Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chocolate-Raspberry Surprise Muffins

I love raspberries, and used to just keep them on hand pretty much all the time.  But Yoplait has stopped selling the yogurt that is a necessary ingredient for my favourite dip for them, and the seeds do bother my tummy, so I have had a few times in the last couple years that a package goes bad without me finishing it.  This is another way to use just a few when some are in the fridge.
  • 1 egg white 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted 
  • 1 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam 
  • 2 Tbsp flour 
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa 
  • 1/4 heaping tsp baking powder 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 Tbsp milk 
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate chips 
  • 6-8 fresh raspberries
  • 2 tsp additional cocoa
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 2 liners.
2. In medium bowl, add egg white and sugar and beat until combined. Add jam and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk, then chocolate chips. Pour 1/4th of batter into each muffin liner.  Toss four raspberries with 2 tsp cocoa and place two in each liner gently on top of batter.  Top with remaining batter, covering completely.
3. Bake at 350°F for 16-18min, or until cake is set. Top each muffin with 1-2 raspberries, barely pressing them into place.  Let cool completely.

Robyn's notes: tossing the inner raspberries in cocoa is done to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the liner during baking, without having a clump of white flour in the middle of a lovely brown chocolate muffin.  These are good, and since they went from idea to reality in less than 6 hours, I'm pretty pleased with them.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, November 13, 2015

Raspberry-Glazed Chicken

For several years I found myself regularly running across recipes that called for "seedless raspberry jam", but couldn't find the stuff in any of my local stores.  I've made raspberry jam, but straining out the seeds was a pain, and due to my health problems I should avoid seeds as much as possible, so just substituting regular jam didn't seem the best idea.  I did eventually find the product, and of course bought it immediately...then couldn't find any of those recipes again.  This one doesn't necessarily require seedless, but I find it better and now that I have the jar I might as well enjoy it!
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 Tbsp raspberry jam
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 C raspberries (frozen and thawed is ok)
1.  In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Cook chicken in oil 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when cut.
2.  In small bowl, mix jam and mustard.  Spoon jam mixture over chicken; top with raspberries.

Robyn's notes: I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was, as I expected it to just be acceptable.  The sweet from the jam combined with the sharp bite of the mustard worked great together.  I served this with Creamy Couscous, which I think was a good choice for the dish. GF: check your mustard, some brands are free of cross-contamination, others may not be. 

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Creamy Couscous

I love couscous, and am happy to eat it in pretty much any form.  But sometimes I want a little something extra without having to go to a lot of work in the preparation of a side dish. 
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp butter (if desired)
  • 1/2 C uncooked couscous
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1.   Bring water, salt, and butter if using to a boil in a small saucepan.  Quickly stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat.  Let stand 4-5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2.  Combine cheeses, stir mixture into couscous.

Robyn's notes: I used tomato couscous because it was what I had in the house, but plain would work equally well.  This could easily do with more of both cheeses, depending on what it's being served with.  I wanted a side that would stand up to the sauce of Raspberry-Glazed Chicken, but with another entree it might be better with a consistency closer to risotto.  I've made this several times and have really enjoyed it each time.  My favourite is Parmesan couscous as prepared above, but I've also been successful using plain couscous with flavored cream cheese.  I generally have a few triangles of Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Garlic and Herb spreadable cheese wedges in the fridge, and have enjoyed that quite a bit.  

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Open-Face Breakfast Sandwiches

This is another quick dish I had regularly growing up. I don't buy bread products at the store very often, because they tend to start growing before I finish the package. So this is a good way to use up English muffins without feeling like I'm eating the same thing day after day.

  • 2 English muffins, split
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced into coins
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 3-4 oz Cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or diced
1.  Toast English muffins.
2.  Top each English muffin half with single layer of egg coins, season with salt and pepper.  Top with slices of cheese and sprinkle bacon on center of cheese.
3.  Microwave on high 20-45 seconds, until edges of cheese are starting to melt, but slices retain their shape.

Robyn's notes: as soon as these come out of the microwave they should be moved to a different section of the plate, or the condensation beneath them will make the English muffins wet and gummy.   Can be made without the bacon, if that's too much trouble or it's not on hand.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tomato Soup Cake

I had never even heard of this type of cake until I got a Daughters of the Nile charity cookbook and saw the full-size recipe in it.  My immediate thoughts were a) weird; and b) if that works as a reduced recipe, it would be a great way to use up half a can of condensed tomato soup.
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 beaten egg
  • 1/2 C condensed tomato soup (half of a 10.75oz can)
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Raisins (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a mini cake pan or mini loaf pan.
2.  Cream together butter and sugar; add egg and tomato soup.  Mix well.
3.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Fold flour mixture into batter, being careful not to overmix.  Add raisins if desired.
4.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350°F for 33-36 minutes (loaf pan may require longer baking) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to rack to finish cooling.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Robyn's notes: see "Using Up Ingredients" at top of page for uses for the other half of the can of soup.  I wasn't sure how far the batter would go, so prepared a few pans.  Probably a mini loaf pan would be just the right size, my mini angel food cake pan was over-full but still worked as the tube in the center helped the cake bake quickly.  This came out basically as a spice cake, really quite good and smelled fantastic, especially good during the holidays.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I am well aware that there are a lot of people who think that S.O.S. is disgusting.  It does, after all, stand for "Shit On a Shingle", and it's not even the prettiest dish.  My stepdad and my sweetheart both refuse to eat it, but the cooks in my dad's branch of the service must have done a better job, because he had no problem with it, and therefore I grew up eating it from time to time.  And I like it. 
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • pinch salt
  • dash pepper
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 15 slices dried beef (from 5oz can)
1.  In a small saucepan melt butter.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Stir in milk all at once.  Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly.  Stir in W-sauce.  Pull apart and tear dried beef into  chunks and strips, adding to sauce.  Simmer until beef is heated through, and serve over any starch.

Robyn's notes: I always have this over toasted English muffins, but it can be served over toasted bread, baked potato, pasta, whatever the preference is.  Go really easy on the salt, as the beef has a lot of sodium and it will overwhelm the dish.  Unopened, a jar of dried beef is shelf-stable for a very long time.  This only gets three stars because he won't eat it and because it's not the most exciting dish, it's just good and filling and I have nostalgia for it from childhood.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often