Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Veggie Souvlaki

Chicken Souvlaki goes veggie :)

This quick-cooking Mediterranean-style chicken & simple homemade yogurt sauce make this a perfect dish for a busy weeknight.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 mins.
Cook time: 20 -25 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound gluten style chicken, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper (about 1)
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup grated English cucumber
1/4 cup 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 (6-inch) whole-wheat soft pitas, cut in half
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken, garlic, and oregano; cook 30 seconds.

Combine cucumber and next 6 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt). Serve chicken mixture with yogurt sauce, warmed pita, and tomato slices.

For Simple Salad:
Combine 5 cups torn romaine lettuce,
1/3 cup sliced red onion, and 3 sliced pepperoncini peppers. Combine 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss with salad. Top with 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese and 3 tablespoons halved kalamata olives.

**Yield: 4 servings
(serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture, 1/4 cup sauce, 1 pita, and about 1/4 cup tomatoes)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Onion Cakes

Onion Cakes

1 tsp. Thai seasoning
1 bunch green onions (7 or 8), chopped (may subsitute w red onion and chives)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten

For cakes, combine onions, flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup water, egg, and 1 tsp of the Thai seasoning. In 12-inch skillet heat 2 tsp. vegetable oil over medium-high. Spread batter in skillet; cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Cut in wedges.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to make self-rising flour

How To Make Self-Rising Flour

If your recipe calls for self-rising flour and you only have all-purpose, here's how you can adapt.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 minute
Here's How:

1. Using a dry measure, measure desired amount of flour into a separate container.
2. For each cup all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
3. Mix to combine.


1. You can use self-rising flour in yeast bread recipes, but you'll need to omit the salt.
2. If you use self-rising flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour in a quick bread, omit salt and baking powder.

What You Need:

* all-purpose flour
* salt

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Black Bean Brownies


1, 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup agave syrup
½ cup self-rising flour
½ cup egg whites
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp mini semisweet chocolate chips


In a food processor, mix all brownie ingredients (except chips) together. Chop on high, until smooth. Clean off sides and blend for another 20 seconds. Add the chips in and stir well. Spread into the 8x8 baking dish. Cook for 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 1 hour in dish at room temperature.


6 oz fat-free cream cheese
¼ cup agave syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp semisweet mini chocolate chips, melted.


Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly spray a 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. With a whisk attachment on an electric beater and blend all ingredients until light and fluffy. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled brownies. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the 2 tbsp of chips with a 2 second spray of nonstick cooking oil. Using a spoon, swirl the chocolate on top. Allow it to set in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy. Don't forget to have seconds!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Healthy Rice Pudding


Only 98 calories per serving

Servings: 8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

1/2 c. water
1/3 c. uncooked Minute rice
1/4 teas. salt
20 oz. can crushed pineapple,drained
1 medium banana,sliced
2 teas. lemon juice
1/2 c. yogurt,
1 Tlb. sugar
1 teas. vanilla

NOTE: Any flavor yogurt may be used-just remember the calorie count may vary with each flavor.

Combine water,rice and salt in saucepan. Stir, bring to a boil.cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes then stir in pineapple. Cool. Sprinkle banana slices with lemon juice. Add bananas to cooled pineapple mixture. Combine yogurt,sugar and vanilla- fold into rice. A touch of coconut would be wonderful in this, also. Chill. Serves 8. 98 calories per serving.

Mediterranean Pita Pockets

Mediterranean Pita Pockets

Servings: 8
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 secs for pitas
Total time: 5 mins

Protein of choice (Fri-chik, falafel, breaded & fried cutlets, cashew patties, etc)
1 cucumber
1 sweet onion
1 tomato
hummus (garlic, onion would be nice here)
feta, if desired
crumbled veggie bacon, if desired
8 pita pockets

Cut up chicken and tear up the meat. Dice the vegetables. Place pitas in the microwave for 45 seconds, with a paper towel covering. Place chicken, onions and cucumber inside pitas,dress with hummus. Enjoy

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Crisp Roasted Potatoes

Crisp Roasted Potatoes

Why this recipe works: The aroma of roasting potatoes draws everyone into the kitchen come meal time. Too often, though, the potatoes turn out brown and leathery with a mealy interior, or worse, soft with no crisp crust at all. We wanted oven-roasted potatoes that had a crisp crust with a silky interior.

Serves 4 to 6

The steps of parcooking the potatoes before roasting and tossing the potatoes with salt and oil until they are coated with starch are the keys to developing a crisp exterior and creamy interior. The potatoes should be just undercooked when they are removed from the boiling water.

* 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
* Table salt
* 5 Tbs olive oil
* Ground black pepper


1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in Dutch oven; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and gently simmer until exteriors of potatoes have softened but centers offer resistance when pierced with paring knife, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and transfer to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; using rubber spatula, toss to combine. Drizzle with another 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; continue to toss until exteriors of potato slices are coated with starchy paste, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle remaining tablespoon oil over surface. Carefully transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer (skin-side up if end piece). Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 25 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.

