May 26, 2020

Small batch rhubarb freezer jam

Finished jar of rhubarb jam on plate.

Thick, sweet, and full of that sour-tangy rhubarb flavor, this simple rhubarb freezer jam requires only rhubarb, sugar, and water. It's a delicious jam for sandwiches, biscuits, crackers, and more.

It's rhubarb season again. Maybe you have rhubarb in your yard or you have a friend or relative who does. Maybe you get rhubarb in your CSA or from the farmers' market. Wherever you get rhubarb, there are so many ways to use it. This jam is a lovely way to preserve just a little bit of that rhubarb for later in the year, or double the batch to make more. You can also keep it in the refrigerator and eat it right away if you prefer. For this batch one jar made it to the freezer and the other stayed in the fridge and was eaten up pretty quickly.

This jam is tart, which is what is special about rhubarb. You can add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter. We've been enjoying the jam with crackers and cheese for lunchtime snack plates. My kids love it and ask for it all the time.

I make this jam a freezer jam since it is a small batch. Plus, it's so much easier to pop it in the freezer rather than water bath can it. It's a terrific and easy recipe for novice jam makers as well who may find canning intimidating.

Close-up of finished jar of rhubarb jam.

May 19, 2020

Ramp greens pesto

A finished jar of ramp greens pesto on a cutting board with whole ramps.

Bright, vibrant, and full of onion and garlic flavor, this ramp greens pesto is a delicious way to add spring flavor to pasta, pizza, chicken, and more. Ramps are only around for a short period of time and using the greens to make a pesto is the perfect way to enjoy this spring wild edible.

What are ramps? Ramps are a wild leek found in the eastern U.S. and Canada. They have bright green leaves which come up in April and have a bulb that tastes like a combination of onion and garlic. Ramps leaves last until mid to late May and then they turn yellow and are no longer good for eating.

Ramps have become very popular over the past few years. My husband's family have been collecting them on their land for many years and that is where we get some each year. We do not collect from public lands and leave many to continue to grow. They best and most sustainable way to collect ramps is to cut the leaves only. If you take the bulb, you should cut it and leave the roots. You can find out more about ramps here and more information about sustainable harvesting here.

Once you've made your pesto, you can use it in a variety of ways, just like basil pesto. I like to use it as a pizza sauce for a cheese pizza, or a pasta sauce. I also like to stir pesto into an Alfredo sauce. It's terrific on chicken. You can thin it out with more olive oil or pasta water, too. The color and flavor just scream spring! 

Close-up side view of a finished jar of ramp greens pesto.

May 12, 2020

Chocolate chip chickpea blondies

Stacked photos of chocolate chip chickpea blondies.

These delicious and fudgy blondies are made by whizzing up a few ingredients in the food processor and contain a surprise ingredient - chickpeas! Chickpeas add protein and texture to this dessert or snack that is loaded with chocolate chips in every bite.

Beans in dessert may seem odd to some people, but this is not the first time I've used them this way. My mom's favorite birthday dessert is this flourless black bean chocolate cake and people never guess that there are beans in it. I'm willing to bet that people will not guess that there are chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) in these blondies either.

Beans provide a nice base and texture to desserts making them almost fudgy. They also add a boost of protein and nutrition, if that's something that appeals to you. I'm not really out to make desserts extra "healthy" per se, but I do love experimenting in the kitchen and it never hurts to make a sweet treat for ourselves and our kids that contains beans!

My kids helped to make these, so they were fully aware that they were made with beans. I wasn't sneaking them in to hide them. I really do enjoy the flavor and texture of these blondies, and the whole family likes them a lot. I made mine with peanut butter, but you can use any nut butters or even sun butter. I used maple syrup, but honey would work well, too. There are no eggs in this dessert and only a little flour. I used white whole wheat flour, but all-purpose or others should all work fine. It's a very adaptable recipe. These come out very lightly sweetened, but feel free to add a bit more sweetener, if desired.

Cut up squares of chocolate chip chickpea blondies on a plate.

May 6, 2020

Skillet sourdough cornbread

Baked sourdough cornbread in a castiron skillet.

Take your cornbread to the next level by adding sourdough to the mix! The result is a tangy and slightly sweet bread that is a perfect side dish to chili, barbecue chicken, soups, and more.

