Marinated Veggie by TheLookingGlassCraft.com

Marinated Veggies

I’m absolutely in love with this new recipe that was shared with me for marinated veggies! These veggies are perfect for any occasion. Feel free to alter the veggies used, adding in your favorites. The flavors will blend well together for a variety of veggie combinations. Marinated veggies can be served warm or cold, as a side dish or overtop lettuce to turn your salad into a meal. This recipe is perfect for summer parties!

Your Favorite Veggies

What a great way to get in your daily dose of veggies! Mix up a big batch of marinated veggies and you’ll have no problem eating your greens this week. I love to throw in a variety of bell peppers for an extra splash of color, making this dish fun and bright. Slice and chop all of your veggies into bite sized pieces. For more color add in extra bell peppers, or substitute a yellow squash for a zucchini. Pour all of the chopped veggies into a large ziplock bag.

Delicious Dressing

In a small blender or food processor, pour in ½ cup Vegetable Oil and ½ cup Olive Oil. Add in ½ cup White Wine Vinegar and ½ cup Sugar. This is the base for your marinade and will make a sweet vinaigrette type dressing. Then mince 3 cloves of fresh Garlic to season your marinade. I love garlic and tend to add in a little extra if I’m making this for the family. Finally, finish the seasonings with 1 tablespoon Salt, 1 tablespoon Mustard, and 2 tablespoons Tarragon. I like to use stone ground mustard whenever possible, it adds the perfect balance of flavor, but you can use any kind you prefer. Blend these ingredients until well combined.

Perfect for Summer Parties

Pour the marinade over the veggies. Seal the bag tightly and refrigerate overnight. Since this marinade is essentially a salad dressing, you can eat the veggies right away. The flavors, however, will combine and develop after marinating overnight. I’ll occasionally make an extra batch of the dressing to use on salads throughout the week, since it’s delicious on it’s own as well. These veggies are wonderful for summer parties. You can make them up the night before and let them marinate until you’re ready to leave. Perfect for cookouts and potlucks! Have fun mixing up your favorite veggies this summer and enjoy!

Marinated Veggies

2 Bell Peppers

1 lb. Carrots

1 lb. Mushrooms

1 bunch Broccoli

1 bunch Cauliflower

2 Zucchini

5 Stalks Celery

½ cup Vegetable Oil

½ cup Olive Oil

½ cup White Wine Vinegar

½ cup Sugar

3 cloves garlic

1 T. Salt

1 T. Mustard

2 T. Tarragon

 

Slice and chop all veggies to bite sized pieces and combine in a large ziplock bag. In a small blender or food processor combine both Oils, Vinegar, and Sugar. Add in Garlic, Salt, Mustard, and Tarragon for seasoning. Blend until fully combined. Pour the marinade over the veggies and let sit overnight, sealed, in the refrigerator. Enjoy your veggies!

Marinated Veggies by TheLookingGlassCraft.com
This delicious dressing will have you coming back for more!
Smoothie Pops by TheLookingGlassCraft.com

Smoothie Pops

Warm sunshine on the beach, a cool breeze on the green grass, and sweet frozen smoothie pops are the best things about summer. These sweet and colorful smoothie pops are so simple to make. I love making a big batch to freeze after going berry picking at our local farms! Nothing compares to the taste of fresh berries.

Fresh, Ripe Berries

These smoothie pops are an all natural, healthy treat for your daily dose of sweet! They can be made with all varieties of fruit for your favorite flavor combination. Frozen berries can be substituted, but for the best results use fresh, unblemished berries.

Pick out ½ cup of your favorite Berries or cut fruit. This can be a single flavor, or a combination. Experiment and have fun! Pour berries into a blender and add 1 cup Yogurt.  I use plain, unsweetened yogurt for my smoothies, but you can substitute with whatever kind you like. However, if using a sweetened yogurt, omit Brown Sugar and only use ½ of the Honey called for.

Organic, Local Honey

Add in 2 tablespoons Honey to your smoothie mix to sweeten and flavor it. I like to use organic, locally grown honey whenever possible. Using locally grown honey has the added benefit of boosting your immune system and resistance to potential allergens in your area. Bee’s use the local plant life to gather nectar and make their honey, in the process their immune system neutralizes potential allergens from these plants. Just 2 teaspoons of local honey a day helps your own immune system to neutralize local allergens as well, reducing allergy symptoms.

Sweeten to Taste

Finally, for unsweetened Yogurt, add in 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to sweeten. You can substitute this with a more natural sweetener, like agave nectar, if you prefer. However, if you use an alternative sweetener, adjust to taste as these can tend to be stronger than normal sugar. A drop of vanilla extract or another suitable extract can be added for flavor if you like, but start small with these as a little bit goes a long way. Pour smoothie mix into a popsicle mold and freeze.

Create and Have Fun!

One of the neatest things about these smoothie pops, is the way that berries and fruit will naturally color your smoothie, making these a fun and healthy treat for the kids as well. I recently made these smoothie pops for a 4th of July cookout and the effect was spectacular! Instead of choosing just one, I made three different flavors of smoothies. One smoothie was made from raspberries, another from blueberries, and the last one was made with a banana, cut into slices. Using a popsicle stick and plastic wrap to cover, I layered the colors one at a time into my popsicle mold. By letting each layer freeze slightly before adding the next, beautiful red, white, and blue striped popsicles were created. What a fun addition to our holiday cookout! Have fun creating your own unique combination of smoothie pops and share with us in the comments below.

Smoothie Pops

1/2 cup Berries (or cut fruit)

1 cup unsweetened Yogurt

2 T. Honey

2 T. Brown Sugar

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Experiment with new flavors and enjoy!

Smoothie Pops by TheLookingGlassCraft.com
Perfect for summer parties or a sweet treat for the family.
Mushroom Chicken Overview

Mushroom Chicken

This simple mushroom chicken is a great dinner recipe to make on a busy night. The entire dish can be quickly put together in minutes, then simply let it cook. The gravy becomes a rich sauce, creating a moist and creamy dish that is completely effortless. Mushrooms and a wonderful touch of rich, hearty flavor and bring this dish to the next level.

Hearty Gravy and Fresh Mushrooms

Mushroom Chicken Step 1
Layer fresh sliced mushrooms over chicken.

Lay the Chicken Breasts out across the bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 cup fresh, sliced Mushrooms on top. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine 2 cups Beef Gravy and 1/4 cup Beef Stock to make the gravy thin. I use a Homemade Gravy, but in a pinch you can substitute pre-made gravy. Add in ¼ cup Sherry and stir the sauce all together. Pour the sauce over the chicken and mushrooms. As it bakes, the chicken will absorb the rich, hearty flavors from the mushrooms and gravy. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes. Let the sauce stand to thicken for about 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom Chicken Step 2
Pour gravy over-top the casserole.

You can always, prepare the sauce ahead of time and mix with the chicken breasts in a plastic freezer bag. Freeze the mixture until ready and dump in the crockpot in the morning before work. Add in fresh, sliced mushrooms and an extra ¼ cup of water. Cook on low heat for 6 – 8 hours. The sauce should be thick and creamy. Preparing it this way, the sauce will act like a marinade, infusing the chicken with even more flavor.

Mushroom Chicken Close Up
Enjoy your delicious meal!

Mushroom Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless

1 cup Fresh Mushrooms, sliced

2 cups Thick Beef Gravy

1/4 cup Beef Stock

¼ cup Sherry

Spread Chicken breasts in a deep casserole dish. Sprinkle fresh mushrooms over top of the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine Gravy, Stock, and Sherry to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken and mushrooms. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes.

 

Chicken Soup Casserole

Chicken Soup Casserole

Nothing compares to Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. But it takes so long to make, I usually end up making a really huge batch. This chicken soup casserole is a great way to re-purpose any leftover Chicken Soup. You can make the filling ahead of time and freeze it for a quick dinner on busy nights. My husband asks for this dinner so often now, I find myself making a pot of Stock just to whip up a quick version of this recipe. This recipe will also work well with a Cream of Chicken Soup to substitute the Homemade Chicken Noodle.

Healthy and Delicious

Start with 2 ½ cups Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup or Cream of Chicken Soup. If you are using a chicken noodle soup with a store bought broth instead of a Homemade Stock add in 1/3 cup Flour to thicken it. Now we will bulk up the filling by adding in our extra meat and veggies. Chop 1 cup Cooked Chicken to mix in. Add in ½ cup sliced Carrots and ½ cup sliced Celery. I always recommend using fresh produce, but this recipe works just as well with frozen if you are in a pinch. Next mix 1 cup Peas and 1 cup Corn into your soup. It should be very thick now and full of delicious veggies. Pour ½ cup Milk into the mixture and stir everything together.