3. Remove baking sheet from oven and, using metal spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from pan, carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast until second side is golden and crisp, 10 to 20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Quick Tomato Sauce

Quick Tomato Sauce

Makes 3 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta

This full-flavored tomato sauce takes only 15 minutes to prepare. High-quality canned tomatoes will make a big difference in this sauce. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.


* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* Table salt
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp)
* 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
* Ground black pepper


* Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Pumpkin Pie

.... from scratch.

Makes one 9-inch pie

If candied yams are unavailable, regular canned yams can be substituted. The best way to judge doneness is with an instant-read thermometer. The center 2 inches of the pie should look firm but jiggle slightly. The pie finishes cooking with residual heat; to ensure that the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator. To ensure accurate cooking times and a crisp crust, the filling should be added to the prebaked crust when both the crust and filling are warm. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.


* 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
* 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
* 1/4 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into two pieces
* 2 tablespoons cold water


* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 cup whole milk
* 3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
* 1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (see note)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon table salt


1. For the Crust: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

4. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

6. For the Filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Rewhisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Garlic chicken pasta

Garlicky Chicken Pasta

Serves 4

Marinate the chicken while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

* 5 med.garlic cloves, minced (about 5 tsp), plus 4 medium cloves, smashed
* 1 pound veggie chicken cut into niblet pieces
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* Table salt
* 1 pound pasta in short, tubular shapes, such as fusilli or rigatoni
* 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine (I'm using chicken broth)
* 3/4 cup clam juice (broth here too)
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
* Ground black pepper


1. Toss 2 teaspoons minced chix, shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let chix marinate at room temperature 20 minutes.

2. Heat 4 smashed garlic cloves and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to remove garlic from skillet; discard garlic. Set skillet aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven.

4. While pasta cooks, return skillet with oil to medium heat; add chix with marinade to skillet in single layer. Cook chix, undisturbed, until oil starts to bubble gently, 1 to 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chix to medium bowl. Add remaining 3 teaspoons minced garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; stir in vermouth and cook for 1 minute. Add clam juice and parsley; cook until mixture starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Add chicken and sauce to pasta, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Season with black pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Best chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies
Makes 16 cookies

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored.

* 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
* 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
* 1 teaspoon table salt
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
* 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mexican Pesto

Mexican Pesto

Prep time:20 minutes
Cook time:5 minutes
Total time:30 minutes

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup queso fresco
1 jalapeño pepper
1 poblano pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

Place oven on broil. Prepare jalapeño and poblano peppers with nonstick spray. place peppers under broiler until skin is charred. Remove from oven and place into medium sized bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to steam while preparing other ingredients. Place herbs, garlic, nuts, cheeses and seasonings into a food processor. Remove the peppers from bowl. Using a towel rub skins off of peppers then place into processor. *Remove seeds and pith for less spicy sauce* Pulse to combine, then stream in olive oil while blending to desired consistency.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nutella Berry Toast

Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts

You really don't need measurements for this recipe. An (8-ounce) tub of mascarpone cheese and 2 pints of berries should make about a dozen toasts.

A (1 pound) loaf of sliced Italian bread
Butter for toasting
1 jar Nutella
1 (8-ounce tub) mascarpone cheese
2 pints fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries

1. Lightly butter bread and toast until golden.

2. Smear on a layer of Nutella, then top with a layer of mascarpone. Arrange fresh berries on top. Serve immediately. Await praise.

Carrot Cheesecake Bars

Carrot Cheesecake Bars

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar, divided
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs --you can use 1/2 block tofu instead of 3 eggs.
3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2)
1-1/2 cups thawed Whipped Topping

HEAT oven to 325ºF.

MIX butter, crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 min.

BEAT cream cheese, vanilla and the remaining sugar and cinnamon in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Stir in carrots; spread over crust.

BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Serve topped with COOL WHIP.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Greek Chickpea Salad

Credit Deb for this one... We tried it last weekend. Added some Fri-chik and some veggie bacon bits to it and wrapped it in pitas. YUMM!! Definitely a keeper! Thanks!

Chickpea Salad

2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, minced
3/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 1/2 large cucumber)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1 ounce reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, toss chickpeas, onion, cucumber, mint, feta and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olives, mustard, oil, and garlic together. Pour dressing on top of the chickpea mixture and stir gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and feel free to add slightly more cheese, lemon juice, oil, salt, or pepper right before serving.

Baked stuffing

Credit to Connie for this one... blogging it so I don't lose it! This roast is so good. The whole family voted to never eat plain ol' boxed instant stuffing again :)Next time we're going to add a little veggie chicken in there, too. Soooooo good!

Stuffing Roast
3 beaten eggs
1-1/2 lb small curd cottage cheese
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup oil
1 (16 oz) bag stuffing mix (I actually prefer to use 2 small 6-oz boxes of stuffing mix-- one herb and one mushroom and onion)
2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Tbsp. Chicken style seasoning
1 cup milk
1 (8 oz.) can mushrooms with liquid

Mix all ingredients together and pour into oiled 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
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