Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mashed Potato Skins

This recipe came from the same episode of Rachael Ray as the Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes. My husband LOVES these. They feel like you're being bad, but it's far healthier than eating potato skins in a bar.

I made about half the original recipe, and there was plenty for dinner and lots of leftovers!

1 pound yellow potatoes
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (to your desired creaminess)
2 to 3 Tbsp. bacon bits
2 to 3 Tbsp. chives
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Put potatoes in a medium sauce pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and season with salt. Cookpotatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash potatoes with buttermilk and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives, cheese, and bacon bits.

Adapted from: 30 Minute Meals

Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes

I saw these on Rachael Ray a a year or so ago and decided they might be worth trying. I like buffalo chicken, my husband loves sloppy joes - it's the perfect combination for us! They are very good - not too hot, and just tangy enough. My one caution: Make sure you let them simmer for a little while after you add the sauce, or you'll end up with soggy bread when you make your sandwich.

I usually serve these with the mashed potato skins from the same episode.

I halved a lot of this recipe because making the original 2 lbs. of meat was just too much for the two of us. But the veggies I kept the same - you can never have too much celery and carrots with your buffalo chicken!

2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 lb. ground chicken
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the garlic press on mine)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Heat a EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and break it up . Cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, onions and garlic, season with salt and black pepper, and cook an additional 7 to 8 minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and broth. Pour into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer a few minutes more until sauce thickens.

Pile onto your favorite buns and top with blue cheese, pickles, or whatever toppings you like!

Adapted from: 30 Minute Meals

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheddar Risotto

I love risotto. It's like the cheesy rice I used to make as a kid, just all grown up. Just about every risotto recipe out there calls for at least 1/4 cup of wine or a bottle of beer, depending on the recipe, but with the little guy on the way, my risotto is strictly a virgin affair. Nevertheless, this recipe, based on this one from Made by Melissa, is fantastic. We added 3/4 cup of peas to give it some green and make us feel like we were being healthy, but feel free to add or subtract veggies as you see fit!1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
5.5 cups of chicken broth
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup green peas

Pour chicken broth into saucepan and warm.

Heat large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat just until butter is melted. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until union is soft and translucent. Turn heat to medium-high and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant.

Add rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until opaque, adding more olive oil as necessary to coat the rice.

(At this point, if you're making risotto with alcohol, deglaze the pan with either 1/3 cup of dry white wine or a 12 oz. bottle of beer. Stir until the liquid is just about gone and the alcohol is burned off. Then continue on with the rest of the recipe.)

Turn heat back to medium-low and add the chicken broth one ladle at a time, stirring until liquid is gone before adding another ladle. (You may not use all of the broth.) Risotto should be creamy and slightly al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and peas. (If you prefer it sharper, use more cheddar; milder, more mozzarella. It's up to you!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

White Chocolate Strawberry Bread

I know, my last post was all about pumpkin, but I can't forget the last strawberries of the season. I have made this several times over the summer, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. If you have fresh strawberries where you live, or if you'd like to try this with frozen, it's amazing. My husband doesn't even want to eat strawberries now, he just says, "ooh these are getting old, better make some strawberry bread!" as soon as he comes in the door from buying berries.

1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1.5 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Pam with flour (the one for baking)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x5 loaf pan with with Pam with flour.

Slice strawberries and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in large bowl and mix well. Stir oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles

Happy fall! Ok, ok, it's not quite fall yet, but I have already shifted over. My fall wreath is out, the scarecrow is in the front yard, and it's time to start cooking with PUMPKIN!! I love the flavor of pumpkin in all things, both sweet and savory. The health factor of pumpkin is just an added bonus.

My first foray into pumpkin this season was pumpkin waffles - something I have been itching to make since this time last year. They did NOT disappoint, especially when topped with a little maple syrup. Note, if you don't have all of the spices listed, a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of pumpkin pie spice would be a good alternative. (Sorry, the picture is a bit blurry!)

Yields 4 Belgian waffles. Could also be used with a traditional waffle maker.

3/4-cup flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger (I used a little less than this - I think ginger can be overwhelming at times)
Tiny pinch of salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
7/8 cup milk (just eyeball it - a little less than a cup and you'll be fine. Remember, you can always add more but you can't really take it out once you've put it in.)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat waffle iron. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

In a second, medium-sized bowl, mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter, beating well. Gently fold into flour mixture.

Divide into four even-sized portions (I used about 3/4 to 1 cup each), and cook according to your waffle iron's directions, typically around 4-5 minutes each.

Source: RecipeZaar

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce from a jar is just so easy. But, at the same time, it's just, well, there. So I decided that we had plenty of fresh herbs in the garden and crushed tomatoes in the cupboard, so it was time to try to make our own.

