The Copycat Chef

Homemade Granola

Posted by in Breakfast, Recipe

Homemade Granola

Granola has been around forever but I feel like it’s really taken off lately – especially homemade granola. I’ve always purchased my granola at the store as it was convenient and I have it laying around in the pantry for when I want to add it to some yogurt or when I need a quick snack. Often times the package that I buy doesn’t have the exact  ingredients that I like and I end up settling on the best premade version.

After seeing so many granola posts on Instagram I decided that it’s time to finally make my own homemade version with the exact ingredients that I craved. When making your own granola you start off with the basics like oats and nuts and then you add pretty much anything that suits your taste buds. My version includes oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit, but you could add chocolate chips, millet, flax seeds – the options are endless. Homemade granola is so good and easy to make that I’m kicking myself in the butt for not making it sooner.

This recipe makes about 1.5 pints but you could double the recipe or cut it in half depending on your needs. Make sure to store in an airtight container and eat within 2 weeks. Note that the amount of each ingredient added is based on personal preference, so if you really love almonds add more!

Homemade Granola
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 handfuls sliced almonds
  • 1 handful slicked pecans
  • 1-2 Tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1-3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 handful dried cranberries
  • 1 handful dried cherries
  • 1 handful raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. In a bowl combine the first 6 ingredients (oats, nuts and coconut flakes). Add a pinch of salt, 1-3 dashes of cinnamon, maple syrup and the coconut oil, mix well.
  3. Pour granola onto a large non stick baking pan (non stick works too) and spread out into an even layer.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown, mixing every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes before adding in the dried fruit. Once completely cool transfer to an airtight container and store for 2 weeks.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
2

Mushroom and Spinach Grilled Cheese

Posted by in Entree, Vegetarian

Mushroom and Spinach Grilled Cheese

Sometimes you just want a big gooey sandwich and nothing else will satisfy you. When that happens, try this tasty mushroom and spinach grilled cheese to hit the spot. I used my favorite torta bread that I get at Costco for this grown up grilled cheese, and opted for an open faced sandwich since it was pretty loaded with mushroom, spinach and cheese goodness.

I’d suggest using Gruyere cheese as it melts beautifully and has amazing flavor that really compliments all of the other ingredients – you can even make things even more fancy by using multiple types of cheeses.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Chicken and Chickpea Shawarma Pockets

Posted by in Chicken, Entree, Vegetarian

Chicken and Chickpea Shawarma Pockets

I fell in love with shawarma after my trip to Israel in 2006. I can’t remember if I tried it in a restaurant or on the street, but I do remember that I absolutely loved the flavor. This time around I decided to make chicken and chickpea shawarma pockets instead of the traditional chicken shawarma and let me tell you, it was really tasty.

Originally I was going to make the chickpea version but then decided to incorporate the chicken version as I was already anticipating the hubby complaining about the lack of protein. This dish was flavorful and enjoyable but I have to be totally honest, the chickpea shawarma was so much better and had such a traditional yet unique flavor. Next time around, I’m going to omit the chicken and just stick to the chickpeas and since these little guys are packed with protein, I think I’ll be able to get away with it.

The sauce I used was a tahini based one but since it’s a thicker sauce, it made the dish a bit dry and hard to swallow. Since that was the case I quickly whipped up a taziki sauce and that was the true winner; it was smooth and creamy and complimented the shawarma beautifully.

Chicken and Chickpea Shawarma Pockets

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Beef Cottage Pie

Posted by in Beef, Entree

beef cottage pie

Beef cottage pie…doesn’t exactly sound appetizing if you ask me, but it absolutely tastes good. Saying “beef cottage pie” is a bit of an oxymoron just like saying “chai tea latte”,  as cottage pie already implies the the dish is made with beef. Up until I made this dish, I’ve never heard of cottage pie; I’ve only heard of shepherds pie. For those of you, such as myself, who are new to Irish cuisine, traditional shepherds pie is made with lamb as shepherds dealt with sheep and not cattle.

That being said, it turns out that ground lamb isn’t as readily available as I’d thought, even Wegman’s didn’t carry it, so when I looked up beef alternatives, I found out that the dish had an actual name – cottage pie. The recipe I used is for a traditional shepherd’s pie but I followed the instructions just the same, only subbing beef for lamb and obviously cutting the recipe down as I was cooking for not 2 and not 8.

