Monday, May 31, 2010

Pasta Dinner

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with spicy Chicken Sausage and sautéed bell pepper, eggplant and mushrooms with some fresh spinach leaves thrown in at the end until just wilted.  A quick one-pot dinner. here for the recipe!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chicken Taquitos

Chicken taquitos, stuffed with Crockpot Chicken and a sprinkle of cheese, rolled and sprayed with cooking spray and baked at 425'F for about 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.  Dip in homemade guacamole.  My hubby whipped up some tasty cabbage slaw on the side!

*edited to add: Another method is to mix the re-fried beans with the chicken mixture and wrap it all inside your tortilla.  Mmmm  This works great with corn tortillas as well.  We warm them on a flat grill pan with a spot of oil in it to soften them before rolling. here for the recipe!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Parmesan roasted asparagus

We had turkey burgers tonight with fresh organic corn, green salad and roasted asparagus.  The corn was amazingly sweet and buttery.  We simply sprayed it with some olive oil spray and some fresh pepper, wrapped it in aluminum foil and threw on the grill.  Organic corn tastes so great!  The asparagus was roasted in the oven with a little salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  It would have been great on the grill too. here for the recipe!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grilled vegetable ciabatta sandwiches

A mix of seasonal veggies including, eggplant, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, red onions and red bell pepper sautéed with olive oil, garlic and herbs until tender. Then layered on fresh ciabatta rolls with mustard and pepper jack cheese. Place open-faced in the broiler until cheese is melted. Yummy!

Ingredients (serves 4-5)
4-5 ciabatta bread rolls, sliced in half (sandwich rolls)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 medium portobello mushrooms, sliced (or 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms)
1/2 small red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup yellow summer squash, sliced
1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup eggplant, thinly sliced
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
fresh black pepper
plain yellow mustard
pepper jack cheese, 4 slices

1. Chop the veggies in long skinny strips (all in equal sizes).  Feel free to substitute in or out whatever veggies you have on hand and use your family's favorites.

2. Add all veggies to a sauté pan over medium-high heat with 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil, add garlic, garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Sauté for ~5-10 minutes or until just before al dente
3. Slice ciabatta rolls in half (horizontally) and spray or brush with olive oil put in broiler to toast until lightly browned but still soft. Spread a light amount of mustard on each side of bread. To the bottom slice of bread for each sandwich put a pile of veggies and cover with a thin slice of pepper jack cheese place back under the broiler to melt the cheese, then remove from the oven.
4. Assemble the sandwich immediately and let sit for a minute then cut in half and serve. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

{MYOTO} Chicken Burritos

In a bind for time...instead of stopping for take out we grilled up some chicken, got some rice steaming and had our own homemade chicken burritos.  It's Make your own take out {MYOTO}.  They were delish.  Grilled chicken, black beans, rice, cilantro, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, J's spicy salsa and a twist of lime juice all wrapped in some soft flour tortillas and dry grilled on the stove top until they're nice and toasty! here for the recipe!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Turkey Chili and Cornbread Muffins

It's a blustery, cool, rainy afternoon at our house so I decided to make something warm and hearty.  My absolute favorite thing to cook is soups and stews, which are usually reserved for fall & winter days, so it was fun for me to make this at the end of May!  This is a quick recipe, made hearty with lean ground turkey and kidney beans.  We topped it with freshly grated cheddar and fresh chopped cilantro to brighten it up.  To speed things up I made cornbread muffins rather than a loaf of cornbread.

Recipe (serves 4)
1 - 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon Chili Powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dry Italian Seasoning
1 15-ounce can Organic Chopped Tomatoes
1 6-ounce can Tomato Paste
1 15-ounce can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1. Add ground turkey and onions to large stock pot, cook thoroughly, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked through and the meat is no longer pink and onions are opaque.  
2. Add garlic and red bell pepper, cook 1-2 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin, and Italian seasoning to meat mixture, toss to coat and toast spices (~1 minute). 3. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste and 2-3 cups of water to pot.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, (May add more water as needed to desired thickness).
4. Add beans to the pot, cook for 5 more minutes until beans are heated through.  Turn off heat and add chopped cilantro.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve.

