Rice Cereal Treats

23 12 2016

img_0850The holidays coincide with birthdays in my home, so while everyone else plans holiday parties and menus, I focus on keeping my children’s birthdays separate and special. Rice cereal treats with a twist landed on one of our birthday menus, and fruity rainbow bars won over the many options of flavors and colors. This simple and economical treat can be changed to accommodate a variety of occasions and preferences. Here is the base recipe:

 

Ingredients

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 Pkg (10 oz) regular marshmallows or 4 C miniature marshmallows
  • 6 C puffed rice cereal

 

Directions

Melt butter on low heat in a large saucepan. Stir in marshmallows until melted completely. Remove pan from heat. Stir in rice cereal until all is mixed in and coated. Press into greased 9×13-inch pan with a greased spatula. Cut into desired shapes after cooled. These treats are best when served soft the same day but stay fresh for a couple days in a covered container.

 

Here are other versions of rice cereal treats:

 

Fruity rainbow:

Mix 3 C regular puffed rice cereal with 3 C fruity rainbow-colored puffed rice cereal

 

Chocolate:

6 C chocolate puffed rice cereal or mix 3 C chocolate puffed rice cereal with 3 C regular puffed rice cereal

 

Chocolate peanut butter:

Mix 3 C regular puffed rice cereal with 3 C peanut butter-flavored cereal

 

Cookies and cream:

Mix 5 C regular puffed rice cereal with 25 chocolate and cream sandwich cookies, chopped

 

S’mores:

Mix 3 C regular puffed rice cereal with 2 C graham-flavored cereal and 1 C chocolate chips, frozen

 

Holiday:

Mix 5 C regular puffed rice cereal, 1 C dried cranberries and 1 C white chocolate chips, frozen

 

Dipped:

Make the base recipe, cut into shapes, dip one part of each into melted chocolate or white chocolate, embellish with sprinkles or crushed candy or nuts

 

Frosted:

Make the base recipe, cut into any shape, top with frosting and decorate

 

You have infinite possibilities of variety by tweaking the base recipe and adding your own creativity. Have fun and enjoy!

 

 

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Egg Substitutes for Recipes

14 10 2016

img_0035Summer turned to autumn overnight in the Pacific Northwest, and social media was deluged with posts about baking. Even well before the holidays, our foggy mornings or rainy days send people to the comfort of their kitchens. With all of our baking and cooking, sometimes we lack an essential ingredient—the egg. Ah yes, we’ve all discovered only two eggs in our refrigerators when a recipe called for three. What do we do? We use other ingredients from the pantry to replace the egg!

Here is my list of egg substitutes:

  • Banana

¼ C mashed banana equals one egg

Adds a sweet taste

  • Applesauce

¼ C unsweetened applesauce equals one egg

Does not alter the taste

  • Pumpkin

¼ C canned pumpkin equals one egg

Adds a pumpkin taste

  • Prunes

¼ C pureed prunes equals one egg

Adds a sweet taste

  • Cornstarch (or potato starch)

1 T starch mixed with 3 T warm water equals one egg

Set aside for 5 minutes before using

  • Potato

2 T mashed potato equals one egg

  • Flaxseed

1 T ground seeds mixed with 3 T warm water equals one egg

Set aside for 5 minutes before using

Grind whole flaxseeds at home using a coffee grinder, and store in refrigerator

  • Flaxseed meal

1 T flaxseed meal mixed with 3 T warm water equals one egg

Set aside for 5 minutes before using

Flaxseeds in any form add a slightly nutty flavor

  • Flour

2 T flour, ½ tsp oil, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 T liquid of choice mixed equals one egg

Liquid can be water, milk, juice, thin yogurt, buttermilk, cream, dairy-free milks

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Baked Rainbow Trout

5 04 2016

IMG_5854Rainbow trout are coldwater fish in the salmon family native to the Pacific Northwest. Some trout remain in fresh rivers and lakes for their entire lives, while others migrate to and from the Pacific Ocean. Migratory trout are called steelhead. Freshwater rainbow trout are smaller with a milder flavor and flesh color than their saltwater counterparts. They are delicious baked, fried, smoked, or grilled.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 rainbow trout, cleaned with heads and tails removed if desired
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • 4-6 rosemary sprigs
  • Canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley, if desired

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking sheet with foil and coat with canola or olive oil.
  • Place trout on foil. Sprinkle flesh with salt and pepper and stuff with rosemary sprigs and lemon slices. Drizzle skin with oil and lemon juice, and season with additional salt and pepper. Lemon slices lined on top of trout and sprinkled with parsley also gives a nice presentation along with flavor.
  • Cover with foil and bake for approximately 20 minutes until trout is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

