Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twelve Minute Asparagus

This is the easiest way to prepare asparagus and have it cooked perfectly. My sister passed this recipe along to me and I love how easy it is. It's doesn't really even require a "recipe".  Ready?  Just take one bunch of asparagus, washed and fibrous ends snapped off, and lay it on a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in 450'F oven for 12 minutes! Done. Of course if you have smaller asparagus you'll want to reduce the cooking time slightly to ~10 minutes. Go ahead, enjoy your perfectly cooked, still crisp and bright green, yummy asparagus. Go. ...click here for the recipe!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Cake {Gluten Free}

My hubby made this amazing lemon yogurt cake for dessert after our Easter Dinner today. How fun to use lemons from our own little tree!  The raspberries were a perfect compliment {I convinced him to arrange the raspberries on top, which I think turned out great}  ;) Everyone loved it comparing it to a restaurant dessert.  There's an awesome sugary glaze to pour over the top, which adds a extra layer of sweet goodness. Definitely a decadent treat.  Enjoy!

Recipe: serves 10-12
3 eggs
3/4 cup of butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons Pamela's Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

14 oz fresh raspberries

1. Separate yolks from the eggs, reserve yolks in a small dish and add egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Whip egg whites on high speed (using the whisk attachment) until stiff peaks form (~5-10 minutes), gently transfer to another bowl and set aside.
2. Cream the (room temperature) butter and sugar together in the electric mixer on high speed (using the paddle attachment) until combined and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add in egg yolks one at a time at medium-low speed.  Add lemon zest and vanilla.
3. Slowly add in 1/4 of the yogurt then 1/4 of the flour mixture and repeat, until all the yogurt and flour mix have been added and the batter is combined.  Very slowly BY HAND fold in the whipped egg whites using a spatula to gently combine with as little stirring as possible.
4. Turn on oven to 350'F.  Pour batter equally into two 9-inch cake pans.  Level batter by gently shaking the pan back and forth.  Let the batter rest in the pans at room temperature until the oven is preheated.
5. Bake at 350'F for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 190'F and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes.
6. To make the glaze mix the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a bowl with a whisk until the glaze is runny and creamy white in color.
7. Once the cakes have cooled for 20 minutes, carefully remove them from the pans and put 1/3 of the glaze between the two layers to help hold them together.  Pour the rest of the glaze over the top of the stacked cakes.  Place raspberries on top starting from the outside edge and working your way in until the top is covered.
...click here for the recipe!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cornbread {Gluten Free}

As you may have noticed we have been cooking more gluten free dishes lately that's because my hubby has been eating gluten free for the last 3 months, trying to rule out an intolerance. One thing I set out to perfect was a gluten free cornbread. I love cornbread and after several attempts of trial and error I found a winner, at least in my book. It's flavorful with a great light crunch from the cornmeal and still soft and moist, a characteristic hard to come by in the gluten free world. It's also fairly light so go ahead and have two pieces, or like me, have three.  Enjoy!

Recipe: (Yields 12 slices)
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sorgum flour (*if you don't have this you can use 1 cup total of white rice flour)
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 Tablespoons of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Buttermilk powder
1 cup water (*if you don't have the buttermilk powder you can use 1 cup milk or 1 cup buttermilk and leave out the 1 cup of water)
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 400'F. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except buttermilk powder), whisk to combine.
2. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup pour 1 cup water and mix in buttermilk powder, (again if you'd rather use 1 cup of liquid milk or buttermilk that will work great, I was trying to reduce the lactose).
3. To the buttermilk add the eggs and oil, beat lightly with a fork to combine.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir well until moistened and pour into a glass pie pan coated with cooking spray. Let pie pan rest on counter for at least 5 minutes before baking, this helps thicken it and makes for a nice texture.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are golden. Slice into 12 wedges and serve hot with your favorite soup, stew or chili.
...click here for the recipe!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chicken and Rice Soup

We were in the mood for soup tonight and this one is so easy. It's hearty and tasty too. You can add whatever kind of rice you like, just adjust the cooking time. Or if you prefer, this is great with pasta too, add in your favorite small pasta instead of the rice during the last 15 minutes of cooking. We had some awesome corn bread to mop up our soup, Mmmm, I'll share that recipe with you tomorrow! Enjoy.

