Well Dined


Rye Spaetzle with Spring Vegetables and Gruyere

Well Dined | Rye Spaetzle with Spring Vegetables and Gruyere

I love Spring. I love the flowers, and the weather (sometimes), and the resurgence of vegetables.  Spring vegetables are here and gone so quickly (if you are buying seasonally, that is), so take advantage of them while you can!  Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I decided to make this Spring vegetable dish because it uses spaetzle, which is a bit more fun than your standard pasta, and gruyere, which pairs so well with these veggies.

Well Dined | Spaetzle with Mushrooms, Herbs, and Duck Egg

Spaetzle is a chewy German egg noodle.  Melissa is familiar with it because she studied German.  I've eaten it in restaurants many times, but only made it once before this past fall.  And by made it, I mean that my friend made it with her Grandmother's (I think) recipe and her spaetzle press.  Meanwhile, I made a vegetarian ragu with mushrooms, butter, onion, thyme, and oregano and poached some duck eggs (thank you, gorgeous Portland farmer's market).


SRC – Lemon and Basil Chicken Salad from Renee’s Kitchen Adventures

Well Dined | Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad

It's my first Secret Recipe Club post!!!  I had been wanting to join the SRC for a while, but wasn't sure that I met the posting requirements, because I don't always post every week.  I also didn't have a recipe index for a long time, so that is something that I have been working on.  I finally felt like the time was right and asked to join, and here I am with my first post!  Yay!

My assigned blog was Renee's Kitchen Adventures, and I had such a great time looking through it.  Renee is a stay-at-home mom and former nurse (labor and delivery - what a special unit!), and her story reminded me a lot of my mother.  She talks about trying to be healthy and lose weight, and posts healthy recipes based on Weight Watchers points.  I, too, am trying to be healthy and lose weight, so I loved that about this blog.  Even though our ideas of what constitute healthy food are a bit different (I think fat is healthy), I think this blog will be a great resource and inspiration for me.  I also love how accessible and family friendly Renee's recipes are.  I think I tend to only post about the really complicated stuff, which maybe isn't so great.

As I was reading through Renee's most recent recipes, I saw a lot that I wanted to try.  I love that she has a lot of s'mores recipes, and especially that she made s'mores krispy treats - because I did the same thing! I also really liked the sound of this Almond Joy Poke Cake made with coconut oil, coconut oil is the best!  She writes that she isn't ashamed to use boxed cake mix as a shortcut, and I feel the same way!  I don't post about them much, but I love to make poke cakes or dress up cake mix in other ways (pro tip: use 1 extra egg, milk instead of water, melted butter instead of oil).

Well Dined | Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad

I've been baking way more than usual lately, though, and what jumped out at me the most was this Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad.  It has been super hot and humid lately, so this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be eating right now.


Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

Melissa and I are back at it!  This time it is with a super delicious, and seasonally appropriate, roasted vegetable pot pie that is super comforting and filling.  I think even meat eaters will love it - seriously!  If you think about it, there isn't that much chicken in a regular pot pie, and it is in tiny cubes that sort of blend in with everything else.  So who's gonna miss it?  Not me!  Especially not when you top it with a killer rosemary and black pepper crust.  I'm not kidding, you guys, this crust is awesome.  I want to use it for all kinds of savory tart type things.  This recipe is labor intensive, so give yourself time.  Or make it with a buddy!

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

So, first step - make the dough for the crust.  This involves flour, butter, buttermilk, egg yolks, and (most importantly) rosemary and black pepper.  Crack that black pepper yourself, you want the flavor and the unevenly sized bits.  The crust is what makes this dish special, so don't skip it!

Well Dined | Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pie

Next, cut up those veggies!  So, so many veggies.  We made a lot of editorial choices with this recipe - eliminate pumpkin (who needs it when there is also butternut squash?), boost the brussels, etc...  Afterwards we realized (per Melissa's husband) that replacing the carrots with parsnips would have added a nice pepperiness to balance the sweetness of the squash.  Good idea, Dave!


Overnight Oats

Well Dined | Overnight Oats

So I love muesli - real muesli like this, not the kind you find in a cereal box - but it takes a lot of work to put together.  When I started seeing overnight oats pop up on Pinterest, I thought it sounded pretty similar - raw oats soaked in yogurt with fruit - but with less work and made in mason jars.  Everything is cooler with mason jars, so I decided to check it out.  The recipe also involves chia seeds, which are uber-trendy right now, and with good reason!  They are similar to flax seeds, but don't have to be ground to be eaten, plus they do this super cool gel thing when soaked.

Well Dined | Overnight Oats

The base of the recipe is oats, chia seeds, yogurt and milk - places in a jar and shaken.  Then you add in whatever flavors and sweeteners you want and let it set up in the fridge overnight (hence the name).  For vegans or lactose-intolerant, simply substitute your favorite products here.  Coconut milk would be especially delicious, I think.  Of course, you don't have to use a mason jar to do this, but it's super cute and easy to transport!

Well Dined | Overnight Oats

The first flavor I tried was Vanilla Raspberry - made with vanilla extract, raspberry jam, and fresh raspberries.  Yum!