Sourdough is all the rage right now. Have you been doing any sourdough baking recently? I've been maintaining a sourdough starter and making bread with it for quite some time. I've been sharing starter with friends lately who also want to try their hand at the art and science of sourdough baking. I love using it for traditional loaves of bread, and I've been making those even more the past couple of months. But, I also using it to make other things like pancakes, biscuits, pizza crust, banana bread, and more. You can use the starter both fed as in this recipe, or unfed (such as with the discard from when you feed your starter.)

Start this bread early in the morning the day you want to make it. You may also start is the evening before for a longer ferment. The longer it sits, the stronger and more sour the flavor will be. You want it to ferment for about 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Personally, I prefer a shorter fermentation time, but you can change it to suit your tastes.

If you have sourdough starter, this is a great recipe to try!

Cut wedge of cornbread on a plate.

April 30, 2020

Chocolate crispy rice treats

Finished chocolate crispy rice treats on a plate.

Crispy rice treats are a classic dessert and bake sale goodie that we all know and love. This version takes them up a notch with the addition of chocolate chips for an extra-special and delicious treat!

I've debated sharing this recipe for a while because I feel like everyone probably already knows how to make classic crispy rice cereal treats. But, I've been playing around with a chocolate version for a while and I've perfected this version that we love so much. I felt it was worth sharing on the blog, especially right now when we are looking for more things to do with our kids at home. My kids ask to make these quite frequently and it's a bonus that they are super simple to make and require only a few ingredients.

The trick to getting the chocolate just right in these is adding a bit more butter than the plain treats and stirring the chocolate chips in at the end (versus what I have tried before -- stirring the chocolate chips into the melted butter/marshmallow mixture, which gets too thick.) The chocolate melts enough to incorporate throughout the treats, but leaves some larger pieces intact. They are slightly firmer than traditional crispy rice treats. Now that we can make a chocolate version, you can really use any chips you want -- milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, and more!

Side view of cut chocolate crispy rice treats

April 15, 2020

Chicken fajita quinoa bowls

Finished chicken fajita bowl with tortilla chips

Spiced chicken breasts, bell peppers, and onions with quinoa and your choice of toppings make for a simple and versatile dinner. It's sure to be a family friendly dish when everyone can personalize it to their tastes and liking!

Chicken fajita quinoa bowls are a dish we've been enjoying frequently during quarantine. I found a jar of quinoa when I was cleaning out the pantry and we always have chicken in the freezer. We use other items that we frequently have on hand like frozen corn, salsa, onions, cheese, pickled jalapenos, and more. The best part about this dish is that it is so versatile. The recipe is for the basic building blocks, but you can remove any ingredients that you don't have or don't enjoy, and also add others you have or prefer.

Black beans, pinto beans, chopped lettuce, cilantro, and green onions would all be delicious in here. You can use sirloin instead of chicken, or beans instead of chicken, or even firm tofu instead of chicken. Sometimes I add an extra bell pepper if we have one. Kick up the spice with some cayenne pepper in the spice mix or some hot sauce for topping.

We all know that right now we aren't always able to get food and ingredients as easily as we are used to, so meals like this help to use up what we have and are also to be customized. Plus, my kids love any sort of "build your own" meals where they can put what they want in their bowls.

Close-up of chicken fajita quinoa bowl with toppings.

April 2, 2020

Whole wheat blueberry baked pancake squares

Jelly roll pan with finished baked blueberry pancakes.

Baked pancake squares are a delicious way to make pancakes in a lot less time. There's no flipping involved with these pancakes and they are ready all at once.

Pancakes are a favorite weekend breakfast in our house. And as much as I love them, I don't always want to take the time to make them. Enter baked pancakes! A simple pancake batter is spread onto a baking sheet (in this case a jelly roll pan) and then baked in the oven until light and fluffy. After cooling for a few minutes, you cut the pancakes into squares and serve. This way they are all ready and hot to serve at the same time.

I made these with white whole wheat flour and blueberries. You can use all-purpose flour instead, or a mix of white whole wheat and all-purpose. We had frozen blueberries on hand, so that's what I used for these, but strawberries, raspberries, thin pieces of apple, a sprinkle of cinnamon, etc. would also be delicious. You can also leave them plain and add toppings for serving. We served ours with real maple syrup. These won't completely replace regular pancakes for me, but they are a time-saving alternative that my family enjoys.

I've been making more food lately with some of our pantry, refrigerator, and freezer staples like these pancakes. Obviously trips to the store are fewer these days, so I'm hoping to share more recipes that are made from things people may have in their house already.

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Baked pancakes with some cut into squares and presented on a plate.

March 19, 2020

Sourdough biscuits

Finished sourdough biscuits on cutting board

Easy homemade biscuits made with sourdough discard are a perfect side dish to soups, chili, and more. They are a great way to make something from pantry staples.

Homemade biscuits warm from the oven are the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes. We love them with soup, chili, and on the side of other meals. I've been incorporating sourdough into my baking as much as possible these days and these biscuits have been making an appearance almost weekly on our menu.

These biscuits are made with unfed sourdough/discard. The starter gives the biscuits that sourdough tang, but are actually a quick recipe made with baking soda and baking powder. They are a way to use up some of your starter that may otherwise be wasted. Plus they are light, flaky, and buttery. 

Recipes like this are great to have in your repertoire to whip up from pantry staples. These are perfect for topping with butter and honey or your favorite jam. They are also an easy baking project to involve kids. You can also serve them with breakfast with eggs or topped with sausage gravy.

I hope everyone is doing well out there during these uncertain times. I'll be baking even more as long as we have the ingredients now that we are stuck home most of the time. 

Finished sourdough biscuits topped with honey

March 14, 2020

Maple cream pie

 Creamy maple syrup pudding is topped with a maple syrup infused whipped cream for a luscious and delicious maple cream pie all made with real maple syrup.

Creamy maple syrup pudding is topped with a maple syrup infused whipped cream for a luscious and delicious maple cream pie all made with real maple syrup.

Happy Pi(e) Day! Today I'm celebrating all things pie with some fellow food bloggers. My readers know that pie baking is one of my favorite things. Pie is the dessert of choice in our family. Since it's also maple season here in western New York, I'm sharing this recipe for a maple cream pie. This pie is quickly becoming one of my favorites and that says a lot.

I like to use an all-butter pie crust made with vodka. I've been working on perfecting pie crust for years now and this is my favorite. It's buttery, light, flaky, and easy to make in a food processor. You can find instructions for the crust in this post. Of course, you can always use a store bought crust if you prefer.

For this pie you need to use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup. You want the darkest syrup you can find for the strongest maple flavor. You want the maple flavor to shine through (and this pie actually tastes best after chilling overnight so the flavors can really deepen and permeate through). I adapted this pie recipe from this recipe here making a few changes.

 Creamy maple syrup pudding is topped with a maple syrup infused whipped cream for a luscious and delicious maple cream pie all made with real maple syrup.

March 11, 2020

Easy slow cooker butter chicken

This popular and flavorful classic Indian restaurant dish can be made easily at home using your slow cooker. Spicy and creamy tomato sauce coat this chicken that is best served with some rice and Naan bread for dipping in the sauce.

This popular and flavorful classic Indian restaurant dish can be made easily at home using your slow cooker. Spicy and creamy tomato sauce coat this chicken that is best served with some rice and Naan bread for dipping in the sauce.

Butter chicken has always been one of my favorite dishes to order or grab at the buffet when we go out for Indian food. We used to live very closely to several Indian restaurants, but now there are not any close to our house. I wanted to make this dish at home with ease and also wanted to keep it mild for our kids. This recipe covers both of those requirements!

As you may know, we have two three year olds in our house. Since we follow The Division of Responsibility in Feeding, all of our meals are family meals. I want to encourage my kids to try all foods we eat. Sometimes that's easier said than done with little ones. However, one way I make food approachable for them is to make sure it's not too hot and spicy. This recipe falls into a mild flavor profile for my husband and I. The flavors and spices are all still there, just not as hot as I'd make it before kids. You can definitely adjust that and increase the amounts of curry powder and ginger in the recipe by 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. Also, you can add a bit of cayenne pepper if you really want a kick!

Both the kids ate this dish and one especially enjoyed it a lot! The other mostly loved the Naan and the sauce and that's okay. It's all about exposure and keeping meals no pressure. If you want more recipes and ideas, please join my Facebook group - Feeding our Families & Raising Adventurous Eaters. Even with some adjustments, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this satisfying and flavorful dish! Plus, making it in the slow cooker is perfect for us busy moms.

This popular and flavorful classic Indian restaurant dish can be made easily at home using your slow cooker. Spicy and creamy tomato sauce coat this chicken that is best served with some rice and Naan bread for dipping in the sauce.

February 21, 2020

Old-fashioned cornmeal griddle cakes

Old-fashioned cornmeal griddle cakes are pancakes made with cornmeal and topped with real maple syrup.

Old-fashioned cornmeal griddle cakes are pancakes made with cornmeal and topped with real maple syrup. The cornmeal gives these pancakes have a hearty texture and give yummy corn flavor.

Today is National Pancake Day and you know that's a day we have to celebrate here on the blog! I have posted so many pancake recipes over the years as well as this round-up of 25 pancake recipes. This recipe is based on one of the recipes from an old Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook I have. I shared many other Pennsylvania Dutch recipes here in the past including these Old-fashioned flannel cakes, German egg pancakes, Pennsylvania Dutch ham, potatoes, & green beans, ham, bean, & rivel soup, and more. My mother's family is from Pennsylvania and some of these dishes are ones we grew up eating.

Pancakes are a huge hit in our house for breakfast. I like these ones because I love cornbread and corn muffins. These pancakes are not very sweet and they are a little dense since they are an old recipe. The real maple syrup on top is what provides the sweetness needed. You can top them with honey as well and any fresh fruit you'd like.

Visit the bottom of this post for more pancake recipes!

Old-fashioned cornmeal griddle cakes are pancakes made with cornmeal and topped with real maple syrup.

February 5, 2020

Blueberry oatmeal crisp bars

Blueberry bars made with oatmeal and cinnamon make a delightful and easy dessert. The oatmeal crisp topping also doubles as the crust and frozen blueberries make this a treat to whip up all year round.
Blueberry bars made with oatmeal and cinnamon make a delightful and easy dessert. The oatmeal crisp topping also doubles as the crust and frozen blueberries make this a treat to whip up all year round.

Our freezer is still stocked with summer blueberries from our annual blueberry picking day. We love to use them all year round and bring a taste of summer during the winter months. I have made these bars using our frozen blueberries a couple of times now and they are so good! They are so easy to whip up. You don't even need to thaw the blueberries. The hardest part of this dessert is waiting for it to cool before slicing and eating. We love all sorts of fruit crisps and crumbles, and this one is a favorite of my blueberry loving kids.

I have modified the below recipe from this one here. I first made these as a dessert for our twins' half-birthday and they gobbled them up. I am going to try them again with other berries like raspberries and blackberries and I think they will be equally delicious. These bars are not overly sweet, so they could even pass for a breakfast if you wanted.

So the next time you need a quick and easy dessert, give these a try. You may even already have everything you need at home. 

Blueberry bars made with oatmeal and cinnamon make a delightful and easy dessert. The oatmeal crisp topping also doubles as the crust and frozen blueberries make this a treat to whip up all year round.

January 24, 2020

Slow cooker chicken bacon ranch sliders

Disclosure: This recipe is being shared as part of #NationalSlowCookerMonth. I received products from our event sponsor Rhodes Bake N Serve Bread for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Creamy ranch chicken is slow cooked and topped with bacon and cheese on slider sized rolls for a delicious family pleasing meal.

Creamy ranch chicken is slow cooked and topped with bacon and cheese on slider sized rolls for a delicious family pleasing meal.

I hope you've been enjoying all the delicious slow cooker recipe ideas this week! I love, love using the slow cooker for our meals. I use it all year round and it is such a time saver for busy families and for when you have small kids like me and want to make a good dinner, but don't always have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the kitchen in the evening.

Today I'm sharing a recipe for these yummy sliders! These little sandwiches are definitely a family friendly meal and are easy to make. These rolls from Rhodes Bane N Serve are so soft and fluffy and perfect for these sliders. I've been buying these dinner rolls for a long time because my kids love them and I often serve them as one of the "safe foods" for dinner when we are having something new or something I know my kids may be wary of trying. However, using them as slider rolls takes them to a whole new level of yummy! They are warm and soft and perfect for the whole family. Sliders are also a fun size for little ones!

We had these with a side of vegetables and fries for our meal. They'd also be a great sandwich for a game day party. They were a hit and will be making more appearances on our menu.

Creamy ranch chicken is slow cooked and topped with bacon and cheese on slider sized rolls for a delicious family pleasing meal.

January 22, 2020

Slow cooker sausage pasta e fajioli soup

Disclosure: This recipe is being shared as part of #NationalSlowCookerMonth. I received products from our event sponsor Camellia Brand Beans for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hearty, warming, and delicious soup is what you need on a cold winter day. This slow cooker soup is full of vegetables, beans, sausage, and pasta for a complete and filling meal.

Hearty, warming, and delicious soup is what you need on a cold winter day. This slow cooker soup is full of vegetables, beans, sausage, and pasta for a complete and filling meal.

Slow cookers are such a terrific kitchen tool to have around! Mine gets a lot of use. One of the great things about a slow cooker is that they keep food warm and ready for evenings when you need to stagger your family's dinner. Some nights I'm at exercise class, or my husband works late or has a meeting, and having dinner cooked and set to warm allows everyone to eat when they need to (and we don't have to worry about picking up something or rummaging through the fridge to come up with something to eat). 

This is a soup I've been making quite frequently this fall and winter. For this recipe, I've made it with dried beans. Dried beans and such a frugal way to add protein to your meals. I definitely want to start using them again more often. I also like the way the hold their shape better than canned beans, especially during a longer cooking process like a slow cooking soup. I really enjoyed working with these Camellia Brand beans for this recipe and I'll be making it a point to use dried beans more regularly now. 

I hope you are enjoying all the yummy slow cooker recipes this week! Don't forget to check out the rest of today's recipes at the bottom of this post and enter the giveaway!

Hearty, warming, and delicious soup is what you need on a cold winter day. This slow cooker soup is full of vegetables, beans, sausage, and pasta for a complete and filling meal.

January 20, 2020

Slow cooker creamy chicken and tomato pasta sauce

Disclosure: This recipe is being shared as part of #NationalSlowCookerMonth. I received products from our sponsors for this event. As always, all opinions are my own.

 This creamy, flavorful, and simple pasta sauce is sure to become a family favorite! Your slow cooker does the work and you have a hearty dish for a weeknight dinner.

This creamy, flavorful, and simple pasta sauce is sure to become a family favorite! Your slow cooker does the work and you have a hearty dish for a weeknight dinner.

Did you know January is National Slow Cooker Month?? I didn't until recently and I'm happy to be sharing some new slow cooker recipes this week along with some of my blogger friends! Visit the bottom of this post for more recipes and to enter an awesome giveaway!

This recipe is a favorite of mine. It's a recipe that I've been making for a while and I adapted it from here. It's always a favorite in our house and I like to serve it with my kids' favorite pasta shape - "bow ties" or farfalle, along with a side of green beans, broccoli, or a salad. It's a perfect meal for a chilly day and an easy weeknight meal. Plus it's very kid-friendly, which is always a bonus around here!

Pasta dishes make an appearance on our menu about once per week because my whole family loves pasta meals. I try to switch it up from the usual spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce or macaroni and cheese so that my kids are exposed to different ways to enjoy one of their favorites. My kids are still learning to enjoy eating (except in the form of things like nuggets haha), but this is a way that they like it. 

If you are looking for meals, recipes, ideas, and resources for feeding your family with little kids, please don't forget to join my Facebook group: Feeding our Families & Raising Adventurous Eaters.

 This creamy, flavorful, and simple pasta sauce is sure to become a family favorite! Your slow cooker does the work and you have a hearty dish for a weeknight dinner.

January 18, 2020

Chicken, corn, and rivel soup

Creamy, thick, and hearty soup that is loaded with tender chicken, sweet corn, carrots, and fluffy rivel dumplings! This is a soup to warm up from the inside out on a cold winter day.

Creamy, thick, and hearty soup that is loaded with tender chicken, sweet corn, carrots, and fluffy rivel dumplings! This is a soup to warm you up from the inside out on a cold winter day.

It's National Soup Swap Day! I'm sharing a new soup recipe today to celebrate along with a few other blogger friends. Soup is one of my favorite cold-weather meals to make and eat. I have so many soup recipes on the blog already. I was trying to come up with something new and came across a corn and rivel soup in one of my old Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks. Given how much I love rivels, I decided I'd use that as a base, but make it more hearty and delicious with extra vegetables, chicken, and more. I wanted to add some more color as well so I used carrots in this soup. I think peas would also be a nice addition.

Rivels are a rustic dumpling and are commonly found in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. This is not the first time I've shared rivels. I previously shared a recipe for Ham, Bean, and Rivel Soup, which was a dish my mom made when I was a kid. I like to make the ham soup when we have leftover ham. It's a filling and frugal meal! However, I never really thought to use rivels in other soups until now. This chicken and corn soup is thick and creamy like a chowder and so very yummy and filling. It's a meal all on its own, though a side salad or bread would also fill it out.

Soup is a great way to warm up and feed your family. What's your favorite soup to make on a cold evening?

Creamy, thick, and hearty soup that is loaded with tender chicken, sweet corn, carrots, and fluffy rivel dumplings! This is a soup to warm up from the inside out on a cold winter day.