April 22, 2014

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Herbs

by Shannon

I have to rant a little bit.  I don’t care what people say about potatoes, I don’t think they are terrible for you.  I feel like anything that is provided by the Earth can’t be that bad and I think potatoes get a bad rap.  Sure, my favorite food ever is French fries, but that doesn’t mean that the only thing way to eat potatoes is cut them up and fry them.  As long as we don’t eat potatoes all the time, it’s okay to eat them in moderation, like everything else, right?  Well, these Roasted Baby Potatoes with Herbs are baked and packed with flavor so there is no reason to feel guilty.

Baby potatoes are tossed with garlic, olive oil, and herbes de Provence and roasted until soft and tender.  This is a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis who is the person who first introduced me to herbes de Provence many years ago.  Since that day, I always have the herbs on hand and toss it with my chicken, veggies and almost always with my eggs.  They are simple, fragrant and mildly floral which really works with these rustic potatoes, which are slightly chewy on the outside but perfectly creamy on the inside.  I literally used a fraction of the amount of olive oil than what was called for here, just enough to lightly coat the potatoes, and they were still plenty flavorful so use your judgment.  These garlicky potatoes were an amazing side dish and unbelievably simple.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the herbs, garlic, and oil together until blended, and then pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

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Transfer the potatoes to a heavy large baking dish, spacing them evenly apart.

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Roast the potatoes until they are tender and golden, turning them occasionally with tongs, about 1 hour. Serve hot or warm.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • White potatoes (I used all red potatoes)

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Food Network

April 17, 2014

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

by Shannon

Just about every January or February, right when I think I might snap from the cold winter weather, I find myself driving to the nearest candle store to buy the biggest coconut candle I can find.  The scent of coconut takes me to back to summertime when it was warm and suntan lotion filled the air.  It’s something I do to try to trick my brain into thinking it’s not so cold out.  Well, we are in Spring now and the temperature outside is 80 one day and 30 the next so when I went to Target the other day, I didn’t realize until I got home that nearly everything I bought had coconut involved somehow: coffee creamer, air freshener, instant iced tea, chocolate, and coffee (see my Instagram picture of this collection here). Obsessed with coconut much? Well, it just seemed like an appropriate time to breakout the actual coconut and make this Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze.

Sweetened coconut flakes are mixed with basic banana bread batter, which is made with low-fat yogurt and pumped up with some dark rum. A little extra sprinkling of coconut tops the batter which is then baked until golden brown.  Once cooled slightly, the bread is given a little extra sweetness with a simple lime juice/powdered sugar glaze which adds a whole other layer of flavor.  I almost left off the glaze because the bread was so perfectly beautiful without it but I’m glad I added it.  The citrus flavor really complements the coconut making this a real island-y banana bread.  Coconut is one of those things that people either love or hate. I don’t think I could live without it.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.  Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

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Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended.

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Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.

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Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.

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Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat flour for half of the white flour

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

April 14, 2014

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

by Shannon

I noticed a funny thing that happens after I’ve been eating healthy: when I eat something bad, I feel like crap. I have been pretty into eating vegetables lately (which has never happened in my life) and have been craving them.  So after eating multiple veggies for days, I then ate something full of sugar and who-knows what else which resulted in me feeling the worst I’d felt all week.  I felt tired and I got an irritating headache. Hmm…wake up call? The truth is, I’ve come to this realization before but the bad stuff just tastes so darn good!  I’m hoping one of these days it actually settles in and prevents me from eating the bad stuff in the first place. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying some springtime veggies, including this Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes.

Bright grape tomatoes and garlic are cooked in olive oil until soft and tender before being tossed with a little balsamic vinegar.  The mixture then tops fresh asparagus that has been boiled until bright green and crisp. Goat cheese (if you prefer) can be added for another layer of flavor but I left it out. With asparagus now in season, this a great recipe to have on hand when you get tired of eating it steamed and plain but still want something healthy. Double this batch and it would make for a great seasonal side dish at Easter this Sunday.

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Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

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Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt.

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Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper (if desired).

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Goat cheese

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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