Powernap: Quick Recipes For When Time is Limited!
I am a big fan of no-cook food in the summer months. I like things I can make without going anywhere near the hot oven. Most of the time this means throwing together cold salads, easy sandwiches, and eating lots of fresh fruits. Another one of my favorite things is topping crackers with delicious bites like bits of cheese, nuts, pestos, and other healthy food. Last month I saw these delectable honey-topped peach Triscuits on Savannah Bee Company. I loved the idea of a salty wheat cracker topped with sweet fruit and honey, and nuts for an added crunch. I couldn’t wait to make my own variation.
Summer is my favorite cooking season. The produce is abundant, local, and fresh. It is hot enough that a lot of time I don’t even have to turn on the stove, just chop up vegetables and enjoy. The only problem is that my children don’t always see eye to eye with me on this philosophy. They still want their heavier winter meals and are not all that interested in fresh summer vegetables tossed in with their standby carrot sticks. This is when I turn to Hidden Valley Ranch for a little help. One of their newest flavors, Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Avocado Dressing, is just what I need to create a meal that the whole family loves.
It is rhubarb season and I am hear with a great rhubarb syrup recipe for you. It is more like a condiment in the sense that you can use it for all sorts of things. The blushing pink syrup is ideal for stirring into seltzer to make spritzers, adding to prosecco, drizzling over yogurts and ice creams, and much, much more. The recipe is incredibly simple to make during naptime, or just about anytime, and will make your whole kitchen smell like the sweetest fruit farm you’ve ever visited. Pick up some rhubarb at the market today and get cracking. You’ll have a whole summer of rhubarb deliciousness to look forward to.
This week I have to call myself the jet lag chef. We returned from Paris over the weekend and I am still operating on Parisian time. Every morning my daughter and I have been up and bopping around the house at 5am. We aren’t a bit tired and are quite happy to chat, make breakfast, and generally take care of everything we want before my husband and son wake up. I can’t say it is all bad! Naturally, I’ve been using some of my free time as a chance to prep food for later in the day. After all, jet lag means I am sound asleep by 8pm, sharp! This week I started off my making homemade fudge pops based on a recipe my mother cut out for me from The New York Times.
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!