Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans

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Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

Green Beans are one of my absolute FAVORITE vegetables! I can eat them raw, steamed, fried and one of my personal favorites, oven roasted. I had never oven roasted green beans before until a friend of mine mentioned how much she loved her Mom's roasted green beans. She was missing home so I thought I'd whip up my own rendition of Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans. If your in a pinch and looking for a healthy side option (or in my case a main meal:), this recipe is for you. It's made all in one pan and an easy clean up. I hope you enjoy! 

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

2 pounds French green beans, washed and trimmed (I used French green beans so no trimming is required)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic, fresh or jarred

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

On the cookie sheet, place green beans. Pour olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic over top of the green beans. Stir to coat with either a spoon or your hands.

Bake green beans for 15 mins. Stir and place back in the oven for an additional 10 mins.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Holy Guacamole!

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Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

I never used to be a guacamole fan seeing that I could never eat raw tomatoes. A few of my friends were not fans either since they couldn't eat raw onions. Seeing that avocados are so good for you, I felt like we were missing out on a healthy snack alternative. So one Pina Colada Girls Night, I decided to lose the tomato and the onion but not lose in the flavor department. TAH DAH! Holy Guacamole was born. Packed full of spices and fresh cilantro this guacamole has become a staple in my house and frequently requested among my friends, even the tomato/onion loving ones:) Delicioso!

Happy Cooking!

 

Yields 4-5 Cups

Recipe:

6 fresh avocados, skin removed, pitted and diced

Juice of 1 Lime

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Garnish with Paprika, Spring of Cilantro and a Slice of Lime

 

Slice the avocado open vertically. Using a towel to cover your hand, remove the pit. Using just the tip of the knife, slice into the avocado flesh, making sure to not pierce the skin. Follow the natural curve of the avocado using the tip of the knife. Repeat until you have cut through the entire avocado vertical and horizontal, to make cubes. 

Gently work a spoon between the flesh and the skin of the avocado. Following the curve of the avocado with the side of the spoon.

Place your cubed avocado into a large bowl. Add the lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. With a fork, mash together the avocado and the spices to desired consistency. 

Add the fresh cilantro and mix well. Garish with a lime slice, paprika for color and sprig of cilantro. Serve with a side of your favorite chips.

Enjoy!

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Sweet Corn Waffles

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Sweet Corn Waffles

Sweet Corn Waffles

Note from the Girl in the Apron:

Since I can remember my Mom has been making my family and I her famous Corn Pancakes. This is a tradition from my Mom’s childhood that she has passed along to us. We always have a can Creamed Corn in the pantry for those impromptu breakfast moments. So I came up with a variation of my Mom’s classic…. Introducing Corn Waffles. It’s a quick and easy recipe that mixes up the breakfast routine and will become an instant favorite. Top these pancakes with fresh blueberries or strawberries, butter or your favorite maple syrup.

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

Yields: 7 - 6in waffles

 

Batter:

    1 3/4 C. sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

    3 t. baking powder

    2 eggs

    1 3/4 C. milk

    1/2 C. vegetable or canola oil

    1 can (14.75 oz) Sweet Corn Cream Style (I use Del Monte)

    Cooking Spray

 

Directions:

Preheat waffle iron. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the milk. Using this same process, add the eggs, oil and creamed corn. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

Spray waffle iron well with cooking spray.

Using a large ladle, spoon batter (depending on iron, I used about 3/4-1C. batter) onto hot iron. Before closing lid, let batter sit on bottom of iron for 30 seconds before closing the lid. This helps with the batter leaking out the sides. Close lid and cook for 2-3 mins. Remove cooked waffle and repeat process. 

When finished, top with your favorite additions and ENJOY!

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Streusel Topped Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

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Streusel Topped Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

Streusel Topped Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

Whether it’s a last minute Sunday get together or an early morning breakfast meeting, these sweet muffins are the tastiest treat. With a zing from the fresh lemon to the pop of flavor from the fresh blueberries, this recipe will be an instant crowd favorite. These Blueberry Breakfast Muffins can be made in a flash, just remember to set some butter aside and let soften to room temperature.

