Best Zucchini Granola Muffins Recipe

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

I make a lot of muffins and freeze them to take to work for coffeebreak snacks. I am always testing out flavour combinations for muffins.  This recipe combines grated zucchini, applesauce, granola, orange rind, and spices to make tasty muffins. Adding some granola to the muffin tops makes them colorful and interesting.

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

Muffins are not difficult to make and one of the most important tips I have for muffin making is not to over mix the ingredients – this will lead to a tough-textured muffin. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until the two are barely combined – it’s okay if you still see a small bit of the dry ingredients. Don’t worry, by the time you spoon the batter into the muffin tin cups, all the dry ingredients will get incorporated.

In a perfect muffin, look for texture that is uniform and neither soggy nor too dry and that has a medium crumb that is moist and tender and somewhat loose. A well-baked muffin will also reveal round gas holes that are uniformly distributed as shown in the photo below.

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Zucchini Granola Muffins

I like to start the muffins baking in a really hot oven (475°F) and then immediately reduce the heat (down to 400°F for these) when I place the muffins in the oven. It’s important that the oven is preheated. I find this quick start of high heat helps the muffins to rise really quickly at the beginning of the baking period and will give them that nice symmetrically-formed, slightly rounded dome-shaped top that is customary in muffins (see photo below). A well-formed muffin should not have any sharp peak or knob on the top.

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

The crust of a good muffin should be thin and tender with a rough, pebbled surface.  The muffin, on all sides (including the bottom), should have a uniformly browned crust with no sign of darkness or burning.

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

I do not recommend using paper liners in the muffin tins for these as the muffins won’t have a nice brown crust and I find some of the muffin sticks to the liners – these taste too good to lose any to a paper liner!

I have used The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola in this recipe.  This is my own recipe that you can find here. It’s quite easy to make.

The Bistro's Great Nut-free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

The muffin recipe has not been tested using any other kind of granola than my own recipe. Therefore, if you choose to use other granola as an ingredient in these muffins, the results may differ as some granola is loose texture while another type may be large and clumped together.  This will obviously affect the amount of granola needed in the recipe.

Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

While these are delightful warm from the oven, the muffins also freeze well – all I do is simply split them in two, add a slather of butter, put the two halves back together, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap then pop them in to a freezer bag. This makes lunch packing quick and easy on work day mornings.

Best Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

(printable recipe follows at end of this post)

Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

Ingredients:

1⅔ cup all-purpose flour

⅓ cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2½ tsp cinnamon

⅛ tsp nutmeg

2 tsp finely grated orange rind

1¼ cups of The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

 

2 extra-large eggs, slightly beaten

¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

⅓ cup milk

1 cup coarsely grated zucchini

⅔ cup applesauce

Apx. ¼ – ⅓ cup granola for topping (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tins are also well-greased/sprayed.

In large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir in orange rind and mix in the granola. Set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and milk.  Stir in the zucchini and applesauce just until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only until mixed. Do not overmix.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup a generous ¾ full.  Sprinkle some granola on top of each muffin, if desired.

Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield:  14-16 standard-sized muffins

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Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

Yield: 14-16 standard-sized muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1¼ cups of The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola
  • 2 extra-large eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • Apx. ¼ - 1/3 cup granola for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tins are also well-greased/sprayed.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in orange rind and mix in the granola. Set aside.
  3. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and milk. Stir in the zucchini and applesauce just until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only until mixed. Do not overmix. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup a generous ¾ full. Sprinkle some granola on top of each muffin, if desired.
  5. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins rest in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
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Best Zucchini Granola Muffins
Best Zucchini Granola Muffins

Springtime Yellow Tablescape

This springtime tablesetting has a yellow theme going on – after dreary winter months, it’s always good to see some bright and cheery colors and yellow is definitely in that category.

The three yellow floral arrangements, a tall flanked by two shorter complementary ones, add a burst of color in the center of the table. For a longer table, simply add more down the length of the table, alternating between tall and short arrangements.

The yellow tapers in glass candlesticks lend both an air of height and elegance. By keeping everything in the same color, the eye is not kept busy trying to focus on the focal point of the table. I find using all one color lends a more elegant look and feel to a tablesetting.

