Monday, May 31, 2010

MALT BALL KRISIPIES

I adore rice krispie treats! They are so easy to whip up (which is not always a good thing because that means I can make a batch once the kids are in bed for the night, and eat half the pan before I head to bed myself! Nothing like sleeping on a gut full of sugar huh?) This variation topped with melted chocolate and whoppers was wonderfully rich! I served these as a second dessert option (to birthday cake) at our Memorial cookout / niece's birthday celebration. My poor sister hadn't even lit the candles on the cake before half the tray of these goodies had disappeared!

MALT BALL KRISPIES
(Recipe from Taste of Home Aug/Sept 2009)

3 Tbsp. butter
10 oz. bag marshmellows
5 C. Krispy Rice cereal (I used half regular and half chocolate flavor)
3/4 C. malted milk powder (mine smelled stale, so didn't use, but would have liked to)
2-3 C. malt balls, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In large pot, melt butter and marshmellows over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove pot from heat and stir in cereal and malted milk powder. Stir until well blended. Press cereal mixture into prepared pan and pat down firmly with damp hand.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave for about 1 minute, then stir until no chunks remain. Spread on top of cereal mixture. Sprinkle chopped malt balls on top and press down firmly. Let cool completely before cutting. (I refrigerated mine to help chocolate firm up).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

SUGARED PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES


Anything peanut butter is a winner at my house and these cookies were no exception! I've had a "tried and true" peanut butter cookie recipe for the past several years, but this just might be the one to take its place. They are not too dense and have just the right amount of crispness without crumbling to pieces when you bite into one. These would also be good with some variations such as adding M&M's or chocolate chips, etc.

SUGARED PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES:
(Recipe from A Bountiful Kitchen)
Makes approx. 18 cookies

1/2 C. smooth peanut butter
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.

In separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and roll into balls. Roll dough balls in sugar and place 2" apart on lined baking sheets. Press down slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden in color. Do not over bake. After removing from oven, sprinkle tops with more sugar if desired. Cool on rack completely.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

CARROT APPLE SLAW

This is a simple and refreshing side dish for a summer meal, or it could even pass for a light lunch when served with a roll. There are different levels of crunch given by the apples, carrots, cabbage and sunflower seeds, then you get a hint of sweetness from the raisins. It's a welcome change from old fashioned coleslaw.

CARROT APPLE SLAW:

4-5 carrots, peeled & shredded
1/2 - 1 head green cabbage, shredded
1 small apple, diced (let set in cold water with lemon juice to prevent browning)
1/2 C. raisins
1/8 C. roasted, salted sunflower seeds (optional)

Mix above ingredients into large bowl and set aside. In small bowl, combine the following dressing ingredients, then mix with above ingredients until dressing is well dispersed. Cover slaw and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.

DRESSING:

3/4 C. reduced fat mayonnaise
1/3 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CHICKEN AVOCADO QUESADILLA WITH SPANISH RICE & CORN

We love Mexican food at our house! The problem is, typically Mexican is one of the least healthy options with all that cheese, meat, and oil. There are ways to cut back on some of the fat and calories without compromising too much of the flavor. For these quesadillas I used Mission brand low-carb, high fiber wheat tortillas. The outside of the tortilla was very lightly brushed with Smart Balance spread. The chicken inside was baked with skin removed and I used the cheese sparingly. I was trying to use up some leftover ingredients I had in the fridge so I threw in some sliced olives and avocado (the good kind of fat), and mild pepper rings (which were ok, but I think I'll omit them next time). I kept the finished quesadillas warm in a covered pan in the oven that was set to 200 until ready to serve.

Be sure to read below for a great trick for trimming kernels from a cob of corn!

CHICKEN AVOCADO QUESADILLA

tortillas of your choice
baked or rotisserie chicken
avocado, sliced
olives, sliced
cheddar jack cheese
mild yellow pepper rings (optional)

Heat skillet over medium heat. Brush one side of tortilla with butter, oil or other spread; flip and add fillings to one half of the tortilla. Fold in half and place on skillet. Press down with a plate or other skillet. Cook until underside of tortilla is nicely browned. Flip and repeat. Serve with reduced fat sour cream or salsa.

