egg mcmuffin.

September 12, 2008 - 2 Responses

So, this is admittedly not a recipe, per se . . . it’s more like an idea.  You don’t really need a recipe for an egg mcmuffin or for any other fast food breakfast sandwich, but maybe you do need to be reminded that you can make them at home in a much healthier way!  This is also a very quick meal idea . . .  not as quick as a nutrition bar but not as time consuming as pancakes, so it’s totally suitable for a weekday breakfast.  And you have to admit, there’s something kinda sinful about eating a melty breakfast sandwich, even if it is made with a whole wheat muffin and turkey bacon!

Egg McMuffin

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

Cooking spray

 

1 whole wheat English muffin

Any kind of English muffin or toast

1 large egg

2 eqq whites

1 slice turkey bacon

1 slice real bacon

Slices of white cheddar cheese

Slices of any type of cheese

Preparation

1.  Split English muffin.  Align slices of cheese on one half of the muffin.  Toast on medium-high until cheese is melted.

2.  While the English muffin is toasting, wrap one slice of raw turkey bacon in a paper towel.  Microwave on a microwave-safe plate from 1 to to 2 minutes to desired level of crunchiness.

3.  Spray the inside of a ceramic ramekin with cooking spray.  Break egg into ramekin and stir well.  Microwave from 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on egg size and microwave power.

4.  Remove English muffin from toaster.  Invert ramekin over one muffin half.  Egg “round” should drop onto the muffin with a slight tap of the ramekin.  Tear bacon in half and place on egg “round.”  Top with remaining muffin half.

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

Applewood Smoked Bacon

Calling it

Whole Wheat English Muffin with Egg, ApplewoodSmoked Bacon, and Vermont Cheddar Cheese

Cooking Tip:

The ramekin is what makes the perfect egg mcmuffin shape of the egg “round.”  Choose a ramekin with a diameter that matches or is slightly smaller than the diameter of the English muffin, and be sure to spray the interior of the ramekin liberally, or you’ll be scrubbing cooked eggs off of the ceramic!

thai coconut shrimp curry.

September 9, 2008 - Leave a Response

 

The summer bounty from our CSA has ended.  This means that our weekly menus are no longer dictated by our box of veggies, and that I can go back to using the month’s issue of Cooking Light as my inspiration.  To start the Fall season off right (although it’s still so hot here in Georgia that Fall probably isn’t the right word . . .) I began with a little Thai curry.  Thai is one of our favorite types of ethnic cooking, and although this isn’t reallyThai (given some of the non-Thai ingredients) it is definitely close enough to Thai-restaurant quality to do in a pinch!  Anyways, I used the Cooking Light recipe found here as the bare bones of the recipe and then added some veggies and some heat.

Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry

(adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

2  teaspoons  canola oil

2 teaspoons any oil type

¾ cup  chopped onion

 

½ cup red bell pepper

½ cup any bell pepper

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup thawed frozen broccoli pieces

2 tablespoons  red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen)

2 tablespoons any curry paste, or I tablespoon dried curry powder

1  teaspoon  sugar

 

12  ounces  large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

2 cups washed and dried torn fresh spinach

½ cup thawed frozen spinach

1/3  cup  light coconut milk

 

1 tablespoon  fish sauce

 

1/2  cup  chopped green onions

 

¼ c chopped fresh basil

 

Preparation

1.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and curry paste to pan, and sauté 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

2.  Stir in sugar; sauté 15 seconds.

3.  Add broccoli, spinach, and shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are done and spinach is wilted, stirring frequently.

4.  Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated.

5.  Remove from heat; stir in green onions and basil.

6.  Serve with jasmine rice to soak up the delicious sauce.

Servings

4 servings

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

Sriracha (Thai hot chile paste) and/or diced spicy red pepper

Calling it

Sauteed Shrimp in Curried Coconut Cream

Cooking Tip:

Fish sauce, coconut milk, red curry paste, and Sriracha can all be found in the ethnic foods section of pretty much any major grocery chain—it’ll be near the soy sauce!  (And don’t be afraid of the fish sauce . . .  although you would never wanted to eat it alone, and although it smells semi-horrid, it gives Thai dishes their characteristic saltiness (no fishiness, I promise).

honey-chipotle grilled corn.

September 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

This is actually the recipe that started me on the food blog path, and interestingly, it’s 100% not my own!!  The story is, one day, I was reading the food blog over at Cooking Light, and I read an entry about this recipe and how it is the best possible way to prepare corn, hands down.  I was totally pumped about this because I had actually purchased the ingredients to make this exact recipe just a few days before, without ever knowing that it would be discussed on Cooking Light.  After making the recipe, I commented on the blog about how great it was, which led the Cooking Light blog editors to click back over to my “life blog” where I blog about everything, food included.  They were very complimentary about my pictures, which made me think that I might be on to something.  So, I figured I would try out a content-focused food blog, and it seems to be doing pretty well!  Anyways, back to the recipe.  It really is awesome.  And I don’t even like corn.  But I LOVE this corn, and I bet you will too!

   Honey-Chipotle Grilled Corn

(adapted from Sunset magazine)

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

1 chipotle out of a can of chipotles in adobo sauce

 

1/3 c Smart Balance butter

1/3 c real butter

¼ c orange blossom honey

1/4 c any type of honey

1 garlic clove

 

¼ teaspoon of salt

 

Directions

1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-hot (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above cooking grate only 3 to 4 seconds). Combine chiles, butter, honey, garlic, and salt in a blender and whirl until smooth.

2. Put unhusked corn on grill and cook, turning occasionally, 15 minutes. Husks will blacken. Transfer to a work surface, remove husks, brush ears generously with butter mixture, and return ears to grill. Grill until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Serve warm, with remaining butter.

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

Seriously, this is sexy enough.  No additions needed.

Calling it

Fresh Grilled Corn Basted in a Honeyed-Chipotle Butter

Cooking Tip:

Chipotles are pretty spicy peppers, and the best thing about this recipe is the sweet heat component.  To tone down some of the heat, you can try separating the seeds from the pepper, but if you’re not a “heat” person, you might want to try a different recipe!

fig biscuits.

August 5, 2008 - 2 Responses

 

In my bag of produce goodness from the CSA last week was a berry bucket containing some strangely-shaped fruit type items.  They looked kinda like figs, but seeing as my only fig experiences have involved the dried variety, I wasn’t completely sure. So, I looked up fresh figs on-line, and sure enough, I had about a cup of fresh figs.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but for some reason, fig biscuits sounded like a really good idea to me.  And it was!!

Fig Biscuits

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

2 cups flour

 

1 tablespoon baking powder

 

1 teaspoon sugar

 

¼ cup Smart Balance butter

¼ cup any butter substitute

½ cup buttermilk

Any combination of dairy products,

½ cup cream

up to 1 cup

½ cup chopped fresh fig

Any combination of figs, dried or fresh,

½ cup chopped dried fig

up to 1 cup

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix liquid ingredients with a whisk.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients and chopped figs into the flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.

5.  Spoon into greased muffin cups, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned.

Servings

12 biscuits

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

honey butter as a spread

Calling it

Fresh Fig Scones with Honeyed Butter Spread

Cooking Tip:

You can use any combination of fresh and dried figs in this recipe, but keep in mind that dried figs are much sweeter than fresh.

watermelon ice cream with chocolate chip “seeds.”

August 4, 2008 - 5 Responses

Some friends brought over a watermelon for our Fourth of July party for a seed-spitting contest.  Unfortunately, a glance at the produce sticker revealed that the watermelon was actually seedless . . . so we didn’t end up cutting into it. . . and it sat on our counter for an entire month!  I finally decided that it had to be used, and I was really craving ice cream, so I went in search for a watermelon ice cream recipe.  Apparently, watermelon ice cream is a rarity, because the only real recipes I found were for “watermelon Bombes,” which are ice cream cakes that look like watermelons, but contain no actual watermelon . . . not exactly what I was looking for.  So, this is what I came up with!!