Cornbread muffins:  I use a boxed mix from Trader Joe's, although I modify the recipe.  Instead of oil I add alittle extra Non-fat milk and water to reach the same volume or slightly less as I also add in a 4-ounce can of diced green chilies, which contribute more liquid.  I bake them as muffins or in a baking dish. here for the recipe!

Friday, May 21, 2010

{MYOTO} Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

We got some iceberg in our box this week.  The first thing I think of when I see iceberg lettuce is chicken lettuce wraps from one of our favorite Asian restaurants, so that's what we had tonight.  It was a fun interactive, make-your-own dinner or make your own take out {MYOTO}.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe:  (serves 2-3)
olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 4-5 chicken tenders)
1 cup water chestnuts
2/3 cup mushrooms, diced
2/3 cup zucchini, diced
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
head of iceberg lettuce, separated into leaves to use as cups

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot & sweet mustard

cooking sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1. Start with your dipping sauce, mix sugar and water in a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk together and store in fridge until ready to eat.
2. Cook chicken over medium hight heat, about 4 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165'F internal temp, pull off the heat and set aside to cool.
3. Dice the water chestnuts and vegetables so they are about equal in size and sauté over medium high heat until tender.  Dice the chicken finely as well and add the cooked chicken to the vegetables and stir to combine.
4. Prepare the cooking sauce and add to the pan, stirring to coat.  Once everything is heated through, turn off the heat and serve mixture in lettuce cups drizzled with dipping sauce.  Add some crispy rice noodles for garnish and crunch. here for the recipe!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Banana Bread

I've been attempting to post at least one recipe here everyday since we started this blog and I realized today that we have had something different every night for the last 3 weeks! Wow, this blog IS helping us be more creative and saving us money, since we haven't eaten out! Tonight we re-visited the Balsamic Mushroom Chicken and it was still good.

So I leave you with another yummy item I made today with the help of my 3 year old son...Banana Bread. My little guy had a fun time smashin' up all the ripe bananas too! Here's my Vegan, very low sugar banana bread recipe too if you're feeling adventurous.

Banana Bread recipe: (yields 10-12 slices)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup no sugar added applesauce
1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 whole eggs)
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (~3 medium)
1/2 cup fat free milk (or low-fat buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1+ cup chopped nuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350'F and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray (or not if you're using a stoneware loaf pan like me)
2. in a large bowl or stand mixer, mix sugar, butter and applesauce, add Egg Beater's (or eggs) stir until blended. Mix in mashed bananas, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened, don't over mix. Finally, mix the nuts in stirring gently by hand to combine.
3. Bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool about 10 minutes then carefully remove loaf and let it continue to cool on a wire rack.

**Edited to add: I also like to bake this recipe off in 4 mini loaf pans; perfect for gifting.  Bake at 350'F for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool, remove from pans and once completely cool, wrap in parchment paper and secure with baker's twine for an adorable and tasty gift. here for the recipe!

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Chicken Tamale casserole is a quick fix dinner that's hearty and yummy.  The base is a delicious cornbread concoction topped with enchilada sauce, black beans, chicken, cheese and cilantro.  It's adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.  I use our crock pot chicken for this one.  If the chicken is made in advance, this is a 30 minute meal!

