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BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP CHRISTMAS COOKIE
Santa and Rudolph-worthy Cookies www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Santa and Rudolph-Worthy Cookies
www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Santa and Rudolph with his nose so bright won’t be able to resist these Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip, Caramel and Hazelnut Cookies!  They’ll even put you at the top of St. Nick’s “Nice List.”  So, hurry to the kitchen and whip up these cookies for the happiest Don’t Worry, Eat Happy: Ho-Ho-Ho holiday.

DEEP-DISH CHOCOLATE CHIP, CARAMEL AND HAZELNUT COOKIES

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ lbs dark or semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 10 Kraft caramel squares, unwrapped and cut into small pieces
  • Add 1½ cups chopped hazelnuts
  • **Option: Add ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa option for chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and two sugars in a large mixing bowl on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda over a medium bowl. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Mix until just combined.
  4. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Fold in caramel pieces, nuts and chocolate chunks into the batter.
  5. Scoop cookie batter with an ice cream scooper into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove muffin tins from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and cool cookies completely. Makes 36 cookies.
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ULTIMATE HOLIDAY EGG, KALE, PANCETTA, MUSHROOM STRATA
Kale, Pancetta and Mushroom Strata www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Kale, Pancetta, Mushroom Strata
www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Gifts wrapped, menorah and Christmas tree festively adorned and stockings hung.  Phew!  Now, sit back, relax and enjoy good eats- you deserve it.  One of our family favorites, a stress-free make-ahead strata, is perfect for entertaining and feeding lots of hungry holiday elves!  If you’re a sweet potato fan, check out our Southern Hash.  Veggies you prefer this holiday season?  No problem, our Vegetarian Frittata has you and your waistline covered.  Don’t Worry, Eat Happy:  Holidays!

ULTIMATE HOLIDAY EGG, KALE, PANCETTA MUSHROOM STRATA

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 4 oz thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 10 ounces fresh kale leaves, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 cups cubed rustic country bread, from a 1-pound loaf (I like Ciabatta)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 10 large eggs
  • Fresh thyme leaves, 3 stalks

Instructions

  1. Butter 3-quart baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add pancetta. Saute until crisp and golden, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer crispy pancetta with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Set aside.
  5. Add minced shallot to the skillet with remaining drippings from pancetta. Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add chopped kale, mushrooms and garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until garlic is tender, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle salt, pepper, nutmeg and fresh thyme over kale mixture. Toss pancetta into skillet and gently stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
  8. Place half of the bread cubes in prepared baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over the bread, then top with half of the kale-pancetta-mushroom mixture. Repeat layering.
  10. Whisk the milk and eggs in a large bowl and pour evenly over the strata. Chill the strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours or overnight..
  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  12. Bake strata uncovered until golden brown, puffed-up and cooked through, 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8.
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Best-Ever Iced Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Crispy Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

        Iced Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies          www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year:  Holiday Cookies!

These quite sociable treats conjure up some of the sweetest childhood memories.  As we count down the final weeks of 2014, let’s savor each flavor of our favorite holiday cookie recipes.

These crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Maple Syrup Icing kick off our homemade cookie exchange extravaganza.

Be sure to set a few aside for Hanukkah Harriet and Ole’ Saint Nick!

 

 

Best-Ever Iced Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats (I prefer Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Jumbo golden raisins, steeped in apple cinnamon tea, drained
  • 3 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and Madagascar vanilla. Mix well until incorporated.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the oats, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mixing, slowly add the oat mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add plumped and flavored raisins. Gently mix until combined.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 2-inches between cookies. Bake until browned and crispy around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
  5. Whisk in a small bowl the Confectioners' sugar and syrup. Drizzle over cookies. Allow to settle.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days..
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BEST CITRUS WINTER SALAD
SuperFood Salad

           Superfood Salad                     www.mealsosnheelsbymindy.com

This bright SuperFood salad is guaranteed to make you feel better during a season devoted to sniffles and colds. The warm colors of pomegranate and orange add zip and a boost of vitamin C for a perfect cold-weather salad.  Hungry?  Check out more of our fantastic warm winter salads.

 

POMEGRANATE, ORANGE, HAZELNUT AND ARUGULA WINTER SALAD

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • • 2/3 cup hazelnuts, blanched
  • • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil
  • • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • • 1 Tbs finely chopped shallots, plus 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • • 3 Tbs fresh pomegranate juice, plus 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • • 1 Tbs sherry vinegar
  • • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • • 3 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • • 2 small Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
  • • 1/2 lemon, for juicing
  • • 1/2 lbs arugula
  • • 1 navel orange, peeled (white pithy skin removed) and cut into rounds
  • • 1 blood orange, (white pithy skin removed) peeled and cut into rinds
  • • Shaved Parmigianno-Reggiano for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet; toast, stirring once, until fragrant and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts, and toss with 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine chopped shallots, pomegranate juice, sherry and rice vinegars, and salt; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil.
  4. In a large bowl, toss persimmons, sliced shallots, orange rounds and pomegranate seeds with dressing; season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
  5. Gently toss with arugula. Arrange salad on a serving platter, and garnish with hazelnuts and shaved Parmigianno-Reggiano. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
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Ultimate Cranberry Pinot Noir Sauce
Ultimate Cranberry Sauce www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Ultimate Cranberry Pinot Noir Sauce
www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Hands down this is my favorite holiday of the year!   No doubt about it, turkey and ham time are here.  The real secret to a festive family meal’s success is to prepare it as much in advance as possible.  With easy DIY recipes like this Ultimate Cranberry Pinot Noir sauce, you’ll have time to kick up your heels, sip some Pinot and relax before the epicurean mayhem begins.  The best part, this recipe can be made 2 days ahead!  Just remember to take it out of the refrigerator an hour or two before serving dinner.

Don’t Worry, Eat Happy: Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Ultimate Cranberry Pinot Noir Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2½ cups

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs chopped crystallized ginger
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add cranberries and fresh ginger. Stir until combined and berries just begin to burst, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add Pinot Noir, sugar, curry powder and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until mixture is reduced to 2½ cups. Pour into a bowl and serve at room temperature.
  3. Can be made 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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THANKSGIVING APPLE PIE RECIPE

Caramel Apple Pie www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Apples and family time are classic picks for a traditional Thanksgiving feast.  To freshen things up around the table, we love to add a twist or two to our highlighted orchard ingredient with affordable ease and comfort.  Sometimes, it’s just fun to start with dessert…especially during the festive Fall holidays so you’re going to want to bookmark this ASAP.

Our Caramel Apple Pie will have your taste buds doing back flips and guests filled with love, gratitude and smiles.

 

DON’T WORRY, EAT HAPPY: THANKSGIVING!

CARAMEL APPLE PIE

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 8-10

Ingredients

  • For the Pie Crust:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbs butter flavored shortening, chilled
  • ⅓ cup ice water
  • 1 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 egg, room temperature, beaten
  • For the Filling:
  • 6 cups Granny Smith apples
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbs heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • For the Streusel Topping:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2 Heath toffee bars or 3 oz chocolate covered peanut or pecan brittle, crushed
  • 1 cup Kraft caramels, unwrapped, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. For the Pie Crust:
  2. Chill all ingredients, including the flour and vinegar. Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In another bowl, mix water and vinegar with the beaten egg. Add the liquid mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork to form a soft dough.
  3. For the Filling:
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  5. Peel and slice apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream.
  6. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8 minutes, to soften apples. Turn into pie shell.
  7. For the Streusel Topping:
  8. Combine the flour and sugar. Mix in butter with fork until coarse crumbs.
  9. Stir in the crushed toffee bars and caramel pieces. Sprinkle over pie. Add top crust.
  10. Seal, flute edge and vent top.
  11. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Serves 8-10. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
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Don’t Worry, Eat Happy: Potato Leek Soup
Potato Leek Soup  mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Potato Leek Soup
www.mealsonheelsbymindy.com

Chilly November winds have you dreaming of hot soup and a crackling fire?  Warm up from the inside out with one of our favorite Fall soup recipes.  We love this Potato Leek soup so much, we’d bathe in it!

Potato Leek Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 Bouquet garni (one bay leaf, 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 10 whole black peppercorns)
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, rinsed well white and green parts only, cut into ½ inch sticks
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and fresh white pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh chervil leaves or snipped chives, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Construct bouquet garni inside cheesecloth. Close and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven on medium heat, melt the butter and warm olive oil. Add leeks, minced shallots and garlic; cook until very soft approximately 10 minutes occasionally stirring.
  3. Do not brown. Add cubed potatoes, chicken stock and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to gentle simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork (very) tender, approximately 40 minutes.
  4. Discard bouquet garni. Working in batches, pass soup mixture through a food mill with a medium disk or purée in a blender leaving some texture. Warm soup over medium-low heat.
  5. Slowly stir in whole milk and cream then season with salt and fresh white pepper. Once milk is added, do not boil soup.
  6. Spoon into small bowls and garnish with chervil leaves of chopped chives. Serves 4.
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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Sweet Poached Pears with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

Ahhh, the perfect pair. Oops, I mean pear. Chocolate might make anything better, but the power of a ripe pear certainly does pack a hearty punch. Your kids will DEVOUR these, so be sure to make a second set for you and your honey. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy!