Recipe (Serves 4)
8 chicken breast tenders
olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 medium carrots, sliced on an angle
5 celery stalks, diced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup black rice (or brown rice or small pasta)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pot add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion, saute 2 minutes until translucent.  Add carrots and celery and saute 2 minutes longer.
2. Pour in broth and water and turn heat up to medium high.  Add chicken tenders, lemon juice, bay leaf and rice* (if you are using a quicker cooking rice such as jasmine or pasta, hold off and add it during the last 15-20 minutes.
3. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer, let simmer 35-45 minutes until black rice is cooked through.  Pull chicken tenders out and and cube then return to the soup.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove bay leaf and serve hot.
...click here for the recipe!

Bok Choy Stir-Fry

This is a quick and easy stir-fry I put together. This is similar to other stir-fry dishes I've blogged but this one has bok choy in it and I've gotten some questions about the best way to cook it. Bok choy tastes great with mild seasoning and light cooking as in this recipe. I served it up with some fluffy jasmine rice, since it's so quick cooking, but you can also try brown rice or wild rice. The chicken is coated in a garlicy hoisin sauce {from the bottle}, a quick and easy dinner tonight!

Recipe (Serves 4)
7-8 chicken breast tenders
~1/4 cup of your favorite Asian stir-fry sauce
2 cups rice of your choice, prepared and set aside
4 medium carrots, sliced on an angle
1 cup snow peas
4-5 baby bok choy
1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
4 green onions, sliced for garnish
1/4 red onion sliced in thin strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds for garnish


1. Start by preparing the bok choy, cut off the stem.

Leave the inner bok choy 'baby' intact.  Wash all leaves thoroughly under cool water

2. Coat chicken in stir-fry sauce and grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 165'F, ~3-5 minutes, set aside on a plate covered with foil to keep warm.  *I used our panini press for the chicken!

3. In a wok or large saute pan over medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, garlic and ginger and stir constantly until fragrant about 1 minute.
Add in sliced carrots, bell peppers, onion and snow peas, stir-fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add in bok choy leaves, toss to coat.  Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and cover. 
Simmer for 3-5 minutes until vegetables are tender but colors are still vibrant.

5. Drizzle with a few drops of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Serve with steamed rice and grilled chicken.  Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
...click here for the recipe!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lemon Fennel Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

We have been branching out and trying new foods.  Fennel is in season right now and honestly this is the first "season" we've really eaten it and it's good.  Tonight I decided to saute it, paired with some fresh lemon juice, which was tasty.    If you prefer a milder flavor try roasting the fennel like we did here.  Tonight we had ours with some garlic mashed potatoes and fresh steamed broccoli. Go ahead, try something new.

Lemon-Fennel Chicken Recipe: (serves 4-6)

7-8 chicken breast tenders
2 medium fennel bulbs, sliced thinly and washed thoroughly
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper

1. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until reaches an internal temperature of 165'F, about 3 minutes per side.  Set aside.
2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add sliced fennel, onion and garlic and saute about 7 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Add lemon juice, sugar and chicken broth and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes longer.
3. Dice up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add back to the pan, warm about 2 minutes until heated through.  Serve hot over pasta, potatoes or rice.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe: (serves 4-6)
1 1/2-2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup plain non fat yogurt

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes, boil about 10-12 minutes until tender.  I usually don't peel these as they are so small and the skins are fairly tender (and add more fiber) but you can substitute another type of potato and peel if desired.
2. Drain water and keep potatoes in warm pot, turn off the heat.  Mash well with a potato masher. Add garlic powder, butter, yogurt and 1 cup of chicken broth.  Mash with a potato masher and stir to combine, adding more chicken broth by the 1/4 cup until desired consistency.
...click here for the recipe!

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