Healthy chocolate, coconut overnight oats

This recipe comes from a food blog called ‘Back to her roots” and being a coconut fanatic, that is what first attracted me, then I read the ingredients and fell hook, line and sinker.
Make these in wide mouth mason jars, leave them in the fridge until you have one for breakfast or take one to work. If you want a snack size, make them in a smaller jar.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.32.39 AMMakes one serving

½ cup rolled oats
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk Coconutmilk Almond Breeze
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
⅛ tsp almond extract
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt (important)
Shredded coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate chunks for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well-mixed. The mixture will look liquidy.
Transfer to a serving bowl or jar, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, or preferably, overnight.
Before serving, stir, and top with additional coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate.

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Griddled polenta cakes with caramelized onions, goat cheese and honey

This is a real winner, especially as a starter. Crispy polenta topped with sweet caramelized onions, slightly tangy goat cheese, then the drizzle of good honey.
You can caramelize the onions ahead of time so there’s very little left to do before you serve it. I always caramelize more onion than the recipe says as I love it.

Serves 6

Polenta
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup polenta
Extra virgin olive oil

Topping
1 medium yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices. ( I use 1 large onion at least)
kosher salt
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled  (I have been known to use 4 oz goat cheese, so buy more, just incase)
good honey to drizzle

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring 2 cups water, the milk and the salt to a boil.
Slowly whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat down and continue to whisk for 5 minutes, or until the polenta is smooth and creamy. Spread the polenta into a 9” square baking dish and set aside to cool.

For the topping;
While the polenta is setting up, add the butter and olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet set over medium low heat. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, golden and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into another skillet set over medium heat. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles of the firm polenta and place in the hot skillet.
Cook until slightly browned and crusty on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side, another 3 minutes. Work in batches, adding more oil as needed.

To assemble the polenta cakes, arrange them on a plate, top with 1 tbsp (or more) of caramelized onions and about 1 tsp (or more) of crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with honey.

Chicken “Gloria"

There is something about this dish. I always hesitate before putting recipes on my blog with any form of tinned soup in them, but this is just way too good not to and it’s “gloriously” delicious and comforting.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and filleted in half lengthways
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 8oz container of fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sherry
1 small can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup whole milk
6 slices of Muenster cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, dredge lightly in flour to coat both sisdes. Shake off the excess.
Add oil to a frying pan and brown the chicken in batches on both sides. You don’t need to cook the chicken completely. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Transfer the chicken to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Add the butter to the frying pan and let it melt over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and brown them until golden. Then add the sherry and cook for another minutes or two.
Add the creamy mushroom soup and milk and mix well.

Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top each piece of chicken with one slice of Muenster cheese. You can fold the cheese in half if it is too wide for the breast.

Place the chicken back in the oven, uncovered and broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
Remove from the oven, top with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Blueberry and brioche brunch bake

Another fab Holiday brunch dish prepared the night before. This one oozing with sweet blueberries then covered in a warm blueberry sauce for good measure.

Makes 6 servings

For the breakfast casserole

4 brioche (about 14 oz in all)  or 8 x 1” thick slices of brioche or other white bread, cubed
1/4 lb cream cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 tbsp grated orange zest
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the blueberry sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 12 x 9 x 2 (approx) baking dish

Arrange half the brioche slices or cubes in the bottom. Scatter the cream cheese cubes, 3/4 of the blueberries and the orange zest over the brioche or bread. Top with the remaining brioche or bread cubes.

In a bowl, stir the eggs, milk and maple syrup to blend. Pour this egg mixture evenly over the entire casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Remove the casserole from the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it.
Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until puffed and golden, about another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry sauce;

In a large saucepan, blend the sugar and cornstarch, then stir in the water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils, thickens, and becomes clear, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the blueberries. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the blueberries burst, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice and keep warm until the casserole is done.

Cut the baked casserole into 6 squares, and transfer to plates. Pour abut 1/4 cup blueberry sauce over each portion and serve hot.

 

 

Spicy, sticky baked Native Indian Pudding

Sticky, gooey, spicy and easy pudding. It’s a must!

Makes 12 servings   (you can halve the recipe if you like, but you won’t want to )

2 quarts milk
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/3 tsp ginger
2 cups molasses
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole eggs
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring 2 quarts of milk to a boil in a heavy pan.
Add the cornmeal to the milk and blend with a wire whisk until it thickens.
Add the molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and bring to the boil, whisking.
In a separate container, blend the 2 1/2 cups of milk and eggs together and add the hot mixture to it and stir.
Place in a buttered and sugared casserole.
Bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 1 hour.
Test the pudding with a knife for doneness.
Let stand and then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Creamy cauliflower garlic rice

This is delicious, unctious and creamy!

6 to 8 cups chopped cauliflower
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth plus 2 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp butter
6 to 8 cloves minced garlic
1/2 to 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese for topping (more to taste)

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and boil for 10 minutes or until tender, then transfer the cauliflower to the blender or food processor.

Puree the cauliflower adding milk or broth to get a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with salt, pour over the cooked rice and stir to combine.

In a large nonstick skillet melt the butter over low heat and add the garlic, sauteing until the garlic is very frangrant. Watch it doesn’t burn!. Should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the creamy rice mixture and stir until the butter/garlic mixture is well incorporated.
Add cheese on top or stir it through the rice to get it melted.
season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Pancetta and Gruyere cheese breakfast casserole

I have a weakness for these “cold weather” Sunday family breakfasts! They are so comforting and tasty especially with our fire on in the kitchen, steaming hot coffee, laptops and newspapers strewn around.
This is great because you can prepare it the night before, refrigerate and throw in the oven when you get up in the morning. The family will awaken to the smell of baking cheese and pancetta!!
It’s important to mark a weekend with something different!

Serves 4 to 6

4 cups day-old egg enriched bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2lb thickly sliced pancetta, diced
6 large eggs
1&1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder (I use Colmans)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped cup freshly grated gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)

Grease an 8 inch square baking dish and spread the cubed bread in the bottom.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium to low heat.
Add the onions, salt and sugar.
Saute until they are lightly caramelized, a golden brown color, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another heavy skillet, heat the other tbsp olive oil over medium heat saute the pancetta until the fat is almost all rendered and it begins to get crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set on a paper towel to drain.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, thyme and nutmeg.
Season with about 1/4 tsp of the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Spread the pancetta over the bread cubes then layer the onions on top.
Sprinkle the grated gruyere cheese on next then pour the egg mixture over the entire thing.
Press down on the top gently so that all the bread cubes get soaked a bit with the egg mixture.
Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 F and take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating.
Bake, uncovered for 30 to 50 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown.

NB – The baking time will be greatly dependent on the depth of the dish you use.
Check the interior with a knife. if it comes out clean, the bread/custard is baked through.
Cover with foil near the end of cooking is the top is brown enough for your taste.