Monday, August 31, 2009
Like every family, mine gets bored with the same meals over and over. Within the last year, we've adapted to having ground turkey as part of our diets, mainly in the form of turkey chili. I decided we needed a change, so I started trying to find a healthy and tasty recipe for ground turkey. As I flipped through Rachael Ray's Cooking 'Round the Clock Cookbook, I found the recipe for Urban Cowboy Burgers. I had to make some adjustments to make it more palatable for my family. This is a great recipe for anyone doing a low carb diet - just omit the bun. Anyhow, here is the recipe for the burger. Give it a shot and see what you think.
Jaime's Wild and Crazy Confetti Turkey Burger (makes 4)
1 1/3 pounds ground turkey
8 slices of turkey bacon
1 package or separately purchased(1) each green,yellow & red peppers(small)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 TBSP parsley
2 TBSP thyme
2 TSP ground cumin
2 TSP Frank's Hot Sauce
2 TSP Montreal Steak Seasoning(McCormick) or any grill seasoning
2 -3 TBSP olive oil (to coat pan)
1 slice of American cheese per burger (optional)
1 toasted Kaiser roll per burger (optional)
Seed and chop peppers(only half of each small pepper). Chop garlic. Cook bacon and when done, remove from pan and set aside. Coat pan with olive oil or prepare grill. Combine peppers, garlic and spices with turkey. Separate into four burgers. Cook until meat is done. Place cheese slices on each burger and allow to melt. Remove burgers and place on buns.Voila!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This was one tough cookie- I mean cupcake. I'd been eyeing up the Martha Stewart Cupcake recipe book for sometime and I'd finally bought it. I couldn't wait to dive in - just looking at the pictures made my mouth water. I finally decided on trying my hand at mocha cupcakes with coffee icing. They sounded and looked divine. I have to admit I am not much of a baker, which added extra stress to this task. The cupcakes themselves, even though the mixing was a bit time consuming, came out absolutely perfect. So perfect in fact, I ate four of them before the frosting went on. Now on to the thorn in my side: the icing.
I usually use the kind of icing that comes from a can, so again, this was new for me.My Kitchen Aid mixer is on the fritz, so I had to use a hand mixer. I made the mistake of using carton egg whites, which never peaked and my corn syrup/water/sugar mix kept sticking to the bottom of the pan no matter how much I stirred. I dumped the first batch ended up in the garbage.On a second attempt, a used regular egg whites, which peaked better, but the sugar mix still didn't turn out right. I went on to plan B, which was a home made frosting mix, passed down from Dori, my husband's grandmother. The frosting came out amazing. I coudln't find my piping bags or decorating tips, so I had to use a Ziploc bag, with the corner cut off. I garnishe with chocolate sprinkles and used a potato peeler to created chocolate curls and shavings from sweet chocolate squares. I will try the MS frosting recipe again - I am shaken, but not stirred. Happy Baking!
Martha Stewart's Mocha Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (not instant coffee)
Seven-Minute Frosting (coffee variation)
For the frosting
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure coffee extract
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line standard muffin tins with paper line
Whisk together cake flour and cocoa. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth and light. Add the brown sugar and eggs; beat until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt; beat to combine thoroughly.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Mix together brewed espresso and espresso powder; add to batter, and beat until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely be¬fore removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small spoon to dollop cupcakes generously with frosting and make decorative peaks. Garnish each cupcake with a coffee bean before serving.
FROSTING DIRECTIONS (MARTHA STEWART)
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230°F (110°C).
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230°F (110°C), remove from the heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons coffee extract, whisking to combine. Use immediately.
Dori's Famous Mocha Frosting
3 cups Confectioner's Sugar
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 TBSP strong brewed coffee
1/4 teasponn of vanilla
1 square of melted chocolate
Mix the dry ingredients together; mix the rest in a separate bowl. Combine all ingredients and mix with a stand mixer or hand blender until completely creamy and blended.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The days of summer are dwindling down and the rain has taken up residence here in NJ. What better time than now for some comfort food? Here is another favorite recipe from my online nesting group, provided to us by Colleen L., adapted from Cooking Light.
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (Can sub garlic here)
Chopped parsley (optional)
Combine broth, vinegar, and honey.
Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.
Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots, and sauté 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Mashed Potatoes (Serves 5-6)
4 Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 to 1/2 cup of whole milk
2 TBSP butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil cubed potatoes until soft. Add potatoes to mixing bowl and add butter(you can add more than listed if you like them more buttery). Mash/electric mix until combined. Add a portion of the milk, stir batter again and keep adding milk until you reach the consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Let's face it. Most of us have busy lives - homes,careers,families and hobbies. It leaves little time or energy to prepare meals made from scratch. As much as I like making huge, home-cooked meals, time just doesn't always allow me to do so. So, I figured I would dedicate today's blog to my favorite quick eats and kitchen staples.
The Easiest Pizza Ever (And Cheap, too!)
