Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


Leave a comment

Lazy Cook – Homemade Donuts

A friend of mine recently posted photos on Facebook of donuts and apple cider indicating fall had arrived.  Seeing the photos made me remember this recipe I posted earlier in my blog.  I thought it was worthy of a re-post.

This recipe comes from a cook named Rose, who I worked with years ago.  The donuts are easy to make and unfortunately easy to eat.  Be sure to make a double batch because they will go fast.

Homemade Donuts

Ingredients

1 package refrigerated biscuit dough

1 teaspoon cinnamon (more if needed)

1/2 cup sugar (more if needed)

Oil (enough for frying)

Directions

1.  In a large plastic, Ziploc bag place sugar and cinnamon.

2.  Prepare pan for frying.  Fill pan with at least 1 inch oil deep oil.  Heat oil over medium high heat.

3.  Remove biscuits and make a hole in each one. 

4.  When oil is ready place biscuits in oil to fry lightly.   (They cook very fast, so only 60 seconds or so on each side).  Flip and cook other side.

5.  Place cooked donuts on paper towel to drain.

6.  While warm, place donuts in sugar mixture and shake.

7.  Remove from bag and eat, eat, eat!

This recipe is simple, but good.  Just remember the donuts taste best when they are still warm.

Enjoy.


Leave a comment

Lazy Cook – Strawberry & Blue Cheese Bruschetta

Summer is here.  Not officially here, but very, very close.  With the arrival of summer comes the best in-season produce.  My personal favorite summer treat is strawberries.

California is considered to be one of the top producers of strawberries in the USA.  Because I live in Southern California I usually can find strawberries at my local market year round.  However, strawberries can also be some of the most contaminated fruits with regards to pesticides.  I only buy organic ones and they can be expensive.

When I eat my expensive strawberries I try to make the most of them buy using them in dishes that really appreciate their flavors.  Today’s recipe does a basket of strawberries justice.

The recipe is found in the magazine Eating Well.  It’s easy to make and is a perfect appetizer for warm summer nights.

Ingredients

20130602_135743[1]

24 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced.

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 crumbled blue cheese

3-4 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon pepper

24 slices baguette (1/4 inch thick), warmed and toasted

Directions

1.  Combine strawberries and sugar in bowl and let stand while you make the cheese spread.

20130602_140924[1]

2.  Combine cream cheese and blue cheese in a small bowl using fork.  Add water if necessary on teaspoon at a time.  (The spread should be thick, but spreadable)

20130602_141420[1]

3.  Stir pepper into cheese mixture.

4.  Spread about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture on each piece of baguette. 

5.  Top each cheese/baguette slice with sliced strawberries.

20130602_142707[1]

What makes this appetizer so good is the unexpected flavor of blue cheese.  Blue cheese seems to bring out the sweetness of the strawberries.

Happy eating.


11 Comments

Lazy Cook – Pesto Smashed Potatoes

I love entertaining, but sadly I don’t like cooking.  This poses a problem because when people come to your home they expect to eat.  The way I get around my dislike of cooking is to make things that taste like they are a lot of work, but really aren’t.

Today’s Lazy Cook recipe is an example of something that tastes fancy, but is very easy to make.  I found the recipe in the May 2013 issue of Sunset magazine I like it as an appetizer, but it would serve well as a side dish too.

The original recipe suggested making your own pesto, but I’m too lazy.  I bought pre-made pesto at the store.  It also recommends grilling the potatoes, but I used the broiler instead.  I don’t know how to light the grill and my husband wasn’t home when I started cooking.

Pesto Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients

1 cup pre-made pesto sauce

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

12 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 in. diameter), well-scrubbed

Directions

1.  Put potatoes in a large pot on the stove with salted water.

IMG_2231

2.  Bring almost to a boil and cook until easily pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

3.  Drain.  When cool enough to handle, press each potato between your hands until about 3/4 inch thick but still in one piece.  (This is tricky so push firmly, but slowly.  If the potatoes are fully cooked it will be easier)

IMG_2233

4.  Heat broiler. 

5.   Mix parmesan  cheese and pesto sauce in a bowl together.

 6.  Place smashed potatoes on baking tray.  Spread 1 tablespoon pesto-cheese mixture on each potato. 

IMG_2235

7. Broil for 5 minutes and check.  Continue to broil until top is brown and caramelized.  (Mine took at least 10 minutes, but I could have cooked them longer)

8.  Remove from over and place on serving tray pesto side up.  Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.

IMG_2236

The results were terrific.  The boys wouldn’t even try them, but that’s fine by me.  It meant my husband and I could eat more for ourselves.

This post is my 500th post for Insanity of Motherhood.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think two years ago I would hit the publish button 500 times.  I am pretty darn proud of myself.  It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have great readers like you.  Thank you to each of one of you who reads my blog.

Cheers!


3 Comments

Lazy Cook – Chipotle-Cheddar Broiled Avocado Halves

A few years ago when my middle sister was visiting, I mentioned we should attend the local avocado festival in town.  She replied, “That’s fine.  I go with you, but I don’t like avocados.”  It is hard for me to imagine anyone not liking avocados.  They are one of my favorite fruits.  Avocados grow easily in southern California where I live.  They are locally available year round.  My family and I eat 3 -5 avocados a week.  We use put them cut up in salads, make guacamole and spread them on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.  My favorite way to eat an avocado is to slice them in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat with a spoon.  When I came across today’s recipe from the magazine Eating Well, I knew it was something I had to try.

Chipotle-Cheddar Broiled Avocado Halves are delicious.  They are extremely simple to make.  I bought petite avocados to make this recipe as an appetizer.  Any size avocados can be used.

