Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Mixed Berry Baked Oatmeal

I don’t like oatmeal for breakfast. I don’t know if it is a carryover from growing up in a hot place or if it’s a texture thing – i don’t really like grits or polenta either. Anyway, I do like oatmeal in crumbles, or cookies. I was intrigued by this recipe to for strawberry-rhubarb baked oatmeal. It sounded like a good breakfast alternative with lots of fruit.

I did make about half the recipe and used previously purchased frozen mixed berries. I gussied it up with a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract as well. The flavor was good but mine took a about 20 minutes longer to cook. I think it was partially due to the larger size strawberries and blackberries.  This recipe is forgiving as well.  I made a mistake when adjusting the recipe and added the original amount of applesauce, but then reduced the vegetable oil.  Also, I had leftover cinnamon sugar and used that instead of the brown sugar for sprinkling.

Ingredients

cooking spray

2-2 1/2 cups frozen fruit

1 egg

1/8 cup applesauce

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups quick oats

1/4 whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown sugar for sprinkling

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pan with cooking spray

2.  Layer in frozen fruit

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3.  Mix all the other ingredients together except the brown sugar for sprinkling

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4.  Pour oatmeal mix on top of fruit and mix in fruit

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5.  Sprinkle with brown sugar

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6.  Bake for about 50 minutes, checking every 5-10 minutes starting at 30 minutes.  Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean

Results

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I served my serving with a dollop of greek yogurt.  The tanginess balanced out the sweetness of the fruit.  I liked it and would definitely make it again as a breakfast alternative.

Homemade Soup

Why is it that people are a little afraid of making homemade soup? It doesn’t make much sense to me. Homemade soup is extremely nutritious and you can customize it to your liking without any real effort. It is also a really good vessel for using leftovers, things from the freezer or fresh ingredients. You can make it over a couple of days, overnight in a crockpot, in a couple of hours or really quick if you have ready ingredients on hand.

Chicken soup is the most common for me, but that’s because I tend to cook chicken regularly and keep the pan drippings and chicken carcasses. I tend to add the pan drippings to a container with other pan drippings. One thing to note here though it that you really need to be careful about how much pan drippings you add to your soup stock. It is very easy to go from perfectly flavored to almost too rich.

For today’s soup I used two small chicken carcasses. The first thing I did was pull as much meat off the bones as I could. This allows you to use that meat for the soup later, plus any additional meat that you were not able to liberate until after the stock making process. I added a quartered onion (skin and all), 3 carrots, 3 celery hearts (leaves and all), a couple of slices of ginger, the rest of an open bottle of white wine and covered it all with water. I let it simmer for 3-4 hours and put it in the fridge overnight. I strained the stock into another pot, and picked off any additional chicken. I then let the stock reduce for about an hour and tasted it for flavor (at this point, I have added no additional seasoning). My tastings led me to add about a cup of pan drippings and let that simmer as well. Now it’s ready for all the goodies we want – we’re doing chicken, carrots, celery, kidney beans, peas and corn, maybe some cous cous. I’ll let you know in the directions below.

Directions

1. Bring 6-8 cups prepared (or purchased) stock to a boil

2. Chop raw veggies you plan on adding – carrots and celery for us

3. Plan what else you are adding. We are adding kidney beans, frozen peas and corn, frozen turnips, and some cous cous. There is a little orchestration going on here as you need to make sure everything gets the proper cooking time, without overcooking anything. For me, this was adding the carrots and celery and simmer for 20 mins, add beans and cous cous (3 scoops – about 1/2 cup) simmer for 2 more mins, add peas and corn and chicken.

4. Based on the relative cooking time of your goodies, add them to the pot

5. Taste and season constantly (using my standard Adobo, pepper, oregano, thyme)

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Results

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My daughters gave me Chopped style running commentary on my soup. It even won Chopped! That’s so exciting. But it definitely made us warm on this cold winter day.

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