Swiss Muesli: an easy overnight oats recipe that the whole family will love

Do you want a breakfast that's easy,  hearty, and healthy, and the whole family will love?  Well this might just be it.  

Have you seen all the buzz lately about these overnight refrigerator oats recipes? Seems like some new way to make oats?  Nope, not new.  The Swiss have been doing it this way for over 100 years.  They call it Muesli, or Swiss Muesli, or Bircher Muesli (named from the doctor that created the recipe for the health benefits of his patients).  This is not the "muesli" that you've seen in a cereal box.  That is a granola like cereal that has some oats and dried fruit and somebody decided to give it the name because some of the ingredients are similar. No, this is a totally different thing - it's a way of preparing oats that's like nothing you've probably ever tasted. I love it, it's one of my favorite breakfasts. I first learned about Swiss Muesli almost 30 years ago, when my older sister came home from being an exchange student in Switzerland.  She introduced us to the way the Swiss do oats, and I've loved it ever since.  In the summer I like to make up a huge bowl and eat it for breakfast all week long.  It's cool and refreshing, but hearty and filling.  And you can dress it up however you like. 

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Dutch Baby (German Pancake)

This is my new favorite breakfast to make for the family!  It has all the qualities that I love in a recipe - it's easy, it's fast, it's versatile, and most of all, everybody loves it. 

It is a variation of a traditional German dish, called a German Pancake.  Some recipes call this kind of thing a Dutch baby, and my kids think that name is a crack up. Apparently the name came from a poor misspelling of the word Deutsch (which means German, in German). I read one source that said that smaller ones are called a Dutch Baby, and bigger ones are called a German Pancake.  I don't know.  My version is a combination of many different recipes I've tried over the years, I experimented with different variations and came up with a version that works well for us. 

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Pressure Cooker "Boiled" Eggs

I've tried every trick out there for cooking easy to peel eggs. EVERY. TRICK. And I don't think there was a single one that worked consistently. Some methods would work one time, and then not the next time.

Make hard or soft "boiled" eggs in your pressure cooker - perfect every time. This is fool proof. The peels just slide right off. From WhatLIsaCooks.com

Then I discovered cooking eggs in my pressure cooker.

I'm telling you - perfect eggs every time, and the shells practically fall off. 

If you have a pressure cooker and haven't hard cooked eggs in it yet, you must try. And if you like hard or soft boiled eggs but you don't have a pressure cooker - you must get one!

If you don't yet have an electric pressure cooker - let me just take a moment and tell you about mine. Don't be scared - they are not the dangerous things they used to be. They are electric and easy to program and super safe.

I have two! The first one I've had for several years and it is my favorite - is the Cuisinart Pressure cooker. It's a workhorse.  The second one I had to try because everyone was raving about it is the Instant Pot. They are both great, and they both have their advantages. The Instant Pot is a multi cooker - it can be a slow cooker and a pressure cooker and a rice cooker and a yogurt maker, and I guess it does even more than that because they call it a 7-in-1 cooker. If you really think that you will use all those other features, then it is a great choice. But as for just pressuring cooking, I like the Cuisinart best. It has more options for adjusting your pressure cooking settings, and more options for timing, simmering, and sauteeing your ingredients before you start the cooking cycle. Those things are also possible with the Instant Pot, but I just find the Cuisinart to be more intuitive and easier to program and use. Also, it's less expensive. Either way though, you can't go wrong. 

Anyway, back to the eggs. Here are the instructions.

Pressure Cooker Eggs:

Perfect soft cooked eggs in the pressure cooker. WhatLisaCooks.com
  • Place a rack or trivet in the bottom of your cooker pot
  • Add about a cup of water - I like to use hot water just to get it going faster. You want the water to be under the rack, not touching the eggs. (be sure to read the directions on your cooker for the minimum amount of liquid you can use - I think it's about a cup for most.) 
  • Carefully place eggs on the rack. A lot of recipes you read for this have you putting them in separate little cups or making little foil nests for them. I have never found this to be necessary and it just takes more time. Yes, occasionally one or two will crack, but I've found that this happens regardless of whether you "nest" them, so I really don't see the point. You can cook just one or two at a time if you prefer to eat them warm (best for soft cooked eggs), or I can fit about 10 at a time in my cooker without crowding them too much.
  • Close your cooker and set it to low pressure.
  • Cook according to the times below.
  • When your time is up - use the quick release method and get the eggs in an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking. I sometimes just dump a bunch of ice and cold water right in the pressure cooker pot on top of the eggs.  This is quicker than lifting them out one at a time. 
Just in time for Easter! Easy instructions for how to cook perfect eggs in your pressure cooker every time. from WhatLisaCooks.com