Ingredients

IMG_2192 (800x533)

2 ripe but firm avocados, halved and pitted, skin left on

1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese

1 small chipotle chile in adobe, minced, or to taste

1 Tablespoon lime juice, plus 4 wedges for serving

Pinch of salt

Directions

1.  Preheat broiler to High.

2.  Place avocado halves on baking sheet.

3.  Mix together cheese, chipotle, lime juice and salt.

4.  Divide cheese mixture among avocado halves.  Place on top of avocados. 

IMG_2194 (800x533)

5.  Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source until the cheese is bubbling and begins to brown. (3-5 minutes)

6.  Serve with lime wedges and a spoon.

IMG_2196 (800x533)

I made these avocado halves for breakfast and served them with scrambled eggs, tortillas and salsa.  Fabulous.  I ran out of limes, but highly recommend serving each sevrving with a wedge.  If you’d like to jazz this recipe up a bit more add a little chopped bacon on top.

Happy eating.


2 Comments

Lazy Cook – Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic

A while ago my oldest sister told me of a wonderful cooking blog.  The blog is called Smitten Kitchen.  The blog features all sorts of food, but baking is the specialty.  This recipe is adapted from the Smitten Kitchen.

Getting the family to eat vegetables has always been a challenge, especially the green ones.  I planted Swiss chard hoping to get my boys interested in something green.  Swiss Chard is one of my favorite green vegetables.  It doesn’t have the bitterness some of the other greens have and is very easy to grow.  This recipe is a little more complex than most of the recipes I’ve used for Lazy Cook, but the taste of this soup will out weigh any extra effort.   On a side note, I was out of canned tomatoes the last time I made this recipe so I substituted a jar of marinara sauce instead.  The results were good.  If you prefer a vegetarian version of this soup simply omit the sausage.

By the way the boys love this soup.  Okay, maybe not love.  They eat it and that’s what matters.  Keith Urban was kind enough to sing for me while I cooked today.

Ingredients

IMG_2162

1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves sliced or two teaspoons crushed garlic
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or one 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves or kale

Directions

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.

When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up until it starts to brown, about five minutes.

Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic , a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes.

IMG_2163

Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes (or jar of marinara sauce), water, more salt and black pepper to taste.

IMG_2164

Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add Swiss chard when lentils are tender and cook for 5 minutes.

IMG_2166

I like this soup thick, so I let it cook until the liquid is reduced.  You may want to add less water if you are using the marinara sauce.  There you go.  A great recipe to sneak in those hard to eat veggies.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as the kids will.

Enjoy.


2 Comments

Replay – Lazy Cook – Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

 

We found a small spot located near our side fence and planted a few things: swiss chard, white onions and broccoli.  Little Boy loved the planting process, however once the plants were in the ground they were soon forgotten.  I’ll admit I forgot about the plants myself unless I happened to step outside to let the dog out.

When the plants were first planted several caterpillars were found nibbling on the chard and broccoli leaves.  I did nothing to stop them from nibbling and was sure they would devour the plants.  However, to my amazement the plants survived.  They survived with caterpillars eating the leaves and with very little watering.  Luckily for the plants winter is our rainy season so they were able to get a drink now and then.

A few weeks ago I noticed the broccoli was starting to flower and sure enough the heads began for form.  Four weeks later we now have six heads of broccoli ready for harvest.  The onions are still growing, but we have harvested two bunches of chard.

2013-01-29_12-32-29_617

Today I thought I would celebrate our vegetable harvest by reposting a cooking blog I did a while ago.  The recipe is for mashed potatoes and broccoli.  I am serving it for dinner tonight.  It’s very simple, but tastes good.

Lazy Cook – Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

Tired of eating broccoli steamed with a little butter?  Well, how about adding some potatoes and sour cream to liven it up?  Today’s recipe is from the magazine, Real Simple. I am one of those people who loves broccoli, so this recipe is a winner for me.  Wondering if my boys liked it?  Old Boy had this to say, “Why did you have to ruin the mashed potatoes by adding broccoli?”  Sorry son, but this recipe is good.

Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

Ingredients

1 pound potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces)

1/2 bunch finely chopped broccoli (3 cups)

1/4 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons softened butter

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Steam broccoli and potatoes until very tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2.  Drain well and mash with 1/4 cup sour cream and 4 tablespoons butter.

3.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Cooking.  At least one of us should be happy to be cooking.

 


14 Comments

Lazy Cook – Caramel Pear and Cranberry Pudding Cake

Today’s Lazy Cook recipe comes from one of my favorite magazines for the home, Sunset magazine.  Sunset focuses on living in the Western United States.  It covers travel, gardening, home ideas, and food and wine.

The recipe today is Carmel Pear and Cranberry Pudding Cake.  It is made in the slow cooker and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.  Total cooking time can be less than two hours.  This recipe would be a perfect choice for a dinner party to cook while the meal is being prepared.

Caramel Pear and Cranberry Pudding Cake

Ingredients

IMG_1946

Cooking-oil spray

2/3 cup good quality caramel sauce, warmed

2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced

3/4 cup cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

2 tbsp butter, melted

Whipped cream

Directions

1.  Coat cooking insert of a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker. 

2.  Spread caramel sauce on bottom then top with an even layer of pears.  Sprinkle cranberries.

IMG_1951

3.  Mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, and butter in a medium bowl until mostly smooth. 

IMG_1958

4.  Pour mixture over fruit and spread evenly.

IMG_1960

5.  Cover and cook until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes on high or 2 1/2 hours on low.

6.  Remove insert from slow cooker and let cool for five minutes. 

7.  Spoon and serve pear side up.  Add a dollop of whipped cream.

IMG_1962

*Note.  My desert came out a little dry.  Next time I make this recipe I will use more caramel sauce and increase the amount of fruit.

Two cooking blogs in less than a week.  I am just as surprised as you are.

Happy eating.