Baked Oatmeal


I just realized this is my third ‘breakfast’ post in a row.  Seems I am on a breakfast kick lately.  I think there is something so comforting about having a hearty and warming breakfast on a cold, winter day.  Especially if it is snowing outside!

This baked oatmeal has become my absolute favorite way to prepare and eat oatmeal.  It is so easy to put together (no standing over a stove stirring!) and it tastes absolutely delicious.  I love how creamy it is and how the bananas sort of melt into the oats and give such a wonderful sweetness.  A natural sweetness. Aside from some maple syrup, there is no sugar added to this dish.  It is healthy and filling.

This recipe is husband and toddler approved!  My two year old always wants to eat this right out of my bowl.  After I realized how much she likes it, I now leave out the chopped walnuts, either omitting them completely (it still tastes great!) or toasting them separately and just sprinkling some over my own serving. (She is  not eating nuts yet). Sometimes instead of adding walnuts I will sprinkle wheat germ over the top of the dish before I bake it, as I did in this photo above.  Also, once each serving is put in the bowl I like to drizzle some extra maple syrup on top for a little indulgence.

The dish I use to bake this in (above) is small, about 7 inches square.  It is the perfect size for two people. I have doubled this recipe and used a larger baking dish so we could try having some leftovers and of course doubling the recipe just doubles the goodness.  However, I prefer this freshly baked.  The leftovers are fine (just add some water or milk and heat in the microwave) but not quite as amazing as eaten hot out of the oven.

To all you New Yorkers out there – I hear we are supposed to get a good amount of snow tomorrow. So, bake yourself some oatmeal and enjoy the beauty of the snow!

Here’s what you will need to serve 2 people…


1 cup oats  (I use Scottish Style Porridge Oats)

1 cup blueberries

1 large banana, sliced thin

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup of milk

handful of walnuts, chopped

wheat germ (optional)

flaxseed (optional)

maple syrup (for serving, optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the oats in a medium bowl and add very hot water, just enough to cover the oats.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  The oats will absorb most of the water.

To the bowl of oats add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, milk, maple syrup, bananas and blueberries (flaxseed if you are adding it).  I like to hold back a few blueberries and banana slices and place on top.  Sprinkle the walnuts over the top.

Lightly butter the bottom of a small baking dish (about 7 inches square) and put the oat mixture into the baking dish, smoothing the top and distributing the ingredients evenly.  Add the remaining blueberries and bananas on top.  

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until the edges are bubbling.  

Recipe adapted from various sources.


Skillet Apple Pancake


I am finally back to trying some new recipes and blogging about them.  It turns out that moving, with a toddler around, is a tremendous undertaking.  We are finally somewhat settled and getting into a ‘new normal’.

A few weeks ago we went apple picking and came home with a big bag of delicious Jonagold apples.  My favorite apple is the Honeycrisp and was disappointed when I discovered they were already all picked and gone from the orchard.  I was told to try the Jonagolds, that they were very similar, if not better.  I was not disappointed, they were very good!

So what to do with all these apples??  I always wanted to try a large apple pancake.  I liked the idea of it, prepare everything and then just toss in the oven.  No flipping pancakes and keeping the first batch warm while making the next batches.  Also, the site of this apple pancake reminded me of a pie.  And who wouldn’t like a slice of pie for breakfast?

In my opinion, this apple pancake is a cross between a pancake and a pie.  The texture is not quite as light and fluffy as a pancake, but not as sweet and creamy as a pie.  Since it is not very sweet you don’t feel bad about having this for breakfast. Oh, and right out of the oven, this pancake is impressive.  It’s all puffed and golden.  It will deflate after a few minutes though, so serve this right out of the oven.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love regular pancakes.  But I think during the month of October every year, after apple picking, this will be my pancake of choice.

Here’s what you will need to make one 10 inch apple pancake…


4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

5 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon, plus a pinch

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

confectioners sugar, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar.  Add the apple slices and the pinch of cinnamon and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and the remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Pour batter slowly over the cooked apple mixture.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until golden brown, set in the center and puffed around the edges, about 15 – 20 minutes.  Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from various sources.


Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes


Sometimes it takes a fair amount of motivation to prepare a delicious breakfast in the morning.  I mean, you just woke up.  You are still somewhat groggy.  Who feels like doing a lot of preparation to eat at that hour? (Thanks to Ava that hour for us is 5:30am).  So much easier to just pour yourself a bowl of cereal.  And that’s pretty much what we do around here.  A lot.

But these pancakes?  These pancakes…the thought of them actually help me get out of bed.  Yup.  They are that good.  And even though they are prepared from scratch, they are quick and easy.  And did I mention they were delicious?  And fluffy!  See how fluffy they are?

Although this recipe is for blueberry pancakes don’t be afraid to omit the blueberries if you don’t have them on hand.  The pancakes are just as delicious plain.

Here’s what you will need to make about 10-12 pancakes…


2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup fresh blueberries

2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

grated zest of 1 lemon


Whisk together the  flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss the blueberries with 2 tbsp of the flour mixture and set aside.

Mix together the buttermilk, eggs and lemon zest.  Make a well in the center of the remaining flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture.  Stir together until just combined, leaving some small lumps in the batter.  Fold in the blueberries.

Allow the mixture stand 10 minutes.  You will actually see the mixture ‘grow’ a little bit!

Heat up your griddle or skillet.  Once heated LOWER the flame to medium/low.  Coat with some butter and ladle 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup batter per pancake, depending on how big you like your pancakes.  When small bubbles appear across the surface of the pancakes flip them and continue to cook on the other side.

Serve with your favorite maple syrup.  Enjoy your morning!

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart


Spinach Lasagna Rolls


I have never made lasagna.  Never.  To be honest, I’ve always been a touch intimidated by it.  Seemed to be alot of work, alot of steps, alot of layers.  Just thinking about it exhausted me.  In addition, my mother makes an excellent lasagna so why would I go through all that work when she does it and does it great?

Then along came the lasagna roll.  Yay!  This is much more my speed.  Mainly because it’s relatively quick to prepare and everyone can have their own personal lasagna roll (or two, or three).  It’s certainly not your traditional lasagna but it works in a pinch.  All the familiar flavors are there. And I like to think this version is slightly healthier than a typical super cheesy lasagna.  Afterall, it does have spinach in it, right?

If you already have a favorite tomato sauce on hand you can feasibly prepare this meal on a weeknight.  I usually make a super simple marinara sauce with this anyway, so it’s quick!

The photo above was taken just before the dish was put into the oven.  Even though I have made this several times I never have the time to take a photo once out of the oven and the cheese is all melty – we want to eat it right away!

Here’s what you will need to make approximately 12-14 rolls…


12-14 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled enough so you can handle them

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed, drained well and roughly chopped

2 15-oz containers part skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese (approximately)

tomato sauce

salt  & pepper to taste

olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water cook the lasagna noodles.  Remove each one carefully with tongs and lay on a hand towel lined cookie sheet to cool and dry.

In a large skillet warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Saute garlic cloves for 1 minute.  Add chopped spinach and saute 2-3 minutes.  Remove from skillet and allow to cool slightly.

*If you are making a marinara sauce you can do that now, in the same skillet you just removed the spinach from.  I usually just saute 2-3 cloves of minced garlic in some olive oil with some red pepper flakes, then add two cans of whole peeled tomatoes that I have broken up.  Add salt & pepper and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.*

In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, cooled spinach and salt & pepper.  Mix well.

Pour 2 ladles of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.  Now it’s time to start assembling and rolling…

Place one lasagna noodle on the counter (or on a sheet of parchment on the counter) and spoon approximately 1-2 heaping tablespoon of spinach/cheese mixture onto the noodle.  Spread mixture out over the entire noodle using the spoon and your fingers.  Gently roll the lasagna noodle up and place seam side down in baking dish.  I usually roll each noodle over about 3 1/2 to 4 times.

This is how things should look at this point…


Once all the rolls are placed in the dish, spoon tomato sauce over all the rolls, being somewhat generous.  Lastly, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over each roll.  Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  When serving I like to top each roll with some extra tomato sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Adapted from various sources.


Mexican Chicken Soup


I have been eyeing this recipe for a few years now and never got around to making it.  Until now.  Not sure why it took me so long – maybe because I make many different soups that we love and want to eat all the time.  I am happy to now report that this recipe will also be put into the winter soup rotation.  We really liked it!  If you can get your hands on a pre-made rotisserie chicken, this will be super easy and quick to prepare.  And lately, I’m all about quick and easy preparations.

The main change (addition) I made to the recipe is adding corn.  I just felt that a mexican chicken soup needed corn in it.  Plus, i like the pop of yellow color in here. Oh, and we don’t really add all the extras when serving, but you are free to add some tortillas and sour cream to each bowl when serving. 

Here’s what you will need to serve approximately 6-8 people (one pot of soup)…


1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded

2 medium onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 medium carrots, chopped

3/4 cup frozen corn

4 large garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, low sodium

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, break up with a hand blender or in a food processor

4 jalapenos, seeded and minced (you can leave some seeds for some spice)

1 teaspoon (heaping) ground cumin

1 teaspoon (heaping) ground coriander

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

salt & pepper to taste


Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their juice, jalapenos, cumin, coriander and some salt and pepper to taste.

Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  Add frozen corn and shredded chicken, continue to simmer soup for another 10 minutes.

Add all of the cilantro, mix to combine and ladle into bowls. Yum!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten


Egg Muffins

I am always on the lookout for delicious, individual breakfasts that I can make ahead of time and eat throughout the week.  These little egg muffins are such a great portable meal!  Most important, they are really delicious and very satisfying.  After these cool down I wrap each one in saran wrap and store in the fridge.  They hold up well for a few days and reheat in the microwave perfectly.  I don’t even think my husband heats his up, he just leaves it at room temperature for about an hour or so and then eats it.

I do love the flavor combinations in this particular recipe, however, I have switched things up as well.  Sometimes I use bacon instead of pancetta and fontina cheese instead of gruyere.  On occassion I throw in some mushrooms.  I always use spinach though…great way to get in some greens!  Really you can include anything you like, anything you have leftover.

By the way, don’t these egg muffins look pretty, all puffed up and gorgeous?  Well, they only look like this for about 26 seconds, then they deflate.  So if you want to impress someone be sure to show them your handy work the second you pull these out of the oven!


Here’s what you will need to make 4 muffins…

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces sliced pancetta (about 1/4 inch thick), diced into 1/2-inch pieces

2 shallots, chopped

1-2 slices country-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

7 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature

2 packed cups chopped spinach

1/2 cups grated gruyere (6 ounces)

1/3 cup milk, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta using a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly. Add the shallots and cook over medium-high heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cooked pancetta, bread, eggs, gruyere, milk and shallot and spinach mixture until all the ingredients are moistened.

Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, filling each 3/4 full. Place the ramekins on a small baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 25 – 35 minutes.

Allow time to cool before you turn them over and pop out the muffins.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Giada


Frozen Banana Bon Bons

I would like to introduce you to my new obsession…frozen banana bites coated in chocolate.  You cannot imagine how good these are.

I meant to post these treats two years ago.  Yup, TWO years ago.  Pathetic.  We usually have these in the summer and it seems the summer flies by in the blink of an eye and I neglect to post this year after year.  And again this summer zipped on by and here I am on Labor Day weekend finally getting around to it.  Oiy.

Anyway, back to the goodies.  Thick slices of banana coated in dark chocolate and then frozen for a few hours.  The banana becomes similar to ice cream, you would think you are eating banana ice cream!  In this photo above (2 years old) I topped each banana with chopped nuts.  Lately I have not been using the nuts, just leaving them a little naked and they are equally outstanding.  I simply don’t have time for that extra step anymore.

If you like banana and you like chocolate and you love having a cold treat on a hot day I guarantee you will absolutely love these.  And since the summer is coming to a close please give these a try soon.  You won’t regret it.

Here’s what you will need…

1 Banana, not too ripe (preferably cool from the fridge)

4 oz melted chocolate ( I use 60% or 70% cacao)

chopped nuts (optional)

2 forks

cookie sheet

parchment paper


Remove banana from fridge, peel and remove any of those stringy things on the sides.  Cut the banana into large chunks (about 1/2 inch thick).  Taking one piece of banana at a time, drop it into the bowl of chocolate and with the forks turn the banana over a few times to coat (don’t prick the banana).  Pick the banana up using the flat side of one fork and gently tap it against the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.  (If you are using the nuts you would put them on the top now).  Lay the banana bite on the cookie sheet.

Continue with all the banana pieces and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours.  Once they are frozen you can put them in a ziplock back and keep them stored in the freezer.

Hurry up and make these – the summer’s almost over!

*The banana does end up making the chocolate a bit mealy after the 8th or 9th piece.  If you want to make more just clean out that chocolate and start over with a new 4 oz bar.


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