The end result was truly delicious, the beef filling was rich and flavorful and the mashed potatoes were creamy with a hint of almonds as I used almond milk instead of half and half. Next time around I’ll make a side of gravy to top the dish with as that was the only request the hubby made in between mouthfuls of cottage pie. Photo wise, the end result doesn’t look as appealing because I honestly didn’t have the patience for a photo session, I was ready to devour.

beef cottage pie

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
1

Asian Garlic Noodles with Tofu

Posted by in Entree, Vegetarian

Asian Garlic Noodles with Tofu

Don’t you just love noodles? They’re not exactly the healthiest option when it comes to making food choices, but they sure are good. I’m a firm believer in not restricting yourself when it comes to eating, but I definitely think that you should make modifications when possible. I like to either use rice or whole wheat/grain noodles and I always make my own sauces, that way you know exactly what’s going into your food and it increased the “health” factor of your pasta dish. In terms of a healthier noodle dish alternative, I think these Asian garlic noodles with tofu are a great – you get the noodle fix via rice noodles, but they’re also loaded with vegetables.

These Asian garlic noodles have a whole slew of veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and bell peppers, but you could really add anything your heart desires. I added tofu as the source of protein as a pure vegetable dish would not fly by with the hubby, but beef or chicken would be great additions to this already delicious dish.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Cayenne Spiced Brownies

Posted by in Dessert

Cayenne spiced brownies

I’m not the best baker, I’ve mastered a handful of dessert recipes that I make on rotation, but that doesn’t stop me from trying new goodies. Last week I made a pretty light dinner and decided to tack on a dessert the the menu to make things more interesting. I found this cayenne spiced brownie recipe from one of my favorite blogs and went for it since I had all of the ingredients on hand and I was really intrigued by the idea of spices in a classic dessert.

These cayenne spiced brownies were ahhmazing and they’ve officially made it to the list of desserts I’ll make over and over. After tasting the batter, I ended up adding a tiny bit more cayenne to give it a bit more kick; definitely the right decision. The batter was creamy and rich with a faint hint of cayenne – they weren’t spicy by any means so don’t be fooled.

I loved how these brownies were made in a cupcake mold – it made it that much more fun to eat.

Cayenne spiced brownies

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Vegetable Pot Pie

Posted by in Entree, Vegetarian

Vegetable Pot Pie

Sometimes I have really strange eating habits; aside from the kosher-ish thing. One of the things that creeps me out about food is eating meat in dough – so things like pelmeni, beef wellington, meat pies, chicken pot pie, etc. I’m not sure what it is about the combination of meat and dough but I refuse to try or eat it; it might be a conflict of texture or something along those lines. As I mentioned, one of the things I refuse to eat is chicken pot pie, so when my friend was telling me about how she made vegetable pot pie, I was pretty intrigued because I love vegetables and dough (don’t ask).

A few weeks after looking over the recipe I decided to finally take the plunge and try it; I bought some bigger ramekins since mine were a bit too shallow to fill with vegetable goodness and I got cookin’. The overall process was pretty easy as it simply involved chopping vegetables and cooking them on the stove top for a bit, filling the ramekins and then topping them with pastry dough. I didn’t attempt to make my own dough as baking related recipes aren’t my forte, so I used puff pastry, which is damn good, but I’m on a mission to make my own next time around.

After 20 min or so the vegetable pot pies are ready and they were beyond words delicious! The filling was warm, creamy and delicious, and the puff pastry was crispy which created the most perfect texture. I made 4 ramekins worth and threw the extra filling in the fridge and it made a fantastic lunch the next day with a bit of toasty bread.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
1

Kung Pao Chicken with Onions

Posted by in Chicken, Entree

Kung Pao Chicken with Onions

Have you ever made a recipe, liked it, and then made a different version of it later on? Typically if I make something and I like it, I just stick to that same recipe and carry on with my day. I’ve made Kung Pao chicken before and it was good but it didn’t have that wow factor that I now realize was missing – so naturally when I found a different recipe for Kung Pao chicken with onions I jumped at the opportunity to make it. This time around the dish was  was truly satisfying and I’m pretty sure I won’t be looking for an updated version anytime soon.

This version of Kung Pao chicken has onions, snow peas and has just the right amount of spice. The recipe says to use a spiralizer for the onions but since I have a hand held one and not the fancy version,  I used a mandolin to slice the sweet onions and ended up using the wrong setting (used the thinnest option). I learned the hard way because when the dish was finished, the onions were not prominent and pretty much shriveled up – still extremely good but it just didn’t look as pretty; next time around I’ll definitely use a thicker setting.

