Sunday, July 29, 2012

Southwest Eggs and Veggie Skillet

One skillet meals are becoming a favorite way for me to make dinner these days. They are easy, tasty, and it enables me to use up whatever I have on hand. In fact, I made a version of this skillet dish just a few weeks ago. This time, though, I amped up the spices, used some canned diced tomatoes, and nuked the potatoes (to save from using an additional pan). It's a quick recipe and I didn't take very many pictures, but it has to be shared. :)

Southwest Eggs and Veggie Skillet
Printable Recipe

1 pound red potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained (may use Southwest flavored)
2 teaspoons Southwest seasoning *
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
Freshly ground pepper and/or paprika for garnish

Place potatoes in a microwave safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the potatoes, onion, bell pepper, corn, and jalapeño pepper and sauté 5-6 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and vegetables are softened. Add the drained tomatoes and seasonings and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Make 4 cavities in the mixture with a spoon. Break one egg into each cavity. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the egg whites are set. Sprinkle with ground pepper

*Make your own Southwest seasoning by blending together  1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, and 2 teaspoons ground red pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Buttery Crusted Sweet Corn and Tomato Pizza

It's Improv time! This month our ingredients are Corn and Butter-- fitting for July, no?  A big thanks to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting this fun monthly challenge, where we get creative with two different ingredients each month.

I know what you're all thinking....where's the muffin? Am I right? I've gotten a little carried away with muffins lately, but I thought better of it this time. Not that corn and butter wouldn't make an awesome muffin, but I thought I'd better widen my horizons. To be honest, when I'm not thinking about muffins, I'm thinking about pizza. My favorite pizzas have a crispy crust and plenty of cheese and veggies. Sometimes there's sauce, but most often I just use a garlicky olive oil. Wouldn't pizza be a perfect vehicle for corn and butter? I knew you'd agree! Take a look at what kind of pizza I made....

Buttery Crusted Sweet Corn and Tomato Pizza

Buttery Crusted Sweet Corn and Tomato Pizza

A buttery, flaky crust topped with roasted sweet corn and fresh tomatoes--the perfect summer pizza!


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Provolone cheese
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups roasted, fresh sweet corn kernels
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 500 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife or two forks, until the flour resembles a coarse meal. Stir the yeast into the warm water. Add the water to the flour mixture and stir until it comes together into a ball. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead until you have a smooth dough. Divide it in half, cover loosely, and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle some cornmeal or Semolina flour onto a pizza peel (or use the back of a baking pan). Using your hands or a rolling pin, shape one of the dough halves into a 10" circle. Prick the dough with a fork, slide it onto the heated pizza stone, and bake for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Brush the partially baked dough with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, a teaspoon oregano, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup shredded basil. Top with about a cup of shredded cheese, or enough Provolone cheese slices to cover the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top the cheese with sliced tomatoes and 1 cup of corn kernels. Return the pizza to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper. Repeat with the second half of dough.
Yield: 2 10" Pizzas
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 13 mins.
Total time: 43 mins.
Tags: pizza, tomatoes, corn, dough, flaky, buttery

This is a lot like making a pie crust, except I always use chilled water for that. This crust turns out nice and crisp...and flaky!

The silpat makes a nice spot for kneading your dough.

Semolina flour is a good change from cornmeal...not quite as gritty.

I happen to like my corn grilled, so I saved several cobs when I grilled on Sunday.

Just use a sharp knife to get the kernels off of the cob.

You can see from the side how flaky the crust is. As a bonus, it stayed crispy, even after a night in the fridge.

This makes for a good lunch and/or appetizer, no?

I wasn't so sure I would like the crust like this, thinking it would be too much  like a pie crust., but it turned out to be one of the better pizza crusts I've made. As a bonus, there really isn't any rise time. Buttery, flaky crust with ripe tomatoes and corn? Oh yes...this I will make again. It's a new family favorite! :)

Check out all of the other delicious Corn and Butter entries.....

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sourdough Banana Pancakes

It seems like every other day I have a bunch of overripe bananas. This time, not only did I have overripe bananas, but I had some sourdough starter to use. Seriously, that stuff can get out of hand! It almost needs more care and feeding than my Chihuahua. Luckily, it didn't take long for me to figure out a way to put both the bananas and the sourdough starter to good use....Sourdough Banana Pancakes. Yup..I could make these  every week. They are that good.

Sourdough Banana Pancakes
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup low fat buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for the griddle
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat a griddle on medium-high. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, add bananas, sourdough starter, buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla; whisk to combine.  Add to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Brush a little melted butter on the griddle. Pour the pancake batter by ¼ cups onto the griddle, keeping the pools of batter 2 inches apart. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 ½ minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Have I mentioned how I came about my sourdough starter? Check out this box of goodies I won from Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine. Notice the jar of sourdough starter? It's from the King Arthur Flour site and, apparently, has origins dating back 250 years! To make your own sourdough starter, you can visit the site and buy some of this stuff, or you can make your own. Here's a recipe I found on Sourdough Starter.

Remember to not over-mix the batter. No one likes a tough pancake.

The pancakes turned out awesome! Next time, I may add some fresh blueberries for an incredible banana/blueberry pancake, but, in the mean time, these were tasty with just some melted butter and some sugar-free syrup.