CORN OFF THE COB:

Boil or steam ears of corn until tender but not mushy. Cut kernels from ears of corn. A great trick to making this easy and with no mess is to place the pointy end of the cob down into the center hole of a bunt cake pan . Hold the other end of the cob with one hand while cutting kernels off with a sharp knife. The kernels will fall into the bunt pan where you can then add butter and seasonings of your choice. I used Smart Balance spread, salt and some fresh snipped chives.

RED SPANISH RICE:

2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 - 1 medium onion, chopped
1 C. uncooked long grain rice (I used half white, half brown)

In large skillet heat oil then add onion and rice. Stir and cook until rice is slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Then add:

2 1/2 C. water
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 small can green chilies (optional)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cumin

Stir to combine and bring to boil. Turn down heat to low, cover and simmer for approx. 30-40 minutes or until rice is tender; stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SUPER MULTI-GRAIN BREAD / ROLLS

Yes, it's ANOTHER bread post; I obviously love my bread! This loaf turned out tender with a nice soft crust, which is perfect for those finicky little kids like mine who want the crust cut off their bread most of the time. The funny part about that request from my kids is that they want the crust cut off so they can eat it separately -- whatever suits their fancy I guess! Some people don't like "chunks" in their bread such as seeds, so you can omit the sunflower seeds if you wish and still get a great loaf. Typically I would put the sunflower seeds in, but I used them all the other day when I made my quick whole wheat bread. The millet and sesame seeds I would definitely recommend! They are so small that they don't really give the bread "chunkiness", but do give it a nice bite. Millet can be found in the bulk aisle and is pretty inexpensive. A few of the other ingredients listed such as soy lecithin, vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer will help the bread turn out a little better, but you can leave them out and still get great bread.

SUPER MULTI-GRAIN BREAD (makes 2 small loaves or 24 rolls)

2 C. hot water
2/3 C. 9-grain cracked cereal (I use Bob's Mill found in/near natural food aisle or cereal aisle)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. millet
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. flax seeds
1/3 C. sunflower seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 C. honey

Measure these ingredients into large mixing bowl. Gently fold together with a spatula and then let mixture rest for five minutes, until yeast begins to foam. Then add:

1/4 C. oil
2 tsp. soy lecithin (optional)
2 tsp. salt or real salt
3 C. whole wheat flour (I used a combo of 2 C. oat flour and 1 C. wheat flour)

Begin mixing with a dough hook on the mixer setting for dough until all ingredients are combined. Add up to 2 additional cups of wheat flour 1/2 C. at a time until dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Knead for 8 minutes in your mixer. Then add:

2 tsp. dough enhancer (optional)

Knead for 2 more minutes. This dough does not need to rise twice. Just form the loaves straight from the mixer.

Form dough into 2 loaves. Cover and let rise until dough has doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5-10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool.

FOR ROLLS: You can make rolls by forming dough into 24 round rolls, placing 12 rolls per large greased cookie sheet. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in small cup. Using a sharp knife cut an X in the top of the rolls and pour a little melted butter on the top to fill the X. Cover and let rise until dough is doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter while still warm. Remove from cookie sheet to cool.

Monday, May 24, 2010

HERB MARINATED PORK CHOPS

Pork chops are something my family really likes -- when they're seasoned well and not tough as rubber. Pork is one of those "scary" meats to cook because if it's not just the right temperature inside and not cooked just right, you might die! Ok, not die, but get really sick (so we've been told) but isn't that true for any meat? Anyway, this marinade has a lot of ingredients but was pretty simple to throw together. It needs to marinate overnight or at least 8 hours, so plan ahead. It made for an easy Sunday lunch to just thrown on the grill. (Yes- I am using the grill! To heck with this eternally cold weather). The end result was nice, but I mentioned to my husband that I expected it to be a little more moist. Then it occurred to me; I forgot to baste it! AHH! I hate when I forget a step! I ended up warming the reserved marinade and brushing it on top as we ate it and that worked out fine.


HERB MARINATED PORK CHOPS
(recipe from Taste of Home )

1/4 C. tomato juice
1/4 C. chopped onion
1/4 C. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 boneless pork loin chops (3/4" thick and 4 ounces each) -- I only had bone-in and they were great

In small bow, combine all ingredients except pork chops. Pour 1/2 C. marinade into large resealable plastic bag; add pork chops. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting.

