Powernap: Quick Recipes For When Time is Limited!
I’ve been wanting to feature my friend Cathy’s book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year Round Preserving for some time now, but I had to wait until spring. Why? Because I am finally using up my remaining frozen strawberries and rhubarb from last fall and want to feature her amazing Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. Also, Cathy’s book WON the 2015 IACP Single Subject Cookbook Award so now I can officially brag about that for her. (There is even a new beauty mark on the cover!) Congratulations, Cathy!
This salad is a mash up of the many grain and asparagus salads I’ve seen floating around the web lately. With asparagus season truly getting underway, and a big bag of barley in our pantry, I knew this just had to be made. The general idea is that delicious fresh cooked asparagus is tossed with hot barley, a sharp lemony vinaigrette, and topped with shavings of salty Parmesan. The concept is simple, and so is the recipe, and the result is nothing short of delicious.
I am not Irish, but I never shy away from a good quick bread recipe and this seemed like a good day to share one made with a strong Irish beer. I assure you, this is also family-friendly. The alcohol from the Guinness burns off while baking so don’t worry, the kids can eat it too. We made this on Sunday while my son napped. It was a quick one-bowl affair that came together quickly and tasted amazing. It even has made an appearance in the lunchbox this week! I hope you enjoy eating it as much as we do. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
This blueberry breakfast bread pudding came about when I had to use up leftovers from the fridge. Eggs, challah, blueberries, you name it, all the ingredients were front and center and just about to outlive their welcome in the kitchen. Since the challah had already been used for other things I decided to break it into chunks and marinate it overnight to absorb the flavor like I do with my overnight French toast. In the morning I popped it in the oven and let it bake and bubble until a gorgeous casserole was ready for us all to enjoy.
What do you get when you combine flaky pie crust with your favorite cookie recipe? Peanut butter cookie pie, of course. This treat is a super-duper kid favorite recipe that is bound to be a family favorite for years to come. And if you really want to ensure its place in the dessert hall of fame make it into a giant peanut butter cookie pie overload sundae. You’ll be the most popular person in your house and bask in praise for days on end!
We are on the mend at Chez Naptime after last week’s kiddie virus invasion. I am still amazed at how many tissue boxes we went through! I am slowly getting back on the cooking wagon and am sticking to quick, easy meals that can be whipped up in a jiff. I even make them easier on myself with a little naptime food prep. So simple! These green beans with frizzled shallots have become a recent favorite of ours. We love the salty crunch of the shallots with the snappy beans.
Given that we’ve been slurping a heck of a lot of soup around here lately I thought I’d stop in with one more. I swear, promise (!), that this will be the last one for a while. Even I know it is time to break out of my soupy pattern. It has been so easy while the weather has been crapola, but now it is time to move on. But, before I do, I have to share this little gem I found on F00d52 the other day. It is called Chicken Parmesan Soup because it tastes exactly like a Chicken Parmesan casserole but it can be made with one-quarter of the effort and is a touch healthier.
The benefit of having in-law’s in Florida is that they regularly send citrus. Not just any citrus, the real deal Florida fresh citrus. We eat it non-stop, especially during snowstorms, to keep our spirits up. I also use it all the time for baking and cooking. Over the weekend I used one of our last grapefruits to make these sweet little shortbread cookies. I loved how the tangy grapefruit played with the dark chocolate, giving it the flavor of a dark chocolate covered orange peel. These simple cookies are the perfect sweet nibble to chase away the winter blues. Remember people, only 50 days left until spring!
There was no naptime cooking yesterday. Instead there was naptime book launch work and naptime house work. Ah, well. You can’t win ’em all. In lieu of naptime cooking there was one-pot-meal-night. That is, a quick delicious dinner that I could make in one dish. It was an easy recipe that my mom had given me years ago to try and this week I finally got around to it. Here is the jist:
Sometimes I need a break from salad. I know that is not a popular thing to say. Somehow salads have become the ubiquitous side dish that it seems we all should be serving nightly. The more creatively flavored, the better. I always like to serve a good Harvest Salad each fall. But I also love to take my vegetables in different forms. For example, basic carrots roasted to sweet, soft perfection. They are almost easier to make than a salad and come together in a snap. Plus, my kids are more inclined to eat carrots than a salad, so why not take advantage?
I’ve been on a scone kick lately. They are the easiest special treat I know how to make. The dough easily comes together in one bowl during naptime and I chill it until I am ready to bake. This usually happens on Saturday or Sunday morning when the aroma of them baking up fresh puts us all in the mood for a happy, lazy Sunday. Having the dough already set in the freezer makes it so easy to do! I’ve made lots of scone recipes before and this newer one came from the recent goop newsletter that highlighted Huckleberry. I’ve never been to L.A. to try the bakery, but I have the cookbook and am loving it.
I think roasted delicata squash rings are better than steak fries. Those words carry weight, my friends, because I love steak fries. But delicata rise above the fried potato for me because they are simply more flavorful, easier to make at home, and much healthier for you in a baked-not-fried way. Making them doesn’t require any fancy technique or crazy recipe, but it bears reviewing now and again. I like to add a splash of balsamic syrup to mine for a little extra flavor and color, but you can leave them plain if you want. Here is how I make them and a fun way to serve them: