Fresh salsa

I know. A salsa recipe! From ME! It’s shocking. I’ll give you a minute while you collect yourself.

This one comes courtesy of my BFF’s boyfriend, and it is so good. Very different from my usual roasted salsa roja, and perfect for right now when the tomatoes are in season and easy to find. Around here we can still find a farmer with a card table of tomatoes and a cigar box for cash sitting out at the end of the driveway. Best tomatoes in the world!

Anyway, the salsa is also easily customizable, so you can make it anywhere from diced tomatoes to melt-your-face-off hot (which, you’ve probably figured out by now, is my preferred level of heat).

Fresh salsa:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium-large white onion
  • 3 serrano peppers
  • 1 bunch cilantro*
  • salt, and black pepper to taste
  • 3 large limes

To assemble:

  1. Dice tomatoes, onion, and peppers and stir together in a bowl
  2. Chop the cilantro and add in
  3. Add salt and pepper, then squeeze in the juice from the limes
  4. Stir, and enjoy! The longer it sits, the hotter it gets — just something to keep in mind

*A note on cilantro: for the last three years or so I kind of hate it (pregnancy was weird), so the first time I made this myself I just left it out. And I MISSED it. It really makes that much of a difference, so my advice is to try just a little bit in it even if you think you hate it.

Random: this reminds me so much of the now-defunct Salsa Y’all. Does anyone else remember that?

Peanut butter muffins

Kiddo started public school in January so this year I had a whole new adventure: packing lunch. Being seven, he’s terribly busy at lunch doing important things like gut laughing at fart jokes discussing global economic issues, so I need to send food that packs a nutritional punch and tastes good. I thought peanut butter muffins might be a good way to get some protein in him while being a little bit of a departure from a plain ol’ peanut butter sandwich.

When I went looking for a new recipe to try, I literally looked for the recipe with the most amount of peanut butter. Let’s not fool around here! Kiddo and I (and Peanut, actually) LOVE peanut butter, and we want to taste it! This recipe started with “no such thing as too much peanut butter.” I knew we had a winner! The original recipe was filled with mini Reese’s cups and had a sweet topping. While that sounds freaking amazing, I was going for a lunch food here. :)

 

Peanut butter muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (that’s 169.6 grams*)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line or grease a 12-muffin pan
  2. Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until very well combined.
  3. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then milk
  4. Stir together dry ingredients, then mix into wet ingredients until JUST combined — some little lumps are okay, you just don’t want any dry flour
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out dry

Notes

*measuring peanut butter is for the birds — much easier to set the mixing bowl on a scale and scoop out what you need!

Second grade isn’t far off! Would love to hear more suggestions for easy-to-pack lunches! What do y’all make?

Pizza chicken pasta

I found this recipe in Great Food Fast, my favorite pressure cooker book, but it’s easily adaptable for baking in the oven too. It’s warm and comfort-food-ish without being heavy, and is very kid-friendly as well! I mean, it’s practically PIZZA. This is great served with some garlic bread or, I don’t know, some vegetables? I seem to have skipped that part. Ahem. Anyway! Try this:

Pizza chicken pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 24 slices pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Corkscrew pasta

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the salt, pepper and flour, then toss the chicken breasts in the flour mix
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or in a pressure cooker set to brown, then lightly brown chicken on each side
  3. Put chicken in pressure cooker dish or casserole dish and cover with spaghetti sauce, water, and pepperoni
  4. Cook in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 8 minutes, or bake at 350F in a casserole dish for 40-50 minutes depending on thickness of chicken breasts
  5. While chicken is cooking, cook pasta in well-salted water
  6. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, sprinkling mozzarella over all of it

Notes

You can also transfer the chicken to a sheet pan, then top with mozzarella and cook under the broiler till melted and bubbling. This would be easy to do in a slow cooker as well! Just allow 4-6 hours for the chicken to cook

Help me out! What’s your go-to side dish for spaghetti sauce based recipes?

Sausage cream cheese squares

My sister made these for us one Christmas at her house. We were combining a bunch of appetizers and calling it a meal, but this was the one everyone kept coming back to. So tasty! And they were good hot and after they had cooled down, too, which is a lovely characteristic for an appetizer to have.

Anything else you would add to these? The kick from the Ro*tel is awesome, but I wonder what other flavors might be fun to work in?

Sausage cream cheese squares

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 can Ro*tel, drained
  • 2 cans crescent rolls
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Put a frying pan over medium/high heat and brown and crumble sausage; drain any grease

  2. Turn heat down to low and mix in cream cheese till melted

  3. Drain Ro*tel and stir in

  4. Roll out 1 package of crescent rolls flat onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with cream cheese mixture, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and top with other package of crescent roll dough

  5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes

Don’t forget! Google Reader is, sadly, disappearing soon. Blog Lovin’ is a great alternative, and you can follow OPK with the button on the top right.

Baked Elvis oatmeal

I’m not a stranger to baked oatmeal, but I love how Beth of Eat. Drink. Smile upped the ante with the addition of all her yummy fruit! I adapted her recipe a bit to use up what we had (super ripe bananas) and to add something both my kids are guaranteed to eat: peanut butter!

Baked Elvis oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 very ripe bananas, fork-mashed
  • 3 Tbsp butter (see instructions)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see instructions)

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl
  2. Heat the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave till just melted, then let it cool slightly
  3. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients; add in the egg and beat well, then add in banana and butter/peanut butter mixture and stir well
  4. Pour into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish, and bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.

 

This is such a great breakfast, and easy to keep around for snacks as well! Be sure to check out Beth’s original post for all her awesome fruit combinations, too. What fruits will you try with it?

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Broccoli bites

My little Peanut, as you may have heard, is NUTS for broccoli. Like, a crazy woman. I actually thought I didn’t like broccoli for years and years — it was roasted broccoli that won me over, and now I just love it in general. Since Peanut loves broccoli all the time any time, I was looking for some new ways to prepare it to give her a little variety. These turned out to be so good that we both ate them! I dipped mine in a little ranch dressing; quite tasty!

Broccoli bites

Yield: about a dozen

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chopped broccoli, drained well
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then scoop out with a cookie scoop, gently shaping into patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes; flip them over and bake for another 10

Since Peanut is ALL ABOUT THE BROCCOLI I would love to hear more broccoli ideas! How do y’all use it?

Wheaties granola

I should tell you how carefully I planned this recipe.

I should tell you how I planned for substituting Wheaties for half the oats in an effort to enhance the texture, flavor, and nutrition of the recipe.

I should also tell you that the truth is I ran out of oats.

Ahem.

Regardless of how I arrived at this version, I do make it this way on purpose now and I eat it with my lazy yogurt every single morning. And even the Kiddo loves it. That’s kind of a miracle, folks. It’s based on the recipe from Creative Kitchen because she didn’t use seeds in her recipe; she’s speaking my language.

Wheaties granola

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (the real stuff, not “pancake syrup”)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups Wheaties cereal
  • 1 cup Craisins or raisins (optional, obviously)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Melt butter and honey or maple syrup in a saucepan, then stir in remaining ingredients, making sure everything is well coated with the butter mixture
  3. Spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the oats are golden brown
  4. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then scrape in long strokes with a spatula to aid clumping. Store in a jar or zip top bag in the fridge