Also, I’d suggest marinating the chicken in the sauce for a few hours prior to cooking instead of simply adding the sauce afterwards for a more flavorful end result. I remember the last time I attempted this dish (with the older recipe) I didn’t do this and ended up regretting it. Don’t ask why you need to do this, just try it my way and you won’t be disappointed.

Kung Pao Chicken with Onions

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Eggs in a Basket Breakfast Sandwich

Posted by in Breakfast

Eggs in a Basket Breakfast Sandwich

This past week seems to be all about breakfast, maybe because it’s my favorite meal of the day. I really love going out for breakfast and having something hearty with a nice coffee – it really get’s my day started on the right foot. That being said, we only go out for breakfast once over the weekend and eat in the other day.

Typically we rotate between breakfast sandwiches, English muffins with cottage cheese or eggs and beef bacon. Since we bought some amazing torta’s I figured I’d go the breakfast sandwich route but I wanted to spice things up, and made an eggs in a basket breakfast sandwich. I’ve made eggs in a basket many times but I never thought to make a full blown breakfast sandwich out of it.

The top of the sandwich is eggs in a basket and the bottom half is a combination of avocado, cheese, mushrooms and beef bacon. Both slices put together create a delicious and hearty sandwich and is just as good as eating out if i do say so myself.

The great thing about this sandwich is that you can add any vegetables that you have on hand, I used mushrooms but sauteed onions, peppers, spinach or sun dried tomatoes would all be really tasty.

Eggs in a Basket Breakfast Sandwich

Eggs in a Basket Breakfast Sandwich

Eggs in a Basket Breakfast Sandwich
 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 torta's or bread of your choice
  • 2 eggs
  • Swiss cheese
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • 1 avocado
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium low heat and heat another skillet to medium heat.
  2. Slice the torta's in half and lightly toast. Once toasted take the top slice and cut out a medium size square.
  3. Drizzle the skillet set to medium heat with olive oil and chop the mushrooms and add to the pan. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes until cooked through, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Wipe the pan down and add desired amount of bacon (typically 2-3 slices per sandwich) and cook to desired crispness.
  4. Lightly spray the non stick skillet with cooking spray and add the top slice that you cut the hole in. Crack an egg into the hole and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your liking.
  5. In the meantime spread ¼-1/2 of an avocado on the remaining slice of bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the cooked mushrooms and cheese; if using bacon add it over the mushrooms and then add the cheese.
  6. Take the eggs in a basket top and close the sandwich. Broil for 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
0

Best Beef Chili

Posted by in Beef, Entree, Soup

Best beef chili

Originally I was going to start this post off by saying that we’ve had a pretty mild winter with no snow here in Maryland, but with the recent snow storm that’s not very accurate. Over the weekend we got hit with 2-3 ft of snow and were stuck at home for 3 days – lots of fun! It was however the perfect opportunity catch up on shows, bake and eat soup. I’ve been making a good amount of soup this winter to keep warm and of course I’ve been making my favorite beef chili. The first time I attempted to make chili was in high school when I first realized that I loved to cook. I started by looking at a handful of recipes and ended up combining a few of them until I had the best beef chili recipe, or so I thought at that moment. But you know what, after taking my first stab at this classic dish, I stuck with the same recipe after all of these years.

I think what really makes this beef chili is the fact that the spices are added  3 different times during the cooking process, allowing the meat to absorb all of the flavorful spices as it slowly simmers, and the fact that it uses beer. Using this method does take about 2 hours but I think it’s well worth it, of course if you’re in a pinch you can always cut down the simmering time in each step, taking the entire cooking time down to an hour or less. I added approximate measurements for all of the spices but I end up adding a bit more of everything at the end for added flavor…I think eyeballing spices for beef chili is the way to go.

Best beef chili

Best Beef Chili
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups beef stalk
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup dark beef
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Oil the bottom of a pan and add the beef and onions and lightly brown.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, beef stalk, jalapeno and Anaheim peppers, bring to a boil then simmer for 30 min.
  3. Drop 1: Add 1 tbsp chili powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, ½ tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, ½ of the beer. Cook for 1 hour over medium low heat. Stir occasionally and add water if necessary.
  4. Drop 2: 1 tsp chili powder, ½ tbsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, remaining beer. Add the beans, stir everything together and allow to simmer for another 30 min adding water if necessary.
  5. Drop 3: 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
1
Page 1 of 11
1 2 3 4 5 6 11