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I'm a runner with a baking habit.  I'm constantly on the lookout for awesome desserts, freezer friendly recipes to pack in the lunchbox, and quick dinner ideas.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Breakfast Potatoes

Once upon a time, a special someone took me to an Irish pub.  Two plates landed on our table: Shepherd's Pie for him and a boxty for me.  I took a first bite of the potato pancake and felt the earth move.  I traded bites with my special someone and was lost in the bliss of mashed potatoes.  And then came a voice in my head, clear and unmistakable.  It said, "you don't eat enough potatoes."

I heeded the voice and set about getting more potatoes into my diet.  Along the way, I tried Budget Bytes's Country Breakfast Bowls, and found the backbone of this recipe: crispy potatoes that can be kept in the freezer and ready to go at a moment's notice. 

(Inspired by Budget Bytes)
Yield: 6 servings
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder to taste


First, let's talk quantity.  The source recipe calls for three pounds of potatoes, which is just the right amount for me to make ahead and get eaten within standard freezer storage time (3 months?)  I really like Yukon Gold potatoes, which are sold in five pound bags, and happen to have a way to use two pounds of potatoes (see above hint about Shepherd's Pie, recipe coming soon).  But feel free to adjust the quantity based on the amount of potatoes you have on hand.

Preheat the oven to 400° F and scrub the spuds.

Dice into bite size pieces.

Place in a large, sealable container, working in batches if needed (three pounds of potatoes = two batches in my world).  Add a dash of olive oil (the tiniest drop will do) and shake to coat.

Follow up with seasonings.  I use a touch of pepper and garlic powder, a reasonable amount of salt, and a heck of a lot of onion powder.  Shake again until the potatoes are coated.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the spuds out.  Bake for one hour, stirring half way through.

The spuds will be golden brown and begging to be eaten.

 Allow to cool before filling your plate.

When completely cool, store the leftovers and place in the freezer.

To reheat the frozen spuds, simply microwave until heated, somewhere around 90 seconds - 2 minutes. 

 As for what to do with the spuds, here are a few ideas.  Option #1: top with scrambled eggs and cheese.

Option#2: make the eggs over easy and dip the spuds in the yolks.

 The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Burrito Bowls

This recipe is healthy.  Vegetarian, could even be vegan depending on the toppings.  It gives you a ton of food for very little effort, a perfect make ahead lunch for the work week.  It's cheap, heck this is straight up rice and beans. 
And it is delicious.

(Recipe adapted from Woman's Day)

For the salad:
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (from ¾ cup uncooked brown rice)
  • 1 can black beans
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots or red onion
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • romaine lettuce
For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Salsa

Begin by cooking the rice according to your favorite method, which for me is the microwave.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Drain and rinse the beans.  Now I like things spicy, so I like to add in a little ghost pepper sauce, but this is totally optional.

Slice into a shallot or onion...

...and dice finely.

Halve the tomatoes.

Slice the cilantro into fine pieces.

Juice the limes.

Mix the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper together for the dressing.

Now throw everything together.  First beans into rice...

Then the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and dressing.  Mix well.

Line a salad bowl with romaine.

Top with a hearty serving of the rice and beans, and you will be faced with something that is far too healthy to eat.  So add in some fun stuff to remind you not to take life too seriously.  I like a sprinkling of cheese and avocado.

And eat it up.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bourbon Cake

Between finishing grad school and a busy summer, I've been taking life too seriously.  All work, no play.  On New Year's Eve, I took a step toward having fun again.  Baking for the shear joy of baking. With booze. 

All of the ingredients are kitchen staples, so I was able to dive right in and bake.  By magic, my bourbon bottle had ⅔ cup left in it, exactly the amount needed for the recipe.

(Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)
  • Cake:
    • 3½ cups cake flour
    • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
    • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt
    • 1¼ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1¾ cups sugar
    • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • ⅓ cup bourbon
    • 1¼ cups buttermilk (I used 5 tablespoons powdered buttermilk and 1¼ cups water)
  • Glaze:
    • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ⅓ cup bourbon

I started by greasing and flouring a bundt pan.  Preheat the oven to 350° F.

And then I took care of the boring part, which was measuring out the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and powered buttermilk and whisking together.

Now it was time to have some fun.  Combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium until well combined and fluffy.

There was something about the sight of five eggs that made me giddy.  I had forgotten how much I love baking.  Add them one at a time, beating between additions.  I cannot stress enough that it is a really good idea to crack the eggs into a bowl before adding to the batter.

Combine the bourbon and buttermilk (since I used powdered buttermilk, my combination was bourbon and water).  Alternate three batches of the flour mixture with two batches of the bourbon mixture. 

Beat only enough to incorporate all of the flour, and mix the last batch of flour in with a spatula. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (until a tester comes out clean).

Toward the end of the baking time, prepare the glaze.

Heat the bourbon, sugar, and butter, whisking until combined.  Remove from heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and set a on wire rack.  Poke it mercilessly to create holes for the glaze to seep through.  More holes=more alcohol in the cake.

Slowly pour in ¾ of the glaze, adding more holes if needed.  Let the cake sit for 30 minutes to allow the glaze to seep deeply into the cake.

Place the serving plate over the top of the pan, and flip to remove the cake.

The glaze may cool and thicken, so you may need to microwave it for 30 seconds or so to loosen it.

Brush it lavishly and lovingly over the cake.

And start the new year off right!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baked Ziti

Once upon a time, a friend gave a dinner party and served a baked pasta dish full of sausage, cheese, and just a little bit of tomato sauce.  It was heavenly, and I sought out my own version.  I started with Muir Glen's baked ziti, which has all of the above plus zucchini, but completely changed the recipe, doubling and halving ingredients until it resembled the meal I was craving.  Unfortunately I never got around to writing down the changes, so I had to reinvent the wheel every time I made it.  One of the side benefits to a food blog is that it has your exact recipe revisions, but not until you get around to posting the recipe.

So better late than never, here is the final draft of my baked ziti recipe.  In addition to being an excellent candidate for dinner, this recipe freezes well and is a frequent player in the lunchbox freezer leftovers rotation.

The final incentive to get this recipe on the blog was the arrival of this monster, which is obviously too much squash for any one recipe to handle.  Half of it went into a batch of lunchbox enchiladas, and the other half joined up with some pasta.

Recipe heavily adapted from Muir Glen
Yield: 8 servings

8 oz pasta
1 lb Italian sausage
½ small onion
2 cloves garlic
2 medium zucchini (or half of a monster zucchini)
8 oz tomato sauce
14.5 oz crushed tomatoes
1½ cups mozzarella/provolone mix, divided
Red pepper flakes, to taste


Begin by slaying the beast.  If you're using an overgrown zucchini, remove the large seeds and plan on a little extra cooking time. 

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Cook the sausage, onion, and garlic on medium until the sausage is cooked.  At this point, start cooking the pasta and preheat the oven to 350°.

Add the zucchini and a pinch of salt.  Cover the pot, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is soft, about five minutes.

Add in the tomatoes and oregano, and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened.

Stir in the pasta.

Stir in a cup of the cheese.  Season with red pepper flakes if desired.

 Transfer to an 8"x8" baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Cover with foil (or this handy dandy foil-on-one-side-parchment-paper-on-the-other deal so that the cheese doesn't stick) and tuck into the oven for 20 minutes. 

Remove foil and bake uncovered for five more minutes or until the cheese is browned to your liking.

And eat it up.