Paleo Almond Cookies

Greetings, friends! Lucky for me, Hubby has cooked most of our meals recently, so I have fewer experiments to post about! I did try a new cookie recipe a few days ago, though, and wanted to share it. It is from Take Back the Kitchen, and the cookies are “paleo” because they follow the paleo or “caveman” diet. As such, they are gluten-free and milk-free. They have one egg, but for anyone that can’t eat eggs I am sure a substitute would work well. I hope you enjoy them!

As a side note, please MEASURE CAREFULLY. I did not, and the cookies I made needed a bit less of what I put too much of (almond butter), and a little more of what I didn’t add enough of (honey). Also, these cookies did NOT spread well, so shape them if you want them to look round and pretty (I neglected to do this). Since my cookies turned out really almond butter-y, I used them as breakfast cookies, or topped them with a little extra honey for an afternoon protein pick-me-up. Yummmm.

Amazing Paleo Almond Cookies
Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 c. almond butter
1/4 c. honey
1 egg
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk. Drop tablespoon-sized balls onto a cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, or until just slightly firm. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cookie rack.

paleo almond cookies
Cooling. I probably should have shaped them better,
but I am used to cookies that spread out and end up round!

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Pear Dessert from a Friend

My friend recently made this delicious pear dessert. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Old-Fashioned Pear Dessert

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
45 minutes

Ingredients:
2 1/4 c. flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. plus 5 T. sugar
4 T. cornstarch, divided
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. water
4 T. lemon juice
14 T. unsalted butter
1 t. vanilla
5 c. chopped peeled ripe pears

Directions:
Combine the flour, 3 T. sugar, and 3/4 t. salt. Cut up 12 T. of the butter into cubes and cut in the mixture until crumbly. Whisk the egg yolks with 1 1/2 T. of lemon juice in a separate bowl, then add to crumbly mixture using a fork. Remove one cup of the resulting mixture and stir in 2 more T. of sugar into that. Set aside for the topping. Press remaining crumbly mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 by 8 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned, then remove from the oven and set aside.

For the filling, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon, 2 T. cornstarch, and 1/2 t. salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the water and remaining 2 1/2 T. lemon juice and stir until smooth. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and the remaining 2 T. butter, stirring until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, toss the pears with the remaining 2 T. cornstarch and spoon over the slightly cooked crust. Next, add the filling, and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or until filling is bubbly and top is lightly browned.

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Risotto

Hubby isn’t a big fan of risotto, but I love making it as a smooth, comforting side dish for myself. It is so easy to turn into a full meal, but I usually don’t do that because hubby wouldn’t like it. I also love that you can add almost any green vegetable to it. My favorite is asparagus. But for now I thought I would post my basic recipe that serves 2. My recipe is inspired by this one.

Risotto

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (can be diluted with water)
1 small onion, chopped into small pieces
3 T. unsalted butter
1 T. vegetable oil
1/8-1/4 c. parmesan cheese
parsley and salt to taste

Directions:
Warm up the stock in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil and 1 T. of butter over medium heat, then saute the onion until it is translucent (be careful to always have some oil and butter on the bottom. If you chose a big saucepan add some extra butter or oil to keep the onion moist). Next, add the rice and saute until you can smell the aroma of the rice (don’t let the rice turn brown, so if necessary, add more butter). Next, add the stock. Cook the rice on medium-low, stirring often. Once the liquid is mostly cooked off or thickened and the risotto turns smooth and soft, taste it and see if it is done to the desired consistency. If so, add the cheese, parsley and salt, and serve immediately.

This is one of my favorite dishes, and I’m so glad I found an easy recipe for it. Feel free to add other things besides onion: meat, veggies, shrimp, even different spices than parsley. The parmesan can also be removed if you want to make a tomato or turmeric risotto. Let me know if you want any recommendations on good risottos. Enjoy!

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Homemade Applesauce

This time of year you might have a few extra apples lying around. If you’d like to try making some applesauce, I love these two recipes. One is for simple applesauce and the other is for spicy applesauce. The cooking process is the same. Sometimes I process and can the applesauce so I can store it on the shelf, but if you only have 6-10 apples you can probably keep the 1 or 2 jars you’ll get right in the fridge and eat them over the next few weeks. They go great with many dinner entrees.

