Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blueberry Oat Bars

Heathy, Fruity, Oaty (I know....there's no such word as Oaty).

Ooooh.....blueberries. LOVE them. I made these bars last night there's only a few left this morning. I'm blaming that on Lee (he has eaten most of them). However, I've done my share of grazing today. 

This recipe is SO easy (I know....I say that all the time....but it's true). 

Here's how to do it:


1 1/2 C quick cooking oats
1 C all purpose flour
3/4 C packed brown sugar
3/4 C cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 C frozen blueberries
1/2 C blueberry preserves - I like Bonne Maman brand (you can substitute with raspberry or strawberry)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line a 8X8 pan with foil, set aside.

3. In a bowl, combine oats, flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with your hands or pastry blender (I just use my hands - it's easier) until the butter is the size of small peas.  Reserve 1 C of mixture to use for the topping.

4. Press remaining mixture into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

5. Combine frozen blueberries, preserves and lemon zest in a bowl. Spread evenly over the crust. Then sprinkle with reserved oat mixture and press lightly into berry mixture. Bake for another 30 minutes.

6. Cool completely in pan, on a rack. Cut into bars. 


Braised Chicken Thighs with Winter Vegetables

Fantastic flavor! One pan.

This recipe, as most of what I post, comes from a magazine. But sharing recipes is what my blog is all about and I am SO happy to share this one with you. I find that cooking can be "hit and miss". Sometimes the pictures look great but the flavor ends up not being anything close to what you'd hoped for.  THIS RECIPE DELIVERS! Oh...the depth of flavor!  Seriously, I wanted to eat the whole thing. 

The recipe calls for skinless chicken thighs. I rarely use skinless or boneless chicken because, as we all know "FAT IS FLAVOR"!!  and the fat is in the skin and bones. However, all the store had was skinless, boneless chicken thighs so that's what I bought....and STILL the flavor was fantastic. If you can find skinless WITH bones, buy them because the bones will add even more flavor. 

Also, the recipe calls for Savoy cabbage - but again the store only had regular cabbage and it tasted delicious.

Lastly, I usually avoid red pepper flakes, but the small amount that is called for added a PERFECT bite along with the apple that added a slight tartness.  SO yummy.

Here's how to do it:


1 TBL olive oil
4 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs) patted dry
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices bacon, diced medium
4 garlic cloves, smashed a bit and peeled
1 medium sweet onion (like Vidalia) cut into large wedges
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 small savoy cabbage, cored and thick ribs removed, cut into strips
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 TBL Dijon mustard


1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large oven proof pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in batches until browned on both sides, about 6-8 minutes per side.

Bad picture. Good chicken.

2. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. 

3. Reduce heat to medium, add bacon and garlic to pan and cook until fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.  

Bacon and chicken fat. What else is there for me to say? Heaven.

4. Add the onion, potato and carrots to the pan. Stir and season with a bit of pepper. Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

5. Whisk together the chicken broth, red pepper flakes and the Dijon mustard. Set aside.

6. Remove pan from oven and stir in the cabbage and apple. Pour the broth mixture over and gently stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken on top, and return pan to oven for another 20 - 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

I served this with a little brown rice to soak up the delicious juice/gravy. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fig, Ginger and Pecan Granola

MMMMmmmmmmm.....home made granola. It's so easy to make, and one batch makes as much as a big box you'd buy at the store, except when you make it at home, there are no preservatives, no additives of any kind and you can mix up and change out the fruit/nut combo to your own liking. Which is what I did this morning. 

In my pantry were: dried Black Mission Figs (I adore them), crystallized ginger (leftover from my Ginger Crack Cookie recipe), and toasted pecans. SO, that's what I used.   POW! What a great bit of spice the bits of ginger makes to this wonderful concoction.  I loved the result.  But as I said, if you want to change it and use something else, be creative! 

Everyone knows how delicious granola is on yogurt, or with milk, or on ice cream!!  It's a fantastic whole grain snack just to eat plain too.  Enjoy!

Here's how I made it:

3 C old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C honey
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 C add-ins, like figs, crystallized ginger, pecans or any other nut 
or dried fruit you like

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put the oats into a large bowl and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Pour over oats and toss well.

4. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.  Let cool completely, then break up a bit and transfer to a large bowl and stir in add-ins.

In the oven....

5. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.