1 can of Pillsbury Dough Pizza Crust
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (I used my leftover homemade sauce)
2 TBSP of Olive Oil
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese(part skim, low moisture)
Oregano to sprinkle on top
1/2 -1 cup of Hormel Mini Pepperoni
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out pizza dough on cookie sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle oil and spread with the back of a spoon on the dough. Spread pizza sauce with ladle, then add cheese and pepperoni. Sprinkle with oregano and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly.
This is a one of my favorite foods. I like making pizza at home because you can get creative with it. You can make it low fat using low fat cheese, diced peppers and onions and pre-cooked grilled chicken strips.
Bisquick is a Godsend. You can buy an economy size box at any bulk market chain. You can make pancakes,waffles and biscuits with just a few simple ingredients. All basic recipes are on the back of the box.
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 box of Ziti(8 -12 oz)
2 TSP of garlic powder(1 TSP reserved for bread)
1 TSP of onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 TBSP of Butter (1 per slice)
4 slices of Italian Style loaf bread
In a small sauce pot, add the tomatoes with 1 TSP of garlic, the onion powder and salt & pepper. Boil water and prepare Ziti until cooked.
Preheat toaster oven to 400 on toast mode. Butter each slice of bread then add a sprinkle of garlic and oregano. Toast carefully on rack ( do not use a pan) and remove when golden (approximately 10 minutes).
Ribs can be easy to make. Purchase either beef or pork ribs and slap them on the grill at about 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When they are close to being done, coat with BBQ sauce and continue to cook another 10 minutes. I prefer spicy sauce, but there are many different kinds. These are great paired with some corn on the cob or corn bread and some mashed potatoes.
I don't know about everyone else, but I am excited for fall. I am thinking ahead to apple picking (and apple desserts!) and crock pot meals.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This is a recipe that I found in Eating Well When You're Expecting. I initially made it only for my husband since I had no real appetite in the beginning of my pregnancy. I sincerely had never heard of stuffed french toast and usually just made it the traditional dip - the- bread -in- the -egg and drop- it -in- the- pan -way. This morning I decided to due a few variations on the recipe. The recipe I had incorporate raspberry preserves and fresh banana. I had no preserves on hand, so I made one batch with just bananas, and a second with peanut butter, chocolate and banana. You can use any kind of peanut butter and I used Ghiardelli Chocolate Chunks (60% Bittersweet Cocoa) for the chocolate part. As for the bread, you can use whatever type you have handy. This particular morning, I used Maier's Italian bread. The slices are pretty small, about the size of a Wonder Bread slice. Just remember to adjust ingredient sizes in accordance to the size of the bread you use. I used about 10 chunks of chocolate on the bread, but perhaps should have used less. The bread does have a tendency to get soggy, so watch how much chocolate you use. The banana only variation was perfect for breakfast and even better with some syrup. The peanut butter, chocolate, and banana variation was VERY rich. Extremely good, but heavy for breakfast. I could see this being eaten as a dessert, served with some fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Stuffed French Toast ( 1 serving) Banana Raspberry Variation
2 slices of bread
1 TBSP of butter
1-2 TSP of raspberry or strawberry preserves
1/2 -3/4 of sliced banana
1 -2 TBSP olive oil
Oil and heat pan on medium heat. Scramble the egg in a bowl. Butter 1 piece of bread on the inside. Spread 1 - 2 TSP. of preserves on bread. Top with banana slices and top with the other piece of bread. Coat the sandwich with the egg, making sure it is completely covered, especially on the sides. Cook in pan until both sides are browned and filling is warm.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Variation
2 slices of bread
1 TBSP of butter
1 TBSP of peanut butter (any kind)
10-14 chocolate chips of chunks (see above for recommendations)
1/2 -3/4 of 1 banana
1 TBSP of olive oil
Follow the same directions as above, substituting peanut butter and chocolate chips for the preserves.
Monday, August 17, 2009
This is a totally new recipe for me. I needed to find a kid friendly recipe with protein, veggies and dairy and didn't want to go with the same old standard meals.
I figured,"Why not try quiche?".
I had to explain to my husband, AKA 'The Third Child', what quiche is. My explanation? "It's like an omelet in a pie crust. Try it, you'll like it." And like it, he did. So did my one year old daughter. My 3 year old son is still skeptical. He barely took a bite, alas his nick name of Sir Picky Pants. I made a full fat version, but I assume you can use skim milk and low fat cheese. I made a simple broccoli and mozzarella cheese quiche in a store market frozen pie crust. It took longer for me to bake than the 30 minutes indicated - maybe about 50 minutes. I don't know if it was because of the oven, but it definitely took longer to firm.
Easy Broccoli Quiche (allrecipes.com)
2 TBSP Butter
1 onion, minced
1 TSP minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 9 inch unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 TSP salt
1 TBSP butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Over medium low heat, melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until veggies are tender. Spoon veggies into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
Combine eggs, milk and seasoning. Stir in 1 TBSP of melted butter. Pour egg mixture over veggies and cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until center has set.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I am very grateful to the women I chat with on a local NJ board. They are wise, caring, funny and tremendous cooks. This recipe has been floating around the board and cooking group for quite sometimeand never fails to make fans. A special thanks to Megan M. and her grandmother, who created this awesome recipe.