One small disclaimer: This is what my mom and I call a "Joann White Recipe." Joann White was my grandmother, and she often just grabbed whatever looked good from the cabinet and tossed it in. Never had a bad meal at her house, so I think that's a pretty good way of going about things! So, should you feel I'm missing anything, feel free to play Joann and toss it in for yourself!

1 can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. marjoram
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. onion flakes
2 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients over medium-high heat and stir until flavors combine. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to use.

This is also fantastic frozen. I intend to make a few batches before the little guy comes to make pizza nights this winter much easier!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Some days, there's nothing more comforting than a big ol' pan of lasagna. This one was honestly the best I've ever made - has to be due to the amazing pasta sauce I used!

1 pot Joe's Amazing Pasta Sauce
1 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
15 oz. light ricotta cheese
1 egg
Salt and pepper
12 no boil lasagna noodles (regular cooked noodles will work fine too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 1 cup mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses with egg and season with salt and pepper.

Spray 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle in sauce to cover bottom of pan. Top with four lasagna noodles. Cover with another layer of sauce, and add 1/3 of cheese mixture. Stir to combine with sauce. Top with another thin layer of sauce, then layer in 4 more noodles. Repeat until all noodles and cheese have been used, then finish with a final layer of sauce to cover. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove cover and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joe's Amazing Pasta Sauce

When we first started co-kitchening, my husband Joe was never very happy on spaghetti nights. He ate it like the good soul he is, but I knew he wasn't a fan of tomato sauce from a jar. So one night midway through my first trimester, we decided to make pasta sauce from scratch. Lo and behold, my Italian husband can make an AMAZING from-scratch pasta sauce! Never again will I waver between Ragu and Prego - he's signed on for a kitchen job for life!!!
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 green pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1.5 tsp. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1.5 pounds ground beef
3 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/8 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute herbs, vegetables, and garlic in EVOO over medium heat. Add meat and brown. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, an additional 10-15 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shrimp Enchiladas

When I was in college (WVU!!), there was this dive-y little Mexican place that had the most amazing chicken and cheese enchiladas. They had this fantastic, creamy, cheesy sauce that I have never again found anywhere. And ever since, most enchilada recipes I've tried have either been very heavy on the sour cream, or called for a red sauce. So I was thrilled to find this recipe.

My original source said to mix all of the cheese sauce into the shrimp mixture, but I chose instead to add only a little of the sauce and use the rest to top the enchiladas.

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion

¼ tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. salt

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 cup fat free half-and-half

2 tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar Jack cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 lb. salad shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup diced tomatoes with green chiles (or 1 small diced tomato)

6 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add flour, stirring to make a roux. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, and half-and-half; blend well. Lower heat to medium and cook until slightly thickened. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Add sour cream and stir to blend. Set aside.

In a separate skillet, heat olive oil. Add peppers and onion and saute until crisp-tender. Add shrimp and saute until cooked through, then stir in tomatoes. Stir in 1/3 cup of the cheese sauce.

Spoon some of the shrimp mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour remaining cheese sauce on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

Makes 6 enchiladas.

Note: These are also fantastic with chicken!

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Penne with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

I admit it - I love the Cheesecake Factory. And while a lot of their food is good, I love their Fettuccine with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes - it's creamy and decadent. But I also know that it's not something that would be considered healthy. So I decided to make a version at home and lighten it up some. It turned out so well, this is definitely going in the regular rotation!
1 box penne pasta
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1.5 cups fat free half and half
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), diced
2 gloves of garlic
1 tsp. sun-dried tomato oil
3/4 Parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook penne until al dente and set aside.

Melt butter over medium-high heat. When melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. Stir in chicken broth and half and half. Add garlic, tomato oil, and salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Reduce heat to medium and let sauce thicken (2-3 minutes), being careful not to let sauce boil.

While sauce is thickening, dice sun-dried tomatoes. When sauce has thickened, add diced tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Toss with pasta and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

PB&J Muffins

So my husband is not a PB&J fan. Something about food getting stuck to the roof of his mouth. So he's never really enjoyed PB&J - until now. These were just gooey enough to be fantastic! The only major modifications I made to this recipe was to use reduced-fat peanut butter and spreadable fruit rather than jam or jelly. Have to cut back somew

Sorry about the not-so-hot picture. I'm not sure why it's so dark.

Cooking spray
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
12 tsp. blackberry spreadable fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan cups with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut peanut butter into flour mixture using a fork. It should be dry and crumbly.

In a separate bowl, combine egg and milk. Add to PB-flour mix, folding until moistened.

