Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nutella-Stuffed French Toast


Nutella-Stuffed French toast is incredibly delicious and a little sinful, but who says you have to eat healthy breakfast 7 days a week. This kind of breakfast makes for a perfect way to start the day off right.

Nutella-Stuffed French Toast
Serves 2
Adapted by: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/breakfastbrunch/pancakeswaffles/nutella-stuffed-french-toast/

2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4 slices toast - recommend Challah or Texas Toast
4 tablespoons Nutella

-Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.
-In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, and powdered sugar together.
-Take 2 slices of toast and spread 1 tablespoon of nutella on each one. Sandwich together and dip in the egg mixture.
-Grill on each side until brown, or about 3 minutes per side.
-Remove from heat and serve immediately with maple syrup.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mongolian Beef

Of course, you know I had to post a new Asian inspired meal. We can't seem to eat enough of these kinds of meals and we are rarely ever disappointed.

This dish was served with some veggie "fried" rice and mandarin oranges.

Mongolian Beef
Serves: 4 - 5
Adapted by: http://www.handletheheat.com/2010/09/take-out-at-home-mongolian-beef.html

1 pound flank steak, sliced into strips across the grain
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 to 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 large scallions, sliced

-In a mixing bowl, toss strips of beef with the cornstarch. Shake off any excess cornstarch. Season with salt and pepper.
-In a small mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.
-Heat 1/2 the canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute. Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. Set the liquid mixture aside in a bowl.
-Turn the heat up on the wok and add additional canola oil. Add strips of beef and cook until cooked thoroughly or to the temperature you desire.
-Once beef is almost finished cooking, add the liquid mixture and toss together to combine well. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
-Serve on a plate and top with some sliced scallions

Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jell-O Cookies

Looking for a delicious dessert recipe to enjoy this weekend? Look no further. These cookies are so good!

Jell-O Cookies
Adapted by: http://justhelen.net/2012/03/jell-o-cookies/

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3-oz package of Jell-O (you can use any flavor but raspberry is my personal favorite;you can also buy several colors and have different colored cookies)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

-In a mixing bowl, add the vegetable shortening, butter, sugar, and package of jell-o mix. Cream all ingredients together on medium speed.
-Once you have creamed the ingredients in the mixing bowl, add 2 eggs and vanilla and mix together well.
-To the bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
-The dough will be soft but shouldn't be sticky.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Take a pinch of dough and roll into 1'' balls until all dough has been turned into small balls.
-Roll each of the balls in granulated sugar, making sure to coat the entire ball of dough.
-Place on a baking sheet 2'' apart and use a flat-bottomed glass or bowl to press the ball of dough into a small circle.
-Sprinkle additional sugar on the flattened cookies, if needed.
-Place baking sheet in the oven and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. 6 minutes will make your cookies a little softer and 8 minutes will make them crispier. You decide which kind of cookie you want.
-Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Enjoy! :)

Greek Roasted Lemon Potatoes

Bryan and I enjoy eating Greek food but we rarely ever have it because I honestly don't know how to cook many Greek foods and we try not to eat out very often. One of our favorite Greek restaurants in the city makes these delicious lemon roasted potatoes that you get with most of the meals they serve. My husband could eat these everyday if I made them. The great thing about this potato dish is that it goes well with a lot of different foods. You don't have to serve these with Greek dishes. Although, greek kebabs taste great with them!

Greek Roasted Lemon Potatoes
Serves: 4
Adapted by: http://www.dailyunadventuresincooking.com/recipe/greek-roasted-lemon-potatoes-recipe/

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

-Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
-Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
-Combine all ingredients in the baking dish and toss well.
-Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and toss all the ingredients around.
-Return to the oven and bake 20 additional minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
-Serve fresh out of the oven

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pork Chops w/Sage & Sour Cream Sauce

It is extremely difficult to cook for just two people sometimes. Most often we take leftovers for lunch the next day and we still have leftovers from supper afterwards. This was a great recipe to make because it only served 2 and since we were having a luncheon at work the next day, leftovers were not necessary. I also liked that this recipe included the meat, starch, and vegetable all in one recipe.

Pork Chops w/Sage & Sour Cream Sauce
Serves: 2
Adapted by: http://motherrimmy.com/home-cooked-pork-chops-with-sage-and-sour-cream-sauce

8 ounces pork blade steaks
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons sage, chopped OR 1 tablespoon dried sage
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup light sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

To cook the broccoli and potatoes:
-Steam potatoes for 20 minutes in a steamer basket over medium high heat.
-When potatoes are almost fork tender, add the broccoli to the steamer basket and steam an additional 5 minutes or until broccoli is crisp tender.

Pork chops:
-Preheat nonstick skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
-Add minced shallots to the hot pan and saute for about 3 minutes.
-Season chops with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Sprinkle sage on top of each chop and brown for 2 minutes on each side.
-Add chicken broth to the skillet. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chops are tender and broth has reduced.
-Remove chops and add sour cream to the pan. Whisk together with the broth mixture. Heat and add additonal salt and pepper, if necessary.
-Serve gravy on top of pork chops

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

The early part of the work week is always extremely busy for us, so I always try to plan easy meals or crockpot meals. It's so nice to come home and not have to struggle with what we are going to cook or have a long time for prep work in order to eat.

This is a recipe I've been wanting to try out.  We absolutely devoured this dish and I just knew I had to share it with you. We had this chicken dish with some whole wheat broccoli orzo. It's extremely filling and I think you are going to love it.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Serves: 6 to 8
Adapted by: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/06/crock-pot-chicken-cacciatore.html

8 chicken thighs, skin removed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil

-Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in bottom of the crock pot.
-Pour tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and garlic on top of the chicken thighs.
-Set crock pot to low for 8 hours and cover the dish. You could also cook on high for 4 hours.
-After 8 hours of cooking, remove the lid and continue to cook for one hour on high. This helps to thicken the sauce.
-Remove the bay leaf, adjust seasonings and serve.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

One of my very first attempts at serving dinner without serving meat with it. I'm sure this will hardly ever happen in our household, but it seemed to go over well at least this one time.

Baked, multigrain tortilla chips with spicy salsa were served with these tacos. YUM!

Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos
Serves: 12 tacos (we used 1/2 the recipe and only made 6)
Adapted by: http://www.oprah.com/food/Roasted-Sweet-Potato-and-Black-Bean-Tacos-Recipe

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 white onion, diced
1 large poblano pepper OR green bell pepper, seeded and diced (recommend the poblano)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lite salt, divided
1 medium orange sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice pieces
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 corn tortillas or store bought taco shells
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
chipotle sauce - optional
pico de gallo or salsa - optional

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Heat a large, ovenproof skillet (we used a cast iron skillet) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and heat up.
-Add the onion and poblano/green pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly caramelized. Add in the garlic and salt.
-In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato with 1/2 tablespoon canola oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add to skillet and cook for 1 minute, then place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
-If using corn tortillas, make sure to warm them up in the oven or microwave.
-Remove the skillet from the oven and add the black beans and pepper. Stir all ingredients until combined thoroughly.
-Place some of the mixture onto a corn tortilla and top with cheese and pico de gallo.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bacon Topped BBQ Turkey Meatloaf

This is probably the 5th meatloaf recipe I have on my cooking blog. Meatloaf can be made so many different ways. You can make it mexican styled with corn, peppers, onions, and mexican spices. You can create an italian meatloaf with fresh herbs, garlic, peppers, and italian breadcrumbs. Some of my favorite meatloaf recipes are recipes that use bbq sauce. This turkey meatloaf recipe was delicious and quite nutritious for you. We served this meatloaf with some broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a garlic butter sauce and some fresh dinner bread.

*You can use lean ground beef for the recipe below. I just happened to have ground turkey breast so that is what I used.

Bacon Topped BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
Serves: 6
Adapted by: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/07/bacon-topped-petite-turkey-meatloaf.html

3/4 cup grated zucchini, remove excess water with a paper towel
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup bbq sauce - your preference on brand
1 large egg
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1.3 pound lean ground turkey breast OR lean ground beef
3 slices center cut reduced fat bacon
3 tablespoons bbq sauce

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl, mix the zucchini, onion, red pepper, breadcrumbs, bbq sauce, egg, paprika, salt, pepper, and turkey breast together. Combine until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
-Form turkey mixture into a loaf and place in a nonstick loaf pan
-Top meatloaf with 3 slices of bacon and spread bbq sauce on top of the bacon.
-Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
-Check for doneness and slice

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Raspberry Poke Cake

My mom used to make strawberry poke cake in the summertime when we were growing up. I remember how much I loved it. It is moist, light, and just simply delicious. The only flavor I've ever had was strawberry. I wanted to try something a little different, so I baked a raspberry poke cake. The results were delicious.

Now I like to bake my cakes and cupcakes from scratch most of the time. However, this recipe works so much better when you just use a cake mix from a box. Every now and then you have to cheat and cut corners, right?

This is the perfect cake when you want something light and airy on a hot summer day. You can make this as a 9x13 cake or you could make poke cake cupcakes.

Raspberry Poke Cake
Serves: 12 pieces
Adapted by: http://thatsmypan.com/blog/?p=103

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
water, oil, and eggs called for on the cake mix box
1 box (4 serving size) raspberry Jello mix (I use the sugar free jello and it works every time)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 8 oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed (about 3 cups)
Fresh raspberries, optional

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or grease and flour the pan, which will prevent the cake from sticking.
-Prepare the cake mix according to directions on the box and bake in the oven.
-Cool cake completely for 1 hour.
-Pierce cooled cake with a fork all over the cake surface.
-In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water and whisk together for 2 minutes. Add in the cold water and stir together.
-Pour jello mixture over the entire cake. Refrigerate cake for 2 hours.
-Frost cake with thawed cool whip and top with fresh raspberries, if desired.
-Slice and serve

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Swedish Meatballs w/Creamy Gravy

I've been wanting to try Swedish meatballs for quite some time but every time I try to put it on the menu, Bryan doesn't seem very thrilled with the idea. I decided to go ahead and try them out recently and we both really enjoyed them. I think it obviously depends on how they are made as to whether you will like them or not. These meatballs and gravy sauce were perfect over some steamed brown rice. It's a rather filling main dish, so a side of vegetables would be plenty.

Swedish Meatballs with Creamy Gravy
Serves: 6
Adapted by: http://lifewithmel.com/cookingwithmel/2012/3/9/swedish-meatballs-w-creamy-gravy.html

2 slices fresh wheat bread
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon light butter
pinch of lite salt
1 large onion, diced finely
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons light butter
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3 cups reduced sodium beef broth
1/4 cup half and half

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Tear bread pieces into small pieces and place in a small bowl, along with the skim milk. Set aside
-In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook until onions are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
-In a stand mixer bowl or a regular mixing bowl, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground beef, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, allspice, and the onions. Mix together with your hands or use a mixing blade and mix until all ingredients are combined well.
-Make meatballs to the size you prefer and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Try to ensure the meatballs are about the same size. I like to do medium sized meatballs.
-Now, you can add a little oil to the saute pan and you can brown the sides of all of the meatballs and then place them in the oven to bake, or you can just put them in the oven and bake them until they are cooked through. How big you make the meatballs will determine how long you bake them in the oven for. I would check them at 15 to 20 minutes.
-Once meatballs are finished cooking, turn off the oven and let them sit in there to stay warm.
-Take the saute pan and heat over medium low heat. Add the butter and flour and whisk until lightly browned for 1 to 2 minutes.
-Increase heat to medium and add the beef stock gradually until the sauce begins to thicken.
-Add the half and half and cook until the mixture is a gravy consistency.
-Remove meatballs from the oven and place on a plate and pour gravy on top.

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tex Mex Orzo

I went to the farmer's market with some girlfriends today. We had an absolute blast and got some great produce and fruits. We also hit up a fresh pasta stand and we each got some unique kinds of pasta. While browsing the different kinds, I came across whole wheat orzo. It was almost 5 bucks for an 8oz bag, but I knew I had to have it. I really try to only use wheat or whole grain pasta's in my house because they are whole grain and not refined carbs. I have wanted to try several orzo recipes but never could find anything but regular semolina orzo pasta. This was the first recipe I made with my new whole wheat orzo and it was scrumptious!

Tex Mex Orzo
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted by: http://www.reservation4two.com/6/post/2012/02/tex-mex-orzo-reservation-for-two.html

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, diced finely
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin (I used 2 teaspoons)
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can rotel (we used spicy, but mild or original would work just fine)
1/2 can Mexicorn, drained
2 teaspoons lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

-In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cumin and saute for about 2 minutes.
-Add the uncooked orzo to the skillet. Make sure to stir well, so that all orzo gets coated with the olive oil and shallots.
-Add the chicken broth and rotel (do not drain the rotel) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover the skillet. Cook for 10 minutes. Taste the orzo after 10 minutes, to check for doneness. Add additional chicken broth, if needed, to cook a little longer.
-Once the orzo is cooked, add the mexicorn and lime juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
-Serve immediately

Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

It's been a while since we have made Mexican food at our house. I asked Bryan what he wanted me to make and he said enchiladas sounded good. I instantly knew I was going to try this skinny enchilada recipe from Skinnytaste. My coworker had given good reviews on it. I like this enchilada recipe because the enchilada sauce  is made rather than buying canned enchilada sauce. Plus, it is a healthy way to enjoy a usually not-so-healthy dish.

We had these delicious enchiladas with some seasoned black beans and fresh mandarin orange wedges.

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas
Serves: 8
Adapted by: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/02/chicken-enchiladas.html

2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon canola oil
8 oz shredded chicken breasts
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
8 whole wheat or low carb flour tortillas
1 cup shredded reduced fat mexican cheese
nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup scallions for topping

sour cream and salsa

-In a saucepan, spray oil and saute the garlic. Add the chipotle chilis, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then set aside.
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Saute onions and garlic for approximately 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook for 5 minutes.
-Spray a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
-Place 1/3 cup of chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll it up. Place seamside down in the baking dish. Continue with all the tortillas.
-Top all the enchiladas with the enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
-Cover baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
-Top with sour cream or salsa and serve.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spicy Sesame Asparagus

This side dish goes great with a stir fry or lo-mein type main dish. Actually, this side dish will go great with almost any Asian-inspired meal. It is extremely delicious and quite simple. I think you will enjoy it.

I do warn you, it is a little spicy but you can control the heat.

Spicy Sesame Asparagus
Serves: 3 to 4
Adapted by: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/sidedishes/spicy-sesame-asparagus/

1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup reduced sodium teriyaki sauce (try kikkoman)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha Chili Garlic Sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

-In a small bowl, combine the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha chili sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame seeds. Set aside.
-Wash all asparagus and remove the ends, about 1/4 off the bottom of each stalk.
-Over medium high heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the asparagus and sliced onions. Saute for roughly 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Once asparagus is tender, pour saute into pan and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, or about 2 minutes.
-Serve immediately

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Barbecue-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops

Now that the weather is a little less hot this week, we can start grilling again. I had some lean pork chops in the freezer, so we decided to grill them. Here is a simple recipe you will enjoy.

We had these grilled pork chops with some steamed green beans and lightened buttermilk mashed potatoes.

Barbecue-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops
Serves: 4
Adapted by: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/barbecue-rubbed-pork-chops-10000001599620/

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 bone-in center cut loin pork chops (trim fat off of them)

-Combine the dry ingredients together and rub over both sides of each pork chop.
-Preheat grill or grill pan.
-Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray or brush a little olive oil on the grates. This will prevent sticking.
-Cook pork chops for about 6 minutes and then flip over. Cook until the pork chops are cooked to the appropriate temperature.
-Serve immediately

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sugar Snap Pea & Barley Salad

I love sugar snap peas! I eat them at least once a week. My husband is not a huge fan of them, but he will eat them as long as I do different things with it. I saw this recipe and knew I wanted to try it out. I figured that since it was mixed with a grain, that he may enjoy it.

This side dish went well with some oven roasted turkey breasts and fresh berries and kiwi.

Sugar Snap Pea & Barley Salad
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted by: http://oneperfectbite.blogspot.com/2011/05/sugar-snap-pea-and-barley-salad.html

2 cups water
1 cup quick cooking barley
8 ounces sugar snap peas, cut into halves or "matchsticks"
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-Bring water to a boil in a medium stockpot.
-Once water is boiling, add barley and cook, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package of barley. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
-Add the sugar snap peas, parsley, onion, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss gently.

-you can serve this chilled, if you desire to. Just place in the refrigerator and let it get cold first. We ate this dish as a warm side dish.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Low-Fat Buttermilk Pancakes

I had some buttermilk that needed to be used up before it went bad. I opted to make some delicious pancakes! This recipe was great because it made enough for Bryan and I to have 2 each for breakfast and we froze the other pancakes for breakfast later in the week.

These pancakes are delicious with some light butter and sugar free syrup, but they also taste great if you top them with some vanilla greek yogurt and fresh fruit. I prefer to do the yogurt/fruit combo, only because the greek yogurt gives me the protein I need to stay satisfied until lunch.

Low-Fat Buttermilk Pancakes
Serves: 5 (2 pancakes each)
Adapted by: http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/breakfastandlunch/r/buttermlkpancak.htm

1 cup white whole wheat flour OR all purpose flour (prefer the wheat for whole grains)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

-Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
-In a small bowl, combine beaten egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
-Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. You will stir it together just until moistened.
-Heat your pancake griddle up over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
-For each pancake, drop 1/4 cup batter on the hot griddle.
-Turn the pancakes when the edges are cooked and bubbles appear all over, which should be no more than 1 1/2 minutes.
-Cook until finished through.
-Serve hot with desired toppings

Enjoy! :)

Boneless Pork Ribs w/Apple Cinnamon BBQ Sauce

This is a recipe I have been very anxious to try out for a few months now. I was skeptical to make it because it makes a lot and if my husband hated it, I would be stuck eating it for days and days. We were both pleasantly surprised at how delicious this dish is. It is a healthier way to enjoy pork ribs and it takes a lot less effort and time than grilling bone-in ribs.

We served this pork rib recipe with some grilled asparagus and fresh fruit salad. Bryan had a leftover wheat dinner roll with his. YUM!

Boneless Pork Ribs with Apple Cinnamon BBQ Sauce
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted by: http://www.abountifulkitchen.com/2012/03/boneless-pork-ribs-with-apple-cinnamon.html

2 1/2 extra lean boneless pork ribs (all fat removed)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced or crushed
1/3 cup local honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup steak sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

-Set your oven rack on the lower half of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
-Heat a dutch oven or a heavy pan over medium high heat with the olive oil in it. I recommend a dutch oven! -Add the seasoned ribs (season with salt and pepper). Brown the ribs on all sides quickly. Remove from the pan and set aside.
-Turn heat down to medium and add the apple and onion. You will cook these for just a few minutes. You want them softened. Turn off the heat once they are done.
-Add the garlic to the hot pan and let it sit for 1 minute.
-Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine together. Also add the ribs back to the pan and make sure to cover them well with the sauce.
-Cover the pan with a lid or foil and place in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 250 degrees and cook for 3 1/2 to 5 hours
-Turn off the oven and leave meat in there until ready to serve.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Oven Baked Carrot & Sweet Potato Fries

After a week of eating way too much with family in town, it is time to get back on track and start eating healthy again. We enjoyed the splurging and eating things we normally don't, but man I think we are paying for it now. This side dish is a delicious way to use up veggies from the garden or farmer's market. I think it is a great dish because it offers a lot of nutrition and if you have kids, they will like that they are called "fries". You can even dip these in a spicy ketchup or a light garlic aioli.

These "fries" were served with spicy italian sausage turkey and lima beans, with a few orange wedges on the side.

Oven Baked Carrot & Sweet Potato Fries
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted by: http://www.wishfulchef.com/2011/10/carrot-sweet-potato-fries/

1 sweet potato, washed and cut into 1/2'' thick strips or "fries"
6 to 8 whole carrots, washed and peeled and cut into 1/2'' thick strips or "fries"
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons dried herbs (parsley, thyme, or rosemary are best) OR spice them with 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin - just depends on your preference of spices
1/2 teaspoon lite salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees
-In a medium mixing bowl, combine carrot strips, sweet potato strips, oil, herbs and spices all together.
-Pour on a nonstick baking sheet and spread out evenly, so that none are overlapping
-Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, making sure to flip a few times during the cooking process to ensure even browning/crisping on all sides.
-Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pineapple Pico De Gallo

My husbands family is here visiting this week, so we have been going to different restaurants that they don't have where they live. We have also been trying to go to kid-friendly places. We took our family to Dave & Buster's. For those of you that don't know what that is, it is a restaurant/arcade. It's kind of a grown up version of Chuck E Cheese, and it is perfect for kids and adults. We enjoyed lunch before we played some games. I ordered off the 600 calorie or less menu and decided on the Cabo Chicken dish that came with some steamed broccoli and the chicken was topped with a delicious pineapple pico de gallo. I have never had anything like it and decided I needed to find a recipe to share with all of you.

This pico recipe would go great on top of steak, pork, or chicken breasts. You could also enjoy it with tortilla chips or pita pieces.  Definitely give this a try!

Pineapple Pico De Gallo
Adapted by: http://iowagirleats.com/2009/06/03/pineapple-pico-de-gallo/

3 small to medium sized tomatoes
1/2 large red onion
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 will give it more heat, which we love)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 small can pineapple tidbits, 1 tablespoon juice reserved
1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste

-Chop up tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic and cilantro. Place all in a medium mixing bowl.
-To the bowl of veggies, add the pineapple and reserved juice.
-Squeeze lime and add salt and pepper to the bowl. Stir all ingredients together.
-Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. This will ensure all the flavors come together.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chik Fil A Copycat Fried Chicken Breasts

I saw a recipe on Pinterest several weeks ago, claiming that it was the copycat recipe for Chik-fil-A chicken breasts. I instantly knew I wanted to try the recipe out and see if Bryan liked it. Honestly, I've never fried chicken for my husband. I probably should have in the 5 years we have been together but I don't fry anything in our house. When my husband found out that I was trying the recipe out, he was ecstatic.

I cooked these chicken breasts with some fresh roasted corn on the cob, french crusty dinner rolls, broccoli with cheese sauce, and some strawberries. All three people were pleasantly surprised with the meal and said it all tasted wonderful.

You can use this recipe to make chicken fingers but I wanted to make actual chicken breasts.