Recipe: (serve 4-6)
1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese or a combo of the two
1/3 cup fat free milk
1/4 Egg Beater's
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper (optional)
1 (14oz) can cream style corn
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix
1 (4oz) can green chilies, chopped, drained
1 (10-12oz) jar of your favorite enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded chicken breast - I use our
crock pot chicken
1 (14oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped
avocado for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400'F. In a large bowl mix 1/4 cheese, milk, egg substitute, cumin, red pepper, cream corn, muffin mix and green chilies and stir until moist, don't over mix. Pour cornbread mixture into a 13x9 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.
2. Bake for 15 minutes at 400'F until it just begins to set. Remove from the oven and poke the cornbread all over with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce down over the top of the cornbread.
3. Combine the shredded chicken and black beans in a bowl and spread the meat and bean mixture over the warm cornbread and top with cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and it's heated through. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and sliced avocado. here for the recipe!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, topped with roasted (& peeled) Anaheim chili peppers, red onion, lettuce, turkey bacon and pepper jack cheese.  Yummo! here for the recipe!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tostadas {Gluten Free}

Tostadas are a favorite Mexican meal at our house.  We layer vegetarian refried beans on crunchy baked corn tortilla shells {bake corn tortillas directly on your oven rack @ 350'F for 8-12 minutes, flipping once, or until golden and crisp but not burnt} then top with taco seasoned ground turkey, lettuce, cheese, avocados, diced onions, hot sauce, cilantro and tomatoes.  Tonight we were out of tomatoes so I added diced red bell peppers. 

CHEESY TIP: We are kinda snobby about our cheese. We used to by the pre-shredded kind, which saves alot of time but it's covered in "anti-caking agent" and lacks flavor.  Now we buy big blocks of cheese and when we need it shredded we take a few extra minutes and grate alot , then store the grated yumminess in an airtight container right in the cheese drawer so it's ready to go for next time! here for the recipe!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

We prefer ground turkey over ground beef but some may complain that it lacks flavor. This is very true. Ground turkey needs to be filled with flavor and seasoned well, then it can be quite tasty. This recipe does take awhile to prepare and bake, so sometimes I will make it up in the afternoon (during nap time) or even the night before.  Just cover it tightly and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  Let it sit at room-temp for 15 minutes or so then pop it in the oven.

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (just 'lean' not extra-lean that can taste like cardboard)
1 cup fat free milk (or 1 cup low sodium chicken broth)***
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup Egg-beater's)
3/4 cup plain old fashioned oats (quick-cooking oats are fine but don't use instant)
1 small onion, chopped (~1/4 cup), optional
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350'F
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except barbecue sauce. Spread mixture into an ungreased loaf pan (I love to use my stoneware loaf pan for this), spread barbecue sauce on top.
3. Bake uncovered 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160'F. Drain any fat off the meatloaf. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

***Edited to add: sometimes I omit the broth or only put in a 1/2 cup and it turns out a bit more dense.

These potatoes make the perfect accompaniment to the meatloaf. They are baked until toasty and tender. They are delicious dipped in barbecue sauce! I usually use any small baking potato. This time I used a mixture of new red, yellow and a fun purple potato.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes:
1 to 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed into fairly evenly sized chunks
1 small onion, chopped (~1/4 cup), optional
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2-3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450'F. Cut potatoes into chunks, keeping them fairly evenly sized.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until potatoes are well coated. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake uncovered 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally until potatoes are golden and knife tender.

*If you want to bake the potatoes and the turkey meatloaf at the same time...start the meatloaf at 350'F for the first 30 minutes then increase the oven temperature to 400'F and add the potatoes. Cook both dishes together another 30-45 minutes at 400'F, keeping your eye on them, until the meatloaf is cooked through and the potatoes are golden and knife tender* here for the recipe!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Basil Parmesan Orzo

Basil Parmesan Orzo is a yummy side dish.  Served along side grilled chicken with avocado and a super-sized green salad. here for the recipe!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Baked Pasta - an easy "to-go" meal

This afternoon I made a big batch of Baked Rigatoni (the store didn't have Ziti) so Rigatoni it was!  I brought dinner over to our friends after the birth of their second baby!  Congrats to Miss A and the fam!  I basically made two identical dinners and we ate the same thing!  This is a simple pasta dish with melted cheeses and lean ground turkey, baked until the cheese is toasty and golden brown.

I also made an attempt at homemade bread.  My hubby is much better at breads than me!  Instead of leaving it in the bread machine for the whole cycle, I opted to pull it out after the initial mix and do the rest by hand.  Knead, rest, knead, get the idea.  I think the bread turned out alittle under-done in the center (kinda doughy) but I had to pull it out before the tops burned.  Maybe a lower oven temp next time would work better.  :o)

For dessert I made brownies.  Since I can't bake without modifying it alittle, I substituted plain non-fat yogurt 1:1 for the oil, they were still quite tasty, I thought so anyway. here for the recipe!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Grilled Chicken Salad with Garlic Jack Bread

A quick and easy dinner for a warm weather evening.  The chicken is seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and grilled.  We added apple slices, shredded carrots and my personal fav, blue cheese crumbles to a crunchy green salad.  Sorry about the picture it was kind of an afterthought as our evening was a little crazy (think 3 year old boy).  The bread machine slaved over the garlic jack bread this afternoon.  Leave a comment if you want J's recipe for the awesome bread. here for the recipe!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

J's Turkey Burgers

These are J's awesome turkey burgers.  He has tweaked the recipe many times and they are always so tasty.  They go great on whole wheat buns with Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce.  Here's his latest version with estimates of amounts...

J's Turkey Burger Recipe:
put in a bowl and mix with clean hands:
~1 - 1 1/4lbs of lean ground turkey
1/2 small can of diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
~1/4 cup bread crumbs, whole wheat works fine
ground black pepper
I also use a couple shakes of Trader Joe's Barbecue Grill & Broil (salt free) seasoning

shape into 4-6 burgers (press into flat patties not domed)
spray burgers with cooking spray on both sides to keep them from sticking
place on a hot GRILL.  Once the lower 1/3 of the patty is brown and the meat is easy to turn,
FLIP ONCE, continue cooking until patty reaches an internal temperature of 160'F.

*edited to add
Also try another variation...
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup corn flake crumbs 
Prepare and cook same as above! here for the recipe!

J's Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are always delicious but ALWAYS way too rich. They are often made with too much butter and sugar. I set out to cut back on the calories yet keep these tasting great. I started from a recipe out of my bread cookbook: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. I've changed it quite a bit so I'll list the recipe here: Makes 20 rolls.

First make the dough - I use a bread machine (Breadman Pro TR875). Place the following in your machine and set it on the dough setting (takes ~ 1.5hr):
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 + 2/3 cups fat free milk
  • 1 + 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1+1/2 tsp salt

10 minutes before your dough is done make the filling. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter. I've found this works better than adding the butter and sugar separately since when you cut the rolls into sections the sugar will fall out. So cutting the filling together keeps all the filling where you want it - inside the rolls!
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I like dark)
  • 1+1/3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Just before the bread dough is done clean a surface on your counter and sprinkle flour (use AP). You'll need about 2x2 foot area. Get flour on your hands and take the dough out. gently "cloak" it in flour and then flatten the dough into a rectangle about 12x20 inches. 

Now start from one of the long sides and roll the rolls up. Go slow and keep it fairly tight. Then gently stretch the rolls until the log is about 24 inches long. Cut into 1 1/4 inch sections and place in a lightly greased glass pan (13 by 9 inch should work). Evenly space them.

Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Or place them in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight then take them out and let them rest for 20 minutes before cooking. Cook at 350 F for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on the tops but still a little soft in the middles.

Topping: Mix together then drizzle over the rolls and then serve hot! If they are too cold then just reheat in the microwave for 20-40 sec.
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp plain nonfat yogurt (+ splash of water if yogurt is really thick)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


-J (Dad) here for the recipe!