Place a spoonful of batter into muffin cup, filling approximately 1/4-1/3 of way. Top with teaspoon of spreadable fruit, followed by another spoonful of batter. Muffin cups should be about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Source: Recipezaar

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nutella Croissants

Why oh why have I never tried Nutella before? These were an INCREDIBLE breakfast (or snack, or anytime, really)! I heard about these online (forgive me, I can't remember where), and decided to throw culinary caution to the wind and try them. Love at first chocolatey, hazelnutty bite.
1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
White sugar (optional)

Preheat oven according to package directions.

Break apart crescent rolls on baking pan and leave as triangles. Spread Nutella on top of each (just eyeball it - when it looks like enough, it probably is). Roll up, small point first. Sprinkle with granulated white sugar and bake according to package directions.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Wow, long time no post! Mid-year resolution: Blog more!

When I first tried the Laughing Cow Chicken recipe I found on Macaroni and Cheesecake, it was love at first bite. So I started looking for ways to play with the recipe to change it up some so we wouldn't get tired of it (as we often do when we find something we absolutely love). So I devised this way to make a modified Chicken Cordon Bleu.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4-5 pieces Laughing Cow Original Swiss cheese (about 1 per breast, 2 if they're really big)
2 pieces of deli sliced ham per breast
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion flakes
1/2 tsp season salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir eggs, breaking the yolks. In a separate, medium bowl, combine bread crumbs and seasonings. Dredge one side only of chicken through eggs, then through bread crumb mixture. Place flat in baking dish.

Open cheese and 1-2 pieces into chicken breasts, depending on size of breasts. Top cheese with 2 pieces of ham, roll, and place seam-side down in baking dish.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Faux Buffalo Wings

Ok they're not actually chicken wings, and they're not deep fried. But they were delicious and took care of that craving.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 cup hot sauce
2 Tbsp. light butter, melted
Celery, carrots, Ranch or blue cheese dressing - any of your favorite wing garnishes

Coat skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium-heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until almost cooked through.

Combine hot sauce and melted butter and pour over chicken. Cook chicken and sauce until chicken is completely cooked through and sauce has reduced and thickened enough to cover the chicken when removed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tri-color Tortellini with White Wine Alfredo Sauce

This was my first attempt at making my own pasta sauce, and I'm proud to say that it was very successful! Traditional cream sauce includes heavy cream, but I just couldn't bring myself to cook with it, so I used the fat free half and half I put in my morning coffee. Nevertheless, it was delicious and still felt decadent!

2 bags frozen tri-color tortellini
3 Tbsp. light butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup white wine
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup fat free half and half
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil tortellini and cook per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt light butter over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour to create a roux. Add wine and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in half and half and cook, stirring often, until thickened and heated, adding salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Be careful not to let this sauce boil!

Right before you add to the pasta, add Parmesan and stir until melted. Pour over pasta and garnish with additional Parmesan or Parmesan-Reggiano, if desired.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shrimp Fajitas

With Lent coming, I'm going to be looking for more ways to cook seafood. This is one of our favorites - they're super good and incredibly light.

(Sorry, no picture yet! Ask me after Ash Wednesday!)

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small onion (we're not big onion people, so I sometimes flavor the EVOO with onion flakes instead)
1 glove garlic
Dash salt and pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsp. lime juice

Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute onion and peppers until they start to soften, around 4-5 minutes. Add shrimp and saute until fully cooked. Reduce heat to medium and add lime juice. Cook until juice reduces and forms a light sauce. Wrap in fajita shells and serve with your favorite toppings.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shrimp Pad Thai

This was my first attempt at Thai (cooking or eating), and let me just say that I am hooked. This had a light peanut sauce with just enough kick that I liked it, but it wasn't too hot for my spice-averse husband.

Since I was a Thai newbie, I made very few changes to the original recipe, which you can find here from Cooking Light. (After seeing Cooking Light come after other bloggers, since I didn't make many changes, I'll let you follow the link for the recipe. My only recommendation - make extra sauce.)

Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I saw this sauce recipe on Cooking Light, and thought it would be fabulous over chicken rather than just plain pasta. Trust me, it is. Plus, it makes for a very light, very filling meal.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
Whole wheat egg noodles (if desired)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
2 tsp. EVOO
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup FF half and half
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

Brush EVOO over both sides of chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Grill until cooked through. Boil water and cook egg noodles.

At the same time, heat 2 tsp. EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are clear, around 2 minutes. Add roasted red peppers and cook until heated through, around 2 more minutes. Increase to medium-high heat and stir in vinegar, cooking until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Whisk together half and half and tomato paste. Process pepper mixture in a food processor until smooth. Return to pan and cook over low heat until warm. Stir in half and half mixture and heat through. Stir in ground red pepper.

Serve chicken on a bed of egg noodles. Drizzle sauce on top.

WW Info:
7 points for 1 cup noodles, 3 ounces chicken, and about 1/4 cup of sauce