The yellow round placemats are an inexpensive way to pull the color down from the centerpiece into each placesetting. Good quality basic white napkins are a must! Using napkin rings is an easy and quick way to present napkins at placesettings.  There are several ways napkins can be folded into the rings but this is one of the more classic. Made of pewter, these napkin rings have a daffodil design so are perfect for springtime tables.

I am a big fan of white dishes. First, food looks fabulous against a white background. And, second, white goes with anything which means a set of basic white dinnerware is a good all-round investment. With white dishes, you can go with any color scheme on the table so, although the dinnerware remains the same, the look can change dramatically simply by using different tablecloths, placemats, chargers,  napkins, and/or centerpieces.

Adding lots of glassware to the table gives it a light look and feel – just what’s needed for a springtime tablesetting!

Don’t worry about mixing and matching glass candlesticks – in fact, having several different styles on the table makes it more interesting and takes away from the “matchy-matchy” look. To keep the look casual, just weave the candlesticks in at random among the flowers – they don’t have to be symmetrically placed.

DSC_0054

No need for charger plates to frame the plates when round placemats are used.

For more tablesetting inspiration, click on the “Tablescape” tab at the top of my home page.

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Bread Stuffing/Dressing Recipe for Roast Turkey/Chicken

There is nothing like the scent of a turkey roasting in the oven!  I love a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings and I especially love the bread stuffing or, you may know it as  “dressing”. The theory is that, if it goes inside the turkey cavity, it’s called “stuffing” but, if it is cooked separately (as in a casserole or loaf pan), then it’s called “dressing”.   Regardless what it’s called, it just would not be a roast turkey dinner without this wonderful savory side dish.

Roast Turkey Dinner
Roast Turkey Dinner with Bread Stuffing

There are many ways to make the turkey stuffing and many different ingredients and seasonings that can be used.  Here on PEI, the most common seasoning is summer savory. In fact, this is a herb I grow in my garden. My grandmother always grew this herb, dried it, and hand-crushed it for use in stuffing/dressing throughout the year. Old traditions prevail!

Some folks make a stuffing that is quite dry and crumbly while others, like myself, make a version that is more moist.  Some use bread cubes while others use either coarse or fine bread crumbs. I save up the crusts from bread, store them in my freezer, and then, when I have lots, I use my food processor to process a bag of fine bread crumbs that I keep in the freezer to have at the ready to make stuffing at any time. It’s a big time saver, particularly if you frequently prepare roast chicken or turkey dinners. The bread crumbs can be all one kind or a mixture of different breads – white and whole wheat or multi-grain, for example.  In fact, the last stuffing/dressing I made, I used gluten-free bread crumbs.

Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Roast Turkey with Stuffing

I know some frown on placing the stuffing inside the turkey but I always do because it gives the turkey such lovely flavour as it roasts.  It takes a little longer for the turkey to cook but I find it is so worth it.

Roast Turkey Dinner with Dressing
Roast Turkey Dinner with Dressing

Alternatively, the stuffing (er, dressing, in this case) can always be baked in a casserole or a loaf pan.  I like to use a loaf pan if I am wanting nice slices of the dressing for a turkey platter for, say, a buffet.  It looks neat and attractive and the dressing is easily picked up with a  serving fork.

Roast Turkey and Dressing
Roast Turkey and Dressing

It’s important that the mashed potatoes be warm, not cold, when making the stuffing.  You want to capture and retain the moisture from the potatoes for the stuffing and it is much easier to mix warm potatoes than cold.  How many bread crumbs needed will depend, in large part, on how wet the potatoes are.  Some potato varieties are quite dry when cooked so won’t need as many bread crumbs as will  potatoes that cook up wet.  Start with a couple of cups of soft fine bread crumbs and, if more are needed to reach the desired consistency, add the crumbs a tablespoon or two at a time. Now, by “fine” bread crumbs, I don’t mean fine as salt like the ones you would probably find on a grocery store shelf or at a bulk food store and which would be used to bread chicken or fish.  For use in stuffing, the crumbs need to have a little coarseness and bulk to them.

