Monday, April 27, 2009

Sorry, no cheesecake.

Well, yet again I have become overwhelmed and did not participate in the Daring Bakers challenge. The cheesecakes that are springing up all over the net are lovely, but there won't be one here. Go check out all those people who did participate.

The good news is that this is my last week of classes for grad school. I am doing another full-time substitute teaching gig, but I'm pretty sure after this week my schedule will lighten up considerably!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spicy Meatloaf

Two years ago today, on a cold and snowy afternoon, I married the love of my life. Yes, the Brain and I have been married two years ago today. To celebrate we're having lunch because tonight I have to give a presentation on alternate methods of finding trigonometric identities using the unit circle and the Brain has a golf outing. I think he gets to have more fun. So, as I run off to lunch, I leave you with this delicious and comforting meatloaf that is good for your body and super comforting. I even romanticized the photo... (meatloaf isn't the most photogenic.)

Spicy Meatloaf
adapted from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

2 tsp olive oil
8 oz. package of baby portabella mushrooms finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 celery stalk finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 large egg
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
5 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
pinch dried sage
1/2 tsp sirracha sauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F; spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and saute the vegetables for 5 minutes or until softened.

In a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, beef, oats, egg, tomato paste, Worcestershire, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, and sirracha sauce. Place in the pan and shape into a loaf about 7x5x2 inches. Bake 30 minutes. Top with the tomato sauce and bake another 30 to 45 minutes. Cut into 8 slices and serve.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cheerio Bars

Pretty much my standard breakfast is cereal and milk. For a little bit in college I went with Apple Jacks. And for about a year I became a fan of Kix. And I've toyed with Post Raisin Bran (for the fiber). But for the most part, I am a Cheerios girl. I'm not even talking about all those fancy Cheerioses that are out on the market now. I'm talking about good old fashioned regular cheerios. And no, I don't put fruit or sugar on my cereal. I don't mix anything in. I pretty consistently just eat my regular cheerios with some skim milk and call it breakfast and I'm perfectly happy. (I do sometimes shout CHEEERRIIIOOOOOOOOEEEOOOOOOSSSS! but that only happens when I'm alone and it freaks out the furry sous chef.)

This information about me loving Cheerios becomes important to know because my grandmother recently passed down her cookbook of clippings and little handwritten recipes to me. She's 91 and lives in a retirement community and doesn't really cook that much anymore. In the middle of the binder, was a love note from my grandpa which was short and very sweet. There also was a handwritten recipe with no title. This recipe contained Cheerios, marshmallows, and peanut butter. I think that may be considered the trifecta of yummy.

I'm always looking for a reasonably healthy snack that will keep me filled up as I run around rural Ohio keeping my life together. These most definitely fit the bill. Yes, there are marshmallows and butter in them so they cannot be considered "health food". But really, Cheerios are good for you. People feed them to babies so they can't be horrible. The Brain said he didn't care either way about them, but then chipped away at the pan and ate almost half of them in the first night. I think he likes them too.

I'm also submitting this to Laura over at The Spiced Life. She's having a blog event about recipes handed down from our grandmothers.
Cheerio Bars
from Grandma Shazamer

3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used Jiff)
one 10.5 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
6 cups Cheerios

Melt the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the marshmallows until everything is a gooey and consistent mass. Remove from heat. Stir in the Cheerios and make sure the peanut butter marshmallow mass evenly coats the cereal. Press into a greased 13"x9" pan. Chill to set.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rhubarb Ginger Muffins

I've been asked a couple times last week about what foods mean springtime to me. I drew a blank. And then after thinking about it while driving back and forth to school, I came up with the short list of asparagus and fiddleheads. So really it's only a list of one. Because honestly, I have no idea where I could get fiddleheads out here in downtown Nowhere, Ohio. And then, on Wednesday, I was up in the next county running errands and had to run into Meijers to pick up a few groceries. That's when I saw them. Ruby red stalks of rhubarb. Rhubarb is so definitely spring that I forget about it at other times of the year. Or, it's definitely not a plant you can find while firmly in the icy grip of winter.Elated, I grabbed a couple stalks.

Then I got home and wondered what the hell I was going to make with them (which apparently happens every time I buy rhubarb.) I should have checked my blog because apparently I had blogged about rhubarb muffins before. Instead I looked through a pile of cookbooks and finally dragged out the massive Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking. There's a basic muffin recipe in there. There's also a variation on the basic recipe that tells how to make them with buttermilk (and I have buttermilk to use up!) And I figured I have some crystallized ginger I could throw in there too. Really it was an experiment.

A darn tasty and quick experiment that I found perfectly satisfying as an after-school or before school or late-night-whew-I'm-home snack.

Oh and if you love aprons, like me, you should check out Not Quite June Cleaver. She has a really fun blog and has monthly apron giveaways. This month's apron is all about spring.

Rhubarb Ginger Muffins
an original Shazamer recipe with help from Mary Margaret McBride

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 stalk rhubarb, minced
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Combine the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg in a separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients stirring just until combined. Fold in the rhubarb and ginger.
Line a muffin tin with papers and spray briefly with cooking spray. Divide the dough between 12 muffin cups. Bake in a hot oven at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.