Chocolate Pears

POACHED PEAR WITH RASPBERRY CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe but still firm pears (Anjou work well but any sweet pear will do)
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 orange zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Water, to cover
  • For the Raspberry Chocolate Sauce:
  • 2 oz dark bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • Finely ground hazelnuts, mint sprigs or vanilla bean gelato for garnish

Instructions

  1. To help fruit stand upright, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it stands firmly.
  2. Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact. Place the pears upright in a small saucepan that will gently fit them without resting up against each other. Add the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Fill the pot with water to just cover the pears. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until tender. A knife should be able to easily penetrate the pear.
  4. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
  5. For the chocolate sauce:
  6. In a double-boiler (or glass bowl over a small saucepan filled with two inches of water) bring water to a simmer. Place the dark chocolate pieces in the top double-boiler or glass bowl. Add the sugar and heavy cream and melt slowly over low heat.
  7. While chocolate is melting, firmly press the fresh raspberries through a sieve with the back of a spoon, removing and discarding the seeds. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat, add the butter and vanilla, briskly stirring to combine. Add the raspberry puree, and stir thoroughly.
  8. Plate the pears and drizzle chocolate sauce on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of finely chopped hazelnuts or fresh mint leaves.
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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Fall Flatbreads with Fresh Veggies

Kids will forever love pizza. And pizza will forever be the saving grace when cooking seems an impossible task after a long day. For healthier and more cost-effective options, you can’t disappoint with flatbreads made from Greek yogurt. Have the kids raid the fridge for ingredients they love, then have them make their own dinner! Here’s my latest super easy flatbread recipe where yellow squash headlines. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! Fall Flatbread

YOGURT FLATBREAD

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp superfine sugar
  • 2 Tbs lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup natural Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Take the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until bubbles start to appear on the surface. Place the yogurt and oil in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast and yogurt mixtures and mix until a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide dough into 2 even pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured surface to 30cm x 15cm.
  3. Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue over medium heat. Brush the pizza bases with oil and cook for 3 minutes. Flip with tongs.

Notes

Prepared in 10 minutes plus 1 hour to rise.

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Fall Flatbreads with Fresh Veggies

Ingredients

  • Yogurt dough pizza flatbread (see recipe) or 8 ounce store-bought prepared dough
  • 1 green zucchini or yellow squash, peeled and "shredded" into spaghetti using spiral slicer gadget
  • 1 Tbs Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, using little leaves off stems
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic corn kernels, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced into discs
  • 2 oz fontina cheese, shredded
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat in a skillet, sauté spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, stock and fresh thyme until softened. Transfer sautéed spaghetti squash onto prepared flatbread. Top with corn and cheeses. Broil for 2 minutes or until golden browned. Drizzle olive oil atop flatbread and garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and chives. Let cool for 1 minute. Cut into pieces. Serve immediately. (Option for parents: add sliced Jalapeno peppers to your pieces for extra kick and crunch.)
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After-School Snacks to Make Ahead: Date Bar Bites

You’ll have to try and not eat these tasty date bars before the kids get home from school. Dates, full of dietary fiber and antioxidants such as B-Carotene, are a super source for energy. Add chocolate chips to the batter and you might just fall in love. Make extra and freeze them. Don’t Worry, Eat Happy!

Date Bars

Date Bars

Yield: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup or 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan or tarte pan. Bring 1-1/2cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, chopped pecans, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl; stir to blend. Add diced butter.
  4. Using fingertips, gently rub in until moist clumps form.
  5. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture while pressing down gently.
  7. Bake until brown at edge and golden brown and set in center, approximately 35- 40 minutes.
  8. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve. (Option to add 1 cup dark chocolate chips to dry mixture for a Dirty Date.) Garnish with dusting of Confectioners' sugar.
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About Mindy
 
For lifestyle and entertaining expert Mindy Kobrin, cooking, wellness and celebrating are a family affair. Her lifestyle philosophy can be distilled to a single, luscious concept: Don't Worry, Eat Happy. Fusing culinary know-how and health initiatives, Mindy aims to create nothing short of a movement: to arm people with information on the value and culture of food and the importance of quality time around the table. Her mission is to teach the foundation of mindful eating and how to use seasonal ingredients to create nutritious, delicious and satisfying meals. It’s also her heartfelt goal to be a change agent, spreading the message of quality food and spirited cooking for children to carry into adulthood and pass on to the next generation. See more.
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