Recipes

Make Your Own Easy and Delicious Applesauce!

August 25, 2016

ApplesauceAfter apple picking, and having a surplus of apples, I love to make this easy and delicous applesauce. My daughter loves to pack this in her lunch box. Homemade applesauce is very easy to make, and really beats that stuff you get in a jar at the supermarket.

Serve it to the kids as a snack, or as a side dish with potato pancakes, pork roast, and more. You can also use it as an ingredient to make other tasty treats like applesauce muffins.

Ingredients

Sopa de Albondigas - Mexican Meatball Soup

August 21, 2016

sopa de albondigas - Mexican meatball soupWith fall coming and the evenings getting cooler, it's time to make some delicious comfort food for dinner. This classic Mexican soup features little meatballs cooked in broth with tons of fresh vegetables. It's tasty and healthy, too!

For this version, I added some fresh summer green beans, chunks of zucchini, and tomatoes to complement the usual carrots and potatoes. One of the great things about this dish is that you can vary the vegetables depending on what's in season or what your family likes. Cabbage, kale, corn, and peas would all be welcome in the pot.

We used lean ground grass-fed beef for the meatballs, but you can use half beef and half ground pork, ground turkey, or even chicken. My kids love to get involved and help make the meatballs, too.

Apple Walnut Bread is Delicious and Easy to Make

August 21, 2016

In the late summer and fall we love to go apple picking at farms in Marin and Sonoma County. It's so much fun to choose and pick your own fruit, but sometimes you end up with more apples than you know what to do with. I've been trying to figure out different creative ways to use apples, since I hate to see any go to waste.

Fresh-baked apple walnut bread is delicious, easy to make and a great way to use up extra apples. It also makes the house smell amazing while it's baking. It's good as part of breakfast, as a snack, or even dessert. My kids love to get a slice in their lunchboxes, too.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Our Favorite Homemade Apple Pie

August 16, 2016

apple pieAfter all our apple picking excursions to Chileno Valley Ranch, we decided to make our favorite apple pie. This is my go-to recipe for this treat. It's an adaptation of the recipe that used to be on the back of the box of Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts. I don't know what it is about it, but it makes what my family thinks it the best apple pie ever. I still usually use the Trader Joe's pie crusts for this, since they're really good quality and make for a lot less work. Feel free to make your own pie crusts or to use a different brand, though.

I made this pie with Mutsu apples from Chileno Valley Ranch, but any good baking apple, like Gravenstein or Granny Smith, will work equally well.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds apples (about 6 medium), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 package Trader Joe's pie crusts, thawed

Chef Daddy Makes Pizza al Taglio

August 14, 2016

pizza al taglioThe other day I was craving really good homemade pizza, but I was also feeling kind of lazy and didn't want to deal with making dough, trying to get the pizza onto the pizza stone intact, and the rest of the work that comes with my other homemade pizza recipe. In a moment of inspiration, I thought about pizza al taglio, the thicker pizza that's cooked on a baking sheet and popular as a street food in Rome. What if I tried to make it with Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough?

I ran over to our local TJ's and picked up two packages of their very good and inexpensive refrigerated pizza dough, as well as some fresh mozzarella and of course a bunch of other stuff that I probably didn't really need. At home, I picked some plum tomatoes from the garden and grabbed some fresh oregano and basil, too, and decided that I had everything I needed.

Here's the recipe that I came up with for a simple margherita style pizza al taglio:

  • Two bags Trader Joe's refrigerated pizza dough
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (canned are OK, too)

No Campfire? Make S'mores Cookies!

August 10, 2016

s'mores cookiesToday, August 10, is National S'mores Day! In case you don't know what a s'more is, it's a treat consisting of a graham cracker topped with square of milk chocolate (Hershey's is traditional), then topped with a warm toasted marshmallow and then another graham cracker. "S'more" is a contraction of "some more," which is what everyone says after they finish their first one.

If you don't have a campfire or fire pit handy today, try making these amazingly delicious s'mores cookies. They incorporate all the ingredients of a s'more in an easy to make and eat cookie form, so you can enjoy the deliciousness of s'mores anytime without having to wait to go on a camping trip. My son said these were the best cookies he ever tasted, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

Ingredients

  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Recipe from Pernilla's Pantry: Deconstructed Cheeseburger Salad

July 31, 2016

deconstructed cheeseburger salad When things get busy, especially at the start of a new school year, I place an order to Pernilla's Pantry, a mom-run business here in Marin that offers creative healthy meals for busy families. When your order arrives, you'll receive recipe cards and all the ingredients that you need to make three or four fantastic family meals for the week.

Pernilla's Pantry was created by Pernilla Sumner, a Marin mom and Swedish native who loves to share her passion for food and good cooking with others. Pernilla shared one of her most popular recipes with us: Deconstructed Cheeseburger Salad.

Ingredients

Salad

Keep Cool with Frozen Watermelon Pops

July 26, 2016

When the temperature rises in the summer, we like to make these frozen watermelon pops to help beat the heat. They're easy to make, delicious, healthy (they're all fruit, after all), and fun to eat on a hot summer day.

You don't need much to make these, just the watermelon, a little sugar (if needed), a blender or food processor, and ice pop molds. You can use other fruits to make these, too—fresh strawberries are particularly good—but the classic summer flavor of watermelon just seems to be perfect for a frozen treat like this.

The kids like to pitch in and help make these, too, although it can be hard for them to wait while the pops firm up in the freezer. Needless to say, grownups may want to take charge of the blending, for safety's sake.

Ingredients

Fresh and Healthy Summer Garden Chili

July 10, 2016

summer chiliChili is one of those meals that can be on the hearty, heavy side and not something you necessarily want to serve for a summer dinner—except for this fresh and healthy version. For this summer chili, I lighten things up considerably and take advantage of fresh summer produce like the zucchini growing in our backyard garden and sweet corn.

Serve this chili with a variety of toppings and add-ons so each diner can customize it to his or her taste. You can make it vegetarian (or vegan) by omitting the ground turkey and doubling the amount of beans, corn, and squash. Either way, it's delicious! And our kids even eat it, too. There's probably no reason you couldn't make this year-round, either, although you'd have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Ingredients

Chili

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