 

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Speckled Cookies

15 03 2016

IMG_5780I once found the shell of a speckled egg and have been smitten ever since. This year, I wanted to create a new twist on a spring dessert for my family and decided to mimic various speckled eggs. My speckled sugar cookie egg takes only a few store-bought ingredients! Roll out refrigerated sugar cookie dough, cut with an egg-shaped cookie cutter and bake. Once cooled, spread with canned white frosting and sprinkle with crushed chocolate cookies. For colored eggs, add a few drops of desired food coloring to a separate portion of frosting. This cookie epitomizes spring, and chocolate with vanilla or cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly. Try it for any spring celebration from Easter to Mother’s Day!

 

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Easy, Healthy Quiche

9 03 2016

IMG_5705I love brunch for the variety it offers including protein dishes, pastries, and fruit. Quiche is a brunch staple—especially for Easter—and I have an easy quiche recipe that even works for a weekday morning. I prefer this recipe because it requires only three eggs. Sometimes we don’t have or don’t prefer nearly a dozen eggs for one dish. This recipe exchanges several eggs for less than a cup of Bisquick. I make it even healthier by using Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix.

Easy, Healthy Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, whole
  • 1 C milk, fat free
  • 1 C grated cheese, reduced fat
  • ¾ C Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix
  • ¼ C Greek yogurt, plain
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Meat and/or vegetables, to taste

Note: Modify your quiche to your preference by adding a combination of your favorite ingredients. Some ideas include bacon, ham, salmon, sausage, onion, zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper, tomato, and spinach—the possibilities are endless. Squeeze out excess water and plan on baking quiche a bit longer if needed. Experiment with different cheeses too.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ingredients and pour into a 9×9 round dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. This recipe can be doubled into a 9×13 dish and baked for approximately 35 minutes.

 

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Football-Shaped Sandwich Ideas

3 02 2016

IMG_5248In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, we get inundated with menu ideas for the big game. I fluctuate between staying simple and tackling all the recipes I discover. This football sandwich is a touchdown in my household because it’s super easy and everyone likes it. That’s a win-win in my playbook! It works for any football game from professional teams to peewee leagues, and even for a fun lunchbox surprise.

I made a grilled cheese version with cheddar laces on the top, but any filling of your choice works between two slices of bread shaped into a football. Cheese laces pair well with many sandwich flavors, but several lace options complement a variety of sandwiches. Try piping on mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, cream cheese, peanut butter, or frosting onto your savory or sweet sandwiches. Embellish them a bit more by making smaller laces and leaving room to stripe both ends of your bread. You’ll easily have these football sandwiches ready by kickoff!

 

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Altitude is Everything

30 11 2015

IMG_4652This photo has been a family secret; hidden in my files for five years. I know it’s bad. I wish the picture better exhibited this colossal baking failure. The “before” shot displays the unadorned first attempt at hiding it under frosting. Doesn’t chocolate frosting make everything better? Clearly not. Notice the evidence of two swipes of little fingers across the top. I’m not sure who the culprit was, but I can safely guess that it was one or both of my two youngest children and not their big brother or cousins.

IMG_4654The “after” shot is the final product, presented as a joint-birthday cake to my husband and brother while on vacation. My creative sister-in-law (truly talented at everything!) brainstormed the idea to add marshmallows and chocolate syrup. These marshmallows were the special, ginormous ones meant for some amazing s’mores. The kiddos couldn’t wait to toast them over an open fire. Didn’t happen. We confiscated them with the intention of holding up the cake to keep it from becoming even more of a pancake. It did help some. Next came squirts of chocolate syrup to fancy it up. The positive about that stellar move is that it didn’t hurt the cake or alter its form in any way. We sprinkled the top with powdered sugar and added a few festive (and perhaps, confused) birthday candles, and voila!

How did this cake emerge from the oven looking like a crime scene, you ask? We followed baking instructions explicitly, except we missed that note every box includes about baking at varying altitudes. We didn’t even realize this issue until well after vacation. Rookies. We’re used to baking along the Willamette Valley at about 200 feet in elevation, and we threw this beauty together in Sunriver, Oregon at 4,200 feet. My advice for all traveling or relocated bakers out there is to remember what altitude you’re at and adjust accordingly. Your desserts—and guests—will know otherwise!

 

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