Pour this filling into a casserole dish and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup Flour, ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, and ¼ teaspoon Salt. Crumble in 1/8 cup Butter. Then add the seasonings, ½ teaspoon Rosemary, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1 teaspoon Basil, ½ teaspoon Thyme. Mix all of this together, so the seasonings are spread evenly through your topping. Then add 1 beaten Egg and ½ cup Milk. Mix these in to make a thick batter.

Take the casserole dish out of the oven and pour the batter gently over the filling. Don’t get too much in one spot. The batter will expand as it bakes, so it’s ok if the topping doesn’t touch all across the casserole. As long as there’s not too much in one spot it should come together. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Chicken Soup Casserole

2 ½ cups Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

1 cup Cooked Chicken

½ cup Carrots

½ cup Celery

1 cup Peas

1 cup Corn

½ cup Milk

1 cup Flour

½ teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ teaspoon Salt

1/8 cup Butter

½ teaspoon Rosemary

1 teaspoon Oregano

1 teaspoon Basil

½ teaspoon Thyme

1 Egg

½ cup Milk

In a large bowl, combine Chicken Noodle Soup, chopped Cooked Chicken, sliced Carrots and Celery, as well as Peas and Corn. Add in ½ cup Milk and mix well. Pour filling into a large casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Flour with Baking Powder, Salt, and crumbled Butter. Mix in the seasonings, Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, and Thyme. Add in 1 beaten Egg and ½ cup Milk to create a thick batter. Take the casserole out of the oven and gently pour the batter over top of the filling, spreading evenly throughout the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Egg McMuffins

Egg McMuffins

I’ve been trying to move away from greasy, processed, fast food and cook meals at home with fresh ingredients instead. But every so often my husband decides he just has to have McDonalds and their over-priced Egg McMuffins are one of his favorites. So in an effort to eat more healthy, without cutting out all of our favorite foods, I realized I could start making most of these at home! The first time I made Homemade Egg McMuffins I had intended for them to be a freezer meal; something we could grab on the go. However, once my husband sneaked his first of these sandwiches as they were being assembled, it was all over. That batch of 8 Egg McMuffins never made it to the freezer. This has become a favorite at our house and I have finally given up trying to make enough to freeze them. My husband claims they are even better than McDonalds.

Better Than McDonalds

If you are using regular bacon or ham make sure it is cooked. Then grease a muffin tin and crack an egg into each of the circles. My husband goes through these about as fast as I can make them, so I usually fill up my muffin tin, but you can cook only one or two if you like. Poke the yolk of each egg several times with a toothpick to make sure it cooks all the way through. Bake the eggs in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Poke the centers with a toothpick to make sure they are done, it should come out clean. If you are only making one or two of these at a time you can fry the egg on a skillet, using a circular, metal cookie cutter to shape the egg into a circle. Add a lid to the skillet for a few minutes so the steam cooks the top of the egg as well. Poke the centers with a toothpick to be sure they are done. Be careful when removing the cookie cutter as it will be hot!

While the Eggs are cooking, toast the English Muffins and spread with a little butter. Lay a slice of Cheddar Cheese inside one half of the muffin while it is still warm. Add one baked egg circle on the muffin. Place either one slice of Canadian Bacon or one slice of regular bacon, broken in half, over the Egg and top with the other half of the muffin. If these delicious sandwiches don’t get devoured right away, you can wrap them in plastic and freeze for individual breakfast sandwiches on the go. To reheat simply unwrap the plastic and wrap the frozen sandwich with a paper towel. Microwave for about 1 minute and enjoy a delicious homemade sandwich on the go!

Egg McMuffins

For Each Sandwich:

1 English Muffin

A little Butter

1 slice Cheddar Cheese

1 Egg

1 slice Canadian or Regular Bacon

Bake the Eggs in a muffin tin on 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Fry Bacon if needed. Toast the English Muffins, spreading each with a little Butter. Layer the Sandwich with 1 slice Cheddar Cheese, 1 cooked Egg circle, and 1 slice of Canadian or Regular Bacon. Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

If I had to pick one recipe to be my ‘signature’ dish this would be it. Chicken noodle soup seems very basic, but with this homemade recipe a simple soup becomes phenomenal. You could make a quick version of this soup using store bought broth and noodles. But if you have the extra time to make it using these Homemade Stock and Egg Noodle recipes, the results will be well worth it!