Chik-Fil-A Copycat Fried Chicken Breasts/Nuggets
Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted by: http://www.mynameissnickerdoodle.com/2011/03/fabulous-food-friday-79.html

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lite salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
canola oil

-In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Set aside.
-Place chicken breasts in the egg and milk mixture and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
-In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, and paprika together.
-In a cast iron skillet or electric skillet, add canola oil so that it is 1 1/2 inches deep. Turn to medium high heat or 375 degrees and heat until hot.
-Remove chicken breasts from the refrigerator and take each breast and dunk in the flour mixture.
-Place chicken breasts in the hot oil.
-Cover the skillet and cook about 7 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue to cook until the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
-Once chicken is cooked to the proper temperature, remove from the hot skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate. This will soak up excess oil.
-Serve immediately

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Easy Pink Lemonade Layer Cake

Looking for a delicious cake recipe that is perfect for a hot summer night? Look no further. This is a different spin on a layer cake but it tastes great. I usually bake all my cakes and frostings from scratch, but sometimes you just want something quick and simple.

Easy Pink Lemonade Layer Cake
Serves: 12 to 16 slices
Adapted by: http://www.givinguponperfect.com/2011/05/monday-morning-mmmm-pink-lemonade-cake/

1 box white cake mix + ingredients on box necessary to make the cake (i.e. oil, eggs, etc)
2 tablespoons pink lemonade powder mix (Countrytime pink lemonade is the best)
A few drops of red food coloring

frosting ingredients
1 pound powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon milk or heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons pink lemonade powder mix
pink sprinkles - optional, but they make the cake look pretty

-Make cake batter according to directions on the box.
-Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans.
-Pour batter evenly into both baking pans.
-Bake in the oven according to directions on the box. Usually it is 350 degrees for 27 to 30 minutes.
-Remove cakes from oven and cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from round pans and place on a baking rack to cool completely.
-While cakes are cooling, you can prepare the frosting.
-In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, add the softened butter. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.
-Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until blended together. Add salt, whipping cream/milk, and pink lemonade mix. Turn to medium speed and beat for 3 to 5 minutes.
-If the frosting is too thick, add additional milk or cream. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar, until it reaches the consistency of frosting you prefer.
-Ice your double layer cake and top with pink sprinkles.
-Slice and serve

Enjoy! :)

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes & Green Beans

One of our dear friends, Pam, gave us some fresh green beans. This dish was the perfect way to use them up. My husband loves potatoes and I absolutely love fresh green beans, so we compromised and made this side dish together. It paired well with some leftover smoked ham we had in the freezer and some fresh fruit.

Hope everyone had a great 4th! :)

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes & Green Beans
Serves: 4
Adapted by: http://oliepants.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/oven-roasted-potatoes-and-green-beans/

1/2 pound small red potatoes
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends removed
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lite salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a mixing bowl, combine potatoes and onions. Toss both of these with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
-Transfer potatoes and onions to a nonstick baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
-Bake in the oven to 25 minutes, making sure to flip over halfway through cooking.
-Add the green beans to the baking sheet and toss to combine all ingredients together.
-Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and green beans look roasted.
-Serve immediately

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beef Chow Mein Casserole

I can remember my mom making Chow Mein growing up and all of us kids picking at it because we didn't really care for it. We really didn't care for any kind of asian-type food. Now, I can't seem to get enough of it. This is a super easy casserole that is great for a busy work week.

We have family in town for the week so I will probably not post any other recipes this week.

Beef Chow Mein Casserole
Serves: 6
Adapted by: http://oureatinghabits.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/beef-chow-mein-casserole/

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups uncooked rice (white or brown will work) - we used brown rice
1/2 cup reduced sodium teriyaki sauce
1 cup chow mein noodles

-In a large skillet, brown the hamburger meat. Make sure to season with pepper and garlic powder. Drain all the grease and place in a large casserole dish.
-Combine the vegetables, rice, chicken broth, and teriyaki sauce. Pour this over the ground beef.
-Cover the baking dish with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
-Remove foil and stir the entire dish. Top with chow mein noodles and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.
-Let dish sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy! :)