Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

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Life has kind of ganged up on me.  Between the awful heat, work stress, having to put one of my beautiful rattie girls to sleep because of a tumor and having a bird with a lump on her wing that can’t get looked at until my vet, the only vet in the city who takes care of birds, get back from vacation in a week, I haven’t been really inspired to cook any thing.   All I have been inspired to do is curl up in my easy chair and binge watch Supernatural with a big bowl of popcorn on one side and a very large glass of iced tea on the other.  I know this to shall pass and I will get out of my funk and get back into the kitchen more.

The only thing I have managed to cook in the last few days is a strawberry baked oatmeal.

Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from My Forkin Life

3/4 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup  rolled oat

2 1/2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 TBS butter, melted

1/8 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add in melted butter, vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.   Place the oatmeal mixture in a 1 quart  casserole dish. Place strawberries over mixture. Bake  in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

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Instant Pot Mini Monday — Mac and Cheese

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Guys,  I am so excited!  I get to share the recipe I tested for Christina Lane with you today.  It’s Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot.  I have to be completely honest, when I first saw this recipe I didn’t have any idea how the heck it was going to turn into mac and cheese with no milk and pasta made in the pressure cooker.  I thought this may be the second thing I found not worth making in the pressure cooker.  However, I trust Christina so I made the recipe just like we talked about.  I am so glad I did because this is awesome.   I have made this mac and cheese twice in the last week and I can’t remember the last time I made a recipe twice in one week.  The quality of the cheese you use is what makes this dish use the best you can afford.  I used my favorite Cabot extra sharp cheddar and Frigro block Parmesan cheese.

Christina Lane’s Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Flash Back Friday — Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

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Jenn Bumb, from Pretend It’s A Donut, issued a challenge on her Instagram story to revisit a favorite recipe you haven’t made in a while.  I thought that was a great idea so I pulled up A Solitary Feast and began to look through the old posts for a favorite.  I am always concentrating on what to post next.  I don’t often look at old posts so it was fun to see how far I have come over the last 4 years and 3 months.  What worked, what didn’t work, how much more comfortable I am in my writing, how much my photography has improved and how much my site has changed.
What amazed me the most is how many really good recipes are buried in my archives.  For the rest of the summer, every Friday, I am going to feature a favorite recipe from my archives for those of you that haven’t been around since the beginning.  Today’s recipe is Chocolate Ricotta muffins.  I would have to say muffins are one of my favorite things to make.  I have more unique muffin recipes in my big, white binder of recipes for one or two than any other kind.  There is something about baking muffins that just gets my day off to a good start.
I tend to make these muffins when I make lasagna because it is a great way to use up leftover ricotta cheese.  I know what you’re thinking.  Cheese in sweet muffins? Are you nuts?  I thought the same thing the first time I made these.  The ricotta adds a nice tang and keeps these muffins incredibly moist.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

Adapted from The Sunlight Cafe Cookbook
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ to 2 ½ TBS cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup ricotta cheese
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
6 TBS plus 1 teaspoon milk
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 6 muffins cups with cooking spray. Combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa, sugar and chocolate chips in a small bowl. Place the ricotta in a second small bowl. Add the egg, beating until well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour the ricotta and oil into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir from the bottom until the dry ingredients are all moistened. A few lumps are okay. Fill prepared muffin cups to the rim. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Whole Sisters Dump Ranch (Whole 30)

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If you like ranch dressing you need to make this recipe as soon as possible.  I have made my own salad dressings for years.  I have tried dozens of different kinds of  dressings and many variations of each.  I can honestly say this is the best salad dressing I have ever tasted.  I could, and have, ate it with a spoon.  It’s easy to make.  It uses ingredients I already keep in the house and best of all it is Whole 30 compliant.

The original recipe called for making the dressing in a wide mouth mason jar.  I didn’t have one so  I used a deep, narrow bowl.  It worked fine.  The key is not to move the immersion blender until the emulsion starts to form and after that move it up and down and all around until everything is blended well.  The dressing may seem thin at the blending point will thicken upon standing.

Whole Sisters Dump Ranch

From The Whole Sisters

1 egg

1 cup  light olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk, stirred

1 handful fresh herb of choice or 3 tablespoons dried parsley

Place all ingredients in the jar in the order given, except for the fresh herbs.  Use your immersion blender and blend for 1 minute.  Add the fresh herb or dried parsley and blend for another 15 seconds.  Use it on everything.  It will keep for about a week.

Instant Pot Mini Monday Beef Stroganoff (Whole 30)

This week something amazing happened.  Well, it was amazing to me.  I was watching Christina Lane’s Instagram story when she flashed a picture of a recipe she is working on for her blog.  As with all of her recipes, it looked amazing so I jokingly asked her if I could recipe test it for her and she said YES!!!  She sent me her recipe notes and we talked about it for a while.  I am so honored! To me it indicates a high level of trust because there are still a lot of people out there who think just because it is out there on the internet it is free to take and claim as their own.  I guess those people where absent on the day their English teachers and professors talked about plagiarism.  Anyway, my feelings on that subject are a post for another day…   I am also honored Christina, a professional who makes her living on her recipes, valued my opinion on her recipe.  I am a proud home cook, not a professional.  So to have someone whose work I admire like I admire Christina’s, take what I have to say seriously was a great gift.  It means a lot to me.

Just so you know the recipe is amazing and as soon as she posts it to her blog, I will link to it for you.  In the meantime, try making Beef Stroganoff.

Instant Pot Mini Beef Stroganoff

Adapted from Wholesome Delicious

3/4 lb lean beef stew meat

1/4 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced

5 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons beef broth

2 TBS coconut aminos

2 TBS red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup coconut milk or coconut cream, the stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk

1 1/2 TBS arrowroot

salt and pepper

Preheat the Instant Pot on the saute function.  When hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.  When the oil is hot, saute the onions for about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more.  Cancel the saute function.  Season the beef with garlic powder and onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste.  Place the beef on the onion/garlic mixture.  In a small bowl, combine the broth, coconut aminos and apple cider vinegar.  Pour over the beef.  Add the sliced mushrooms.  Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.  Natural release.  Add the coconut milk or coconut cream and stir. Dissolve the arrowroot in the water.  Add to the pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.