Texture of Bread Crumbs for Stuffing/Dressing
Texture of Bread Crumbs for Stuffing/Dressing

I add a bit of celery and onion for added flavour and some chopped apple to give the stuffing/dressing a bit of sweetness.  I also use a small amount of liquid chicken bouillon concentrate as this really enhances the flavour but does not add unnecessary liquid to the mixture.

It’s important not to pack the stuffing tightly into the turkey – just loosely fit it in. I find using a piece of greased tin foil to make a “cradle” with sides inside the cavity for the stuffing to lay on makes it easy to remove the stuffing once the turkey comes out of the oven. Grab hold of the ends of the tin foil and, with a gentle pull, out will come the stuffing intact. This allows the turkey to flavour the stuffing and vice versa but makes it easier to remove the stuffing rather than having to massacre it with a spoon in the process of trying to remove the stuffing.

(Printable recipe follows at end of posting)

Bread Stuffing for Chicken/Turkey

Ingredients:

2 cups warm mashed potatoes (apx. 1 1/8 lb, uncooked)

2 cups soft fine bread crumbs (apx.)

2 tbsp finely chopped onion

1½ tsp summer savory

2 tbsp finely chopped celery

2 tbsp finely chopped apple

1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon

2 tbsp melted butter

1½ tbsp water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:
Mix all ingredients together and loosely fill the body cavity of the  turkey or chicken with the stuffing. Roast turkey/chicken according to package directions.

Alternatively, lightly press mixture into greased loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake in 350F oven for 20 minutes then remove tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on top.

Yield: Enough to stuff apx. 12-15 lb turkey

Bread Stuffing for Roast Turkey

Yield: Enough to stuff apx. 12-15 lb turkey

Classic tasty stuffing for turkey or chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm mashed potatoes (apx. 1 1/8 lb, uncooked)
  • 2 cups soft fine bread crumbs (apx.)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1½ tsp summer savory
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped apple
  • 1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1½ tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and loosely fill the body cavity of turkey or chicken with the stuffing. Roast turkey/chicken according to package directions.
  2. Alternatively, lightly press mixture into greased loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake in 350F oven for 20 minutes then remove tin foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on top.
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Roast Turkey with Stuffing
Roast Turkey with Stuffing

The Bistro’s Best Deviled Eggs Recipe

The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

Devilled Eggs are so tasty and easy to make.  They are perfect for potlucks, picnics, snacks, and even appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.  And, of course, they are often found at many Easter gatherings.  To top it off, they are showy, too.  I have never taken a plate of these to any function and had any left over!

The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

There are many versions of this timeless food but I like them plain and simple and not too seasoned or spicy.  I do use a pastry bag and decorating tip to pipe the filling into the egg cavities.  However, you don’t have to have these tools. Simply spoon the filling into the egg cavity and swirl it around with the tip of a knife. With a sprinkle of paprika, some green herbs or green onions, you will have an attractive looking plate of devilled eggs.

The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

I recommend not sprinkling the eggs with paprika until serving time as, sometimes, the paprika can “bleed” and the eggs can have a smudgy red cast to them.

The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

(Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting)

The Bistro’s Devilled Eggs

Ingredients:

5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sour cream
½ tsp prepared mustard
1½ tsp onion, minced
¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Pinch garlic powder
½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste

Paprika
Fresh parsley, chopped
Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)
Method:

Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.

Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.

Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg each)

The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: (1 devilled egg each)

Always a crowd pleaser, these devilled eggs are both tasty and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sour cream
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  • 1½ tsp onion, minced
  • ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
  • ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.
  2. Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.
  4. Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.
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The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

PEI Potato Leek Soup Recipe

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I am not sure which country can, in fact, lay claim to being the originator of Potato Leek Soup.  Some say it is of Welsh origin while others give Ireland credit for this tasty soup.  If you have ever eaten Vichyssoise, a cold version of Potato Leek Soup, you may attribute its origins to France due to its association with Vichy.  Then, of course, there is Tattie and Leekie soup from Scotland.

Potato and Leek Soup has two main ingredients – potatoes and leeks.  They are complemented by some gentle seasonings of garlic, onion, celery, bayleaf, and thyme, all cooked in chicken stock.

PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

Leeks are related to the onion and shallot family but they do differ.  Leeks resemble giant overgrown green onions. Leeks are usually 12″-14″ long and about 1″-2″ in diameter.  They will have three shades that vary from white at the bulb end to light green in the middle to deep green at the top.  The deep green top is tough and bitter so is discarded, leaving the light green and white sections as the usable parts of the leek.  The root end is cut off and the outer layers of the white and light green sections discarded.

Leeks have a more subtle flavour than onions or shallots so don’t overpower other ingredients in a dish.  Sometimes, as in my recipe for Potato Leek Soup, when I want some strengthened flavour, I will add a small amount of onion .

There are a couple of ways this soup can be made – either the entire mixture puréed until smooth or, if you prefer some chunkiness to the soup, simply remove about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups of the vegetables and purée the rest. This is what I have done in the soup you see in these photos. Either way, it is a filling and satisfying soup.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

I make good use of my immersion blender for cream and purée soup making. However, you can certainly use either a blender or a food processor to purée the vegetables.  I generally allow the soup to cool for 30-40 minutes before using my immersion blender and, sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I put the soup pot in a sink full of cold water for a few minutes to speed up the cooling process.  I know some people do use their immersion blenders in really hot soup. I recommend you check your instruction manual for your immersion blender to see what it says about using the blender in hot liquids.

Potato Leek Soup can be served perfectly plain or it can be dressed up with a garnish of sour cream, croutons, chives or parsley.  Serve the soup with biscuits or crusty rolls or bread.

Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

PEI Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced into ¼“ slices (about 3 cups, chopped)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1¼ lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup whole milk
½ cup white cheese blend (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
Sour Cream, Croutons, Parsley or Chives, and Truffle Oil for garnish (optional)

Method:
Melt butter in medium-sized stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add leek, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Add potatoes, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.

Remove about 1¾ cups vegetables from the soup and set aside. Using hand-held immersion blender, purée the remainder of soup until smooth. Add the milk and heat over medium-low heat until mixture is hot, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted and blended into soup.

Add reserved vegetables to the soup purée. Stir gently over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes until heated.

To serve, ladle into soup bowls. Add dollop of sour cream and croutons and, if desired, a drizzle of finishing oil such as truffle oil and a sprinkle of parsley or chives.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings (1+ cups each)

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PEI Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup
Potato Leek Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola Recipe

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

This granola recipe features a tasty mixture of toasted rolled oats, coconut, and dried fruits and berries.  Notably missing in this recipe are any nuts or whole seeds which are often found in granola.  This is intentional.  For anyone who, for any reason, cannot consume nuts or whole seeds, this granola is especially for you!

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Granola is an oat-based cereal. Typically, the base ingredients will include:

  • rolled oats (use the ones that have large flakes; easily customize the recipe to be gluten-free by using gluten-free oats),
  • some kind of sweetener (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey),
  • an oil (e.g., coconut, vegetable, or olive),
  • dried fruits and/or nuts, and
  • flavoring (such as vanilla and a medley of spices that often include cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon).

Granola is very versatile and is so much more than a cereal served with milk for breakfast, although that is quite lovely. Here are some ways I like to use granola:

  • topping for yogurt parfaits,
  • snack food (like a trail mix),
  • ingredient in muffins, cookies, and bars,
  • crushed/ground and used to bread chicken pieces or as a topping for casseroles,
  • sprinkled over salads, or
  • mixed with toppings for a baked fruit crisp

It’s very easy to customize granola to suit your taste. If you want to add some nuts or chocolate chips to the granola, for example, swap out an equal amount of dried fruit or berries.  Or, if don’t like raisins, exchange them for an equal amount of another ingredient such as dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, or apricots.  The important thing is to keep the proportions of ingredients in the recipe.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

If you can turn on an oven and heat a mixture in a saucepan on the stove, you can make granola!  The sweetener, oil, and flavorings are heated in a small saucepan on the stove top just until they are warmed and well blended.  This syrup gets poured over the oats and stirred to ensure the oats are coated.  The oats are then spread on a large cookie sheet and baked in the oven for 35-45 minutes until they turn golden brown.  They are then cooled and tossed with the mixture of dried fruits and berries.