Well Dined | Overnight Oats

Next I tried Mango Almond, with fresh mango, almond extract, and a little agave.  This wasn't quite as awesome, mostly because of the almond extract, but still good.

I've also made Pina Colada with coconut extract and pineapple jam.  The options are pretty endless.  Even if you don't like fruit, you could do peanut butter, nutella, chocolate, or coffee flavors.

Packed with fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals - this is a super healthy breakfast or post-workout snack.  It is really filling, too.  Try it out and tell me what your favorite flavor combo is!

Overnight Oats

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp dried chia seeds

Combine in a container, stir in desired flavorings, and chill overnight.
For flavor ideas, check here and here.


Apple Oat Muffins

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

Let's start the week out with something sweet, and not even that bad for you.  These muffins are mostly oats, held together by a little yogurt, and studded with chunks of delicious apples.  The are unbelievably moist and spiced with cinnamon.  Breakfast, dessert, whatever - these are going to get gobbled up fast.

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

I used braeburn apples, but any good baking apple will do.  Some stores have little signs that tell you which apples are good for what.

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

See what I mean?  There is more than 2x as much oats as there is flour.

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

The batter is very wet, but this is a good thing.  I would dice the apples smaller next time.

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

My husband practically inhaled these bad boys.  Seriously.  Go make these.  Right now.  I'll wait...  Did you make them?  Aren't you glad you did?

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

You can invite your neighbor over for muffins and hot chocolate.  I bet they'd love it.

Well Dined | Apple Oat Muffins

They might even take one of the muffins you give them on an adventure to the airport.  Cuz who wants to eat airport food, right?


Raspberry Yogurt Ice Pops

Well Dined | Raspberry Yogurt Ice Pop

After much Pinterest envy, I finally bought a popsicle mold (at the end of the summer, good job).  Did you know that "popsicle" is actually a brand name that we in the US have adopted to describe all ice pops?  I didn't.  It's one of those weird things like calling all facial tissue "Kleenex".  Anyway the very first thing I wanted to try was a blackberry and yogurt recipe.  But I was worried about the seeds, and then the store ended up not having any blackberries.  So I bought raspberries instead.  Plain Greek yogurt, sweetened with a little agave, and layered with muddled raspberries (clearly my layering skills need improvement) - simple, fresh, delicious.  As far as sweets go, this is pretty good for you and I bet kids would love it!

Raspberry Yogurt Ice Pops
adapted from Real Simple
makes 10-12, depending on mold

1 3/4 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt
6-8 tbsp agave nectar
3/4 pound raspberries (about 3 cups)

Whisk together the yogurt and 3 tbsp agave in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the blackberries and the remaining 3 tbsp agave and mash with a fork or potato masher until coarsely crushed.  Taste the mixtures and add more agave as needed, keeping in mind that it will taste less sweet when frozen.

Layer the yogurt and blackberry mixtures (starting with the yogurt mixture, but don't make as big a layer as I did), dividing evenly among 4oz paper cups or ice-pop molds.  Drag a toothpick or skewer through the mixtures to create a swirl effect.  Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 4 days. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften slightly.  Or dip into warm (not hot) water to release.  You can unmold all of the popsicles and store them in a plastic bag in the freezer.


Moroccan Meat Pies and Afghan Pumpkin


This post got lost and forgotten somewhere, so it's not very seasonal and I apologize.  But you can look forward to making it next Fall.


And you should look forward to it.  Sweet, caramelized pumpkin with spices, creamy yogurt, and tangy tomato sauce?  Yes, please.  This is one of my favorite Afghan dishes, called kadu bouranee.


And these delicious Moroccan inspired meat pies made with phyllo, ground beef, and spices are the perfect main to complement the pumpkin.  You could also make the Afghan meat dumplings called mantu, of course, but they require a little bit more work.


International Burgers

Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers.  And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either.  Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.


First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.


To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper.  Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.


Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.

Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.


For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.


To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg.  Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce.  Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce.  If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.


Weeknight Salmon

Here's a fun and easy salmon dish for when you are pressed for time - Crispy Salmon with Creamy Basil Pasta.

Brush salmon with coconut oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil for 5 min per side on a rack.  Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti with a creamy basil sauce.

For a lighter side (I paired it with my Panko Salmon), make "noodles" out of zucchini in a yogurt sauce.

To make the zucchini noodles, use a julienne peeler or mandoline to make thin strips.  Toss with salt and allow the water to drain out.

Then toss with a creamy lemon-chive dressing made with Greek yogurt.


Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

I always crave ice cream during the summer - who doesn't?  But now that I am trying to be more healthy, I am looking for alternatives.  I found this recipe for Creamy Blackberry Frozen Yogurt that only used 3 ingredients and had to try it!  Super creamy, sweet, and delicious - this was more than I was hoping for.  Plus this recipe will probably work with any fresh fruit.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what I can replace the sweetened condensed milk with to make it even more healthy?  Honey, maybe?

From Kitchen Corners:

3 cups fresh blackberries
3 cups Greek yogurt
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

In a blender, puree the blackberries with the sweetened condensed milk. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove most of the seeds (optional).

In a medium bowl mix the puree with the Greek yogurt. Pour the mixture in to your ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions.