmine rice, a sprinkling of fresh herbs and crispy shallots make it a deliciously memorable meal. Best of all, you’ll have leftovers. On day 2, serve it over steamed green beans and roasted butternut squash. Or use it to top a sweet potato. Or add it to a grain bowl. You get the idea.  If you have a heavy Dutch oven, use it for this recipe. You can brown, braise and simmer large quantities in it, and because it retains heat so well, it will help evenly cook and tenderize your meat. I used avocado oil because of it’s higher smoke point and healthier profile. Once I browned the roast, tossing everything into the pot took 5 minutes, then it was hands off for 2 hours, until it was time to remove the lid.  My pork roast weighed in at a mere 1.13 pounds, so I didn’t cut it into 4 pieces as the recipe instructed, and I reduced the soy sauce from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup, worried that it would make the braising liquid too salty. I did not have mirin so I substituted sherry. If you have brown sugar that has dried out, this is a good place to use it. I opened a new bag for my Christmas baking, wanting it to be fresh and sprinkly, like loose sand, but saved what was left in my previous bag for just this sort of thing.  Deal with your garlic quickly by putting your unpeeled clove under the flat side of your chef’s knife, blade facing away from you, and pressing firmly with the heel of your hand. Now that it’s smashed, it will peel easily, then it’s ready to add to the pot. Use a small paring knife to peel your orange, but be prepared for the awkward squeezing experience that will follow. (Note: peeled oranges are jiggly and impossibly hard to manage.) This was so clumsy it had me laughing.   Don’t be tempted to skip the shallots. They add a huge amount of flavor and take very little effort. The original recipe called for frying them in 1/3 cup of oil, but I only used about 2 tablespoons, just pouring without measuring, into the bottom of my pan. They browned, crispy and fragrant, with just the occasional stir. I only used one shallot and it made just the right amount relative to how much pork I was cooking. I bottled up the leftover oil and know it will add amazing flavor next time I make salad dressing.  Citrus-Braised Pork with Crispy Shallots Trim fat cap from pork shoulder, cut into 4 large pieces, and pat dry; season on all sides with kosher salt. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches if needed, cook pork, turning as it browns, until browned all over, 8-10 minutes per batch.  Peel 1 orange into big strips, then cut both oranges in half. Juice oranges into a measuring cup or small glass bowl, discarding seeds; juice should measure about 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Nestle pork back into pot and add orange peel, orange juice, garlic cloves, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer 2 hours.  Remove lid from pot and simmer rapidly until pork shreds easily when pressed and sauce is thick enough to coat pork, about 1 hour.  While pork cooks, heat remaining oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; season immediately with salt. (Save shallot oil for roasting vegetables or making salad dressing.) Using a fork, and working in pot, break pork apart just slightly. Spoon steamed jasmine rice onto plates or shallow bowls. Divide pork over rice and top with sauce from pot. Sprinkle with crispy shallots, then scatter cilantro leaves and mint on top. 


  3648morning-glory-baked-oatmeal-and-tahini-pistachio-granola https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/morning-glory-baked-oatmeal-and-tahini-pistachio-granola/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/01/IMG_7249-e1673733049290-600x414.jpg January is National Oatmeal Month. Whether you are eating oats for their heath benefits, or because they are so economical, nothing beats a bowl of oatmeal to make you feel warm and cozy on a drizzly winter morning. According to Quaker oats, more oatmeal is eaten in January than in any other month. Here are two recipes to change up your routine. Make them both and you can use the granola to top your baked oatmeal with, which is doubly delicious.  Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal is inspired by the ever popular muffins from the seventies created by Pam McKinstry, owner of the Morning Glory Cafe on Nantucket Island. It’s a winning combination of hearty, sweet, and healthy ingredients that will get your day off to a glorious start. Unlike regular oatmeal that can be bland and mushy, this one has bakes up thick and gives you portions that are hefty and satisfying. Loaded with grated carrot and apple, it has taste and texture, getting its sweetness from orange juice, raisins and a bit of maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Two kinds of oats, rolled and steel-cut, give it an extra punch of fiber. I reduced the maple syrup to 1/4 cup, but you could omit it altogether. The apples, carrot, raisins and orange juice make it satisfyingly sweet without being overly so. Variations are endless, but keep the mix-ins nourishing. Use seeds in place of nuts, add some shredded coconut or sweet potato to the mix, improvise with crushed pineapple, chopped dates, or a sprinkle of cardamom. Add another egg and you can even make a handheld, portable version of this flexible, delectable recipe. To make this vegan, skip the egg, which just adds structure, and use any kind of alternate milk that you like, and vegan butter. You can add a tablespoon of flax seeds instead, which I like doing anyway in order to boost the fiber. This recipe will keep well for up to 5 days, so you can bake this ahead, then cover and refrigerate it, so it’s ready to go for the week ahead. When you need a quick breakfast, just spoon out a serving, add a splash of milk, and reheat it in the microwave.  Granola fans, get your spoons out. This Tahini Pistachio Granola bakes in just 15 minutes, versus the 45 minutes to an hour it takes for most homemade granolas, plus, there is no added oil or butter. All of the toasty, crunchiness you love comes from the tahini. You can riff to your heart’s delight with this recipe. Swap peanut butter, or any other nut butter that strikes your mood, in place of the tahini. Add dried fruit or dark chocolate. Feeling fancy? Add rose petals. Be sure to watch closely after the 10 minute mark to prevent burning. Eat this with your favorite yogurt or milk, in a smoothie bowl or parfait, as an on-the-go breakfast in a jar, or by the handful as a snack. Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375º F. Butter and 8x8” ovenproof baking dish. Whisk egg in a large bowl, then add orange zest, orange juice, milk, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and ginger and whisk to combine. Add old-fashioned oats, steel cut oats, apple, carrot, raisins, baking powder, and 1/2 cup pecans; stir together to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with more pecans.  Bake until top is golden brown and oatmeal has puffed up a bit, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Serve warm with a drizzle of cream or milk on top. 


Tahini Pistachio Granola Heat oven to 350º F with a rack in the center. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Combine tahini, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir together until smooth and evenly combined. Stir in oats, pistachios and chia seeds.  Spread oat mixture onto the sheet pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and stir. Return pan to oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes more, until granola is dry and golden brown, watching carefully so that edges don’t burn.  Let cool completely to allow granola to crisp, about 20 minutes; break into clumps. 

-food52.com, recipe by Jenné Claiborne

3642white-bean-and-sun-dried-tomato-gnocchi https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/white-bean-and-sun-dried-tomato-gnocchi/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2023/01/IMG_7236-e1673157027266-600x450.jpg There is no better time to embrace organization than the start of a new year and it's a great opportunity to get your kitchen life in better order, too. While you are organizing, consider setting up a binder, a personal resource for the things you like to cook. Streamlining everything you do in the kitchen will help you to save money, eat better, and most of all, save precious time. A personal home cookbook is an invaluable resource. It will help ensure that you get consistent results and don’t waste time looking things up over and over again. Different sources give different times and variations in technique, and even different temperatures. Depending on your source, you can get many different answers, and maybe none of them will work for you. Add your own personal preferences to the equation and you can see how cooking can get a little complicated.  When you find a technique that does work, you want to be able to access it easily, so that you don’t have to look in multiple places or do another search. I have my cooking notes organized into a binder. You can also use a spiral notebook or composition book, but I really like the binder because it lets you edit things easily and still keep everything neat. As time goes on, you can add sections with pockets or dividers for categories, or remove pages if needed. As you try recipes that you like, file them here, too. The binder keeps everything all in one place that you can reach for again and again as you cook. This is a good place to keep track of information you will need again, but may not necessarily remember. For example, if you make soft-boiled eggs infrequently, the instructions you look up might say “Cover eggs with cold water, bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat to simmer; cover, cook for 4 to 6 minutes.” When you try four minutes, it may yield watery whites and very runny yolks, while 6 minutes gives you a completely hard yolk. Once you discover that 5 minutes and 15 seconds is exactly the time that cooks an egg just the way you like it, write this down.  Give as much detail as possible. When I make bacon, I start it in a cold oven set to 400 degrees. I use a foil-lined sheet pan set on the lowest rack for 11 minutes. My notes say a pound of frozen ground beef or turkey needs to pressure cook on high for 15 minutes with 1 cup of water, no trivet, natural release. For asparagus, add 1 tablespoon of water, cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes, 5 minutes if stalks are thick. I have instructions for instant pot sweet potatoes, baked potatoes in the oven, quinoa, air fryer tofu and instant pot oats. Whenever I discover something that works, I add notes to my binder.  After all that organizing, make something easy and delicious. This White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi a flavorful, affordable meal that leans on pantry staples to help you save money. I substituted dry packaged sun-dried tomatoes in this is high fiber, low calorie and vegetarian dish. They keep well in the refrigerator when stored airtight, and are a very economical way to add flavor. If you don’t have heavy cream, the closest substitute is half and half and butter, but you could also use yogurt or cream cheese instead of the cream, and these can be plant-based as well. Feel free to use more or less than the 1/3 cup, so that this is to your liking.  This recipe comes together very quickly, so have everything prepped ahead. If you are using packaged tomatoes, start by measuring 1/2 cup into a small bowl and covering them with hot water to re-hydrate them. Mince your shallot and juice half of a lemon, measuring out 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Measure 1/3 cup chicken broth or make your own with concentrated bouillon base. Have cream, or whatever dairy or dairy alternative you choose, set out so you can measure it using the same cup as the broth, once you add it to the pan. Open, drain, and rinse a can of cannellini beans. Truly delicious as is, you could add in cooked meat like crumbled Italian sausage, bacon, or strips of grilled, marinated chicken, if you don’t want to keep this vegetarian.  White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Gnocchi Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and let cook until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.  Add remaining tablespoon oil to pan, then add the drained sun-dried tomatoes and shallot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute; add broth. Cook until liquid has mostly evaporated, about 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Return gnocchi and spinach to pan, add beans, and stir to coat with sauce. Top with fresh basil and serve. 


3633chickpea-noodle-soup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chickpea-noodle-soup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/12/IMG_7225-e1672471827341-600x450.jpg New year, new start. January is a time to refresh and renew, return to normal eating and spending, and give our stomachs and our wallets a rest from all the overindulging. This Chickpea Noodle Soup is filled with umami, to help you ease out of the holiday and back into everyday eating. Flavorful and filling, without being heavy, it’s warm, soothing, and just right for tonight’s dinner. Beans and noodles are both economical, too, so you can make an easy dinner and save money at the same time. It’s so delicious, no one needs to be the wiser.  This flavorful soup is vegetarian and can be gluten-free as well, depending on your choice of noodle. The deliciously savory broth is made from nutritional yeast, onions, garlic and ginger plus a helpful bit of miso to add complexity. Two kinds of chickpeas, some fried for a crunchy topping, some tender from simmering in the broth, add body, along with a generous amount of tender noodles. Broccolini adds the final touch, a sweet and vegetal component, nestled into the broth and noodles. I swapped in olive oil, instead of the vegetable, for the health benefits, but you can use any neutral oil that you prefer. Skip measuring and use a heavy handed drizzle, about 2 tablespoons, which is just enough to pan fry the chickpeas and sauté the onions. You can use any type of noodle, dried or fresh, and if you use fresh noodles, like yakisoba, ramen or pan-fry noodles, you can just add them to the broth for the final minute or two to warm them through. If you don’t plan to eat all of the soup at once, however, warm the noodles separately, then ladle the soup over the noodles, rather than adding them to the broth. Doing so will help your noodles keep their consistency for later servings.   Go ahead and use two tablespoons of miso, or even double the amount. You can taste as you go and always choose to add more, if needed. Ditto for the rice vinegar. You can leave the broccolini in larger pieces as directed, or you can cut it into 2 inch bite-sized pieces, which are easier to eat. If you can’t find broccolini, feel free to use another quick-cooking green, like thinly sliced bok choy. There is no better time to embrace healthy eating, economizing, and organization than the start of a new year. With this fresh start, comes a great chance to get your kitchen life in better order. Let’s do this together. We’ll start slow and easy and I promise you that at the end of 2023 you are going to be in a much better place, saving money, eating better and most importantly, saving precious time. For now, get yourself a 3-ring binder. Next week we are jumping in. Here’s to a bright new year!  Chickpea Noodle Soup 4 servings Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Pat dry a heaping 1/2 cup chickpeas and add to oil in pot (stand back to avoid pops and splatters). Cook, stirring often, until chickpeas crisp and have golden brown shells, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat, then use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas to a paper towel-lined plate. Season chickpeas with kosher salt and a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast; set aside. Return pot to medium-low heat. Add onion to remaining oil and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and yellow miso, and cook, stirring to coat, 30 seconds. Add water and remaining chickpeas and bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer gently; stir occasionally, until flavors have melded, 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, if using dried noodles, prepare by cooking in a medium pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.  Add broccolini, halved lengthwise if thick, to broth and cook until bright green and tender, about 2 minutes. Add cooked noodles or fresh noodles and cook until heated through (and cooked, if using fresh noodles), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rice vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and vinegar if needed.  Divide soup among bowls. Top with cilantro and chili oil (if using), and reserved chickpeas. 


3629spinach-artichoke-and-sausage-pinwheels-and-baked-brie-with-cranberries https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spinach-artichoke-and-sausage-pinwheels-and-baked-brie-with-cranberries/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/12/IMG_7169-e1671846082715-600x339.jpg Set your sights on a new year and get ready for the confetti, 2022 is winding to a close. Pull out some board games, chill something bubbly, and enjoy the last night of this year. Warm appetizers are the clear winner when it’s cold outside, and here are two easy appetizers you can make and enjoy at home.  Spinach, Artichoke and Sausage Pinwheels are a cinch to make and impressive to serve. They’re the best of both worlds, with warm spinach-artichoke dip and sausage bread filling rolled into a crisp, flaky, buttery bite. Start with a box of puff pastry from the freezer section at your grocery store. While it defrosts you can brown the sausage and make the quick cream cheese, artichoke and spinach filling. The recipe calls for 1 pound of sausage, but I ended up using only half of that to make the pinwheels. If you have bread dough of any kind (even the one in the tube), you can make a quick sausage bread at the same time. If not, freeze your remaining sausage in a resealable freezer bag to use for soup, spaghetti, casseroles, or pizza. To make neat appetizers, use a clean paper towel to wipe your knife between cuts. Slice your pinwheels with a back and forth sawing motion rather than just pressing down to help keep them nicely circular.  Baked brie is the perfect easy appetizer and topping it with sweet, tangy cranberry jam makes it festively dressed for the holidays. A winning combination that’s easy, elegant and flavorful, you can make the fresh cranberry topping in just minutes. Serve with warm toasted bread rounds or some of your favorite crackers. Pretty, easy, and delicious, it’s always a hit.  Out with the old and in with the new. Cheers to 2023!  Spinach, Artichoke and Sausage Pinwheels  makes 40 pinwheels Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Warm oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat, then add sausage. Cook sausage until no longer pink, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Combine artichokes, cream cheese, spinach and red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl and stir together. Mix thoroughly until well combined; add salt and pepper to taste.  Unfold one pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the entire surface of dough, then sprinkle with sausage. Starting from the longer edge, tightly roll each sheet of dough into a log, (jelly-roll style). Pinch seams closed, then place seam side down. Using a sharp knife, cut into 20 evenly thick pieces, then place on prepared baking sheet spiral-side up. Repeat with other piece of puff pastry. Whisk egg and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush tops of pinwheels with egg wash.  To freeze and store, put into freezer until firm, then transfer to a resealable container. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake immediately, preheat oven to 375º F. Place pinwheels in freezer while oven preheats. Bake pinwheels until puffy and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. If baking from frozen, bake for 35 minutes. Serve warm. 

-Jeff Mauro, foodnetwork.com

Baked Brie with Cranberries  optional garnish: Preheat oven to 350º F. Add water, cranberries, and brown sugar to a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Simmer until cranberries start to pop, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes; stir in honey. While cranberries cook, place brie on a parchment lined baking sheet, oven-safe baking dish or in a mini iron skillet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is soft to the touch.  Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Use the parchment paper to move the brie to a serving platter and gently spoon on the cranberry mixture. Top with walnuts or pecans, orange zest, and/or rosemary. Serve promptly. 3628christmas-breakfast-casserole https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/christmas-breakfast-casserole/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/12/image016-600x429.jpg It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful. Right now it’s a last-ditch, all-out effort to get it all done.  There are lots of little last minute to-do’s, and as always, it’s a mad dash to the end. But the truth is, anything you do will make people happy - you just have to do it. We all hope for that perfect Norman Rockwell holiday, with all it’s heartwarming traditions, but the truth is, more years than not are wrapped gaily in chaos and disaster and end up a lot more like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Sometimes, it’s the house that fails you. Like the year we hosted Christmas Eve and the water heater went out. Sometimes, it’s the people. Planes get delayed, people get sick, and accidents happen. The holiday gathering, and all it entails, is a miracle of sorts.  Stay merry to the end and be prepared. Whether your group is smallish and cozy, or a big, boisterous bunch, a breakfast casserole fits the bill. This Christmas Breakfast Casserole is just right for your holiday breakfast. Hearty and filling, it has bacon, eggs, hash browns and three kinds of cheese all baked into one delicious dish. Round things out with a big fruit plate and toast. Add some baked goods like scones or muffins, a coffee cake, or some cinnamon rolls and you’re good to go. Easily adaptable to what you have on hand, you can swap in ricotta for the cottage cheese, or try using sausage in place, or in addition to, the bacon. I used half of a 30 ounce bag of shredded hash browns, but you could also use the cubed variety, or potatoes O’Brien, with the bell peppers and onions included, to save a little time. I kept it simple and gave it some Christmas color with red and green bell peppers, but you could add mushrooms, spinach, artichokes or any vegetables that you like. Feel free to add spices or other seasonings, but don’t add any additional salt because of the sodium in the bacon and cottage cheese. Go ahead and vary the cheese. Use pepper jack if you’d like a little spice, or Gruyere for a more assertive Swiss.   Make it easy on yourself and assemble it the night before. Wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight. Take it out first thing in the morning and let it warm for 30 minutes on the counter while you preheat the oven. Cut any leftovers into squares and refrigerate to enjoy later in the week, or you can freeze the squares on a parchment-lined sheet and transfer to a resealable bag once frozen. There’s no place like home for the holidays. May the ones you love be near you, and may yours be merry and bright. Christmas Breakfast Casserole 12 servings Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add bacon to a large skillet set over medium-high heat; cook and stir bacon until evenly browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Add onion and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Remove onion with slotted spoon and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add frozen hash browns to skillet and cook until golden brown, turning as needed. Transfer hash browns to bowl; let cool slightly.  Add eggs, egg whites, and cottage cheese to blender and process at low speed until smooth. Pour into bowl then add bacon, Canadian bacon, bell pepper, Cheddar cheese, and Swiss cheese; stir together. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered, until eggs are set and cheese is melted, 35 to 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160º F. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. 3617riesling-and-swiss-cheese-fondue-and-winter-wassail https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/riesling-and-swiss-cheese-fondue-and-winter-wassail/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/12/IMG_7112-e1670704964658-600x449.jpg Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, arrives on December 21. With all the other seasonal traditions to take in this month, the solstice is a good time to slow down, savor all the sights and sounds of the season, and just breathe. Cozy up at home with a winter solstice celebration that will make the dark day seem a little brighter. Invite your family and friends and embrace the changing seasons with hot cocoa, mulled wine, and fondue. Gather around a warm fire and light candles. Create a cozy space with pillows and blankets. Think hygge: anything that makes you feel comfortable and warm. Rich melted cheese served over flame is warm and welcoming and during the winter months, fondue is pure comfort. This Riesling and Swiss Cheese Fondue is easy to make and is a great no-fuss appetizer. Riesling makes it festive for the holidays and I used Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling to add a splash of Washington. Sweet, crisp and light, it’s earthy, and has notes of honey, pear, and apricot that lend themselves to this recipe. Traditional solstice foods like nuts, berries, spices, squash, potatoes and meat have an emphasis on nature and you should try to incorporate as many local offerings as you can. I used a crisp, sweet Envy apple, and Brussels sprouts that were also grown in Washington, for the fondue. Sausage, potatoes and a loaf of good bread rounded out the offerings.  Use care not to overcook your Brussels sprouts and potatoes. Keep them somewhat firm so that they won’t fall apart when you poke them and they will also stand up to dipping. I couldn’t find any of the tiny potatoes that would have worked best, so I cut my potatoes into same-size, smaller chunks. I cooked them in the microwave, covering them with water, adding a little salt and microwaving on high for 7 minutes, until I was able to pierce them with a fork but they were still firm. I microwaved the Brussels sprouts for 3 minutes, then lightly coated them with olive oil and roasted them at 425º until they were cooked the same.  I used cornstarch in place of the all-purpose flour called for in the original recipe to make this gluten-free. If gluten is not a concern, you can use 2 tablespoons of flour if you like.  Other winter solstice traditions include making winter solstice lanterns, decorating an outdoor edible tree for the animals, or cozying up and reading a good book. You can spend the night by candlelight and enjoy some wassail. Make your wassail early in the day. Let it cook all day, especially if you are using a slow-cooker, simmering away and filling your house with the wonderful smell of holiday spice.  I looked at all sorts of wassail recipes, and we have tried quite a few, because for a number of years my mom had misplaced hers. Most of them include orange and lemon juice, so I was surprised to compare them to my mom’s, which uses cranberry and always included an orange, decoratively studded with cloves. Her recipe also calls for sugar, bitters, and surprise, rum! No wonder everyone liked it so much. You can leave it without the spirits, and have brandy, cognac, or rum for those who want to spike it, but do make the orange. It looks so pretty in the wassail and if you have kids, this is an easy and fun way to get them involved.  Create a warm and welcoming evening and slow down and savor all the wonder of the season. Enjoy! Riesling and Swiss Cheese Fondue Combine cheese and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Warm wine and garlic in a large saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan (do not boil). Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese; stir constantly until almost completely melted. Continue adding cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing cheese to melt between additions. Stir in sherry, lemon juice and nutmeg.  Transfer to a heated fondue pot. Keep fondue bubbling gently. If fondue becomes too thick, stir in a little additional wine. Serve with smoked sausage, bread, Brussels sprouts, mini potatoes and sliced apple.

-Taste of Home, December/January 2023 

Winter Wassail Pour apple cider and cranberry juice into a slow-cooker or large pot set over medium heat. Stir in sugar, bitters, cinnamon sticks, and allspice. Add orange with cloves and rum, if using. For slow-cooker, let simmer on low for 4-5 hours. Otherwise, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and let cook for at least 20 minutes.  Ladle wassail into mugs. Garnish with spices and apple slices or orange wheels.  3608gingerbread-truffles-bacardi-rum-balls-and-gramercy-spiced-nuts https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/gingerbread-truffles-bacardi-rum-balls-and-gramercy-spiced-nuts/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/12/IMG_7094-600x465.jpg   There was an older couple who lived across the street when I was growing up. They didn’t have any children, but they did have a big friendly dog, an antique phone they didn’t mind if I played with, and a mantle clock with moving parts that fascinated me. I loved visiting them because they we so nice and also because they always had homemade Chex mix and fudge that was made in a styrofoam egg tray.   Holiday gatherings are all the more merry when you have seasonal offerings that guests can just help themselves to. Small bowls of spiced nuts and tiny treats that can be enjoyed anytime are the little things that make the holidays special. Station them on your coffee table, sideboard, or kitchen island, strategically located where people may sit or stop so they can help themselves. Keep them full and keep them varied. Your family will enjoy this, too.  Nothing says holiday quite like gingerbread. Sure eggnog and peppermint have their merits, but if you want a warm fuzzy feeling, it’s gingerbread all the way. Gingerbread Truffles are tiny bites of holiday bliss. The dense, moist filling is made from vanilla sandwich cookies, molasses and pumpkin pie spice. Enrobed in white chocolate with ginger snap sprinkles, they’re a bite-sized way to enjoy gingerbread. You can make this recipe entirely in your food processor, or you can just use your rolling pin to smash the cookies into crumbs, then use a spoon to stir everything else together. I made this gluten-free by using gluten-free varieties of vanilla sandwich and ginger snap cookies and used Ghirardelli classic white chips for the white chocolate coating.  Next, make a batch of rum balls. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without these homemade treats and you can’t go wrong with a batch or two of these. This Bacardi Rum Ball recipe is from my Bacardi recipe book, circa 1980. You could also make these with bourbon or whiskey, your choice. Easy and delicious, they are always a hit. Spiced nuts are an especially nice thing to have on hand all through the holidays and Gramercy Tavern’s Maple-Spiced Nuts are a great way to brighten your offerings. Almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds get the seasonal treatment with fragrant rosemary and dried cranberries. Lightly sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, there's a little warmth from the Aleppo pepper. They’re easy to make but big on flavor.  Use your microwave to make the glaze. It speeds your prep and eliminates some of the cleanup. Measure the maple syrup into a glass liquid measuring cup, then add the brown sugar, grape seed oil and kosher salt. Stir to combine and microwave on high heat until the mixture boils. Aleppo pepper has an earthy, slightly sweet flavor profile but can be hard to find. You can mimic its distinctive flavor by mixing 4 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne pepper, which will also let you control the amount of heat, depending on how much cayenne you add. Have treats on hand and keep everyone, including yourself, merry. Gingerbread Truffles Break vanilla cream-filled sandwich cookies in half, then process in a food processor or blender to form very fine crumbs. Add softened cream cheese, molasses, and pumpkin pie spice and process until a dough forms. Scoop dough into small balls; roll until smooth, then place onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Transfer pan to freezer and chill for 15 minutes. Combine white chocolate morsels and canola oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly, then dip dough balls one at a time into chocolate, placing truffles back onto pan as you go. Sprinkle with crushed ginger snap cookies, then allow to set. Store covered and refrigerated. *pumpkin pie spice: 3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground allspice.


Bacardi Rum Balls Combine all ingredients except sugar in a medium bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 2 1/2 dozen. Gramercy Tavern’s Maple-Spiced Nuts Preheat oven to 325º F for 15 minutes. Combine almonds and pecans, spreading them evenly onto a parchment-lined large sheet tray. Toast nuts for 5 minutes, until heated through and fragrant. Keep warm. While nuts are toasting, bring maple syrup, brown sugar, grapeseed oil, and kosher salt to a boil in a saucepan. Combine Aleppo pepper and rosemary in a small bowl, then set aside. Transfer warm nuts to a large mixing bowl, add pumpkin seeds, then pour hot syrup over. Toss to mix evenly. Spread mixture back onto sheet tray and bake until nuts are slightly caramelized and candied, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer back into bowl. Add spice mix and cranberries, then toss well to combine. Spread back onto sheet trays and allow to completely cool. Once cool, pack into airtight containers to store. 

-chef Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern, tastecooking.com

3601vegan-thumbprint-cookies-with-raspberry-jam https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/vegan-thumbprint-cookies-with-raspberry-jam/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/11/IMG_7079-503x600.jpg We are now on North Pole time, where the days speed up and magically disappear faster than you can say Saint Nick. Don’t wait. Start right this minute making every day special and bringing a bit of fun to everything you do. Why just spark joy when you can blaze it? It’s time for glitter and glitz. Dazzle and shine. Twinkling lights and sparkling trees. Let’s celebrate!  Having a stash of homemade goodies is always a good idea but during the holidays it's crucial. Sure, you will need them for cookie exchanges and bake sales, but isn’t it nice to be able to fill a plate to take to the vet, or the repair shop, or give to a friend? The holidays are an especially nice time to share goodwill. There will be plenty of opportunities to do this, so be prepared. I love to bake holiday varieties, but also need to churn out the Italian ones, too. Pizzelles, pignoli, and almond crescents, plus the Italian wedding cookies that it just wouldn’t be a holiday without. I also take special orders. Everyone gets to pick what they want and I reserve and box a sizable portion that they don’t have to share. This year, I had a request from a friend who just happens to be vegan and his favorite cookie is a thumbprint.  Jam-filled thumbprints are a Christmas classic and these Vegan Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam will brighten your holiday and your cookie tray. The tart jam and buttery cookie is a heavenly combination and plant-based butter makes a delectably soft and chewy shortbread. Utterly delicious, these dainty jewel-filled bites are just made for celebration. Anytime you need a holiday cookie in a hurry, this should be your recipe. I used a plant-based milk to make this nut-free, and you will get good results using gluten-free flour if you want to make it gluten-free, too. Because this cookie is best enjoyed within 3 to 4 days, I decided to freeze some of the dough, so that I could fill and bake the cookies shortly before they would be delivered. I froze some of the dough balls with the indent pressed into them on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Once they were frozen, I transferred them to a resealable bag.  Use the knuckle of your index finger to make the indentation, then use the knuckle of the index finger on the opposite hand to round out the circle. Some cracking is normal, but you can gently press these with your finger to smooth them out if you like. The dough came out perfect, but if you feel like your dough is too crumbly, you can work in 1/2 teaspoon of your milk, adding more if needed. Give them a light dusting of powdered sugar if that suits you. Or, you can make a simple icing from ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract, and 2 to 3 teaspoons milk, or as much as needed for a sturdy drizzling consistency.  Get cozy in your kitchen and start baking. Cookies are the currency of love and there is no surer way to make someone feel loved and cared about than with their favorite cookie. Vegan Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam makes approximately 40 cookies Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together.  Add softened vegan butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or use a medium/large stainless steel bowl with a hand mixer. Beat for 30 seconds until creamy. Add sugar and beat until incorporated, about 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down sides as needed. Add vanilla and almond extract; mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Using low speed, gradually add flour. Mix until just combined and dough starts to form, about 30-60 seconds, scraping down sides as needed and being careful not to over mix. Add 2 tablespoons of almond milk and mix on low speed to combine. Press cling wrap onto surface of dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Using a half-tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop dough then roll into a smooth ball. Make indentation by using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon, or your index finger, pressing down gently about halfway; place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet. Use a small spoon or piping bag to fill each cookie with jam, being careful not to overfill. Bake until barely lightly golden, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Store airtight, 5-7 days. 

-recipe from veganhuggs.com

  3592potato-croquettes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/potato-croquettes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/11/IMG_7038-600x504.jpg   Counting down the hours, and it won’t be long now, until the Big Meal. The turkey, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, the pies! But truth be told, what most of us are after is the leftovers, that glorious bounty of meals ready-to-eat that await you at the end.   Maybe you are a purist. Turkey slices on fluffy white bread, warmed, with gravy poured over is your pick. This is how my family did it, and I must admit, it’s pretty good. Not knowing any different, I was satisfied with this simple solution, until I watched my husband’s approach for the first time. He took a slice of bread and layered it with turkey, stuffing, and then cranberry sauce. Basically, the best of Thanksgiving, stuffed between two slices of bread and warmed. Our oldest son thought he could improve on this. He took that sandwich, buttered the outside, added a slice of cheese and griddled it in a panini press. And then he added warm gravy on the side for dipping.   Maybe you are after turkey soup. You have cooked turkey and leftover vegetables that just seem to lend themselves to this. Sauté a little celery, carrot, and onion in some butter and add chicken or turkey broth. Stir in turkey and whatever leftover vegetables suit you, or fill in with some frozen ones. You can add cooked rice or noodles if you like, or drop dumplings on top. Warm and soothing, and very easy to make. I love to make salad, so I get a bag of sliced kale when I do the last of my grocery shopping. Add the kale to a large bowl and juice one lemon over the top. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Use clean hands to massage kale for a few minutes until it softens. Next add some carrot ribbons and sliced purple cabbage. Then some sliced apple, if you like. Add some toasted pecans or almonds, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds. I like to add pomegranate seeds, too. Toss together, then taste and adjust. You can add a splash of orange juice, or some balsamic vinegar if you think it needs it. Plate and top with warmed leftover green beans, brussels sprouts or other roasted veggies, and some diced turkey. Add cheese, like the delectable offerings you have on hand from the charcuterie board. Make some easy croutons out of leftover stuffing. Scoop small spoonfuls of stuffing onto a parchment lined baking sheet and warm in a 400º oven until lightly toasted. I did this with the cornbread stuffing and it was delicious. Potatoes might just be better as leftovers, especially when you take them in a new direction. Crispy, creamy Potato Croquettes are incredibly easy to make and they're something fun you can cook over the weekend. This recipe works best with potatoes that do not have much moisture, so if your mashed potatoes are a little stiff and on the dry side, you’re in luck. My mom would always make these with leftover mashed potatoes that had been refrigerated for a few days. Just when you thought you couldn’t eat another bite of Thanksgiving, she’d turn those leftovers into another iteration and entice you with a plate of these. They are delicious made just as directed, or you can add in other ingredients like 1/2 cup of grated cheese or a few tablespoons of freshly chopped chives. I tried adding a little Parmesan and some shredded cheddar and it made them even more flavorful. If you don’t have any breadcrumbs, you can also lightly coat your patties in flour before you brown them in the butter, and of course, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or flour to make them gluten-free. I am pretty sure my mom even made these a few times without coating them in anything, just letting the butter turn the outside of the patties a  toasty golden brown. It’s a very simple preparation but it works magic with your potatoes, turning them into something warm, crispy and nostalgic. Aren't the holidays wonderful? Wishing you a warm and very happy Thanksgiving. Potato Croquettes Combine mashed potatoes and egg in a medium bowl and mix together. Shape potato mixture into a 3-inch patty, then dredge with breadcrumbs; repeat with all remaining mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet set over medium heat. When butter melts, add patties in a single layer, being careful not to crowd. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned, adding more butter if needed Repeat with remaining patties. Serve warm.    3584broccoli-rice-cheese-and-chicken-casserole https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/broccoli-rice-cheese-and-chicken-casserole/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/11/IMG_7020-600x536.jpg The Thanksgiving countdown has begun. Soon your whole house will be filled with the wonderful aroma of roast turkey and pumpkin pie and your table filled with all those smiling faces. This year, more than ever, celebrate your family. It’s a time for tradition. Make those dishes that you’ve been making for years. The ones that everyone looks forward to. It's a great way to honor and remember your loved ones.  My dad made the mashed potatoes every year. He liked to make them perilously close to meal time, taking up precious burner space at the very last minute. I can still see him, his youngest grandson perched on a step stool just beneath him, his big hand around my son’s tiny one guiding the spoon. That same grandson makes those same potatoes, in the same perilous way, every year. It’s a tradition.  When I gathered things to preserve in case we had to evacuate from the fire, I came across my grandmother’s recipe for  butterhorn rolls. She would make them every year, and this year, I will try making them, too, following her well worn recipe and notes. Her voice is so friendly and her details so helpful, it’s almost like having her here. Best of all, the recipe is in her handwriting. Its familiar cursive slant reminds me of her and it makes me happy just to see it.    While you are dusting off those recipes, think about passing some of them on to your family. It’s a precious gift that you can share now and it doesn’t matter if they’re organized or not. A few years ago, my mom gave me a small envelope for Christmas. It had recipes for all sorts of things, but most importantly, they were hers. There was a salad dressing from a local restaurant, her beloved holiday cheeseball, a few cookie recipes, her spiced wassail, and a varied assortment of things I remember her making, all on recipe cards and in her own handwriting. It was a great gift and I am so grateful that she thought of it. Even though she is gone, we can still make the things that we remember her making and it continues to connect us. My mom made a Broccoli, Rice, Cheese and Chicken casserole that I remember well. It made the rounds back in the seventies, and it was creamy, cheesy and delicious. It was made with canned cream of chicken, cream of broccoli or mushroom soup, and lots of Velveeta. She topped it with toasted almond slices, too, so it had a nice little crunch.  This lightened up version is gluten-free, but it still hits the spot. I added diced, cooked chicken, but you could make it without and keep it plant-based or use it as a side dish. If you use turkey, it would also be a great way to use those Thanksgiving leftovers. This recipe comes together very quickly, so have all of your ingredients prepped before you start.  Make and serve this in an ovenproof skillet, or transfer it to a casserole dish so you can reminisce before you finish it under the broiler. Satisfying, family friendly, and feeds a crowd. Plus, it’s great to have something ready to eat tucked away in your fridge. Think ahead about those turkey day leftovers and make sure you have everything you need in house. Be sure to add the ingredients for turkey soup, some greens for a post-Thanksgiving salad, or bread for sandwiches to your list so you can avoid that dreaded day after trek to the store. Make sure you have containers for leftovers, too. Share those recipes with your family. It's not too early to start preserving those memories that will be cherished and remembered every year. Broccoli, Rice, Cheese, and Chicken Casserole Preheat broiler and position a rack 6 to 8 inches from heat source. Melt butter in a large high-sided ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring often, until browned and tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly until fragrant. Add chicken and 1/4 cup white wine; cook and stir, 2 minutes. Whisk broth, sour cream, mustard, tamari, salt and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in cornstarch. Add mixture to pan, stir to combine, and bring to light boil. Reduce heat and continue to stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in broccoli and rice and 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then transfer skillet to oven. Broil until cheese melts and lightly browns, about 2 minutes or more. Serve hot.

-adapted from eatingwell.com 

3576turkey-and-beef-meatloaf-with-cranberry-glaze https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/turkey-and-beef-meatloaf-with-cranberry-glaze/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/11/IMG_6994-453x600.jpg It’s never too early to start being thankful. This week, it’s two dishes that are guaranteed to put you in a festive mood and help you get a little ahead of that turkey day prep, too. There’s no need to wait for the big day to get your turkey-cranberry fix. Turn on your oven and make a delicious homemade dinner that will warm your heart and home as well. Turkey and cranberry are a classic pairing and this Turkey and Beef Meatloaf with Cranberry Glaze is an easy, healthier holiday way to enjoy them. Use a light and dark mix of ground turkey for the best flavor and a lean ground beef with 7 to 15% fat. I am saving my digits for pie making, so I used a food processor instead of the box grater. It did a fine job mincing the carrot and onion minus the finger shredding drama. If you don't care for spicy, omit the sriracha. You'll still get plenty of flavor and have a nice balance of sweet and savory. Feel free to use instant oats in place of the instant barley. You can make instant oats by using regular rolled oats and pulsing them briefly in your blender or food processor. Mix all the other ingredients first to ensure that everything distributes evenly, then add the ground meat and barley so your meatloaf will get seasoned throughout. The original recipe called for 8 ounces of lean ground turkey, but I decided to use the entire pound. Why not make a larger meatloaf that will be enough for tonight’s dinner and give you some slices to tuck into the freezer for a night when you have your hands full making side dishes?  Next, make this Classic Cornbread Dressing. With very few ingredients and a small bit of time, even non-cooks can pull this delicious and very inexpensive side dish together. Use store-bought, homemade, or a boxed mix to make the cornbread. I cut the butter back a bit, using only 5 tablespoons, already concerned about the total turkey day butter load that would end up on everyone’s plate. Go ahead and scoop out a small portion to bake and serve tonight with your meatloaf. Transfer the rest to a freezer-to-oven safe baking dish to freeze uncooked. Press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface. Use a Sharpie to write the cooking temp (375º) and time (30 minutes), along with the name of the dish and the finished cooking temperature for stuffing (165º) onto the aluminum foil, then cover your dish and wrap tightly. Turkey and Beef Meatloaf with Cranberry Glaze cranberry glaze meatloaf Position an oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 375º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine cranberries, ketchup, honey, sriracha, Dijon mustard and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until bubbling, then reduce heat to simmer; continue to cook and stir until cranberries soften and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to crush cranberries until mostly smooth. Stir in rosemary and kosher salt then set aside to cool slightly.  Grate carrot and onion on the small shredding side of a box grater set inside a large mixing bowl. Add egg, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard, then mix together. Add beef, turkey, barley, salt and several grinds of pepper. Use clean hands to mix everything together until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and shape into 9-by-4-inch loaf. Wash hands thoroughly.  Brush meatloaf on all sides with half of the cranberry glaze. Bake 15 minutes, then brush meatloaf on all sides again with remaining glaze. Bake until a thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf measures 155º F, about 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with rosemary sprigs before serving.  Classic Cornbread Dressing Preheat oven to 375º F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a small plate. Add water to skillet, raise heat to medium-high and let simmer a few minutes, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet; remove from heat. Using clean hands and working over a large bowl, break cornbread into 1-inch chunks. Melt remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat until butter bubbles and starts to turn golden. Add sage leaves and fry until beginning to crisp, about 30 seconds. Remove sage with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cornbread; remove butter from heat. Add eggs and onions to cornbread, then pour browned butter over, season with salt and pepper and stir. Add onion infused water, a little at a time, folding gently until cornbread is evenly moistened but not soggy.  Spoon dressing into a 9 by 11-inch baking dish and bake until top is golden brown and dressing is set in the middle and measures an internal temperature of 165º F, about 30 minutes.


3569pumpkin-pie-english-muffin-bake https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pumpkin-pie-english-muffin-bake/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/10/IMG_6963-497x600.jpg Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens. The holidays are officially underway! With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, it’s time to start seriously thinking about baking. What can you make now so you can get ahead later? Or as my Aunt Katherine used to say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow anything you can get done today.”  Nothing beats our Northwest mornings in the fall. One peek out the window and you can tell how drizzly and blustery it is, but inside it’s a whole different story. The familiar smell of coffee wafts through the house, mingling with the wonderful aroma of bread as it toasts, and it makes you feel happy to start the day. There is something warm and snug about the smell of breakfast being made at home, and in the winter it’s all the more so. It’s a wonderful feeling. I turned the oven on for the very fist time this week, gleeful at just the thought of it, and once I got going, there was no stopping. First I made the Pumpkin-Pie English Muffin Bake below, and then I baked some pumpkin bread in acorn shapes to freeze ahead for Thanksgiving weekend. Next, I baked some butternut squash for dinner and a loaf of bread, and then I had to control myself and stop before I baked anything else.   Spoiler alert - when I made the muffin bake, I didn’t read ahead, so I had an unexpected wait while my casserole dish set up in the refrigerator. You, however, will be prepared for this. Be ready to refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. Make this the night ahead, and it will be perfect for you pop in the oven in the morning.  The recipe calls for whole-wheat English muffins, but you can substitute any kind you like. Cinnamon raisin ones would also work nicely here. I decided not to peel the apples. Besides saving time, it also preserves the vitamins and fiber. Raw apples with their skin contain up to 332% more vitamin K, 142% more vitamin A, 115% more vitamin C, 20% more calcium, up to 19% more potassium than peeled ones. Peeling also removes more than half of the fiber. That’s a lot to throw away.   The recipe called for 3/4 cup of raisins, but I only used 1/2 cup, and because the apples I used were rather large, I used 1 apple and half of the other. Be generous with your spices and use a little more than the recipe calls for. It adds extra oomph and makes your baked goods even more aromatic. I always let my measuring spoon overfill, especially with cinnamon and vanilla.  If you have an 8 cup liquid measure, use it to streamline your baking. Start by measuring your oat milk or low-fat milk, then use it as your bowl to combine your other liquid ingredients. You can whisk right in the measuring cup, then use it to easily pour the liquid ingredients into the baking dish. The oat milk is naturally sweet, and because the apples and raisins are, too, I opted to skip the brown sugar and use maple syrup, just 1/4 cup instead of the 3/4 cup that was called for in the recipe. You can serve warm maple syrup alongside for anyone who wants a bit more.  Fall is moving mighty fast this year, so you better soak it up. Bake as much as you can and while you’re at it, make a perfect fall breakfast to enjoy over the weekend. Warm, toasty and heavenly scented, it’s a delicious way to start your day.  Pumpkin-Pie English Muffin Bake Preheat oven to 350º F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Spread muffin pieces on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.  Combine apples, 1/4 cup raisins and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add muffin pieces and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly and redistributing any raisins that fall to the bottom.  Whisk eggs in a small bowl. Measure oat milk or low-fat milk into a large liquid measure or bowl, then add eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, salt, ginger and cloves and whisk until smooth. Pour over bread mixture and press down so that everything is submerged. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup raisins over the top. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap down so that it contacts the surface. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.  Uncover casserole and bake at 350º until browned and crispy around the edges, but still creamy in the  middle, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. 

-Eating Well One-Pan Special Edition 2022

3563walking-tacos https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/walking-tacos/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/10/IMG_6937-529x600.jpg Goodbye sun, hello rain. It just can’t pour down enough right now. I have never been so happy to see the skies turn gray and I know I’m not alone. Last week already seems like a long time ago, but the possibility of having to evacuate is still fresh in my mind. We packed and were ready, waiting, and watching in case we had to go.  We did this in a hurry, knowing how quick and unpredictably fires can move. We ran through the checklist without any trouble until we got to the photos, and that’s where things slowed a bit, as I sorted, trying to get small pieces of our family’s history to preserve. There were black and white wedding photos of my great, great grandparents, my grandfather’s immigration papers from Ellis Island, my other grandfather’s medical records from the war, and my parent’s wedding album. I sifted through photos of birthdays, vacations, and school days, and did a painful triage of what to save. In the end, I left a lot behind.  We tried to get a little rest, but I laid in bed and thought about the fire. It was hard to fall asleep and I wondered if we’d get an emergency call. I thought about losing everything. Everything. And I knew that it could happen. I thought about the photos and papers I had packed. I wondered if I picked the right things. I thought about how much I left behind and realized I would have to hold a lot in my mind and in my heart. I couldn’t sleep at all and I kept thinking about what would be truly terrible to lose. I wondered where I might end up writing this and started to think about the recipe I had planned. And it hit me. I hadn’t packed a single recipe. Not a cookbook, not a recipe card, not a binder. Being wide eyed anyway, I got out of bed and headed straight to the kitchen.  I grabbed a single folder, my go-to place to stash any recipe that's important. It contains every recipe that matters to our family, the ones we make again and again. Most of them I’ve shared with you, but there are some I haven’t. Some are handwritten and precious, like my mom’s holiday wassail or my son’s barbecue sauce. Some are neatly typed, like my dad’s green chili. There are magazine pages and newspaper clippings, and the recipe for the birthday cake I have made year after year for my brother. I grabbed a big envelope of my grandmother’s recipes and packed it, too. And then I went to bed.  It was a long week, waiting and watching, but thankfully, it started to rain. Something quick, easy and fun was in order, so this week, it’s Walking Tacos. Hearty and filling, it’s a perfect pre-Trick-or-Treat dinner. These on-the-go tacos in a bag are made with a single serving bag of chips. Spoon taco meat and beans over the chips and top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and shredded cheese, then eat them with a spoon, right out of the bag. You can also take them along for tailgating or camping, or line them up for game day.    Make a big batch of taco seasoning. This recipe from The Pioneer Woman is a super fast, super saving way to make taco night in a hurry, for those times when you really need a fun meal. Bonus points: make extra taco meat for your freezer so you can make Walking Tacos in a hurry. I used a can of chili beans in this recipe because they are already seasoned. Using them undrained adds just the right amount of flavorful sauce to your meat, without adding too much liquid. You want your filling to be moist, but not drippy. You can fill and add toppings to all of the bags or put out small bowls of the toppings and let everyone fix their own. No mess and no dishes, which is just what you need for the busy night ahead.  Heartfelt gratitude to the fire fighters and all who are working to keep us safe. Eat, drink and be scary. And have a fabulously fun Halloween. Walking Tacos serves 6 Brown ground beef, breaking up with spoon as it cooks. Stir in taco seasoning or packaged seasoning mix, plus beef broth and two tablespoons of taco sauce. Add chili beans with their liquid and cook over medium heat until thickened. Cut bags of chips to open along the top, pouring about half of the chips from each bag into a medium bowl as you go; stand bags in a bread pan. Spoon warm filling into bags, then top with desired toppings. Add chips back into bags and serve. Homemade Taco Seasoning makes 6 packets

3556pumpkin-soup-three-ways https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pumpkin-soup-three-ways/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/10/IMG_6751-e1665727543623-600x433.jpg Be ready for that first drop of rain. Here’s a trio of pumpkin soups, all of them healthy, quick and easy. Each of them is so delicious you should plan to make all three. All are gluten-free and plant-based as well, so gather your pumpkins, or cans, and let’s make soup!  I made 2 batches of this, one with canned pumpkin and the other with kabocha squash that I had cubed and frozen. Each of them was flavorful and filling, but the kabocha was a standout. It perfectly enhanced the Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in this recipe again. The canned pumpkin was not to be outdone. It worked nicely in the Pumpkin-Apple and the Chipotle-Spice Pumpkin soups and it gets points for ease and being on hand. You can choose canned or fresh. One pound of pumpkin yields four cups of raw, peeled and cubed pumpkin, or 1 cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin. For the recipe below, you will need 1 cup of canned pumpkin. If using fresh, choose any pumpkin you would use for pie or blue Jarrahdale varieties.  I couldn’t resist swirling a little yogurt on top of the Pumpkin-Apple Soup before sprinkling on the pepitas, which were so good I wish I would have doubled them. After I made the pepitas, I used the same nonstick skillet to quickly heat the curry paste for the Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup, gently cooking it for a few minutes to release all the wonderful flavors and aromas. I added it to the soup afterwards, stirring it in along with the ground ginger. Buy regular, full-fat canned coconut milk and save money. You can make your own light coconut milk by mixing 1 part full-fat coconut milk with 2 parts water, which is like getting three cans for the price of one. Use that leftover pumpkin. Add some to your smoothie, put it in your chili, use it to pumpkin spice your coffee, or make pumpkin butter. Add it to your oatmeal or overnight oats, pancakes, or french toast. Stir it into hummus or mac and cheese. Or, if this warmer weather keeps up, make pumpkin nice cream: 2 medium bananas, sliced and frozen, 1/2 cup pumpkin purée, 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice and a little maple syrup, if needed. Blend well and enjoy, or freeze for 24 hours to let harden.   Pumpkin Soup Three Ways  Pumpkin-Apple Soup makes 8 3/4 cup servings Step 1 Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat, swirling to coat; add onion. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin, apples, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add stock, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes, or until pumpkin and apples are tender.  Step 2 While soup cooks, combine pepitas, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Cook until sugar melts and pepitas are toasted, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cool completely, breaking up any clumps.  Step 3 Place half of pumpkin mixture in a blender. Secure lid on blender, removing center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid splatters, then blend until smooth. Place soup in a bowl and repeat procedure with remaining pumpkin mixture. Pour in apple cider, then reheat in pan if needed. Divide soup evenly among 8 bowls and top each bowl with pepitas.  Thai Coconut-Pumpkin Soup  Step 1 Omit cinnamon and add 1 teaspoon ground ginger; add 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red curry paste to pumpkin and apples. Omit apple cider and add 3/4 cup light coconut milk and 1 Tablespoon lime juice. Step 2 Omit pepitas, sugar and salt. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving. Serve with lime wedges.   Chipotle-Spiced Pumpkin Soup Step 1  Increase cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1 finely chopped, seeded chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce to pumpkin and apples.  Omit apple cider, adding 1/4 cup water instead.  Step 2  Omit pepitas, sugar and salt. Garnish with 1 ounce thinly sliced and slivered Spanish chorizo (or plant-based chorizo) cooked in a small skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. 

-Cooking Light, October 2016 

3552italian-chicken-smashburger https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/italian-chicken-smashburger/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/10/IMG_6729-600x486.jpg Whether you’re watching the game from home or headed out to tailgate, football season is here. Now that you’ve got your gear on, how about some great food to go along with it? Take a different approach to the game day burger with these Italian Chicken Smashburgers. Much like a meatball, but served in burger form, it’s a crowd pleaser that’s the best of both worlds.  I love this recipe and just can’t get over how easy it is. In spite of the short ingredient list, it consistently yields juicy, flavorful, perfectly seasoned patties. I make homemade chicken or turkey meatballs all the time, but these patties are so perfect I may never roll a meatball again.  They are quicker to mix and faster to form and cook, plus you always get perfect results. There are no breadcrumbs, so they’re gluten-free, too. You can make your own tomato sauce, but you need such a small amount for this recipe that I recommend using jarred, or if you happen to have any leftover sauce in your freezer, this would put it to good use.  I use about half of the cayenne and skip adding the salt because I think the cheese is salty enough. Smash your burger bigger than your bun. It will shrink as it cooks and you want it to come out generously sized. Use that thermometer. Besides ensuring moist, juicy burgers, it’s the only way to be certain your patties are cooked to an internal temperature of 165º F, the minimum required for safely cooking ground chicken.  The recipe below yields 8 burgers. Make the patties a day ahead so you just need to assemble the sandwiches at game time. Freeze any leftover patties in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer them to a zip top freezer bag. Use them for more sandwiches, or serve them with pasta, just as you would meatballs. You can also serve them plated, topped with melted provolone, marinara, and fresh basil, or use mozzarella, a slice of fresh tomato, and some basil with a balsamic drizzle, caprese style. Served with a salad or some steamed veggies, it’s an easy meal you can pull from your freezer when you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking. Be scrupulous about washing your mixing bowl and anything that comes into contact with raw meat. Use hot, soapy water and a commercial or homemade sanitizer that is approved for food contact surfaces and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Some may require rinsing your surfaces after use. Clean sinks and countertops, knives and cutting boards, and any place you set your meat or poultry or its packaging. Wash your hands thoroughly, both before and after handling meat or produce to prevent cross-contamination.   Here’s how to keep your crowd well fed. No matter how you serve it, it's a winner.  Italian Chicken Smashburger chicken burgers  sandwiches Combine ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, Parmesan and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Using clean hands or disposable food prep gloves, gently work mixture together. Divide into 8 equal size, meatball shaped rounds. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle set over medium-high heat. Toast the cut sides of burger buns and then move to oven or toaster oven set on 170º F. to keep warm. Working in batches of two at a time, add two chicken rounds to the skillet. Use a large flat spatula to press down hard on each patty to flatten it. Cook for about 2 minutes, until patty browns a bit. Flip, and continue cooking, until internal temperature measures 165º F. Top each patty with a slice of provolone, then transfer to sheet pan and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken rounds.  Build sandwiches by placing one patty on each bun and topping with warm marinara sauce and fresh basil. Serve with additional sauce for dipping if desired. 

- adapted from recipe by The Grill Dads

3544skillet-pasta https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/skillet-pasta/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/09/IMG_6698-e1664604745445-600x402.jpg Free food. Yes, I said free food. As grocery prices continue to soar, there’s one place you can continue to get a free meal, and that’s at home. Chance are, you have food you might not even be thinking about in your freezer or pantry. You just need to find out what you have and then plan something to do with it. If there’s ever been a time to eat what you have, the time is now.  Start with your fresh food. Hang a calendar on, or close to, your fridge and commit to posting the expiration date of every perishable item you add. As you put away fresh meat or chicken, dairy, eggs, cheese, deli meat, fresh pasta, or tofu add it to the calendar. This is a great way to keep track and knowing what you need to use ahead of time helps to cut down on food waste. Start here, too, when planning your meals and plan around what needs to be used next. Check your freezer for more free food. Frozen properly, food lasts a remarkably long time, but it’s best if you can stay on top of it and use things up sooner. Combine your freezer finds with some pantry items and you’ve got dinner. If you have a pound of ground meat in your freezer, you’re in luck. This week, we’re making Skillet Pantry Pasta, an easy and delicious way to stretch a pound of ground beef into a filling family dinner. Made in one pot, it’s soothing, satisfying, and sure to please.  If you’re craving something good, there’s nothing like a homemade meal. Made from scratch, there are no processed ingredients, preservatives or things you can’t eat. When you cook at home, you can have anything you want and make your food any way you like. You can be mindful of allergies, special diets, and food preferences. Best of all, you can cook using what you have on hand. Free food. I made this using lean ground beef, but you could use ground turkey, chicken, or even sausage. Substitute lentils, mushrooms, or beans and vegetable broth and non-dairy products to make this plant-based. Use any shaped pasta that you have on hand. I used an 8-ounce package of Banza chickpea pasta to make this gluten-free while also adding some additional fiber and protein. I cooked the pasta for the minimum time, just 7 minutes, so that it would have some toothsome chewiness and also keep its shape. You can swap in 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes in place of the tomato sauce, but I didn’t want chunks of tomato, so I used the sauce. I used reduced fat shredded cheese and just eyeballed the amount, sprinkling what looked like enough over the top. I did the same with the cream, adding a generous glug and thinking I could always add more if needed. It was delicious! Melty cheese, savory beef and pasta. Soothing and satisfying, it's a perfect fall dinner. Skillet Pantry Pasta  Combine ground beef and onion in a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook until onion is softened and ground beef loses its pink color, about 15 minutes, breaking up beef with a spoon as it cooks. Add garlic, paprika and black pepper. Cook and stir, 1 minute. Add beef broth and tomato sauce to the ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then add pasta and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes or according to package directions.  Reduce heat to low. Add a generous splash of heavy cream, sprinkle with cheese and add cheese slice. Stir in cheeses until fully melted and creamy. Taste and adjust, adding more cream, cheese or salt if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve. 3538apple-spice-muffins-with-oat-streusel https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/apple-spice-muffins-with-oat-streusel/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/09/IMG_6670-428x600.jpg This week, it’s all about apples. Get back to baking and fill your house with the warm, welcoming smell of these Apple-Spice Muffins with Oat Streusel. Delectably studded with fresh apple, these moist, tender muffins are topped with oat and cinnamon sugar streusel, then drizzled with just a bit of apple cider glaze. They’re just right for breakfast, sharing with a friend, or enjoying along with your coffee.  You can't miss the arrival of the first Northwest apples every September. The sweet, fragrant aroma hits you instantly when you walk into the store, and it always seems to prompt me to grab a paper bag and take home a few more. Soon I am stirring ingredients together, measuring cups and spoons crowd the counter, the familiar smells of apple and cinnamon hit the air, and suddenly it’s fall all over again.  If you don’t have buttermilk, start your prep by making some. Measure a scant teaspoon of white vinegar into a liquid measure, then add enough milk to measure 1/4 cup and stir well. Let this sit while you measure the other ingredients. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of unsalted, softened butter, but I replaced it with an adjusted amount of oil because I like the lighter consistency it gives to baked goods. I used 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and added in 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, wanting to boost the fiber and nutrition a bit. There are equal amounts of flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and pecans, one third cup of each, in the streusel. You can omit the pecans to make this nut-free if you like. I did this and the topping was still perfect, the oats lending a nice texture. Be sure that all of your muffins get their fair share of the streusel. Top muffins evenly with the crumble mixture by sprinkling one tablespoon over each of the muffins and then going back over them with the remaining mixture so that they are all coated.  When you make the glaze, start by adding the vanilla and just one tablespoon of the cider. The recipe called for 2 tablespoons, and when I made it this way, it was too thin. After I drizzled it over the first muffin, it soaked right in and all but disappeared. I adjusted the consistency, adding more powdered sugar to make it more like a thin frosting, but one that would still drizzle. The muffins baked up generously, spilling over the tops of the tins in a decadent, bakery muffin sort of way. They smelled so good coming out of the oven that I could hardly wait for them to cool so I could glaze them. Bake something warm and delicious. Sit outside with your coffee and an apple-spiced muffin and enjoy the cooler air. It’s fall at last.  Apple-Spice Muffins with Oat Streusel muffins streusel glaze Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners. Make streusel: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, pie spice, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in butter and mix until combined and crumbly. Set aside. Combine flour, pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk  together.  In a large liquid measure, combine buttermilk, canola oil, sour cream, vanilla extract and eggs; whisk together.  Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a mixer set on low speed and scraping bowl as necessary until evenly combined. Fold in chopped and grated apple. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 5 tablespoons of batter per cup. Top each filled muffin cup with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of streusel. Bake in preheated oven until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool in tray 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes.    Make glaze: combine powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon apple cider in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Adjust, adding more cider if necessary, until drizzle is a thin frosting consistency. Drizzle over muffins. 

-adapted from Southern Living, September 2022

3528sicilian-caponata https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sicilian-caponata/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/09/IMG_6610-e1662780072659-600x475.jpg This week, I’m sharing what I’m eating, and right now, I’m eating caponata. I made this year’s first batch a few weeks ago, and memories filled my kitchen almost as quickly as the familiar smell did. Before I could get any tucked away in the freezer, it disappeared. Everyone was hungry for more, so I’m making it again. The date on the bottom of my recipe is 1-29-89. I have been making caponata for a long time.  Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish made with diced eggplant, bell peppers, onions, celery, and tomatoes. Olives and capers add flavor, as well as garlic, olive oil and a bit of red wine vinegar. You may have seen it in stores and not even realized it. It is sometimes sold as, or labelled, “Italian eggplant appetizer.” This is caponata. Infinitely adaptable, caponata can be served many different ways. Served hot, it’s a delicious plant-based entree, or you can use it to spoon over fish or chicken, dressing them up nicely. Try serving it over spaghetti or other pasta with some freshly grated cheese on top. Or, serve it as is, straight out of the bowl, as an appetizer.  Try it at different temperatures. Sometimes I will serve it very cold, but it’s equally good served warm, or piping hot. It’s also great at room temp, so you can let it hang out on a buffet and be sure it’s still enjoyable. Packs well, too. Imagine this with cheese and crackers when you tailgate, or take it along on your road trip.  Make a bowl of caponata part of your snack board or antipasto platter. You can serve this with crusty bread, or eat it spooned onto saltine crackers, like we sometimes did when I was growing up. The caponata we ate as kids came from a can and was hard to find. We lived in Miami and the nearest Italian grocery was a long ways away. It was a huge adventure to go to Laurenzo’s Italian Market, but they had everything - Italian cookes, pastries, a huge delicatessen, pasta galore and hard to find Italian condiments like caponata. We would fill our cart, always bringing home at least 5 cans to tide us over until the next trip. Canned caponata is quite scary. It is dark and oily and the contents are so well commingled that you can’t identify any of them. Being able to confidently down a forkful of that mysterious, dark condiment wasn’t easy. Homemade caponata looks nothing like the canned variety. First, the colors are brighter, which makes it more approachable to those that haven’t tried it. Second, the components are still discernible, which takes a lot of the fear factor away. And, it’s a lot less oily. Eggplant takes center stage here, so pick wisely. Select slightly firm, but not hard, with a glossy, even appearance. It should feel heavy for it’s size and be free of bruises or blemishes. For best flavor, try to pick one on the smaller side. If harvested too late, they can become seedy and/or bitter. Plan to use your eggplant soon after you buy it. Cut your eggplant and bell pepper into about 1/2-inch size cubes. You can cut your celery and onion a little smaller. Everything will shrink when it cooks, but you don’t want big chunks when you spoon it onto your cracker. I like to cut the olives in half, so they’re a little smaller, but still big enough that you can make them out out among the other ingredients.   Just wait till you try this. It’s delicious!  Sicilian Caponata Place eggplant slices onto a double layer of paper towels; sprinkle with sea salt. Leave to drain until salt draws water out, about 1 hour. Using a clean paper towel, wipe salt and moisture off, turning eggplant slices over as you go. Sprinkle with salt and let set again, until moisture is drawn out. Wipe salt and moisture off, then transfer to cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set a colander over a bowl. Using clean hands and working over colander, squeeze remaining liquid from eggplant, one handful at a time, transferring eggplant into colander as you go. Set aside, allowing to drain until ready to use. Heat olive oil in large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, and red pepper flakes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add reserved eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 more minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and their liquid, plus 1/2 can of water, then stir in chopped garlic. Add vinegar, sugar, olives and capers. Cover and cook over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables soften and mixture becomes thick, about 10 minutes or more.  Serve hot as a vegetable side dish, or room temp, warm, or cold, as an appetizer or antipasto with bread or crackers. Freeze airtight, in resealable bag, up to 3 months.  3520homemade-stromboli https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/homemade-stromboli/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/09/IMG_6575-e1662183147972-600x397.jpg At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you make, but it better be good and it needs to get on the table quick. Everyone’s hungry and they’re all waiting for you. While you have a captive audience, why not pull something magic from your oven. Flaky, crisp, and warm, Homemade Stromboli is sure to make some excitement. Filled with your favorite meats and cheeses, it’s a crowd pleaser, even better if served with a side of marinara for dipping. Whether you have it for lunch, dinner, snacks, or game day, it’s just plain fun and it’s definitely delicious.  The easy homemade dough has only 6 ingredients and is well worth the effort. It bakes up soft and chewy on the inside, but has a wonderfully crisp crust and can also be used for pizza, ham and cheese pockets, or pizza rolls. The recipe yields about 2 pounds of dough, enough for 2 strombolis, or 1 stromboli, plus 1 pizza. For best results, make the full recipe. You can freeze half to have on hand for pizza, or better yet, make stromboli again. Use your bread machine to make effortless dough. Toss everything in and you’re free to do other things while it mixes and kneads. Homemade dough is heavenly and just wait until you smell that Stromboli baking! Make sure any meat you use is cooked, and use larger, deli sliced pepperoni rather than the small pizza size, which will make your stromboli harder to roll. Don’t use more than the recommended amounts of meats and cheeses, or they may spill out the sides and also make your stromboli difficult to cut. If you don’t want to make the dough, you can use any kind of refrigerated, pre-made pizza dough and it will still be delicious. I made a second one to try using a Pillsbury Pizza Crust and had everything rolled and in the oven so quick I wondered why I hadn’t done this before.  Homemade Stromboli homemade dough for 2 fillings for 2 egg wash and toppings for 2  Whisk warm water, yeast, and granulated sugar together in the pan of your bread machine. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Add olive oil, salt, and flour. Select “Dough” mode (30 minutes knead, 70 minutes rise). After dough finishes kneading (30 minutes), press “Stop.” Remove pan and transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and place in a warm area to rise for 60-90 minutes, or until double in size.  Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. When dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide in half. If not making 2 strombolis, shape half into a ball and lightly coat all sides with olive oil. Place into a zip-top bag and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air, then freeze.*  On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll other half of dough into a 10x16-inch rectangle, using your hands to square-off edges. If dough shrinks, cover it lightly and let it rest for 10 minutes, then roll again.  Mix melted butter and garlic together, then brush over rectangle; sprinkle with parsley. Layer with meats and cheeses, leaving a 1-inch border on the bottom and a 3-inch border on the top. Start with 8-10 slices of meat, then add a layer of cheese. Repeat with more meat and cheese, using about 1/2 pound meat and 1/2 pound cheese.  Brush all edges with egg wash, including 3-inch gap at top. Starting with edge closest to you, slowly roll into a tight 16-inch log, folding in the two sides as you roll. Dust your hands or the dough with flour, if needed. Carefully transfer to lined baking sheet. Pinch or tuck in ends if they become unfolded.  Brush top with egg wash, and sprinkle with optional toppings, if desired. Using a very sharp knife, cut 4 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 8 hours.)  Bake about 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200º F. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and slice. Serve plain or with pizza or marinara sauce for dipping. Store covered and refrigerated (sliced or whole) for up to 1 week.  *To thaw, place frozen dough in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and let rest on counter for 30 minutes. Punch down to release air, if needed, then roll and fill as above. 

 - sallysbakingaddiction.com

3512easy-fish-tacos-with-mango-salsa https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/easy-fish-tacos-with-mango-salsa/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/08/IMG_6543-e1661575884564-600x407.jpg It’s the big summer send-off. The last hurrah before the ease of summer ends and the air becomes charged with the busy bustle of schedules and routines. Right this minute is a great time to gather all that basil and make some pesto. Slice some tomatoes and cucumbers. Add slivers of onion, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar and soak up all the juicy goodness of those vine ripened tomatoes. Pickle something, like some quick-pickled onions, to use on your burgers and tacos. Enjoy the warm air and the cool breeze as autumn slowly creeps in.  Say a sweet goodbye to summer with some Easy Fish Tacos. And when I say easy, I mean easy. This simple prep is so flavorful and quick, it has become my go-to for fish night. You get a beautiful sear on your fillet and there’s no mess. Truly, the most difficult thing about this recipe is having the foresight to thaw your fish. After that, it’s smooth sailing. If you don’t want to measure, the juice from half of a lime is one tablespoon.  Next, make a side of Mango Salsa. One bite and you're somewhere tropical. A little vacation you can take at home. Spicy, sweet, and bright, this fresh, summery salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips and it's an excellent accompaniment for the tacos. Best of all, it has most of the same ingredients, so if you're already making the tacos, you’re on track to stir some together. If you happen to have cherry tomatoes from your garden, pop ‘em in. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, swap in some diced red bell pepper or chunks of avocado. Equally delicious!  Finish your party on a fun note with an easy Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. Use a very deep baking dish, like a lasagna pan, and plan to make this at least 1-2 hours ahead, so your cake has time to freeze and firm up before slicing. You can also make a smaller cake by using an 8x8 pan, or by forming your cake to size on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Get creative and have fun with this. Try using ice cream, chocolate or other flavored, to make the middle layer, or add chocolate pudding mix to some of the whipped topping and use that in between. Or, add some warmed peanut butter and chopped peanuts, if you like. Top with chocolate, sprinkles, chopped nuts or Oreo cookies, or candy, like chunks of peanut butter cups or mini M&M’s. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! Easy Fish Tacos with Spicy Sauce sauce tacos and assembly Combine sour cream or yogurt, sriracha, fresh lime juice, kosher salt, sugar and water in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover and chill sauce until ready to use. Toss cabbage, lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix cumin, paprika, cayenne and remaining 2 teaspoons salt together in a small bowl, stirring until evenly combined. Place cod or halibut fillets on a small baking sheet or plate and pat dry; sprinkle spice mix evenly over to coat. Drizzle fish with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then rub with your hands until a light paste forms on fish and there are no dry spots.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place fish rub side down and cook until golden, gently turning halfway through, roughly 12 minutes or less total cooking time. Flesh should be opaque and flake easily with a fork, internal temperature 145º F.  Remove from heat and transfer to a warm plate. To serve, top warm corn tortillas with pieces of fish and prepared slaw. Top with thinly sliced red onion, jalapeño and cilantro leaves with stems. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. 

-Rachel Gurjar, bonappetit.com

Mango Salsa Combine mango, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, cherry tomatoes (if using) and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine. 

-Zaynab Issa, bonappetit.com

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake Arrange a layer of ice cream sandwiches in the bottom of a 9x13-inch dish, cutting to fit, if needed. Allow to soften a bit, then use a spoon to gently press down. Top with a layer of whipped topping; spoon hot fudge or drizzle syrup over. Layer with remaining sandwiches, then spread whipped topping over all. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, cookies, chocolate or candy.  Freeze until set, about 1-2 hours or overnight. Remove and let sit on counter a few minutes before serving. To cut slices, dip a knife in hot water and wipe dry. Repeat between slices.    3504trail-mix-cookies-and-healthy-peanut-butter-granola https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/trail-mix-cookies-and-healthy-peanut-butter-granola/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/08/IMG_6528-e1660978332608-600x439.jpg   Get ready for the first week of school with two easy recipes you can make now and have on hand for later. Make homemade Healthy Peanut Butter Granola with your kids. It’s a delicious, crunchy topping for yogurt or overnight oats, or you can eat it on its own, served with almond or oat milk. Serve it with fruit and peanut butter for a snack, or just eat it out of hand. Best of all, you can make it at home and have some fun with your kids.  Next, make some cookies. It’s always fun to find a treat tucked into your lunch box, and the first week of school calls for something special. Wholesome Trail Mix Cookies are a handful of your favorite trail mix turned into a soft, chewy cookie. Just the right mix of salty and sweet with plenty of nutty crunch, they’re a snack you can feel good about. Perfect for back to school, you can pack them in a lunchbox, or stash them in your car or backpack to take along on your next adventure. Loaded with toasted nuts, dried fruit, hearty whole-grain oats and chocolate, they’re just the thing to boost everyone’s spirits and energy.  Use any, and as many, kind of nuts as you like. Ditto for the dried fruit. I used dried cherries and apricots, but cranberries, blueberries, or raisins would all work. I cut my fruit a bit, too, so that the pieces wouldn’t be too large. Toasting the nuts and the oats before you add them to the cookie batter amps up their flavor. I used one sheet pan for the nuts and seeds and a separate one for the oats, wanting to be careful not to burn them.  Use sunflower butter, and use only seeds, if you’d like to make these nut-free. I used gluten-free oats to make them gluten-free. If you make this with flax eggs, the cookie dough will be safe to eat raw. You can taste the dough before you bake it, and decide if you’d like to add more maple syrup. You can use chopped bittersweet chocolate bars, or chips or disks, if you prefer in place of the chocolate chips. Swap in 2 eggs if you don’t want this to be plant-based, but I wanted to keep this vegan so I used flax eggs, a mixture of ground flaxseeds and water, as below. Double the recipe and freeze half. You’ll be ready with freshly baked, healthy cookies in the busy weeks ahead. Here’s to a great start to the new school year!  Trail Mix Cookies Combine ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Set aside.  Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then preheat to 350º F. Toast nuts, seeds and oats on rimmed baking sheets, tossing once, until just golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, mix peanut butter, vanilla, maple syrup, prepared flax eggs, salt and baking soda in a large bowl; let sit until nuts are cool.  Add dried fruit and chocolate chips to cooled nut mixture. Give peanut butter mixture a good stir, then stir in oats. Mix in nut mixture until thoroughly combined. (Can be chilled up to 3 days.) Use a 1/3-cup measure to portion out dough, packing firmly. Place cookies onto parchment lined baking sheet, then use the bottom of a measuring cup or your hand to press cookies into 2 1/2”-diameter disks about 3/4” thick. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Bake until golden brown and edges are just set, 10-13 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets. Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 8 cookies.   Healthy Peanut Butter Granola Preheat oven to 325º F. Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside.  Mix oats, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In a microwave safe dish, or on stovetop, melt peanut butter and honey (or maple syrup) together, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. Spread mixture on prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until granola is lightly browned, stirring once halfway through. To test for doneness, remove a small portion and let cool. If it hardens, the granola is done. Remove from oven and let sit until cooled. Once cool, break apart. Store airtight, at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or frozen up to 2 months. 

 - recipe from joyfoodsunshine.com

3497chinese-chicken-salad-with-red-chile-peanut-dressing https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chinese-chicken-salad-with-red-chile-peanut-dressing/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/08/IMG_6502-e1660353638467-600x523.jpg Just when you thought the worst was behind us, it is hot, hot, hot again. Consider this an excuse not to cook, and I’m writing all of you a permission note right now. Keep it cool this week and make simple meals. Don’t heat your house up. Here’s what to make when the stove and oven are off limits. For breakfast, make overnight oats or some chilly chia pudding. Do this before you go to bed and you’ll have a bracing breakfast waiting for you in the morning. Other cool ideas: fresh fruit and yogurt, cold cereal and milk, or a smoothie. If you insist on something hot, microwave eggs in a cup or make breakfast burritos in the microwave. Remember, no stove!  Use your Instant Pot and hard boil some eggs. You can make egg salad for lunch, or toss them onto a cold Cobb or Nicoise salad. Use some for snacks and don’t forget about deviled eggs. You can also use your Instant Pot to poach chicken breasts. Add 1 cup of water to your Instant Pot and place fresh chicken breasts on a trivet. Season with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Pressure cook on high, 10  minutes for breasts under 2-inch thickness, 15 minutes for over 2-inch thickness. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then carefully turn valve to venting. Remove chicken, then shred or cube. Store covered and refrigerated.  Make chicken salad with diced celery and mayo. You can add in grapes, chopped nuts, or onions, if you like. I like to use Vegenaise and add celery, scallions, fresh cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. This is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Moroccan Chicken Salad recipe and it’s delicious.   For dinner, try this Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing. Cool and refreshing, it’s crunchy and filling, but nice and light, making it perfect for this hotter weather we’ve been having. To keep this easy, a rotisserie chicken is a godsend, especially when you’re trying not to heat things up. You can get at least two meals from one chicken, maybe three, depending on your needs. The chicken is easier to handle when it’s warm, so break your chicken down and pull all the meat off the bones as soon as you get home. Transfer to a covered container and store in the fridge. Get in the habit of using a liquid measuring cup to make dressing. Measure your 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar first, then add the rest of the dressing ingredients as below. I reordered them so that you can measure all of the tablespoon ingredients, and then measure all of the teaspoon ones. It speeds things up and also lessens the chance of a mistake if you get interrupted when you are cooking. After you measure the last of the measuring spoon ingredients, measure the 1/2 cup of canola oil into the liquid measure, then whisk and pour. I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup when I made this and also only used about half of the dressing. If you do this, too, you’ll have enough dressing left over for another salad. I didn’t want the dressing to be spicy, so I left the chipotle pepper purée out and also swapped in sugar snap peas in place of the snow peas, which gave a nice sweetness to the salad. I added some diced Persian cucumbers for crunch and used Thai basil from my garden instead of using mint.  Quench and replenish with a homemade All-Natural Sports Drink that has no processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners or food dyes. Not just for long, hot summers, it will come in handy for fall sports season, too. Adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. And think cool thoughts. We’ll be knee deep in apples and pumpkins before you know it.  Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing dressing salad Measure vinegar, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chipotle pepper purée and canola oil into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk together then season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Combine cabbage, lettuce, carrots, snow peas, cilantro, and green onion in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls, then top with shredded chicken, chopped peanuts and mint. Drizzle with chili oil, if desired. Garnish with lime halves. 

 - adapted from recipe by Bobby Flay

All-Natural Sports Drink Combine coconut water and fruit juice in a 2-quart pitcher. Stir in honey and sea salt until dissolved. Add water and lemon or lime juice and stir. Serve chilled.

- recipe by Samantha Skaggs

3490grilled-chicken-fajitas https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-chicken-fajitas/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/08/IMG_6482-e1659774974601-600x521.jpg Are we having fun yet? This was one of my dad’s favorite phrases. Secret code for those of us in the know, it was his way of saying, “This is definitely a good time.” Usually he was talking to one of his grandsons, fishing rod in hand, bent over so he could reach a small ear. I can still see the twinkle in his eye. My dad was a hard worker. Always on call, he literally worked around the clock. But he also knew how to have fun. He’d go fishing or play golf any chance he’d get. He’d hop in the car and take a spur of the moment road trip, especially if it meant seeing his kids or grandkids. Have some fun yourself this week. If you haven’t made s’mores yet this summer, do it now. You can celebrate National S’mores Day today, or wait until this weekend, but don’t miss the chance to roast marshmallows under the stars at least once this summer. Why not plan to make dinner outside, too? Even if your campfire is your backyard grill, have some fun and make these Grilled Chicken Fajitas. Seasoned with Southwestern spice and a lime-infused marinade and served with sautéed peppers and caramelized onions, they’re prefect for family sharing. You can do the small bit of prep ahead of time and while you're at it, plan to make extra. Leftovers are great for salads, tacos, burritos, pizza, sandwiches, or quesadillas. I made fajitas over a campfire once when we lived in Colorado. We took a day trip to Estes Park and I took along marinated chicken, sliced peppers and onions, a package of flour tortillas, and of course, all the trimmings. Once the fire got going, I cooked the peppers and onions in a big cast iron pan. As soon as they were cooked, I used the same pan to cook the chicken. I’m not sure if it was the fresh mountain air, the smoke from the grill, or the special way I seasoned the chicken, but this meal is one that everyone remembers and talks about to this day.  For this recipe, the chicken breasts need to be pounded to an even thickness before marinating. This helps to tenderize the chicken and ensure that it cooks evenly. You can use chicken tenderloins to skip this step and save time. The seasoning mix is quick and easy to make and uses spices you already have on hand. Marinate your chicken overnight, or do this early in the day. You can make the peppers outdoors on the grill in a cast iron pan, which is great with all the hot weather we’ve been having. They can also be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave if that works better for you. Served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa, these fajitas are smoky and delicious. They will also be memorable. Are we having fun yet?  Grilled Chicken Fajitas for chicken: for peppers: for serving: chicken: Place chicken breasts in a 1 gallon zip-top bag. Using a meat mallet, pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Place bag in a medium bowl or on a sheet pan. Measure vegetable oil into a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Add garlic, lime zest, cumin, oregano, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and salt, then stir until mixed together. Pour marinade over pounded chicken and seal bag shut, releasing any air in bag. Using your hands, massage marinade into meat until evenly coated. Place bag back in bowl or on sheet pan to protect against leakage. Transfer to refrigerator and let chicken marinate at least 8 hours, or overnight, up to 24 hours.  Clean grill and preheat to high.  peppers: While grill heats, add oil to a large skillet (preferably not non-stick) set over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions, peppers and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown and soften and a brown film forms around edges of the bottom of the pan, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to pan; scrape the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon to release any browned bits and cover with a lid. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. If water evaporates and pan starts to brown again, add 1/4 cup more water and cook a few minutes more. Season to taste with more salt if desired. Set aside.  Oil the grates on the grill. Grill chicken, covered, turning to cook both sides, until thoroughly cooked. Chicken should measure 165º F with a thermometer inserted in the thickest part. Do not overcook. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut into 1/2-inch strips. Arrange chicken and peppers on a serving platter. To warm tortillas: stack 4-6 tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with chicken, peppers and desired accompaniments. 

- recipe by Jenn Segal

3486summer-heirloom-tomato-and-goat-cheese-gratin-with-herbs https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/summer-heirloom-tomato-and-goat-cheese-gratin-with-herbs/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/07/IMG_6468-1-e1659211822493-600x482.jpg   Summer goes by so fast. Just when you really start to get the hang of it, it’s suddenly Labor Day. Then, before you know it, it’s over. Be sure to make the most of it. Eat fresh and eat seasonal every chance you get. No matter how you say tomato, the season is upon us. There is nothing quite like a juicy, fresh picked tomato, whether it’s from your own vine or warmed from the sun at the market stand. Embrace tomato season with this easy gratin. Bursting with sun-ripened tomatoes, this simple recipe is an easy weeknight supper you’ll be eager to make again and again.  Select a baking dish that is microwave and oven-safe. You can microwave the onions in this first, then finish the rest of the dish in the oven. Use small, ripe tomatoes, or adjust your larger ones by taking a few slices out of the middle, which is what I did. Pop the slices into the fridge so they’re ready to go for sandwiches, burgers, or a quick caprese salad. Scoop the pulp out of the tomatoes before roasting, so your gratin doesn’t turn soupy. Save what you scoop in a small jar and refrigerate. Add vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and some fresh basil and make a delicious fresh tomato vinaigrette. You'll want a creamy, firm goat cheese for this recipe. It will need to hold up against the juices and form a sturdy crust. I opted to leave the poblano pepper out, but will give it a try the next time I make this. Be ready with plates, forks, knives and some crusty bread. This smells so good while it’s baking, it will be hard to wait. (Spoiler alert: it's heaven!) Next, make a Fonio Grain Salad with Herbs, Summer Vegetables and Chickpeas. This make-ahead salad of ripe cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, chickpeas, feta, olives and fresh herbs mixed with peppery arugula, a scoop of fonio and a light vinaigrette is a splendid summer meal. You can also add a portion of grilled fish or chicken on top and make it a heartier meal. Fonio has been cultivated in Africa for more than 5,000 years. A nutty-flavored kind of millet, this tiny ancient grain is tender, gluten-free and packed with nutrients. It has cystine and methionine, two amino acids that make it a favorite to be baked into bread for diabetics or those who have celiac disease. It cooks up quickly and is much like a cross between quinoa and couscous, both in appearance and texture. With the highest calcium content of all grains, fonio can be a good choice for those who don’t consume dairy. You can find fonio at Whole Foods market, or order it off Amazon.  Soak it all in. Eat up every moment of this beautiful season. Summer Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin with Herbs Preheat oven to 450º F. Place sliced onion and pepper (if using) in a microwave-safe baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt and thyme sprigs. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until onions soften, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let rest, covered, until slightly cooled.  Uncover dish and discard thyme. Spread onion mixture evenly across the bottom of baking dish. Using a spoon, scoop and discard seeds and pulp from tomatoes. Season the interior of the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then place tomatoes over onions, cut side up, in a snug layer.  Scatter tomatoes with half of the basil, then top with an even layer of crumbled goat cheese. Top with breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and remaining olive oil.  Bake until tomatoes are soft and goat cheese bubbles and is brown in spots, about 20 minutes. Remove the gratin from oven and let rest at least 5 minutes. Top with remaining basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately, with bread for dipping, if desired. 

- adapted from Doug Psaltis

Fonio Grain Salad with Herbs, Summer Vegetables and Chickpeas Make the dressing: In a large bowl, combine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and chile flakes. Whisk together, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olives, shallot or onion, cucumber, chickpeas, tomatoes, feta and cooked fonio to the bowl and toss to combine. Stir in parsley, dill, arugula, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest for a few minutes then adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, oil or lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately, or can be served later at room temperature. 

- adapted from Tiffany Derry

3474cowboy-caviar https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cowboy-caviar/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/07/IMG_6438-600x505.jpg The heat is definitely on this week. When it gets this hot, the last place you want to be is the kitchen. Warmer temperatures can definitely wreak havoc with your appetite, not to mention your desire to cook. Make something refreshing and beat the heat with cooling dips that let you eat light. These three dips will help you make the most of what you have, whether it’s a few berries from your garden or the last of the carrots in your crisper.  Plant-based and packed with protein, Cowboy Caviar is made from good-for-you ingredients that you most likely have in your fridge or pantry. Simple and healthy, it’s made from fiber-filled, longevity-boosting beans, plus anti-inflammatory vegetables and herbs, like peppers, onion and cilantro. Toss these together with a lightly seasoned vinaigrette, and you’ve got a low fuss, no cook, delicious dish to snack on or sub for a meal. Economical and infinitely adaptable, it keeps well for several days. Swap as you like to make this heartier pico de gallo. I used canned black beans and traded edamame for the black-eyed peas. Vibrant and nourishing, it’s just right for a day when it’s just too warm.  Make a thick and creamy, healthier dip to eat with all those garden veggies. This next easy dip is made with Dash Everything But the Salt seasoning blend. Perfect with sturdy vegetables like celery, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, radishes and snap peas, you can also serve it with whole-grain bagel chips, pretzels, or crackers. You can use regular Everything But The Bagel seasoning if sodium isn’t a concern, or make your own salt-free seasoning out of dried garlic, dried onion, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Let’s not forget dessert. For the easiest whipped cream fruit dip ever, try this Whipped Yogurt Dip. Made with only two ingredients, you can use the whipped topping of your choice and substitute other types of yogurt, as well. I used Truwhip and nonfat plain Greek yogurt. It was light, fluffy and tangy, with just the right amount of sweetness, not too thick or thin, just perfect for dipping with fruit. I like that you can make this with flavored yogurt, too, and the Two Good variety called for in this recipe has only 2 grams of sugar per 5.3 ounce cup. I wanted to try making a smaller batch, so I mixed equal amounts of yogurt and Truwhip, 1 cup of each, and it was just right. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Eat light and stay cool! Cowboy Caviar dressing: Combine black beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, red onion, green onion, jalapeño, and lime juice in a large bowl and stir together. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, honey, garlic and ground black pepper. Pour dressing over bean mixture, then fold in avocado, peach, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt. If time allows, refrigerate 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips. 

 - adapted from Well + Good 

Dash Everything But the Salt Dip Mix feta, sour cream, yogurt and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Mix in Dash seasoning and stir until well combined. Refrigerate and let chill 30 minutes; stir before serving. Serve with veggies or whole-grain chips. 


Whipped Yogurt Dip Mix whipped topping and yogurt together in a small bowl until fully combined. Serve with fresh fruit. 

- eatthis.com

3468pressed-italian-picnic-sandwiches https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pressed-italian-picnic-sandwiches/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/07/IMG_6402-552x600.jpg Clear, sunny skies and fruit and veggies galore, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and celebrate National Picnic Month. A picnic captures all the joie de vivre that is summer and delivers it in food form. In the park or at the beach, or even in your own back yard, the addition of fresh air and blue sky make any meal feel like a vacation. A picnic can be as much or as little as you want it to be. What you put in your basket is entirely up to you.  Pack your picnic basket with reusable, unbreakable plates, cups, and cutlery. Bring a roll of paper towels, cloth napkins or bandanas for napkins. Don’t forget serving spoons and a small, wrapped knife and cutting board. Pack wet wipes, trash bags, sunscreen and bug spray. Add a large picnic blanket, or if you’re like me, keep one in your car at all times.  A hard-sided cooler protects your food and helps to keep it at the proper temperature. Pack food into stiff, resealable containers to avoid spills or crushing and tote drinks in a separate cooler, if possible. Use plenty of ice packs to keep your food cold. Skip salads with mayonnaise and take hardy bean, grain or pasta salads with vinegar and oil dressing instead. For food safety, don’t leave perishables out of the cooler for more than 2 hours. Bring veggie sticks and hummus. Olives, pickles, fruit jam, cheese and crackers. Homemade iced tea or lemonade in a thermos. Pack fresh cherries, berries, or cut melon, and cookies, brownies, or hand pies for dessert.   For a sandwich that’s good to go, try these Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches. Delicious and filling, they are just perfect for picnics and summer entertaining. They will keep well in the fridge for several days, so you can make them well ahead of time. Take time to wrap them before serving. The wrappers help hold everything together, making them neater to eat as well as easier to hand out. You can make these as you like, swapping in other ingredients like sun dried tomato or pesto for the roasted red pepper, or spinach for the arugula. Use any size ciabatta, or try using rolls. When you trim the edges, save the trimmings. You can chop them up to add to a crisp green salad tossed with Italian dressing.   To prevent your sandwich from becoming soggy, use peppers that you roast yourself, not jarred ones. You can do this under your broiler as below, or outdoors on the grill, roasting the peppers over medium to high heat until they char enough that the skin softens. I did this a day ahead and refrigerated the peppers overnight in a sealed container, so that they were easy to peel the next day. If you are buying a big bag of peppers, roast more than you’ll need. You can use the extras for sandwiches, pizza, salads or in anything that needs a little punch of flavor.  I found deli meat, bell peppers, bocconcini, and artisan rolls for this recipe at Costco. If you use rolls, trim one side of your sandwiches before serving so that you can see all the wonderful colors of the filling. I didn’t have any arugula, so I used some butter lettuce from the garden and added some fresh basil leaves to the sandwiches. I used balsamic glaze in place of the balsamic vinegar, drizzling it lightly over the filled sandwiches. I also added a heavy splash of red wine vinegar to the peppers when I dressed them with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Don't waste another minute. Get out there and picnic! Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches Peppers Set oven to broil. Slice sides off peppers and trim ends off so that pieces are flat. Place sections skin up on baking sheet. Broil until very well charred (mostly black on top), watching closely, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place peppers in a resealable bag. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off blackened skin, then discard skin. Slice peppers into strips. Place peppers in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. Sandwiches Cut ciabatta in half, buttering each side lightly. Layer bottom half generously with cold cuts (4-5 overlapping layers), then top with red pepper strips. Pat bocconcini dry with a paper towel, then add over peppers. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over sandwich filling; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a generous layer of arugula and cover with top slice of ciabatta.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate, pressing with a heavy skillet set on top of another baking sheet to weigh down, 6 hours or overnight. Remove from plastic wrap, trimming ends and sides to make neat sandwiches. Wrap sandwiches with parchment paper and twine.  

- seasonsandsuppers.ca

3460plum-and-blackberry-granola-crisp https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/plum-and-blackberry-granola-crisp/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/07/IMG_6338-600x455.jpg Slump, grunt and buckle. It sounds like a grueling exercise routine, but it’s actually what you should do with all the fruit you have on hand this summer. Stone fruits and berries are at the peak of perfection, so now is the perfect time. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this. Here are two recipes to get you baking.   Much more delicious than they sound, slumps and grunts have all the appeal of pie without the hard work of constructing one. Rather than wasting time fussing with a crust, make one of these classic New England dishes made from diced fruit or berries cooked under spoonfuls of biscuit dough. Ideal for hot summer days, grunts are cooked on the stove in a lidded pot, the steam lending extra moisture to the biscuits. If you prefer to use your oven, a slump is the answer. The fruit and biscuit preparation is exactly the same, but you bake your finished dish rather than cooking it on the stove.  Both methods are a great way to use up any frozen fruit or less than perfect berries you discover at the bottom of the container you just bought.  For this Blueberry Grunt, adust the amount of sugar based on your berries’ sweetness. I used 1/4 cup and found it to be just right. I skipped the cinnamon but added just a bit of lemon zest to brighten the berry filling. Mix the dough very lightly, until it just comes together. This recipe makes a generous amount of biscuits. Cover and refrigerate any remaining dough. You can use it to top more fruit or make some quick biscuits for breakfast in the morning.   Another delicious baked option is the buckle. A buckle is the best of both worlds:  a fresh fruit coffeecake topped with streusel that sometimes contains oats. It has dense-yet-tender cake, layers of fruit, and cinnamon-streusel topping, making it enjoyable for breakfast, dessert or any time of the day.  For extra ease, try this Plum and Blackberry Granola Crisp. Bursting with berries, but not overly sweet, it gets a bit of balancing tartness and juiciness from the plums. You can use other stone fruit or berries in this recipe as long as you end up with about 2 pounds of fruit. This crisp is vegan and you can also make it gluten-free by using gluten-free oats and flour. I swapped sunflower and pumpkin seeds in place of the almonds to make this nut-free as well. The granola is made with olive oil and maple syrup, and I used whole-wheat flour in place of the all-purpose to add fiber and make this dessert healthier.   Gather your fresh fruit and berries and get baking! Blueberry Grunt filling dough For filling:  Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon in an 11” skillet or 6-quart Dutch oven and mix together. Stir in blueberries. Bring blueberry mixture to a gentle boil over low heat, stirring occasionally.  For dough: While berries cook, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Work in cold butter cubes with a pastry blender, or use clean fingers. Quickly and gently stir in buttermilk until mixture forms a cohesive dough.  Using a tablespoon, dollop the dough in small mounds over the blueberry mixture. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat until the biscuits are cooked through, about 15 minutes. For each serving, scoop up berries with a biscuit or two and invert on a plate, so that berries spill down over the biscuit. Store covered and refrigerated; reheat before serving.

- King Arthur Test Kitchen

For Slump: Preheat oven to 400º F. Make filling and dough as directed above. Drop dough onto simmering blueberry mixture, then transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, 17-20 minutes or until dumplings are golden brown. Serve warm, with ice cream.    Plum and Blackberry Granola Crisp filling: granola topping: For filling: Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350º F. Toss plums, blackberries, raw sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a large bowl to combine. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie dish or 1-qt baking dish.  For granola topping: Stir oil and maple syrup in a medium bowl to combine. Add oats, almonds, coconut, flour and 2 pinches of salt. Work until mixture comes together in loose clumps; scatter over filling. Place crisp on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cook until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving. Serve with yogurt, whipped cream, or ice cream, if desired. Can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool completely; cover and chill. 

- adapted from recipe by Deb Perelman, epicurious.com

3452garden-ginger-highball-and-seedlip-mary https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/garden-ginger-highball-and-seedlip-mary/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/07/IMG_6308-600x593.jpg Beverages are an important part of how we mingle. Non-alcoholic options are getting better, but for many years your only choice was something pink and syrupy sweet that came with an umbrella. Whether you’re trying to support friends who don’t drink, or if you aren’t drinking for whatever reason, there is now a grown-up option that treats you like an adult.  Launched in 2015, Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. Originally available in the UK only, it has been embraced by the world’s best bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers across the globe. It is now in 40 countries and is the world’s best selling non-alcoholic spirit. Seedlip lets you make captivating cocktails that have complexity and character quickly and with little effort.   The story begins 300 years ago, when it was common for physicians to distill herbal remedies using copper stills, harnessing the power of nature & alchemy to solve medical maladies. One such physician, John French, published The Art of Distillation in 1651, to document these non-alcoholic recipes. This is where founder Ben Branson got his inspiration.  I first heard about Seedlip shortly after its launch and was so intrigued I spent the next four years trying unsuccessfully to order it every time we went out. Once it became available, I had a bottle shipped from the UK, so I could finally try it. I was especially excited when they started stocking it at select stores in the US, and you can find it locally at BevMo and Total Wine & More.  This past week, I joined an online Seedlip Master Class led by Ben Branson. He described the six-week process that involves bespoke maceration, copper pot distillation, and blending and filtration for each individual ingredient before it is blended & bottled in England. The resulting beverage gets its name from the basket used by farmers to hand sow seeds, a ‘seedlip’. There was a lively demo and discussion from non-alcoholic drink expert Bjorn Taylor. I couldn't wait to start experimenting with Seedlip to make summery drinks. There are three different flavor profiles of Seedlip. Garden 108 is a complex, herbal blend of individually copper pot distilled peas, hay and traditional English herbs. Spice 94 is a blend of aromatic Jamaican Allspice berry & Cardamom distillates with two barks & a bright citrus finish. And Grove 42, a sophisticated, bright, citrus blend of Mediterranean Orange, Lemon Peel, Lemongrass and Ginger with a dry finish. The numerical portion of each name represents something significant to that variety. For Garden 108, it refers to the 108 days to sow, grow and harvest the English peas.   Seedlip is sugar-free and sweetener-free and is also allergen free for the standard allergens. You can keep it sugar-free by mixing it with sparkling water, or you can use natural alternatives like honey or agave, or fruit juices such as pineapple, orange, or apple mixed with sparkling water to control the sweetness. Seedlip should always be mixed, with tonic, seltzer, ginger ale, or as the base in cocktails, rather than sipped neat. Served over lots of ice, it’s a flavorful, sophisticated option. This truly unique beverage lets you create distinctive cocktails that complement the food and the occasion as well as the company. Seedlip varieties also lend themselves to the season. You can match the flavor profile of your Seedlip with locally sourced ingredients that play well with it. For summer, I like Garden 108 and Grove 42.  Most cocktails call for 2 ounces of Seedlip, but you can use more or less, depending on your taste. You can also batch Seedlip and make pitchers of your desired beverage for a crowd pleasing option.  Although it is non-alcoholic, you could certainly add alcohol to your Seedlip beverages. Thinking ahead to fall, you could make a very interesting drink with pumpkin hard cider and Seedlip Spice, or keep it non-alcoholic with apple or cherry cider. Seedlip can be mixed with other ingredients and frozen to make granita, sorbet or slushies, but you shouldn’t put the sealed bottle in the freezer because gas can build up. Once opened, Seedlip does not need to be refrigerated. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and enjoy your bottle within the recommended six months. Elevate your experience and make a great cocktail that doesn’t happen to contain alcohol. Enjoy and share a delicious beverage. Cheers! Seedlip Mary Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Gently pour cocktail from small tin into large tin, doing this a few times until drink is mixed well. Pour into serving glass, top with ice and garnish.  Garden Ginger Highball Method: build over ice Garden and Tonic Method: build over ice Garden Party Method: shake all ingredients. Strain over ice.  Garden Booch method: build over ice, topping Seedlip with kombucha.  

- seedlipdrinks.com

  3446classic-succotash-and-chopped-salad-with-cornbread-croutons https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/classic-succotash-and-chopped-salad-with-cornbread-croutons/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/06/IMG_6270-e1656132299635-600x476.jpg When my kids were small, we would end every school year with a bucket list. We’d sit together and make a plan, listing all the things we wanted to see and do over the summer. Now is the time to make your summer bucket list. Let your kids stay up way past their bedtime to look at the stars, bask in blissfully bare feet, and play games in the grass. Open the windows and let the breeze blow in. Ride a bike. Embrace the campfire, or the grill in your back yard. Get out the garden hose and run in the sprinkles. Set up a comfy chair in the shade of a tree and read a great book. Go for a picnic. Pick berries. Go to the library. Make homemade pickles and jam. Visit the zoo. Pick some fresh flowers. Get out the sidewalk chalk, blow some bubbles, drape the kitchen table with a blanket and camp out underneath. Make ice cream and freshly squeezed lemonade. Make memories.  Here’s to an old-fashioned Fourth. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, homemade potato salad, and a freshly baked pie. Add to the festivities with some new dishes to round out your fare. Both are great paired with barbecue and are also easy to make and take to a cookout. It’s hard to go wrong with Classic Succotash. With exuberant vegetables at their peak flavor, this traditional Southern side is the perfect potluck or picnic dish. Practical and easy on your budget, succotash lets you elevate an abundance of summer produce in an effortless way. A delicious mix of vegetables and peas, besides the traditional lima beans, onions, corn, okra and fresh herbs, it can include whatever else you might have on hand. Brimming with flavor and color, this humble dish makes good use of what’s available and can serve as a side or main dish, depending on your needs. Skip any ingredients you don’t like or have, and swap as you please. My favorite swap is edamame. You can cook frozen edamame in the microwave in much less time than it takes to cook beans on the stove, saving time and keeping your house cool as well. Without the bacon it’s a great plant-based recipe to have in your rotation all summer long.  Give your usual salad a little barbecue style with this Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons.  It’s a nice, fresh option and it couldn’t be easier. Use cornbread mix and your favorite bottled ranch dressing to speed things up, or if you have time, make your own. I used canned black beans in place of the black-eyed peas and because the cornbread was so perfect out of the oven, I opted not to toast the cornbread cubes. They were golden brown, dense, and cut into pillowy little squares, just perfect for topping salad.  Have fun, live large, and make the most of your summer. Have a fabulous Fourth! Classic Succotash   Combine lima beans, yellow onion, thyme and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain beans, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard yellow onion, thyme and garlic. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for 7 minutes or until crisp, turning once. Remove bacon, placing on paper towels to drain; reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.  Sauté onion in hot bacon drippings over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in corn and cook, stirring often, until corn is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cooked lima beans and 3/4 cup reserved cooking liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in butter and remaining 3 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. 


Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread the cornbread cubes on a small baking pan. Bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let cool. Combine lettuce, cabbage, black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes and pimientos in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve topped with red onion and cornbread croutons. 

-recipe by Justin Sutherland, Food Network magazine

3437peach-and-cucumber-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/peach-and-cucumber-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/06/IMG_6247-e1655540888796-554x600.jpg If you want someone to smile, say “peaches”.  It works for photographers, and it will work for you, too, if you’re serving up anything that features this enticing blushy fruit. Juicy, sun-ripened peaches are easy to pick right now, whether you do your picking at a roadside stand, U-pick orchard, or your favorite grocery. With peaches on hand, there’s no reason you can’t make something delightful right this minute. Here are 3 healthy recipes made with lushly sweet peaches. Simple and delicious, they’re a quick and easy way to take a bite of what’s fresh.   Peaches and nectarines are similar stone fruits, but nectarines are smaller, firmer and smoother than peaches. Peaches are better suited to baking and softer-textured recipes, whereas nectarines stay firm and hold up better for cooking. Nectarines are almost genetically identical to peaches, with the exception of one gene, and that’s the one with the fuzz on it. A nectarine is just a peach without the fuzz.  Pair peaches with your favorite rosé wine and make Peach Ice Pops. Vibrantly peach colored, they are light and refreshing. A fun way to start, or end, a summer meal and a perfect treat for the hot days ahead. Using the entire peach, rather than just mixing fruit juice with wine, adds fiber, making these a frozen treat that’s better for you.  Grilled Nectarines are an easy way to make something fussy looking without fussing at all. Served with orange zested ricotta and a drizzle of honey, they’re an easy appetizer, side or dessert. For an easy dinner, grill nectarines or peaches with chicken and add pesto. Brush fruit halves with pesto and grill, cut side down, until softened and warmed through, about 2-3 minutes. Grill chicken until lightly charred and golden brown, about 7-9 minutes, brushing chicken with pesto while it grills.  Turn and brush other side with pesto, continuing to grill until cooked through, about another 5-7 minutes or until internal temperature measures 165º F. Plate a generous mound of arugula on a serving platter and squeeze lemon juice over all. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with grilled chicken and peaches and drizzle with additional pesto. Light and refreshing, Peach and Cucumber Salad makes the most of your deliciously ripe peaches. Combined with thin strips of cucumber and fresh mint and basil, it’s a snapshot of summer on a plate. It takes just a few minutes, but it’s oh so good. If you want to make it heartier, you can add crumbled feta, goat cheese, or cotija and some toasted nuts or seeds of your choice. And while we’re talking salads, why not add some peach or nectarine slices to your caprese?  Try one, or all, of these and enjoy the sweet taste of summer. Peach Ice Pops Purée peaches, wine, lime juice, honey and salt in a blender until smooth. Using a 12-pop ice mold, divide purée among molds, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Freeze for 1 hour, then add sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.  Per Pop 39 cal, 6.5g carb, 0.5 g fiber, 6 g sugars (2 g added sugars), 0g fat (0g sat fat), 0 mg cool, 11 mg sodium Grilled Nectarines In a small bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and salt. Stir together, then set aside.  Heat grill to medium. Cut nectarines in half and sprinkle cut sides with coconut sugar. Grill, cut sides down, until slightly charred and beginning to caramelize, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and continue to grill, covered, 1 minute more. Transfer to individual plates or bowls. Spoon ricotta over nectarines, then sprinkle with chopped pistachios, additional orange zest and a drizzle of honey, if desired.  Per Serving 124 cal, 5 g pro, 18 g carb, 13 g sugars (2 g added sugars), 4.5 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 16 mg cool, 146 mg sodium Peach and Cucumber Salad Combine olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. Stir in shallot and red chili. Add peaches or nectarines and let sit, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes. Cut cucumber into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler. Fold cucumber into peaches along with fresh basil and mint.   Per Serving 100 cal, 1 g pro, 9.5g carb, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 7 g fat (1g sat fat), 0 mg cool, 123 mg sodium

- recipes and nutritional information from Prevention Magazine, July 2022

  3433grilled-cheesy-loaded-potatoes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-cheesy-loaded-potatoes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/06/IMG_6223-442x600.jpg Celebrate dad’s day with a special dinner. Let him pick the main dish and have his choice of dessert. You fill in the blanks with sides and a really good salad. Whatever else you happen to be cooking, here’s what to serve with it.  Start with a big wedge salad topped with thick, chunky blue cheese dressing, just like the kind you get at a steak house. You can make individual serving plates or arrange the wedges on a platter and serve this family style. Sprinkled with cracked black pepper, bacon and halved grape tomatoes, it’s a perfect start to his meal. For a side, serve Grilled Cheesy Loaded Potatoes. Topped with sour cream, melted cheese, and bacon, they are just like his favorite fully loaded potato, but cooked outdoors on the grill. Everything cooks in one skillet, so there’s only one dish to wash, and the recipe is incredibly easy, so you can enjoy dad’s day, too. There are instructions below for both gas and charcoal grills, but if you are new to grilling or unsure about the specifics, consult your grill’s manufacturer’s guide for best results.  After the potatoes cooked, I used a lid and drained off the extra bacon grease before adding the cheese. You can make this on the stove top as well, but taking it outdoors means there’s no kitchen clean up! With herbs at their flavorful best right now, chimichurri is a great accompaniment. It’s a healthy way to give zingy, bright flavor and color to beef, chicken, or fish and again, it’s quick and easy to do. If he’s a steak guy, consider a flat iron or flank steak. The flat iron steak is the second most tender cut of beef, after the petit filet mignon — and it's a lot less expensive. Make your chimichurri a day ahead. Store it in a covered bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight to fully develop the flavors. Take it out ahead of time and let it warm to room temperature before serving. Offer it alongside whatever you are grilling and let everyone spoon on as much as they’d like, or slice your meat and pour a generous ribbon of chimichurri directly over the top.   Honor all the men in your life, whether it’s your own wonderful dad, your devoted husband, a doting uncle, beloved grandfather, or those special men who have been like a dad. Happy Father’s Day! Steak House Wedge  Cook bacon, using any method you like, until crisp. This can be done a day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated. Make blue cheese dressing following recipe below. Rinse iceberg lettuce well and cut into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges onto individual serving dishes or in a large rectangular baking dish or serving plate.   Drizzle dressing by generous spoonfuls over lettuce wedges. Top with bacon pieces and diced tomato. Garnish with additional chopped fresh chives and blue cheese crumbles. Thick and Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing  Lea Ann Brown Combine all ingredients, except blue cheese, in a bowl and whisk together until blended. Add crumbled blue cheese and fold in with a spatula to mix well.  Grilled Cheesy Loaded Potatoes Prepare grill for direct and indirect heat. For gas grills (with 3 or more burners), turn all burners to medium-high heat. After about 15 minutes, turn off one side burner, then turn remaining burners down to medium. For charcoal grills, bank one chimney starter-full of lit and ashed-over charcoal briquettes to one side of the grill. Set up a drip pan on the other side to avoid flare-ups. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over direct heat and add bacon. Cook, stirring often, until bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate; set aside. Add potatoes to pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat potatoes with bacon fat, then move pan to indirect heat and cover grill. Cook, uncovering grill and stirring every 5 minutes, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar then move back to direct heat. Cook, uncovered, until potato bottoms are golden and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Let cool 10 minutes. Add dollops of sour cream, sprinkle with scallions and reserved bacon and serve.


Chimichurri Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight to fully develop flavors. Return to room temperature before serving. 

-recipe by Matt Abdoo

3423rumtopf https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/rumtopf/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/06/IMG_6203-548x600.jpg Northwest berry season is here! Rows of bright, colorful cartons stuffed with fragrant gems fill the market, each one beckoning you to take some home. Commemorate the summer and preserve some of our spectacular fruit by making Rumtopf, a delicious, boozy German fruit compote traditionally enjoyed during the end-of-the-year holidays. Start right now with berries, cherries and apricots, then continue through the summer, adding fruits as they ripen. At the end of the year, you’ll have captured the flavors of the whole season in a liquor laden treat filled with a delicious boozy bounty. Rumtopf is typically made in a large stoneware pot, or rum pot. Some fruits, like strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears and grapes should always be included in a Rumtopf. Some fruits are not recommended and should be added at your discretion. These include apples, bananas (never!), blackberries, blueberries, citrus fruits, huckleberries, melons and rhubarb. I found out about the blackberries after I added them, but I love them, so I’m willing to take a chance. Add other fruits as you like, finishing with the final addition of pineapple in the fall. Avoid any fruit you wouldn't eat, such as fruit with bruises, mold, or anything that is overripe. The fruit must be thoroughly washed and patted dry, and the jar must be sterilized. Give your berries a 5 minute soak in water mixed with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to clean them and kill off any mold spores or bacteria. I like to use my salad spinner when I have to soak a large amount of berries. Let the berries air dry if you have time, or you can speed things along by using a small fan, a great tip I learned from my CSA farmer.   A 3-gallon crock is typical, but gallon canning jars can be used as needed. As long as the container can be closed tightly, you can use it. A 3-gallon recipe will make 25 servings, but the resulting product will depend on how much fruit, sugar and rum you add to your jar. The fruit may change colors and this is normal. Keep your Rumtopf tightly lidded, in a cool, dark place. You may want to add a piece of plastic wrap under your cover to safeguard against evaporation. Watch the alcohol level and top off as needed.  The rum used is usually an overproof rum (108 proof, 54 percent ABV or higher) which helps to preserve the fruit. Austrian Stroh, an 80 proof rum, is also a good choice. You can dilute Bacardi 151 or Gosling 151 with regular, 80-proof rum, which is less expensive. Use an approximate ratio of 2:3—2 parts 151 proof to 3 parts 80 proof and remember to be careful when handling overproof rum, it is highly flammable. Every time you add fruit, you will need to add sugar and rum as well to keep the fruit submerged. After the last fruit is added, you will need to let it rest at least 4 weeks before enjoying, but there is no rule that forbids you from tasting the fruits earlier. This is a very boozy recipe, so it’s not meant to be served to children or anyone who needs to avoid alcohol. At Christmastime, share your Rumtopf by ladling into smaller jars for friends or neighbors. Use the deliciously infused fruit to top pound cake or bake into cakes, spoon over yogurt, serve with ice cream or waffles, or puree the fruit and rum and freeze it to make a rum pot sorbet. Make a sauce for ham or use it to baste roasted pork, chicken or beef. There will always be more rum than fruits in the jar, so you will have some “leftover rum”.  Add a tablespoon or two of rum to your coffee or tea, or to your champagne glass, and celebrate! Savor the moment and make the most out of what you have. Preserve summer. Make Rumtopf!   Rumtopf Fruit: Step 1 Scrub container well with hot, soapy water. Rinse several times with boiling water, then rinse with a little rum. Step 2 Wash, clean and cut fruit as directed above. Add your first fruit and sprinkle sugar on top, 1 cup for every pound of fruit. Top with enough rum to cover by 1 inch. Set in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Continue layering as fruits come into season, using any of the fruits listed. Layer with enough liquid to completely cover so that your Rumtopf infuses rather than ferments. If your fruit floats, use a ceramic plate to weigh it down and ensure that all of it remains covered with rum. If bubbles start to appear, add a little 151-proof rum to halt fermentation. End with final layer of pineapple and any optional ingredients, followed by sugar and rum.  Step 3 Allow to rest at least 4 to 6 weeks after the last fruit has been added. Step 4 Use a ladle to dip down into the Rumtopf. Once the liquid level goes lower than the fruit, strain remaining liqueur, allow it to settle, then decant into bottles. Leftover fruit can be frozen until ready to use.     3412barbecue-chicken-quinoa-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/barbecue-chicken-quinoa-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/05/IMG_6178-e1653806672490-600x474.jpg When cooking exhaustion sets in and you just don’t know what to make for dinner, rotisserie chicken is the answer. Swing by the deli, toss a bag in your cart and you’re on your way to several fuss free meals. You can’t beat the ease of a rotisserie chicken to help you save time and eat healthy. Once you get home, break down your chicken, separating the light and dark meat if you like. Use the legs to fend off any onlookers who are suddenly starving and too impatient to wait. Remove the remaining meat, discarding the skin if you wish, and shred it as you go. The chicken is much easier to handle while it’s warm and you can package the meat up into smaller bags, depending on what you want to do with it. You can make tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos, chicken salad, chicken soup, casseroles, pot pie, chili, pizza, wraps, or use your chicken to top a baked potato or make BBQ chicken sliders. Tuck a bag of shredded meat into the freezer, too, so you have some on hand for another time.    For a quick, easy and delicious dinner, try this Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad.  I love this recipe because it comes together quickly and it’s very easy to prep the next day’s lunch as you’re putting leftovers away. The original recipe instructed to mix everything together in a large bowl, which is perfect for potlucks and barbecues, but I like to make it Cobb salad style. Don’t fret about the ingredient amounts. Because you are making individual servings, you can use as much, or as little, of any ingredient as you like. To add a little freshness and crunch to my bowl, I add in about 1 cup of chopped romaine lettuce, but you could also toss in a handful of mixed greens, or even some chopped cabbage or coleslaw mix for some extra veggie credit. Use fresh corn, which is so flavorful right now, and amp it up by grilling it. For added ease, you can swap in frozen corn, and again, use the fire roasted variety for extra flavor. You can serve this hot, cold, or at room temperature. I like it warmed, so I heat the beans and keep the chicken and quinoa warm before letting everyone make their bowls.  For fast, fluffy, effortless quinoa try using your Instant Pot. For every cup of quinoa that you want to cook, use 1 cup of water. Because there is no evaporation, you can double or triple the amount of quinoa without changing the water ratio or the cooking time. Add a pinch of salt if you like, or use vegetable or chicken broth in place of the water for added flavor. You can skip adding the oil altogether, but I like to sauté my quinoa before adding the water. This makes the grains more pilaf-like, nutty, fluffy and distinct, with just a bit of chew.  To chase the chill away from these remaining rainy nights, make Chicken a la King. This way back recipe is a favorite from my college days, but back then it was from a Banquet Boiling Bag. After they were discontinued, I started making this at home and it became a weeknight favorite. You can safely reduce the butter and flour in this recipe by half, using just 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. To make this gluten-free, I swap in cornstarch for the flour. In this case, remove 3 tablespoons of water from the 1 cup and mix it with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the water, milk and bouillon, then add the slurry, stirring until thickened. You can also add 1/2 cup of shredded American cheese into the thickened sauce to make Cheesy Chicken a la King.  Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad Toss rotisserie chicken and barbecue sauce together in a small bowl. Arrange quinoa, black beans, chopped romaine (if using), and barbecue chicken in rows in individual bowls. Scatter corn over all. Add shredded cheese to center of bowl, then top with avocado. Garnish with scallions and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!   

- adapted from recipe by Gaby Dalkin

Instant Pot Quinoa makes 3 cups  Rinse quinoa under running water until water runs clear. Coat bottom of Instant Pot with olive oil spray or olive oil. Add quinoa to Instant Pot and select Sauté. Cook stirring occasionally, until it smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Add water, secure lid and move valve to “Sealing.” Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" and set for 1 minute. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release valve to Venting, then remove lid and fluff quinoa with fork. Store in an airtight container in fridge up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months.   Chicken a la King 4 servings  Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in flour. Add milk, water, and chicken bouillon all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in cubed chicken or turkey, mushrooms and pimento. Add frozen peas, if using. Heat through. Serve spooned over rice, English muffins or toast points. 

- Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 1981

3407pig-beach-burger-and-mexican-street-corn https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pig-beach-burger-and-mexican-street-corn/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/05/IMG_6136-600x482.jpg Don’t just throw a burger on the grill this weekend. Go beyond a good burger and make a great burger. For the best-dressed burger on the block, go whole hog and make the Pig Beach Burger, a two-handed juicy beef number that features house pickles, white American cheese, and secret sauce snuggled into a potato roll. This big flavor burger from chef Matt Abdoo of the award winning Pig Beach BBQ team is every bite your favorite restaurant-style burger, but making it at home is a lot easier on your wallet.  Despite the long ingredient list, the Pig Beach Burger is incredibly easy to make. The seasoning and sauces can, and should, be made a day or two in advance, and since everything on the spice list is most likely in your pantry, it’s just a matter of measuring. You can safely reduce the sugar in this recipe, so taste as you go.  The addictively flavorful Pig Beach Burger Sauce yields a generous 4 1/2 cups. If your cookout is a smaller one, make a full recipe of the barbecue seasoning, but cut the mustard and burger sauce recipes in half. After you make the sauce, you can use some of the remaining seasoning to make Mexican Street Corn. Keep your seasoning on hand to use all summer long. It will add fantastic flavor to steaks, chicken, vegetables or anything else you are grilling.   Save money by making your own hamburger patties, especially if you buy meat on sale. I used an 85-15 blend ground beef for my burgers. Form the patties larger than your buns and create a small dimple in the center by pressing down with your fingers. This will keep your burgers flat and even and prevent them from shrinking too much. To save time, you can use jarred pickle slices in this recipe.  Do your first barbecue of the season right. Make something worthy of the long weekend. Enjoy a big juicy burger and say hello to the first taste of summer!  Pig Beach Burger All-Purpose Barbecue Seasoning Pig Beach Mustard Sauce (makes 1 1/2 cups) Pig Beach Burger Sauce (makes 4 1/2 cups) Pig Beach Quick Pickles (makes 1 quart) Burgers For the seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until evenly incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container until ready to use. Keeps 3 months in pantry. For the mustard sauce: Combine all ingredients and mix with an immersion blender. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.  For burger sauce: Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive container and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix again before serving.  For burgers: Preheat grill to high heat. Spray grates with nonstick cooking spray. Season burgers with salt and pepper and arrange on grill. Cook 2 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes, topping each burger with a cheese slice so that it will melt. Cook until internal temperature measures 160º F. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest 1 minute.  While burgers rest, spoon one tablespoon of Pig Beach Burger Sauce on the bottom of each bun then top with 6-8 pickles. Place burger patties onto buns and dollop more sauce on top of each burger. Finish with top buns and serve immediately.  Mexican Street Corn Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, lime zest and lime juice in a mixing bowl; set aside. Heat grill to high and spray grates with nonstick spray. Grill corn on all sides until nicely charred then transfer to serving dish. Spoon or brush sour cream mixture onto corn, then top with cotija cheese and barbecue seasoning. Serve with lime wedges.  

- recipes by Matt Abdoo, chef and owner, Pig Beach BBQ 

3397grilled-pizza-with-hot-sausage-grilled-peppers-and-onions-and-oregano-ricotta https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-pizza-with-hot-sausage-grilled-peppers-and-onions-and-oregano-ricotta/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/05/IMG_6079-450x600.jpg Get grilling and celebrate National Pizza Party Day this Friday with a do-it-yourself, delicious pizza you can make at home. This Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions and Oregano Ricotta is incredibly easy to make and once you try grilling your pizza toppings, you’ll be reluctant to do it any other way. Short on ingredients, but big on flavor, it has all the cheese pulling, delectable toppings you would expect from a pizza parlor pie, but at a fraction of the price. I have wonderful memories of making home made pizza with my grandparents. Even though they lived less than a minute from the town’s best pizza spot, they staunchly refused to buy pizza there, proudly certain they could make an even better pizza in their own kitchen. My grandmother would start making the dough first thing in the morning, pulling a chair up to the counter so I could help add the ingredients to her stand mixer. She’d transfer the smooth ball of dough to a covered bowl, then later in the afternoon we’d make pizza. She would vary the toppings, but it always included home made tomato sauce, fresh herbs and freshly grated cheese. Simple, but heavenly! Start the weekend off on a fun note with a pizza party on Friday night. If you have never grilled pizza and feel unsure about the process, there’s a great video of this recipe on the Food Network website. Begin by tossing some flour over your work surface so your dough doesn’t stick, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough, starting from the inside and rolling out. Once you have a nice big circle, oil your dough and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill, oiled side down, then brush the top of the dough with oil so that it will be oiled and ready when you flip it.  Grilling adds amazing flavor and helps create a crispy, chewy crust. Cooking over flames puts a nice sear on the sausages and the fire’s char enhances the peppers and onions. Fontina cheese stands in for the usual mozzarella. Mild, buttery and slightly nutty, it adds earthy flavor. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette over the top and offer the rest alongside. Cover and refrigerate any leftover vinaigrette to dress salads or drizzle over sandwiches. Finish with ricotta cheese seasoned with fresh oregano spooned generously over the top. Pizza perfection!  I found everything for this recipe at Trader Joe’s, including refrigerated pizza dough that I had never tried before. It was amazingly easy to handle and made beautiful, perfect pizza crust. I bought two crusts and 1 pound of Italian sausage and was able to make 2 pizzas and a smaller gluten-free one following the recipe below. If you are gluten-free, they also have pre-made cauliflower crust pizza in the refrigerated section.  Get your family together, or gather a few friends, and head for the great outdoors. Make your own pizza at home and get in on the fun this Friday. Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions and Oregano Ricotta Basil Vinaigrette Make Basil Vinaigrette: Combine basil, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil; set aside.  Preheat grill. Brush onions and peppers with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place sausage, peppers and onions on grill. Cook sausage until golden brown and cooked through, grilling about 10 minutes each side. Grill peppers and onions until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill when done. Slice sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices. Separate onions into rings and roughly chop. Remove peppers and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices. Heat grill to high. Brush dough with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and grill for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from grill and place on a flat work surface.  Sprinkle fontina cheese evenly over top of pizza. Scatter the sausage, onions and peppers over the cheese. Place pizza on grill, close cover and grill until cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer pizza to oven and place directly on rack set closest to broiler. Broil on high until top is browned, about 5 minutes.  Combine ricotta, extra-virgin olive oil and oregano in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix together. Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette. Top with dollops of ricotta cheese mixture then let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve. 

-recipe by Bobby Flay, foodnetwork.com

  3391freeform-chicken-meatballs-with-carrots-and-yogurt-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/freeform-chicken-meatballs-with-carrots-and-yogurt-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/05/IMG_6053-e1651987899816-600x572.jpg Drizzly days demand comfort food, all the better if it’s quick to prepare. Freeform Chicken Meatballs with Carrots and Yogurt Sauce have the laid back vibe you need for a quick weeknight meal. The sheet pan prep makes this extra speedy, garam masala gives it exotic flavor. The carrots get a head start, roasting on their own while you prep the meatball mixture. Once the meatballs go in, you quickly make the yogurt sauce and before you know it you’re plating and eating.  This recipe is adaptable and very forgiving. It’s ready to let you do as you like, and isn’t that what cooking at home is all about? Don’t care for yogurt? Mound everything over a puddle of hummus instead. Or make a tahini sauce, or use store bought tzatziki. Toss some chickpeas with olive oil and Garam Masala and roast those as well. Add another roasted veg to the mix. Do it your way. Go ahead and make meatballs if you like, but I find the freeform style very liberating and dare I say, fun, and who can’t use a little timesaving on a weeknight?   Garam Masala is the Indian equivalent of French herbes de Provence or Chinese five-spice powder. Widely used in Indian curries, lentil dishes and soups, the individual spice list for this blend varies from region to region. Save money by making your own. Use ground spices you already have on hand while they’re still fragrant, so they don’t go to waste. Store your spice mix in a small jar. Be sure to label with a date and put it someplace handy so that you can remember to use it when you need quick seasoning for grilling over the summer.   I bought petite multicolor carrots that were peeled and trimmed to speed up the prep time. Halved lengthwise, they were ready to pop onto the baking sheet. Use a mix of white and dark meat ground chicken or turkey for the most flavorful results, or substitute a lean mix of ground beef. The recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of grated lemon zest, but to save time, I skipped measuring and just grated the peel from one lemon, which gave the meatballs bright, zesty flavor. Use a parchment lined baking sheet for the carrots, but don’t line the baking sheet for the meatballs in order to help them brown. When you make your meatballs, crack your egg directly into the bowl. Use a fork to lightly beat your egg, then add the rest of the meatball ingredients so that you can mix all the seasonings uniformly. I skipped adding the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to my meatballs and opted to just mist them before baking instead. I made two batches of these and both turned out delicious, but the sheet pan ones didn’t brown as much as I’d like. I tried putting them under the broiler, but they still remained peaked. I ended up making a batch in a cast iron frying pan, which browned them nicely. Verdict: sheet pan wins for ease, and the clean up wasn’t a big deal. But it it’s browning you’re after, go with the frying pan.  As always, make more. Roast extra carrots, make extra meatballs. They reheat nicely and are perfect for lunches or another dinner, leaving you free to enjoy the sun when it’s out.  Freeform Chicken Meatballs with Carrots and Yogurt Sauce Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, then preheat to 425º F. Toss carrots, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on lower rack of oven about 20-25 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until carrots are nicely browned and fork-tender.  While carrots cook, combine egg, scallions, lemon zest, garam masala, 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large bowl and stir together. Add ground chicken, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and mix until just combined.  Coat another rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Scatter chicken mixture in small 2” rounds on baking sheet. Roast on upper rack until browned, crispy-edged and cooked through (165º F internal temp), about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Spoon sauce over a platter or divide among plates, swooshing with the back of a spoon. Arrange carrots and meatballs over yogurt sauce, then top with arugula. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and season with flaky sea salt. 

- Anna Stockwell, epicurious.com

Garam Masala Mix spices together in a small bowl.  3384victoria-sponge https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/victoria-sponge/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/04/IMG_6017-600x422.jpg Here’s to you mom. The hundreds of home cooked meals, mountains of laundry, endless hours spent listening, and your innate ability to make everything all better. Your sage wisdom and finesse as a problem solver extraordinaire have not gone unnoticed. There is no one like you.  Give mom the royal treatment and make plans for the special day she deserves. Celebrate with the Queen of English cakes: the Victoria Sponge. The Victoria sponge, also known as the Victoria sandwich cake, was named after Queen Victoria, who loved to enjoy the cake with her afternoon tea. Her version would have been filled only with jam, but modern takes include cream, like whipped or buttercream, as well. The top of the cake is not iced or decorated, but it does get a light dusting of sugar for the finishing touch. The recipe, made with equal proportions of flour, fat, sugar and eggs, evolved from the classic pound cake. It was the invention of baking powder in 1843 by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird that allowed the cake to rise more than was previously possible. My mom loved a celebration, particularly, a sense of occasion. She knew each day was precious, and she had no fear, or intention, of missing out. Given the choice, she would certainly eat dessert. This one would definitely get her seal of approval. It's easy to make and fancy, too, and with the exception of the whipped cream, you can make this with what you already have on hand. Because the recipe is in metric measurements, I converted it to the English system to speed things along for you. Proper ingredients are a must here, as well as bringing the eggs and butter to room temperature. Caster sugar, also known as baker’s, or superfine sugar, is finer-grained than regular granulated white sugar. Widely available in the United Kingdom, you can make a DIY caster sugar by pulsing granulated sugar in your blender until it reaches a finely ground - but not powdery - consistency, about 2 to 3 pulses. Don’t balk at the large amount of baking powder. It is necessary in this case because this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, as opposed to the self-rising variety. There are two methods for making Victoria Sponge. The traditional method involves creaming caster sugar with butter, mixing thoroughly with beaten egg, and then folding flour and baking powder into the mixture. The modern method involves simply whisking all the ingredients together until creamy. This can either be done by hand or with an electric mixer or food processor. My suggestion: go the traditional route. This cake is all about pomp and circumstance, so go the extra mile. If you’re truly in a hurry, follow the modern method. It will still yield a delicious cake, no one the wiser with the exception of purists. If you only have one 8 inch cake tin, you can bake the sponge and slice it in half. There were several recipes that called for 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, which I think could be a nice addition to the cake. If you want to test for doneness, the internal temperature should be 200º-209º F. Be sure to use a good quality jam here. Strawberry or raspberry are traditional in the English cake, but you could certainly give this a little Northwest flavor and use another berry jam, along with some of our beautiful berries as we move into season.  Brew a piping hot pot of proper tea and sit down with mom for a chat. Slice up and wedge for each of you and enjoy a leisurely afternoon. Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day. Victoria Sponge for the filling Preheat oven to 180º C (356º F). Grease the sides and bottoms of two 8 inch sandwich tins (round cake pans), then line the bottoms with a circle of baking paper.  Sift flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture threatens to separate. Sift in the flour in 3 separate additions, folding it in with a large metal spoon.  Divide mixture between prepared tins. Bake 25-30 minutes, until cakes are golden brown, well risen, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Spread strawberry jam over one cake and place on a plate. Whip cream until soft peaks form, then pipe or spread it over the jam. Place the other cake on top and dust with icing sugar. Top or serve with fresh berries. 

- fortnumandmason.com 

Modern method: Break eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, flour, baking powder and butter. Mix together until well combined using a hand mixer or wooden spoon, being careful not to over mix. 

- Mary Berry, bbc.co.uk

3380broccoli-spoon-salad-with-warm-vinaigrette https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/broccoli-spoon-salad-with-warm-vinaigrette/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/04/IMG_5962-e1650692894535-600x585.jpg While Mother Nature continues to paint things a lush, verdant green, color you dinner plate similarly. Here are two new ways to make broccoli your new favorite vegetable.  A delicious mixture of flavors and textures, this Broccoli Spoon Salad with Warm Vinaigrette will elevate whatever else you happen to be making to the memorable level. Chop the broccoli small. For milder garlic flavor, use a peeled and smashed garlic clove to infuse your oil rather than using grated garlic. Buy your pistachios roasted and you can skip the roasting step. Add the dressing at your discretion. Should you have any remaining, it would be delicious to dress asparagus with as well.  Ras el hanout is rich and very aromatic. It’s an amazing spice blend and if you don’t happen to have any, it’s incredibly easy to make out of what you already have any hand. You can use it as a seasoning for meats, veggies, couscous, pasta, rice, and stews. Swap around. Curry powder instead of ras el hanout, any nut or seed for the pistachios, green onion for the shallots, raisins or other dried fruit for the dates, basil for the cilantro. Add a grain of your choosing like quinoa, or try a chewy one, like farro or barley, to make this even more filling and delicious. Next up, Roasted Broccoli and Tofu with Creamy Miso Dressing. Filled with interesting flavors and textures, this recipe is one you will want to put on repeat. Deliciously dressed in a creamy miso sauce, it’s so flavorful and indulgent you’d never know that it’s packed full of healthy ingredients. Time crunched? Quarter and roast half of the brussels sprouts and use your food processor to help you shred the rest. Mist your vegetables with olive oil spray before roasting to reduce some of the oil. Keep the olives to the side and taste before adding them, just in case you like the flavor as is and don’t want to mess with it. Don’t have hemp seeds? Swap in tahini. Save any leftover sauce to dress other roasted vegetables or use it to dip raw veggies in during the week.  Eat more vegetables. But eat them deliciously.  Broccoli Spoon Salad with Warm Vinaigrette Combine oil, ras el hanout, and garlic in a small saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, vinegar and honey. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper; set aside. Toast pistachios in a small skillet set over medium-high heat until golden brown; about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool, then finely chop. Toss pistachios, shallot, jalapeño, broccoli, cilantro and dates in a medium bowl. Drizzle dressing over all and toss to coat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Do ahead: Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

- bonappetit.com

Ras El Hanout Mix together and store airtight for up to 1 month.

- allrecipes.com

Roasted Broccoli and Tofu with Creamy Miso Dressing Preheat oven to 425º F. Cut stems from brussels sprouts and discard. Remove outer leaves and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Finely slice brussels sprouts and transfer to a medium bowl. Grind coriander seeds in a spice mill or use a mortar and pestle. Add broccoli and tofu to baking sheet with the sprout leaves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, add crushed coriander and pepper, season with salt, and toss to combine. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until broccoli is browned, lightly charred in a few spots, and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool. Add olives, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sliced brussels sprouts and toss to combine. Purée hemp seeds, miso, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, remaining lemon juice and oil and 1/4 cup water in a blender until smooth. Season with salt. Spread some of the dressing on bowls or plates. Toss roasted vegetables with sliced brussels sprouts and arrange over dressing. Top with sesame seeds, almonds and parsley. 

- bonappetit.com

3371pantry-salad-and-11-can-soup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pantry-salad-and-11-can-soup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/04/IMG_5944-e1650092590335-600x480.jpg Look no further than your pantry for dinner. Put those staples to good use with these two recipes that are made mostly from canned goods. Packed with hearty ingredients, Pantry Salad is a filling lunch or dinner. Satisfying enough to serve as an entree, but equally good as a side, tuck it into the fridge and you’ll have something good to eat for several days. Make it ahead. It’s perfect for lunch, picnics, potlucks or travel. Use low sodium or no salt added beans and taste before adding any additional salt. Celery adds requisite crunch, but you could also add other diced veggies like bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, fennel, carrot or jicama to add a bit of texture to the mix. I did not have any on pine nuts on hand, but you could top this with any kind of toasted nut or seed that you like. It's so good, you'll make it again and again. April is National Grilled Cheese month. The toasted bread and melted cheese combo is always a winner and it’s a natural accompaniment for a warming bowl of soup. This 11-Can Soup is an easy way to get dinner on the table quickly. Don’t worry about what you don’t have and be creative with what you do. Feel free to toss in a fresh item or two, or use frozen vegetables from your freezer. Leave out anything that doesn’t appeal to you. Most of all, use what you have. You can make a quick dinner without having to go any further than your pantry. I used frozen red peppers, skipped the tomato sauce and used chicken and vegetable broth instead. I used two cans of Great Northern beans and used frozen green beans, the smaller haricot vert variety, instead of the Italian ones in the recipe. I didn’t have canned minestrone, and because my diced tomatoes were unseasoned, I added extra Italian seasoning. It yielded a flavorful soup, filled with interesting ingredients, especially nice with the warm, crusty cheesy toast slices. Delicious!  While you’re hunting for dinner ingredients, take a quick inventory of your canned goods, making note of any that are running low. Check expiration dates and for best flavor and quality, make plans to use anything that’s about to expire soon. Canned goods are generally safe to eat past their best if used by date, however dented cans can be a bit more confusing. Any can that is bulging or leaking should always be discarded, but dented ones, in some cases, can be okay. If the dent is over a side or end seam, or has sharp or pointed edges, it is unsafe. I found a great guide with helpful pictures from the Larimer County Public Health Department online. If you have a dented can you are uncertain about, throw it out. Pantry Salad Combine beans, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, feta cheese, celery and leaves, tomatoes, oil and lemon zest in a large serving bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over all, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve. 

- foodnetwork.com

11-Can Soup and Cheesy Toast Cheesy Toast: Add the canned and jarred items to a large pot. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring to combine. Add the dried parsley and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 1 hour.  For cheesy toast: Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lay the ciabatta and sandwich bread slices on baking sheet. For the ciabatta, sprinkle with enough mozzarella to generously cover, then sprinkle each slice with half of the Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Top each ciabatta slice with a slice of provolone. For the sandwich bread, lay 2 slices of American cheese on top of each slice. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and starting to  brown around the edges. Slice the toast in half diagonally.  Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with cheesy toast.

- recipe by Ree Drummond

3363malabi-pudding https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/malabi-pudding/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/04/IMG_5922-e1649568331145-600x394.jpg End your spring celebration with something different. Malabi Pudding is perfect for Passover, but equally enjoyable any time of year. A delicious rose water milk pudding, this custard-like dessert is gluten- and egg-free and can be vegan as well, if made with non-dairy milk. The pudding comes together quickly and requires only a few ingredients, and because it needs to chill in the refrigerator to set, it's a perfect make-ahead dessert. The rose water scented pudding is silky and light, but not too sweet. Topped with a pretty pink raspberry syrup and chopped pistachios, this iconic Israeli dessert is deliciously different and it’s one you should try. To make these dairy-free, I used coconut milk. However, almond milk, especially if it’s homemade, is a more traditional option. Try adding a pinch of cardamom to your pudding, or you can add a few cardamom pods to infuse the milk as it simmers. Although rosewater is the traditional flavoring, you can also use orange flower water and top with orange marmalade and chopped crystallized ginger. For a sweet-tart dessert, try topping with a bit of pomegranate molasses and garnishing with pomegranate arils (seeds). You can find rosewater at specialty markets. I found some at Anoush Deli and International Food Market. Next, try this lightened up Hollandaise Sauce. This swoon worthy version is seriously simple, not to mention a lot better for you. Flavorful and rich, even without the eggs and butter, it’s made with a yellow bell pepper, but you’d never guess. It reheats perfectly, so you can make it ahead, and will keep well for several days if you have any left. If you’re thinking about an alternative to ham this year, try a different take on Eggs Benedict. Add sautéed spinach to make Eggs Florentine. You can use roasted portobello caps filled with spinach in place of the english muffins, or serve your eggs over some lightly creamed spinach or kale set atop a warmed polenta round. I love Eggs Sardou: artichoke bottoms topped with creamed spinach, thin strips of prosciutto or Serrano ham, eggs and hollandaise. Or, add cooked lump crabmeat and sliced tomato and make Crab Eggs Benedict. This time of year, you can’t go wrong sneaking some steamed asparagus on top.  Try something unexpected. Make something different. However you celebrate, end on a sweet note - and enjoy!   Malabi Pudding  4 to 6 servings pudding: raspberry rose syrup (optional): optional garnishes: Combine 1/2 cup of milk with cornstarch and rosewater in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork or whisk, until mixture is smooth and lump-free. Set aside. Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk with sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Once bubbles break the surface, reduce heat to low. Stir cornstarch mixture, then add it to the simmering milk, stirring constantly. Cook pudding at a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon.  Pour or spoon into 6 to 8 serving dishes. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours (pudding will firm as it cools). While pudding chills, make the syrup. Combine sugar, water, and jam in a small saucepan set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and incorporate the jam. Once mixture is smooth, remove from heat and stir in the rose water. Transfer to a dish and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, spoon a little syrup over the top of the pudding and garnish with slivered or chopped nuts or coconut, if desired. 

- recipe from thespruceeats.com

Hollandaise Sauce Place bell pepper strips in a microwave-safe bowl and add about 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes or until bell pepper pierces easily with a paring knife.  Drain and transfer immediately to blender.  Add cream cheese, lemon juice, mustard, and salt to blender.  Puree until the sauce is smooth and has no visible bits of pepper. Transfer to microwave safe bowl. Rewarm gently before serving.

- joybauer.com

  3356carrot-cake-waffles https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/carrot-cake-waffles/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/04/IMG_5896-e1648968300769-600x439.jpg The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Easter is right around the corner. If you’re hunting for something deliciously different and trying to find something a bit healthier, these Carrot Cake Waffles are just the thing. Serve them for breakfast, brunch, or a fun dessert. You can even make them ahead. Sweetened with just a bit of maple syrup and made with only 2 tablespoons of oil, they’re everything you love about carrot cake, but in waffle form. Loaded with carrots and topped with tangy, light whipped cream cheese frosting, they’re just right for welcoming spring.  Use your food processor to make your waffles. Start by finely chopping the carrots. You will need about 1 cup of chopped carrots, but a little more or less is okay, too. If you want to measure the carrots once they are chopped, spoon them into a 1 cup measure and then add them back into the processor. If you’d like to use jarred applesauce instead of an individual serving pouch, use 1/2 cup. To make this nut free, add 1/2 cup flour in place of the ground pecans. You can use any kind of waffle iron, although the recipe recommended the Belgian style. I used a 1/2 cup measure to portion the batter into each quarter of the waffle iron and used the 3 setting on the temperature dial. Once you find a setting that works for your iron, leave it set that way. Also, make a note of the measurement you like to portion your waffles, so that next time you can make waffles without any guesswork. I made another batch, vegan and gluten-free, using coconut milk, vegan buttery spread, gluten-free flour, flax eggs, and Daiya plant based cream cheese. Topped while still warm with the cream cheese frosting, they were delicious! Make either kind of waffle ahead. Rewarmed in the toaster oven they had a little bit of crunch on the outside, while still being tender and chewy inside. What are you waiting for? Hop to it and make these for some bunny you love. Carrot Cake Waffles cream cheese frosting: carrot cake waffles: Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pulse 1/2 cup in a food processor until finely chopped, but not ground. Transfer pecans to bowl, then roughly chop the remaining pecans for garnish.  For cream cheese frosting, combine cream cheese and butter in a small bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt; beat until mixed and smooth. Set aside.  For carrot cake: Reduce oven to 200º F. Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Measure milk into a liquid measuring cup, then add maple syrup, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, eggs and applesauce and whisk together.  Add carrots to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add liquid ingredients to carrots and pulse, then add flour mixture and chopped pecans. Pulse a few more times until just combined.  Lightly brush the top and bottom of the waffle iron with oil. Fill each quarter of the waffle iron about three-quarters of the way full. Close lid gently and cook until waffles are golden brown and slightly crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Keep the cooked waffles warm in the oven while you make the remaining waffles.  Spread each waffle with cream cheese frosting, then sprinkle with chopped pecans and dust with cinnamon.  Freeze waffles, unfrosted, in resealable plastic bags, up to 1 month. Reheat in 350º oven or toaster oven until warmed through and crisp. 

- adapted from Food Network Kitchen recipe  

  3346meatball-sandwiches https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/meatball-sandwiches/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/03/IMG_5850-450x600.jpg Want something really good for dinner? A home cooked meal, just the way you like it, and even better, there will be more dinners to come, but with no cooking and no  clean up afterwards. With the rising cost of food, it makes good sense to plan ahead. Take advantage of today’s prices and fill your freezer with things that are ready to eat. Here are two meals you can make this week that will help you stock your freezer at the same time. Work this strategy into everything you cook, and you’ll have a variety of meals you can make in minutes. Let’s start with chicken. Thighs and legs are very economical, and they’re versatile, too. You can bake, broil, or pan fry them, but grilling them is a quick, no mess way to get an easy, flavorful meal. Season your chicken simply, with just salt and pepper. It’s delicious as is, and will also leave you with plenty of room for adding sauces or seasonings later. Eat some of your cooked chicken for dinner tonight. Freeze the rest in a ziptop bag, spread out in a single layer so that the pieces will freeze individually. Place the bag on a sheet pan and transfer to your freezer. Next time you want chicken, remove the pieces you want, wrap them loosely in foil and reheat in a 350º F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until hot. You can add barbecue, teriyaki, or Thai peanut sauce to your warmed chicken, or try a spoonful of Dijon mustard swirled with apricot jam and some fresh or dried rosemary. I like making a simple sauce out of yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little grated garlic (or if you’re time crunched, garlic powder), kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Easy as can be, and it will dress your grilled chicken up considerably.  Another night, do the same thing with pork chops, steak, or chicken tenders. Broil, pan fry or grill, freeze them, and reheat. I have also had good results freezing chicken breasts that are pounded thin and pan fried in a little oil. You can top these with mozzarella cheese, a slice of tomato and some fresh basil for quick caprese chicken. Next, it's ground beef, turkey, or chicken. For crumbles, brown your meat in a large skillet at a moderate temperature, again, simply seasoned, so that you will have the most versatility later. Break up your meat with a spoon as it cooks, and once it browns, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup broth. Most of this will cook away as the meat continues to cook, but it will keep your ground meat moist. Use some for dinner on the night you cook it, added to marinara sauce and served over spaghetti, or make Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes. Transfer the rest into quart sized ziptop bags and freeze flat. Pour frozen crumbles directly from bag to add to soups or casseroles, or use to top pizza. To rewarm, transfer to a microwave-safe dish and heat, adding taco seasoning to make tacos, burritos or a quick taco salad. Or top baked potatoes, adding some shredded cheese. I always cook bulk Italian sausage this way, freezing the cooked crumbles so they are ready to top pizza and add into soups, spaghetti sauce, or breakfast casseroles.  You can also form ground meat into patties. Again, serve these hamburgers or turkey burgers on the night you cook them, but plan to freeze the rest for quick meals later, rewarming in foil as described above. Another night, make meatballs. The recipe below makes about 50. Add them to sauce and serve over pasta, make Italian Wedding Soup, or make quick Meatball Sandwiches. Now that your freezer is stocked, you can just reheat and eat. Keep frozen veggies on hand and you’ve got dinner!  Meatball Sandwiches meatballs for sandwiches Crack eggs into a large bowl and use a fork to lightly beat. Add onion, garlic, several grinds of black pepper, and parsley and stir to combine. Add ground turkey, oats, kale and Parmesan cheese  and mix lightly using fingers spread, rake-like, to poke/lift mixture until thoroughly combined. Form into evenly sized, 1.5 inch meatballs, arranging them with space between on baking sheet as you are rolling them. Bake for 15 minutes. Slice rolls in half lengthwise. Combine meatballs and sauce and spoon into rolls. Top with cheese then place sandwiches under broiler until cheese melts. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes Warm olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and a little brown on the edges. Pour in stock, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Add ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and black pepper; cook until sauce reduces, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off heat and lay cheese slices directly onto beef mixture in a single layer. Cover until cheese melts completely. Stir, then scoop meat and cheese into buns and serve. 