It’s very important to pay attention to the oats as they bake because they can easily burn.  The oats need to be turned 3-4 times as they bake to ensure that they toast evenly on all sides.  As soon as they start to turn a deep caramel color and begin to get a bit crispy, they are done.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Ingredients:

3 cups large flake rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
1 cup sultana raisins
½ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup chopped dates
½ cup dried pineapple
½ cup dried papaya

½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

½ cup flaked coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.

In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, nd papaya. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.

Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

Yield:   Apx. 7½ – 8 cups

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The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Yield: Apx. 7 1/2 - 8 cups

A tasty nut-free granola made with a wonderful blend of dried fruits and berries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup dried pineapple
  • ½ cup dried papaya
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.
  4. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.
  5. Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.
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The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

One of my very favorite ways to present potatoes is in the form of Scalloped Potatoes.  A mixture of potatoes, onions, and milk along with a bit of seasoning and grated cheese make this a great comfort food dish any time of the year.  My mother often made scalloped potatoes sometime on the weekend and made enough that we’d have leftovers for dinner a day or two later. To this day, I still believe that this is one dish that is better a day or two after it is made as the flavours really settle in.

My favorite potatoes to use in scalloped potatoes are red potatoes. They hold their shape yet they cook up well.  I recommend using whole milk or, if you want to be really decadent, use a mix of milk and cream.  While skim or partly skimmed milk can be used, it won’t make a sauce that is as rich and creamy as when at least whole milk is used. My grandmother used pure cream when she made her scalloped potatoes and, boy, were they good….but extremely rich!

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

This is not a difficult dish to make and really doesn’t take anything out of the ordinary in the way of ingredients.  A simple white sauce with a bit of seasoning is easily cooked in the microwave until slightly thickened then poured over the layers of potato and onion. I always add just a teaspoon of liquid chicken bouillon to the cream sauce for extra flavour boost.

Some purists will argue that a traditional dish of scalloped potatoes should not contain cheese and neither my mother or grandmother ever used cheese in theirs.  However, I find that adding about 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese steps this dish up a notch. The cheese adds both flavour and richness to the potatoes but, like the other ingredients I have added to my recipe in moderation, doesn’t take away from the traditional basic flavour of the scalloped potatoes.  All the chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, nutmeg, and paprika do are delicately add a hint of extra flavour.

I recommend removing the casserole cover during the last few minutes of the baking process as it will give the scalloped potatoes a nice tasty crust on top.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients:

1¾ lbs. red potatoes (about 3 medium-sized), peeled and sliced about 1/8” thick
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
1½ cups milk
1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp flour or cornstarch
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp melted butter
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray or grease a 1½-quart casserole.

Place a layer of sliced potatoes in casserole.

Add a layer of sliced onions.

Repeat potato and onion layers to fill casserole.

In microwaveable bowl, whisk together the milk, chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, flour or cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Microwave for about a minute, then stir and add the melted butter and 2½ – 3 tbsp. grated cheese. Microwave 1-2 minutes, just until mixture is heated and starts to thicken slightly, stirring once or twice. Pour over potatoes and onions in the casserole.

Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and paprika.

Bake, covered, for about 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to bake until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with ham and your favourite side vegetable.

Yield: Apx. 4-6 servings

 

Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

Yield: Apx. 4-6 servings

Rich and creamy scalloped potatoes make this the perfect side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1¾ lbs. red potatoes (about 3 medium-sized), peeled and sliced about 1/8” thick
  • 1 medium onion, sliced in rings
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp flour or cornstarch
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray or grease a 1½-quart casserole.
  3. Place a layer of sliced potatoes in casserole.
  4. Add a layer of sliced onions.
  5. Repeat potato and onion layers to fill casserole.
  6. In microwaveable bowl, whisk together the milk, chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, flour or cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Microwave for about a minute, then stir and add the melted butter and 2½ - 3 tbsp. grated cheese. Microwave 1-2 minutes, just until mixture is heated and starts to thicken slightly, stirring once or twice. Pour over potatoes and onions in the casserole.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and paprika.
  8. Bake, covered, for about 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to bake until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.
  9. Serving Suggestion: Serve with ham and your favourite side vegetable.
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Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Best Creamy Scalloped Potatoes