Summers in Southeast Alaska are usually cool by most by standards, but this last week was sunny and in the 80s — which feels way too hot after 20 years in the Last Frontier. Certainly too hot to cook. This crock pot supper was easy, yummy, and didn’t heat up the house.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh or frozen chicken thighs and/or breasts
1 cup diced frozen onions
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red or orange pepper, cut into strips
1 lemon cut into thick slices
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs diced garlic
flatbread (I like the low carb Flatout Breads)
2 cups mixed lettuces
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
your favorite hummus
tzatiki sauce or cucumber dressing

How I Made Them:

Put the olive oil and seasoning in a large Ziploc bag, then add the chicken and shake it to coat the chicken with the seasoning. Set it aside while you put onions in the crock pot first, then the peppers. Put the chicken in the pot on a single layer. Tuck the carrots around the perimeter and then lay the lemon slices on top.

Set the crock pot to 4 hours if you’re using fresh chicken and 8 hours if you’re using frozen. Then go outside and play.

When it’s all ready, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken. You can save the pot liquor to make a soup or sauce later. You can shred the chicken or cut it into bite size pieces.

To make the gyro, lay out a flatbread. Spread hummus on it, then add lettuce and tomatoes.  Add the chicken, then as much feta as you want.  Drizzle the top with tzatiki sauce.  You can serve it as a wrap or open-faced.

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This is an easy veggie-packed recipe that’s fancy enough for company.

Ingredients

3-4 organic peppers (red, orange, yellow & green)
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 bag Birdseye Southwest Protein Blend or similar mixed frozen vegetables
1 cup feta crumbles
sour cream for serving

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking dish with foil. Brown the ground beef over medium high heat in a non-stick skillet.

While the meat cooks, clean and prepare the peppers. Slice off the tops and scoop out the insides. Place the peppers in the baking dish. You can save the tops for baking or slice them up and add them to the meat.

When the meat is browned thoroughly, add the frozen veggies (don’t cook them in the microwave first). When the vegetables  are heated through, turn off the heat and add the feta. Stir to thoroughly combine the cheese.

Spoon the mixture into the peppers. There is enough for 3 large or 4 small peppers. Bake the stuffed peppers uncovered (or with the pepper tops) for 35 minutes. You want the peppers to be fork-tender but not so soft as to be slimy.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

How They Turned Out

As tasty as they are pretty!

I hate those food bloggers who write acres of nonsense before they get to the recipe so I’m just going to start with NUTMEG. The secret ingredient in these amazing chocolate chip cookies is nutmeg.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 bag Guittard extra dark chocolate chips

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, sifting them together with a fork. In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Turn the mixer down and add the flour mixture in batches.

It’s a very thick dough so be careful not to warp your paddle. When it’s all mixed together, use a wooden spoon to mix in the chocolate chips.

Use an ice cream scoop to put lovely big mounds of cookie dough on the baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden on the bottoms.

These are perfect for binge watching or for sharing.

Makes 2 dozen+ cookies.

 

Looking for an easy dessert that’s still fancy enough to share? Or just a way to salvage some fruit on its way out? This is it.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
2-3 Anjou or red pears
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs cinnamon
3 tbs apricot preserves
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a round baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the pears into not-too-thin slices. Toss the pear slices with sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Unroll the pie crust onto the baking sheet. Spread the preserves over the crust, leaving a 2 inch perimeter.

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If you’re going to use walnuts, spread them over the preserves. (I don’t like them so mine is walnut-free.) Lay out the pears in a nice circular pattern, using little slices to fill in any gaps. Fold the edges over, pinching it to create a solid edge. Brush the edges with the beaten egg with a pastry brush.

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Bake the galette for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Carefully remove it from the oven – there will be lots of lovely pear juice eager to slosh about. Let it cool before serving.

You can serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream, or save it for a sweet treat with your morning coffee.

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Sometimes cooking someone’s favorite meal for no reason at all is the best way to show how much you care for them.  This banana cake is one of my sweetest friend’s favorites, since he was a child. It’s easy to make, and tastes like home. Be sure to use organic bananas — they truly taste more banana-y.

Ingredients

5 organic bananas, pureed (not mashed)
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Kerrygold butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
6 oz confectioner’s sugar
3 tbs half and half
1 tbs maple syrup

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your pans. You can make two 9 inch rounds or 20 cupcakes.

Puree the bananas in the food processer. Add the baking soda at the end for a couple of pulses.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl.

In the standing mixer, cream the butter and the sugars. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. In batches, add the flour mixture alternating with the milk. Add the bananas and mix until smooth.

Transfer the batter to the cake pans or lined cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes away with a few crumbs.  Be careful not to overbake the cakes, as they will then turn out to be dry.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together.  Add the maple syrup, then the confectioner’s sugar in batches. Drizzle the half and half in if it gets to be too dry. This makes enough frosting for a two layer cake, with frosting in between. If you make cupcakes, you’ll have leftovers.

When the cakes are cool, assemble and decorate.

How They Turned Out

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These are a wonderful old fashioned treat. Intense banana flavor, with a rich frosting.

 

A cold and dreary Sunday is best spent baking, surrounded by the warmth of cinnamon and sugar and icing. These miniature apple cakes use fresh ginger instead of ground, balanced by the creamy icing.

Ingredients

2 apples, diced
3 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg, beaten
8 oz plain full fat or 2% greek yogurt
1 cup unbleached organic flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 8 mini loaf pans or paper liners on a cookie sheet.

Chop the apple into small pieces and then toss it with the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set it aside.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the molasses and brown sugar over low heat. While that’s coming together, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Whisk the butter and sugar and molasses until they are smooth. Stir in the minced ginger. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool a little bit. Then stir in the yogurt.

Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients. Fold the apples into the batter.

Fill the loaf pans 3/4 full with batter. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean.

Let the cakes cool completely before decorating with icing. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and cream with a form or whisk until you achieve the consistency you want.

How They Turned Out

Very moist and flavorful, with a bit of a kick from the ginger and cinnamon.

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What do you make for your fabulous vegan friend for dinner?  These easy peasy stuffed squashes.

Ingredients

2 medium or 3 small acorn squashes, halved
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup diced onion
2 cups organic kale, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
zest and juice of one orange
2 packages microwaveable Ancient Grains quinoa with chickpeas

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil.  Brush the squash halves with olive oil and place face down. Roast for 30 minutes.

While the squash roasts, saute the garlic and onion in olive oil in a large skillet. Add the kale and cook until just wilted. Cook the quinoa in the microwave, then add it to the pan. Stir in the cranberries, orange juice and zest.

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After the 30 minutes, take the squash from the oven. Use tongs to turn them over. Brush the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fill the cavities with the quinoa stuffing.  Put them back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

How They Turned Out

So, so yummy. I don’t even like squash and I scraped my clean.

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