Back to School!
Summer, in all its lazy glory, has come to an end. School starts Wednesday and we’re back in the routine of early mornings, sports practices and homework. Family dinners are part of the drill, and I’m happy to share what’s on my list.
If you want to watch a short segment on back-to-school lunch ideas, I was a guest on HoustonLife last week. If you make these healthy oatmeal cookies for lunch boxes, let me know what you think!
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 2 ½ dozen cookies
- 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour)
- 1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine and aerate the flour.
- In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, butter, apple sauce, egg and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture and raisins and gently stir again until just combined.
- Drop level tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. I use a cookie scoop and a sheet pan lined with a Silpat, but parchment paper sheets are great too.
- Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- If you have leftover dough, you can store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen in unbaked cookie form for up to 3 months. To freeze the cookies, scoop the dough onto a prepared sheet pan and then place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic or glass storage container or plastic freezer bag. Use within 3 months. Just transfer straight from the oven to a prepared sheet pan and bake!
- After baking, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Regular all-purpose flour works here, too. Or white whole wheat flour for extra fiber.
- If you don’t have apple sauce, 1/2 cup of a mashed banana will also work. Or omit the apple sauce and use a total of 6 tablespoons of butter.
- Instead of raisins, try this with dried cranberries or dried cherries. Or use mini or regular chocolate chips.
Friends invited us for dinner, so I’m off the hook. If you need an excuse for a restful Sunday night, have pizza night at home. And by pizza night, I mean have delivered to your door!
Farro “risotto” is a quick meatless dinner that’s full of summer produce. If you have picky eaters, roast the vegetables and serve them on the side.
It’s the night before the first day of school. We’re grilling at home and it will be a variation of this recipe. Stay tuned for more details — sending out a new grilled flank steak recipe very soon! We’ll have either grilled corn relish or a corn salad on the side. Leftovers can be mixed with drained black beans and served with tortilla chips.
Grilled Corn Relish
- 5-6 ears of corn, shucked
- ½ teaspoon chili powder, either chipotle, Ancho or Arbol
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 lime, zested and juiced, or more to taste
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Optional additions: ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese or feta, diced jalapeño or avocado
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic, lime zest and juice, cilantro and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Place the corn (husks and silk removed) on the grill and cook, rotating occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add the corn to the grill dry – no need to brush it with oil. The corn should be lightly browned in spots and softened.
- Remove the corn from the grill and let cool slightly. Cut the corn off the cob.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the corn kernels with the chili powder mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. Mix in any of the optional additions.
Slow cooker green chili pork. You could also try this with dark meat chicken, but you’ll need to reduce the cooking times by an hour or more. Serve with warmed tortillas, rice and beans on the side. I’ll also roast a big sheet pan of zucchini with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 40 minutes at 425 degrees.
Chicken piccata and kale salad. Tomatoes are so good right now, so I’m adding a tomato salad inspired by Joshua McFadden in his beautiful Six Seasons cookbook. Top slices of heirloom tomatoes with torn herbs or baby arugula, garbanzos and an herb-yogurt sauce. Or just add some torn burrata instead of the yogurt sauce!
Use leftover chicken piccata from Thursday in a green salad topped with super simple salad dressing or in baguette sandwiches with lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. Or use Wednesday’s leftover green chili pork for tacos and top them with shredded cabbage, jack cheese and guacamole.