Grease grill grates with oil. Drain marinade from bag, remove pork chops from and place on grill. Grill covered, over medium heat basting frequently for approx. 5-7 minutes per side or until thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SUNFLOWER WHOLE WHEAT QUICK BREAD


We were out of bread and I didn't have enough time to make my usual wheat bread, so I gave this bread recipe a try from  Amanda's Cookin. This would also be a good option for when you're out of yeast, or for those who are a bit intimidated by making yeast bread. It came together just like a batter for muffins and had a similar texture. The outer crust had a little crunch to it and was definitely my favorite part! The bread had a nice slight sweetness to it, but at the same time was a little salty. The only complaint I had about it is that it was very crumbly, but I'm considering it a keeper!

Sunflower Whole Wheat Quick Bread

2 C. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. wheat germ
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. roasted sunflower seeds, plus extra for topping
1 1/2 C. milk
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. melted butter
coarse salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray. Place prepared pan on baking sheet and set aside.

In large bowl stir together ingredients from flour down to baking soda. Stir in 1 c. sunflower seeds.

In small bowl combine buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined. Mixture will be thick and sticky, similar to oatmeal that needs milk added to it.

Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle top with sunflower seeds and coarse salt (optional). Place baking sheet with loaf pan on it into oven and bake for 50-60 minutes (mines was 55 min.) or until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack before serving.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

COCONUT OATMEAL COOKIES

I knew if I made these, I'd be in trouble! You can't eat just one. These look like hum drum, innocent cookies, but oh no no. The coconut in these cookies make them so chewy good. The recipe does call for shortening which I'm not a big fan of because of the trans fat, but I still used it just this once!
If you are familiar with a Pizookie or Skookie (whatever you want to call it), these cookies are pretty tasty made into one. It's simply a cookie made in a cast iron skillet served hot with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate and caramel syrup; a BIG weakness at our house!

COCONUT OATMEAL COOKIES:

1 C. shortening (I used 1/2 C. butter & 1/2 C. shortening)
1 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 C. quick oats
2 C. shredded coconut
1 C. chocolate chips (optional)

Cream shortening and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Stir in oatmeal and coconut.

Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE


Leftover rice has been staring at me in the fridge for a few days now and my fresh pineapple was looking not so fresh. I remembered this recipe I got from a Korean girl in my ward (church) a while back that just happens to use the ingredients I was trying to use up! Fried rice is something I don't make real often because it's not the healthiest side dish, but I was able to modify this a bit so there was less guilt. I LOVE the pineapple in this rice! It adds such a nice mild sweetness without taking away from the other flavors.

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
(Recipe from Sandra Liu Ashcroft)

1 Tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil)
2 eggs, beaten (I used 1 egg and liquid egg white)
2 slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces (I used 3 slices of prosciutto)
2 cups cooked rice (mine was half white, half brown)
1 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. pepper
10 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained (I used fresh pineapple)
1 green onion, sliced

Heat oil in wok and scramble the eggs. Set aside. Fry bacon (if using prosciutto, you'll need to add a little more oil before adding rice). Add rice to bacon, mix well. Add salt, pepper, pineapple and eggs, stir and cook until dry. Stir in sliced green onion before serving. 

 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON COOKIES

So, it's Sunday and of course that means dessert! Not that we don't have dessert other nights of the week, but it's just a given on Sunday. As much as I wanted something brownie-ish, chocolatey, and gooey, I figured I'd venture outside my little dessert "box" and give these cookies a try. The lemon sounded refreshing and I really like white chocolate so why not?

My daughters always anticipate licking the bowl and the beater, and the spoons, and whatever else happens to have a trace of dough on it. (I know, I shouldn't allow it because of the potential for food poisoning, but...) As my 4 year old licked the spoon she immediately didn't approve of the dough and wanted me to make something else; however, my 6 year old and I had no complaints and licked everything spotless.

Once the cookies were baked, my 4 year old figured she'd give one a try since I didn't oblige her request for something else. She ate it and asked for a second. So there you have it.

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON COOKIES
(recipe from this blog)

1 C. butter, softened
3/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I just used Iodized table salt)
12 oz. white chocolate chips

ROLLING INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C. superfine sugar (or just put granulated in food processor for a few seconds)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest (I didn't add this)
GLAZE INGREDIENTS: (This glaze is fairly tart. My kids preferred cookies without it)
1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

 In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside
In large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat until everything is combined but not quite fluffy.  Add the beaten eggs one at a time. Add almond extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined. Try not to over mix. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate one hour. 

Combine the superfine sugar and lemon zest in a shallow dish. Mix the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until it's nice and fragrant.
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove chilled dough from fridge and scoop out slightly rounded tablespoonfuls. Roll into a loose ball and roll in sugar mixture. Place each ball on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. 

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden and centers are just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies on it off of the cookie sheet and drizzle with the glaze mixture. 


Friday, May 14, 2010

MULTI-GRAIN BANANA BREAD


The bananas for this delicious bread almost made their way into the garbage can this morning thanks to my 4 year old being ultra "helpful" today. It's been a while since I've made banana bread and just stumbled upon this recipe at a new blog I found called Good-Life-Eats I love that it uses different types of flour and very little fat (butter). This recipe turned out a heavy, dense and moist loaf, just how I like it! And the crusty exterior is amazing! This is my new favorite for sure.

MULTI-GRAIN BANANA BREAD
MAKES ONE LARGE LOAF

3/4 C. all purpose flour
3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. barley flour (I used soy flour)
1/4 C. oat flour*
1/4 C. milled flax seed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. brown sugar (I decreased total sugar to 3/4 C. with 1/4 C. being brown sugar and the other
1/2 C. being turbinado sugar a.k.a. raw sugar found in health food aisle)
1/4 C. butter, melted
3/4 C. vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed or pureed
Chopped pecans (optional)
Coarse sugar or turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375

In medium-large bowl, combine the flour through brown sugar and mix well. In small bowl, combine butter through bananas and mix well. Add chopped pecans if using.

Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon until moistened and just mixed. Don't overmix! (Add a little milk if batter is too thick)

Pour batter into greased bread pan. Top with more pecans and coarse sugar or turbinado sugar, if desired. Bake at 375 for 40-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (I baked mine for about 56 minutes.) If you want to make in muffin form, bake for approx. 15 minutes.

To keep the crust nice and "crisp" let the loaf cool completely before placing in a bag.
* If you don't have oat flour, you can grind old fashioned or quick rolled oats in a blender or food processor until very fine flour-like consistency.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SWEET & SPICY SLOW COOKER CHICKEN

I love using my slow cooker! Besides the fact that it easy, convenient, and doesn't put off a lot of heat in the summer, the aroma that penetrates the house all day makes everyone eager for dinner. (Whether they actually eat it once it's on their plate is another story!)
This recipe came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.
I used the chicken as filling for soft tacos, but it could be eaten plain or served over rice. It ended up a little drier than I would have liked, but an easy remedy would be to add in the tomatoes with ALL their juice. i used 1/4 tsp. chili flakes but could have used more. Even though my family doesn't care for too much spice, I would hardly call this chicken "spicy". I used 3 large chicken breasts and got two meals for 3 adults and 2 kids with a little left over.

SWEET & SPICY SLOW COOKER CHICKEN

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I used diced Western Family brand tomatoes w/ lime juice & cilantro) add all juice for a saucier meat, or drain some juice for a drier meat.
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to your liking)
salt & pepper to taste
lime wedges (optional)


Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high 4-5 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred using two forks. Return shredded chicken to crock pot and mix with tomato mixture. Warm through. If using for chicken soft tacos, fill soft tortillas with chicken and top with avocado, red or green onion, sour cream, queso fresco (or feta cheese), and squirt of fresh lime

If you double the recipe, you can freeze remaining meat for an easy freezer meal.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

STRIPED DELIGHT



This dessert ranks in my husband's top 3 all time favorites, and it is so simple! This is one of those desserts you can eat half the pan before you even realize it, so watch out. My husband, Brett and I have a joke with eating dessert that you have to leave a straight cut line in the pan, so if there just happens to be a slanted or jagged cut, we MUST slice off the excess and eat it. The good thing about this recipe is that you can make it fairly low fat or full fat and it pretty much tastes just as good either way. (I typically use all low fat or fat free products in this.) I've only ever made it with Oreos and chocolate pudding, but I imagine you could use any number of cookie / pudding combinations and have yummy results.
This uses cool whip, which is one of those items that I waiver on using. I know it is fake, nothing real about it, yet somehow it tastes so good! There are some things that demand it and there's just no substitute.

