Herbed Cottage Cheese Biscuits

Everyone is set with their turkey chili, turkey tetrazzini, turkey soup, and turkey so forth, so to go with all your recycled turkey goodies I have some herbed cottage cheese biscuits.

Are you like me?  Do you buy a thing of cottage cheese with the full intent of eating it, and it’s still there, unopened, weeks later?  I’m mortified to tell you exactly how long this container was in my fridge and I peeled back the seal expecting to find a science experiment.  But it was fine.  Now that the seal was broken I had to use it immediately, so to go with my turkey minestrone soup, I made these biscuits.

The first batch I baked at 450 for 12 minutes and they got burned on the bottom and were under-done on the inside.  So the next batch I put into the oven at 450, but then immediately turned the heat down to 425 and baked about 21 minutes.  Still slightly gooey in the middle.  So this is one of those things you might have to fiddle around with.  But they taste great.

By the way, what is it about putting hot biscuits into a towel-lined bowl that makes you feel so goofy?

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Herbed Cottage Cheese Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp dried chives
  • 1 tbsp dried dill weed
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 5 tbsp butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1 16-oz container cottage cheese

Makes about 18 biscuits – some for now, some to freeze.

Preheat oven to 450.  Line baking sheet with parchment or silpat mat, or spray with Pam

In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and herbs

Add butter, and with pastry cutter or two knives, work through the flour until it is in small, pea-size clumps (a food processor also works but I didn’t feel like breaking it out)

Add cottage cheese and mix together until just combined (the dough is not going to make you feel good, it’s sort of a mess, just deal)

With a soupspoon, drop onto baking sheet

Put into oven, turn heat down to 425, bake 20-21 minutes until golden.

Keep warm in towel-lined bowl.

Be goofy.

Pumpkin Chia Muffins

It’s the time of year when you feel like you should be doing something with pumpkin.  This combined with the fact that I suddenly have a teenager in the house who is getting up ten minutes before she has to leave for school and thinking she can just rush out the door with nothing in her stomach and…

(Hand over mouth)…..MOM?!

Anyway, I put the two problems together and searched out a pumpkin breakfast muffin recipe.  I found this one from Dr. Oz’s site and I have made them four times in four weeks.  Right now I have a double batch going, they’re that popular.

These have no end of good things in them, and you can tweak the recipe to get as many good things in there as you like.  The original recipe, doubled, calls for 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour.  But you can make this into 3 cups of virtually any kind of grains or flours.  I mean literally.  Anything.  You might not have the fluffiest, most domed muffins, but I’ve never made the recipe with the same flour twice and it always works and tastes great.  So tonight, for example, my 3 cups are made of:

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup white flour

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

Dr. Oz’s recipe also called for olive oil; I subbed coconut oil because I am an addict.  I also used regular sugar instead of the agave because agave isn’t something I keep around.  You can tweak this to your heart’s content depending on your religious beliefs.

I also added dark chocolate chips because duh.

Pumpkin Chia Muffins

(Single batch recipe below, makes 12 muffins plus an annoying dollop of batter you don’t know what to do with)

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup whole-wheat or whole-grain flour plus 1/2 cup white flour (OR 1 1/2 cups of whatever flours/meals you like)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (ginger!  not the garlic powder!  don’t ask!)
  • 2 tsp baking soda (when using almond meal and flaxseed meal, I throw another 1/2 tsp in)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (16-oz) pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or olive oil, or canola)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar; I made it a scant 1/2 cup because I was using chocolate chips)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (Optional)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another.

Combine dry and wet and stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 25-30 minutes until tester comes out dry.

Serve as they’re flying out the door to the bus stop.

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Sweet Potato Muffins with Two Toppings

I made these to 1) continue on the breakfast muffin kick and 2) use up the one sweet potato I had left after making the sweet potato and black rice dish. The orginal recipe had an oatmeal crumble top, which I was going to make, but then I spied the box of Trader Joe’s “Just the Clusters” Vanilla Almond cereal and thought I could skip a step and make a granola top. This turned out terrific. Really you could sprinkle anything on top of these and it’ll be terrific.