Homemade Applesauce

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
90 minutes

Ingredients for Simple Applesauce:
apples
white sugar
water
cinnamon
Ingredients for Spicy Applesauce:
apples
white sugar

lemon juice
lemon peel
cinnamon
brown sugar
cloves
cinnamon apple extract (optional)

Directions:
Peel and core the apples and cut them into small pieces, removing any rotting spots. Put the apples in a large saucepan, turn the heat to medium-low or low, and add the remaining ingredients. For the simple recipe, for every 4 apples, add 3/4 c. water, 1/4 c. white sugar, and 1/2 t. cinnamon. For the spicy recipe, for every 4 apples, add 3-4 T. lemon juice, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. white sugar, and as much lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves and cinnamon apple extract as you wish. The more spices you add, the more spicy the applesauce. Cover the apples and continue to cook. As the applesauce cooks, try the apples and adjust the flavor as necessary.
Stir constantly and do not raise the heat too high.

Cooking the apples.

 
It will take a long time for the apples to cook down to the right texture for good applesauce. You might be surprised how much the apples cook down.


Almost done!

When the apples are done, process them in a hot-water bath to can them or put them in the fridge and consume over the next few weeks.

I used about 8 apples and filled 2 pint-sized jars. As a side note, sugar is necessary if you are canning fruit. If you eliminate too much of the sugar you can lose your seal or get mold growing in your fruit. If you want to make a low-sugar variant of this recipe, consult a known recipe for the appropriate substitutes and proportions.

Canned products make great gifts!

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Special Cooking Oils

Hubby recently stumbled on some delicious specialty cooking oils. One day he pulled out the rosemary oil and poured it into a pan and fried up some chicken. He added some pasta and some peas, and voila, he had made a completely new dinner. Yum!

Rosemary Chicken

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
30 minutes

Ingredients:
garlic and rosemary oil
chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
farfalle pasta
peas
garlic salt
rosemary
black pepper
olive oil

Directions:
Saute chicken in a generous serving of the rosemary and garlic oil until fully cooked. Cook the pasta and the peas and drain. Drain the remaining oil from the cooked chicken. Combine the pasta, peas, and chicken, then add some garlic salt, some rosemary and lots of black pepper. Finally, add just enough olive oil to moisten the chicken a bit. Serve immediately.

I love it when hubby starts making up recipes 🙂

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Salmon Quiche

I had a little bit of canned salmon and a lot of eggs to use up, so I used this recipe for the filling, and this recipe for the crust, and it turned out great. Hubby didn’t like it as much as I did, because he doesn’t like the texture of quiche, but even he agreed that it smelled delicious, and the company we had over loved it. I will definitely make it again. I chose to make the crust by hand because I don’t like store-bought crusts. I think it made the recipe even better.
Salmon Quiche

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
1 hour

Ingredients:
1 c. flour
5 T. butter
3 T. shortening
1/4 c. milk
16 oz. salmon
1 small yellow or white onion
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. parsley
6 eggs
1 3/4 c. milk
salt and pepper

Directions:
Mix the flour and shortening with 2 T. butter, 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 c. milk. Work into a pie crust, roll out flat in flour, and transfer to a pie dish. Fold the edges and poke a few holes in the crust with a fork to prevent shrinkage. Put the crust in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the onion into small pieces and mix all remaining ingredients. When the crust is ready, remove it from the oven, add the filling, and return it to the oven for at least 45-50 minutes. The filling is done when an inserted knife comes out clean and the egg looks entirely cooked. Once removed from the oven, the quiche needs a few minutes to set before being served.

 

I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures – this got eaten up before I had the chance!

As a side note, don’t be afraid to cook this quiche a little longer than the recommended time. If you keep cooking it to make sure the inside is not runny, check it often. Try not to open the door too much though, or it will take even longer to cook.

Also, I used both leftover smoked salmon and canned salmon for this recipe. Either works. Finally, BE CAREFUL  to choose a big pan for this. I used a 10-inch pie pan. This recipe makes a lot of filling and it will create quite a mess in your oven if it runs over.

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Chicken Saltimbocca

Hubby and I eat chicken a lot, since I’m in graduate school and we’re a little down on money, so one day he brought me “The Ultimate Chicken Cookbook,” which was actually a magazine. In it he found “Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca.” We didn’t have any proscuitto, but we did have a lot of bacon, so we decided to experiment…

Chicken Saltimbocca

Preparation:
none

Approximate Cooking Time:
1 hour

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
4-8 pieces of bacon
sage
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
2-4 T. lemon juice, depending on taste
1/2 t. cornstarch

Directions:
Cut the chicken breasts in half so they are about palm-sized. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with a little but of salt, pepper and sage, then wrap bacon around them. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken in the pan on medium until the chicken is done or close to done.
If the bacon is done but the chicken is not, put the chicken and bacon in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to cook it.

Meanwhile, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice and cornstarch in a separate pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly.


Thickening the lemony sauce.

Add the sauce to the chicken and serve immediately.


Once the lemony sauce has been added.

I learned from the magazine that “saltimbocca” means “jump in the mouth.” That applies pretty well to anything with bacon in this household…

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