For those who didn’t learn to cook growing up, my friend Becky Duffett wrote “How to Feed Yourself” and filled it with 100 of her favorite go-to recipes, no fancy ingredients or equipment required. This hip foodie worked on Williams Sonoma cookbooks for several years and knows what’s what when it comes to making a great cookbook—from beautiful photos to crystal-clear instructions. While she’s targeting recent college grads and twentysomethings, this fortysomething mom likes it too. My cooking is a bit rudimentary, and I’ve aspired to kick it up a notch for a while now. I can follow a recipe, and Jeff and Carter are psyched that I’ll be trying some of Becky’s weeknight dinner recipes—the bulk of the book. Of course, she had me at one-bowl brownies with hazelnuts and Nutella.
Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category
Kids and adults gave two thumbs up to these high-protein, flourless brownies at last night’s fireworks watching. Adapted from the healthy food website Prevention RD.
- 1 (15-oz) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp oil (olive, hemp, or canola)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp instant coffee or expresso, or ground coffee
- 1 cup chocolate chips, divided use
Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray or butter.
Put all the ingredients, except ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, in a blender or food processor and blend well.
Pour batter in prepared pan and smooth to edges.
Sprinkle remaining ½ cup chocolate chips on top of batter.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Beyond excited, delirious with anticipation, and somewhat crazy describe Carter when it comes to getting together with other kids. He was at a small home daycare until he went to kindergarten, he’s a very social only child, and we work full time, so a playdate is a rare and cherished event. Yesterday, his friend Jade came over, and they tore up a patch of dirt in the backyard, ran after copious amounts of bubbles (not to name drop, but Gymboree bubbles really do last longer), baked brownies, and while the brownies were baking mopped up the dirt they had tracked in. Funny, how cleaning up can be fun when it’s part of playtime!
Obviously, from the Baking with Carter theme, I believe strongly that baking with kids is a great way to have fun together, to develop skills ranging from dexterity to tactile awareness, to learn everything from math to chemistry, etc., etc. It’s great to meet another parent, like Jade’s mom, Jennifer, who understands why kids should play with raw eggs. Needless to say, it was good that my favorite brownie recipe has two eggs to crack, since both kids are pros.
Because this brownie recipe uses cocoa powder, rather than melted chocolate, it’s ideal to make with kids. Here’s the recipe again, for easy reference:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (one stick, room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons oil
6 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil coated with cooking spray. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and oil, beating until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder in three parts, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the the cocoa mixture in two or three parts, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes; do not overbake.
Adapted from Cooking with Amy
Even with a sweet tooth that rival’s mine, Carter likes tart cranberry sauce, or at least the lower-sugar orange cranberry sauce that’s become a tradition for holiday meals at our house. It’s hard to believe I blogged about the original orange cranberry sauce recipe two years ago—hard to believe I’ve been blogging that long! I’ve made a few tweaks—including all the zest from an orange, which is my favorite part, and using all orange juice and no water. All this orangey-ness freshens the taste, I think. Let me know what you think.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
12.5-ounce bag of cranberries
1 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
3/4 cup sugar
zest of one large orange, peeled in strips
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries pop and mixture thickens to desired consistency, approximately 30–60 minutes (I like to simmer it a long time, but you don’t need to). Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (if you can find them!). Cool in a bowl (the sauce will set).
In a shocking turn of events today, I managed to think about dinner far enough in advance to put chicken in the slow cooker (is anyone else still adjusting to not saying “Crock-Pot”?) before I left on a few errands. Each of which turned out to be problematic. So, so nice to come home and be ahead of the feeding game.
My Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken recipe, which Carter loves because it’s sweet, is the one and only recipe I’ve written that has appeared in print, in the Home Plates column in the San Jose Mercury News. I was sure I’d shared it on Baking with Carter, but it turns out I’ve been holding out on you.
LIke the Quick Chicken with Salsa and Cheese recipe that I did share, the Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger’s book Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two, which I highly recommend. (To save time and cleanup, I skip the original recipe’s step of browning the chicken in olive oil with garlic first, but knock yourself out if you like the added flavor.)
When I used to work at the erstwhile Internet search engine Infoseek, “easy chicken recipe” was perennially a top search phrase. Now that I’m a working mom, the popularity makes even more sense. Add “kid-friendly,” and you really have a winner. So without further ado, here’s my favorite kid-friendly, easy chicken recipe:
Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken with Almonds
4–6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (one package)
1 cup tomato salsa (good jarred variety)
2 tablespoons dried currants or raisins
4 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole-wheat couscous
Spray the inside of a 1 1/2 to 3 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Trim extra fat and put the chicken in the slow cooker. Combine the salsa, currants, honey, cumin, and cinnamon and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked (fork tender and juices run clear). Cook couscous according to package directions. Serve chicken over couscous.
Optionally: Toast 2 tablespoons slivered almonds in dry skillet on stovetop until brown and fragrant; serve chicken over couscous and top with toasted almonds.
This is one chicken recipe I can count on Carter, who has a sweet tooth, eating. He loves the currants/raisins, and I’m sure the honey helps too. Of course, he puts his own spin on the meal, eating the couscous separately with ketchup.
I searched “easy chicken recipe” at Food Blog Search, and here are some more ideas:
Tin Foil Chicken & Veggies from Kitchen Parade
Honey Mustard Chicken from Eclectic Recipes
Easy Cornflake Crumb Chicken from Chew on That
Grilled Island Chicken from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Just a Little Mexican Chicken from Zesty Cook
When it rains, strawberries go on sale at the CalAve farmers’ market! Who knew? Perfect for a pie, for most bakers. I’ve already confessed my cookie-baking phobia, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that making pie crusts aren’t yet in my repertoire. (We’ll discuss my avoidance of yeast another day. How is it that I claim to be a baker?) In my recently, very specifically filed recipe clips, I found the answer under Desserts > Fruit: strawberry cake.
Carter had decided he would rather watch a movie with Daddy than bake with Mommy, until I started making the cake around bedtime. Then, big surprise, he wanted to stay up and bake. Carter got away with it only somewhat (yes, he gets away with probably too much with me, but that’s yet another story). I let him get out of bed to arrange the strawberries on top the batter—a perfect colorful, tactile task for kids.
This strawberry cake is closer to a coffeecake or teacake than a dessert cake. It’s delicious and looked beautiful in the Emile Henry pie dish I got for a wedding present—something I didn’t registered for, but should have. Mine came from Williams Sonoma, Emile Henry also now makes a pink “Bake for the Cause” pie dish. Another confession: I had to Google to find out how to measure a pie pan. The answer is rim to rim at the widest part.
I also had to Google to find out the origin of the recipe—turns out I clipped it from the June 2005 Martha Stewart Living, so it’s nearly as old as Carter. Good thing I saved it. Better thing: I could—finally—easily find it.
6 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for greasing pie plate
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking poweder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat over to 350˚F. Butter a 10-inch pie dish (or a 9-inch deep one).
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to cream butter and 1 cup sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Transfer batter to buttered pie pan. Arrange strawberries on top of the batter, with cut sides down, as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the berries.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F. Bake until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into wedges to serve.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living