Better Tasting, Better For You

When made from scratch, even a simple dish becomes so much more. Not only does this chicken noodle soup taste better than anything bought in a can, but it is healthier for you as well. Canned soup has so much sodium added in, as well as preservatives and artificial flavorings. When you make it at home, chicken noodle soup is much more nutritious because you are using real ingredients and you can control what goes into your food.

Homemade Egg Noodles are by far the best thing to use with this recipe. If you are making Egg Noodles for your soup, start them first. Once the noodles are sliced and are drying you can start the rest of the soup. Heat about 10 cups of Chicken Stock in a large pot on the stove. While the Chicken Stock is heating, slice up 6 medium sized, peeled Carrots and drop them in the pot. Slice 4 stalks of Celery and drop those in the pot as well. Make sure your veggies are all cut into thin slices or bite sized pieces for your soup. Next add in 1 Onion, diced. And 2 cooked Chicken Breasts, cubed. All of these can be chopped and added in while your stock is heating up. Once the stock starts boiling, it’s time to add in the noodles. If you made homemade Egg Noodles ahead of time and froze them to cook later, the noodles can be added straight into the boiling water as well. Let the soup simmer together at least until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes. Enjoy your delicious Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup!

Chicken Noodle Soup

10 cups Chicken Stock

6 medium Carrots, peeled

4 large stalks Celery

1 Onion

2 cooked Chicken Breasts

3 cups Egg Noodles

Heat Chicken Stock to boiling, in a large pot on the stove. Slice Carrots and Celery thinly, and add to stock while heating. Dice Onions and cube the cooked Chicken, then add these into the pot as well. Once the stock is boiling add Egg Noodles and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, until noodles are tender. Enjoy!

Mushroom Onion Soup

Mushroom Onion Soup

This recipe was discovered by accident one day when I was learning how to make French Onion Soup. I had run out of beef bullion and decided to substitute a Chicken Stock instead. After trying the soup I was reminded of Miso Soup and added in sautéed mushrooms to make a simple version. This mushroom onion soup is incredibly easy to make and is a delicious lunch or companion to dinner.

Simple, Elegant, Delicious

This soup can be a simple meal or an elegant side, just depending on what you pair it with. When serving this as a main course, I double the amount of onions and mushrooms, then add them over-top baked potatoes with some sour cream.

Sauté 2 sliced Onions in a skillet with 1 tablespoon Oil, until they turn clear.  Add in 2 cups sliced Mushrooms and sauté until the onions are caramel in color. In a medium pot, bring 6 cups of Chicken Stock to a boil, then add in the cooked onions and mushrooms. Reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes. Serve with noodles for a simple Asian inspired meal.

Mushroom Onion Soup

1 tablespoon Oil

2 Onions, sliced

2 cups Mushrooms, sliced

6 cups Chicken Stock

Sauté Onions and Mushrooms with Oil in a skillet. Add to boiling Chicken Stock and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 15 minutes and serve.

Chicken Avocado Burritos

Chicken Avocado Burritos

I originally created this recipe to use as a freezer meal. I wanted a healthy alternative for lunches that could be made ahead of time and easily brought to work. But after my husband tried these Chicken Avocado Burritos they seldom make it to the freezer anymore, sometimes they don’t even make it onto a tortilla, and he will eat the filling by itself, before I have rolled any together. So this is absolutely a new favorite for us.

One Simple Filling, So Many Uses

My favorite thing about this recipe is how versatile it can be. You can wrap the filling in tortillas for a simple snack. You can bake them in the oven, covered in enchilada sauce and cheese for a delicious dinner. Or you can freeze them for a quick on the go meal.

These burritos could be made using leftover chicken, or turkey, but the best flavor comes from cooking the chicken on the skillet with seasoned oil. Mix together 1 tablespoon Oil, 1 teaspoon Chili Powder, ½ teaspoon Cumin, ¼ teaspoon Turmeric, ¼ teaspoon Salt, and ½ teaspoon Pepper. Pour this seasoned oil over 2 cups of cubed chicken in a skillet and combine. Cook until the chicken is white all the way through.

While the chicken is cooking, mix together ½ cup Sour Cream, 1 teaspoon Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon Cumin, and ½ teaspoon Pepper in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups chopped Avocado, 1 cup Shredded Cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Cilantro, the seasoned sour cream mixture, and the cooked chicken. Stir to combine.

Fill each tortilla with this chicken avocado mixture and roll them up. Place seam down in a baking dish and cover with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Bake at 325 degrees just until cheese is melted.