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

Yields: 24 Muffins

 

Muffins:

    12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

    1 cup sugar 

    3 eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Zest of 1 lemon

    Juice of 1 lemon

    8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream

    1/4 milk

    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    2 pints (4 cups) fresh blueberries

 

Streusel Topping:

 

    1/2 cup all purpose flour

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    4 tablespoons butter, softened

 

 

Directions-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 24 paper liners in muffin pans. Kitchen Tip: If using non-stick muffin pans, spray the top of the pan with cooking spray before lining with muffin liners. This will ensure easy clean up and no stick muffin tops.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. The butter sugar mixture will be significantly lighter in color.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and milk. Mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together with a whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. The whisk will remove any unwanted clumps without using that pesky sifter. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in increments to the batter and beat until just mixed (about 30-45 seconds).

Fold in the blueberries with a spatula gently and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

In a separate bowl, stir 1/2 cup flour, the brown sugar and cinnamon to make the streusel topping. Cut in butter, using a fork, until mixture is crumbly; set aside.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just to the top of the liner. To ensure a consistent muffin each time, use a #20 Cookie Dough Scoop or a 2oz Ice Cream Scoop (appox. 1/4 cup). Sprinkle each muffin with streusel topping. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean.

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M&M Cookies

M&M Cookies

M&M©  Cookies

Note from the Girl in the Apron:

One of my dearest friends adores M&Ms; she can never get enough of them. So when her birthday rolls around, M&M Cookies must make a sweet treat appearance. This recipe is so easy to whip up. Whether you’re hosting an after-school get together for your kids or a wine night with your girlfriends, this recipe will always be a crowd favorite. You can easily make these cookies in less than 30 mins. Have fun with them and use any variety of your favorite M&M candy!

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

1 cup shortening

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached if you have it)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&M's© ), reserve 1/2 cup for decoration

 

In a large bowl, whip shortening, brown sugar and white sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 mins. Add eggs one at a time. Be sure to scrape down your bowl. Mix in extracts. Add flour and baking soda to butter mixture. Blend well. 

Gently fold in 1 cup chocolate candy. 

Drop dough by teaspoonful onto parchment lined baking sheet. Smooth the edges and lightly flatten the tops of the dough. Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining 1/2 cup candies. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Very Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Very Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Very Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

This is a recipe my family and I enjoy often. The ingredients (especially the veggies) in this soup are easy to find at any grocery store or local market. This soup has a large margin for improvisation. Substitute any of the vegetables with you or your families favorites veggies. If Swiss Chard isn't available or in season, Fresh Spinach is a great alternative. It’s a quick recipe to assemble and enjoy for many days. I try to purchased low sodium or no sodium Vegetable Broth if possible. This recipe could be substituted with a Chicken Broth as well. I always like to garnish my Minestrone Soup with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese. I hope you enjoy this family favorite!

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Cups Onions, diced

2 Cups Fennel Bulb, diced

1 Cup Celery, diced

1 Cup Carrot, diced

4 Garlic Cloves, smashed and skin removed

1 Cup Zucchini, sliced in half moon

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 Can (15 oz) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can (15 oz) Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

3 (32 oz) Containers Vegetable Broth (Preferably Low Sodium or No Sodium)

1 Can (14.5 Oz) Diced Tomatoes in Juice

1 Tablespoon (Or 1 Cube) Vegetable Bouillon,

8 Cups Fresh Swiss Chard, de-ribbed and sliced

1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Sweat onion, fennel, celery, carrot, and garlic in 3 T. olive oil in a large pot over medium- high heat; sauce for about 4-5 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Season vegetables with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Add canned tomatoes and canned beans. Stir in broth and vegetable bouillon.

Using kitchen twine, tie together 10 sprigs of fresh thyme; add thyme to pan.

Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1- 1 1/2 hours. Remove thyme.

Add swiss chard and parmesan cheese. Allow to simmer for 4-5 mins. Serve and garnish with Parmesan Cheese. Enjoy!

 

Cleaning and Cutting Swiss Chard:

 

Mac-Avoy Mac and Cheese

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Mac-Avoy Mac and Cheese

Mac-Avoy Mac and Cheese

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

I joke with my friends saying half of my diet is Mac and Cheese. All jokes aside (Because it’s the truth!), I take my Mac pretty seriously. This recipe is my absolute favorite. The combination of flavorful spices makes for a melt in your mouth Mac and Cheese. This recipe can be made healthy (if you're watching the girlish figure!) by substituting your macaroni for whole grain, wheat or gluten free. You can also use low-fat milk, low-fat cheese and omit the butter. I love making this recipe for backyard BBQ’s or just a night in the with family! All your Mac and Cheese dreams will come true after your first mouth watering bite, promise!