Terrific Sweet Potato Muffins

  • IMG_60251 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato (I peeled and diced one, put it in a pyrex bowl with a cup of water, covered with saran and nuked it for about ten minutes. Drain, cool, and mash. You could also roast it a more savory, intense flavor)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or any vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Crumble Top

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400. You’ll turn it down when the muffins go in. This is a new method for me – the blast of hot air at the beginning of baking makes the muffin tops rise high. Who knew?

Mix dry ingredients and set aside

Mix wet ingredients. Add to dry and stir until just combined.

Line muffin tin or spray with Pam. Fill cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with crumble top or granola.

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Put pan in oven and turn heat down to 375. Bake 16-18 minutes until golden brown and the kitchen smells of autumn.

Orange Almond Chia Muffins

chiaseedsI think Steve T was the one who first told me about Chia seeds, and then it seemed I was reading about them in every other article about Super Foods.  Chia seeds, yes, as in the seeds you use to grow a Chia pet.  They are, supposedly, amazingly good for you for all kinds of reasons (google for yourself, or read about ten of them here).  They’re also dirt cheap, supposedly, but a while went by without me knowing where to obtain them.

Enter Trader Joe’s.  Yeah, they started carrying chia, and I bought a couple bags and started experimenting with eating them.  First up was a recipe I found in Whole Living for a coconut breakfast pudding.  It’s glorified oatmeal, let’s be honest, which they tart up into a “pudding” by adding sauteed nectarines and such.  You soak oats and chia seeds overnight in almond milk, and then boil up the next day with cinnamon and shredded coconut.  I doubled the recipe and added some dried cranberries to it, skipping the sauteed fruit, and kept the lot in a tupperware in the fridge.  I was surprised when Jeeps and I got a week’s worth of breakfast out of that batch:  let me tell you, those chia seeds EXPAND.  A half cup of this is like Lembas bread.

Next up were muffins, in keeping with the breakfast theme.  Every now and then the kids get Cheerioed out, and ask can they have something else for breakfast, please.  Now you know me, I don’t cook cheefully before noon, so muffins do the trick nicely for everyone.

For a change of pace, these muffins are made with almond meal (also available at Trader Joe’s and Red Mill makes it as well).  Unbeknownst to me, almond meal produces unspeakably good baked goods and I believe these qualify as gluten-free but don’t quote me on that.  Whatever their classification, they are yum – citrusy with a slight crunch from the chia seeds, and as with the pudding, very very filling.  Two with a banana and you are good to go.  One makes a nice snack before bedtime.

Orange Almond Chia Muffins

  • IMG_56623 cups almond meal
  • 6 tbsps chia seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tbsps milk (regular, almond, soy, hemp, whatever you like)
  • 6 tbsps orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tbsps coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • sliced or slivered almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tin or spray with Pam

Mix together all dry ingredients, set aside

Mix together wet ingredients.  Add to dry and stir until just combined

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Top with slivered or sliced almonds if desired.

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Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

These freeze and defrost very well.

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You Vant a Vaffle?

I saw this recipe for ham and cheese waffles while I was reading the March issue of Bon Appetit on the way home from Florida.  I immediately thought of my friend Francie, who introduced me to the concept of waffles and beer for dinner.  This was going to take it to the next level.  I simply had to make and blog these.  For Francie.

Problem is (was) that I don’t personally own a waffle iron and since I’ve lived happily without for so long, I couldn’t justify buying one simply to make one recipe.  So I had to dog-ear and shelve the idea until my mother got home from Florida last month, and then ask to borrow her waffle iron.  And then she had to find it and she had to get it to me, blah blah blah, finally all the stars aligned last night.  Jeeps was in the city.  Redman was content with a scrambled egg.  Panda and I were going to make these waffles for ourselves.

I halved the recipe, as always when trying something new.  And I’ll skip to the happy ending:  I wish I had made the whole recipe because they were AWESOME.  As the magazine piece put it, “pillowy and steaming, studded with crisp bits of ham…cheese for an oozy factor and lacy, crunchy edges…”  Oh very yes and yesser.  I will be keeping Mom’s waffle iron for the summer.

Yet the road to the prize was fraught with danger.  Read on…

Francie’s Ham and Cheese Waffles

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used milk with a little greek yogurt stirred in)
  • 3/4 cup soda water (I assume they mean seltzer water, which I didn’t have, so I used regular water and couldn’t tell that anything was amiss with the resulting waffles)
  • 3-4 slices of ham, diced
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I only had mozzarella on hand)

Preheat your oven to the lowest setting and place a plate on the rack.  This is just your holding tank to keep the made waffles warm.  Unless people are just going to be eating them as they come off the iron, in which case don’t bother.

Heat waffle iron until very hot

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

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form

Whisk the egg yolks, melted butter, butter milk and soda water in a third bowl.  Whisk this into the flour mixture and then fold in the egg whites.

Coat waffle iron with Pam.  Pour batter onto iron, spreading it to edges (my iron needed a scootch more than 1/2 cup of batter)

Sprinkle a rounded tablespoon of ham, and a rounded tablespoon of cheese over batter.  Close lid and cook until golden brown and cooked through.

Now I know you’re excited, but please, don’t peek.  I repeat, DO NOT PEEK AT THE WAFFLE while it is cooking!!

(*ahem*) Stop crying.  Just accept blame, unplug the iron, let it cool down, clean it up and try again. 

Note that while you are picking half-cooked crusty bits out of the nooks and crannies of the iron, your daughter is gobbling up all the edible scraps.  It’s going to be fine.  Try again.  This time, close the lid and leave it.

There you go.  See how nice?

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

And beer.

Die.

Asparagus Ricotta Tart (With Variation)

I’ve long wanted to try this Asparagus Ricotta Tart that I saw on Stacey Snacks.  Look how pretty:

Photo courtesy of Staceysnacksonline.com

But I have held off for two reasons:  first, I had a feeling 50% of the household wouldn’t dig it; second, despite being the season for asparagus I have to say what I’ve seen in the stores looks pretty awful.  Maybe it’s not yet quite the season?

But that box of frozen puff pastry in the freezer is calling me.  I think it’s the concept of the tart that I find so appealing, more than the ingredients.  Can I make this more kid friendly, or at least appeal to 75% of the household?  Forget Redman, he can have a scrambled egg.  Let’s see…

Ricotta Tart with Ham and Peas

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cubed prosciutto or ham
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • zest of a whole lemon
  • salt and pepper

Roll out puff pastry in a tart pan, or lay free-form on a baking sheet.  You can use whole, or cut into individual “tartlets”.

Mix ricotta cheese, egg, zest, salt and pepper.  Spread in the center of puff pastry.  Sprinkle with ham and peas (if you are making an asparagus tart, use pre-blanched spears)

Let cool 5 minutes then slice with a pizza cutter.  This was a total hit.  I took some across the street to my neighbor, and we killed the rest of it, spoiling our dinner.  Redman took no notice of it but Panda had three pieces.  Definitely making this for a party, and with the asparagus.

Beans on Toast

So being in need of comfort, I wanted to see if everything Uma said about baked beans on toast was true.

I had this awesome multi-grain boule which I toasted up.  And I followed directions precisely and used Heinz Vegetarian beans and topped with bits of cheddar cheese.

So was all Uma said true?

In a word:  um, yes.  YES!!  Holy cow, this was delicious!  And the one 8-oz can of beans on one long oval of toast made the perfect size lunch for me.  I might even have this for breakfast.