Chicken Avocado Burritos

(Seasoned oil for cooking Chicken)

1 tablespoon Oil

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

½ teaspoon Cumin

¼ teaspoon Turmeric

¼ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Pepper

2 cups Chicken, cubed

½ cup Sour Cream

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 teaspoon Cumin

½ teaspoon Pepper

2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped

2 cups Avocado, chopped

1 cup Shredded Cheese, any kind

1 package Tortillas

Optional: Enchilada Sauce and Shredded Cheese to Bake

Mix together the seasonings and oil for cooking the chicken. Combine seasoned oil and chicken in a skillet and cook until no pink is left in the centers. Mix together Sour Cream, Chili Powder, Cumin, and Pepper. In a large mixing bowl combine Avocados, Shredded Cheese, Cilantro, Cooked Chicken, and Sour Cream mixture. Use as filling in tortillas and place burritos, seam down, in a baking tray. Cover with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese, then bake at 325 degrees until cheese is melted.

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

On the shelf and ready to go, canned foods are everywhere. Most of the time, we reach for them without thinking. While having food canned or already prepared can save us time, the store bought versions of these items are packed with preservatives, salt and sugar! However, you don’t need fancy equipment, or a day set aside for canning to make some of these short-cut items at home. This quick recipe for Juicy Apple Pie Filling can be thrown together in minutes and is the perfect alternative to store bought apple pie filling. You could easily can this recipe for a longer shelf life, but it will keep well in the fridge for use that week in a sealed mason jar.

Fresh and Juicy Apples

My favorite part about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to make. Chop up 4 Apples and mix in 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice to keep them from turning brown. Melt 1 tablespoon of Butter and mix in 3 tablespoons Water. Pour this over the apples. In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons flour, ½ cup Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon Nutmeg. Pour the dry ingredients over the apples and mix it all together. Then add in 1 tablespoon of Honey and stir to combine.

Some recipes will cook the filling over the stovetop at this point to soften the apples and thicken the sauce. You could certainly do that with this recipe, but I prefer the crisp taste of the fresh apples and the juicy quality of this pie filling that is lost when you pre-cook it. When baked into a pie, this recipe creates the juiciest apple pie, without creating a soggy crust. It can also be served over ice cream, for a fresh burst of flavor or mixed into yogurt for a sweet treat. The ways to use this delicious filling are limitless. What’s your favorite?

Apple Pie Filling

4 Apples, chopped

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Butter, melted

3 tablespoons Water

2 tablespoons Flour

½ cup Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Nutmeg

1 tablespoon Honey

Combine chopped Apples, Lemon Juice, and Water together. In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients except the Honey. Pour over apples and stir to combine. Mix the Honey in last. Use immediately or store in a mason jar or sealed container in the fridge. Enjoy!

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Apple Pie Oatmeal

In the age of microwave meals and fast food, slow home cooked staples of the past are falling rapidly behind us. Today breakfast means cereal, frozen waffles, or fast food sandwiches more often than not. But there is something special about starting the day with a home cooked meal. Whether it’s a meal with family or a treat for yourself, this is a great way to set a positive tone for the day.

Wholesome and Delicious

Oatmeal is a great homemade breakfast for busy mornings. It takes little effort and is a healthy way to start your day. This Apple Pie Oatmeal is one of my favorites, because it tastes like a dessert, but is low in calories and high in nutrients. I use steel cut oats because they have a creamy texture and fullness that keeps you from craving snacks before lunch. Although they take a little longer to cook, I start the oats when I wake up, and simply stir the pot occasionally as I get ready. This delicious homemade breakfast can be made effortlessly if you chop the apples the day before and add the lemon juice to keep them from browning overnight.

Start with 2 Apples, peeled and chopped. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice over them to keep from turning brown. Then mix them in a stove pot with 1 cup Steel Cut Oats and 1 cup Milk. Add in ¼ cup Brown Sugar and 1 tablespoon Butter. Season with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Add 4 cups water and heat to boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. I usually cook mine for at least 30 minutes so they are nice and thick.

This thoughtful homemade meal takes almost no effort to prepare. Just throw the ingredients in a pot and stir occasionally, for a delicious and nutritious breakfast that’s as sweet as apple pie. Let the oats cool on the stove for a few minutes before serving, they will thicken as they cool.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

2 Apples, Chopped

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 cup Steel Cut Oats

1 cup Milk

¼ cup Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups water

Combine ingredients in a stove pot. Heat to boiling, and then simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!