STRIPED DELIGHT
(From Kraft Food & Family winter 2007)


35 OREO cookies
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. cold milk
1 tub (12 oz) COOL WHIP topping, thawed, divided
3 1/4 C. cold milk
2 pkg (4 serving size each) JELLO chocolate instant pudding


Place cookies in food processor and process to form fine crumbs. Transfer to medium bowl. Add butter, mix well. Press firmly onto bottom of 13 x 9 inch dish. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk in separate bowl wit wire whisk until well blended. Stir in 1 1/4 C. of the whipped topping. Spread over crust.

Pour 3 1/4 C. milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk until well blended
.
Spoon evenly over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 minutes or until thickened. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding layer.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Garnish with extra crushed OREO cookies right before serving if desired. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

** To make slicing easier, place in freezer one hour prior to serving. (Obviously from my photo, I didn't do this! Maybe next time.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

ORANGE BRAN FLAX MINI MUFFINS


I LOVE muffins! I could make a different muffin for breakfast every day and be a very happy girl! As much as I love muffins, I never buy them from a store or bakery because they are unnecessarily loaded with fat, sugar and calories and usually with very little fiber. I enjoy making mini muffins for two main reasons: 1) they bake up quick so I can eat them sooner, 2) I can justify eating several of them at once! No matter what type of muffin I make, I usually divide the batter in half and stir in mini chocolate chips into one half for the kids. Funny thing is that I usually end up eating the "kids" muffins that have the chocolate chips!
I end up modifying most muffin recipes to reduce the amount of sugar, eliminate or reduce the oil, replace the egg(s) with egg white and add flax. Flax has alpha-linolenic acid - the plant version of Omega 3, so it does add fat, but since it's a "good" fat, I still consider these low fat. The orange glaze is optional, but if you reduce the sugar like I did, I recommend using it!



ORANGE BRAN FLAX MUFFINS: makes 2 dozen mini muffins or 12 regular muffins
(From Prevention magazine)

3/4 C. oat bran
1/2 C. all purpose flour (I used wheat flour)
1/2 C. flaxseed, ground
1/2 C. wheat bran
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 orange peeled and seeded
1/2 C. brown sugar (I reduced this to 1/3 C. unpacked)
1/2 C. buttermilk (I used skim milk with a little vinegar added to equal 1/2 C.)
1/4 C. canola oil (I used 1/8 C. coconut oil and 1/8 C. unsweetened applesauce)
1 egg (I used 1/3 C. liquid egg white)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 C. golden raisins
mini chocolate chips (optional - just sprinkle a few on top of each muffin & gently poke down into muffin prior to baking)

ORANGE GLAZE:

1/8 C. orange juice
1/4 C. brown sugar
Combine in saucepan and heat through. Dip tops of muffins in glaze after removing from muffin tin.


Preheat oven to 375. Spray 2 mini muffin tins with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients and set aside. In a blender or food processor, combine oranges, brown sugar, egg, buttermilk, oil and baking soda until well blended.

Pour orange mixture into dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Do not overmix. Stir in raisins.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (using a small ice cream scoop works perfectly). Bake for 10 minutes** or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in pan, dip in orange glaze, then place on cooling rack.

** If making regular size muffins, bake for 18-20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

TURKEY TACO SALAD W/ CILANTRO LIME DRESSING

I think taco salad is on most people's go-to meal list, so it's not like this is anything new for most people. However, the sauce might be! Up until about 6 months ago, I've always made the meat sauce the same as I remember my mom making it when I was a kid. But, this new version I came across is my new standard (sorry mom!). Like a few other recipes on my blog, it just happens to be from Deals to Meals. I served this with the cornbread muffins shown in the previous post.


MEAT SAUCE:

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2-3 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or 1 packet)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Brown the meat and drain off grease. Add tomato sauce, taco seasoning and brown sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream if using.