- adapted from recipe by Katie Lee Biegel

    3338crab-rangoon https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/crab-rangoon/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/03/IMG_5772-e1647645486330-600x444.jpg Crispy, creamy crab rangoon are all the rage on TikTok. These delicious little pockets stuffed with seafood and cream cheese are very popular at many Chinese and Thai restaurants, and a hot platter of these crunchy bundles arriving at the table is always a fun part of any dining experience. Making them at home is incredibly easy, and a lot less expensive, and with just a few ingredients and a small bit of time, you can soon be eating this addictive appetizer in your own kitchen.   A staple on American Chinese restaurant menus, crab rangoons were likely invented by Victor Bergeron, the founder of Trader Vic's, sometime in the 1950s. Dipped in sweet chili sauce, it’s hard to eat just one, and why should you when they are one of the few restaurant offerings you can successfully pull off with perfect results at home. Take your cream cheese out a little ahead of time so that it softens and is easier to mix. You can use a 6-ounce can of white crab meat or packaged imitation crab. If you use imitation crab, be sure to shred it fully first. If you use canned crabmeat, drain it well before adding the cream cheese. There are many different ingredients that can be added to the crab and cream cheese filling, like garlic, ginger, chives, sesame oil, soy sauce, or sugar, but you can also make these with just crabmeat and cream cheese. If you’d like to make your filling a little sweeter, but don’t want to add any sugar, try adding 2 tablespoons of finely grated carrot. It will be imperceptible in the finished wontons, but it gives them just the right amount of sweetness.  You can find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated section of the produce area. If you don’t use all of your wrappers, you can store them in the refrigerator for 7-10 days, or they can be frozen. Besides crab rangoon, there are many other ways to use wonton wrappers. You can make wontons for soup, dumplings (shumai), potstickers, or baked wontons. Or get creative and make mini quiche, apple pie cups, ravioli, samosas, or mini tacos. I had about 10 wrappers left, and am planning some bean and cheese empanadas that will bake in the air fryer. There isn’t anything these delectable little wraps can’t do, so be imaginative and put those remaining wrappers to good use!  I formed my rangoons tortellini-style, but you could also make them in a purse shape, by bringing all four corners to the center and pressing the adjacent edges to seal. You do not want any excess air inside the wontons and to be sure to seal all edges so that the filling doesn’t leak out when they are frying. Use a high smoke point oil, like canola or vegetable, in a pot large enough to submerge the wontons fully. Ease the wontons gently into the oil to avoid splashing. Chopsticks are a handy way to move the wontons around and turn them as they cook. Use extra caution when working with hot oil. Keep the pot handle turned in so that it doesn’t extend over the counter’s edge. Once the oil starts heating, do not leave the stove and don’t let the oil heat above 375ºF. Keep a lid next to the stove top for smothering flames and use a fire extinguisher, never water, to extinguish a grease fire. While these are best eaten immediately, resist the urge to eat them as soon as they are coming out of the oil. The creamy filling is molten hot, so let them cool off a bit first. Cover and store any leftovers in your refrigerator. They will reheat perfectly on a foil lined baking sheet in a 350º F oven, warmed for about 5 to 7 minutes, or the air fryer set at the same temperature for 2-5 minutes, or until warmed through.  Try these at home. You’ll be glad you did!  Crab Rangoon (Crab and Cream Cheese filled Wontons) Set out a small, prep-size bowl of water and a pastry brush, a sheet pan to place wontons on as you work, and another sheet pan with a cooling rack placed over it for the hot wontons.  Place crab in a medium bowl and shred. Add cream cheese, chives, garlic powder, sesame oil, soy sauce and carrot (if using) to bowl and combine thoroughly with crab; mix evenly.  Set out 3 wonton wrappers. Place 2 teaspoons filling into the center of each wrapper. Lightly brush the edges of one wonton wrapper with water. Bring two opposite points together and press corners together. Bring other opposite edges together to create a purse shape. Removing as much air as possible, seal the long side edges together. Repeat with remaining wrappers, placing on sheet pan as you work. Heat oil in a large pot, dutch oven, or wok until it reaches 350º F (do not exceed 375º F). Add 4 wontons to the hot oil, pushing them down to completely submerge them. Deep fry until they become a golden brown color, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from oil using tongs or a metal spyder then transfer wontons to the cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining wontons. Serve immediately with sweet and sour sauce for dipping.          3330tracys-spinach-pesto-and-butternut-squash-ravioli-with-sage-brown-butter-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/tracys-spinach-pesto-and-butternut-squash-ravioli-with-sage-brown-butter-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/03/IMG_5768-e1647066605904-600x425.jpg Growing up in an Italian-American family, Sunday was family day. It was a day for gathering and every Sunday gathering centered around a large pot of sauce. Starting early in the day, usually after breakfast, the smell of garlic warming in olive oil would fill the house. The smell is so familiar that it always tugs at my heart. That bubbling sauce was so fragrantly tempting, we couldn't wait for dinner, and more often than not we would convince my mom to ladle out a small bowl for us to eat with a piece of bread. Some Sundays, there was fresh pasta - wide ribbons of linguini or some of my mom’s home made ravioli made with ricotta cheese from the local goat farm. They were light as a feather, and if you ever ate them, you would never be satisfied with restaurant ravioli again. Eating is serious business with our family, or as  my great-grandmother would say, "I don't eat spaghetti anyplace but my own kitchen." The sauce formula is a simple one. Drizzle a good bit of olive oil into the bottom of a deep pot. Warm the oil over medium heat, then add 1 medium chopped onion. Cook and stir until translucent. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Pour in enough red wine to cover the entire bottom of the pot. Let this bubble and reduce. Add tomato - 2 or 3 cans of tomato sauce, or 1 can of sauce and 1 can of diced tomatoes, or a big jar or two of home canned tomatoes, and a can of tomato paste. Add some water, being sure to swirl it in all the cans to get all the sauce out. Add Italian seasoning, basil, some freshly ground black pepper, and a shake of red pepper flakes if you like. Cover and let cook on low heat all day, stirring every so often, until it becomes thick. Very often the sauce level would be considerably reduced by all that bread dipping.  March is National Sauce Month. Get saucy and celebrate with two new dishes that use just a few ingredients and only take minutes to prepare. Both sauces are so simple, you can make and finish them in the time it takes the pasta to cook, proving that yes, you can make a delicious, restaurant style pasta dish in no time.  Making pesto with spinach is genius. Unlike traditional pesto made with basil, this vibrant green sauce won’t brown. Use fresh spinach and garlic for best results, especially important here because there are only 4 ingredients.  No need to mince the garlic for this recipe, just smash. Take your large-bladed knife and place the flat side down on top of the garlic clove. Point the sharp side of the knife away from you. Firmly press your palm down on the flat side of the knife until the garlic clove flattens. Don’t fret about using 1/2 cup of olive oil. It may seem like a copious amount, but it is getting distributed over an entire pound of pasta. I used radiatori in place of cavatappi, because that is what I had on hand, but any other short sturdy pasta shape, like fusilli or rigatoni, would also work well.  For another easy 4 ingredient recipe, try this Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. Flavorful and impressive, it comes together just as quickly as the spinach pesto, and is equally easy to make. If you don’t have pine nuts, walnuts would be a great substitute.  For a quick, easy meal you can enjoy at home, celebrate all things saucy! Tracy’s Spinach Pesto  Combine olive oil and garlic in a large skillet set over low heat. Cook until garlic has softened, about 10 minutes; the garlic should not take on any color.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook cavatappi in boiling water according to package directions, until pasta is al dente. When pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot.  While pasta cooks, if using red pepper flakes, add them to garlic-infused oil and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, then add spinach and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring often until completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer spinach and all pan juices to blender; add pecorino and process until smooth. Add spinach pesto to pasta and stir to coat, adding reserved water by the tablespoonful, if needed, until sauce is a creamy consistency. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately with a sprinkling of pecorino.   Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt butter in a large stainless-steel skillet set over medium-high heat. Stir constantly, until the milk solids of the butter turn amber in color and it has a nutty aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat, add sage and stir; let steep. Cook ravioli in boiling water according to package directions, until al dente. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer ravioli into the butter sauce (don’t worry if some of pasta water transfers as well). Return heat to medium high heat and cook, stirring gently, until ravioli are coated with sauce.   Plate ravioli, then drizzle with butter sauce and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.   

- recipes by Anthony Contrino

3323beef-and-guinness-stew-with-irish-champ https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/beef-and-guinness-stew-with-irish-champ/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/03/IMG_5743-e1646459740727-600x450.jpeg Bring on the green! Rain soaked days and unpredictable weather call for satisfying sustenance. You need hearty dinners to help you get through the end of winter. A simmering pot of stew cooked low and slow soothes your soul and warms your senses. Served piping hot and spooned over a pillowy bed of mashed potatoes, it’s pure comfort. Here are two Irish dishes guaranteed to bring a smile to your St. Patrick’s Day. Champ is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes, scallions, butter and milk. While the source of the name is uncertain, it may be derived from an old Scottish dialect word meaning to mash or crush. This potato dish pairs well with fish or roasted poultry, and it’s a classic accompaniment for stew. Make it as is directed below, or you can lighten it like I did by using 1/2 cup reduced fat milk plus 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Chicken Base mixed with 1/2 cup water. Measure all of these into a Pyrex glass liquid measuring cup, then add 2 tablespoons of butter. About 5 minutes before potatoes are ready, microwave on high power for 1 1/2 minutes, or until butter has melted and liquid is warmed. Plan on roughly 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time for your potatoes, depending on how small you cut your chunks. Your potatoes are done when they break apart easily when pierced with a fork. This Beef and Guinness Stew is perfect for a rainy weekend. Start this hearty dinner earlier in the day or make it when you aren’t time crunched. The prep time takes about 30 minutes, but the stew cooks for 3 hours, leaving you free to do other things while enjoying the delicious aroma of slow simmered food. Root vegetables shine in this wintry stew. The ingredient list is simple, but deliberate, and each element imparts distinct flavor to the finished dish. Brown the cubed beef in batches, being careful not to crowd your pan, and don’t rush to stir or turn your meat. Leave it undisturbed and let it brown until it readily releases. This will help you get a nice sear on the meat and help it caramelize, adding extra flavor. Don’t worry about getting the cubed meat browned on all sides. If you are able to get a good sear on even one side, it will suffice.  Aside from the deep brown coating on the meat, you will notice some toasty little bits on the bottom of your pot. These will further flavor your stew when you add stout and deglaze. Five cups of onion sounded like an awful lot, so I used only 2 1/2 cups, half of what was called for, in this recipe. The finished stew was loaded with tender chunks of beef and fork soft vegetables surrounded by a rich, flavor filled broth. Spooned over a pillowy portion of champs, it was delicious. Add this to your menu this week. It might outshine the corned beef.  Beef and Guinness Stew Warm 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with salt, then dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pot and cook, turning to brown and sear on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pot. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and beef; remove beef from pot.  Add onion to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute more, continuing to stir. Add beef broth and beer, using spoon to scrape bottom of pot and loosen any browned bits. Return meat to pan, then stir in raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil, then cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrot, parsnip and turnip; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley. 

- Cooking Light, September 2021

  Irish Champ Fill a large pot with enough water to cover bottom, about 1 1/2 inches deep. Set a steamer basket into pot, then place potatoes and thyme sprigs into steamer basket. Cover and steam until potatoes are tender and soft. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.  Heat butter and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until warm.  Push warm potatoes through a ricer, or use hand mixer set on low speed to mash, blending in warm cream and butter mixture a bit at a time. Mix until soft and smooth, being careful not to over mix. Stir in green onions and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with Beef and Guinness Stew.   

- recipe by Catherine Fulvio 

3319the-best-egg-salad-sandwich https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/the-best-egg-salad-sandwich/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/02/IMG_5713-600x594.jpg Is there anything an egg can’t do? Poached, fried, or scrambled, eggs are there for you when you need a quick meal but don’t want to fuss. When you don’t have much on hand or when nothing else sounds good, eggs have got your back. And if you’re looking for an economical, easy source of protein, they’re a go-to solution for an endless variety of meals all day through. When there’s nothing else to eat, chances are you have an egg or two. You can make a light dinner out of scrambled eggs and toast, or make a quick potato and egg burrito with salsa. Keep a dozen eggs on hand and you are invincible. Let’s start with breakfast. Aside from the usual scrambled, poached or fried, you can turn eggs into a breakfast casserole, a fill-as-you-like omelette, or make them into a breakfast sandwich like an Egg McMuffin. Top your oatmeal or your avocado toast with a jammy egg, or enjoy them soft boiled with toast cut “soldiers.” Make Egg-in-a-Hole, french toast, or get fancy and make Eggs Benedict. If you have a very ripe banana, add an egg and make a zero-waste banana pancake.  No time at all? Make an easy egg cup. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a mug with non-stick spray or olive oil. Add eggs, egg whites, or any combination of eggs and whites to fill cup about half-way. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of frozen kale or spinach, or other vegetables, and use a fork to stir well. Put mug in microwave and cook on high power for 1 minute. Stir well with fork and cook on high power for another minute.  Stir again and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more until eggs are lightly set.  Use fork to break up egg.  Add cheese, if desired, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. There are many ways to enjoy eggs that aren’t just for breakfast. Like clafoutis, both sweet and savory, shakshuka, frittata, quiche, and huevos rancheros. You can add eggs to fried rice, make spaghetti carbonara, or make easy deviled eggs. And for dessert there’s custard, soufflé, and of course, Pavlova, the elegant meringue made from egg whites. There’s a lot you can do if  you have eggs.  Make some easy hard boiled eggs to keep on hand for snacks or to make egg salad. My favorite method for making hard boiled eggs in little to no time is to use the Instant Pot. It’s quick, it’s easy and once you try it, you’ll wonder why you ever made hard boiled eggs any other way. The "5-5-5" Method yields perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel eggs every time.  It’s my new way to do it, and I am betting it will be yours, too. I was skeptical at first, but became a true believer after I peeled my first egg cooked this way. For best results, use eggs that are a little “older,” not the fresh ones you just bought. Older = easier to peel. Now take those perfectly peeled eggs and use them to make The Best Egg Salad Sandwich. It’s simple but deliciously satisfying and with any luck you might just have enough for tomorrow’s lunch, too. Keep it easy by using just mayonnaise and kosher salt, or try the recipe below and zhuzh things up with a spritz of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fresh chives. Use the best eggs you can get your hands on - farm fresh ones will really shine here - and use the kind of mayonnaise that you prefer. I like making this with Vegenaise , which I also love using for chicken salad, too. If you have an egg slicer, you can use it to help dice your eggs. Slice the egg using the slicer, then transfer to a cutting board to dice your sliced egg in the opposite direction.  Once cooked, eggs will keep in their shell in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Store any remaining cooled eggs in a zip-top bag with a paper towel woven around the eggs for cushioning. This will help protect the eggs and also prevent them from absorbing any odor or flavor from surrounding foods. It will also keep your fridge smelling fresh.  Eggs keep best when stored in their original carton and the dates you see on those cartons are not food safety dates. They are there as a guide for stores to know how long they can sell the eggs. With continuous refrigeration, raw eggs will maintain their best quality for 3 weeks after the “best by” date on the carton. Not sure if your eggs are still good? Just do a quick float test by putting your egg into a glass of cold water.  If it sinks, you’re good. If it floats, toss it. The Best Egg Salad Sandwich Place eggs in a small pot and add water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.  Peel eggs and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Transfer for a bowl, then add mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.  Toast bread then spread egg mixture evenly over half of slices, closing the sandwiches with the remaining slices. Cut in half and enjoy. 

- recipe by Daniel Holzman and Matt Rodbard

Instant Pot Eggs (5-5-5 Method) Add 1 cup water to the bottom of instant pot, place wire trivet (or egg rack) inside and place eggs on trivet.  Seal and set to high pressure for 5 minutes. After cooking, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then carefully release any remaining pressure. Transfer eggs immediately into an ice bath for 5 minutes.

- thekitchn.com

3310baked-jambalaya-and-instant-pot-red-beans-and-rice https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/baked-jambalaya-and-instant-pot-red-beans-and-rice/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/02/IMG_5682-e1645336262930-600x506.jpg It’s Mardi Gras! Bring home a taste of New Orleans with two quick, easy dishes that are guaranteed to deliver a taste of the Big Easy. This Baked Jambalaya is perfect for a busy weeknight. It uses smoked sausage, a big time saver because it is fully cooked, and shrimp, another speedy protein. Everything cooks in one big skillet, so the clean up is minimal. If you do not have a 12-inch cast iron pan, any large oven safe skillet will do.  I have made more than a few variations of jambalaya through the years and while I do love the traditional, time intensive New Orleans School of Cooking recipe, this one delivers all the roux-stirring flavor, but is quite a bit lighter. You will need onions, celery, and green bell peppers for both recipes. These three aromatic vegetables form the base for almost every traditional Cajun and Creole recipe and are often referred to as the holy trinity, a nod to Louisiana’s Catholic heritage.   Make your own creole seasoning by combining 3 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons of each: kosher salt and garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon of each: ground black pepper, ground white pepper, onion powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, with 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme. You can store any unused seasoning in a covered jar for up to 1 year. If you are using frozen shrimp, pour them into a bowl of cold water when the jambalaya has been in the oven for about 20 minutes. Drain thawed shrimp and add as directed.   Red Beans and Rice is a classic Creole dish. You can prepare this in the traditional way, using an 8 quart pot and cooking for 2 hours, but using your Instant Pot means you can make this in much less time. I used bacon in this recipe, because you might just happen to have that on hand, but you can also use a ham hock, smoked turkey legs, or any kind of smoked sausage that you like. Even just a little bit can do wonders to flavor any pot of beans that you are cooking and I usually freeze leftover ham from the holidays just for this purpose. For a great meatless option, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth to make your beans and rice every bit as delicious and plant-based. A technique tip to make this true to form: smash some the beans against the wall of the pot to make them creamy. This will give your finished dish that authentic, thick consistency that makes it so good.  Happy Fat Tuesday, and enjoy! Baked Jambalaya Preheat oven to 325º F. Warm oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat, then add onion, bell pepper, celery and sausage. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in chicken stock, tomatoes, Creole seasoning, and bay leaf. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with foil. Bake until rice is tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, then gently stir in shrimp and parsley. Bake covered, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. Top with scallions and serve with hot sauce alongside.

- countryliving.com

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice for beans: for rice: for serving: Select SAUTÉ setting on Instant Pot and adjust to HIGH. Add oil and heat several minutes until shimmering. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until bacon browns and crisps but is still pliable. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion, bell pepper and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Cajun seasoning and smoked paprika; stir to combine and cook 1 minute more. Stir in beans, chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme and bacon.  Press CANCEL, cover with lid and lock in place. Turn steam release knob to SEALING position. Select MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK setting and select HIGH for 75 minutes.   About 40 minutes before ready to serve, combine water, rice and kosher salt in a large saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes without removing lid. Remove from heat and let stand, covered and undisturbed for 20 minutes.  When Instant Pot has finished, carefully turn steam release handle to VENTING, and let steam fully escape, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove lid from cooker and stir, then remove thyme and bay leaves. Taste and adjust, adding salt, pepper or more seasonings as desired. Serve immediately with rice, topping each serving with scallions. Serve hot sauce alongside.  3302sockeye-salmon-with-snap-peas-and-caramelized-honey-miso-dressing https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sockeye-salmon-with-snap-peas-and-caramelized-honey-miso-dressing/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/02/IMG_5659-e1644720012507-600x503.jpg February is American Heart Month, a reminder to take good care of your heart and make lifestyle choices that improve and maintain heart health. Here are a few quick ideas for a day of heart healthy eating to help you meet those goals.   Start your day with Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats. If you have never made oats in your Instant Pot, prepare to be dazzled. Thick, creamy, and perfectly cooked, with hardly any effort on your part, they are absolutely fool-proof. Top with blueberries or cherries, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of almonds or walnuts for more heart healthy benefits. Any plant-based milk will work here, but if dairy is your choice, use 3 cups of water during the cooking process and add the milk to your serving bowl.  Covered and refrigerated, leftovers will keep for 4 days.  For lunch, it’s Black Bean Soup. Black beans are packed with heart-healthy nutrients and their fiber helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Start by sautéing onion and garlic in a little heart healthy olive oil. If you have green onions in your crisper, this is a great place to use them. You can use dried beans that you have prepared yourself, but I like to use canned low sodium beans, using both the beans and their liquid, to make this soup quickly. Season simply with some smoked paprika for quick, complex flavor and let simmer until thick. Easy! Tomorrow, this thick soup makes a great topping for a baked sweet potato (another heart healthy food), or add leftover vegetables, or toss in some frozen ones, to make an all new soup. For a snack try nuts - almonds or walnuts, specifically - or edamame. Or some yogurt topped with blueberries. All are heart healthy, plus easy to keep on hand or take along. Now for dinner. This delicious salmon recipe is so easy you’ll be making it again and again. The sheet pan makes for speedy clean up, the prep is minimal, plus, it cooks in only 10 minutes. I love this recipe so much I’ve been relying on it for fish night and have discovered it plays well with halibut and cod, too. The snap peas add fresh, crisp texture but you could also try string beans or asparagus as other bright, crunchy options.  Miso is fermented soybean paste. Besides adding salty, rich flavor, it’s full of probiotics, which contribute to improved gut health. There are three varieties of miso: white, yellow, and red. Longer fermentation results in darker color and stronger flavor, making red the most assertive of the three. I used the white miso that I had on hand. It gave the dressing plenty of umami but also added less sodium then the darker varieties. If you are cooking for one or two, you will not need all of the dressing. Transfer to a small covered container, then refrigerate, for a flavorful topping you can quickly spoon over greens, grains, or vegetables over the next few days. Salmon is medium-rare when it flakes easily with a fork, or when the thickest part of the fillet registers 120º F, which also happens to be exactly 10 minutes, as the recipe instructs. Once you put your salmon in the oven, there is just enough time to grate your ginger, slice your scallions and finish the dressing, so it’s ready when everything comes out of the oven. Serve this with some steamed rice, fresh baby greens and edamame, and finish with some fresh herbs to brighten. Try the basil. It’s unexpected and surprisingly good! Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats Add water, milk, oats, salt and optional ingredients, if using, to Instant Pot. Lock lid.  Use “Pressure Cook or Manual” function to cook for 3 minutes. Let sit until pressure releases naturally. Carefully remove lid, tilting away from you. Stir oats and serve. Black Bean Soup Warm olive oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring until softened. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add water, vegetable bouillon, both cans of beans with their liquid, and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens. Stir in diced pimentos and smoked paprika, cooking a few minutes more before serving.  Sockeye Salmon with Snap Peas and Caramelized Honey Miso Dressing Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then warm 1/4 cup of water; set aside. Combine honey and miso in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir continuously with a whisk until mixture bubbles, deepens in color and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in warm water. Let cool. Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel, then place skin side down on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle fillets with oil and lightly season with salt. Roast for 6 minutes. Remove pan from oven, then scatter snap peas around edges of pan, drizzling with more oil if desired. Return pan to oven for 4 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through and snap peas are tender.  Whisk vinegar into the honey-miso mixture, then add ginger, scallions, and sesame oil, if using. Spoon half the dressing over the salmon and snap peas while still warm. Divide salmon and snap peas between bowls and top with fresh mint or basil. 

- adapted from recipe on wildalaskan.com

  Now that your heart is in the right place, pay it forward. This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, a great time to spread care and compassion. All kindness counts, and no act is too small. Kindness creates a ripple effect of goodwill and the positive effects of kindness are quick to spread. Felt in the brain of everyone who observes a kind act, it boosts their mood, too, making them more likely to be kind. Being kind lowers your blood pressure. And that’s good for everyone’s heart.    21 Foods That Can Save Your Heart 3291chocolate-cheesecake-and-double-chocolate-chip-muffins https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chocolate-cheesecake-and-double-chocolate-chip-muffins/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/02/IMG_5620-e1644131081622-600x383.jpg It’s the sweetest day. Bake someone happy and show them your love with something sweet to make them feel special. Valentine’s Day demands chocolate. It’s romantic. Whether it arrives in a classic red heart shaped box, or it’s served at the end of a fancy meal, chocolate is cupid’s choice for dessert. Here are two treats for your Valentine that are a bit healthier. This Chocolate Cheesecake is rich, creamy and fudgy. It delivers the dense forkfuls you’d expect from a traditional cheesecake and tastes every bit as decadent, but it has less fat and sugar. The very easy prep takes just a few minutes, but you do need to allow enough time to refrigerate after baking, a minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight. You can dial the amount of sugar in this recipe back a bit if you like, or swap in your favorite sugar free sweetener. If you do want to adjust the amount or type of sugar, I recommend doing a quick blend of all of the cheesecake ingredients with the exception of the eggs, so that you can add the amount you find to be just right. Once you taste and adjust, add your eggs and blend to incorporate. I increased the cocoa powder to 1/3 cup, rather than the 3 tablespoons called for in the original recipe, to deepen the color and flavor. Serve the cake with fresh berries or make a quick sauce by simmering 1 cup of fresh raspberries or strawberries with 2 tablespoons water and sweetener to taste, for 5-10 minutes, breaking the berries with a spatula. Add additional water if needed, to thin. I love that this cheesecake is so easy. You don’t need to pre-bake the crust and it does not require a water bath. I do, however, wonder about the cooking temperature, and think 325º or 350º may be better. Full disclosure: my cheesecake cracked. And like most things that go wrong in the kitchen, I didn’t let that bother me in the least. I am convinced that cracks are the reason why you see so many cheesecakes topped with fruit.  Next up, dark chocolate muffins that are deeply delicious and stealthy healthy. Secret ingredient: spinach. It what helps to make these muffins so moist and you will not taste it a bit. All of the ingredients are good for you, including the chocolate, especially if it’s the dark variety. Use whatever you may have on hand. You can’t mess these up. Once I added a pouch of applesauce. I have also swapped in a banana and a sweet potato. Doing so let me skip the sugar and omit almost all of the oil. (I always use avocado oil, but I only use 1 tablespoon.) I used 2% milk one time, but I also have used coconut milk. My avocados were on the small side and so ripe that they needed to be used, so I tossed a whole one in. To make these muffins gluten-free and whole grain, I used oat flour and mixed it with garbanzo flour, using 1 cup of oat flour plus 2/3 cup of chickpea, to give them added protein and fiber as well. If a sweeter muffin is what your heart desires, by all means add some, or all, of the sugar. I find these deeply delicious with just the bit of sweetness from the applesauce, banana, or sweet potato. They are moist and satisfyingly dense with little hits of sweet from the melted chocolate chips in each bite.  The batter will be very thick, like brownie batter. If you have a 1/4 cup cookie scoop it will help you fill the muffin cups quickly and evenly. Once baked, a small silicone jar scraper works well to help ease the muffins out of the tin. These are best served warm. Reheat them for 15 seconds in the microwave and enjoy!  Level up your baked goods by taking their temperature. Here’s a link for a great article describing the how’s and why’s of doneness temperatures. See the chart below for reference temperatures for your baked goods. The two recipes that follow should be cooked to 150ºF and 200-205ºF, respectively.  Chocolate Cheesecake Preheat oven to 375º F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then add graham cracker crumbs to pan. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press crumbs evenly into bottom of pan; crust will not be very thick. Spray crust with cooking spray and place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla in blender and blend until smooth. Pour over crust and bake until almost set, but still jiggly in center, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then chill in refrigerator for 4 hours, or up to overnight. Serve cold, topped with fresh berries or berry sauce.

- adapted from recipe by Katie Lee Biegel, foodnetwork.com

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin (or two mini muffin tins) generously with cooking oil spray, or line with paper liners sprayed with cooking oil spray. Combine spinach, milk, avocado, oil, egg and vanilla in blender and blend until very smooth, adding a splash more milk if necessary. Mixture should resemble a thick smoothie.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk together. Add spinach mixture and stir well until combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, then top with remaining 1/4 cup of chips. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean - about 20 minutes for regular-sized muffins and 10 to 13 minutes for mini muffins.  Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack. 

- adapted from recipe by Nikki Dinki

    BAKED GOODS TEMPERATURE CHART Baked Good                          Pull Temperature chocolate chip cookies           180ºF (82ºC) rich-dough breads                   180-190ºF (82-88ºC) lean-dough breads                  190-210ºF (88-99ºC) quick breads, muffins, cornbread,biscuits, scones   200-205ºF (93-96ºC) cake, cupcakes, angel food cake                      200-209ºF (93-98ºC) molten (lava) cake                 160ºF (71ºC) pound cake                              210ºF (99ºC) crème brûlée, flan, pumpkin pie                          170-175ºF (77-79ºC) bread pudding, quiche, meringue pies                       160ºF (71ºC) cheesecake                             150ºF (66ºC) 3285texas-taco-dip-platter https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/texas-taco-dip-platter/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/01/IMG_5584-e1643517173461-600x554.jpg There’s no party like a football party and Super Bowl is the biggest one all year. Get ready for game day with three easy dips that are just waiting to be added to your lineup. Fast, flavorful and hearty, this Texas Taco Dip Platter is as much fun for the big game as it would be for a speedy weeknight dinner. I used 92% lean ground beef, but ground turkey would also work well here, and keep it healthier just the same. I made a half recipe, which still ended up being generous, and the ground beef and seasonings were cooked in only 30 minutes. You can cook the beef and bean mixture a day or two in advance if your game plan is to make it ahead. Omit the ground beef and just stick to the beans and rice to make this an excellent vegetarian option, or you could add plant-based crumbles if you like. If you are dairy-free, Daiya Cheddar Style Crumbles are a delicious alternative. Garnish with some fresh cilantro or chopped green onions and serve with sour cream, guacamole, and pickled jalapeño rings to score some extra points. Next, add something bright and fresh. Go beyond the guacamole. A bowl of Chunky Mango Salsa brings a sunny taste of the tropics. Adding mango to your salsa gives it more than just a punch of vibrant color. Packed with antioxidants and fiber, mangoes are high in vitamin C, plus they are delicious. You can double or quadruple this recipe to feed a crowd, or make it just as is. Get a head start by chopping the onion, tomato and mango ahead of time, then add the avocado just before serving. Finally, think outside the buffalo wings. I have made Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Buffalo Chicken Tenders, and Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins, but why not make a dip? This Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip is a fan favorite, plus it’s easy on you. Making it in your slow-cooker means you can watch the game instead of watching the oven. Use reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) and Cheddar to make it a bit lighter, and depending on your teammates, consider cutting the recipe in half. Made as directed, this recipe makes 64 servings. Don’t have ranch dressing? Make ranch seasoning by combining 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried dill, 1 teaspoon dried chives, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix seasoning with 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.   And let’s face it, those celery and carrot sticks that go along with the wings are the only chance you have at getting anyone to eat a vegetable on game day. Making a great dip will increase those odds. It will also give you license to put out some other veggies, “just in case.” Cut up extra as you go and you’ll be ready for the coming week ahead. Dip in and enjoy the game! Texas Taco Dip Platter toppings: Cook ground beef and onion in a Dutch oven over medium heat, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks. Cook until beef is no longer pink; drain if needed. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato purée; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add beans and heat through. Layer the meat mixture, rice, cheese, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, olives and corn chips on a platter. Serve with picante sauce and additional corn chips.

- tasteofhome.com

Chunky Mango Guacamole Combine avocados, mango, tomato and onion in a large bowl. Stir in lime juice and salt. Serve with fresh vegetables and tortilla chips. 

- tasteofhome.com 

Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip Add cream cheese to slow-cooker. Top with chicken, Frank’s RedHot, ranch dressing and 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese. Cover. Cook on high 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until heated through. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and sprinkle with green onions. Cover and cook 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with blue cheese crumbles, if desired. 

- franksredhot.com

3276meatless-meatballs-and-southwest-sheet-pan-dinner https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/meatless-meatballs-and-southwest-sheet-pan-dinner/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/01/IMG_5565-e1642886432629-600x443.jpg When it rains, it pours. It seems that one misadventure tends to lead to another and if it can go wrong, it will. This week, as we were reveling in a finally fixed furnace, my computer let me know it was over. Then we left to run a quick errand, the computer still unresolved, and were treated to a flat tire. Arriving home many hours later than expected, it was time for dinner and my original plan for that night quickly dissolved, taking my desire to cook right along with it. Life seems to be putting us on plan B more often than plan A, throwing any number of curveballs at us, sometimes multiples all at once. There are so many variables you have little to no control over, you need to fix and stabilize the ones that you can. I don’t know what your misery is, but I can feel your pain. Just like planning for an emergency, you need to plan your meals. I don’t mean a day by day dictum, but rather just some ideas. We all know that the night you defrost fish for dinner is the night the power goes out, or you suddenly end up in a Zoom clinic while your fish waits at home in the fridge. When life hands you lemons, you can’t make lemonade unless you have sugar and a fresh tray of ice cubes. Be ready to adapt, but be prepared. Just like dressing in layers that you can put on or take off if needed, have a food plan that shifts to suit whatever happens. Because it will.  On a night when you just can’t stand the thought of cooking, or dishes are too much to bear, a sheet pan dinner is magic. Just toss everything on one cooking surface and let the oven do all the work. Here are two veggie forward recipes, both prepared on sheet pans. There are just a few fresh ingredients, but the rest are mostly things you might have on hand. This Southwest Sheet Pan Dinner with sweet potatoes, black beans and roasted veggies is an easy, healthy dinner you can make in under an hour. Once you dice the sweet potatoes and slice the veggies - just about 10 minutes of prep time - everything cooks in the oven. You can enjoy this as is, or use it to fill tacos or stuff burritos. Top with an egg, serve alongside scrambled eggs, add it to a grain bowl, or use it to top a salad. This easy veggie entree, tucked away in your fridge, is a life saver.   Save time and leave the peel on your sweet potatoes. You’ll get fiber and antioxidants and you don’t need to do a thing. Just be sure to scrub your potatoes thoroughly with a clean produce brush to remove any dirt before you dice them. I used a bag of frozen fire roasted corn for added flavor because I happened to have one on hand, but you can use fresh corn if you like.  Next, some Meatless Meatballs that are full of flavor. They are so good, I promise you will be surprised. Roasting the eggplant and mushrooms gives them satisfying meaty texture while the sheet pan prep keeps them easy on you. I used 1 tablespoon of dried parsley in place of the fresh, and also substituted lightly ground oats for the panko. Here I only used about 1/4 cup, just enough to bind the meatballs and hold them together. Be sure not to process the meatball mixture too finely. Just aim for a coarse chop with no large chunks, so your meatballs have texture.  Southwest Sheet Pan Dinner Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then add sweet potatoes and olive oil to pan and stir to coat. Bake 25 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and add zucchini, red pepper and corn to pan. Sprinkle with onion powder, oregano, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper; stir to coat vegetables. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in black beans. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

- dietitiandebbie.com 

Meatless Meatballs makes about 22  Heat oven to 425º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then toss eggplant, mushrooms, and garlic with olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread evenly over baking sheet and roast, stirring halfway through, until vegetables are tender, 30 to 35 minutes; let cool. Transfer roasted vegetables to a food processor, then add chickpeas, parsley, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse until finely chopped. Add panko and pulse a few more times, then stir if needed. Roll vegetable mixture into balls, about 2 tablespoons each, and place on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crisp around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. While meatballs bake, cook pasta according to package directions. Toss meatballs gently with marinara. Serve over spaghetti, sprinkling parsley over all.  

- from Vegan, at Times, Jessica Seinfeld

3268oat-waffles https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/oat-waffles/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/01/IMG_5547-e1642308050578-600x450.jpg There is nothing quite like a waffle, fluffy and crisp, still piping hot, pulled fresh from the waffle iron. A guilty pleasure any time of year, a home made waffle is not just nice, it’s what you need when it’s oh so cold outside. These Oat Waffles make any day feel special. Made with whole grain oat flour, they’re everything a waffle should be and more, because not only are they delicious, they are better for you. Very easy to make, they freeze well, too, so you can enjoy some right this minute and also keep a few on reserve to pop in the toaster on busy mornings.   Yes, you can make the typical oatmeal out of oats, but think beyond the bowl. Economical and easy to keep on hand, you can use oats in lots of different ways. Grind them into flour, add them to veggie burgers, use them as a binder, or just bake with them. Oats are a great way to add protein, fiber and boost the nutritional value of all sorts of recipes. Half a cup of dry oats provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of soluble fiber, the kind that can help lower your cholesterol, improve your blood sugar, and help you feel full longer. Although not a complete protein, oats contain higher quality protein than other grains like rice and wheat. To keep your oats at their best, store airtight in a cool, clean, dark and dry storage area. Once opened, your fridge or freezer is ideal, and space permitting, is a great way to store packaged oats, particularly if you are not using them quickly. If you have food allergies or sensitivities, this is a great recipe. It’s so simple and adaptable you can tailor it any number of ways to suit your needs. I made one batch using 1/2 cup steel-cut oats and 1 cup rolled oats, processing both into oat flour. I used 1 egg and 1 flax egg, coconut milk and coconut oil, but only 1 tablespoon, and used 3 tablespoons of applesauce instead. Because of the sweetness from the applesauce, I omitted the maple syrup altogether. I did not use cinnamon, but was generous with the vanilla. Result: amazing, delicious waffles. I made another batch, again using 1/2 cup steel-cut oats and 1 cup rolled oats. To keep it plant-based, I used 1 flax egg and 1 chia egg. I used a plant-based milk made from peas, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of applesauce. Result: amazing, delicious waffles. You can make amazing, delicious waffles, too. If you have old-fashioned oats you use for oatmeal in your pantry, you have oat flour in your house right now. For light, fluffy waffles stick to the rolled oats, but if you like the dense textured, nutty-taste of a multi-grain, try adding flax, chia, or steel cut oats. I made a quick blueberry compote using frozen blueberries, a spoonful of coconut sugar and just enough water to cover the bottom of the saucepan, heated to a boil and then simmered until thick, stirring often. Top your waffles with a smear of nut butter and a spoonful of warm compote and enjoy. Oat Waffles makes 8 waffles In a large bowl, whisk oat flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, melted coconut oil or butter, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. (Batter will still be a little lumpy.) Let the batter rest for 10 minutes; plug in waffle iron to preheat. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 200 degrees. Stir batter one more time, then pour into the center of waffle iron and close lid. Cook until waffle is golden and crisp and releases easily.  Transfer directly onto rack in warm oven or to a cooling rack. Do not stack. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with warmed maple syrup. Freeze in a single layer on a cooling rack. Once frozen, store in a freezer-safe zip-top bag. Reheat until warm in toaster or oven.  *To make your own oat flour, measure 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats into a food processor or blender and grind into a fine flour. Measure the flour again after grinding to be sure you have 1 1/2 cups. **Oats are a gluten-free whole grain, but because there can be cross-contamination within the growing, harvesting and production process, be sure to use products that are certified to be gluten-free.  

- from Easy Gluten-Free Oat waffles, cookieandkate.com

Substitutions for 1 egg: flax egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water; let stand 5 minutes chia egg: 1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water; let stand 5 minutes egg replacer (mixed according to package directions) 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea cooking liquid) 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup mashed banana, or 1/4 cup pumpkin puree 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1/4 cup carbonated water oil: applesauce, ripe mashed banana, pumpkin or sweet potato, cooked and pureed, prunes, or veggie puree butter or plant-based butter  buttermilk, sour cream, Greek yogurt or mayonnaise   3262air-fryer-fish https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/air-fryer-fish/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/01/IMG_5513-600x535.jpg What to cook when you don’t feel like cooking. It happens to us all. Maybe it’s the mess that holds you back. Or the time that you don’t have. Sometimes there is nothing that sounds good, but you still need to eat. It could go on for a night or two, or in my case, the whole week. On Monday, I made toasted open-faced sandwiches, a specialty of my mom’s. Whole grain bread topped with a slice of American cheese, a few slivers of onion, some crispy bacon and a slice of tomato that was beginning to lose its curb appeal. (Trying to figure out what to do with the tomato was what started all this.) Warmed in the toaster until the tomato softens and the cheese gets melty, they take mere minutes to make and they are very soothing to eat. My mom made these often, frequently omitting one or two of the toppings relative to what she had on hand. When all else fails, this is a very dependable meal. Tuesday, it was sliced pork loin from the freezer. Stashed away with some of the fruit compote I made last month, all I had to do was re-heat and eat. Reminder to ABF (Always Be Freezing). Whatever it is you are making, put some aside in the freezer. It doesn’t have to be a whole casserole. Just a portion or two that you can pull out on a night like this. Wednesday, a jar of Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce saved the day. I added some chicken and left it to simmer while I reheated rice and an especially good bag of frozen vegetables I had been saving for a night such as this. Heat and Eat. Thursday, it was fish night. When our kids were in school, we’d have fish sticks on Thursday, a consistent, dependable routine. I did not have any fish sticks, but I did have fish and making Air Fryer Fish is almost just as easy. I made the rice cracker breading and let the air fryer do the rest. When the timer went off, we had moist, juicy fish enrobed in golden, crispy crumbs.  And it was delicious.  Less expensive and much lighter than the battered and deep-fried restaurant variety, the air fryer method is not as messy, plus it’s quick and easy. Make the homemade tartar sauce while the fish cooks and stand by for piping hot, crispy, fresh fish. This recipe works with any kind of fish fillets, but it’s especially good with cod or halibut. Use fish that is fresh or thoroughly thawed, and for best results, use fillets that are fairly thick. I used reduced fat mayonnaise made with olive oil in this recipe, but any kind of mayonnaise would work here. You can use panko to give this a nice textured breading, but I like using ground rice crackers. They give whatever you are cooking a dependable crunchiness and they save you from having to buy breadcrumbs or keep them on hand. They are an easy gluten-free substitute, and in all honesty, because of their nice, crunchy texture, everyone always prefers them to the breadcrumbs. Don’t crowd your fish in the air fryer basket. Leave enough room for the air to circulate on all sides so that it cooks evenly and crisps. Do a quick check at 12 minutes to see if your fish is done. You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on your air fryer and the type and thickness of the fish you are using.  Flavorful, tangy and much better than anything you can buy at the store, Homemade Tartar Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to your fish. You can use a mini processor to finely mince the ingredients quickly, or just use your knife and spend a few minutes chopping. If you’re in a hurry, you can make the tartar sauce while the fish is cooking, but if you can, make it at least 30 minutes ahead and let it chill in the refrigerator so the flavors can meld. For best results, use full-fat, real mayonnaise, not salad dressing.  Don’t fret if you are missing some of the ingredients below. I recommend adding about half of the lemon juice and just a little salt to start. Besides the tangy, delicious flavor, the biggest selling point for making your own tartar sauce is that you can add more or less of any ingredient, so the finished sauce is just to your liking. You can use any leftover sauce in place of mayonnaise for tuna fish sandwiches, or use it as a topping for burgers or other kinds of fish. Leftover sauce should be covered and refrigerated, and will keep for up to one week. Air Fryer Fish Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels. In a shallow dish, combine crushed rice crackers, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder; stir together. Using a small spatula, spread mayonnaise lightly on both sides of fish, covering end to end. Coat each side of fish fillets in cracker crumbs, then transfer to air fryer basket. Cook in air fryer at 400º for 12-15 minutes, or until fish reaches an internal temperature of 145º F with an instant read thermometer. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.  Homemade Tartar Sauce   recipe adapted from foodiecrush.com Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more before serving.  3252beans-and-greens https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/beans-and-greens/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2022/01/IMG_5490-e1641099468501-600x544.jpg A new year, a new page. We have baked, sifted, roasted and toasted our way through all the holidays and here we are at the beginning again. I am starting the year on a grateful note. The past two years have brought many changes. Among them, a heightened awareness of where our food comes from: the people that grow it, pick it, move it, store it and sell it. It takes a lot of effort to put the food on our plates and we appreciate that on a greater level than ever before. Along with many of you, I have pretty much been in my kitchen non-stop for the past 2 years. Together, we have cooked many meals and washed even more dishes. We have ordered meals out, and when we do, even something as simple as the Burgerville drive-thru is special again. I have marveled at how perfectly some restaurants have nailed the whole to-go experience. From the careful packaging, to the well-prepared entrées, they are paying attention to detail, and they are doing it deliciously. And then, there’s the sharing. Whether you have cooked for someone else, or someone cooks for you, anything made at home and shared has taken on a special sweetness. The food just tastes better. We savor it more and enjoy it. Those deliveries are precious and mean more than ever right now. Keep ‘em coming.   We will cook our way through this, come what may, because no matter what, people are hungry and they need to eat. You may not be able to change anything else that’s going on in the world, but what you can do is make sustenance. It’s the super glue that holds everything together, an expression of the deep love you have for your family, and the gratitude for having food on your table. And for that, I applaud you. January 6th is National Bean Day and if you don't know beans, you should. Beans are good sources of protein and excellent sources of fiber. They contain 21 to 25% protein by weight, which is much higher than other sources of vegetable protein. They are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free, rich in complex carbohydrates, have a low glycemic index, and are a good source of potassium and iron. Beans are among the ten brain-healthy foods in the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet. To save money, cook with dry beans. For convenience, use canned. Or, for the cost savings of dry beans and the ready-to-use convenience of a can, cook larger batches of dry beans and freeze them. If you’re watching your sodium, dry beans are the no sodium winner, but you can also drain and rinse canned beans to remove about 40 percent of the sodium. Beans and Greens are the perfect winter meal. True simplicity, a humble, plain pot of beans can be elevated considerably with the addition of something green. It takes little to no effort. Just add beans to a pot and let them simmer away, warming up your kitchen, while you carry on with other things. Finish with a small drizzle of olive oil at the end. It adds richness and perfumes the hot soup with a subtle peppery, fruity nuance. Ready to try? You can use any white or ivory bean in this recipe, or try other greens like escarole, romaine, mustard or turnip greens, kale or collards, spinach, bok choy, arugula, watercress or cabbage. Add the greens after the beans are almost done so that your beans are creamy and your greens stay silky and don’t disintegrate. If you are hurried, use canned beans. Nothing fresh in your crisper? Turn to frozen. Keeping bags of chopped kale, spinach, or other frozen greens on hand means you’re always ready to add an easy boost of nutrition. Sprinkled into soups, stews, or casseroles, there’s no rinsing, inspecting or chopping required.  Start by sorting your beans, a cup at a time, on your countertop. Holding a colander just below the counter’s edge, push beans into colander, discarding any that are shriveled or broken, as well as any stones or debris. I love the zen-like rhythm of this task, but if you have kids at home, this is a perfect job for little hands. After sorting, rinse under cold, running water. To soak or not to soak, that is up to you. Personally, I am team soak, although I will admit to never being able to execute this on the advised overnight timeline. If you are like me, quick-soak in your Instant Pot. So on to 2022. Let’s get cooking! How to Soak and Cook Beans soak countertop - cover with 3 inches of water in a large bowl and let sit for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain. quick-soak Instant Pot - cover 1 cup of dried beans with 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to release pressure. Drain and lightly rinse beans. Stove top - cover dried beans with triple their volume of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and soak beans 1 hour. Drain and lightly rinse. cooking soaked beans Instant Pot -  Cover 1 pound of beans with 6 cups of water. Secure lid and select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” to cook at high pressure for 12 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to release remaining pressure. Stovetop - place beans in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender but firm, about 45 minutes to 2 hours. cooking non-soaked beans  Instant Pot -  Cover dry beans with 6 cups of water. Secure lid and select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” to cook at high pressure for 50 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to release remaining pressure. Stovetop - rinse beans and place in a large pot. Add water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer until beans are tender but firm, about 2 hours.   Beans and Greens Put beans in a large pot with water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cut a slit in the onion and insert the bay leaf and clove; put onion in the pot. Adjust heat so that mixture bubbles gently, then cover partially and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. When beans begin to soften (about 30 minutes to an hour), sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir, adding water if necessary, until beans are tender but still intact. Add greens and cook until tender, another 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stems. Add more water if needed. Remove onion, then taste and adjust seasoning. About 3 minutes before serving, add garlic and olive oil and stir. Spoon beans and greens into individual bowls and garnish with cheese and/or nutritional yeast and bread crumbs. Serve immediately. 