J's Spicy Salsa

J's Salsa Recipe (yields ~ 1 1/2-2cups)

Combine the following:
1 (14.5oz) can Organic diced tomatoes, drain most but not all the liquid
1/8 large red onion, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
the juice of 1/2 to 1 lime (to taste)
1/4 cup hot sauce (we like La Victoria Salsa Brava Hot)
1/4-1/3 tsp salt, to taste
1 1/2 tsp Chili Pepper sauce for heat and roasted flavor (optional)

BLEND with an immersion blender or in a food processor until desired consistency and serve up with your favorite chips. here for the recipe!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crock Pot Chicken & Chicken Enchiladas

Here is another recipe created by my hubby. He's very creative in the kitchen and this is a great staple recipe that can be used to make many things. Tonight he used the flavorful chicken to make these Chicken Enchiladas while I was at work.

J's Crock Pot Chicken recipe:
Place the following into the Crock Pot:
1 small diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small can diced green chilies
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen works fine too).
Sprinkle top of chicken with
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
a couple twists of freshly cracked black pepper and
the juice of 1 lime

Pour low sodium chicken broth over the chicken enough to just cover (about 3-4 cups). COOK on high setting for 4-5 hours. STRAIN liquid (I reserve this flavorful broth to make Spanish rice), SHRED chicken, chili and onion mixture with two forks. Add 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro and a twist of fresh lime juice to finish then salt to taste. This shredded chicken is great for so many things; our favs are enchilada filling, tamale casserole and chicken taquitos.

Here's what the finished chicken looks like

Place a few tablespoons of shredded chicken mixture in a tortilla, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and a spoonful of enchilada sauce, roll up tightly. Fill a 9x13 baking dish with enchiladas and cover in enchilada sauce and additional sprinkle of cheddar cheese. BAKE @ 350'F about 15-20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. It's always best to used homemade enchilada sauce but of course that's not always possible so a good bottled sauce will work well too. here for the recipe!

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Sorta" Soba Noodles

We tried a new dish tonight and it was good, not fabulous, but good.  It's from Rachael Ray's Just in Time cookbook.  Here is her recipe.  It's whole wheat pasta in a spicy broth with vegetables.  The pasta tasted bland but the broth was pretty tasty and had some kick to it from cayenne powder.  The weather was so chilly today it was nice to have a hot bowl of soup. here for the recipe!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Blueberry Scones

My wonderful hubby made these scones for us this morning! What a great Mother's Day breakfast. Here's what he has to say about them...

"These blueberry scones are quick and delicious! We usually freeze blueberries if they are getting over ripe and we can't eat them all - they are perfect for baking still. You can add them frozen or thaw them. Frozen berries are easier to work with in the dough but sometimes it is fun to use the thawed berries because they turn the scones blue! This receipt is from Betty Crocker's The Big Red Book. I like to cut the flour with 50% whole wheat flour. I also usually use egg beaters instead of the egg and use a tbsp less butter. Flax meal can always be added as well (~1 tbsp), to make it even healthier. Eat them when they are hot!" - J (Dad)

Here's the recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (~4 tablespoons) firm cold butter
1/4 cup Egg Beater's (=1 whole egg)
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
4-6 tablespoons fat free milk
1/2 cup fruit of your choice (can use frozen too)

1. Heat oven to 400'F
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter, using a pastry cutter or criss crossing two knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in egg beaters, fruit and just enough of the 4-6 tablespoons of milk so dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
3.Place dough on a lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Kneed lightly 10 times. Roll or pat into an 8-inch circle on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour, but do not separate the wedges. brush with additional milk, sprinkle lightly with sugar.
4. Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden. Carefully separate wedges and serve warm. here for the recipe!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Coffee Cake Cupcakes

These coffee cake cupcakes are easy to make and very tasty. I've learned that nonfat yogurt can be substituted (1:1) for oil to make them healthier and the taste and texture is still yummy, sometimes better! This recipe also uses whole wheat flour, flax meal, and Egg Beaters to reduce the fat, but the taste is still awesome. Enjoy!

J's Recipe: (12 muffins)
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup All purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp flax meal

Mix wet ingredients in another bowl:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg and 1/4 cup Egg Beaters (or two whole eggs)
1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt*

Mix dry and wet together. Mix until combined but keep the mixing to a minimum (over mixing will give chewy and dense cupcakes).
*You may need to add up to a 1/4 cup water depending on the thickness of the yogurt.

1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I like dark)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Lightly spray a metal nonstick muffin tin. Fill each one half way with mix and sprinkle a layer of filling on then fill the rest of the way and sprinkle filling on top. Fill to the top of the tin but not over. Bake at 350'F for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean and the tops are light brown.
Tip: we have a metal muffin pan but always noticed the bottom of the muffins would burn (with or without paper muffin cups) so one day I tried putting the muffin tin into another silicone muffin tray so that they are nested together. This insulates the bottoms well and helps the muffins come out perfect every time!!

- J (Dad) here for the recipe!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cold Satay Noodles

We tried another new dish tonight and it was yummy! It's whole wheat spaghetti with a delicious satay sauce (mix peanut butter, tamari, garlic, honey, warm water and splash of olive oil). I mixed in fresh spinach, shredded carrots, chopped left over pork tenderloin from last night (could also use chicken) and topped it with cilantro and crunchy chopped peanuts. A great FAST meal for a warm weather evening.
This recipe is from Rachael Ray's Just in Time book. here for the recipe!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Collard Greens

It's always fun to try something new, especially new vegetables. I decided to try cooking some beautiful greens, which are in season right now! I found some HUGE organic collard greens. As a side note, whenever possible we like to buy organic produce, especially the dirty dozen. Aside from being healthier, organic foods TASTE AMAZING, the flavor is how God intended. So many times the produce in the supermarket has a "watered down" flavor. So, organic collard greens...easy, delicious and oh so healthy. Greens go really well with pork so tonight we paired them with my hubby's Honey-Lime marinated Pork Loin. And to fill in our plates, some more Israeli couscous from the pantry. Sorry about the poor picture, but I guess it's better than nothing; photographing food is new to me.

J's Honey-Lime Marinade: (marinate overnight)
(1 pound of pork yields ~ 4 servings)

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Marinate pork in the marinade overnight in the fridge. The next day remove pork and discard marinade. Cook pork on grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 155-160'F, remove from the grill and let rest on a plate for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Spicy Collard Greens: (serves 4-6)
Wash 1 large bunch of collards, trim out the tough stem.
1. In a large pot, bring about 4 cups chicken stock and 4 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add greens and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain pot saving stock.
2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 small onion diced cook, until tender ~ 4-5 minutes. Add 1-3 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, cook another 2-3 minutes.
3. Chop the cooked greens and add to the pan with the onion. Pour in 1/2-1 cup of reserved stock and simmer about 4-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
trim out the tough stems here for the recipe!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quick and delicious pasta with meat sauce

On a night like tonight I needed something super quick and easy to throw together. This is Semolina pasta (higher protein content and delish) with a suped up sauce. It's just sauce from the jar; Organic Tomato and Herb Classico, to which I added lean ground turkey and fresh oregano from the garden. With alittle juggling in the kitchen (think: brown the meat and boil pasta simultaneously) this CAN be done in 15 minutes!
Served with a fresh green salad, topped with
PERFECTLY ripe pear slices and stinky cheese (aka Gorgonzola).

We topped the salad with Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette,
which pairs so nicely with fruit and cheese toppings! here for the recipe!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Homemade Pizza

My wonderful hubby made dinner tonight! Fresh homemade pizza with some really creative and tasty toppings. He makes the pizza dough fresh using our bread machine (see his recipe below). The dough can be made in advance and frozen. On the left is Mexican pizza; La Victoria taco sauce as the base, topped with green chilies, black beans, onions, cilantro and cheese. On the right is his Barbecue chicken pizza; Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce for the base, topped with cubed grilled chicken, red bell pepper, zucchini, red onion, cilantro and cheese with the occasional turkey bacon bonus topping. He's had great success using our pizza stones and par bakes the crust for a few minutes before adding the toppings to get a perfect crust every time! I love his pizza. Anyone out there have some other creative pizza combos for us to try?