FOR THE SALAD:

lettuce (I like to use Romaine), chopped
meat sauce
tomatoes
kidney beans, rinsed and drained
olives, sliced
green onion, sliced
tortilla chips, crushed slightly (I like to use Garden of Eatin brand baked)
shredded cheese
avocado, cubed

Layer salad ingredients in above order starting with lettuce. Top with the following dressing:

CILANTRO LIME DRESSING:

1 C. favorite bottled ranch dressing
1/3 C. cilantro
1 sprig green onion
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper
1/3 C. salsa (I didn't add this and it was still great!)

Blend above ingredients until smooth and serve over taco salad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"HEALTHIER" CORNBREAD MUFFINS


If you're my husband, you can't have taco salad without cornbread! The problem I have with cornbread is that it's just as much dessert as it is "bread" once you slather it in butter and drown it with honey. In an effort to make it more of a side dish, I looked around the internet for a recipe that didn't use half a cup of butter, 4 eggs or a ton of sugar. I found this recipe on cooks.com. There are obviously more decadent versions of cornbread muffins out there, but if you want a healthier, lower-fat option, here you go.


"HEALTHIER" CORNBREAD MUFFINS

1 C. yellow corn meal
1 C. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 C. milk (I used skim)
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin cups.
In medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients and mix well. Make well in center and add the beaten egg, milk and melted butter. Stir until combined, but don't over mix!
Divide batter evenly into muffin tin.
Bake for 19-21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Monday, May 3, 2010

CHICKEN SUIZA SAMMIES

The photo REALLY doesn't do much for the sandwich! We were running late for a birthday party so I had to snap it quick. I got this recipe from Real Mom Kitchen blog. I was curious about the sauce for the chicken, so I had to give it a try. The recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but I just used what I had on hand and baked 2 large chicken breasts that had been drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also had a bottle of green taco sauce that I used in place of the tomatillo salsa. The buns I used are thin sandwich buns and they got a little soggy, so I would recommend using a nice standard thick bun for these to hold up to the sauce. Overall, my husband and I were both pretty satisfied with this "change of pace" sandwich.

CHICKEN SUIZA SAMMIES

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. honey
Juice of one lime
1 C. tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
1/2 c. sour cream
1 - rotisserie style chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
6 buns
6 slices Swiss or Monterrey jack cheese

1) Preheat broiler. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft, about 2 minutes.
2) Stir in the lime juice and honey, then the tomatillo salsa and heat through. Mix in the sour cream. Stir in chicken and coat with the mixture.
3) Separate tops from bottoms of buns and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Place on slice of cheese on tops of buns. Broil until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
4) Fill buns with meat mixture and serve.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

CAFE ZUPA-LIKE SALAD

For those of you not familiar, Cafe Zupas is a great little place to grab a unique "healthy" (until you consider the dressings, sugared nuts, etc.) salad, sandwich or soup. Unfortunately the closest one to me is about an hour drive away, so I often mimic one of their yummy salads at home. Each salad is basically made up of a) the greens, b) fresh fruit, c) sugared nuts, d) cheese. Their dressings range from raspberry vinaigrette to pina colada.

The salad I made to day had a) romaine lettuce, b) blackberries and oranges, c) slivered almonds -- oops! I kinda forgot about the sugared almonds I had baking in the oven and they burned. d) fat free crumbled feta. I made a poppy seed vinaigrette and added a few squirts of fresh orange juice and maybe a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar (to make up for the lack of cinnamon sugared nuts, and it tasted great!).

These salads are so fun to come up with and it's a great way to use up fruit that's been hanging around. Use your imagination. Fresh fruit is obviously the best, but I've used canned peaches and pears too. Other topping ideas are apple, dried cranberries, candied walnuts with maple vinaigrette. Pear, cashew, blue cheese. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, sugared almonds & feta.Click on the Cafe Zupas link above and get even more great ideas!

CINNAMON SUGARED NUTS:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 pound raw nuts such as: almonds or walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat (with fork) egg white and water in large bowl. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon in resealable bag. Shake. Place nuts in egg mixture and stir to coat well. Remove nuts from bowl with slotted spoon and place nuts in bag with cinnamon mixture. Shake nuts around in bag until well coated. Spread nuts out in foil-lined pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.If doubling, do one half at a time, but bake all at once.

POPPY SEED DRESSING:
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • pinch or two of onion powder or finely minced onion
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Whisk all ingredients together or place in a jar and shake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Shake well before serving.