- recipe by Mark Bittman

      3246pizza-rolls https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pizza-rolls/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/12/IMG_5488-e1640394845990-600x439.jpg Get set for New Years with a fast, festive game plan for a fun evening at home. Whether you’re a party of one, family of four, or just a few friends gathering, there’s something here for everyone. Dig out the board games, pick out a movie or two, and let’s have some fun. On New Year’s Eve, it’s all about the appetizers. Platters and plates you can put out and let everyone graze as they wish. Finger food is fun and this is the night for it. Start with cold appetizers. Seafood is a must for any Northwest spread and it couldn’t be easier to do. Smoked salmon, cream cheese and/or sour cream, some sliced mini bagels, cocktail bread, or water crackers, capers and thinly sliced red onion, plus some lemon wedges make an artful spread. And you can’t go wrong with a shrimp cocktail. You can buy a ready-made cocktail ring from your grocer or use frozen, peeled, tail on shrimp and make your own. If your shrimp are cooked, quick thaw by placing them in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with more cold water, then drain. Make a quick dipping sauce by mixing 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon ketchup with 1/4 cup light mayonnaise. Taste and adjust to our liking. Plate shrimp with sauce and sliced lemon, then chill until ready to serve.  Next, add a dip, or two. Store bought hummus and guacamole are easy, healthy options. Offered with some sliced veggies they give everyone something to nibble on through the night. For kids, ranch dressing, and consider a cashew or beet dip for vegans. Try warm, hearty dips, like spinach artichoke, buffalo chicken, or a simple bean dip made from mashed pinto beans, salsa and cheese.  Get out the toothpicks. Make steak bites: cut steak into cubes and pan brown. Serve with horseradish mixed with sour cream. Slow-cooker meatballs and marinara: serve with rolls for mini meatball subs, or just go with the toothpicks.  Pigs in a blanket: dress up crescent roll wrapped hot dogs with a light brush of melted butter and some Everything Bagel seasoning. Consider deviled eggs and any cheese, cracker, cured meat to make a quick charcuterie board. Don’t forget pickles, jams, dried and fresh fruit and nuts. Quick fill ins, like store bought spanakopita, arancini, or puff pastry appetizers are easy bake options. Add a warming soup and a simple salad to round things out. It’s a great night for a taco bar. Or baking a big dish lasagna. You could pick up a pizza, or you could dial up the fun and bake these easy Pizza Rolls with your kids. If you have a jar of marinara sauce on hand, you can use it in this recipe, but I like to make quick pizza sauce using canned tomato paste. Make some of your sauce a little thicker for the pizza topping, then thin the rest so that you can spoon or dunk in it. I used dried seasonings in this recipe so you can work right out of your spice rack. To make the dough in your bread machine, combine flour, salt, and sugar in the insert. Measure your warm water, then add your oil to the liquid measuring cup and stir. Add liquid mixture to the insert, then sprinkle with the yeast. Use your machine’s pizza dough setting to mix the dough, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary, until a ball forms. Transfer bread with oiled hands into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, let rise, then follow directions below. No matter what you’re serving, don’t leave perishables at room temperature for more than 2 hours, unless you’re keeping them hot or cold. Use a slow-cooker, Instant Pot, or warming tray to keep foods hot. To keep things cold, nest your serving dish over a bowl filled with ice, or transfer plates to refrigerator and take out again later.  Set up a self-serve hot cocoa bar, put out a plate or two of cookies and get set for a warm and happy evening. Stay safe and well as we welcome 2022. Pizza Rolls pizza dough pizza sauce pizza rolls dough: Sprinkle yeast over water in a bowl and let sit. Add flour, salt and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Slowly pour in olive oil and mix on low speed until oil is mixed into flour. Add yeast/water and mix until just combined. Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil. Tip the dough in, then form it into a ball using lightly oiled hands. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least 1 hour.  sauce: In a small microwave safe bowl, combine 3/4 of can of tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, basil, black pepper and enough water to make a thick sauce, about 6 tablespoons; stir well and set aside. pizza rolls: Preheat oven to 400º F. On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough into a large rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Smear with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread enough pizza sauce to evenly cover surface, then sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella. Top pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, olives and bell pepper. Roll dough towards you, pinching the seam closed at the end of roll. Slice into 1-inch pieces and place them in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, allowing a little room for dough to spread. Let rise for 20 minutes.  Add remaining water to pizza sauce and stir well. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals. Bake pizza rolls 15 - 18 minutes, or until bread is golden and fillings are bubbly. Serve immediately with warm pizza sauce. 

- adapted from recipe by Ree Drummond 

3239christmas-cream-scones https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/christmas-cream-scones/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/12/IMG_5475-e1639901471738-600x511.jpg Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without scones. They are a part of every Christmas morning, and always will be, a tradition our family holds true. There is nothing more wonderful than pulling a tray of these fresh from the oven and serving them heavenly warm while everyone opens their presents. I tried many recipes before coming across this one from the Wall Street Journal in 2014. Cleverly titled, “Romancing the Scone,” it delivers consistently perfect scones and is unbelievably easy. Made with cream and no butter, you don’t even need a pastry cutter. You most likely have everything on hand, except for the 1 cup of heavy cream, which you should add to your grocery list right this minute so you can make some of these yourself. Make things easy by measuring out the dry ingredients a day ahead. Sift them into your mixing bowl, then cover it, so that all you have to do in the morning is add the cream and mix. I never add the currants, and I also skip the butter and sugar sprinkled on the top, mainly because that’s just what everyone prefers. Double check your jam supply and if you really want to do things up right, get some clotted cream from World Market.  I tried making this recipe gluten-free for the first time using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Silk Dairy Free Heavy Whipping Cream Alternative so that I could make them dairy free and vegan, as well. The scones were delicious, but didn’t rise as much as the ones I make with all-purpose flour. If you want extra thick, tall gluten-free scones, roll your dough 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick and bake a bit longer. (I’ll know this for next time.) You can use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out your scones, but on Christmas morning I like to keep it simple, just roll out two circles and then cut each one into equal wedges. Ta-da! No re-rolling or fussing with scraps of dough. The scones are in the oven quickly, your kitchen warms up the house, and it smells delightful, just like Christmas morning should. Looking for something healthy? These Chocolate Peanut Butter Dates are an easy treat you can make in a hurry. Naturally sweet, with a creamy, crunchy peanut filling and just a bit of chocolate, they are a great gluten-free and vegan option if you use dairy-free chocolate chips. You can try other nut/nut butter combos like almonds/almond butter, or cashews/cashew butter, or try topping with shredded coconut or crushed candy canes. Make some with your kids. They’re a wonderful, healthy option that’s just perfect for this, the very last minute.   Wishing you a happy, healthy and very merry Christmas. Stay safe and be well. Christmas Cream Scones Preheat oven to 375º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Measure flour, baking powder, salt and 1/3 cup sugar into a bowl, then sift together over a large bowl. Stir in currants. Add heavy cream and mix with an electric mixer on low until ingredients are just combined. Dump dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very briefly. Divide dough in half, then roll out into two 1-inch thick circles. Cut each circle into 8 equal wedges then place wedges on baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake in center of oven until scones are golden, about 12-15 minutes.  Let cool on baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or clotted cream and jam. Store airtight up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 12 weeks. Reheat frozen scones in a 350º oven for 5 minutes, or until heated through. 

 - recipe by Gail Monaghan, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dates Open each date and fill with 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter and 2 peanuts. Pinch closed or leave partially open. Add chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth and melted. Drizzle chocolate over stuffed dates, or spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm chocolate. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks or store in freezer. Defrost frozen dates fully before eating. 

- recipe by joy bauer

  There’s a time after dinner, when the dishes are cleared, when everyone pushes their chairs back a bit, a giant reflective pause from all the hubbub that is Christmas. The room feels warm and your waistband feels a little snug, you sit back and relax, bask in the tree lights and linger to talk. This is the time, every year, when we would cajole my mom into telling my favorite Christmas story. It was about the Christmas, 1969 to be exact, when she took both grandmother’s, and an aunt, to midnight mass. It was Colorado, freezing cold and snowing hard, and my dad had stayed behind to do Christmas duty, assembling my first bed for me, while I slept unaware of it all in my crib. There was busy conversation in the car and the usual commotion that surrounds any outing, but it was especially amped up by the excitement of Christmas and the added element of inclement weather. Now at the church, the ladies got out of the car, chattering while they gathered their purses, adjusting their coats and scarves against the bitter cold. My mom got out of the car, trying to help everyone, and in all of the excitement and confusion, locked the keys in the ignition. Realizing what she had done, and not wanting to miss mass, she explained to everyone that it would be okay, she would just call my dad after the service. My grandmother helpfully chimed in, “Do you think you will have enough gas?” My mom would always drive this point home by putting her hand on the table before announcing, “I put my hand on the hood of the car and realized - long pause - I had left the engine running.” And this is the stuff memories are made of.  I will have to tell the story this year, because sadly, we lost my mom a few months ago, her passing a huge loss in itself, but perhaps even more profound because it came not long after losing our oldest son. I won’t tell it the same way she did, and I hope I do it justice, but I’ll tell it just the same, because it’s part of our family’s history and it’s such a great memory of my mom. My heart goes out to all of you who are finding yourself in a similar way. I know we are not alone in this, coping with loss this holiday, and that there are many others like us, who are  remembering those that they have loved and lost. We will mark birthdays, and Christmases, holidays and anniversaries, and have to navigate all the “normal” days without them. I hope you find comfort in your memories and in each other. And that you keep your traditions alive.    3235pan-roasted-filet-mignon-with-green-peppercorns https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pan-roasted-filet-mignon-with-green-peppercorns/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/12/IMG_5452-e1639296477497-600x460.jpg Merrier by the minute, here are two delicious ideas to make your holiday meal a special one. Fancy, but not hard to do, Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with Green Peppercorns is impressive, yet simple to make. For a juicy, perfectly cooked, just like you’d get at a restaurant steak, try a dry brine. It seasons your steak, so it’s ready to cook, dries out the surface, so it has a great crust, and it locks in moisture and tenderizes the meat in the process. Start with thawed meat, preferably a day ahead of time. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel. Liberally season both sides of your steak with coarse, kosher or sea, salt and pepper and place on a baking rack set over a tray to allow airflow on all sides. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to 2 days. Take meat out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook it.  This recipe comes together very quickly, so have all of your ingredients prepped and ready before you start. Use a cooking oil with a high smoke point, like canola or grapeseed oil, because you will be cooking with high heat. If you have a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, you can get away with using about half of the oil in this recipe. Once you add your meat to the pan, don’t touch it. Let it cook, undisturbed, at least 3 minutes and it should release easily. I found green peppercorns at New Seasons market. You can also order them from Amazon, but you can make this recipe without them and it would still be every bit as special. If you’re looking for something a little more hands-off, you can’t go wrong with this Roasted Pork Loin. This no stress, quick prep option feeds a crowd and is also budget friendly. Everything cooks in one dish and in just one hour, the dried fruit and cider deliciously mingle with that wonderful aroma of roasted meat, leaving you free to put your feet up and wonder how you did it all.  Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with Green Peppercorns About 24 hours ahead, dry brine steaks as directed above, then bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy sauté, or cast-iron, pan set over medium-high heat until very hot. Add steaks to pan and sear 3 to 4 minutes per side, until internal temp reaches 125º F for medium-rare. Remove from pan and let rest. In same pan, add remaining oil, shallots, and green peppercorns. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shallots are softened and lightly browned. Turn off heat, add brandy, then return heat to medium. Cook for 1 minute. Add beef stock and cream, then cook 8 to 10 minutes until liquid is reduced by half and thickened.  Turn off heat. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and swirl in butter, stirring often until melted. Return steaks to pan and coat with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley, then add a splash of red wine vinegar to balance the richness. Plate steaks, then spoon sauce over and serve. 

- recipe by Geoffrey Zakarian

Roast Pork Loin Preheat oven to 400º F. Stir mustard and thyme together in a small bowl. Season pork all over with salt and pepper, then brush mustard-thyme mixture over top only.  Heat oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, undisturbed, until dark golden brown in spots. Turn onion wedges and cook about 2 minutes more. Add cider and stir, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of pan. Scatter dried fruit evenly into skillet and remove from heat.  Put roast in skillet mustard side up. Bake about 1 hour, until instant read thermometer inserted in middle of roast reads 145 to 150ºF. (Roast will continue to cook once you remove it from oven.) Transfer roast to a cutting board and tent with foil; let rest 15 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with pan sauce, onions and dried fruit. 

- recipe from foodnetwork.com

3226instant-pot-beef-stew https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/instant-pot-beef-stew/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/12/IMG_5378-e1638685720759-600x450.jpg Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens! We are bounding right into the busiest cooking season of the year, let’s jingle all the way. This very merry time nudges everyone into the kitchen, even the not bakish. It’s time to bake cookies galore and I suggest you do it with wild abandon.  Don’t let dinner break your flow. This Instant Pot Beef Stew is easy to make and cooks unattended so you can continue covering every square inch of your kitchen in butter and flour and still have something substantial to feed everyone. The Instant Pot delivers. Fork tender chunks of beef and vegetables perfectly simmered in a savory, hearty broth. It tastes like an all-day braise, but it’s ready in under an hour - a soothing, warming meal for these chilly winter nights.  You can substitute corn starch or gluten-free flour to make this gluten-free. I added a can of sliced button mushrooms and some frozen peas to the finished stew, and will sometimes stir in a few teaspoons of whole grain Dijon mustard, or tomato paste, but it truly is good as is. If you feel your stew needs thickening, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and stir into your finished stew, letting it cook until thick.  While you’re churning out cookies, try these Gingerbread Biscotti. 1) They smell like Christmas (so, guaranteed to make you feel merry.)  2) Made from sugar and spice and everything nice. 3) They bake up beautiful and if they last that long, will hold up under a potential month long confinement in a cookie tin. 4) Makes a great food gift. 5) Mails well. Wrap carefully in cellophane, airtight, and nestle them in shredded paper. (You should make these now.) Instant Pot Beef Stew Add oil to Instant Pot and set to sauté. Toss beef cubes with flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl. Add meat to Instant Pot in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, about 3 minutes, until all the meat is golden brown on the bottom and releases easily when stirred. Stir once and allow to brown another 2 or 3 minutes; add wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add beef broth, carrots, celery, potatoes, thyme, onion and bay leaves. Lock lid as per manufacturer’s instructions and set to pressure cook on high for 35 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then follow instructions for quick release.  Gingerbread Biscotti makes 36  Heat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Beat at medium speed until well mixed, scraping bowl often. Add eggs and beat until well mixed. Add molasses; beat until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder; beat at low speed until mixed.  Lightly flour a work surface then transfer dough, divided into two halves, onto surface. Shape each half into a 12-inch log, dusting surface with more flour, if needed, to prevent sticking. Place logs 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. Flatten logs slightly. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and tops are slightly cracked. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes on cookie sheet. Reduce oven to 325ºF. Transfer logs to a cutting surface then use a serrated knife to cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices. Place, cut side down, onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 minutes, then turn slices and bake 5-7 minutes more, until cookies are dry and crisp. Cool completely. Place chocolate or chips in a small bowl and microwave 1 minute; stir. Continue to microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, until completely melted and smooth. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Place cookies onto waxed paper then drizzle or coat with melted chocolate. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is firm. 

- landolakes.com

3222seedy-oat-crackers https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/seedy-oat-crackers/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/11/IMG_5369-1-e1638077507356-600x466.jpg Don’t wait another minute. The holiday season is here and it’s all about the party bites. You don’t need a big, fancy occasion to celebrate. Today is special enough.  So make yourself a festive drink, snag a cocktail napkin, and let's have fun!  Kick off baking season with these easy to make, good for you crackers. Vegan and gluten-free, they have very little fat. Wholesome and delicious, the seed-oat combo is nutrient-dense and satiating, so they're perfect for snacks, too. Make them now, while things are still calm. The more you can do to get ahead, the better. They keep for 10 days and are a great hostess gift, or a nice little something to give with a gift card. Once you see how easy they are to make, you’ll be making them again and again.  The recipe is a simple one. You can change up the combination of seeds as you like, as long as the total volume stays the same. They roll out quickly and easily, and shape doesn’t matter. They bake in one big sheet and you break them apart when they’re done. Keep a close eye while baking. The crackers can brown quickly. Seedy Oat Crackers 8 servings  Preheat oven to 375º F. Combine old-fashioned oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds and kosher salt in a medium bowl and mix together. In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil, maple syrup, and water and stir together. Pour over oat mixture and mix until soaked. Let sit 10 minutes to allow mixture to thicken. Form into a ball and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Press another sheet of parchment paper on top of dough, then roll out to 1/8” thick. Remove top layer of parchment. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven; carefully turn over cracker and remove parchment. Bake cracker on baking sheet until firm and golden brown on edges of other side, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet, then break into pieces. Store airtight. 

-bon appétit magazine, November 2016

  This is my all-time favorite appetizer. It’s a retro recipe from the 1960s – Mad Men era, when they had the greatest cocktail parties of all time.  I know this because I was there, even if it was only to get a peek at what the adults were doing before I was sent off to bed. As appetizers go, it hits the mark all around.  It’s bite sized.  It won’t goof your hands up.  It doesn’t leak anything that will stain your outfit, and it doesn't require any dipping.  You can balance your drink and pop one of these in your mouth at the same time.  It’s hot, which is key during these very cold months.  You pass it on a tray, waaaay fancy.  And, no one will ever guess what they heck they are, which makes for very good party banter. Kraft Roka Blue has become very hard, if not impossible, to find. You can make your own substitute by combining 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese and 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese in a small food processor, adding a teaspoon of water, if needed, to reach a spreadable consistency. You can lighten these up and make them healthier by using reduced fat, neufchâtel cream cheese and whole wheat bread, and brushing lightly with butter.  Hold your drink in one hand, and hold one of these in the other.  They are fabulous, fun, and festive and just what you need for Christmas or New Year’s.  Practice saying, “Have an hors d’oeuvre.”  And keep a tray unbaked.  Label it  “375º – 13 mins.” and tuck into the freezer, ready and waiting for what lies ahead.   Retro Roka Blue Appetizers Preheat oven to 375º F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush lightly with butter.  Flatten bread slices using a rolling-pin, both horizontally and vertically, pressing well until very thin.  Return flattened slices to bag to keep from drying out.  Working 2 slices at a time, spread Roka Blue in a thin layer over entire surface of bread taking care to spread cheese to all the edges.  Sprinkle cheese lightly with blue cheese crumbles if using.  Roll tightly lengthwise, cigar style, pressing and pinching while rolling to form a neat, tight roll.  Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with other slices of bread, working two slices at a time, using rolling-pin to re-flatten any slices, if needed.  Brush rolls with melted butter.  Bake for 13 minutes, or until lightly toasted and golden brown.  Cut each roll into two halves.  Serve warm.   3213roasted-squash-rings-with-pear-dried-cherries-and-feta https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/roasted-squash-rings-with-pear-dried-cherries-and-feta/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/11/IMG_5322-e1637484090470-589x600.jpg Every Thanksgiving, I think of my grandmothers, both of them gone now, but still in my heart nonetheless. They lived in opposite directions from our house, but somehow synchronized, they would arrive at exactly the same time, both of them dressed in their best for the holiday and bustling through the door carrying heavy plates of food. My dad’s mom brought home made rolls, a big sheet full of them bundled under a protective dish towel. She lived 20 minutes from our house, but those rolls were always warm when she would arrive, their buttery baked aroma filling the room ahead of her. My mom’s mom was the sweet potato specialist. She made the same huge casserole topped with gooey melted pillows of marshmallows every year, and every year it disappeared. She was also in charge of the gravy. After the turkey was plated, she would carefully don an apron and proceed to work magic with flour, standing in position by the stove burner until she had turned drippings into beautiful, rich brown gravy. After the meal, she would rely on me to bring a dessert plate her way. “A little of each,” she would whisper, not wanting to miss any of it.   Here’s a recipe to enjoy for your holiday or after. These Roasted Squash Rings with Pear, Dried Cherries and Feta are an easy to pull off, simply delicious way to add something different to your table. With their softer, edible skin, delicata squash are much less challenging to cut than other winter varieties. Cut into rings, they make fun individual serving bowls you can eat. Be creative and use what you have - apples, dried cranberries, shaved Parmesan or blue cheese crumbles, and any toasted nut or seed, will do. Save those seeds! Rinse well, then lightly mist with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in your air fryer set at 350º F for 10 minutes or longer, shaking basket if needed, until toasted to your liking. Top your soups, salads or just snack on them. They are healthy and delicious! Roasted Squash Rings with Pear, Dried Cherries and Feta Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Cut squash crosswise into rings, about 1 1/2-inch thick, then remove seeds from each ring with a spoon. Place rings on sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper and fresh grated nutmeg. Roast in oven 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand to cool.  While squash roasts, combine shallot and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes; whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Slice pears into matchsticks. In a medium bowl, combine arugula, pears and cherries. Add dressing and lightly toss to combine.  Arrange squash rings on a platter, then divide pear salad between all of the rings. Top with crumbled feta and toasted hazelnuts, then grate fresh nutmeg over all. 

- adapted from recipe by Erin French  

Now, for those leftovers. This Turkey Pot Pie Soup is a quick, easy way to turn them into a post-Thanksgiving meal. Served with warm bread, it’s a relaxed dinner to enjoy this weekend. If you like to make stock from your turkey carcass, you can use it in this recipe. You can also use turkey broth or Better Than Bouillon concentrated base, or swap in chicken or vegetable broth if you like. Use 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or gluten-free flour to make this gluten-free, but add it after the stock, mixed with enough water to make a slurry. This will also work if you don't have leftover gravy.  I hope your heart is as full as your plate this holiday. Have a little of each. Make memories and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Turkey Pot Pie Soup Warm oil in a large stockpot set over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Stir in poultry seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add stock, potatoes, garlic powder, turkey, and vegetables. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Whisk in cold gravy, a few tablespoons at a time, until desired thickness is reached. Simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. 3206thanksgiving-breakfast-cookies https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/thanksgiving-breakfast-cookies/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/11/IMG_5316-453x600.jpg Thanksgiving is a mere week away, and I can’t wait to bake all the pies, casseroles and stuffing my heart can hold. No matter who or how you may be gathering, big or small, there are two things you should be thinking about right now: before and after. It's time to pull out all the stops and really get our holiday going! Let’s start with before. Do as much as you can in advance. Tuck away as many sweet potato, green bean, baked corn casseroles as your freezer allows. Make your pie crusts now and freeze them. Ditto your cranberry sauce. Think about your relish plate. I make the same configuration of pickles, olives, carrots, etc. on the same plate every year, but this year, why not add a small charcuterie board? It's especially nice to include a hot appetizer during these colder months, and bonus points if it's locally grown, like a roasted butternut squash soup made from this year’s co-op offerings.   Honor your family’s traditions and keep those family recipes the same. If you must color outside the lines, do it with something unexpected like these Thanksgiving Breakfast Cookies.  Studded with dried apples, raisins and cranberries and full of fall spiced flavor, they’re a perfect bite to whet everyone’s appetite for what’s yet to come. Decadent but healthy, they are just the thing to pair with a morning latte to hold everyone at bay until the big sit down meal. Beyond breakfast, they’re a crowdpleaser that can multitask. Bring some as a hostess gift, or tuck a few in with the leftover containers that you are bundling up, just to sweeten the pot. Bake some now. They are guaranteed to come in handy.   This recipe calls for both quick-cooking and rolled oats. Quick-cooking oats are thinner, and give the cookies a more delicate, tender texture. If you only have rolled oats, you can pulse them in the food processor a few times for a quick substitute. Bring eggs to room temperature quickly by filling a small bowl with warm, bath temperature water. Place eggs in the water and let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Do this as you start baking and your eggs will be at the correct temperature when you finish measuring the other ingredients. I used both raisins and dried cranberries, about 1/3 cup total, soaked in a bowl of hot water for 10-15 minutes to plump them, before draining and adding them to my cookies. I made a second batch to see if this recipe adapted well to substitutions. For vegan and dairy-free I used flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water), coconut yogurt and Earth Balance spread, and I used gluten-free oats to make them gluten-free. If you are baking for someone who has food allergies or special dietary needs, be sure to read labels carefully to be certain about your ingredients. Keep their food truly separate. Use care to avoid cross-contamination while cooking and always label things. Now the after. Check your supply of take-home containers so you can send everyone home with a smile. Verify your dish soap supply. Double check that you have enough zip-top bags. Make clean up easier by transferring food from serving dishes into zip-top bags. After everyone enjoys their leftovers, the bags can go right from the fridge to the freezer. Be sure you have what you need for all that day after feasting. A sturdy loaf of bread to stablize those turkey sandwiches. An extra pie crust or two, or some puff pastry to make pot pies. Maybe some corn tortillas to make turkey enchiladas? Add whatever you need to your grocery list now and avoid running back to the store later. Above all, enjoy the holiday. Be kind and truly enjoy your family and friends.  Thanksgiving Breakfast Cookies makes 10 cookies Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine oats, ground flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder and salt; mix together. Measure 1/4 maple syrup into a 2 cup liquid measure, then add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; whisk together. Add egg mixture and softened butter to the dry ingredients and stir well until combined. Fold in dried apples, raisins, cranberries and walnuts.  Scoop cookie dough with a 1/4 cup measuring cup and drop onto baking sheet. Flatten to about 1/2-inch thickness. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and slightly crisp. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container, refrigerated for up to 1 week. 

- adapted from recipe by The Real Food Dietitians

3199cranberry-champagne-cocktail https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cranberry-champagne-cocktail/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/11/IMG_5290-394x600.jpg Take stock, and make a little more room, with a quick clean of your fridge for National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Celebrated on November 15th every year, it is aptly timed to help you clear your space before the Thanksgiving stuffing begins. Rather than making one big chore of it, do it a bit at a time. You can work on your fridge over the course of the next few days. Start by scanning all of your condiments. Take note of anything you may be running low on and add it to your grocery list. Toss out empty, scary, “don’t know how old this is,” and anything you are truly not going to use again.  Not sure? Try consulting the FoodKeeper App, an online guide designed to help you cut down on food waste and give you solid advice on when food is no longer safe. Developed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, FoodKeeper is also available in a mobile app that has recently been updated with an optional feature that notifies you of food safety recalls.   Work top to bottom, starting on your top shelf. Discard anything you won’t use. Take note of anything you need to use up or can turn into a meal. Wipe down the shelf and the sides of your fridge with a multipurpose cleaner, or make your own with warm water, a drop of detergent, and baking soda or vinegar. You can take everything out and clean the entire shelf, or just clean in sections, depending on how much time you have.   Empty your crisper drawers. Give them a quick shaking over the sink, then wipe clean and dry.  Line drawers with clean paper towels and replace contents.  While you’re at it, take a peek in your freezer. Discard your ice and wash the bin of your ice maker, if you have one. Here are some tips to help you keep your fridge clean all the time: Your fridge is clean, time to celebrate! This Cranberry Champagne Cocktail is a quick and easy drink you can make right now and enjoy all through the holidays. Fast, festive, and merry-colored red, it lets you serve the same sparkly drink to all your guests, so everyone feels special and included, and isn’t that what the holidays are all about? When it’s time to raise a glass, they all look the same. Kids have a drink just like the grown ups and those that are abstaining have a drink to feel happy about, too. Rinse cranberries well and freeze them on a parchment lined sheet. Transfer to a jar or zip-top bag in your freezer so they are ready to go. I used unsweetened cranberry juice so that I could make these with no added sugar if needed, but any cranberry juice is fine. You can make these with ginger ale, plain or flavored sparkling water, sparkling apple or grape juice or sparkling cider for non-alcoholic options. I tried a berry flavored hard cider in place of the Champagne so I could make 2 drinks in a hurry, and I suggest you do, too! Cranberry Champagne Cocktail makes 1  Add a spoonful of cranberries to the bottom of a chilled champagne flute. Add cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Top with Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or other sparkling beverage. 

- recipe by Tyler Florence, foodnetwork.com

3195easy-gluten-free-bread https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/easy-gluten-free-bread/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/10/IMG_5244-458x600.jpg Soul soothing and perfect to pair with a bowl of whatever piping-hot soup you plan to make next, homemade bread is heaven on earth. Rediscover the joy of baking and celebrate Homemade Bread Day this November 17 with this incredibly easy Homemade Gluten-Free Bread that you make in your bread machine.  Specialty bread can be very expensive, and depending on your needs, it may be even harder to find one you like that doesn’t contain one allergen or another. This recipe is so easy, versatile, and economical that you can make many loaves for a fraction of the store bought kind. Best of all, it's delicious enough to serve to anyone who’s not gluten-free. Slices heated in a warm oven get crusty edges and a warm chewy center. Slathered with butter or dunked in a good olive oil, it's everything you remember about bread. This bread will not disappoint. It can be made free of anything you choose and will turn out perfect, no matter what you modify. Use the flax egg option with Earth Balance and omit the honey to make this vegan. I never add honey and it always turns out fine. The flour I like best is Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. It does contain xanthan gum, so be sure to omit that. Check on your bread about 10 minutes into the mixing cycle. It should look like a heavy cake batter and you may need to scrape down the sides of your bread pan with a spatula. My older bread machine does not have a gluten-free setting, so I use the “basic” mode to knead for 25 minutes and rise for 65. Then I remove the pan, cover it to keep it warm, and switch the machine to “quick” mode. After the 8 minute knead cycle ends, I reinsert the pan and let it bake for 70 minutes. You can check the website for your machine to see if they have gluten-free instructions or you can override your machine for a 20-minute mix, 1-hour rise, and 1-hour bake. Easy Gluten-Free Bread   (vegan, dairy-free options) Combine milk and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup and heat until butter melts. Pour warm milk and melted butter into bread pan, then add eggs, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Add flour, salt and xanthan gum. Hollow out the center of the flour and add the yeast. Select gluten-free setting; press start. Remove from pan and cool before slicing. Enjoy! Store unsliced and airtight at room temperature or refrigerate.  *for 2 flax eggs: combine 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with 6 Tablespoons of water and stir well. Let sit 5 minutes or more.

- adapted from mamaknowsglutenfree.com

3188slow-cooker-mac-and-cheese-with-bacon https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/slow-cooker-mac-and-cheese-with-bacon/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/10/IMG_5173-e1634960782341-600x483.jpg No bones about it, Halloween here is just better. Someone flips a magic switch- foreboding clouds gather. A chilly breeze hits the leaves, and the night takes on all the broody, moody feel of a Nirvana song. Perfect, right? Now gather your ghouls and goblins and let’s get this party started! Pray for drizzle, but plan for rain. Your trunk-or-treaters are bound to return home soaked or soggy. Be ready with something warm and waiting. This Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese with Bacon is just the thing. Serve it on its own or make it part of a fun boo board full of spooky eats.  Here are some tricks for your treats. Scare up some fun and make easy Crescent Mummy Dogs. Wrap them earlier in the day with your kids, bake them ahead of time, and then gently rewarm before serving. Go to pillsbury.com for directions or email me and I’ll send you the recipe. Set out finger food that sets the mood. Start with some eerie, green guacamole. Add yellow, orange, and purple carrots, some yellow squash, pumpkin seeds and tortilla chips. Keep the creep with some dried fruit. Shriveled, withered, and already eerie, it does spooky on its own. No added effort on your part required.  You can use any shape pasta that you like, but radiatore will hold their shape and consistency  best with this cooking method. I added 4 extra ounces of pasta, using all of the 16 ounce package when I made this. It turned out very creamy and cheesy, so don’t be afraid to use a little more pasta and make a bigger batch. I used 2% milk and low-fat 2% evaporated milk to reduce the fat a bit, and you could also use reduced fat cheese if you like. Make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta. Be sure to undercook your pasta. Reduce the package cooking time by two minutes when you boil it. Settle in for a spooky movie. Eat, drink, and be scary! Have a frightful biteful and however you may gather, stay safe out there. Slow-Cooker Mac and Cheese with Bacon Lightly coat the bowl of a 4- to 5-quart cauldron, or slow cooker, with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then add pasta. Set timer for 2 minutes less than package directions.   While pasta cooks, crumble 6 slices of bacon and add to slow cooker, along with milk, evaporated milk, mustard, onion powder, and salt. Whisk until blended. When pasta is done, drain and quickly transfer to crock pot; stir gently. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Lightly stir in cheeses and cook and additional 30 minutes. Crumble remaining 2 slices bacon, then sprinkle on top. 

- familycircle.com, February 2015 

3181speedy-pumpkin-skillet-lasagna https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/speedy-pumpkin-skillet-lasagna/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/10/IMG_5144-e1634444763881-600x458.jpg Your next cook from home assignment is an easy one. This Speedy Pumpkin Skillet Lasagna is a one dish bake that’s packed with fall flavor and the speedy prep makes it perfect for a weeknight. With several servings of veggies built right in, there’s no need to serve a side. You can add a tossed salad if you like, and dinner is done. I used a roll of Isernio’s Hot Italian Chicken Sausage to reduce the fat and skip having to remove the casings. To lighten this recipe further, you can use part skim ricotta and lite mozzarella. If you can’t find, or don’t have, any of the ingredients, swap in and out as you like. Feel free to add in other vegetables, like thinly sliced yellow squash, a bit of frozen kale or spinach, or even frozen riced cauliflower. Use a mandoline to slice your zucchini. It speeds up your prep and ensures quick, even cooking.  If you’re short on time, use a jar of your favorite sauce. Just brown the sausage, add the wine, let it reduce, then pour in the sauce. You can use any variety of frozen ravioli or refrigerated ones, just expect and allow for a longer cooking time if you use the frozen. Pop this in the oven and your whole house will smell so good you’d swear you were at your favorite Italian restaurant. Enjoy!  Speedy Pumpkin Skillet Lasagna Pumpkin-Cheese Filling Sauce Ravioli-Zucchini  Preheat oven to 450º F. Combine pumpkin, ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir together and set aside. Warm olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until brown. Pour in wine and simmer until reduced by half, then add tomato sauce, basil, Italian Seasoning, oregano, parsley and several grinds of black pepper. Stir together, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer most of the sauce into a medium bowl, leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Top with a layer of ravioli. Spread half of the pumpkin filling over ravioli, then half of the zucchini. Top with half of the shredded cheese, then cover with sauce. Repeat layers, finishing with ravioli and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake until thick and bubbly and cheese is lightly browned - about 10-15 minutes. Scatter basil or rosemary on top and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  3174slow-cooker-healthy-hamburger-soup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/slow-cooker-healthy-hamburger-soup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/10/IMG_5131-e1633763575340-600x450.jpg There’s no better way to chase the chill than with a warm and hearty bowl of soup. Prepared early in the day in your Slow Cooker, it fills the whole house with the soothing, simmering aroma of dinner that’s ready when you are. This Slow Cooker Healthy Hamburger Soup is fast, family-friendly fare. Packed with veggies and chunks of tender ground beef, it's nutritious and filling. Each serving provides 3-4 servings of vegetables, 7 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein. Not bad for soup.  Yes, the Instant Pot is miraculous, but it will never take away the magic of the Slow Cooker. You fill it up in the morning and it bubbles away, unattended, mind you. You feel smug all day about having your dinner ducks in a row and return to a warm, home-cooked meal, feeling like you’ve had a night off. Old fashioned, yes. Comforting, you bet. There will always be a place in my heart, and on my counter, for my slow cooker.  I used lean ground beef, but ground turkey or chicken would also work in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. You can use only one kind of potato if you like, and spinach can be substituted in place of the kale. Regular diced tomatoes can swap in for the fire-roasted ones. If you don’t have fresh, you can use frozen kale and green beans. Make soup and welcome the return of your slow cooker to your countertop. It’s a delicious and soothing way to end the day. Slow Cooker Healthy Hamburger Soup Add oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When oil has warmed, add ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic cloves. Sauté, breaking up ground beef with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink. (Select 'Sauté' on Instant Pot; cook 5 to 7 minutes.) Transfer ingredients from skillet to slow cooker. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, Italian seasoning, and several grinds of black pepper. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. (Lock lid on Instant Pot and flip valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure 12 minutes. Wait 5 to 7 minutes before venting to releasing pressure. Remove lid and stir in kale and green beans; cook until tender.)  About 2 hours before serving, add green beans and kale. Add additional broth to thin, if desired. Cook until green beans are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 

- recipe from therealfooddieticians.com

3168crispy-bacon-brussels-with-walnut-parm-crunch https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/crispy-bacon-brussels-with-walnut-parm-crunch/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/10/IMG_5112-e1633238197210-600x410.jpg   It’s not too early. And this year in particular, you don’t want to be too late. Who says Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other special day for that matter, only happens once a year? Why constrain your happiness to one day when you can string the joy out over time. Jump in now on the festivities. Start practicing your stuffing. Give your side dishes a dry run. It will make whatever you’ve having for dinner feel a lot more special.  This Crispy Bacon Brussels with Walnut-Parm Crunch is a side dish you can use now and keep in mind for later. Cook your bacon in the oven. While it cooks you can multitask and trim the brussels sprouts. You'll get crisp, evenly cooked bacon, plus no stovetop mess or splatters. Put your bacon into the oven as it’s preheating so you don’t waste energy and cook the entire pound while you’re at it. Use what’s left for breakfast this week, or store extra in a zip top bag in your freezer.  If you don’t use all of the vinaigrette, refrigerate the extra and use it to dress a salad.  Kick up some leaves and live in the moment. Snuggle up by the fire and soak up our fabulous fall. Celebrate. And celebrate again.  Crispy Bacon Brussels with Walnut-Parm Crunch Brussels Sprouts Walnut-Parm Crunch Citrus-Dijon Vinaigrette To Serve Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, then place bacon side-by-sdie on the pan. Cook 18-20 minutes or until crisp. Remove tray from oven and use tongs to transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard foil when cool. Adjust oven to 450º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, then place sheets in the oven. In a large bowl, combine brussels sprouts, garlic powder, salt and several grinds of black pepper. Drizzle generously with olive oil and toss together. Carefully remove hot baking sheets from oven and add brussels sprouts in a single layer. Roast about 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through; remove when sprouts are browned and crispy. Transfer sprouts back to large bowl. In a small bowl, combine panko, walnuts, Parmesan, and olive oil; stir together. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes. Stir and bake 3 minutes more, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. In a small jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey and mustard; shake to combine. Pour over warm brussels sprouts in bowl and toss together. Transfer to serving dish and top with crumbled bacon, and walnut-Parm crunch. Finish with lemon zest and grated Parmesan. Serve warm. 

- adapted from recipe by Dylan Dreyer

3158vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-swirl-brownies https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-swirl-brownies/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/09/IMG_5086-e1632608558652-600x424.jpg Stir up some smiles this week with a fall treat that lets everyone get in on the pumpkin spice action. Plant based and refined sugar free, these Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Brownies are  a healthy treat you can feel good about eating. Packed with filling fiber from oats, flax, and pumpkin, plus an added boost of inulin from the coconut sugar, they’re not just delicious, they’re nutritious. The A, C, and E vitamins in pumpkin strengthen your immune system and help it to fight infections and viruses. More good reasons to add a shot of pumpkin to your meals.  I made the recipe exactly as follows, but used peanut butter in place of the almond butter to make this nut allergy friendly. You could also use sunbutter or tahini if peanuts are a problem. Use any non-dairy milk you like, such as almond, oat, rice or soy. I used coconut milk, again, because of allergies. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use cinnamon plus a little bit of ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, and a dash of allspice if you have it. Make the oat flour from your pantry staple rolled oats. Pulse them in your blender until you have a flour-like powder, then measure out the quantity you need. Can't wait to try your brownies? Feel free to taste test the batter. No eggs or flour, so it’s safe.   Moist, cakey, and satisfyingly sweet, the chocolate is expected, but the pumpkin and spice make these even more nice. Make some and plan to make some more. They're  just right for snacks, dessert, lunch treats or even breakfast. While you’re baking, give your spices a once over. It's a perfect time to toss anything that’s old and restock anything you need for baking season.  Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Swirl Brownies Flax eggs Wet Dry Make flax eggs: combine ground flax and water in a small bowl and mix together. Transfer tp refrigerator and let sit for 10 - 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine coconut sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin purée, almond (or other nut or seed) butter, coconut oil, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix together. In a small bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice; stir together. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Add in flax eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.  Measure out a scant 1/2 cup batter and set aside. Add cacao to remaining batter in bowl and mix until combined. Pour batter into an 8x8 greased baking dish. Spoon the reserved batter on top and lightly swirl into the chocolate batter. Bake 23-27 minutes. Scatter chocolate chips over still warm brownies. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing.

- recipe by Kristi Roeder, avocadoskillet.com

3149pan-seared-pork-chops-and-apples-with-cider-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pan-seared-pork-chops-and-apples-with-cider-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/09/IMG_5068-rotated-e1631945226533-600x450.jpg It’s official. Time to cozy up and lean in to all things fall. Curl up with some knitting. Pull out your sweaters. Dust off your rolling pin and start baking. But first, let’s make dinner.  These Pan Seared Pork Chops and Apples with Cider Sauce are so easy to make you can have a fancy fall dinner at home even on a weeknight. Apples and onions roast in the oven, the pork chops get a quick sear, and before you know it, your whole house fills with the warm, inviting aroma of all those fabulous foods that say fall. A good dinner is important. It’s soul soothing. It’s satisfying. And during these trying times, it’s morale boosting. If you are going to have meat for dinner, do it like you mean it. Bone-in pork chops are juicier. Meatier. Heartier. In short, they’re just better.  Here’s how to get a moist pork chop with a proper sear. First, start by taking your pork chops out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them. Set a cooling rack over a sheet pan and lay your pork chops out on the rack to prep. Next, season both sides of your chops with salt and then let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes. This gives the meat a chance to warm up, ensuring a nice crust on the outside and a tender, juicy inside.  If you have cast iron skillet, use it. You are guaranteed to get a good sear. Most importantly, use a thermometer. It’s really, truly the only way to know if your meat is actually done, not overcooked and even more importantly, not undercooked. Sit down with a fork and a knife and wind down. Savor the moment! Pan Seared Pork Chops and Apples with Cider Sauce Preheat oven to 425º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine apples, shallots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 sprigs thyme and a pinch of salt on baking sheet; lightly toss. Roast until apples are golden brown and tender, about 13 to 15 minutes.  Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook, searing on each side until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes per side. Chops are done at when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145º F. Transfer to a plate. Drain and discard any fat in skillet, then set over medium-high heat. Add cider, mustard and remaining 6 sprigs of thyme and let simmer vigorously until liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 8 to10 minutes. Plate pork chops and serve with roasted apples and shallots, spooning pan sauce over the chops. 

- recipe by Lydia Backer 

3142sheet-pan-roasted-chicken-panzanella https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sheet-pan-roasted-chicken-panzanella/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/09/IMG_5048-e1631337477760-600x466.jpg Good news! You are making a delicious dinner at home tonight and you already have everything you need. Ok, maybe most of what you need, but you can improvise!  This Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken Panzanella is an easy weeknight meal and the prep is minimal. Once you slice the tomatoes, onion and zucchini they go on a sheet pan with the chicken and into the oven. Everything cooks together and mostly minds itself. You just need to be on hand at the halfway mark to add the bread.   For easier cleanup, line your pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Start by cutting all of your vegetables. Slice the cherry tomatoes, red onion, and halve and slice the zucchini. Depending on your bread, you may need to slice it before tearing it into smaller chunks. Do this before cutting your chicken, while your cutting board is still clean.  You can use all chicken thighs, as called for in the recipe below, or use half thighs and half breasts. I used a package of each when I made this, which was 5 thighs and 3 breasts. (Leftover chicken is perfect for another easy meal!) Be sure to cut the larger pieces in half so that all the portions will be about the same size and cook evenly. Zucchini works nicely in this recipe, but you could also use yellow squash, eggplant, green beans, asparagus, or even sliced carrots. To make this gluten-free, toast the bread on a separate sheet pan. Give it a light drizzle of olive oil beforehand and serve the bread separately. I did not have arugula, so I made a quick kale salad instead: slice kale into thin ribbons; add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Massage kale with clean hands until it softens a bit. Top with chicken and panzanella; sprinkle with red pepper flakes and shaved Parmesan.  Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken Panzanella Dressing: Preheat oven to 425º F.  Arrange chicken on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, then scatter tomatoes, zucchini and onion around the chicken. Drizzle olive oil over all and season with salt, or garlic salt, and pepper.  Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove tray from oven and add torn bread. Return to oven and cook an additional 10 minutes or until a food thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165º F.  For Dressing: Whisk red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl. Serve individually in shallow bowls, spooning oven roasted chicken, vegetables and bread over  arugula. Drizzle dressing over top. 

- recipe by Siri Daly, today.com

3134make-ahead-blackberry-oatmeal-blender-pancakes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/make-ahead-blackberry-oatmeal-blender-pancakes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/09/IMG_5007-451x600.jpg Ahhhh, September. The sweet convergence of pickles, pies, and pumpkins. Want to make someone happy? Feed them. Nothing says I love you quite like a home cooked meal. Show some extra kindness to your family and ease those back-to-school mornings with a healthy breakfast. Start by stirring up the fun this weekend with these Make-Ahead Blackberry Oatmeal Pancakes. The easy oat batter comes together quickly in your blender so you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast right now and simplify the coming week as well.  For another quick option, you can’t beat overnight oats. Made in 8 ounce mason jars, this makes four individual, self-serve portions that are great for grab and go. Measure 2 cups your choice of milk (I used oat) into a Pyrex liquid measure. Add 2 tablespoons honey, agave, or any sweetener you like (I used maple syrup), 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir together, then microwave for 1 minute at 50 percent power. Spoon 1 tablespoon chia seeds into each jar, then add 1/2 cup rolled oats.* Pour warmed milk over oats, dividing evenly between all of the jars. Cover with lids and refrigerate overnight. Let everyone top their own with fresh bananas, berries or other fruit, toasted nuts or seeds, peanut butter, shredded coconut, or granola. Easy! Celebrate the weekend with some home made pancakes. Spread the love!  Make-Ahead Blackberry Oatmeal Blender Pancakes Add oats to blender. Blend on high until oats become a fine powder. Add 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, whole milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, baking powder and sea salt. Blend on low speed until smooth, scraping down inside of blender as needed. Set batter aside and let rest 5 minutes. Combine 1 package blackberries and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a medium bowl. Mash blackberries until they are evenly broken down; set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat skillet lightly with vegetable oil or nonstick spray. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out batter. Spoon 1 teaspoon blackberry mixture into batter and swirl with spoon. Pour batter onto hot skillet; cook until bubbles begin to form and remain on surface of pancake, 2 - 3 minutes. Flip pancake; cook 1 - 2 minutes longer until pancake is golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with remaining blackberry mixture, whole blackberries, maple syrup and a dollop of yogurt.  Make ahead: Separate pancakes with sheets of parchment paper. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. Reheat in warm oven or toaster oven. 

-  recipe by the feedfeed from driscolls.com

  *Note: Use your canning jar funnel to quickly and neatly fill your jars. Keep it in your kitchen drawer year-round. It works on bags, too. 3128gazoz https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/gazoz/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/08/IMG_4951-450x600.jpg You’ve got your Labor Day barbecue, your side dish, your end of summer dessert…  but have you got gazoz? Have I got something amazing for you! A seasonal sparkling drink of the moment, gazoz lets you capture the best of what’s blooming in your garden, or showcase your stellar market finds, and create what speaks to you. Ready to gazoz?  Fun to make and easy to do, let nature entice and be your muse. In their beautiful book Gazoz, Benny Briga and Adeena Sussman describe it as “a gorgeous, aromatic, colorful, zero-proof beverage of fruit, fizz, flora and fermentation.” Use what you have, source what you need. This drink is a party in a glass and it’s just right for right this moment. Fruit and flowers, spices and herbs, syrup and sparkle - you can add a splash of kombucha, kefir, or jun, if you like. Give your gathering gazoz! Here are the building basics.  Basic Gazoz makes 1 drink Place the ice in a 12- to 16-ounce glass. Spoon in fermented fruit syrup. Add fermented fruit, fresh fruit, fermented spice, and fermented spice syrup. Fill glass with sparkling water. Garnish the top of glass with herbs, leaves, greens and flowers of your choice. Insert straw and drink immediately.  *Note: Cubes made with filtered mineral water or tap water that has been boiled and cooled will be clearer and more compact, and will also melt more slowly. Avoid crushed ice, which will melt quickly and dilute your beverage. Sweet Fermented Fruit in Syrup Combine baking soda with 2 quarts cold water and fruit in a large bowl. Rub fruit with a soft cloth to clean it, then transfer to a separate large bowl filled with ice water. Let stand 30 minutes to firm fruit up. Slice fruit into 1-inch wedges, removing cores, stems and pits. If you’re using apples, pears, quince, or any fruit that might turn brown, drop them into bowl filled with 90 percent water to 10 percent lemon juice as you slice.  Layer some of the fruit in a 1-quart jar with a tight-fitting lid; sprinkle with sugar. Continue layering fruit and sugar until jar is filled, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches headroom at top. Seal jar tightly and let stand on counter until a syrup has formed and fruit has softened and slumped slightly, about 1 to 3 days. Open jar daily to release pressure and check fruit. Once you detect a cider-like aroma or taste, you can let it ferment longer, or refrigerate the jar to slow fermentation. When you are happy with the flavor, transfer jar to refrigerator. Use fermented fruit and its syrup within 2 weeks.   *for fresh berries: omit above. Rinse well and layer with sugar.