Cook times for pressure cooker eggs:

  • Soft Cooked: 3 minutes on low pressure, quick release, ice bath.  These will have still slightly runny yolks. I LOVE these for breakfast - either mashed up on toast or just lop of the top of the shell and eat them with a spoon. 
  • Medium Cooked: 4 minutes for on low pressure ,quick release, ice bath. These will have just solidified yolks, maybe sometimes with a small dot of wet still in the very center. This is my favorite if I'm making eggs to peel and eat whole for lunch or snack. I personally love to dip them in salt. I think this is also perfect for slicing on a salad. 
  • Hard Cooked: 5 minutes on low pressure, quick release, ice bath. These will have fully solid yolks. This is best for making deviled eggs or egg salad. 

 

But seeing is believing! You have to see how easy this is, so I made video. If you don't want to watch the whole cooking process, just skip forward to about the 4 minute mark, to see how they peel so easily that I can do it with one hand!

Homemade "instant" oatmeal

Homemade "instant" oatmeal

It totally kills me that my kids prefer those instant oatmeal packets over real cooked oats.  But lately I'm really trying to focus on choosing my battles, and trying to force people to learn to like oatmeal with some texture over the creamy, mushy stuff, just seems like a fight that's not worth fighting at this stage, especially on an already manic school day morning.  But instant oatmeal packets have all kinds of strikes against them, and I just can't bring myself to buy them any more.  The artificial flavorings in so many of the mainstream brands, the amount of sugar, and the cost - with 4 kids eating two packets each, we would use whole box at one meal.  I have bought some organic ones before, which are a little better, but they still have so much sugar and are even more expensive. I had seen several mentions on various food blogs and pinterest boards about making your own, so I thought I'd give it a try. 

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Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Have you ever made something, and then immediately wish you hadn't done it, because there is just no going back?  This is one of those things. It's way too good, and I've already made myself a little sick with all my "tasting". 

First, backing up: Why did I do this to myself?

We've been buying this amazing locally made Greek yogurt.  It's a total treat for us because it is EXPENSIVE.  We're talking $12 for a quart of yogurt.  And you know my kids can polish that off in one sitting!  I guess if I put it in perspective, $12 for yogurt is certainly cheaper and healthier than taking them out for breakfast.  Or maybe I should compare it to going out for ice cream - because this stuff is so decadent that it's more like a desert. Only, yogurt!  Protein! So it's better than taking them out for ice cream. Still, expensive for yogurt.  We've tried every flavor and our very favorite is the lemon curd flavor. 

Since my kids keep asking for it, rather than break the bank buying more and more and more, I figured I'd better try to make my own. It's honey sweetened, creamy Greek yogurt, with lemon curd folded in.  I can do that. I make yogurt all the time, so that part is no big deal. Then it just comes down to making lemon curd. 

And that's the part I wish I hadn't done.  Because I can't stop 'tasting' it.  

I asked for suggestions, and I searched around a bit, and the recipe I came up with is a combination of a few things.  Ingredients and quantities mostly influenced by a recipe that a reader shared with me, some of the technique borrowed from an Ina Garten recipe, and some just made up because it seemed right to me.  That's how I cook. 

This is a big recipe.  It makes about 4 pints - the jars you see here plus a little more (I spilled a little).  You could certainly cut it in half if you don't think you'll use this up.  But my philosophy when you're making yummy things that take a bit of work, is that you might as well make more and share.  It's delicious and decadent and such a special thing to share.  So make a few jars and give one or two away, people will love you. 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Ingredients: 

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • Peels from about 6 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Directions: 

  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of the lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith.
  2. Put the zest in a high powered blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade). Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
  3. Add eggs, lemon juice, salt and vanilla and process until well blended.  
  4. Pour through a strainer into a pot. (You could skip this step, but I thought my kids might not eat it if the texture of the lemon zest remained.)
  5. Add the butter, cut into chunks.
  6. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly. The butter will melt and the mixture will slowly start to thicken.  This should take about 10 minutes.
  7. When it is thickened, coating a spoon, remove from heat.
  8. Pour into containers and refrigerate to cool.

It's all really quite easy, and I think if you wanted to speed things up you could probably skip the separate step of pulsing the lemon zest and sugar first, and instead just put everything in the blend and whiz it up and then pour into the pan. 

I really want to try a version of this with just honey.  I did actually use a bit of honey in this one - I only had about 2 1/2 cups of sugar, so I used that plus 1/2 cup of honey.

We will be enjoying this mixed with yogurt for breakfast. I think it would be wonderful over vanilla ice cream, or spread between layers of a white cake, or even in the place of jam on a muffin or toast.  

Enjoy!

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