Watermelon Ice Cream with Chocolate Chip “Seeds”

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

4 cups watermelon (about half of a large watermelon)

 

1 cup half and half

Any combination of liquid dairy products,

up to 2 cups

1 cup light cream

½ cup sugar

 

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ cup white chocolate chips

Preparation

1.  Slice watermelon flesh away from the rind, and cut into cubes.

2.  In a blender, puree watermelon until smooth.

3.  Pour watermelon puree through sieve, and reserve two cups watermelon “juice.”

4.  Combine cream, half and half, and sugar in a bowl with a whisk.

5.  Add watermelon juice to cream mixture.

6.  Pour into the canister of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.  Add chocolate chips to the ice cream for the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Servings

10 1/2 cup servings

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

white and dark chocolate chips

Calling it

Icy Watermelon Cream with Chocolate Shavings

Cooking Tip:

Because of the high water content in watermelon, this ice cream is a little more icy than most, and it tastes best the day it’s made.  To achieve a creamier texture, use dairy products with a higher fat content (e.g., heavy cream in place of the half and half).

parmesan pesto orzo.

August 3, 2008 - Leave a Response

I have to admit that we actually call this one “pestorzo” at our house, cause, well, it’s just more fun that way.  This is probably the easiest, and the most delicious, carb-tastic side that I make.  It goes especially well with sauteed chicken dishes.

Parmesan Pestorzo

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

¼ cup prepared pesto

¼ cup fresh, jarred, or “from a packet” pesto

1 cup orzo

 

4 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan

 

Preparation

1.  Prepare orzo according to package directions (typically boil from 6-8 minutes) and drain.

2.  Return cooked orzo to pot.  Add 1/4 cup pesto (more or less to taste), and stir well.

3.  Plate pestozo, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan.

Servings

4 1/4 cup servings

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

chopped artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes

Calling it

Meditteranean Orzo with Fresh Basil Pesto

Cooking Tip:

Although I’m typically a stickler for fresh ingredients, my favorite pesto for this dish is actually the “packet pesto” that you find with the other sauce packets at the grocery store.  I typically make it with only half of the olive oil the packet calls for, though, which cuts down on fat and calories and concentrates the pesto flavor.

chocolate chip squash muffins.

July 27, 2008 - 3 Responses

My household is pretty keen on veggies, so I’ve never been one to have to sneak them in by pureeing them into pasta sauces or baked goods.  One thing we do have a problem with, though, is using up all of our summer squash.   I don’t personally like the flavor of plain squash all that much, but I like the sight of unused squash in my fridge even less.  These muffins are the perfect solution, and by swapping in some whole wehat flour and applesauce in place of some the white flour and oil, they’re healthier than some of the other muffins out there.

Chocolate Chip Squash Muffins

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

2 ½ cups flour

Any combination of flours, up to 3 cups

½ cup whole wheat flour

 

1 cup sugar

Any combination of sugars, up 1 ¾ cups

¾ cup brown sugar

 

1 teaspoon baking soda

 

¼ teaspoon baking powder

 

1 teaspoon salt

 

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup shredded zucchini

Any combination of squash, up to 2 cups

1 cup shredded yellow squash

 

1 medium carrot, shredded

 

1 cup applesauce

 

2 eggs

 

1/3 c oil

 

1 tablespoon vanilla

 

1/3 cup chocolate chips

 

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

2.  Mix dry ingredients (through nutmeg) in a bowl.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla.  Once well mixed, add squash, zucchini, and carrot. Stir.

4.  Make a well in the flour mixture.  Add the squash mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Fold in chocoloate chips.  (Try not to over-stir, as this can make your muffins too dense).

5.  Fill muffin cups coated with cooking spray 1/2-2/3 full with the batter.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

1/3 c walnuts, chocolate drizzles on top

Calling it

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Zucchini Muffins

Cooking Tip:

Whole wheat flour, although healthy, can make baked goods pretty dense.  You can experiment by exchanging more of the white flour for whole wheat, but a complete exchange is not recommended!

baked wheat tortilla chips.

July 17, 2008 - Leave a Response

Chips and dip are mmm good. . . . but the fat and calories in the chips are mmmm not.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t dip your chips with the best of them.  You just have to make them yourself.  And while you’re at it, why don’t you make those whole wheat chips?

Baked Wheat Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

6 whole wheat, soft-taco-size tortillas

 

Cooking spray

 

Salt, cumin, and chili powder to taste

any spices you like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut each tortilla into 8 triangles by cutting the tortilla in half, halving the halves, and halving the quarters.  Arrange tortillas on two baking sheets covered with cooking spray.  Sprinkle tortillas with salt, cumin, and chili powder to taste.  Bake for approximately 17 minutes until the chips begin to curl away from the baking sheet.  Serve with a dip of your choice (may I suggest Creamy Basil Pesto Dip?)

Yield

3 cups

Recipe Extras

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

ancho chile powder, lime juice

Calling it

Whole Wheat Crisps

Cooking Tip:

You can use a pizza cutter to make quick work of cutting the tortillas.

creamy pesto dip.

July 17, 2008 - One Response

For me, summer=lots of basil, especially when you subscribe to a Community-Supported Agriculture program that provides you with fresh produce each week.  I really love pesto, especially on pasta and fresh tomatoes (also from the CSA!), but there’s only so much of those two things a girl can eat.  Anyways, after eating a lackluster lunch today (cottage cheese and an nutrition bar-oops), I really needed an afternoon snack, and this is what I came up with.

Creamy Pesto Dip

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil

 

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup pine nuts

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon bottled lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Pinch of salt

 

8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

8 ounces any sort of cream cheese

½ cup reduced fat sour cream

½ cup any sort of sour cream

Preparation

Coarsely chop basil and walnuts in food processor.  Add lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt.  Puree in processor until smooth (because there is very little liquid at this point, “smooth” is a relative term).  Add sour cream and cream cheese.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to serving dish.

To make a decorative pattern like the star in the picture, place a clean cookie cutter on the dip.  Sprinkle paprika (or another spice) inside the cookie cutter, remove, and voila!

Yield

1 1/2 cups of dip

Recipe Extras 

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

chopped green onions, fresh grated parmesan cheese

Calling it

Crudités with Garlicky Cream of Basil Dip  

Cooking Tip:

Mincing fresh garlic by hand can leave your hands a bit smelly.  Afterwards, try rubbing your hands on stainless steel to remove the odor (but it has to be real stainless steel to work).

buffalo chicken salad.

July 16, 2008 - Leave a Response

My husband is out of town this week, which means I am more inclined than usual to stop for take-out on the way home.  I had a craving for Chili’s Buffalo Chicken Salad today, but I thought better of it and stopped off to buy a few things at the the store to make it myself.  This salad is the basic of the basic, but if you love hot sauce like I do, then it really does the trick.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Ingredients

I would . . .

You could . . .

4 chicken tenderloins

2 cups rotisserie chicken

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Cooking spray

 

½ bag spring mix lettuce

Any lettuce

1 big carrot, grated

Any veggies of your choice

1 stalk of lettuce, cut into matchsticks

 

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup white, yellow, or sweet onion

1 tablespoon of Smart Balance butter

1 tablespoon of any butter or butter substitute

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

 

¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce

¼ cup any hot sauce or buffalo wing sauce

Light ranch dressing, to taste

Blue cheese dressing, to taste

Preparation

Cut chicken tenderloin into bite-sized pieces.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat until browned on both sides in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, approximately  6 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Move all of the chicken to one side of the skillet.  To the other side of the skillet, add hot sauce, butter, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until butter is melted.  Mix the chicken with the sauce, and return to heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Assemble veggies and lettuce in a bowl, top with chicken, and serve with ranch dressing.  You can also drizzle remaining sauce over the salad.

Yield

Makes 2 salads.

Recipe Extras 

Sex It Up By:

 

Adding

Crumbled blue cheese, baked tortilla strips

Calling it

Buffalo-Spiced Chicken over Mixed Greens  

Cooking Tip:

Red onions can really make you teary-eyed, so make sure to use a very sharp knife to cut down on the waterworks.  You can also light a candle near your cutting surface.