  3117chipotle-chicken-nacho-dip https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chipotle-chicken-nacho-dip/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/08/IMG_4884-450x600.jpg I feel fall. Maybe you do, too. It’s a teeny bit cooler, the days are a bit shorter, and if you stop long enough to notice you can see a few leaves here and there getting ready to put on a show. Summer is winding down.  If you have kids at home, this last week is precious. Spend a little extra time together. Plan something you enjoy. Here’s an easy meal idea to help you nudge back into the fall routine. Whether you make this for game day, or need something to cozy up with for the weekend Netflix marathon, a dip is a fun thing to do. Set everything out and serve it right in the baking dish. It might be the only way you can get your kids to eat vegetables. (Hint: don’t put the chips out right away.) This Chipotle Chicken Nacho Dip is from the Pampered Chef website. Make this in their large bar pan, if you happen to have one, but if not, a 9-by-13 casserole dish will work nicely. Try this: cut the chicken using a pizza cutter. If  you’re using the bar pan, you can cut the chicken right on it. Let kids help. They can measure and mix the spices, add the ingredients to the bowl and stir them, spread the cheese mixture in the pan and sprinkle the cheese on top. They can use the pizza cutter, too, if you feel that it's safe. This hit the fun button in our house. Hope it does in yours, too. Chipotle Chicken Nacho Dip Preheat oven to 450º F. Combine garlic powder, smoked paprika, and chipotle pepper in a small bowl and stir together. Arrange chicken tenders evenly on large bar pan or 9-by-13 casserole dish. Sprinkle chicken tenders with half of the spice mix. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until internal temperature measures 165º F.  Meanwhile, add cream cheese and remaining spice mix to a 2 quart microwave safe glass bowl. Microwave on high power, 30-60 seconds or until cream cheese is softened; mix well. Finely chop green onions and cilantro; add half to cream cheese and reserve remaining for topping. Add 1 cup shredded cheese to bowl and stir. Slice bell pepper, removing seeds, then dice. Add diced bell pepper and sour cream to bowl and mix well.  Remove chicken from oven and use a pizza cutter to cut into bite-size chunks. Return to baking dish, then top chicken with cream cheese mixture, using a spatula to mix and spread evenly. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and return to oven for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve warm with tortilla chips and fresh vegetables. 3112pasta-with-silky-eggplant-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/pasta-with-silky-eggplant-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/08/IMG_4828-e1628920365251-600x438.jpg Three beautiful eggplants peeked out from the bottom of my CSA box this week. Shiny, deep dark purple, they were so perfect I dared not admire them long. Eggplant waits for no one. It will go from “Oh, wow!” to “Oh, no!” faster than you can say, “But, I just bought this!”  There are plenty of ways to do eggplant, all delicious, some more labor intensive than others. When eggplant looks good at the market, I am always inclined to make caponata, the Sicilian eggplant appetizer I grew up with. Or ratatouille. That end-of-summer recipe that brilliantly combines everything that seems to be ripening all at once.  Here’s a quick, easy and totally delicious way to enjoy eggplant. It's low fuss, big flavor and it's all about the cooking technique. Start with fresh, firm eggplants that are heavy for their size. Eggplants at their best are much less likely to be seedy and bitter. You do not need to cut the eggplant precisely. It’s going to get mashed anyway so just roughly dice it. When the eggplant cooks down it becomes silky and makes a most amazing sauce.  Add sun dried tomatoes (only if you want to) and fresh basil and toss with your pasta. That’s it! Riff if you like: capers, chile oil? Parmesan optional. This pasta was made for leftovers. It’s good cold or room temperature, and makes a nice pasta salad. Or, add eggs and turn it into a next day frittata.  Now try other vegetables. Cauliflower, broccolini, zucchini ... Pasta with Silky Eggplant Sauce Lightly salt slices of eggplant then stack them together on a plate. Let stand for 20 minutes to remove bitterness. Meanwhile, pour olive oil into a wide, heavy saucepan set over low heat. Add garlic cloves and let warm while pan heats. Using a clean paper towel, dry eggplant, then cut into chunks. When you can smell garlic and start to hear it sizzle, add eggplant; stir to coat thoroughly with oil. Add thyme or oregano and stir. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to cook until eggplant starts to turn translucent and soften; add liquid. Once boiling, turn to medium-low and cover. Stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t stick.  While eggplant cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.  While pasta is boiling, check on eggplant. The liquid should be reduced and mostly absorbed after about 20 minutes. When it looks mashable, mash with a spoon until silky-smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Drain pasta and toss with mashed eggplant. Stir in tomatoes, basil and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. 

- recipe by Francis Lam, Food52

3106ginger-lime-grilled-chicken https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/ginger-lime-grilled-chicken/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/08/IMG_4803-e1628319938834-600x583.jpg Somewhere between all the tomatoes you can eat and trying to manage all that zucchini, you may find yourself wondering what to do about dinner. Don’t heat your house up and don’t make a mess. Anytime you can grill, you should do it! Don’t waste one more minute cooking than you need to.  Make something good in a hurry with this Ginger-Lime Grilled Chicken. A flash marinade of ginger, fish sauce, fresh lime juice and chili-garlic sauce gives chicken thighs all the fun flavor of your favorite Thai take-out. Pair them with sweet, sliced nectarines, fresh mint and chopped peanuts for an easy, make at home meal with no fuss. Add something extra: some noodles, rice, or a cucumber salad, or just eat it as is. It's a delicious dinner you can make in no time.  Omit the fish sauce like I do, if you’re not a fan. I used skinless chicken thighs, but you could also use drumsticks, chicken breasts or tenderloins in this recipe. Use any chili-garlic sauce you like or whatever you may happen to have on hand. I am a big fan of Thai Red Curry Paste. You can add it to soups or marinades and get fast flavor. Keep a bottle on hand in your fridge so you can make curry in a hurry. You can make the dressing as directed below and toss it together with the nectarines, or make it in a small bowl and spoon it over at the end. Plate your chicken and nectarines, then add dressing, mint and peanuts to keep your nectarines from getting bruised. It will be fall faster than you can say pumpkin spice latte. Don’t let the summer get away from you. Enjoy every sunshine moment while it’s here.  Ginger-Lime Grilled Chicken dressing: Using tongs, place chicken thighs on a large sheet pan; season with salt and pepper. Combine ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice and chili-garlic sauce in a small bowl and whisk together. Brush over top of chicken.  Heat grill to medium high. Place chicken on grill; cover and cook, flipping occasionally, until charred and crisp and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165º F.  Transfer cooked chicken to a clean sheet pan or plate.  While chicken is cooking, make dressing. Combine water, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, lime juice and chili-garlic sauce in a large bowl. Whisk in vegetable oil. Add nectarines, mint, peanuts and salt to the bowl and toss lightly with the dressing. Divide chicken and nectarine salad among plates.  

- recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine

3096hiyashi-chuka https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/hiyashi-chuka/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/07/IMG_4786-rotated-e1627710549853-600x450.jpg Cue the cucumbers, it’s warm out there and you need to adjust accordingly. A cold noodle salad is refreshing on hot days and these Tokyo-inspired cold ramen noodles are a fun way to wrap up this final week of the Olympics. Because you will not be using the seasoning packet, you can use any kind of ramen that you like or have on hand. You could also use rice noodles in this recipe. I used buckwheat ramen when I made this to give it an added nutritional boost. Feel free to add or subtract any vegetables or toppings. I left the radishes off but added some lightly salted, cold edamame and snuck some sliced avocado into my bowl. I like dried seaweed so I used that in place of the wakame. You can swap in extra firm tofu, chilled shrimp or imitation crab in place of the ham. Use a mandolin to cut your vegetables into even sheets before you julienne them to make them very uniform. Or, just use your knife to slice them thinly. A little less precise, but equally pleasing.  The Ponzu dressing is light and citrusy, just the right balance of salty/sweet. Bottled yuzu juice can be found at specialty foods stores and Asian markets. If you can’t find it or want to make your own, you can substitute 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1/2 tablespoon fresh orange juice. You can also buy Yuzu Ponzu, a soy dressing made with yuzu, and use that in place of the dressing in this recipe.  A fun supper or easy make-ahead for this week’s lunch, it totes well, too. Assemble the bowls at home and pack dressing separately: enjoy a cool lunch on the go. Thinking ahead a bit, I can imagine this in a school lunch box.  Stay cool and enjoy the warm while it lasts. Hiyashi Chuka Ponzu Dressing  Noodles: Cook according to directions on package; rinse under cold water until chilled. Toss with toasted sesame oil and set aside.  Egg crepe: pour a very thin layer of scrambled eggs onto a non-stick pan set over low heat. Cook until it pulls away from sides and no longer looks wet on top. Once cool, remove from pan; roll and cut into strips. Vegetables: rehydrate wakame seaweed, cut cherry tomatoes in half, cut cucumbers and carrots into 3-inch matchstick strips, quarter radishes. Slice ham into thin strips. Ponzu Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To serve: Plate hiyashi chuka in individual shallow bowls, starting with noodles on the bottom. Arrange toppings in a colorful pattern on top of the noodles. Pour about 1/4 cup ponzu dressing over all. Finish with pickled ginger and toasted sesame seeds. Stir and enjoy! 

- recipe by Elena Yamamoto 

3090vegan-gluten-free-peach-cobbler https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/vegan-gluten-free-peach-cobbler/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/07/IMG_4760-rotated-e1627107757667-600x450.jpg Fresh Northwest peaches are here, and they are sublime. Eat this very fragile fruit-of-the-moment every way you can. Scatter fresh peach slices over whole grain toast smeared with ricotta, add blackberries and drizzle with honey. Grill peach halves and serve with chicken. Try a Peach Caprese: sliced peaches play well with tomatoes, mozzarella and ribbons of fresh basil. Freeze peach slices then blend with yogurt for an easy, home made frozen dessert. Or bake this Vegan, Gluten-Free Fresh Peach Cobbler, full of better-for-you ingredients, plus no refined sugar and plenty of fiber. You can use frozen, or even canned, drained peaches in this recipe, but when the peaches are as delectable as they are right this minute, why would you? I used coconut milk in this recipe, but any kind of alternative milk that you like will work here. The batter is very thick and stiff, almost like cookie dough consistency. If it’s too dry, you may need to add a little more milk to get it to hold together.  While you’re enjoying all that farm stand fruit, remember to wash it well. Gently rub all produce under cold running water to thoroughly clean it. Here today - gone tomorrow. Enjoy that juice dripping down your chin while you can. Vegan, Gluten-Free Fresh Peach Cobbler For peaches: For cobbler: For crumble topping: Preheat oven to 325º F. In a large pot, combine all ingredients for peach filling. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently until peaches are evenly coated and sugar dissolves. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Lightly coat sides of an 11” x 7” casserole dish with vegan butter, then add 1/2 cup vegan butter to a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Cover and microwave on 30% power setting until melted, about 1 minute. Pour melted butter into the bottom of casserole dish, tilting to evenly coat the bottom. Measure alternative milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract into liquid measuring cup and stir together. In a small bowl, combine oats, gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; stir to mix. Pour liquid ingredients into bowl and stir until combined. Transfer batter to casserole dish and use clean hands to lightly press and spread batter from edge to edge. Use a slotted spoon to remove peaches from syrup, layering them evenly over batter. Pour syrup over all. Transfer to oven and cook for 15 minutes.  While cobbler is baking, combine all ingredients for crumble in a small bowl, mixing well. Remove cobbler from oven and sprinkle crumble on top. Rotate cobbler and return to oven. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing. 

- adapted from recipe by Sashah Handal, Well+Good

3083seared-scallops-with-basil-risotto https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/seared-scallops-with-basil-risotto/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/07/IMG_4728-e1626507895111-600x529.jpg Grab a taste of the tropics with this breezy Pineapple-Basil Risotto. Topped with meaty, seared scallops, it’s a big impact entree you can make with low impact effort. It’s summer, remember? Don’t stand at the stove stirring! Use your Instant Pot and set as directed below, or if you have a Multi-Cooker with a risotto setting, you can just push “risotto” and go. Pineapple juice adds an unexpected, and surprisingly good, element. Serve Parmesan on the side so that everyone can try first before adding it.  I used economical Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base for the broth called for in this recipe. Keeping this concentrated base stocked in your fridge means that you have broth on hand at all times and eliminates the food waste that can happen when you open a container of broth and don’t use all of it. You can stir it into soups and stews, or use it to add depth and flavor when quickly seasoning vegetables. Scallops are a perfect protein. They defrost fast and cook quickly, letting you pretty much forget about dinner until the very last moment and still serve up a serious meal at a fraction of what you’d pay out. Keep some in your freezer so you can cook at home, turn out something restaurant worthy, and save money. The recipe below serves 4. Adjust accordingly, or you can gently rewarm and have yourself another night off. I eyeballed the portion sizes and used 12 ounces of scallops, rather than 16, and still had plenty for dinner, plus leftovers. All of the scallops fit perfectly in my largest cast iron skillet so I was able to cook them quickly in one batch.  Sweet pineapple, aromatic basil, caramelized scallops. Try it!  Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Basil Risotto Set a 6-qt Instant Pot to high sauté setting and add butter. As butter melts add onion and cook, stirring often, until onions soften and become translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Quickly stir in garlic, then add Arborio rice; cook and stir for about 1 minute to coat. Stir in pineapple juice and vegetable broth. Secure lid. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 6 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure. Remove lid and stir. Cover and set aside while you cook scallops. Pat scallops dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add scallops and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip scallops once, then tilt skillet to baste them with additional oil. Continue to cook another minute until scallops are no longer translucent.  Divide risotto among serving plates and top with scallops. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

-adapted from recipe by Kelly Senyei on epicurious.com  

3079ginger-miso-pasta-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/ginger-miso-pasta-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/07/IMG_4704-e1625903805817-537x600.jpg What would summer be without pasta salad? This Ginger-Miso version is a healthy side dish, but it’s filling enough to be a main. Vegetarian and gluten-free, there is no mayo. Plus, it gets better as it sits, making this dish perfect for picnics.  I used an 8 ounce package of cavatappi shaped chickpea pasta to add protein and fiber. It has a nice, toothsome bite to it which makes it a good choice for pasta salad. You can drain your pasta and add the dressing while it’s still hot, but I like to use an ice water bath to cool the pasta quickly and keep it from getting too soft. Subtract one minute from the shortest cooking time on the package directions and try testing your pasta. If it’s just a little too firm, it’s ready. Use a spider to transfer the pasta quickly to a pre-filled bowl of ice water.  The dressing is truly delicious and don’t hesitate to try it on other things. I added a tablespoon of tahini to stretch the small bit I had left over and massaged it into some fresh kale. It was divine! Note that all of the dressing ingredients are in tablespoon increments, which makes measuring a breeze. You can keep fresh ginger on hand at all times by freezing it. Grate and freeze it in small cubes, or you can just freeze it whole. Thaw it just a bit and then it’s easier to peel and grate.  Swap in whatever you may have on hand or anything that looks particularly good from this week’s farmer’s market. Summer squash, sliced sugar snap peas, or blanched cauliflower or green beans would all work well in this salad. Or try adding corn, just barely cooked and sliced fresh off the cob. Ah, summer!  Ginger-Miso Pasta Salad Dressing: Add kosher salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook as directed on package until al dente. Remove from water and transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Add broccoli to cooking water and cook for 1 minute. Transfer broccoli to bowl of ice water. Set bowl aside and let cool. Dressing:  In a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, combine miso paste, grated ginger, soy sauce or tamari, canola oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Cover and shake to emulsify.  Add cucumbers, bell peppers, edamame and carrots to a large bowl. Add pasta and broccoli. Pour dressing over all and toss to combine. Garnish with chopped fresh chives and sesame seeds. 

- recipe by Valerie Bertinelli 

3071blueberry-smart-smoothie https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/blueberry-smart-smoothie/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/07/IMG_4671-600x596.jpg Mother Nature has waved her magic wand over the Northwest and here we are bursting at the seams with berries and all manner of vegetal delights. Your mission right now is to gather and eat your fill of as many summer offerings as you can. Preserve and freeze what remains, but by all means eat and enjoy what you can right this minute. With the bounty of beautiful blueberries at hand, every summer I make at least one pie, cobbler and crisp. I bake more than a few batches of muffins and flip plenty of whole-grain pancakes that are generously studded with berries. I make jam: chia, freezer, or no sugar added. Then I rinse and freeze, looking ahead to the fall and winter.  Why not make something good that’s good for you? This Blueberry Smart Smoothie from nutritionist Joy Bauer is healthy and delicious. Packed with power foods that help to boost brain power, its good for you ingredients can help enhance your memory, help you focus and increase your attention. Plus, it tastes good. I know because I tested it several times to be sure. You might just have everything you need in your kitchen right now.  Start with blueberries, fresh or frozen. A top antioxidant, studies show that people who regularly eat blueberries have better memory and cognitive function than those who don’t. Next, add half a ripe banana to add sweetness without adding sugar. Bananas are filled with potassium, magnesium, and also vitamin B6 which helps keep your immune system healthy. Toss in cocoa powder. It is filled with flavonols, a type of antioxidant that keeps your blood vessels healthy, happy and elastic. Cocoa powder is 100% straight dark chocolate. Look for brands that are unsweetened and not Dutched or ones that don’t use alkali during processing. Companies do this to remove the bitter taste, but it removes the antioxidants as well. Next, add chia seeds. They are good for brain health because they help neurons communicate more efficiently. And coffee.  Research links coffee to enhanced brain health. Scientists think it is a combination of both the caffeine and antioxidants that are packed in that cup. Plus, it will help wake you up. A little vanilla extract for flavor, plus 3 ice cubes, then blend. I used frozen blueberries and banana slices, as well as frozen coffee cubes when I made this, so I had to add a little water, a few tablespoons at a time as I was blending. What resulted was a thick, frozen soft serve/sorbet consistency. Spoonable and sweet it’s a perfect frozen treat that is so delicious and so good for you. Enjoy! Blueberry Smart Smoothie Add blueberries, banana, cocoa powder, chia seeds, chilled coffee, vanilla extract and ice cubes to jar of blender. Process until smooth. Enjoy at once or refrigerate a few hours for pudding.  3067tangy-cherry-barbecue-sausage https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/tangy-cherry-barbecue-sausage/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/06/IMG_4654-e1624761682128-600x450.jpg The heat is on. If the sweltering stretch of weather has left you feeling less than enthusiastic about cooking, you are not alone. It is predicted to be one hot summer in Clark County, with more stifling days ahead. If you can’t stand the heat you don’t need to get out of the kitchen. Just do things a little differently. Don’t lose your cool cooking. Here are a few of my favorite things to cook when it’s just too darn hot.  First, take it outside. Consider your stove, and definitely your oven, off limits for the time being. Grill if you like, but if it’s too hot for even that, take your toaster oven, Instant Pot, or hot plate to a covered patio or consider using your garage. You don’t want to do anything in your kitchen that makes heat. Starting with breakfast. If you must have something hot, use your microwave. Eggs can be scrambled in a cup, sausages or bacon can be cooked or reheated, or make oatmeal. Chia pudding, yogurt, berries and granola, cold cereal, and smoothies are all good cold choices.  Next, lunch and dinner. Chilled veggie sticks and hummus, hard boiled or deviled eggs, cold cuts, chilled pasta or quinoa salad, an impromptu charcuterie board, or any variation on a caprese salad you can think of, are all good bets. Consider leftover cold chicken, a chilled shrimp cocktail, or veggie burgers that you can reheat: outside, please. Cottage cheese and ripe melon is refreshing, as is any chilled soup, like gazpacho.  Freeze it. Grapes, cherries, berries, and chunks of melon are cold treats that are good for you. Slices of frozen banana can be blended into “nice” cream or smoothies, eaten as is, or drizzled with melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with peanuts for a healthy dessert.  This Tangy Cherry Barbecue Sausage is an easy, keep cool recipe that is perfect for your Fourth of July. Smoky, sweet and just a bit spicy, it’s quick and delicious. Enjoy it as is, or make just the sauce ingredients and use it for your ribs or chicken. I started with a bit of olive oil and sautéed the onions right in the Instant Pot before adding the rest of the ingredients, but you can skip this step and just toss everything in if you like. Stay cool out there and have a safe and happy Fourth. Tangy Cherry Barbecue Sausage Combine onions, cherry preserves, tomato paste, cider vinegar and chipotle chile pepper in the insert of an Instant Pot or 2-quart slow cooker. Add sausage slices and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. Serve at once or adjust to keep warm setting for up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with toothpicks.

- recipe from Diabetic Living magazine and featured on eatingwell.com  

  3061strawberry-snacking-cake https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/strawberry-snacking-cake/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/06/IMG_4609-e1624130931468-600x375.jpg Garden picked or farmstead fresh, when life gives you strawberries, make Strawberry Snacking Cake. This olive oil and cornmeal sheet cake is perfect for brunch or tea time and it’s a lovely way to show off Northwest berries that are so deliciously sweet and colorful right now. Swirled with jam and topped with pretty, sliced berries it’s a great summer recipe. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or make your soirée a little more special. This effortless dessert fits the bill.  You need only a whisk and a bowl, so it's a win for even the most hesitant baker. Let the sliced strawberries sit so they soften and soak up the sugar, glazing and brightening them in the process. The recipe called for 3/4 cup of olive oil, but 1/2 cup mixed into the batter looked just right to me, so I stopped right there. There were no deleterious effects and the cake was moist and flavorful just the same. You could also reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup as some of the reviewers did.  My strawberries looked their best just after baking, so for best visual appeal, try to serve this as soon as it cools. Easily adaptable, swap the strawberries with peaches, blueberries, or raspberries, or try adding almond extract instead of vanilla.  Cake can be baked up to 4 days ahead and stored tightly wrapped. Live in the moment! Enjoy this right now… before the strawberries disappear.  Strawberry Snacking Cake Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl and gently toss. Let sit until ready to use, stirring occasionally. Coat a 13x9” pan lightly with olive oil. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on large sides. Sprinkle sugar generously over pan, tilting pan to coat evenly; tap out excess. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Gradually add oil using a rubber spatula to fold in until oil is incorporated and batter is smooth.  Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly to edges and smoothing surface. Dollop jam on top with a small spoon, then gently swirl into batter using a butter knife. Arrange reserved strawberries on top of batter in even rows. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.  Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan before slicing. 

- recipe by Sarah Jampel, bonappetit.com

    Tip: Preserve your bounty. Make berries last longer and get them ready to eat at the same time. Fill your salad spinner with berries. Cover completely with cool water and add a generous splash of white vinegar. Let berries soak 5 minutes, swirling lightly with your hand, then rinse well and let dry on a paper towel lined baking rack. When thoroughly dry, store in a berry container in your fridge.     3050sheet-pan-shrimp-boil https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sheet-pan-shrimp-boil/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/06/IMG_4587-e1623570962572-600x433.jpg A Northwest summer would not be complete without seafood - clambakes, cedar planked salmon or a fish fry featuring something freshly caught. Make dad’s day with a winner of a dinner that’s just right for Father’s Day. Recreate the fun of his favorite seafood spot with a quick, easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil you can pull off in your own kitchen. It’s low mess, low stress so that you can enjoy Father’s Day, too.  Buy yourself a bag of big, beautiful shell-on shrimp - the jumbo or colossal size. You want them to look just like what you’d get when you order this out. You could add other seafood, too, like mussels or crab legs, just be mindful that they thoroughly cook. I used loose red potatoes when I made this because I couldn’t find the ones that steam in the bag. They didn’t soften as much as I would have liked, so next time, I’ll give the steamable ones a try. To lighten this up a bit, I used chicken andouille sausage and used all of the 12-ounce package, deciding to make the portion in this more generous. If you have kids, let them help with dad’s special dinner. They can add the ingredients to the large bowl, pour the melted butter, and then gently toss everything together with clean hands. Let them help place the corn, potatoes and sausage on the sheet pan, too.  The shrimp steams in a foil pouch set on top of the rest of the ingredients on the sheet pan. Pour the beer over the shrimp, seal the pouch, put the pan in the oven and set the timer. Enjoy the rest of the beer while you wait and have a very happy Father's Day. Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil Preheat oven to 400º F. Microwave bag of potatoes for 6 minutes then cut potatoes in half or quarters, depending on their size. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl then add corn, lemon, sausage, butter and thyme. Toss gently then place everything on a sheet pan, adjusting so that the corn is standing on end and the sausage pieces are sliced-side down. Make a pouch using two large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, one placed about halfway over the other to make the pouch wider. Place another sheet over the seam to form a solid bottom. Add shrimp to pouch then sprinkle with seafood seasoning. Place pouch on sheet pan, add beer then close pouch, sealing well. Transfer sheet pan to oven and roast until potatoes soften and sausage is sizzling, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully open pouch. Pour contents of pouch over sheet pan and serve. 

- recipe by Sunny Anderson, foodnetwork.com

3045jarcuterie https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/jarcuterie/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/06/IMG_4534-600x450.jpg School is almost out - summer is deliriously close. The pantry has been cleaned, really cleaned, several times over. Ditto the fridge. Your kitchen is organized and you have many meals behind you. Remember how wonderful it felt to know you were going on a field trip? Hopefully, your permission slip is signed because this week we are taking a night off from cooking…  and we’re going outside!  It is awfully hard to pack up a charcuterie board but jarcuterie are good to go. These cute little jars are a fun and easy, single-serve way to take everything you love about a charcuterie board and make it portable. Gather some small jars or glasses and let’s get started. First, make sure everything is thoroughly rinsed and thoroughly dried. You don’t want any moisture on the fruit or vegetables making the nuts or crackers in the jars soggy. Start by rinsing the berries and veggies and setting them out on a paper towel lined cooling rack. Pat the olives dry and set them on the rack as well, then set aside while you work on the rest of your filler. Think variety. Mix up shapes, sizes, textures, colors and flavors. Triangle shaped crackers, bright red tomatoes, tart, briny cornichons, and sweet berries give your jars interest. Use a firm cheese, like Manchego, for the cheese slices. For the cubes, you can go with a cheddar or Jarlsberg. Pick a theme. Spanish cheese and ham, olives and Marcona almonds, or Italian salami, cheese and prosciutto. You can use just about any kind of snack item, just as long as it’s something you like.  Get personal. Tailor the jars to their recipients, taking note of things like food preferences and allergies. You can cater to specific diets and also ensure that someone who is allergic doesn’t end up ingesting something they shouldn’t. Build your jarcuterie. Fill bottom of jars with nuts, grapes, dried fruit and cheese cubes. Skewer meat, cheese, olives, pickles, and berries onto picks and add to jars. Tuck in additional dried fruit, cheese slices or chocolate. Add crackers, pretzels and garnish. You can make your jarcuterie a day ahead. Transfer them to a tray so that they’re easy to move, then store them lightly covered with plastic wrap in your fridge. Wait until just before serving to add crackers and pretzels so that they stay crisp. Finish with a sprig of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage, or garnish with an edible flower.  Enjoy the beautiful day. Take these to the park, out on your deck, deliver to a friend or just make one for yourself. Here’s a quick list of fun possibilities for making some cute little jars of your own. Jarcuterie 3033broccoli-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/broccoli-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/05/IMG_4517-rotated-e1622147480860-600x450.jpg We've been patiently buckled in for a quite a while now. Like being on a much too long flight, it made no sense to squirm, so we kept busy baking bread, creating casseroles, and mastering the many meals that could be made from our pantries. You can put your tray table up now - it looks like we are finally here. It's time to go places and you have places to go. But if you're going, you better have something to take with you. This recipe was shared from a friend. Before you try to say you don't like broccoli, trust me. I am smitten with this salad and you will be, too. It's a perfect side dish, one you can use all year long, for cook outs, potlucks, or just feeding your family. It holds up well for several days in the fridge, so you'll have something ready to eat when you don't feel like cooking. It's also perfect for toting along. Remember, you are going places! Yes, you can shortcut with the bagged broccoli that is already cut and prepped for you, but since broccoli is the main attraction here, I suggest using fresh - the biggest, greenest, most beautiful bunch you can find. If the organic broccoli looks good to you, buy it. You'll be using both the florets and the stalks, so nothing goes to waste. Chop the tender parts of the stalks to use in this salad. Cut up the rest and use for stir-fry. True confession: I have never made this recipe exactly as follows. Every time I make this salad, I change it up a bit and it never disappoints. Starting with the red and green grapes. I only use the red ones, thinking that they inject a bit of color. You can use both kinds if you prefer, I just like adding something different, for example, apples. The broccoli has plenty of crunch on it's own, but the texture of the apple is different. You can use a sweet, crisp apple like a Honeycrisp but I kind of like the contrast of a Granny Smith both in terms of its tart flavor and also its bright color. Swap toasted pecans or walnuts for the almonds, or use pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or peanuts. Omit the bacon only if you must, it's important in this recipe and it adds flavorful oomph. I've used light mayonnaise, regular, and vegenaise, all with good results and I always use cider vinegar. Try coconut sugar, added a teaspoon at a time, to your liking. Take this broccoli salad somewhere. It's time! Broccoli Salad Dressing: Combine broccoli, red and green grapes, green onions, bacon and almonds in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar; stir until thoroughly mixed. Toss with salad and chill.    3028sour-cream-and-onion-potato-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sour-cream-and-onion-potato-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/05/IMG_4482-e1621752867154-600x459.jpg Bring on the BBQ! We made it to Memorial Day and if your job is the potato salad, do it like this. Kick off the summer with this Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad. Classically creamy, just like you'd expect a potato salad should be, it's the crunchy potato chip topper that takes it from ho-hum to hurrah.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of salt added to the cooking water. I tried just 1/4 cup and even then, I had to close my eyes while adding it. I thought it was just right, but you can always add more salt when you taste and adjust to your liking. Cook your potatoes until a fork inserts very easily: not so much that the potatoes are fall apart crumbling, but not too firm either. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl. You might discover, as I did, that you don’t need all of it and you will have yourself a delicious dressing to add to a green salad. Slice your red onion through the root end for those nice, neat shallow arcs that look so pretty in your salad. For maximum oomph/crunch, use potato chips with ridges. Add them shortly before serving so they don’t get soggy on you.  Eat it warm, eat it cold, just eat it! And enjoy. Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to completely cover. Add kosher salt, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water boils, reduce heat to temperature needed to maintain a simmer. Cook potatoes until fork-tender, about 15-20  minutes.   While potatoes cook, make dressing. In a small bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, onion powder, Dijon mustard, and freshly ground black pepper. Finely grate garlic clove into dressing. Thinly slice chives. Add half of chives to dressing, then set the rest aside for garnishing. Slice red onion as thinly as possible through the root end then transfer to a fine sieve and rinse with water; pat dry. Add half of onion to dressing; reserve remaining for garnish.  When potatoes are tender, remove from heat then use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer them onto a sheet pan; let cool 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Crush each potato slightly using the palm of your hand. Spoon about half of dressing into the bottom of a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss with dressing adding about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid as you stir to coat. Adjust with more dressing, salt and another splash of liquid if the dressing looks too thick. Transfer to serving bowl if desired, then top with reserved chives and onion. Crumble 1/2 cup of potato chips over top of salad and serve. 

- adapted from recipe by Molly Baz, bonappetit.com

3021black-bean-veggie-burgers https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/black-bean-veggie-burgers/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/05/IMG_4463-553x600.jpg   No matter what may change, the need for a quick, easy meal remains. Anything you can pull from your freezer and heat in a hurry fits the bill. These Black Bean Veggie Burgers are hearty and flavorful. Big, thick, and full of texture, they hold their shape and are easy to make. They’re perfect anytime you want something low fuss and don’t feel like cooking.  Chop the mushrooms in your food processor so that no large chunks remain. I used quinoa to add protein and keep these gluten-free, but cooked barley or brown rice could also be used. You can add other spices or ketchup, mayo or BBQ sauce to the burger mix, but I like to keep mine fairly neutral so that I can vary the flavor with the toppings. If you don’t have a food processor, use a fork or potato masher. Use a standard measuring cup to shape your burgers. If you like a bigger burger, use 1/2 cup.  Serve with your favorite toppings like mashed avocado, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, pickles, salsa, sliced mango or pineapple. Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months. Freeze cooked or uncooked burgers in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once frozen, stack between parchment sheets in a zip-top bag. If uncooked, cook according to directions, but factor in some additional time. Reheat cooked burgers as you like: warmed in toaster oven or microwave, or pan fried in a skillet.   Make extra and stock your freezer. They travel well, too.  Black Bean Veggie Burgers  Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread beans evenly onto baking sheet; bake 15 minutes to slightly dry beans out.  While beans are baking, warm olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and garlic to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir until mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool.  Transfer onion and mushroom mixture to bowl of food processor, then add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon each of Worcestershire sauce and tamari, and paprika. Pulse together. Combine arrowroot and water in a small bowl and whisk together. Reserve 3/4 cup black beans, then add remaining beans to processor along with quinoa and arrowroot. Pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, then add remaining beans, pulsing lightly.  Form patties using 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup measure. Mist or brush both sides of burgers with olive oil. Place on parchment lined sheet and bake in 350º oven for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.   3016spring-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spring-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/05/IMG_4193-e1620520790774-600x420.jpg Vibrant and green, fast and fresh, the time for a spectacular salad is now. Easy to achieve, the seasonal choices abound and with a little know-how, making something delicious and healthy is right at your fingertips. Celebrate National Salad Month with a swoonworthy salad that you make at home. Whether you pop into the Farmer’s Market, grow your own, or add something jazzy to your grocery list, spring greens could not be fresher. Source local - Northwest is always best!  Salad possibilities are endless - once you know the basics, you can riff as you please. Best of all, it’s easy to customize to what suits you and flexible enough to adapt to your last minute whims.  Here’s how to make it happen. Begin with a large plate or platter. This will be your canvas - a clean space on which to forge ahead. Whether your style is traditional or avant-garde, the plate gives you room to experiment. Begin by dotting your plate with honey, just a little here and there. Rather than flavoring the entire dressing, it will catch on the greens and add just a bit of sweet in some bites.   Next, add greens. The fresher the better. Make sure they are clean and dry. Consider arugula, frisée or baby lettuces, leaning hard towards any greens that are tender or wispy.  Go sweet. A scattering of fresh berries either on their own, or in addition to some slices of apple, orange, or pear to tumble onto the greens. As we move into summer, melon, maybe? You could add pickled beet slices if you want, or just keep it to the fruit. If you like adding dried fruit to your salads, a little bit of that works here, too. I like sliced dried apricot or tart cherries, but this is your canvas. Paint on!  To mint, or not to mint, it’s up to you. If you have fresh mint, adding just a bit of it, finely chopped and scattered, can be quite nice. It adds a fresh, summer vibe and a bit of surprise. Just be careful not to add too much.  Seeds or nuts come next. Raw or toasted and lightly salted, they add body and crunch, not to mention filling fiber and protein. They make your salad a lot more interesting, which is why I add one or more of them to almost every salad.  With a salad this fresh you barely need dressing. Less is more, so keep it light. Shower your salad with flaky sea salt, then give it a drizzle of good olive oil. Even better, mist or spray it if you can. Add a squeeze of citrus - lemon, orange or lime - and top with cheese. Soft, crumbly varieties like goat, feta, blue, gorgonzola, or queso fresco or firm, salty cheese like Parmesan, or ricotta salata. Some tiny slices of Manchego or Gruyére, sharp cheddar or even brie, and a finishing of freshly ground black pepper. It's your salad and it's delicious any way you make it. Enjoy!   3011arepas https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/arepas/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/05/IMG_4398-e1619917773856-600x485.jpg As we run down our pandemic bucket lists, I am making good on all the things I discovered in my pantry, namely the Harina PAN I bought when I had an itch to make those delicious little cornmeal cakes known as arepas. Crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside, I will order things off the menu that I don’t even want if I see that they come with arepas.  Arepas can be found in the cuisines of Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia. Why not give them a try and make some for your Cinco de Mayo? You only need one ingredient to make arepas: arepa flour. Sometimes sold as masarepa, you can find it in Latin markets and some supermarkets. Popular brand names are Harina PAN, Areparina, and Goya. Making the dough is as simple as mixing it with water and salt, although some recipes include butter or oil. Because the flour is already cooked, it forms easily into patties that can be griddled, grilled or baked. The recipe below makes one batch of 4 arepas. Doing a small recipe lets you practice and get the hang of it. After you try one batch, make another. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro. Water should feel warm to touch, but not too hot. Use your best kitchen tool - your hands - to mix and knead the dough. Feeling your way through the dough is the best way to know when it is accurately ready. Split arepas and stuff with desired fillings to make a sandwich or top with mashed avocado, black bean, queso fresco and pepitas as show here. Use them as a vehicle for leftovers or fill them like you mean it with stewed meat, beans, roasted veggies or cheese.  I always knew arepas were delicious, but I never knew how quick and easy they would be to make. This is a great recipe to try with your kids, so much fun to make - try some and see for yourself! Arepas Add arepa flour to a medium bowl. Stir sea salt into warm water until it dissolves. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the flour and using fingers of one hand whisk until water fully incorporates into flour. Add splashes of water, kneading after each addition. Continue adding water and kneading, adding only enough water until dough holds together firmly. Add oil or butter and continue to knead until incorporated. Let rest 10 minutes to hydrate.  Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. While skillet heats, divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a flattened ball, about 1/2” thick, smoothing edges if desired. Lightly grease skillet, then add arepas. Cook for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden, adding more oil to pan as you turn arepas over. Cook until lightly golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate or wire rack. Serve warm.   3004cardamom-cake https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cardamom-cake/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/04/IMG_4371-466x600.jpg If there is such a thing as cake perfection, this is it. Only seven ingredients, incredibly easy to make, it’s brilliantly simple but it's intriguing. With a crackly almond top and a crumb dotted with bursts of floral-sweetness from the cardamom, it just feels fancy. This is the one recipe Alice Waters couldn’t live without and after you try it, you’ll see why.  Start by coating your pan with butter and sugar. This is what gives the cake its amazing crust and also what helps to release it from the pan. If your springform pan isn’t non-stick, use a parchment paper disk in the bottom of your pan. Prep your pan over the sink so that any sugar that gets away goes there, not on your floor. Cardamom seeds are increasingly easy to find, but if you are using the whole pods you can crush them with a mortar and pestle, chef’s knife or a heavy skillet. Remove the small seeds from their papery pods, then use the same method to bruise the seeds. You can also use 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom, but the seeds are what give the little pops of mystery in each bite. Use a stand mixer, or if you are looking for a little arm exercise, a hand mixer. Because this cake does not have chemical leaveners, aka baking soda or powder, all of the leaving will come from whipping - 5 whole minutes. There’s a great video on food52.com where you can watch the cake being made.  Try it with your tea. Dash it to a friend’s door. Make it for your Mom. It feels special because it is. Happy Mother’s Day! Cardamom Cake  Preheat oven to 350º F. Liberally butter a springform pan, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar. Shake and tap pan until bottom and sides are coated with sugar, leaving any extra sugar in the bottom of your pan. Cover the bottom with sliced almonds, if using.  Combine eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream until thick, pale and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Bruise cardamom seeds in a mortar. Using a rubber spatula, quickly fold the flour and salt into the egg and sugar, followed by the butter and cardamom. Stir batter thoroughly before pouring into prepared pan. Thump pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until top of cake feels dry to the touch and springs back lightly when pressed, or tester inserted in center comes out dry, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and leave in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around sides of pan to loosen; invert on rack to cool. Carefully remove bottom of pan while cake is still very warm. Let cool before cutting. 

- recipe by Niloufer Ichaporia King 

2997spicy-shrimp-celery-and-cashew-stir-fry https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spicy-shrimp-celery-and-cashew-stir-fry/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/04/IMG_4327-e1618630374991-600x448.jpg Make it take out tonight: outside that is. Eat light and enjoy the beautiful spring weather with this quick Spicy Shrimp, Celery and Cashew Sitr-Fry. It’s healthy, delicious and there for you anytime you need something good to eat but forgot to think about it until just now.  Keep a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp in your freezer for spur-of-the-moment protein. For the quickest, best texture defrost, pour shrimp directly from bag into a big bowl and cover with cold water to completely submerge. In just 10 to 20 minutes, you’re good to go. If you have more time and can actually plan ahead, you can also defrost the entire bag in the fridge overnight.  This dish comes together very quickly. Prep your ingredients ahead so everything is ready before you start cooking (think Benihana). Mix the sauce in one small prep bowl. Mince the garlic and ginger and combine with the red pepper flakes in another small bowl. Have the celery sliced and the scallions sliced and separated. Get a 1/4 teaspoon measure ready to add each addition of the salt and a tablespoon measure ready for the oil. Have a transfer plate nearby for the celery. Now you’re ready to wok.  Because of it’s high heat point, I used avocado oil when I made this, but you can use canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil. Substitute tamari for the soy sauce to make this gluten-free. Keto as is, you could also serve it with brown or white rice, or with noodles. Or, keep it low carb with cauliflower rice. The filling would also be a good one for lettuce wraps. Enjoy! Spicy Shrimp, Celery and Cashew Stir-Fry Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and rice cooking wine in a small prep bowl; mix together and set aside. Mince ginger and garlic and transfer to a small prep bowl along with red pepper flakes.  Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, then add celery and cashews. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir-fry about 3 minutes, until celery turns jade green. Transfer celery and cashews to a plate. Return skillet to high heat. Add remaining tablespoon of oil, shrimp and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry about 2 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and curl up. Add ginger-garlic mixture and the scallion whites. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return celery and cashews to pan along with most of the scallion greens. Add soy sauce mixture and stir to mix evenly and blend flavors. Continue to cook until thoroughly heated, another minute or more.  Mound on a platter and garnish with remaining scallion greens. 

- recipe from foodnetwork.com

2993healthy-lemon-blueberry-pancakes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/healthy-lemon-blueberry-pancakes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/04/IMG_4285-e1618111068379-600x450.jpg Add a squeeze of sunshine to your week with these high protein Healthy Blueberry Lemon Pancakes. Light and fluffy but high in fiber, they’re made with nutritious ingredients like oats, cottage cheese and eggs to help keep you fueled for hours without weighing you down. Dotted with plump blueberries, there’s a bright pop of lemon in each bite.  The recipe below makes 12 4-inch pancakes that are gluten and soy free. You can make them vegan by using an egg replacer, or flax eggs, and dairy free yogurt in place of the cottage cheese. Store leftovers airtight and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave. Double up: measure just the dry ingredients for a second batch into a separate jar as you make these so that you can make another batch of pancakes quickly. For another bright breakfast, swap in orange peel and juice for the lemon, and use almond extract in place of the vanilla.     Healthy Blueberry Lemon Pancakes Add all pancake ingredients, except blueberries, to blender. Pulse a few times to mix, then blend on high speed for about 30 seconds until no lumps remain and batter is smooth. Heat a little oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan or griddle set over medium heat. Portion out pancakes using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pouring batter onto heated pan. Scatter 5-6 blueberries on top of each pancake.  Cook pancakes until bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip, then cook another 1-3 minutes until done. Serve warm with additional fresh blueberries and maple syrup. 

- adapted from daisybeet.com 

Fear not the shortage. Once you try home made ketchup, you’ll be hooked. This easy to make recipe lets you be in charge out of what goes in, leaving you with a delicious, healthier condiment at a fraction what you'd pay for a commercial or artisanal bottle. Adjust the level of salt or sweetness, or make it organic. The recipe below yields about 10 ounces for the cost of a small can of tomato paste plus a few pantry pulls. Delicious served warm, it keeps about 3 weeks in a glass container in the fridge. If you’ve been hoarding the packets, be aware that Heinz states they have a shelf life of about 9 months. So, look ahead to that Memorial Day cookout. And be prepared to BYOB of ketchup.  Home Made Ketchup Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan set over medium heat and whisk until smooth. Heat to a light boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Store refrigerated in a covered container.    2987monte-cristo-with-apple-hatch-chile-jam https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/monte-cristo-with-apple-hatch-chile-jam/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/04/IMG_4241-600x529.jpg A more grown-up version of grilled cheese or the best ham and cheese sandwich ever, a Monte Cristo is easy to make at home - and it’s delicious! French toast gets an upgrade when you add some ham and Swiss cheese, dip it in egg batter and pan fry it in a bit of butter. It’s nostalgic, it’s comforting and it’s something you can make right now to use up that last little bit of ham. A perfect combination of sweet and savory, it’s right at home for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Plus, it just sounds fancy and that’s what makes it all the more fun.  For purists, the classic Monte Cristo comes with a dusting of powdered sugar and raspberry jam on the side for dipping; mustard and mayonnaise may be spread inside the bread. In this preparation, you’ll make a spicy-sweet apple and Hatch chile compote as a sidekick. I made the sandwiches with just the ham and cheese inside and served the chile jam alongside rather than using it inside the sandwiches as the recipe directs. The jam is easy to make and you can use any leftovers to glaze chicken or pork or serve it with cheese.  You will have more than enough of the egg soak, so make a few extra sandwiches. Transfer cooked sandwiches to a cooling rack layered over a baking sheet and keep warm in a 250º F oven until ready to serve. Enjoy!  Monte Cristo with Apple-Hatch Chile Jam Jam Sandwiches  Combine ingredients for jam in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and cook at a low simmer, about 20-25 minutes, stirring often. Continue to cook, mashing apples with a spoon or potato masher until apples break down completely and mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.  Combine eggs, milk and salt in a wide, low dish. Whisk until well combined; set aside. Make sandwiches: spread a heaping tablespoon of jam on all four slices of bread. On two of the slices sprinkle grated cheese, top each with 2 slices of ham, then sprinkle with more cheese and top with the other slices of bread. Compress sandwiches slightly. In a large non-stick pan set over medium-high heat, warm butter and oil until butter melts. Working quickly, one sandwich at a time, dip each sandwich in the beaten egg, letting the bread soak for about 30 seconds; flip and repeat on other side. Add sandwiches to hot butter and oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, pressing down slightly, until sandwiches are brown and crisp. Transfer to cutting board and cut in half before serving.  

- Epicurious, February 2021 

2980cheese-frittata https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cheese-frittata/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/03/IMG_4185-e1616989492922-600x496.jpg Looking for an easy add in for your holiday table? Your celebration needs a frittata. Welcome spring vegetables and make a statement with this easy-to-adapt dish that is perfect for Easter and kosher for Passover. This one dish wonder is seriously simple. If you’ve got eggs you’re good to go. Whether you showcase what you sourced from the farmer’s market or flaunt the first tender herbs that are growing in your garden, a frittata is a pretty spring dish that deserves a spot on your table.  Infinitely adaptible to whatever you may have on hand, it’s an easy way to transform whatever it is you may have right this minute into breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A bit of ham, some bell pepper, diced green onion and a toss of some kale quickly becomes this morning’s easy breakfast and if you’re lucky, tomorrow’s easy lunch. Make it a bit lighter if you like by using egg whites in place of some of the eggs. The add-in possibilities are endless. Try ham, bacon or sausage if you’re not sticking to just vegetables. Add in cooked potato, like leftover hash browns, french fries, roasted or even mashed potatoes. Roasted or sautéed vegetables like kale, chard, asparagus, mushrooms, bell pepper strips or zucchini, or a handful of fresh, tender spring spinach are all possibilities. Sautéed onions or leeks, and maybe some fresh tomato? And then your choice of cheese: gruyere, goat, cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta, along with some parmesan. How about a spring combination of leeks, asparagus, mushroom, new potato, ham and gruyere? You can serve this for the holiday, or use your holiday leftovers to make this the next day.   Use the recipe below as a starting point. Your add-ins need to be cooked, but you can sauté everything in an ovenproof skillet making this in one dish and lightening your cleanup.  You can make it ahead.   Serve it hot, warm or at room temperature, there is no wrong way to do it, except if you aren’t doing it at all. Travels and reheats well, making this a dish you can share, too.  So why scramble? Fancy, frugal or freelance a frittata is a dependable dish you can make in no time. Happy Spring!  Cheese Frittata Preheat oven to 350º F. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large skillet and use a brush to coat the entire bottom surface and sides of pan. Heat pan over medium-high heat, then add onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Beat eggs lightly in a bowl until just combined. Pour eggs over onions, rearranging with a spoon if necessary so that they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle with cheese and cook 5 to 10 minutes, until eggs are barely set.  Transfer to oven and cook until edges brown and frittata puffs, about 5 minutes more. Broil for a minute or two, if desired. Cut into wedges or squares. 

