Simple Recipe: Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers

Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers

When my sister and I were kids, my mom used to make these pineapple strawberry palmiers for us to share with our classmates on Valentine’s Day. They were always gobbled up within seconds. So when Maggie taught me how to make palmiers a few weeks ago, a flood of happy (and sweet) memories came rushing back and I knew I had to share this recipe with you.

With the help of store-bought puff pastry, these little desserts are a snap to make. Crisp, flaky cookie with pineapple cream cheese and a strawberry on top? I don’t really know how you could go wrong.

Pineapple Strawberry Palmiers

Ingredients

1 sheet puff pastry
1 block cream cheese
1 can crushed pineapple (8 oz.)
Strawberries (sliced thinly)
Sugar

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with sugar and lay the thawed puff pastry on top of it. Sprinkle more sugar on top of the puff pastry. Use a rolling pin to flatten the pastry a little. This gets the sugar nice and embedded into the dough.

2. Take one edge of the pastry and roll it toward the middle do the same with the other side. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, stir together the cream cheese and pineapple. If you can find pineapple cream cheese, even better! That’s what my mom uses but for some reason it’s more readily available in Hawaii than in Massachusetts. (No idea why!) Slice your strawberries.

4. Take your puff pastry out of the fridge and slice it into quarter-inch pieces. Place about two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for about six minutes, turn, and bake for about six more minutes. Oven temperatures vary, so keep your eye on them. They should be golden brown when they’re ready.

5. Assemble: spread a dallop of pineapple cream cheese on the cookie. Top with two slices of strawberry.

P.S. Want more easy peasy recipes? Right this way!

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Favorite Food Gifts (That Aren’t Cookies)

Easy food gifts that aren't cookies!

Don’t get me wrong–I love cookies as much as the next person. But maybe your office has been inundated with cookies, or maybe your neighbor has confessed that she just doesn’t get excited about them. For those of you stuck in an anti-cookie quandry, look no further! Here are five really easy edible gifts:

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!):

Ah yes, my absolute favorite holiday snack: Chex mix! This is my mom’s recipe, which gets rave reviews from everyone we know. My stomach actually just growled thinking about it. This recipe makes A LOT of Chex mix, so you’ll have plenty to pass around.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Hot Chocolate

This decadent hot chocolate is so easy to make and share. Just combine the ingredients and put them in pretty jars! I’m sending mine with packets of gourmet marshmallows this year.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Cranberry Bars

These cranberry bars are hearty enough for breakfast but so craveable that I like them as a mid-afternoon treat too. Plus that, they’re really simple to make!

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Apple Butter

Chunky apple butter in a glass jar with some biscuits from the bakery? That’s my kind of Christmas delivery.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Butter Mochi

For gluten-free friends, butter mochi is a sweet treat that doesn’t allow for any flour-longings. Gluten-full friends won’t miss it either. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy this sticky butter “pound cake” of the islands.

There you have it. Now I’m really hungry, so I’m off to whip up an edible gift–for me!

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Simple Recipe: Oyako Donburi

Simple Recipes: Oyako Donburi

Every day, as I drive around and look at the bare trees and the piles of snow that are either growing or melting, I have to stop and remind myself that it’s still fall. Winter hasn’t even begun in earnest! But we have the lovely distraction of the holidays, which means things are busy, busy, busy and there’s even less time to think about what’s for dinner.

That’s why I’m so grateful to Lindsey for sharing this recipe with me! Oyako donburi is Japanese comfort food at its finest. It’s a mound of rice covered in an broth made of sweet and savory ingredients that flavor bites of chicken, and the whole thing is then thickened with egg. The dish is incredibly quick to whip up, and I love that it requires ingredients that we typically have on hand anyway.

Oyako donburi has come to the rescue multiple times in the past few weeks, with its warm, hearty goodness, and I’m sure it will continue to be a weekly staple for us in the coming months.

Simple Recipes: Oyako Donburi

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup low sodium shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 tablespoon sake
1 small onion, cut into strips
3 well-beaten eggs
2 cups rice
Green onion to garnish

Instructions:

1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and simmer in the chicken broth until it’s cooked through.

2. Add the shoyu, sugar, and sake. Stir to combine. Add the onion and simmer until they’re translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Pour the eggs over everything and cook until just set, about 2 minutes. Spoon over rice and serve hot!

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Simple Recipe: “Magic” Minestrone

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe
Whenever someone in my family gets sick, my mom makes her famous minestrone soup, and it always works like a charm. No one has come down with a cold over here (yet) but we’re feeling the chill of these autumn days, and that has set us on the hunt for comfort foods. In the notes my mom made for this recipe, it says, “Lots of ingredients, but easy–mostly dumping!” Which is true: chop, chop, chop, dump into pot–and voila! Magic soup.

I love that this soup is thick, almost like a stew, but you can water it down with more chicken broth or water at the end if you like it thinner. It’s one of those dishes that’s great to make on a Sunday because it’s such a big batch that it can last through the week. I’m a fan of putting it into a thermos for a steaming hot lunch at work. Anyone else out there a thermos fan? I think it’s the perfect intersection of nostalgia and function.

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
14-oz can chicken broth
1 quart water
2 medium carrots, diced
Half of small cabbage or 1 small Chinese cabbage, sliced
1 medium potato, diced
15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1⁄2 cup uncooked macaroni

Instructions:

1. In a large stockpot, add beans, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes to chicken broth and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Coat the bottom of a skillet with cooking spray; sauté the onions for few minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn gold. Add zucchini, garlic, pepper, and basil. Cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add to the stockpot (with the beans, broth, vegetables, and tomatoes) with tomato sauce and macaroni.

3. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add water or more broth if it’s too thick for your taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Simple Recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal Brûlée

Pumpkin Oatmeal Brûlée

So you may think I’ve gone a little pumpkin crazy, and you’d be right. I’ve been walking around singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” because it is. Apples and pumpkins and soups and love!

You may remember my berry oatmeal brûlée from awhile back. I’ve gussied up my oatmeal again with a fall makeover featuring, you guessed it, pumpkin! I prepared the oatmeal using Mark Bittman’s walk away method, which requires minimal hands-on time. My favorite thing about his recipe is that it makes a lot of oatmeal, so you can store it in the fridge and reheat it throughout the week. This is a naturally gluten-free and vegan breakfast option.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Brûlée

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Brown and white sugar for topping
Optional: raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, or pieces of apple

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Put the oats and salt in an medium sized ovenproof saucepan (I use a small dutch oven). Pour water over the top and bring to a boil. Stir in the pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other optional ingredients. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven.

2. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the saucepan or dutch oven and check on the consistency of the oats. If they’re too crunchy, return them to the oven for another 5 minutes. Otherwise, spoon them into the ramekins.

3. Top with brown sugar and then white sugar. Brown sugar burns much more quickly than white sugar, so it’s helpful to have a layer of white sugar on top. Lightly move your brûlée torch back and forth over the sugar topping until it turns into a rich brown glaze.

Tip: If you’re reheating the oatmeal, simply add a bit of milk, stir it around in the ramekin, and microwave for 45 seconds to one minute. Then add the sugar, and torch as usual.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Brûlée

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