Pizza dough recipes:
Whole Wheat dough - for BBQ pizza:
Mix the following in the bread machine and run on the dough cycle: Makes two 12 inch pizzas.
  • 1+1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1+3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1+3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1+1/2 tsp salt
  • 2+1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 2 tbsp flax meal (optional)
Why not 100% whole wheat? Well, too much whole wheat flour will make your dough tear or difficult to shape and it won't taste light and fluffy. You can try 100% whole wheat flour and then add some vital wheat gluten (~ 2 tbsp) to try to get a fluffy and light dough. I've found that it helps to just add a good source of fiber to the dough and leave some AP flour in the recipe. The best thing for this, in my opinion, is flax meal. It doesn't affect the baking mixtures because it doesn't absorb or add water nor does it appear to react in any way with the rest of the ingredients. Some say the soluble fiber in flax meal can help add structure - but most recipes that replace flour with flax meal they usually add eggs (or egg whites) too.

Semolina dough - for mexican pizza:
(we also like a corn meal dough for this one as well):
 Mix the following in the bread machine and run on the dough cycle: Makes two 12 inch pizzas.
  • 1+1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2+1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1+1/2 cups Semolina durum wheat flour
  • 1+1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1+3/4 tsp salt
  • 2+1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

When the dough cycle is over (~1.5hr) "cloak" the dough with AP flour and then divide into two even pieces. Shape each piece into a dome shape by folding the edges underneath. Cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes. Use immediately or place into quart size ziploc bags and refrigerate for up to 24hrs then let rest for 20 minutes on the counter, then use. Or freeze for up to 3 months, put the dough in the refrigerator the night before to defrost.

Baking instructions:
Par bake your dough! Pre-heat the oven with pizza stones at 450 F. Shape the dough using plenty of AP flour until it is a uniform 12-14 inches in diameter. Cook for about 5 minutes or so until the outside has a light crust to it but it is still very soft to the touch. Constantly check for bubbles in your dough, pop with a fork. Take it out and add your pizza toppings then cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly or until the dough is to your liking (some like hard crust some like soft). Enjoy. here for the recipe!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Balsamic mushroom chicken

Balsamic glazed chicken with cremini mushrooms and zucchini. On the side; wild basmati rice and spinach salad with walnuts, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, and fresh organic strawberry and pear slices. This chicken dish is one I adapted from Rachael Ray's 365 No Repeats book, delish.
This picture was taken with my Droid Eris Phone here for the recipe!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cilantro Lime Chicken with fresh tomato and avocado salsa

This grilled chicken is covered in a fresh tomato and avocado salsa with lime and cilantro, which really brightens the meat. Trader Joe's Israeli couscous blend on the side *choose rice instead if cooking gluten free* and steamed broccoli with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
This picture was taken with my Droid Eris Phone

Recipe: (serves 4)

for the marinade:
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
the juice of one lime
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

For the Salsa:
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 avocado, peeled and cubed

1. To prepare the marinade mix cilantro, lime juice and olive oil in a large bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat, let rest for about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade. Season chicken lightly with salt and cook over medium-high heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165'F, about 5 minutes per side.
2. To make the salsa, Mix all ingredients except avocado in a bowl. Add avocado last, stirring gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken. here for the recipe!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

Our new favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes. I roasted them in the oven. Simple and delicious! Slice into wedges, toss with olive oil, dried thyme, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne powder.  Roast in 400'F oven for 15-20min (turn half way through) until knife tender and crispy.  (4-6 servings)
This picture was taken with my Droid Eris Phone here for the recipe!

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