- adapted from recipe in How To Cook Everything, Twentieth Anniversary edition

2974chicken-sandwich-with-tangy-mustard-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chicken-sandwich-with-tangy-mustard-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/03/IMG_4164-600x500.jpg Happy Spring! Brighter days are ahead and so is a special recipe guaranteed to shake things up in your kitchen. Hungry for something good?  March 30 is National Hot Chicken Day. Newsflash: a juicy, deliciously crispy breaded chicken sandwich can be made in your home kitchen and there’s no waiting in a long line of cars. Here’s how. Start by soaking your chicken overnight in pickle juice. (Pickle juice, I love you.) After you eat that last pickle, save the jar and it’s juice. Use it to quick pickle any veg you like. Try sneaking a splash in your salad, or dice the pickles and add them in, too, like I do when I run out of cucumbers. Really.  Now the breading. For craggy breaded crunchiness, the secret is: rice crackers. Crushed to varying crumb size in your food processor, they make the coating extra crispy without frying. They also make it gluten-free.  You may find the mustard sauce sweet enough without adding any honey. Double it and you’ll have enough to use for spreading and dipping again. Double the chicken, too. You’ll be glad you did. Soak your baking rack in a sink filled with sudsy water so you can savor the table conversation along with your sandwich.  Fans of delicious chicken sandwiches rejoice. You can make them at home.    Chicken Sandwich with Tangy Mustard Sauce Tangy Mustard Sauce Place chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag. Pound each breast with a meat tenderizer or soup can to a 1/2 inch thickness all around. Cut each breast in two, then place the 4 pieces into a plastic bag or a bowl. Cover with pickle juice and transfer to refrigerator to marinate overnight, or at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place a  wire baking rack on top. Brush rack with oil or liberally mist with nonstick oil spray.  Set out 2 shallow, wide bowls. Add egg and mayo to the first bowl and mix until well combined. In the second bowl, add crushed crackers and seasonings and stir together. Working one piece at a time, lift chicken out of pickle juice and shake to remove excess liquid. Dunk into egg-mayo, turning to coat well. Transfer to cracker bowl and pat all over to fully coat. Place on wire rack then mist top of chicken with oil spray. Bake 20 minutes or until internal temp registers 165º F and tops are crispy and brown.  While chicken cooks, combine all of sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix together.  To assemble: spread sauce on inside of top and bottom bun. Layer chicken, pickle, tomato and lettuce on top of bottom bun. Enjoy!

- adapted from recipe by Joy Bauer

2970peach-french-toast-bake https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/peach-french-toast-bake/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/03/IMG_4125-435x600.jpg   The sun is shining, the birds are singing - and you’re exhausted. It’s not your imagination. No week feels longer than the one following Daylight Saving Time. Make waking up a little easier with a bright, cheery breakfast. This Peach French Toast Bake is an easy prep, one dish, do-ahead that will help make things better. Simple to make in your sleep deprived state, tuck it into your fridge tonight, pop it into your oven in the morning and in 40 hands-free minutes you have yourself a perfect, spring-y breakfast. Top with a dollop of vanilla or plain yogurt, drizzle with a little maple syrup, and serve with a side of Canadian bacon or some breakfast sausages. See smiles?  You can use baguette bread or sandwich bread, and you can certainly use gluten-free bread, as well. You will need enough slices of bread to fit snugly in a single layer of the bottom of your baking dish. How many slices will vary depending on your bread, but trim your slices and arrange them so that they work for your dish. Use a large liquid measuring cup to measure and mix the liquid ingredients. Start by measuring the milk, then add the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla. You can whisk everything together right in the measuring cup, then pour it directly into your casserole, dirtying only one dish and saving you some clean up time. I used 2 cans of well drained peaches in this recipe, making good use out of what I had on hand. If you use fresh or frozen peaches, you may want to adjust the brown sugar to 3 tablespoons, but because the canned ones were in light syrup I only used 1 tablespoon. To brighten things up a bit, I added some sliced fresh strawberries just before serving. Make good use out of what you have on hand. While you’re spring cleaning, give your pantry a once over for canned goods that should be replenished or used soon. Plan a few recipes like the one below to use what you have and wake up to something good this week. Peach French Toast Bake Spray a 9 by 13-inch ovenproof baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange bread slices in a single layer in the pan, trimming some of the slices if necessary so that bread covers entire bottom of pan. In a large liquid measure, combine milk, eggs, egg whites and vanilla; whisk together. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread in pan. In a medium bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice. Scatter peach slices evenly over top of casserole. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350º F. Uncover casserole and bake 40 minutes or until set.

- recipe by Ellie Krieger, foodnetwork.com

2962shepherds-pie https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/shepherds-pie/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/03/IMG_4052-456x600.jpg  

Stuffed with ground beef or lamb, padded with plenty of veggies, fortified with Guinness and topped with a pillowy puff of potatoes, Shepherd's Pie is fun for St. Patrick's Day. 

Use leaner ground beef, like 85/15 or better to reduce the fat in this recipe. Brown the ground beef first and then use the pan drippings to sauté the onions and vegetables so you don't need to add more fat. Adding mushrooms makes this more hearty and savory and also helps to stretch the meat in this recipe. Use fresh mushrooms if you happen to have them, but canned ones will save you from having to clean, slice and sauté. 

Make fluffy, light delicious potatoes with only 1 tablespoon of butter. Adding chicken bouillon concentrate to the warmed milk makes them extra flavorful without the need for added fat. Keep your mixer on low speed and don’t over mix or they will become like paste. Add a pinch of baking powder while mixing to make them oh-so-fluffy. Make extra potatoes. You can freeze flat in quart size zip-top bags that are easy to defrost and reheat for a quick side dish, or to top another shepherd’s pie in a hurry.   

Shepherd’s Pie

Peel potatoes and cut into small chunks (about 1/2 - 3/4 inch) of equal size.  Place potatoes in a medium sized pot and cover with at least an inch of cold water; add salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes soften and break in half easily when pierced with a fork. Drain, then return to pot and add butter.  Use a hand mixer to whip and mash the potatoes, adding the warmed milk with chicken bouillon base dissolved in it a bit at a time, until potatoes are a creamy, thick mash.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Cook the ground beef or lamb in a large sauté pan until browned, crumbling with a spoon as it cooks. Transfer to a separate dish using a slotted spoon. Add onion to drippings in pan and sauté, stirring occasionally for several minutes. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook and stir, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and mushrooms; cook several minutes more. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add Guinness or wine, stirring well to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return beef to pan then add beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and peas. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue to cook until sauce thickens a bit. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Transfer beef mixture to a 9 x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes evenly over the top, covering to the edges. Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Broil 1 to 2 minutes to brown potatoes if desired.

2952easy-sheet-pan-salmon https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/easy-sheet-pan-salmon/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/02/IMG_4030-e1614538446617-600x561.jpg This is where we are now. It’s not just the cooking. It’s the sheer exhaustion of trying to think about what to cook. We’ve dissolved into eating plain crackers. Delving into chips to not do dishes. Skipping meals. And more than once this week, I have peered into my pandemic freezer feeling a little too much like Shelly Duvall in The Shining. It’s not good. Sheet pan to the rescue! When you are tired, weary and just plain unprepared for dinner, a sheet pan is the answer. You can defrost fish faster than anyone can figure out that you didn’t make a plan for dinner and use this foolproof way to cook a lush, flavorful filet of salmon. It’s fast, it’s easy and best of all: zero cleanup. Pick one from the list below, or season each filet differently and try several at once. Add rice and greens and you’ve got dinner. Or, serve with sliced avocados and supremed citrus for a cheery, bright can’t wait for spring supper.  Don’t have salmon? You will get great results using this same technique with other fish, as well. You can make stellar fish tacos by seasoning cod, tilapia or rockfish with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and simply baking as below. Finish with a spritz of lime and some fresh cilantro. Olé!  Line your sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Remove the skin after cooking. Easier! Cook to your desired level of doneness, somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes depending on your salmon filets and your oven. The FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145º F, but many chefs cook to medium, 125º F.  Because it will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven you can pull it out when it reaches 140º. Easy Sheet Pan Salmon  Maple Curried  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with curry powder to thoroughly coat.   Sweet and Spicy Cajun Sprinkle with Joe’s Stuff (or other Cajun Seasoning) to thoroughly coat.  Mustard and Herb Glazed Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add Dijon and gently spread to coat. Sprinkle thoroughly with Herbes de Provence. Lemon Pepper Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with lemon zest and dill, if using, then top with 2 lemon slices.  BBQ Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add BBQ or sriracha and gently spread to coat.  Everything Bagel  Sprinkle with seasoning to thoroughly coat. Pesto Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add pesto and gently spread to coat.   Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Pat salmon dry, then place on pan skin-side down. Brush each salmon filet on the fleshy side with honey or maple syrup, then proceed with seasoning as directed for desired option.   Transfer to center rack of oven. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes. Let rest several minutes before serving. 

- inspired by recipe from Sunny Anderson, Food Network 

2948skillet-taco-casserole https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/skillet-taco-casserole/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/02/IMG_4016-e1613879310985-600x460.jpg Grab a fork, it’s taco night! Beefy, cheesy and delicious this Skillet Taco Casserole is all the fun of tacos in a one dish, easy cleanup casserole. Served with traditional taco toppings alongside, it has happy-crunchy-taco loaded into every bite. No messy fingers here, just everything you love about tacos.  We are all craving the comfort of a good meal right now. When we gather around the table with something warm from the oven and the company of those we love, it really soothes the spirit. What we don’t need is a dinner that requires a full orchestra of dishes and a symphony of spices. We need something good, and we need it fast.   I frequently swap ground turkey for beef, but for this recipe I suggest using beef. You can drain your beef after cooking if you want to reduce the fat a bit. Add another can of beans to stretch the meat in this recipe, or use your favorite meatless crumbles or lentils in place of the beef to make it meatless. Get in the habit of seasoning things to suit your taste. Add spices conservatively, then taste and adjust. Want more spice? Try adding half a can of fire roasted jalapeños. Adjust the cheese to your liking. If 1 cup seems like enough, then just stop there. I do, however, recommend that you salt conservatively, just barely salting the beef and beans. The salt from the tortilla chips will add a lot of salt to this dish and you won’t be aware of that until you’re eating it. The beef and bean mixture can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Add the tortilla chips and cheese just before baking. I used a mix of yellow and blue corn tortilla chips to add visual interest, but you can use any kind of tortilla chips that you like.  Carry on, home cooks. I applaud your efforts to make mealtimes happy ones for your family.   Skillet Taco Casserole  toppings: Preheat oven to 375º F. Add ground beef to a large ovenproof skillet. Cook over medium high heat, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue to cook until meat browns, then add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. Stir in beans, salsa and water. Bring to a simmer, then cook until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.  Top beef and beans with tortilla chips. Sprinkle cheese over all. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until cheese melts and casserole is hot. Serve with tortilla chips and toppings.   2938chocolate-chip-banana-and-oat-muffins https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chocolate-chip-banana-and-oat-muffins/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/02/IMG_3998-2-e1613287150161-600x489.jpg Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day set aside to remind us to do those little things that make the world a better place. Do a good deed, reach out and help someone, or spread kindness in another way. Bake some home made muffins and share with someone who could use a little cheering up.  These Chocolate Chip, Banana and Oat Muffins are made from ingredients you most likely have on hand, like those frozen ripe bananas lurking in your freezer. Add oats, flour, yogurt and some chocolate chips and you’ve got yourself the makings of a truly delicious muffin. You can use vanilla yogurt as instructed, but plain or reduced fat varieties will work here, too. Greek yogurt can be used, but if you have never tried Icelandic yogurt this recipe might encourage you. High in protein and calcium, Icelandic yogurt, otherwise known as Skyr, is delicious on it’s own. Thick, smooth and tangy it’s also perfect for smoothies, dips or dressings.   This is a quick mix, low mess recipe. Unlike most bread or muffin recipes that are loaded with sugar, this one contains only 3 tablespoons of maple syrup which is just perfect when punctuated with the added sweetness from the gooey, warm chocolate chips. There is no added oil here, but the crumb is still moist and delectable thanks to the yogurt. Instead of using whole wheat flour, I made this with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour to make it gluten-free and still add fiber.  Serve warm from the oven, or gently reheat for about 15 seconds in the microwave on a low power setting. These are perfect for breakfast, and will hold you over till lunch thanks to a good dose of filling fiber from the whole wheat flour, flaxseeds and oats, and the added protein from the eggs and yogurt. Take inventory of what you have and check expiration dates. If you have a surplus of baking supplies or canned goods that you won’t be able to reasonably use, think about sharing with a friend or neighbor, or making a donation to a food bank so that food won’t go to waste.  Bake someone happy. Keep kindness going.   Chocolate Chip, Banana and Oat Muffins  Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine whole wheat flour, flaxseed, salt and baking soda. Stir together and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together siggi’s yogurt and bananas. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. Gently stir in oats and chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups generously to 3/4 full. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool until muffins remove easily, then transfer to wire rack. Cover and store at room temperature, up to 3 days. Freeze up to 3 months. 

-recipe from siggis.com

2931oatmeal-dream-cookies https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/oatmeal-dream-cookies/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/02/IMG_3952-e1612664966685-600x421.jpg It’s the sweetest day. Does anything say “I love you” quite like a warm, homemade cookie? Surprise someone you love. Make them feel special. Bake a batch of cookies that you know they like and bake them just for them. I had the best time talking with a reader this week. We connected over a cookie recipe and she shared all the things she’s learned about cookies from her years of baking. We talked about how important it is to cook for your family and how much they look forward to the things you make year after year, like the five batches of homemade fudge she makes every year at Christmas. Every time you cook you’re making memories. My youngest son says the best oatmeal cookie he has ever eaten was at Snoqualmie Casino. They are made fresh on site and baked by a woman who works there. Hoping to recreate them for him, I tried these Oatmeal Dream Cookies. Soft and delicious, they were just like the one he remembers, except that the casino cookies are larger. These are really good cookies and I’m hoping to connect with the baker to see if there’s anything else she can share about her recipe.  Here are some quick tips on baking cookies. Always preheat your oven and consider using a thermometer to verify the temperature. Be aware of how things bake. Knowing if your oven has a hot spot or which rack setting seems to bake the best for a particular cookie can make a big difference. Read your recipe thoroughly before you start. You’ll know if you need to refrigerate the dough overnight or have ingredients at room temperature before you get underway. Measure carefully. Use a liquid measure for liquids and be sure to level dry ones, or measure by weight. Substitute ingredients with care and make adjustments if necessary. Refrigerate your dough if it seems too soft. The kitchen can be pretty warm and while using room temperature butter and eggs is a must, it can also result in cookies that spread too much. Line baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up. Use a cookie scoop measure or a teaspoon to ensure equal, exact portioning. Space evenly on your baking sheet and allow room for spreading. Set a timer and check on your cookies often to avoid overbaking. Use your eyes, and your nose, to tell you when the first batch is done and time the subsequent batches accordingly.  Oatmeal Dream Cookies  makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies Combine raisins with enough hot water to cover in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until just creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well-blended. Add oatmeal, mixing  until combined. Drain raisins then stir into batter. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. 

- recipe adapted from snoqfalls.com

2926roasted-beet-and-garlic-dip-and-cashew-chile-dip https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/roasted-beet-and-garlic-dip-and-cashew-chile-dip/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/01/IMG_3948-e1612142275288-600x450.jpg Football’s biggest party is here - it’s time to get your game on! Line up every slow cooker and Instant Pot you own and get cooking. Whatever it is you are making, it had better be good. Even if your game plan only includes your home team, it’s time to get ready for some serious snacking. Your party needs wings, chili, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, pizza, pigs in a blanket and potato skins. Don’t skimp on the dips. Cheese dip, bean dip, spinach-artichoke, onion, hummus, salsa, seven-layer, and the holy grail of all dips, guacamole: leave no potato or tortilla chip behind. Yes, you are obliged to put out a veggie plate, and yes, those veggies are going to pretty much sit there because who cares about celery and carrots when there’s queso? Your best bet is a trick play. Put those veggies in dip form. Now they’re party fare.  Ready to dip it? Make the vibrant Roasted Beet and Garlic Dip as directed below. Or, try another combo like butternut squash and roasted leeks. Carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or any roasted vegetable that you happen to have will work, too. Try using roasted onion or shallot instead of the garlic. Use a dairy free yogurt to make the Roasted Beet dip vegan and top with a sprinkling with chives. Or, try topping with Feta or goat cheese and some roasted seeds or nuts.  Try this 2-ingredient Cashew-Chile Dip. It tastes like you did a lot of work, but you didn’t. Keeping canned chipotles in adobo in your pantry is a smooth move. It lets you add sweet, tangy, amazing spicy flavor any place you need it. After you make the dip below, try adding a spoonful of the peppers and their sauce to your ketchup. Use it on anything you would dunk into ketchup, like fries, onion rings, chicken nuggets, hot dogs or corn dogs, or try it with shrimp instead of cocktail sauce. There’s no turning back.  Dip on and enjoy!  Roasted Beet and Garlic Dip Warm olive oil in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook over low heat until golden brown and fragrant. Combine roasted beets, yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 clove garlic in blender. Blend, scraping down sides of jar, adding more water as necessary until desired consistency is reached. Blend in olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust with additional clove of garlic, more lemon juice and tahini if desired.  

- recipe by Anna Stockwell

Cashew-Chile Dip Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse/process until smooth. Enjoy as is, or adjust to your liking with salt, sugar, or more water. 

- recipe by Carey Polis

2493carrot-parsnip-soup-with-seedy-power-sprinkle https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/carrot-parsnip-soup-with-seedy-power-sprinkle/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/01/IMG_3924-e1611540307285-600x437.jpg Whether you are making a thrifty meal out of odds and ends, or starting from scratch, a bowl of soup is soothing, satisfying sustenance that’s easy to achieve no matter what you may have on hand. Lean on long-lasting winter vegetables to deliver a flavorful, filling meal that tastes like hard work, even if it isn’t. If you have never tried parsnips before, now is the time. They are at their absolute best in the dead of winter, and their complex, unique flavor makes this highly storable root vegetable a good one to keep on hand. Sweetly similar to carrots, their earthy, nutty, fragrantly spicy taste gives this rich, creamy Carrot-Parsnip Soup all the flavor it needs. Now for the fun part. Make your soup a whole lot better with some creative toppings. Add a crunchy element, like toasted pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds. Ditto nuts, like pecans, pistachios, candied cashews, or roasted peanuts. Try using potato chips, toasted coconut chips or a bit of your favorite snack mix. Croutons, crispy chickpeas or fried onions are all fair game, too. Want to make it even better for you? Top with this addictively crunchy, nutrient-rich Seedy Power Sprinkle. Crunchy, salty, spicy, sweet, it’s a simple way to add some nutritional oomph and flavorful flair to your soup, yogurt, salad, or veggies.  Celebrate National Soup Month and International Creativity Month with these two easy recipes. Delicious, nutritious, and simple. Enjoy! Carrot-Parsnip Soup with Seedy Power Sprinkle  Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add parsnip, water, carrot and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 50 minutes. Transfer half of cooked mixture to blender and process until smooth. Pour puréed parsnip mixture into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining vegetable mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle into bowls and top as desired. 

- Cooking Light, December 2004 

Seedy Power Sprinkle: Whisk 1 large egg white, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style pepper (optional), 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 Tablespoon water in a medium bowl to combine. Add 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup flaxseeds, 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds, 1/2 cup hemp seeds (optional). Stir to coat; let stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325º F. Spread seed mixture evenly on rimmed, parchment lined baking sheet. Bake about 20-25 minutes, stirring gently after 10 minutes, until clusters form and golden brown and crisp. Let cool. Store airtight at room temperature.   

- Epicurious, December 2019 

2485cheese-fondue https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cheese-fondue/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/01/IMG_3896-e1610996090968-600x448.jpg January 20 is National Cheese Lover’s Day. Celebrate with an easy, home-made Cheese Fondue that’s just perfect for warming up cold, damp wintry nights. Totally doable with what you have on hand, you can make this in no time, adding a nice, cozy element to your charcuterie or snack board.  Classic Swiss fondue is typically made with grated Gruyère and Emmentaler, but if you want to make a meal out of what you might have, you can certainly substitute any cheese that will melt, like the Cheddar or Monterey Jack in your fridge. As for your wine, pick one that’s not too sweet, like a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. No wine? You can also use beer or hard cider. Doesn’t that sound good? Add the kirsch if you have it - don’t fret if you don’t.  Some fondue recipes call for flour, but using cornstarch makes this gluten-free. You can toss the cornstarch with the grated cheese, or you can add it to the wine at the beginning. Add the cheese slowly while you stir so that it fully incorporates as it melts. Use care not to boil or overcook the fondue or it will get stringy. Before you know it, it’s a warm, thick, dippable dinner. Add in some fruit and veg and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal. Well, sort of.  Don’t have a fondue pot? Use can transfer your fondue to a small crockpot set on low. Or use a cast iron skillet and let your family gather around the stove. If you don’t have fondue forks, wood skewers work well. Be sure to continue stirring the fondue as you dip and be careful to adjust the heat accordingly or you will end up using all that time you saved cooking to scrub scorched cheese off the bottom of your pot.  What to serve with fondue? Small red-skinned potatoes, steamed and cut into chunks. Your favorite bread, cut into cubes and maybe grilled or toasted. Slices of apples or pears, broccoli or cauliflower florets, mushrooms, chunks of ham or sausage, and tiny grape tomatoes. Oh, and some wine. Gather with the folks under your own roof, share safely and enjoy.  Fondue. It’s a perfect pantry party meal. You’re already having wine and cheese for dinner, why not make it warm and melty?    Cheese Fondue Rub the inside of a medium enameled cast-iron casserole or fondue pot with the cut side of garlic clove; discard garlic. Add wine and cornstarch to pot and whisk to combine. Stir in Gruyère and Emmentaler and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cheeses begin to melt, about 5 minutes. Add kirsch, freshly ground black pepper and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 10 minutes. Serve at once. 

- adapted from foodandwine.com

2478spinach-and-artichoke-dip-pasta https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spinach-and-artichoke-dip-pasta/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/01/IMG_3879-rotated-e1610314026749-600x450.jpg Whether you’re just tired of cooking, trying to eat more veggies, or doing a few practice runs for your Super Bowl menu, this quick, easy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta has you covered. Eat the warm, creamy dip on its own or add the pasta and make a whole meal out of it, one batch does double duty depending on your whims. Using your slow cooker or Instant Pot means there’s virtually no active cooking, leaving you free to embrace all that new year cleaning and organizing, or Netflix binge-watching. You decide.  If you have a small-size slow cooker or smaller Instant Pot, use it for this recipe. I used my 3 quart Lux Mini Instant Pot and found it to be just right. You can lean on whatever kind of pasta you have in your pantry, but using whole-wheat or a gluten-free chickpea or lentil pasta will add more fiber and protein while making this more nutritious. Be sure to cook your pasta al dente. Removing it from the cooking water while it's still firm ensures that it will hold its shape when tossed with the warm sauce. Feel free to use reduced-fat or non-fat versions of the cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt, but I recommend using at least one source of full fat dairy for creaminess and flavor. I used whole milk Icelandic-style yogurt, about 3/4 cup mixed with 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, to add even more protein to this dish. Swap kale for the spinach, add mushrooms, or just keep it as is. You could add a protein like leftover cooked chicken or shrimp (or bacon?), but you certainly don’t need to. This protein-rich, vegetable focused dinner is a delicious way to embrace Meat Free Monday. If you love spinach dip so much that you could make a whole meal out of it, why not do just that? Adding some whole grain pasta to an already dreamy dip makes a creamy, comforting, healthy dinner in no time at all. Or, pair your warm dip with carrot and bell pepper sticks plus whole-grain crackers for a healthy weekday snack. Either way you play it, you’re off to a good start.  Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta For dip: Add cream cheese chunks, spinach, artichokes, sour cream or yogurt, garlic, garlic salt, grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to the bowl of a small slow-cooker or Instant Pot and lightly stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1 hour.   For pasta:  Thin hot dip with milk before tossing with hot pasta. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.  2472old-fashioned-gingerbread https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/old-fashioned-gingerbread/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2021/01/IMG_3856-e1609730370223-600x460.jpg Why shut off the good spirits when we flip the calendar page? Embrace health and sensible eating, yes, but don’t plunge, nudge. Focus on your fruits and veggies, but make sure to leave a little fun in there, too. A bit of cake is good for the soul. Made with fragrant spices whisked together with just a few pantry ingredients, this Old Fashioned Gingerbread is warm and soothing - a slice of happy comfort to help you ease in to January. Deceptively better for you, this cake contains no butter and just 1/4 cup of oil. Canola or vegetable oil will work here, but I used olive oil. Molasses adds sweetness and sneaks in some minerals like iron, while prunes lend potassium and fiber. To make the purée, blend 2/3 cups of pitted prunes with enough warm water to reach a thick, baby food-like consistency. I used a mix of 1/2 cup of gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup of brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of sorghum flour to add fiber and still keep the crumb light, but you could use AP flour or any mix of flours that you like. Unlike most cakes, this one gets better over time, so enjoy it over several days.  Make good spirits last by keeping January a happy month. Consider leaving your lights up longer this year. Even just a string or two. It could make all the difference to someone you don’t even know and truly help to brighten what are the coldest, darkest days of the year. The warm glow of Christmas lights cheer the heart long after the days of merry and bright have passed. Keep the lights on for hope and kindness. It’s a small ripple but it casts a big wave. The lights are still glowing at my house and they will be for a while.  Old Fashioned Gingerbread Preheat oven to 350º F. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. Combine prune purée, molasses, boiling water and oil in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add baking soda and salt and whisk again. Let batter stand 25 minutes. Whisk in egg. While batter stands, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, spice, cloves and ground black pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to batter and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  To serve: cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, or serve with whipped cream. 

- adapted from Southern Living

2465prosecco-grapesicles https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/prosecco-grapesicles/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/12/IMG_3847-e1609117270299-600x439.jpg Counting down the minutes to 2021! Just in time for the last blast of the year, here are a few foods to have on hand to be sure you get the best luck possible. Kick things off with these fun and easy Prosecco Grapesicles. Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain and these boozy frozen treats are just what you need to inspire some good vibes. The twelve grapes of luck is the Spanish tradition of eating one grape with each clock strike at midnight on December 31. Each of the twelve grapes symbolizes one month, which according to tradition, leads to a year of good luck and prosperity. While boozy grapes definitely put a 2020 spin on the Spanish tradition, save the frozen ones for eating more slowly and keep some unfrozen ones to eat in rapid succession as the Spanish do. The recipe below has actual measurements for the alcohol, but given the past year, I recommend just grabbing the biggest bottle you can find and pouring. Here are 10 foods sure to bring about good luck. You’re already lucky, because you can find quite a few of them right in your pantry. After the year that we have all just had, I will be serving every one of them.   
  1. Salmon: because fish swim forward they represent progress and are considered a lucky food. Salmon also swim in schools, symbolizing prosperity. 
  2. Collards and/or cabbage: collards are good luck in Southern traditions, but any greens are considered lucky because they are the color of money. Cabbage is particularly lucky in Germany and Ireland.
  3. Pork: pigs signify progress because they are always moving forward. 
  4. Pomegranate: represents fertility and abundance. In Greece, the whole fruit is thrown across the floor to release a shower of seeds.
  5. Ring shaped cake: any cake that's made in the shape of a ring signifies a "full circle" of luck for the year ahead. Grab your bundt pans and go! (Bacardi cake, here I come.) 
  6. Cornbread: a Southern saying when it comes to lucky foods: "Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold." Serve with melted butter and golden honey. 
  7. Black Eyed Peas: Hoppin’ John, a Southern dish of rice, black-eyed peas, smoked pork and greens. 
  8. Oranges: in China, citrus is given at the New Year as a sign of prosperity. 
  9. Champagne: drinking champagne on January 1 is symbolic of wealth and can bring you prosperity in the new year. 
  10. Honey: to ensure sweetness for the coming year, a tradition that dates back to Roman times. 
Cheers to 2021. Stay in, stay safe and count your blessings.  Wishing you hope, joy and good health, and here’s to a much better year. Prosecco Grapesicles Skewer grapes onto wooden skewers alternating red and green colors. Place skewers in a shallow baking dish. Pour prosecco and vodka over all and transfer to refrigerator. Let soak for 1 hour. Drain and reserve alcohol for cocktails. Transfer skewers to a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours more.  

- delish.com

2457spinach-mushroom-and-cheese-breakfast-casserole https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spinach-mushroom-and-cheese-breakfast-casserole/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/12/IMG_3825-e1608433406667-600x453.jpg Warm up your holiday with an easy, make ahead breakfast that is guaranteed to keep spirits bright. This Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Casserole is filled with cozy comfort. Studded with toasted cubes of rustic bread, it's a stunning, cheesy, crunchy topped crowd pleaser.   I used canned evaporated milk in place of the half-and-half to make this a bit healthier. You could add sausage, bacon, or ham, but it is truly delicious as is. I only used 6 cups of bread, relying on what I had on hand and making up the difference with some of the sourdough bread that I keep churning out. No spinach? Use kale. Sliced button mushrooms, also okay. Fill in the blanks with what you have. This is a wonderful, forgiving recipe. One you will make again and again.  Make this the night ahead and write the temperature and cooking time on the wrap with a Sharpie, ready to go for the morning. Reheat leftovers by microwaving at 1/2 power until warmed through.  Wishing you a safe, healthy, joy-filled holiday. Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with olive oil. Combine bread cubes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper in a large bowl, then toss to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread to skillet and cook until golden brown, tossing occasionally, until bread becomes toasted, about 8 minutes. Return bread to bowl to cool.  Wipe out skillet, then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms in one layer and cook, stirring as little as possible, until they start to brown. Stir and continue to brown, about 2 minutes more. Add garlic, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; cook and stir 1 minute more. Fold in spinach and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until spinach is wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.  Add half of bread cubes to prepared dish, then sprinkle with half of the Gruyère and Parmesan. Cover evenly with mushroom-spinach mixture, then top with remaining bread cubes, Gruyère and Parmesan. Combine eggs, evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Pour egg mixture evenly into casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours. Remove casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake until golden brown and custard is set, about 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

- foodnetwork.com

2450cheddar-bacon-cheese-ball-bites https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/cheddar-bacon-cheese-ball-bites/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/12/IMG_3808-446x600.jpg The cheese ball: a harbinger of both Christmas past and present. It’s an old school app and it’s just what your party needs. Why make one cheeseball when you can make mini? These Cheddar Bacon Cheeseball Bites are poised for partying. With a handy pretzel handle, they're a pandemic friendly, hands free option. Most of all, they are fun and can’t we all use a little bit more of that right now?  Get creative with the add-ins. Sprinkle in ranch or taco seasoning, spice it up with jalapeño, stir in a bit of barbecue or hot sauce, or toss in dried cranberries. Or add smoked paprika, Old Bay Seasoning, a bit of horseradish, or a mix of any spices that you like. The cream cheese and cheddar combination can be varied as well. Try goat cheese, blue cheese, or brie. For a nut free option, leave out the pecans and add Everything Bagel Seasoning to the bacon and chives, or roll in crushed Chex Mix. Make them ahead and roll in coating just before serving. Bites can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. One holiday tradition we can keep this year: the office party. Even if the office is just your soft clothed housemates, your home team has been with you since the beginning. Why not plan a fun little celebration? No designated driver needed, you’re safe at home. Play a few games. How about a Different Sweater contest where everyone dons something they haven’t been wearing as soon as it comes from the wash? Or a holiday-themed musical game of “Wayne Newton or Brenda Lee?” (Especially fun after a few eggnogs and played with those under 30.) Have a recognition gift (an extra roll of toilet paper?) for the guy who never minds going to the door in his pajamas. And an award for the person who consistently makes another pot of coffee when they drink the last cup.  Cheers and stay merry. Cheddar Bacon Cheese Ball Bites  for cheese ball bites: for coating:  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic salt and black pepper in a medium bowl and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again until thoroughly combined. Use a heaping teaspoon or a small cookie scoop to measure cheese mixture into small portions, then use clean hands to roll each portion into a ball and place on lined sheet pan. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Combine bacon bits, chives and pecan pieces on a small plate and mix together. Roll each cheeseball bite into coating mixture, turning and pressing gently if needed, to coat all sides. Press a pretzel rod gently into the top of each cheese ball bite.  *omit pecans and add Everything Bagel Seasoning for a nut free option  

- inspired from hallmark.com and delish.com

2444peppermint-candy-double-chocolate-cookies-and-fig-and-ginger-truffles https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/peppermint-candy-double-chocolate-cookies-and-fig-and-ginger-truffles/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/12/IMG_3785-e1607294490148-600x489.jpg We are two weeks into December. You should be baking cookies! Christmas isn’t Christmas without gingerbread, sugar, jam thumbprints and those cute little peanut butter cookies with the Hershey's Kisses on top. Make everyone their favorite. They deserve it! Here are two sweet treats from Food Network that are guaranteed to tide you over with comfort and joy. Naughty or nice, both are delicious. For the naughty, an indulgent Peppermint Candy Double-Chocolate cookie. For the nice, a Fig and Ginger Truffle, a bite of everything Christmas, but made from virtuous ingredients. Use a cookie dough scoop to keep your cookies same-sized and skip the added step of rolling the dough into balls. To get a pretty finished cookie, reserve some of the chocolate chips and candy to press into the tops of the cookies while they are still warm. For the truffles, use a single chopstick to help coat them in chocolate, then use two chopsticks to carefully remove.  Make a big batch of hot cocoa in your slow cooker this week and dial up the merry! Peppermint Candy Double-Chocolate Cookies Add butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoons of dough and roll into balls, arranging 2 inches apart on baking sheet as you work. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350º F. Sprinkle and press some of the crushed peppermint candies on top of each portion of chilled dough. Bake until cookies are set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; transfer to racks to cool completely.  Fig and Ginger Truffles Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Add figs, ginger, cinnamon and honey to the bowl of a food processor and process until ingredients are finely chopped and stick together, about 45 seconds.  Roll fig mixture with your hands into heaping teaspoon-sized balls and place on baking sheet as you work.  Set a small bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure that the water sits at least 2 inches below the bottom of the bowl. Add chocolate to the bowl and stir until it is melted. Remove bowl from pan. Roll fig balls, one at a time, in melted chocolate until they are all covered, placing them back on the waxed paper as you work. Transfer to refrigerator to chill until set, about 15 minutes. Serve at room temperature.  2437twice-baked-potatoes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/twice-baked-potatoes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/11/IMG_3747-e1606711845820-450x600.jpg The holiday season is officially here! December 5th is National Comfort Food Day. It is also Repeal of Prohibition Day. Coincidence? I think not. But it definitely justifies a double celebration. Get your comfort where you can, and this week it’s Twice-Baked Potatoes that are guaranteed to make you feel all better.  Cheesy, fluffy, and oh-so-satisfying, the pillowy, warm filling nestled in the crispy, salty skin makes these pretty much the ideal comfort food. Yes, you can bake potatoes in the microwave, but baking them in the oven makes them divine. This technique, from The Kitchn, yields perfect results. Bake directly on the rack to let the air fully circulate around all sides: no flipping needed. You can cut a section off the top of each potato and stuff them whole, but I like to cut each potato in half and treat each half as its own potato. If the filling mixture seems too stiff, add a bit more sour cream. It should be fluffy and spoon easily. And don’t bother dirtying your mixer. Just use a fork to lightly mash the filling. Crispy outside, fluffy inside, they are old school delicious. Your holiday dinner needs these, but why wait? Make a nice dinner tonight. Stuff some potatoes and spread the joy. Baked Potatoes Heat oven to 425º F. Scrub potatoes thoroughly under cold running water. Pat dry. Prick potatoes in a few spots with the tines of a fork. Rub potatoes all over with olive oil. Season potatoes with a generous sprinkle of salt. Place on rack in middle of oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Potatoes are done when the skins are dry and the insides feel soft when pierced with a knife. Refrigerate up to 3 days in an airtight container. Reheat directly on rack in a 325º F oven.   Twice-Baked Potatoes Reduce oven to 400º F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. Once baked potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each potato in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the potatoes, transferring the cooked potato to medium bowl as you work. Leave enough potato around the inside of each half to give it stability, using care not to cut through the bottom or sides. Sprinkle the inside of each potato with salt and pepper. Add sour cream, butter, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon and green onion to bowl and mix together with potato, mashing any large pieces of potato with a fork. Add egg yolk and stir to combine. Stuff potato shells with filling and place them on baking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese and bacon. Return to oven to melt cheese, about 5 more minutes. 2429leftover-turkey-waldorf-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/leftover-turkey-waldorf-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/11/IMG_3706-e1606025494358-600x445.jpg There truly is no place like home. While we all prepare for the day that celebrates food and family best, we may only be gathering in spirit. Loved ones may be near or far, or may only be with us in memory, but the love in our hearts is strong. Our gatherings may be virtual, but we can still raise a glass, be grateful for what we have and be hopeful that the next year will be better.  Your side dishes are on point and your pies are in a row. Here is a delicious smoothie to keep you feeling festive as you pull it all together. Filled with immunity boosting ingredients, it’s delicious and good for you, too. Toss some extra squash in the oven to roast. Cubed, it’s a side dish or a nice addition for your salad. Whole, you can scoop it out and make soup, or try it in this smoothie. Toss 1 cup roasted squash in your blender along with 1 cup of your milk of choice. Add a generous handful of ice, half of a frozen banana, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Optional add ins: grated fresh ginger, a scoop of granola, a spoonful of honey, some peeled orange segments or a tablespoon or two of oats, flaxseed, or chia seeds. Blend on high speed until smooth. Tastes like pie, but it’s better for you.  If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, take things in a fresh, new direction with this Leftover Turkey Waldorf Salad. Dice turkey and toss in a tangy, slightly sweet dressing with slices of tart Granny Smith apple, sweet grapes, crunchy walnuts, celery and dried cranberries. Serve over a bed of fresh greens for a lighter way to enjoy a taste of all those holiday favorites.  The traditional Waldorf dressing gets a little zip and some added protein from Greek yogurt. You can use regular or reduced fat mayonnaise, but the whole-milk yogurt really helps give the dressing its body and creaminess. Start with a tablespoon of honey and adjust the sweetness to your liking. You could use diced pear in place of the apple if you like, and pecans are a nice swap for the walnuts.  However you may gather, a safe, healthy, happy Thanksgiving to you. Now on to the eggnog: this year, with an extra shot of rum.  Leftover Turkey Waldorf Salad Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk together. Add turkey, grapes, celery, walnuts, cranberries and apples and lightly fold to combine.  Chill at least 1 hour. Serve over greens. 

- adapted from recipe by Ayesha Curry, Sweet July - Holiday 2020 

- smoothie by Joe Sevier, Epicurious 

2421perfect-pie-crust https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/perfect-pie-crust/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/11/IMG_3690-e1605504216342-600x487.jpg Thanksgiving is just one week away. Don't just stand there. Cook something! My kitchen is full of all the warm and cozy baking aromas of every Thanksgiving that ever was, and yours should be, too. Why wait? You can get ahead with your holiday, have your pie and eat it, too.  If you have pie anxiety, get your crust done now. The food processor/flour mess is no big deal now, but it will be on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This easy pie crust recipe from Ina Garten is a cinch to make. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and store in a zip top freezer bag. Transfer your dough to the refrigerator on the night before you plan to bake, so you’re ready to roll. The recipe below makes two 10-inch crusts. That’s enough for one pumpkin pie and one pecan, or one traditional crust apple. You can tuck one in the freezer for your pumpkin pie and make a few mini pies right now. (If we have learned nothing else this year, it’s not to wait.)  Keep your Thanksgiving stress-free. Try to knock off one dish per day, starting with your cranberry sauce. You can cook and stir this Cranberry Port Conserve while you’re tidying up your dinner dishes. Next, make your sweet potato casserole. Prep some Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms for an easy appetizer. You can freeze these already stuffed and set up on a baking sheet, so they’re ready to transfer to a hot oven. If you are looking for a dish to make and share for your Zooms-giving, this is a good one. You can deliver a frozen batch of these knowing that they’ll be safely baked in a hot oven: a mindful consideration for this year’s pandemic gathering.  Take a practice run at your pie making. And take it easy on yourself.  Perfect Pie Crust yield: two 10-inch crusts Dice butter and return to refrigerator. Add flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and shortening, then pulse 8 to 12 times, until butter is the size of peas. With machine running, pour ice water down the feed tube one tablespoon at a time; pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump onto a floured board and roll into a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Remove one half of dough from refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning the parchment paper if needed. Remove top sheet then place in pie pan dough side down. Remove parchment paper and adjust dough if needed. Fill pie with filling. Repeat with top crust. Bake according to directions for your recipe. 2413roasted-winter-squash-soup-with-gruyere-croutons https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/roasted-winter-squash-soup-with-gruyere-croutons/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/11/IMG_3666-e1604817055519-600x469.jpg Whether this is your first Thanksgiving or your fiftieth, it’s time to get going. Getting a head start now means less stress on the big day. Make as much as you can in advance. This delicious Roasted Winter Squash Soup is an easy way to do just that. Seasonally scented with sage and thyme, you can ladle some up for lunch this week and stock your freezer at the same time. Life is too short to peel hard squash. You can easily transform butternut and acorn squash, or any pie or baking pumpkin by roasting it. Halve your pumpkin or squash and remove the seeds. Brush the inside with a little olive or coconut oil, then sprinkle with salt. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350º F for 45-50 minutes or until it pierces easily with a fork. Once cool, you can easily scrape the flesh from the skin, ready for your recipe.  National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day aptly falls on November 15th, the weekend before Thanksgiving. While you’re making room, spice some nuts, make your cranberry sauce, and bake some pumpkin bread. Get your casseroles in order. All of this can be tucked away in your freezer, ready to go for the big day. This year, more than ever, keep your family’s traditions. There has been enough change and too many reminders of things being different, stick to your tried and true. Honor those you hold most dear by giving them the gift of getting exactly what they expect: keep those recipes the same!  There’s so much to be thankful for. Why wait for Thanksgiving? A cup of soup will always warm you up, but when it's home made, it will warm the heart as well.   Roasted Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Croutons croutons For soup: Warm olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until onion is tender. Add garlic, thyme, and sage. Cook and stir several minutes more until fragrant. Add chicken or vegetable broth, then stir in 4 cups roasted squash or pumpkin. Purée until smooth with an immersion blender or transfer to blender, adding water if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and maple syrup if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with a spoonful of coconut milk and swirl with spoon. Serve with warm croutons.  For croutons: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice then arrange buttered side up on baking sheet. Broil about 1 minute, or until golden. Turn over, then sprinkle with cheese, thyme and sage. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. 

- adapted from bon appétit, December 1996

2406raw-and-roasted-dinner-salad https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/raw-and-roasted-dinner-salad/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/10/IMG_3646-e1604173357306-600x539.jpg Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away - grab your gourds and let’s get cooking! Now more than ever, it’s all about produce with staying power and using what you have. This Raw and Roasted Dinner Salad is guaranteed to be met with rave reviews. Bright, crunchy, flavorful, and filling - it’s the kind of fall salad you can make a meal out of - or count on for lunch the next day.  Riff where you like. You can easily swap the cheese, fruit, and squash elements for endless variations.  I substituted kabocha squash, but if you hate peeling or feel nervous knifing a hard squash, the edible peel delicata, is the way to go. You could also use butternut or acorn squash if you like. Just be sure to remove the peel. Make sure to dry your chickpeas well. You want them to crisp as much as possible when you roast them. I only used about half of the 1/3 cup tahini, but still got plenty of flavor.  Take a quick scan of your spice rack and double check your baking supplies now. We’ll be roasting turkey before you know it! Raw and Roasted Dinner Salad Preheat oven to 425º F. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds using a spoon. Cut each half lengthwise again, then cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces. Transfer to baking sheet.  Pour chickpeas into colander. Rinse, then shake off excess water. Dry chickpeas using paper towels, patting gently. Add to baking sheet with squash. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Roast about 20 minutes, tossing once about halfway through with a spatula, until squash is browned and chickpeas are crispy. Let cool on pan about 5 minutes. Cut head of cabbage into quarters and remove core. Slice quarters and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.  Juice lemons into a small bowl. Pour 3 tablespoons of juice over cabbage; reserve remaining juice in bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil to bowl with cabbage. Massage cabbage with your hands until it begins to wilt and soften a bit, stopping when it’s as crisp-tender as you like. Set aside. Grate garlic clove into bowl with reserved lemon juice. Whisk in tahini, honey, 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon salt. Dressing should be thick but pourable. If needed, thin by adding more water by the teaspoonful.  Quarter and core pear or apple, then slice each quarter into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Transfer to bowl with cabbage. Add roasted squash and chickpeas to bowl. Spread pecans onto empty pan and toast 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.  Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to combine. Transfer salad to a large platter. Top with crumbled feta and pecans and serve. 

- bonappetit.com, January, 2019

2399witches-finger-cookies-and-red-vodka-sour https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/witches-finger-cookies-and-red-vodka-sour/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/10/IMG_3617-545x600.jpg On this Hallow’s Eve so dreary, gather souls pandemic weary, feast and treat this frightful night, on spooky drink and eerie bite! Double the fun with two recipes that are guaranteed to add smiles to your ghosts and goblins. Somewhat creepy, but mostly fun, Witches' Finger Cookies are an easy baking project you can make-ahead with kids. The cookies had a tendency to spread when baking, so I added more flour to each cookie when I rolled the second tray, which seemed to help. I also noticed some suggestions about omitting or reducing the granulated sugar in the comments, which you might opt to do.  Complete your haunting with a creepy colored beverage that tastes just like Halloween candy. Make the home made sour mix and then follow the ratios below to make your cocktails with alcohol, or without. The original recipe called for 1.5 oz vodka, 1.5 oz sour mix, and 0.5 oz grenadine, but our resident mixologist suggests the ratio below.  Enjoy, and have a safe and happy Halloween. Witches' Finger Cookies Heat oven to 350º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Separate 1 egg, reserving white in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine egg yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Whisk together, then set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture and beat about 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add flour; mix on low speed until just incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.  Divide dough in half. Transfer half to a lightly floured work surface; rewrap remaining half in plastic wrap and keep chilled. Divide dough into 15 pieces. Roll each piece back and forth with palms, dusting with more flour if necessary. Shape into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles; score each knuckle lightly with a small knife. Transfer to prepared baking sheet then brush lightly with egg white. Position almonds for nails and push lightly into dough to attach. Transfer to refrigerator to chill 30 minutes before baking. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely before removing. 