What kind of pancakes do you like?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Peanut Butter-Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins

So, now I'm trying my hand at a "healthier" muffin. Peanut butter is replacing the butter, a banana is replacing some of the sugar, and I've even added a little whole wheat flour. The motivation? Well, besides wanting needing to cut back on some excessiveness going on with my own diet, I also feel a little responsible for my hubby's need for healthier eating. So there. Of course, it helped that I received an overnight package with some remarkable organic chocolate from Green & Black's. Take a peek at this treasure:

Am I lucky, or what? The variety is awesome--besides the Milk Chocolate and the Espresso that you see front and center, there is a 70% Dark Chocolate, a Mint Chocolate, a Toffee Milk Chocolate, an Almond Milk Chocolate, a 60% Dark Chocolate with Cherries, and a 60% Chocolate with Ginger. And this was just my sample...there are more kinds available at the store. But, I digress...back to the muffins...

The package of chocolate came on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, before work, I was already elbow deep into the muffin recipe, just so that I could start using chocolate. :) I made it up as I went along, so if you notice anything needs a little tweaking, be my guest.

Peanut Butter-Banana Dark Chocolate Chunk Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus a dash for topping
1 (3.5 oz) bar Green & Black’s® Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 (6 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
1 ripe banana, mashed
½ cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.; line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir in the chocolate pieces and set aside.

I felt a little like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, opening that beautiful golden wrapper.

In a small bowl, blend the egg, yogurt, buttermilk, banana, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Add to the dry mixture and gently fold together, just until moistened, being careful not to over-mix. Use a cookie scoop to spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Stir the remaining sugar with a dash of cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the muffin tops.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove from oven an cool on cooling rack. Serve warm, if desired.

Considering that I had just minutes to spare, before leaving for work, I think these muffins turned out pretty well. Next time, I may try a tad more peanut butter, because I didn't taste it in the muffin, but overall I was pleased with the taste. The chocolate was really the star--it chopped easily, and it had deep, chocolaty flavor that lent itself well to the banana and the brown sugar. As a bonus, I didn't feel guilty about any of the ingredients...antioxidants galore! These will be made again.

As for the chocolate, I was impressed with Green & Black's background. Certified organic, Green & Black's also uses Fair Trade practices. Now, I'm looking forward to trying the other flavors, particularly the Dark Chocolate with Cherries.

For more information on Green & Black's Chocolate, visit them online at or on their Facebook page, where you can enter one of their monthly contests.

In the final analysis, I've found that healthy can also be tasty. And what better way to celebrate healthy than with some rich, dark chocolate?

Disclosure: I was given samples of Green & Black's Chocolate for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Holidays, such as July 4th, always make me a little nostalgic, so naturally I go looking for some childhood memories...mainly food. One of my favorite food memories involves an ice cream flavor that may be the dessert equivalent  of mystery meat. No Kidding. I googled this stuff and it's described as tasting like everything from pineapple to marshmallows to Fruit Loops. If you've ever lived in Michigan or Wisconsin, you will know this ice cream is called Blue Moon. If you grew up anywhere else, you probably won't know what I'm talking about....

Recently, a new soda fountain opened up in St. Paul. Of course, I had to check it out and, lo and behold, they sold Blue Moon ice cream. I hadn't tasted Blue Moon since I was about ten, so I asked for a taste. Holy Smokes! It was spot on! For the record, they described the taste as the milk left over from your bowl of Fruit Loops...not a bad comparison. I had to see what I could do to make it at home.

I found a few recipes on the Internet that looked promising. One in particular, from,  sounded like it might be right, so I started with that and put my own spin on it. 

Blue Moon Ice Cream

2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 packet of Duncan Hines® Frosting Creations™ Cotton Candy Flavor Mix (or sub 1 tablespoon vanilla pudding mix)
1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the sugar with a hand mixer until thickened and lemon colored, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, raspberry, and lemon extracts, the flavor mix, and the food coloring; set aside.


I found the Cotton Candy flavored Frosting Creations at the sounded like it might just fit in to this recipe. As a bonus, it's blue! Since I used eggs in this recipe though, it wasn't blue had a slight green tinge, so I still added some blue food coloring.

Place the milk and the cream in a medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium/low heat until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Slowly whisk the egg mixture into the hot cream and continue to heat until it comes to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for another two minutes. Remove from heat and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Pour the chilled cream into an ice cream maker and churn according to directions, about 30 minutes.  If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze for several hours.

Oh, yes! This is pretty darn close. Next time I'll try the vanilla pudding mix to see if there is a difference. 

What special food did you make for the 4th of July?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blackberry-Rhubarb Cardamom Bread

The best part about Summer in Minnesota has got to be all of the available fresh's allowing me to experiment with some different flavor combinations. What's nice is that even if I buy a little too much, I can always tuck some in the freezer. Luckily, I had a few frozen blackberries on hand when I decided to invent my latest quick bread: Blackberry-Rhubarb Cardamom Bread.

I used fresh rhubarb this time, but you can sub frozen, if needed.

Blackberry-Rhubarb Cardamom Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 (6 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups diced rhubarb
2  cups fresh or frozen black raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. F; grease and flour two 9 X 5 X 3 loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and orange peel; set aside.
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter and the brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir together the yogurt, buttermilk, and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and the yogurt mixture to the mixing bowl, beating on low speed until just blended. Stir in the rhubarb and the blackberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Quite possibly my favorite flavor combination, yet.