Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

lentilsoupIf you’ve seen my recent posts, you know that the amount of treats coming out of my kitchen over the past few weeks is completely unnecessary.  I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it, but  I have to make up for that unhealthy eating.  There’s no better way than with this great lentil soup, loaded with some of my favorite vegetables and mustard greens for a nutritional boost.  It turned out great, mild in flavor, with just the right ratio of broth to vegetable.  That said, I like a broth-y soup, but you could always reduce the liquid if you wanted it to be heartier.Lentil Soup with Mustard GreensLentil Soup with Mustard GreensLentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens:

Yield: 8-10 servings / Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 9 cups water or stock
  • 4 cups mustard greens, stemmed and torn
  1. Heat olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent (~5 minuties).
  2. Add water and the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Notes:  You can use stock/broth instead of water, I wanted a milder taste, so I stuck with water.  You can also reduce the water down to 7 cups if you like a heartier soup versus a brothy soup.  This recipe makes a lot of soup, but it freezes well, and can be kept up to two months in the freezer.  You can freeze it in an airtight tupperware, plastic bags, or mason jars.  Make sure that if you use a jar, you let it first cool in the fridge (if you cool glass too rapidly, it can break).Lentil Soup with Mustard Greens

Country White Bread

Country White BreadIf you follow my blog, you might have noticed that I’ve been experimenting with lots of bread recipes in the past few months.  I found this one at Pennies & Pancakes and thought it looked wonderful.   If you haven’t made homemade bread before, there’s an extensive tutorial for this recipe, complete with detailed instructions and step-by-step photos.  I halved the recipe and baked it in two 8×3 loaf pans the first time I made it, but I’ve also baked it in a 9×5 pan.  The photos are from the 8×3, so they look small, but I used the larger loaf when I made bananas foster french toast.  I was really pleased with this recipe and will definitely continue to use it for a white sandwich bread.  I would like to try substituting half the flour with whole wheat flour and maybe adding honey (I’ll update you as soon as I do!).Country White BreadCountry White Bread

Country White Bread (yield 1 9×5 loaf, 2 8×3 loaves)

  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp oil
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in water and let set for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, then 3 cups of flour, mix it a little, then add the salt.
  3. Mix thoroughly and then knead until dough is smooth, elastic, and a tad sticky (6-10 minutes).  You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with dough hook.
  4. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let rise until doubled.  I placed mine in a warm oven with a bowl of water on the bottom rack and let it rise for about 1 hour.
  5. Punch dough down and knead for another minute or so.  Divide it in half and form each half into a loaf.
  6. Cover with a dishtowel and let it rise until the dough is about 1-2 inches above the top of the pan (about an hour for me).
  7. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack.Country White Bread

Valentine’s Day Breakfast – Egg in a Basket

Valentine's Egg in a BasketEggs in a Basket are pretty high on my list of favorite breakfast foods.  And I Really love breakfast, so that’s saying something.  To add a festive twist to this otherwise very ordinary breakfast, I used a heart cookie cutter to cut the center of the bread out.  My heart isn’t as noticeable when cooked because the bread slid a little bit when I flipped it, but I promise it was there, see?

Valentine's Egg in a Basket

Valentine's Egg in a Basket

This really is so simple to make, just butter a pan and turn it to medium heat.  Cut a hole in a slice of bread with a cookie cutter, glass, jar, or even tear it.  You can cook it sunny side up if you’d like, just brown the bread on one side for a couple minutes, then flip it, and crack an egg into it.  Cover and let cook until it is done.  I prefer cracking the egg into the bread right away, cooking it on one side for a couple minutes, flipping it, and cooking the other side.

Valentine's Egg in a Basket

Bananas Foster French Toast

  Bananas Foster French Toast via elisebakesFrench toast is one of my favorite things to eat – if not MY favorite – and because it’s so easy to make, it’s also one of my favorite breakfasts to prepare.  This bananas foster sauce was a completely wonderful addition to an already perfect breakfast meal.  It was so sweet and flavorful and it made the whole kitchen smell absolutely delicious!  I can see myself making it again to serve over ice cream.Bananas Foster French Toast via elisebakesBananas Foster French Toast via elisebakes

French Toast: (serves 3-4)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 – 8 pieces of bread
  • butter for greasing the pan
  1. Mix eggs, almond milk. vanilla and cinnamon with a fork or whisk in a wide, shallow bowl.
  2. Add a small amount of butter to a large frying pan and heat on medium-high heat.
  3. Dip bread slices in egg mixture for at least 10 seconds on each side, then place on frying pan.  Cook until bottom is golden brown, flip and repeat.Bananas Foster French Toast via elisebakes

Bananas Foster Sauce: (adapted from http://basil-albi.blogspot.com))

Bananas Foster French Toast via elisebakes

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg, allspice, and salt
  • 2 bananas (slightly underripe), sliced
  1. Melt butter over low heat.  Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg. allspice and salt and cook for three minutes.
  3. Bring it to a simmer, add the bananas and cook covered for five minutes.

Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup

Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup via elisebakesI have a love-hate relationship with Wisconsin winters.  Last week was way too cold, today it’s in the 50s, and it’s supposed to drop down and snow again tomorrow – could we get some consistency, please!  I absolutely love sledding and snowball fights, but I could do with only a month of snow.  And I hate driving on icy roads.  Love it or hate it, it’s here and at least I get to enjoy soup!  Well, I did yesterday, like I said, today it’s too nice out for soup!  I made creamy potato mushroom soup and it was phenomenal.  It had a great flavor and lots of mushrooms!  You could make it in a slow cooker too if you’d rather.

Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup via elisebakesCreamy Potato Mushroom Soup via elisebakes

Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup (8 servings, adapted from Potato Mushroom Soup)

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 16 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in large stock pot over medium-high heat and add mushrooms and onions.  Cook about 10 minutes, until onions become translucent.
  2. Add flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Top with sour cream and shredded cheese if desired and serve!Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup via elisebakes

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza via elisebakes
We’ve all had pizza for breakfast.  Like cold leftover pizza – I’m not the only one, right?  It’s not a great breakfast, but it’s a quick solution when you oversleep and have thirty seconds to grab a slice and walk out the door.  Don’t be deceived by the title, though, this is not that kind of breakfast.  This is on a separate, much more appropriate ‘pizza for breakfast’ level!  Sometimes traditional breakfast food gets repetitive, but with a recipe like this (or cinnamon roll pancakes!) to excite your tastebuds, you’ll never get bored!

Breakfast Pizza via elisebakesBreakfast Pizza via elisebakesBreakfast Pizza via elisebakes
Breakfast Pizza (serves 2)

  • 12-inch size pizza dough (recipe follows)
  • 1 tsp pesto
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs (you could do 3, too)
  1. I made the dough the night before.  I divided it into 4 portions, and froze 3 of them.  I put the remaining 12-inch portion in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, take dough from fridge and let it set on the counter for at least 10 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Shape with your hands or roll out the dough to desired shape and place on a baking sheet.  (We like thicker crust, so we rolled it to ~10 inches) Build up the crust and poke the bottom several times with a fork.
  3. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove dough and spread pesto over the top.  Sprinkle the cheeses, then green onions and tomatoes.  Crack the eggs over the top.  If you don’t like runny egg yolks, you could whisk the eggs first and then pour them over the top.
  5. Bake for an additional 11-13 minutes, until crust is golden and eggs start to firm.Breakfast Pizza via elisebakes

Basic Pizza Dough (from food.com) (makes 4 12-in crusts)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  1. Whisk together 1 3/4 cup flour, salt and yeast.  Add warm water and oil and wisk for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cup more flour and mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. Place dough on floured surface and knead an additional 1/4-1/2 cup flour into the dough, until it is lump free.
  4. At this point, divide the dough and wrap what you won’t be using in saran wrap and freeze (each quarter of the dough is a 12-inch circle).  When ready to use, thaw dough in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 and let thawed dough set at room temp for 10 minutes before shaping.  Then roll dough out to desired size.
  6. Place on baking sheet, build up the crust a bit and poke the bottom with a fork several times.  As long as there is flour over the bottom, it shouldn’t stick to the pan.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes at 425, add toppings, and bake an additional 8 minutes.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes via elisebakesMy love of breakfast food is no secret.  There is no shame in whipping up a batch of french toast for dinner or having a late night bowl of cereal – In college, I spent many nights sitting in the dorm hallway with one of my good friends and a bowl bag of cereal.  You can imagine my excitement when I happened upon these Cinnamon Roll Pancakes – I was inspired.  That next weekend they made an appearance on my stove-top, with a few minor alterations to the recipe.  I used these copycat IHOP pancakes as the base, and made a couple changes to the cinnamon swirl and icing.  I’ve actually never been to IHOP so I can’t say whether the pancakes were comparable or not, but they sure were delicious!  And that icing?  Amazing!  It was the perfect union of cinnamon rolls and pancakes. 
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes via elisebakesCinnamon Roll Pancakes via elisebakesCopycat IHOP Pancakes (serves 4-5):

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or if you’re me, 1 Tbsp lemon juice + the remaining milk to make 1 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  1. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  2. Add egg, sugar, buttermilk, butter and vanilla and continue to whisk until no clumps remain.
  3. Preheat a pan until a drop of water sizzles immediately when dropped onto pan.
  4. Place ~1/4 cup of batter on griddle and pipe cinnamon swirl
    over the top.  Flip when the middle is bubbly and the ends begin to cook.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes via elisebakesCinnamon Swirl:

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

Combine everything in a small bowl and mix with a whisk or fork.  Transfer to a plastic bag and snip the corner.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4-1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Put butter and cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir, and continue to melt for 15 second intervals until completely melted.
  2. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  3. Spoon onto pancakes and enjoy!Cinnamon Roll Pancakes via elisebakes

Lemon Pesto Baked Tilapia

Lemon Pesto Baked Tilapia via elisebakes 
I’m a pescatarian, but I rarely eat seafood – mostly because I really don’t care for that fishy taste.  OOh, but I do love a good beer-battered fish fry.   I’m from Wisconsin, so that’s second nature!  Regardless, this just may be the best way I have ever eaten fish.  My husband and I were both ooh-ing and ahh-ing  throughout dinner.  It was juicy and tender, with a hint of lemon and pesto.  The breadcrumbs on top added a slight crunch that gave it just the right amount of added texture.  The only change I would make for next time is to up the pesto for a total of 2 tsp to give it a little more of a pesto flavor.

Lemon Pesto Baked Tilapia via elisebakesLemon Pesto Baked Tilapia via elisebakes

Lemon Pesto Baked Tilapia:

  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tsp pesto
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Italian style breadcrumbs
  • pinch salt and pepper
  1. Mix everything (except the fillets) together in a small bowl.
  2. Turn oven to broil and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  3. Broil fillets for 2 minutes, then flip them and broil for an additional 2 minutes.  The flipping is much easier with a spatula.  Flip them again, and spread the lemon-pesto mixture over the top, sprinkle with additional Italian breadcrumbs if desired (I highly recommend this to add texture).
  4. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until fish is cooked and flakes apart nicely.

Light and Fluffy French Loaf

French Loaf via elisebakesI’ve been on a bread-making kick lately.  I think in part, I just realized the economical benefits of baking my own bread…and then, I obviously love the taste of warm bread, fresh out of the oven – not to mention the lovely smell that wafts through each room!  This french loaf was softer and fluffier than the last one I made.  The crust wasn’t as ‘crusty’ or hard (it was just hardly crisp), but that made it less like an actual french bread and more like wide sub bread.  Maybe if I had baked it a little longer it would have had a harder crust, but really I loved it just the way it was – I just wouldn’t necessarily call it a french bread.French Loaf via elisebakesFrench Loaf via elisebakes

French Loaf (from food.com)

    • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 1 cup hot waterFrench Loaf via elisebakes
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 Tbsp salt
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 1/2 – 3 cups flour
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine hot water, sugar, salt and oil.  Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix well.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and stir.
  4. Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups more flour and mix until well blended; it will be sticky.  Cover bowl with a dishtowel and let rise for an hour, mixing a few strokes every 15 mins.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces and roll each out to desired length.  Then roll up lengthwise like a jelly roll and place sealed side down on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Slash the top diagonally every couple inches with a sharp knife.  Brush with egg white.
  7. Preheat oven to 400.  Let loaves rise for 30 minutes, then bake for 25-30 mins.

Loaded Banana Muffins

Loaded Banana MuffinsThese are not your average banana muffins.  These babies are L-O-A-D-E-D.  Banana oat muffins with browned butter, walnuts, milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips, and an oat crumb topping. Loaded Banana Muffins

Yep, they taste just as amazing as they sound.  Light and moist, and not overly sweet.  They are appropriately muffin-y, not like some banana muffins that just taste like banana bread in a muffin cup.  Perfectly delicious.Loaded Banana Muffins

Muffins are one of my favorite breakfasts on the go.  I must admit that I love all breakfast foods, but I especially love the convenience of something that is already baked and ready for me!  Loaded Banana Muffins

I highly recommend browning the butter, it adds a slightly nutty depth of flavor that I especially love with the banana flavor here.  If you aren’t sure how to do it or how to know when your butter is browned, there is an excellent tutorial on how to brown butter from How Sweet It Is, complete with pictures for each step.  That said, simply melting the butter will suffice.  You can leave out the chocolate chips or walnuts or swap in whatever you’d like.Loaded Banana Muffins

Loaded Banana Oat Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

1 muffin

Ingredients

    Muffins
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Oat Crumb Topping
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cold butter
  • 2 Tbsp old fashioned oats

Instructions

  1. Prepare Oat Crumb Topping: Mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly. Add oats and combine.
  2. Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Brown the butter. (you could just melt it if you don't want to take the extra step to brown it). This can be done on the stove or in the microwave. To use the stove, just heat over medium heat until fizzing and cracking stops, the butter turns brown and has a nutty aroma. In the microwave, microwave high for a minute, then stir, then continue to microwave at 20-30 second intervals and stir, until the same (should take about 5 minutes).
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats with a whisk.
  5. In a separate bowl, add mashed banana, sugar, egg, and brown butter and mix (you can use a beater, but a wooden spoon works just as well).
  6. Add the dry and wet ingredients together and mix until just combined (don't over-mix), then fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with crumb topping.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/01/17/loaded-banana-muffins/