- from “Ladies’ Fingers” recipe, marthastewart.com 

Red Vodka Sour  Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well then strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass with ice. Sour Mix  Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil. Simmer for 2 - 3 minutes; remove from heat. Let cool 5 minutes. Stir in lemon and lime juice. Transfer to jar and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  2392chiles-rellenos-breakfast-casserole https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chiles-rellenos-breakfast-casserole/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/10/IMG_3536-e1602906713844-600x450.jpg Kindness matters. In a world turned upside down, it matters even more. Show your family a little kindness this week with a breakfast ready when they are. This easy, make-ahead casserole is perfect for busy mornings. Somewhat frittata, kinda quiche, this Chiles Rellenos Breakfast Casserole is quick to make and easy to reheat, giving everyone a nice, hot breakfast on demand. Spicy, cheesy and delicious, it plays just as well for lunch or dinner, paired with a simple green salad, or not.  To keep this on the lighter side, use reduced fat evaporated milk and reduced fat cheese. I added red bell pepper, onion, and a bit of Italian sausage to amp up the flavor. You can cook your sausage on the stovetop, but I like to use my Instant Pot to minimize splatters and keep mess to a minimum. Cook the whole roll of Isernio’s Italian Chicken Sausage when you make this. You can use some for the casserole and transfer the rest to a zip top bag for the freezer, ready to go for topping pizza or adding into soup or other recipes. Add flavor and cut down on food waste by using the white part of your green onions here. As always, feel free to substitute. It’s all about using what you have.  Reheat individual serving squares on a parchment lined baking sheet in your toaster oven for no mess. Or microwave, covered, on a reduced power setting to gently reheat. You can also cut into squares and freeze on a parchment lined sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer zip-top bag for individual, ready-to-eat servings.     Cheesy, chili goodness perfect for warming your fall morning. Chiles Rellenos Breakfast Casserole Preheat oven to 350º F.  Lightly coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil. Add Italian sausage to Instant Pot and set to “Sauté”; select “Adjust” and press “More”. Cook sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink and thoroughly cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Add olive oil to Instant Pot, then add chopped onion and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, reducing heat if needed. Spoon onion and bell pepper evenly over the bottom of prepared baking dish. Add 2/3 cup of cooked Italian sausage. Spoon diced green chiles evenly over all. Add eggs and evaporated milk to a large bowl or Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Use a whisk or an immersion blender to mix until thoroughly combined. Pour egg mixture slowly over casserole ingredients. Scatter green onions evenly over top and season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle mozzarella and Mexican blend cheese over all. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until set.   2386butter-tarts https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/butter-tarts/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/10/IMG_3518-470x600.jpg The rest of the world may be smitten with pumpkin spice, but in our house, it’s the butter tart. Canada just celebrated their Thanksgiving, so for those of you just putting the wrap on your turkey dinners, this week I’m sharing a recipe from our neighbors up North.  As the wife of a Canadian, I know my way around a Nanaimo bar. We have two Thanksgiving dinners every year, and I must admit, I have come to love hockey. But for all things Canada I have come to embrace, admittedly, this is my first foray with the butter tarts.  Realizing I was in unfamiliar territory, I read through all the comments at the end (a crash course in butter tarts for those of us not in the know), and quickly learned a thing or two. There are numerous variations on the filling: runny, firm, raisins or currants, and the addition of nuts, most notably pecan and walnut. Some suggested keeping the filling just plain. More than a few said to skip the vanilla and add some bourbon. Done! I also opted to use 2/3 cup brown sugar plus 1/3 cup maple syrup and decided to make half of the recipe with raisins and half using pecans. Both were delicious! You can also use gluten-free flour with good results.  Buttery and rich, they were delightfully easy to make. No electric mixer or food processor required, you make the dough with a fork and the filling is stirred by hand to avoid the possibility of adding too much air. Because I liked the idea of keeping these bite-sized, I used a mini muffin tin, which made 22 tarts, and found 17 minutes to be just right for the baking time.  These sweet little butter tarts are having a moment. They are oh so delicious and will be added to our holiday traditions. Spend some time with the ones you love and bake some this weekend. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in a crushproof container, tucked away in your freezer for the holidays. Canadian friends, if you have made these before, please email me. I would love to see your family’s recipe!  Butter Tarts pastry:  filling: Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to rub butter or lard into flour until mixture is in pea-sized pieces. Mix water, egg yolk, and vinegar in a small bowl until well combined. Add liquid to flour mixture and combine with a fork, adding 1 more tablespoon of water if it is too dry. Knead by hand several times until it forms a ball. Shape into a flat square. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough into a rectangle about 3 to 6 millimeters thick, continuing to flour your surface and rolling pin as your work. Use a biscuit cutter to cut circles, re-rolling dough as needed. Use your fingertips to press each circle into the cup of a mini muffin tin, making the edge of the dough flush with the pan. Transfer to refrigerator.  In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water to plump. Preheat oven to 425º F. In another bowl, mix brown sugar, maple syrup and salt, then mix the butter into the sugar by hand until smooth. Add vanilla and egg and mix until combined.  Drain raisins and place enough in each chilled tart shell to completely cover the bottom. Spoon filling into each tart, covering raisins and filling about halfway. Bake 13-15 minutes for runnier tart, 17-19 for firmer. A few minutes after removing from oven, run a knife or spatula around the edge of each tart to loosen. Let cool completely in tin before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

- adapted from recipe by Sara Bonisteel, cooking.nytimes.com  

2380roasted-garlic-and-rosemary-pumpkin-hummus https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/roasted-garlic-and-rosemary-pumpkin-hummus/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/10/IMG_3496-e1601880269633-600x531.jpg It’s a wonderful time in the Northwest. The air is a bit crisper, the leaves flurry by, and every farm stand is just heady with the aroma of apples. There’s a renewed urge to gather, get cozy and settle in, to embrace all the sights, smells, and most of all the wonderful flavors of fall. Here’s a new recipe and and an easy way to enjoy it faster than you can say pumpkin spice.  Perfect for autumn gatherings, the snack board remains a huge hit. It’s quick and easy to do with whatever you might find on hand and with a few simple changes you can transition it to fall. Make good use of seasonal produce. Slices of fresh apple and pear and dried figs are all good choices. Add some bursts of fall color with shades of red, yellow, or brown. Dial up the orange with dried apricots, some chunks of cheddar cheese, baby carrots and the Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus below. Add nuts, raw, smoked, or candied - walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts. Or opt for some pumpkin seeds or marcona  almonds. Sliced deli turkey and ham, some cheese and the usual carrots and celery are much more fun at lunch time when they show up on a snack board. Put out mustard, sliced bread and a cutting board and let everyone fix what they want. It’s a nice surprise to find something special and it breaks up the mid-day routine to serve something unexpected.  Don't forget the honey, chutney or apple butter and a small pumpkin just for fun.  This Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus is a cinch to make. The ingredient list is simple. A few pantry pulls and you’ve got a healthy, delicious dip in minutes. Begin by roasting the garlic in olive oil on your stovetop. It mellows and sweetens the flavor and once you try “roasting” it this way, you might find yourself doing it again and again. I made the recipe mostly as instructed, with the exception of one small change. Rather than adding the honey and mixing it into the hummus, I drizzled it over the top. Doing this added some visual interest and a nice contrasting note of sweetness. Autumn on!    Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus Warm olive oil and garlic cloves in a small saucepan over low/medium heat for 15-20 minutes to “roast”. Cook until lightly golden and fragrant, adjusting heat as necessary, being careful not to burn.  Add chickpeas, pumpkin puree, and roasted garlic along with the olive oil to blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until desired consistency is reached. Stir in rosemary and sea salt. Transfer to serving bowl and top with maple syrup or honey. Serve with carrots, crackers, pita bread, apple slices, or warm naan. 

- lightly adapted from pinchofyum.com 

237212th-man-burger https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/12th-man-burger/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/09/IMG_3483-450x600.jpg Sports fans, get your game on. Football is back! You can put on your favorite fan gear, watch a game, and have some sense of normalcy amidst the no longer new normal. CenturyLink field may be eerily empty, but when the Seahawks play, the 12th Man noise is so loud you can hear it statewide. Bring some fan food to your homegate with a big, juicy sports bar burger you can build at home.  Inspired by Quality Athletic’s Seattle Burger, this 12th Man Burger is a no nonsense size beef patty loudly topped with a dollop of smoked jalapeño cream cheese nestled between sliced pepper jack and cheddar cheese. I benched the brat but added bacon, plus guacamole, smoky aioli, and the requisite drizzle of barbecue sauce. It’s a serious, man-sized burger.  Toss the jalapeños on the smoker with the bacon. Do more than enough bacon so you’ll have some for breakfast during the week. Roast 2 heads of garlic. You will use some for this recipe and have extra for making the best garlic bread. Measure your mayonnaise in tablespoons. The measuring spoon fits in the mayonnaise bottle and you will save yourself from having to wash the 1/4 cup measure. Bring your sliced cheese to room temp. It will melt more quickly and help form a pocket around the colder cream cheese, thus preventing burger run off. You will need a pick to hold all of this together, but but don’t just use a naked stick. Give it some visual flare with a pickle spear and a half strip of bacon. Open up a cold one, and cheer on! 12th Man Burger jalapeño cream cheese  smoky garlic aioli  burgers: for jalapeño cream cheese: Squeeze garlic cloves into a small bowl and smash with a fork until smooth. Add cream cheese, bacon, and jalapeños - one ingredient at a time, stirring well between each addition. Add pepper jack and cheddar cheese a little at a time, stirring to incorporate between each addition. Transfer to refrigerator.  for smoky garlic aioli: Squeeze garlic cloves into a small bowl and smash with a fork until smooth. Add mayonnaise and mix to combine. Stir in lemon juice, then add smoked paprika and chili powder, sprinkling over surface a little at a time and then stirring until thoroughly mixed. for burgers: Grill hamburgers to your liking. Shortly after flipping, top with 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Add 1 tablespoon of jalapeño cream cheese to center of cheese; top with pepper jack slice. Remove burgers to a plate and keep warm. Spread garlic aioli over cut side of each half of bun. Spread guacamole over bottom bun, then place burger on top. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Add red onion, leaf lettuce, 1 slice of bacon torn in half, and 1 tomato slice to burger, then top with bun. Thread dill pickle spear and 1/2 slice bacon onto a large pick, then secure hamburger with pick.  2366instant-pot-broccoli-cheddar-chicken-soup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/instant-pot-broccoli-cheddar-chicken-soup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/09/Fixed-scaled-e1600479073359-600x510.jpg Fall has arrived! Along with all the turning leaves, pumpkin spice, and the uncontrollable urge to don a sweater, it is officially the start of soup season. As the weather starts to cool, a comforting bowl of something warm and soothing really hits the spot. All the better if it’s easy to prepare and, hey, let’s keep the cleanup quick, too.  Fill your kitchen with the comforting aroma of something home cooked. It’s wonderful when the heavenly smell of dinner draws everyone from their work space. This Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Soup is fast, easy and delicious. Add everything to your Instant Pot, set it, and in under 30 minutes you’ve got dinner. Puréed vegetables make this soup so creamy and thick you’d never guess that it’s healthy, or that it doesn’t have any cream or flour. They also give it a nutritional boost and keep it gluten-free. Use low-fat canned evaporated milk and reduced fat cheddar cheese to keep it on the lighter side.  You can use chicken broth if you have some on hand, but I like to use Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. It’s a great way to add flavor to soup, rice, potatoes, and casseroles, so I always keep a jar of this in my fridge.  Use chicken tenderloins for a lean source of protein. They speed up cooking and are faster to cube. You can use fresh broccoli and cauliflower in this recipe (about 6 cups total) if you happen to have some, but keeping frozen broccoli and cauliflower in your freezer means you can make this any time you need dinner in a hurry. Ladle into bowls and serve with warm bread. It’s a cozy, soothing dinner, just right for one night this week.  Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Soup Set Instant Pot to sauté. Add olive oil and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add chicken tenderloins, chicken broth, broccoli, cauliflower, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Seal cover, select manual setting and set time for 8 minutes. When finished cooking, use quick release. Remove and discard bay leaf. Transfer chicken tenderloins to a cutting board and cut into chunks. Use an immersion blender to purée vegetables in Instant Pot, leaving some chunkiness for consistency (or transfer to blender and process similarly; return to Instant Pot). Set Instant Pot to sauté. Add milk and cheese and cook, stirring occasionally until cheese has melted. Return chicken to pot; stir and continue to cook until warmed through. Taste and adjust with salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper. 2359chopped-thai-salad-with-peanut-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chopped-thai-salad-with-peanut-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/09/IMG_3446-e1599892052877-600x450.jpg Home. Certainly, it’s the place where you live, but more importantly it’s the community around you. That place we all call home. This week’s recipe is a shout out to local farmers. They feed us and share what they grow with the community and for that they deserve some love.  Earlier this year, we joined a CSA and it changed and enriched our lives in so very many ways. We ate better. We tried new recipes. We had more variety in our diet. And we experienced a bond with the land and the community that you just can’t get from a grocery store. Each week when we pick up our box we see Steve. He looks up from his work for a minute and we exchange waves from the socially, but not emotionally, distant area across the field. We gather the food that he’s sharing and for those few moments all is right with the world. So, thank you, Steve, and thank you other local farmers as well. You make our families and our communities so much better, not just with the local food you provide, but also with the experiences that we share when we source our food close to home. Fresh and crunchy, this Chopped Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce is packed with veggies and full of flavor. The creamy peanut dressing and fun noodles make this salad a hit with kids. You can use honey, brown sugar, or any kind of substitute that you like for this recipe. I am still creatively cleaning through my pantry so I used raw coconut nectar. Ramen noodles are another suitable stand-in, but using thin rice noodles gives this Thai take-out cred, plus they’re gluten-free. Toss the noodles into the salad with the dressing or use them, either plain or lightly dressed, to top your salad. Keep it veggie and serve with edamame, or add chilled shrimp or shredded rotisserie chicken for a zero cook way to get dinner on the table and … get your kids to eat their veggies.  Most of the vibrant veggies in this recipe were beautifully grown by Steve.  Chopped Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce peanut sauce salad Combine all ingredients for peanut sauce in blender or small food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust, then thin with water until creamy salad dressing consistency.  Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add rice noodles, stir lightly and let stand 3 minutes or until firm-tender. Drain well then transfer to a pot of ice water to hold.   Combine Napa and purple cabbage, carrots, radishes, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, cucumber, green onion and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with noodles and chopped peanuts.  

- adapted from recipe by Flavor and Savour

2350instant-pot-enchilada-chicken-with-homemade-enchilada-sauce https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/instant-pot-enchilada-chicken-with-homemade-enchilada-sauce/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/09/IMG_3408-rotated-e1599282092465-600x450.jpg Home cooks unite! Every time you cook you join forces with millions of others, all of us stirring, simmering and making meals with the common goal of feeding our families. You may be spending time with your family all day, but you're not really together until you gather around the dinner table to eat. We connect, we talk, we share - not just food, but spirit.  Speed and ease of clean up have never been more important than they are now, as is the all important question: if I don’t have it on hand, can I make it using what I do have? Case in point: enchilada sauce. Made from basic pantry ingredients, it’s full of all the flavor that you do want but not the preservatives that you don’t. Use any kind of flour (all-purpose, whole wheat) that you like in this recipe. I tried Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour and got good results making this gluten-free.  This delicious DIY enchilada sauce is the soothing solution to tonight’s dinner and at least one more. Double the sauce recipe, then measure out half to freeze. Add chicken to the remaining sauce in your Instant Pot to make the recipe below, or use the flavorful shredded chicken as a filling for enchiladas, tacos, burritos or quesadillas. Spoon it over beans, rice, a halved baked potato, or a salad. Comforting and quick, it’s a delicious dinner you can make in no time.  Instant Pot Enchilada Chicken with Homemade Enchilada Sauce  Enchilada Sauce Combine flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt in a small bowl and stir together.  Set Instant Pot to sauté and add oil. Once oil becomes hot, add flour and spices and whisk until fragrant - about 1 minute. Whisk in tomato paste, then slowly add broth, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook, continuing to whisk, until sauce thickens - about 5 minutes or more. Whisk in vinegar and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or let cool and transfer to a wide mouth jar or freezer bag to freeze. 

 - modified from cookieandkate.com

Enchilada Chicken   Add chicken and water to enchilada sauce in Instant Pot and secure lid with valve set to sealing. Set manual/pressure cook button for 12 minutes (15 for frozen). When time is up, let sit for 5 minutes then move valve to venting. Remove lid and transfer chicken to cutting board. Shred with two forks then stir back into sauce along with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, avocados, and sliced olives.    2344apple-crumble https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/apple-crumble/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/08/IMG_3377-e1598682870449-600x425.jpg Cooking at home full time these past 6 months has been an endurance sport, but if these times have taught us anything, they have taught us to endure. To be resourceful. To use what we have and make the most if it. And to celebrate. Right this moment is a good time to enjoy whatever it is you’ve been saving. Do it now and don’t wait. So without further ado, here comes the first apple recipe of the season. There’s just enough of a change in the air, the light, and even a few of the leaves, that I say on with it!  This Apple Crumble from nutritionist Joy Bauer is absolutely delicious. It’s low mess, quick prep, and easy - a perfect way to serve up a taste of fall this Labor Day weekend. The delectable crumb topping gets its toasty goodness from whole grain oats and almond flour. No one will guess it has just 2 tablespoons of butter and is sweetened with maple syrup. Skip peeling and just slice the apples, then toss them with the lemon juice and cinnamon in the same bowl you’ll use to make the topping. Use your favorite sweet apple like Fuji, Honeycrisp or Gala in this recipe, or you could use a few of several varieties and even add a tart one, like Granny Smith, to the mix. Use gluten-free rolled oats to make this recipe gluten-free. Use coconut, canola, or grape seed oil and make it dairy-free and vegan, too. If you have nut allergies, substitute whole wheat flour for the almond flour. Store leftovers refrigerated. Reheat gently in the microwave. Served with a dollop of yogurt, it’s breakfast.  Stay safe and enjoy the long weekend!  Apple Crumble for the apples: for the crumble: Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly mist a 9- x 13-inch (3 quart) baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Add apples, lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon to a large bowl and toss lightly until well combined. Transfer apple mixture into prepared baking dish and set aside. Using same bowl, add oats, almond flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, maple syrup and melted butter; stir to combine until mixture is wet and clumpy. Sprinkle oat crumble evenly over apple mixture to create top layer. Wrap tightly with foil and transfer to middle rack of oven. Bake for 45 minutes . Remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more, until crumble topping is golden brown and apples are hot and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped topping, or yogurt. 

- recipe by Joy Bauer, joybauer.com 

2338sausage-french-toast-roll-ups https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sausage-french-toast-roll-ups/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/08/IMG_3344-492x600.jpg Back to school may be different, but what hasn’t changed is your desire to help your kids get off to a good start and your commitment to feeding them a nutritious breakfast. Take advantage of the new routine momentum and resolve to involve. Let your kids help with the meal prep. Let them help with the planning. And of course, let them help with the clean up. Get your kids more involved in the kitchen. No matter what you are making, there are steps in every recipe that kids of all ages can handle. While you’re home schooling, use cooking as a fun way to apply math, science, and chemistry skills. Fractions are much more fun when they’re being used to make cupcakes and before you know it, all those small steps will pay off in a kid who’s able to manage the family’s dinner.  Here is a perfect recipe to kick off the brand new school year. These Sausage and French Toast Roll-ups are so easy to make that you might only need to supervise. Try them as below, with sausage, or you can also fill them with other things. I made some with a spoonful of cottage cheese and a bit of lemon zest. Served warm with some home made blueberry jam, they were deliciously reminiscent of a crepe or blintz, but much easier to make. Try strawberries and cream cheese, or peanut butter and banana for some other possibilities. I used Dave’s Killer Bread which flattened large enough to cut in half and make 2 roll-ups per slice, which may be the case with the bread you use, too. Because the crusts flattened so well, I only ended up having to trim one side. Use any kind of breakfast sausage that your family likes, just microwave to warm first if you use the frozen, fully cooked variety.  Kids will like dunking these in maple syrup and the fact that they can be eaten on the go, even if the only place they're going is the family room. Extras can be stashed in the fridge for reheats or the staggered eating times we still seem to have in the morning. Have fun cooking with your kids and enjoy the new school year.  Sausage French Toast Roll-Ups Add eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla to a flat bottomed bowl or pie plate and whisk to combine. Roll and flatten each slice of bread using a rolling pin. Trim crusts if needed. Place 1 piece of sausage at end of bread and roll up. Dip each roll-up in egg mixture, turning to coat all sides. Melt enough butter to lightly coat the bottom of a medium sized frying pan. Add roll-ups and pan fry over medium heat, gently turning so that all sides are golden brown. Serve with warmed maple or fruit syrup. 

- recipe by Hannah Williams, tasty.com 

2330perfect-blueberry-muffins https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/perfect-blueberry-muffins/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/08/IMG_3269-e1597472946662-600x450.jpg Yes, it feels like an oven, but it won’t be much longer before we are up to our ears in all things pumpkin. Baking a little something might just be what’s in order. Swoon worthy and picture-perfect, these Blueberry Muffins are delicious. Moist and densely studded with juicy berries, they’re just the thing to share. We could all use a little kindness right now. Why not spread some joy? You be the judge on how many berries to use. You may not use all of what’s called for here, or you may use more, but go ahead and err on the side of too many. You won’t be sorry. I filled the cups two-thirds full before adding berries, but you could also fill the cups 1/3 full, add berries, add more batter, and then add more berries, finishing with the teaspoon of batter and sugar. (This is a good job for kids, by the way.) Don’t have turbinado, or demerara sugar? Scan your pantry for sparkly, large crystal sugar you would use for your cookie decorating. The teaspoon of sugar topping seems like a lot, but it makes a perfect crunchy lid.  Brighten someone’s day with something freshly baked. Be diligent about using clean hands, and be safe by using gloves or tongs when you package what you baked. Delivering food to someone - even at a safe social distance - will do a world of good. Hold tight to those friendships, keep your family close, and keep forging those connections. Bake some happiness. And don’t forget to share.  Blueberry Muffins makes 15 muffins  Preheat oven to 375º F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners or use nonstick spray in each cup. Melt butter in a large bowl and stir in oil. Add sugar and lemon zest and mix on low speed until smooth. Add yogurt, eggs, and vanilla and mix, about 3 1/2 minutes. Lightly mix in baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing at low speed. Batter will be very thick, almost cookie doughlike. Fill each prepared muffin cup two-thirds full, then add about 10 frozen berries to each cup and press down slightly. Add about 1 teaspoon of batter to top of each muffin, then sprinkle each with a generous teaspoon or sugar.  Bake 27 minutes, or until tops are golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to rack. 

- adapted from Perfect Blueberry Muffins, smittenkitchen.com

2325chicken-lettuce-wraps https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/chicken-lettuce-wraps/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/08/IMG_3229-508x600.jpg I have been trying to crack the PF Chang’s Lettuce Wrap recipe for a very long time. I have small bits of detail, but the actual recipe is a closely guarded secret and what little I’ve learned is as cryptic as the clues to the DaVinci Code. I am not subtle when I inquire about specifics. Once, my interest spurred the manager to visit our table and stand guard, just in case our server talked too much. This is what I know: it is not all white meat, there is an egg soak in there somewhere, and try as you might you will not get the exact flavor at home unless you happen to have the capability to wok-fire like they do at the restaurant.  There is something in this cooking method that generates the characteristic flavor of the PF Chang’s Lettuce Wrap and that is all I’m going to say about that. A few tips for lettuce wraps at home. Use ground chicken or equally good, ground turkey. Add mushrooms. They add tons of flavor, extra nutrition, and they help bulk up the recipe and stretch the amount of meat.  If you have a mini food processor, use it to quickly mince the mushrooms and water chestnuts. As a healthier stand-in for those little fried noodles, I add peanuts, which also gives a little bit of texture and crunch to your filling. Whatever your reason for not being able to visit your favorite place, I know that it’s still in your heart. Write to me. Share your memory and I’ll see about getting a recipe for you. As long as it’s not PF Chang’s.  Chicken Lettuce Wraps Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken or turkey and cook about 3-5 minutes, using a spoon to break up and crumble the meat as it cooks. Add chopped mushrooms and continue to cook and stir until ground meat is thoroughly cooked. Stir in garlic, garlic powder, white part of onions and ginger and continue to cook about 2 minutes more, or until onions soften. Combine soy sauce, hoisin, and rice vinegar in a small bowl and stir. Add sauce mixture to ground meat and stir well to coat. Add water chestnuts, sliced green part of onions and chopped peanuts. Drizzle with sesame oil and stir. Plate lettuce leaves and serve family style, letting everyone spoon their filling and make their own lettuce wraps. 2320northwest-nicoise https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/northwest-nicoise/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/07/IMG_3241-e1596276394562-529x600.jpg In these pandemic times, shopping, cooking, and planning have the added challenges of out of stock, expired, and someone ate it. The green beans you are hoping for from the market are gone. Your pantry yields a can of something way past its prime. Or, maybe someone ate the very last of whatever it was you were saving for tonight’s dinner. When in doubt, Niçoise! It’s a clever fix for tonight’s dinner, or tomorrow’s lunch, no matter what you have on hand. There is much debate and controversy about what ingredients should or should not be in a Niçoise salad. Don’t take it too seriously. The more relaxed you can be, the more options you will have. Take creative license with the traditional ingredients and give yourself permission to make the most of what’s bright and beautiful at the market. Scan your fridge and pantry. I am guessing you have some intriguing possibilities that could spell Niçoise.  Use fresh, steamed green beans if you have them, or consider steamed zucchini or squash.  Feel free to add in roasted peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, or whatever your heart desires.Canned tuna is ok. So is cold, sliced chicken, or chilled shrimp. Or, add portions of cedar planked salmon for some Northwest flavor.  Making extra of everything means less cooking later. Steam extra green beans for tomorrow’s dinner. Boil extra potatoes to rewarm for breakfast or to make potato salad. Cook extra eggs to have on hand for snacks.  Toss fresh field greens or delicate Boston or Bibb lettuce with the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette below. Add some crumbled salty cheese like queso fresco or feta and some roasted pumpkin seeds and offer along with your Niçoise salad.  Northwest Niçoise  Cover potatoes with cold water and microwave on high, 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Put steamer basket or egg insert and 1 cup of water in Instant Pot and add eggs. Set to high pressure for 3 minutes, then quick release. Immediately dunk into ice bath for 5 minutes, then peel. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and parsley.   Drizzle green beans lightly with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and Italian seasoning. Arrange all ingredients for salad on platter.  for salad: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Combine all ingredients in a covered jar and shake well. Toss field greens with cilantro-lime vinaigrette, queso fresco or feta, and pumpkin seeds.  

- Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette adapted from Gourmet, September 2000 

  2315caprese-salad-and-blt-bar https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/caprese-salad-and-blt-bar/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/07/IMG_3213-1-e1595667272951-600x450.jpg Menu fatigue, heat, plus the endless parade of dishes may have you feeling a little less than enthusiastic about cooking this week. Tomato season to the rescue! Whether you visit a farmers’ market or mask up and trek through the store, you can be sure tantalizing tomatoes await. Make the most of what mother nature gives you this week and just keep it simple. Here are two ways to use fresh, in season tomatoes to the max.  Big, ripe juicy tomatoes practically beg to be used in a sandwich. Make dinner a little less daunting with a do-it-yourself BLT platter. Plate up chilled, leafy lettuce, fresh sliced tomatoes, and crispy bacon. Set out bread, mayo, salt, and pepper. Add in extras like cheese, avocado, or sliced hard boiled eggs to add to the sandwiches, or serve alongside. Have kids help with this easy set up and let them be in charge of toasting the bread. That was pretty easy, right? I can Caprese at a moment’s notice and so can you. A lightning quick Caprese salad can be a nice and easy lunch. Sure, it’s an appetizer, but it’s also a light supper if you add a little oomph to it.  Be ready to go by keeping fresh mozzarella at the ready in your fridge. Try different varieties like burrata, bocconcini, or Ciliegine, the mini mozzarella balls packaged in salted water.   You can morph the tomato/mozzarella combination an endless number of ways. Try adding cherry tomatoes, different colors of tomatoes, or several varieties all together on one plate. Vary the mozzarella. Instead of the traditional round slices, use bocconcini. Faster than slicing, just scatter over tomatoes. Easy, right? Try adding fruit. Chilled melon wrapped with just a whisp of prosciutto is bracingly cool and refreshingly surprising. In season peaches, plums, and nectarines are all great add-ins, and I really like using blackberries for a jolt of color.  Here are a few tips to get the most out of that Caprese. Start with ripe tomatoes. Not too ripe, mind you, but not underripe, either. Salt the tomatoes and let them sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients to really bring out their juices. Any salt will work, but if you have flaky sea salt it is worth using here, as is good quality olive oil. Don’t waste! Slice any left over tomato into chunks and store in a small, covered container, ready to toss into tomorrow’s salad. Caprese Salad Slice tomatoes about 1/8” thick and arrange on a platter. Season generously with salt and set aside. Slice the mozzarella into thin rounds, roughly the same thickness of the tomatoes. Wrap thin slices of prosciutto around the melon slices. Season tomatoes with freshly ground black pepper. Add mozzarella slices and melon to platter then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Top with basil.  2307christmas-cake https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/christmas-cake/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/07/IMG_7657-scaled-e1595040925458-600x450.jpg My mantra:  Happiness now. Why wait until tomorrow if you can have happiness right this minute? This recipe contains two things you need for happiness now:  a little Christmas spirit and a lot of brandy. Sure, the rest of the world is grilling corn and flipping burgers. Let them fawn over summer fruit. We aren’t waiting, you and I. We are going to make a Christmas Cake.  Perfect for pandemic baking, the brandy soak will soften dried fruit that’s past its prime, so scan your pantry and use up whatever you may have. I did not have the requisite amounts or types of raisins on hand, so I used 2 cups of raisins and 10 dried apricots cut into small pieces. You can use brandy, sherry, or rum, if you like. And be generous when you spoon it over the warm cake.  I plan to make another cake with gluten-free flour next. And dried cherries. The recipe that follows bakes in an 8-inch loaf pan. Set your timer for 60 minutes, then check your cake at 10 minute intervals.  The cake smells delightful - just like Christmas. Enjoy a few slices now. Wrap the rest of the cake tightly, first in a layer of plastic wrap and then store in a zip-top bag. Label, date, and freeze the rest (if you can bear it) for something you can look forward to this Christmas. And that’s happiness now.  Christmas Cake Combine raisins, currants, dates and almonds in a large bowl. Cover with brandy and mix to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to soak in a cool, dark place overnight. Mix occasionally the next day until ready to bake.  Preheat oven to 275º F. Line an 8-inch loaf pan with 2 layers of parchment paper. Add butter and sugar to a medium bowl and beat on medium speed for 8 minutes or until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Set aside. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice to the soaked fruit. Mix well until all fruit is evenly coated with flour. Pour batter over fruit mixture and stir until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until cake is brown and cooked when tested with a skewer.  Spoon extra brandy over cake while still warm, then allow to cool completely before turning out. Store airtight, up to 2 months, in a cool, dark place. 

 - adapted from recipe by Donna Hay, Christmas Feasts and Treats

2302ice-tray-cheesecake-bites-and-chocolate-magic-shell https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/ice-tray-cheesecake-bites-and-chocolate-magic-shell/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/07/IMG_3171-e1594443011528-600x449.jpg Never mind the heat, it’s all about staying cool. Here are two chilly desserts that are fast, fun and easy to make right at home. Nothing says summer like ice cream and who doesn’t love a dipped cone? Here’s how to bring a little of that vacation ice cream shop to your kitchen. If you have chocolate chips and coconut oil, and perhaps a kid or two you are trying to keep busy, you are well on your way. The melted mixture needs to cool before you use it, so make your Magic Shell ahead of time. Magic Shell  Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Microwave on high, 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until completely melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature before spooning or pouring over ice cream. Allow to set before serving.  Store leftovers covered, at room temp, for up to 1 year. Reheat briefly if needed. 

recipe by Debbie Koenig, today.com

Ice Tray Cheesecake Bites are a fun, no bake way to make cheesecake. Goat cheese helps to give these a lighter texture and subtly enhances the flavor. You can substitute any fruit jam that you like. I made quick jam by microwaving 1 cup of blueberries with a splash of water for 1 minute on high heat, then adding 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, stirring, and letting it stand several minutes until it thickened. You can top the cream cheese cubes with the graham cracker mixture before freezing, or leave it off and spoon the crumbles onto each serving plate before adding the frozen cheesecake, adding some fresh berries if you like.  Ice Tray Cheesecake Bites  Combine cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon juice, zest and confectioner’s sugar or sweetener in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Spoon cream cheese mixture into a silicone ice tray, dividing evenly among 12 cubes. Spoon a small bit of jam into each cube and using a toothpick or skewer, swirl the jam and cream cheese together.  Break graham crackers into small rectangles and add to quart size zip-top bag. Use a rolling pin or kitchen mallet to crush crackers into crumbs. Add melted butter or coconut oil and stir together until the mixture resembles wet sand. Spoon a little of the graham crust on top of each cheesecake, pressing down gently with the back of a spoon, making sure to cover surface evenly.  Transfer tray to freezer and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake bites from tray and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

- adapted from Goat Cheese and Blueberry Cheesecake, Ice Tray Treats 

2297blueberry-clafoutis https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/blueberry-clafoutis/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/07/IMG_3138-e1593823236260-600x562.jpg Once blueberry season begins, “pick blueberries” stays on my to-do list until the berries and I both give up and call it quits several months later. There are so many things to do with these summer jewels that it’s hard to decide what to make first. Pies, buckles, cakes, muffins, and crisps have their merits, but in addition to the featured fruit they also pack lots of sugar, plenty of flour and maybe an entire stick of butter. Clafoutis is the recipe you need now. Fun to say and easy to make, clafoutis is a fancy French dessert you can make with any kind of fruit.  Somewhat like a Dutch baby, this recipe pairs fresh fruit, baked until juicy, with creamy custard, flan-like cake. It’s a less flour, less sugar, whole lotta less butter way to have your cake and eat it, too. Make it gluten-free with your favorite gluten-free flour, or almond flour. Do it dairy-free with the alternative milk of your choice and coconut oil in place of the butter. But don’t swap the eggs. They’re what give this recipe its velvety textured custard. Using a blender helps with the batter, but whisking until frothy works just as well. Plus, it gives you a little arm exercise. The first time I made this, I didn’t read the directions carefully. I tossed everything into the blender, gave it a quick whir, topped it with some canned apricots and it came out just fine. Impervious to error, It has that relaxed, easy feeling that I think all summer desserts should have. Who has time for fussy measuring and complicated baking? We have summering to do.  This bakes-in-one-dish wonder feeds a crowd, even if it’s just the crowd in your house. Spectacular with a scoop of ice (or nice) cream, leftovers, should you have any, are just as delectable the next day, rewarmed with a a bit of yogurt for breakfast.  So get out that cast iron pan and get going. It’s dessert, it’s breakfast, it’s delicious.  Blueberry Clafoutis Preheat oven to 350ºF. Add butter to a 10” ovenproof skillet or 2-3 quart shallow baking dish. Transfer to oven and heat until butter has melted, about 4-6 minutes. Add eggs, milk, lemon zest, salt, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar to jar of blender and blend until smooth and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add flour and blend until just combined. Quickly pour batter into hot baking dish. Sprinkle berries evenly over then top with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed, set and lightly golden-brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let sit 10-15 minutes before enjoying warm. Sprinkle powdered sugar over if desired. 

- adapted from recipe by Anna Stockwell, June 2019, Epicurious 

2291air-fryer-onion-rings-with-sweet-chipotle-ketchup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/air-fryer-onion-rings-with-sweet-chipotle-ketchup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/06/IMG_3115-e1593227081343-600x448.jpg My first job was a part-time, after school shift at Burger King. I loved working in the prep area, but I wanted to make the Whoppers look like they did in the photos:  lettuce perfectly placed, meat patty in alignment, and just a smidge of tomato peeking out. I was making them look good, but I wasn't getting them down the line quickly. I didn't get to make very many burgers before they moved me, out of the kitchen and into the drive thru, where I could focus more on checking orders and keeping customers happy. Working the closing shift meant you almost always went home with free food. Often, it was onion rings. It was a definite perk. Baked in your air fryer, home made onion rings are heavenly. Lighter and healthier than traditional fried ones, they are fast and easy to make: golden and crunchy on the outside, perfectly tender on the inside. If you don’t have an air fryer, this recipe also works in your oven. You can mist the prepared onion rings and bake them right on the parchment lined sheet pan you used to hold the rings as you were coating them. Make them gluten-free (pictured on the right) by using gluten-free bread crumbs. Serve alongside your burgers or ribs for a little added fun. Share with your family and friends and have a fabulous Fourth!  Air Fryer Onion Rings with Sweet Chipotle Ketchup 6 servings  Onion Rings Sweet Chipotle Ketchup for ketchup: Combine ketchup, hot sauce and honey in a small bowl and whisk together.  for onion rings: Combine bread crumbs, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a pie plate, or flat bottomed bowl, and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine egg, egg white, and mayonnaise and whisk together.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Dip each piece of onion in egg wash and then into bread crumbs, turning gently to completely cover and coat. Set on baking sheet and repeat with remaining onion until all rings are coated.  Working in batches, evenly mist the tops of the onion rings with nonstick oil spray before adding in a single layer to the metal insert rack of air fryer. Cook at 400º F for 7 - 8 minutes, or until coating is golden brown and crispy and onions are tender but still hold their shape. Serve hot with chipotle ketchup for dipping.  For oven preparation:  Preheat oven to 400º F. Lightly mist the tops of prepared onion rings with nonstick oil spray, then bake for 7 minutes. Flip carefully, then continue to bake another 7 minutes or more, until coating is golden brown and onions are tender.

- recipe by joy bauer, from joybauer.com

  2283spicy-cucumber-avocado-soup https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/spicy-cucumber-avocado-soup/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/06/IMG_3072-600x598.jpg Everybody out of the kitchen! Bet you thought you’d never hear me say that. But we have all been cooking, and cooking, and cooking, and the covid routine has turned my normally clean kitchen into an all access zone, pretty much like being permanently stuck in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. I know you are getting this a little too well.  Summer to the rescue! Our just reward for soldering through another Northwest winter, the great outdoors has turned a lush, verdant shade of green that makes you absolutely heady with the leaves and trees. This week we are taking our KP duties outside. Here are five ideas for a week with less cooking. Better still, a week with less cleaning. Every single one of them is kid-friendly, so use ‘em if you got ‘em. Put them to work and let them help. Treat yourself and use paper plates a few times. It’s summer. 
  1. Foil pack anything. Scan the contents of your fridge and freezer and see what you can toss together into a packaged deal. Get grilling. 
  2. Poke it with a stick. Anything skewered is a win. 
  3. Charcuterie. Sliced, chilled melon, ham, cheese, olives, bread or crackers: dinner. Add wine if needed. 
  4. Beer can chicken. One can for the chicken, the other can for you. Stick it on the grill and you can hang out in the yard with your beverage for the 1 - 1 1/2 hours it will take it to cook. You’re welcome. 
  5. Hamburgers or hot dogs. What are you waiting for?
Finally, use that Instant Pot and hard boil some eggs. You’ve got breakfast, lunch (egg salad), snacks, and something you can toss onto a cold salad, be it Cobb or Nicoise, to give it a little oomph. Oh, and don’t forget about deviled eggs. I say they’re a perfectly acceptable breakfast, especially topped with a little bacon. And for dessert? Fresh Northwest berries and cherries are coming on strong. Simply rinse and serve chilled.  Get your green on with this Spicy Cucumber-Avocado Soup. Cool, refreshing and light, it’s the perfect answer to something quick and easy to enjoy right this minute. Make this recipe exactly as follows, or start with the avocado, cucumber, chives, lime juice and salt, and then taste before adding the jalapeño and yogurt, so that you can decide what to add as you go. I ended up adjusting to use 1 avocado and 1 cucumber, a bit more salt, and pickled jalapeño. Relax and enjoy. And take it easy this week. It’s summer.  Spicy Cucumber-Avocado Soup  Peel and pit avocado, then add to blender with all remaining ingredients. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust. Garnish with diced avocado and chopped chives.

- Gourmet magazine, July 2000

  2277lemon-meringue-minis https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/lemon-meringue-minis/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/06/IMG_3056-600x554.jpg Time for a little sunshine! Old fashioned, classic comfort food is where it’s at, and lemon meringue pie is a dessert that never fails to deliver. Here’s a sweet treat sure to bring a smile -  perfect for a thoughtful, drop off delivery for Father’s Day. Or, why not celebrate International Picnic Day this June 18th with these pint-sized mini pies, perfect for no contact, socially distant sharing in the fresh, open air.  Individual servings have become de rigueur in these germ conscious times, but I like them because they’re just plain cute. Bright and citrusy, these self-serve Lemon Meringue Pies are zesty and delicious.  You can also follow the recipe below and make a full sized pie if you like, using a pre-baked 9-inch pastry shell, or a graham cracker crust. A few tips on nailing that meringue. Bring your eggs to room temp by pulling them from the fridge an hour ahead. Make sure your bowl and your beaters for the egg whites are squeaky clean and dry. Use care separating your eggs. Even just a speck of yolk can prevent your whites from achieving peak stiffness. Don’t skip the cream of tartar. It’s in there for a reason! Add the sugar gradually, a teaspoon at a time, beating until it dissolves. And don’t overbeat your egg whites. Use high speed on your mixer and know when to stop: shiny, moist, stiff peaks that hold their shape.  Lemon Meringue Minis  makes 6  crust: lemon pie filling: meringue: Add graham cracker sections to blender and pulse until finely ground. Add butter and pulse to mix. Spoon crumbs into bottom of each of six 4 ounce jelly jars, filling each jar evenly to create a 1/4 inch crust. Use a small juice glass to press crumbs into a compact, even layer.  Preheat oven to 350º F. Combine sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt In a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.  Separate eggs:  yolks into a small mixing bowl, whites into a mixing bowl large enough for making meringue.  Set bowl with whites aside. Beat egg yolks slightly, then stir about 1 cup of the hot sugar mixture gradually into the yolks while continuing to stir. Return mixture to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and lemon zest; gradually stir in lemon juice, mixing well.  Beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar at medium speed using a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, pouring slowly into mixing area and beating at high speed until sugar is dissolved and stiff, glossy peaks form.  Spoon lemon filling over graham cracker crust, filling each jar to slightly below the level of the threads at the top. Spoon meringue generously on top of filling, carefully spreading to edges of jars to seal. Bake for 12 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate to store. Serve chilled. 

- adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book recipe, 1981 edition 

2270radish-and-turnip-salad-with-edamame https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/radish-and-turnip-salad-with-edamame/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/06/IMG_3020-600x536.jpg Food connects us. Certainly, with the ones around our table when we gather to eat, but also with our community when we source what we will cook. We have had big changes in the way we eat, shop, and dine. There is more cooking at home, less eating at restaurants, but also change in the way we source our food. I have always been a huge advocate of local food, but never more than now. Local farmers are our friends, but more than that, they’re our neighbors. Months ago, I signed up for a CSA. The farm I chose, Shady Grove Farm, was a nearby one, because I wanted to stay close to home. This week was the start of the the season and we got our first box.  Part of the excitement of joining a CSA is getting to try something new. You have no idea what will be in each week’s box, so you are literally handed an adventure every week. Our first share contained green onions, a picture perfect head of lettuce, a bag of fresh salad greens, and some bright red radishes. Also included in this allotment were some salad turnips peeking mysteriously out from beneath the collard greens and kale. I considered what to do with them, but thankfully, and thoughtfully, a recipe was included with the weekly email from our farmer. This lively Radish and Turnip Salad with Edamame is crisp and light, perfect to serve alongside grilled chicken or salmon. The simple Asian flavored dressing was easy to pull off because I had frozen ginger stocked in my freezer, along with the edamame that was also called for. You can use granulated sugar in place of the caster sugar, or superfine, just plan to be stirring a bit longer. Shave your turnips using a mandoline to get wafer-thin, uniform slices. I used a small paring knife for the radishes, and if you don’t have a mandoline, you can slice your turnips that way, too. This week I’m grateful to our farmer. First, for the beautiful box of locally grown veggies and second, for this great recipe. It’s quick, easy and delicious, plus it’s a stunning way to use what’s fresh and local for tonight’s dinner.  Even if you did not join a CSA this year, you can still find (almost) everything you need for this pretty salad at the Farmer’s Market or your local farm.  Radish and Turnip Salad with Edamame dressing: salad: Whisk all ingredients for dressing in the bottom of a medium sized salad bowl. Finely slice turnips and radishes using a mandoline or small paring knife. Add turnips and radishes to salad bowl along with edamame and toss lightly. Plate and garnish with parsley. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds and sea salt flakes.

- recipe by Sara Silm, chateaumonfort.com

2264grilled-shrimp-and-sausage-skewers-with-smoky-paprika-and-honey-glaze https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/grilled-shrimp-and-sausage-skewers-with-smoky-paprika-and-honey-glaze/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/05/IMG_2997-450x600.jpg You deserve some time off for all that hard work you’ve been doing. Take a night off. It feels so good to be outside right now. Here’s a fuss free meal you can cook, and eat, al fresco - because the weather is beautiful and you don’t want to spend one minute of the extra daylight doing dishes.  Sure, you can kebab any time, but if there were a perfect time for skewers, it truly would be summer. Everything tastes better when it’s threaded on a stick and the beauty of this method is that it lets you take whatever you have and turn it into something fun. The heat of the grill softens everything, so you can salvage the slightly past their prime bell peppers in your bin and rescue your still firm but sprouted potatoes. No one will be the wiser. Add fast cooking shrimp, already cooked smoked sausage, and it grills up in less than 10 minutes. Don’t have those ingredients? Use what you have! Remember, poking things with a stick makes whatever you use seem like you planned it that way.  Make as many skewers as you like, and as always, I recommend making extra. Serve any that you have left over, gently warmed, the following day for a complete night off (yessss!), or, use a fork to guide the meat and veggies off the skewer before you transfer everything to a covered dish to refrigerate. Reconfigure the next day over greens, beans or grains and you have a whole new dish.  I included potatoes in the recipe below, but if you want truly zero cooking you can leave them out. Use bamboo skewers, which are definitely a plus for easy clean-up, but be sure to soak them in water for at least an hour before grilling.  The smoked paprika spiced glaze is a cinch to make but feel free to use any kind of seasoning you like and let your skewers take the flavor of the cuisine you like best. Bottom line: you can achieve a perfectly delicious kebab using what you have in your pantry, like the recipe below.  Toss a ball with your kids. Shoot some hoops. Soak up the vitamin D packed sunshine, and don’t do any dishes. You earned it.  Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers with Smoky Paprika and Honey Glaze glaze: skewers: for glaze: Combine oil, garlic powder, Old Bay Seasoning, smoked paprika, sherry wine vinegar, honey (to taste), salt, several generous grinds of black pepper, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl and whisk. for skewers: Put potatoes in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, lower heat, then simmer until fork tender but still firm enough to skewer, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.  Thread bell pepper, shrimp, onion, potatoes, and sausage onto bamboo skewers and arrange on large rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray or brush skewers with olive oil.   Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and heat to medium-high.  Brush skewers on both sides with glaze. Grill until shrimp are opaque in center, turning and brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 6 to 8 minutes.Arrange skewers on platter and serve.           2255campfire-beans https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/campfire-beans/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/05/IMG_2891-scaled-e1590183342326-600x450.jpg Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial official start of summer has arrived. If you could go anyplace in the world right now, where would that be? Maybe it’s a place you’ve been before - a memory that you have deep in your heart. Maybe it’s a place you long to see, that too little time or money has delayed. Wherever that place may be, don’t wait another minute. You may not be able to go there in person, but the long weekend is a perfect time to do a little adventuring, even if you never leave your home. Recreate that pasta dish you loved so well, set up a family luau, go camping in your back yard, and let your imagination take you where you want to be.  Whatever your plans are, knowing how to turn out a good pot of beans is something to cross off your to-do list. Sure, canned beans are speedy, but once you get the hang of making your own beans from scratch, you’ll be hooked. Dried beans can’t be beat when it comes to economical and nutritious food. Here’s how to use your Instant Pot to turn them into a delicious dish you can lean on all summer long.  First, clean your beans. Dust, dirt and yes, the occasional rock, can end up in that bag. Spread your beans out on the counter so you can see them well, then sweep them into a colander to give them a good rinse. Next, presoak for beans that cook more evenly and don’t split. It also makes them easier to digest and cuts down on the cooking time. Finally, a small bit of bacon gives your beans great flavor. So do the leftover scraps from your holiday ham if you happen to have any in your freezer. To cook a whole pound of beans, you will need a 6- to 8-quart Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Use care not to overfill past the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can safely reduce the amount of cooking water as long as your beans are covered by about 2 inches of water.  One of the greatest (and sometimes, the most challenging) things about the pandemic is the extra time we are getting with our families. We will most likely never have time like this again. Adventure together. Make the most of it. The limits of your imagination are all that’s holding you back.  Instant Pot Beans Sort beans, rinse, then add to Instant Pot with 6 cups of cold water. Press “sauté” and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, then cover beans with lid and press “off.” Let sit for 1 hour.  Drain beans; return to pot and add 8 cups of water, being careful not to overfill. Add salt, bay leaf, garlic, oil (to help keep foaming at bay), and ham or bacon, if using. Secure lid and set steam release handle to sealing. Pressure cook on “high” setting for 25 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, then open lid. Here’s a recipe for a flavorful batch of savory, not too sweet beans you can serve around the campfire this weekend. Prepare beans as above, then continue as below.  Campfire Beans Press “sauté,” letting beans come to a rapid boil. Add bacon, bouillon base, and all spices. Stir well, scraping the sides and bottom as beans thicken and cook. Let continue to cook, at least 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beans reach desired thickness.  Note: Can substitute 3 cans of pinto beans. Fully drain 2 cans, then use liquid from the remaining can. Add 1 1/2 cans water to beans before cooking.   2247sourdough-crepes https://blogs.columbian.com/home-made/sourdough-crepes/ /home-made/wp-content/uploads/sites/74/2020/05/IMG_2826-600x450.jpg Baking in earnest continues, and my kitchen has come to resemble a science project-indoor garden-classroom of sorts. Various projects line the back of the counter, things sprouting, crystals growing (one of us was making rock candy), each undertaking a work in progress.  It’s a perfect time to experiment and there is nothing more perfect to try your luck on than sourdough starter. I will be the first to admit that bread, like sewing, is not my forte. However, I am more than a little proud of my sourdough starter as just about anyone in my house that I can corner long enough to listen will