Happy Cooking!

 

Recipe:

2 Lbs. Elbow Macaroni 

4 Cups Milk

2 tsp Onion Powder

1 tsp Dry Mustard

1/2 tsp Paprika

2 Bay Leaves

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

2 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2 T. Cornstarch

1/2 Cup Milk

16 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese

4 T. Unsalted Butter

1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package for al dente pasta.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. In a large saucepan, combine 4 Cups of milk with the onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, bay leaves, garlic powder, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Place the mixture over medium heat, and cook until it comes to a gentle simmer. Stir constantly to prevent sticking.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine. Return the sauce to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should become slightly thick.  

Remove the saucepan from the heat, discard the bay leaves and add the shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted. Add the butter to the cheese mixture and stir until melted and completely combined.

Drain the macaroni and pour into the cheese mixture. Stir everything to coat. Pour the coated macaroni into a greased 13x9 casserole dish. Sprinkle top with grated cheese. Broil on high heat for 4-7 minutes; until golden brown. Serve and Enjoy!

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Honey Butter and Thyme Cornbread

Honey Butter and Thyme Cornbread

Honey Butter and Thyme Cornbread

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

Living in Nashville, Cornbread is the staple. Cornbread is a hard bread to master, but this recipe is foolproof. Your home will smell like browned buttery goodness and fresh picked thyme. Buttermilk keeps the cornbread from drying out and causing your family to choke on edible saw dust and the Honey gives it that oh so delightful sweet flavor. Don’t have buttermilk lying around at home, have no fear, make your own. Combine 1 Cup of Buttermilk with 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, let sit for 5-10 minutes (the milk will curdle, do not fear!) and you have yourself some DIY Buttermilk. Serve this Cornbread family style right out of the pan topped with a Honey Butter Glaze! Mmm Mmm Mmm!!

Happy Cooking!

Recipe:

12 T. Unsalted Butter

12 Springs Fresh Thyme

2 Cups All Purpose Flour 

4 Cups Plain Yellow Cornmeal

2 Tbsp Baking Powder

1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme

1/2 T. Salt

1/2 T. Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Cup Honey

4 Cups Buttermilk

4 Eggs

2 T. Honey

4 T. Melted Butter

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add thyme sprigs. Cook until butter starts to brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, thyme leaves, baking powder, salt, and pepper. 

Discard thyme from butter mixture. Add buttermilk, eggs, and honey to melted butter; whisk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient; add buttermilk mixture (Be sure to scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan!), stirring until combined. Pour batter into a greased 13x9 casserole dish.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35minutes. Remove cornbread from oven, while hot, brush 2 T. Honey and 4 T. Melted Butter on top of cornbread. Enjoy! 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Note from The Girl in The Apron:

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese is one of my favorite combinations. It takes me back to my childhood instantly. A classic snack my mother would make my sister and I growing up. When spring time and summer make their grand entrance, fresh tomatoes and basil are at their peak! What better way to take advantage of their arrival than with a Homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. This is still that childhood classic with a polished, garden fresh flair. This recipe is so quick and easy; it tastes like summer! The Vegetable Stock can be substituted with Chicken Stock or even water if you don't have stock on hand. Be sure to flavor your water well with seasoning or bouillon. Pair your delicious homemade soup with a Mozzarella and Basil Pesto Panini on the side and you have a fancy-licious meal that’s easy on the wallet. 

Kitchen Tip: I prefer to buy the tomatoes on the vine, I find them to be fresher and sweeter; but when shopping for tomatoes, shop by color. Redder is Better:) Don’t forget to remove the stickers before you wash and cut your tomatoes!

Happy Cooking!

Recipe:

5 Lbs Fresh Tomatoes, stemmed and quartered 

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

Salt and Ground Black Pepper

6 Garlic Cloves, smashed and de-skinned

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Cup Yellow Onion, diced

1/2 t. Kosher Salt 

2 t. Sugar

2 Cups Vegetable Stock, store bought or homemade

1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, ripped

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

 

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees.

Toss tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a greased casserole dish and roast for about 40 minutes, or until very soft. 

Sauté onion in 2 T. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until tender, 5-7 minutes. Add salt and sugar. Pour in stock, roasted tomato mixture and fresh basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, 10 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or emulsion blender until smooth. 

Finish soup with cream and garnish each serving with a basil sprig. Enjoy!