Megan M.'s Famous Baked Mac N Cheese
2 TBSP corn starch
1 TBSP salt
1/4 TSP pepper
2 1/2 cups of milk
2 TBSP Butter
3 cups of shredded cheddar
8 0z Elbow Macaroni, al dente
Plain Bread Crumbs
In a medium sauce pan, combine first three ingredients - stir in milk. Add butter and stir over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Don't stop stirring or it will scorch. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle 2 1/2 cups of cheese until melted. Add macaroni and pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
Bake uncovered at 375 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
The verdict - A crowd pleaser, even though I had a mishap with the cheese. I had issues with the shredded cheddar and had to make due with American cheese singles. According to the tasters - it was still 'slammin'. Here are my changes, in the event you are in a pinch and only have American cheese slices on hand.
Substitute 7-8 slices of American cheese for the shredded cheddar. I ripped the cheese to pieces and slowly added to the sauce, stirring continuously. The American cheese was definitely lighter in appearance (when baked) than the cheddar normally is.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Hawaiian Luau Chicken
1 package of McCormick's Grill Mates Hawaiian Luau Marinade
2 pounds chicken, salmon on pork
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of white vinegar
Prepare marinade according to directions on package and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Cook on grill for 20-25 minutes between 35o - 400 degrees.
3/4 cup of pineapple chunks (fresh)
3/4 cup white onion chunks
3/4 cup red onion chunks
PAM Grill Spray
Slice pineapple, white onion and red pepper into cubes. Arrange on Kabob Skewer. Spray with PAM for Grilling, front and back. Arrange on grill pan and cook on grill for 30 minutes, turning kabobs every 5-7 minutes. Remove when grilled to a warm, golden color.
Teriyaki Fried Rice
1 Bag of Boil in Bag White or Brown Rice
2 TBSP of Olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped white onion
1/4 cup of Teriyaki Sauce
1 TBSP of Soy Sauce
Heat oil in pan, then add the onion. Brown lightly. Boil rice until done. When rice is complete, drain and add to pan. Add Teriyaki and Soy sauces. Stir until rice is coated. Crack egg and add to rice. Stir quickly until egg is fully cooked in the rice. Serve and Enjoy!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Today, I felt the need to make something somewhat healthy. I had some fresh blueberries (a new summer favorite of mine) in the fridge and I figured it would be a great morning for low fat muffins. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the results. I did change the recipe a bit (naturally). I didn't have yogurt in the house, so I decided to get creative and substituted whole milk. Due to this, I had to add a little more flour to thicken the batter. I will include the original low fat recipe & add in the changes I made. I also added a little extra fruit. Why not?
The verdict: Pretty darn good! More like a muff-cake than a straight up muffin. The extra fruit filled the middle like a stuffed cupcake. The outer layer was soft and spongy, not as dry and crumby as a muffin usually is. All in all, the recipe gets a thumbs up!
Low Fat Blueberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups of flour ( I used extra, maybe about 1/4 to 1/2 cup - just eyeball it and bring it to a consistency you'd like)
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup non fat or low fat yogurt ( I subbed whole milk since I did not have yogurt)
2/3 cup of skim milk
1/2 cup fresh blueberries (I used more- made sure there were 3-4 berries in each - put them in the middle if you can move them around)
Combine dry ingredients and slowly add milk until blended. Fill in greased muffin pan or lined muffin pan, about 3/4 of the way. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until brown.
You can serve warm - the fruit is messy, but it was so yummy! Probably even better with some Light Cool Whip or ice cream on top. Makes 12 muffins.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Giada's Bacon and Pancetta Potatoes
I made a few changes, but not too many.
6-8 slices of turkey bacon, roughly chopped
2 1/4 slices of pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 medium Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 Garlic clove, sliced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp of fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Heat large pan and add bacon and pancetta
Cook until crisp(10-12 minutes), remove and cover with paper towels to drain
Add olive oil - turkey bacon does not make as much oil as regular bacon, so you need to add enough oil to cook the potatoes and NOT burn them. You can also use PAM combined with at least 2 TBSP of olive oil. Season, then cook the potatoes and garlic in the pan for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. When cooked, add bacon and time to potatoes and cook for five more minutes. Remove and serve.
I inadvertently found a way to take more of the fat out of this side dish. I couldn't figure out which bowl I wanted to take the picture in, so I switched it three times. Each time I moved it, some of the oil stayed behind in the bowl :)
Verdict - So good that my son, Prince Picky Palate, loved it! The dish can be served with dinner (I had it with chicken cutlets) or as a breakfast side with some eggs, waffles or pancakes. I am currently hatching a plan to turn it into a creamy bacon potato soup for my husband.
My husband is a cheese fanatic. Me, not so much. Aside from pizza and Doritos, I don't touch it. But, far be it from me to deny my husband and kids the pleasure if they love it. Tonight was my first attempt at making calzones, which are my husband's favorite cheese dish(well, one of them anyway). I chose to use Mario Batali's Ricotta & Ham Calzone with some changes.
Here's my version of the recipe: