Tuesday, April 30, 2013

roasted vegetable panzanella

My friend Lindsy said I ought to try this recipe so I did.  This recipe is outstanding.  So fresh, so delicious...and you don't even have to follow the recipe!!  I looked at the recipe and there were just too many steps for me to deal with so I just did my own thing using the ingredients called for except I added asparagus because Lindsy did (I happen to be a copy cat). I also cut down on the oil because that's what I always do.

roasted vegetable panzanella (adapted from 71 toes)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 crusty baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 2 whole wheat english muffins)
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1 pound lightly salted fresh mozzarella, diced (will you forgive me if I tell you I chopped up a few sticks of light mozzarella string cheese?  it was great!  not a huge fan of fresh mozzarella)
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil (do not attempt this recipe without FRESH basil!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Take out a giant cookie sheet.  Place the cubed bread on a section of it, place a tomato section on it, a green bean section and an asparagus section if you choose to use asparagus.  Drizzle with up to half of the olive oil (I did not drizzle the bread).
Roast in the oven until veggies start to turn golden.
While they roast, add the vinegar and capers to the leftover garlic and oil combo.  Add a little more salt and pepper.
Put the green beans, tomatoes, toasted bread, mozzarella and basil in a large bowl then drizzle with dressing and stir to combine well.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to develop, then stir just before serving.

Friday, April 26, 2013

peanut butter swirl brownies (re-posted)

These brownies are so good they deserved to be re-posted and with a better photo.  Besides, my friend Janet tried to find the recipe and it is buried in recipes on this blog.  Very rich, very delicious.  This time I was smart and made two pans instead of one so I could share them.

peanut butter swirl brownies (blog: Real Mom Kitchen)
1 package of brownies mix (the 9x13 inch size) plus water, eggs and oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven according to directions on brownie mix.  Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing a 2-inch overhang.  Spray bottom of pan with non-stick spray.  Make batter according to directions on box for cake-like brownies (I didn't do that part).
Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with rubber spatula.  Drop dollops of half of the peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1-inch apart.  Drizzle remaining batter on top and gently spread to fill pan.  Drop dollops of remaining half of filling on top.  Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.  Be careful not to get the knife to the very bottom of the batter or you  may cut the foil.
Bake according to brownie mix directions for 8x8-inch pan until a toothpick inserted into brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet.  Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes.  Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  Makes 9-12 brownies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

creamy chicken corn chowder

Hall of Fame!  You'll have to trust me on this because these photos stink.  I get really annoyed when my lousy photography skills get in the way of a good meal.  This soup is the perfect soup for me.  Rich and creamy.  I am not a bean-eater so I put a bowl of beans on the side for those in the family who enjoy them.

creamy chicken corn chowder (adapted from 71 Toes)
6 cups chicken broth (I used 6 cups water and 6 teaspoons bouillon)
1 package light cream cheese
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mild Pace picante sauce
3 chicken breasts, shredded (I cooked mine in a slow cooker)
1 (4 ounce) can green chiles
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 can black beans, drained (I served those on the side)
cheese for serving, optional

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add broth, cream cheese, corn, salsa, beans and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and heat until chicken is hot.
You may serve with cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc. but I thought it was perfect without (and fewer fat grams and calories!).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

white house salad for "the biggest loser"

I don't see this salad as the biggest loser salad but the biggest winner.  It's full of veggies, fresh basil and tossed with a light lemony dressing.  The only thing I did differently was halve the amount of oil or else I'll for sure be the biggest gainer.  Whatever you do, DO use fresh basil.  It would not be the same or even close without it.

white house salad for "the biggest loser" (ivillage.com)
4 servings:
1 head fresh romaine, shredded
1 cucumber, diced
2 fresh in-season tomatoes
1/4 red onion, diced
1 bunch fresh basil, shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil, for dressing
4 tablespoons lemon juice, for dressing
1 teaspoon honey, for dressing
salt and pepper to taste! 

Toss salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients then add to salad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

melt-in-your-mouth slow cooker salisbury steak

It's true.  These are the most tender salisbury steaks EVER.  They're so easy to make and taste great with creamy homemade mashed potatoes (made with light cream cheese instead of butter).  Not gourmet (this is comfort food) but good enough and easy enough to make again!

melt-in-your-mouth slow cooker salisbury steak (adapted from Tasty Kitchen)
2 pounds cubed steak
flour for breading
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional
1 white onion, sliced, optional
1 green bell pepper, sliced, optional
garlic powder for sprinkling
black pepper for sprinkling
3 cups water, divided
3 packets different kinds of gravy (mix and match any of the following: beef, beef mushroom, herbed beef, etc.)

Roll cubed steak in flour.
Place in hot oil for frying.  As one side is browning, sprinkle garlic powder and black pepper on the other side.  Flip over and brown the other side.
Place in crock pot along with mushrooms, onions and peppers.  Cover with 2 cups water.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Half an hour before serving mix the gravy packets with the remaining cup of water.
Pour the gravy mixture over the cubed steak.  Let cook for 30 minutes more or until the gravy has thickened.  Serve over homemade mashed potatoes and gravy.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

strawberry lassi

My husband and my son LOVED this one.  My husband declared it a Hall of Fame "smoothie" and my son asked if I could make them every day.

strawberry lassi (epicurious)
1 pound fresh strawberries, trimmed (3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (didn't have any on hand)
2 cups Greek yogurt (we love nonfat Kirkland brand)
1 cup ice cubes

Blend until smooth in a vita-mix or regular blender.

Friday, April 12, 2013

blackened salmon fish tacos

Wow are these good!  I think that's exactly what my husband said when he took a bite.  Then he asked where we got the salmon.  Costco.  We always get it at Costco and it's always great.  We love tacos, especially seafood tacos so we'll be eating these again and again.  What a great way to eat salmon.

blackened salmon fish tacos (slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
4 pieces salmon (the individually packaged kind from Costco)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

light cream cheese, for serving
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving
1 avocado, diced for serving
torn lettuce, for serving
salsa, for serving (we used Herdez tonight)
white or whole wheat tortillas toasted in the shape of a shell (fold them gently and place in toaster)

Preheat your grill or grill pan to high.
Combine paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, pepper, chili powder, basil, oregano, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl.
Rub half the mixture on one side of the salmon and the other half on the other side.
Rub some oil in the grill pan and grill the salmon on each side until done.  Allow to cool slightly then flake with a fork.
Prepare taco shells.
To assemble, smear a good amount of cream cheese on each taco shell.  Layer the salmon, cheese, lettuce, avocado and salsa

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

chicken chowder with chipotle (chupe de pollo con chipotle)

Hall of Fame.  This soup is soooo good!  I adapted the recipe but it would be outstanding even if you followed the original recipe.  I used grilled chicken, substituted whole wheat egg noodles for the hominy and potatoes and added a dollop of light sour cream instead of adding heavy cream to the pot of soup.

chicken chowder with chipotle (adapted from myrecipes
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce (freeze the extras)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast (I used leftover grilled chicken!)
2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I omitted)
1 can white or golden hominy, rinsed and drained (I substituted whole wheat egg noodles)
1/4 cup whipping cream (I used a dollop of sour cream on top)
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Finely chop chile then set aside.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add chopped chile, onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently; stir in broth; bring to a boil.  Add chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.  Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and cool slightly.  Shred chicken and keep warm
Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes.  Place one-third (4 cups) of broth mixture in a blender; process until smooth.  Pour pureed broth mixture back into pan.  Stir in potatoes and hominy or whatever you substitute those with.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Stir in chicken and cream; simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in tomato, cilantro and salt.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

baked egg rolls

I feel like I am on a roll with finding great recipes for this week!  These egg rolls are outstanding.  My kids have been eating the kind you buy at Costco and bake in the oven.  They are pretty artificial tasting and I don't like biting into an eggroll and feeling like grease is dripping from my lips.  These are FRESH and delicious.  This is a Martha Stewart recipe and she got the proportions just right.  We'll be making these again and again.  Hooray for delicious egg rolls!  The filling is delicious over basmati rice too...in fact I prefer to eat the filling that way.

baked egg rolls (Amy's Cooking Adventures
1/4 cup soy suace
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar (original recipe called for 1 tablespoon but I thought 1/2 was perfect)
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 nappa cabbage shredded, about 4 cups shredded (I used prepackaged angel hair cabbage)
2 medium carrots, grated (I used prepackaged grated carrots to save time)
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 pound ground pork
5-6 green onions, thinly sliced
egg roll wrappers, about 21
1 large egg, beaten 

In  small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and ground ginger.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the cabbage and carrots.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly tender.
Add the garlic, ground pork and soy sauce mixture.  Cook until the pork is cooked through and the liquid has cooked down.  (I drained my mixture).
Stir in the green onions and move the mixture to a baking sheet to cool for about 15 minutes.  Once cool, press the mixture with paper towels to sop up any excess moisture.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of filling mixture slightly off center in the eggroll wrapper.  Tuck the nearest corner around the filling.  then bring the two short corners in toward the center.
Brush the remaining corner with the beaten egg.  Then roll the egg roll tightly, sealing the wrapper with the egg washed corner.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve with sweet and sour sauce or hot mustard.

What I have to say- my kids apparently aren't as enthusiastic about "healthier" food as I am.  As I took a bit of an egg roll they said, "Be sure to chew it well mom.  It's pokey."  While they would prefer them fried, I still prefer them baked.

pesto poppers

These pesto poppers are Hall of Fame as far as appetizers go and soooo easy to pop into the oven.  All it takes is a few ingredients.  We enjoyed these with a bowl of hot pasta fazioli soup.  You'll want to throw these together for your next dinner party.

pesto poppers (adapted from three squared chef)
2 sheets puff pastry
fresh mozarella, cut into small squares

Preheat oven to 400.  Roll out the puff pastry and using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter (I used a 3-inch cup) cut out circles.  In the center of each place 1/4 teaspoon pesto and a small piece of mozzarella cheese.
Pull all sides together and attach with two toothpicks per popper.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and discard toothpicks.  Serve warm.

Monday, April 8, 2013

fresh strawberry yogurt cake

Splendid!  Splendid cake.  Our family has the tradition of making these citrus cream cheese pull-apart rolls for General Conference weekend but I completely forgot to get the ingredients so I made this fresh, delicious cake instead.  My eight year old remembered that I had forgotten to make her favorite rolls but she quickly forgot once she tried this cake.  They all did.  This is a favorite!!

fresh strawberry yogurt cake (A Spicy Perspective)
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10-inch baking pan.  Combine the 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Gently mix them into the batter.
Pour the batter into the bundt pan.  Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees (whoops- didn't do that part!).  Bake for 60 minutes.
Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in then turn out on a wire rack and cool completely.  Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

layered salad bar

Every Easter my mom used to make a 7-layer salad and I always looked forward to it.  I decided to put a healthier twist on her salad making the dressing lower in fat and turning it into a main dish by adding grilled chicken and ham.  This salad is delicious!!  The leftovers were even better.

layered salad bar (pass the peas, please)
for two 8x8 pans or one 9x13 pan
2 heads romaine, torn
handful of sliced celery
3 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup nonfat thick Greek yogurt (Kirkland brand)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
sprinkle of seasoned salt
sprinkle of garlic powder
two handfuls cheese (I used a Mexican cheese blend)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 chicken breast, grilled then diced
1/2 pound breakfast ham, diced
handful of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits

Spread lettuce in a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle with celery and green onions.  Mix mayo, yogurt, lemon juice and sugar.  Spread over salad.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt and garlic powder.  Sprinkle with cheese, bell pepper, tomato, peas, chicken, ham, Parmesan and bacon bits.  Let sit in the fridge for an hour or more then serve.  Enjoy!!

What I have to say- my mom layered lettuce, mayo with sugar, sprinkle of salt, garlic powder, celery, peas, water chestnuts, Parmesan cheese and bacon.

Monday, April 1, 2013

angel food cake with orange icing

We just got back from a fantastic trip to see family then returned to remarkable weather at home with pink blossoms on many of the trees- so pretty!  My mom bought these little angel food cakes for my Grandpa with the intention of making orange icing to drizzle over the top, which he loves.  I looked up a recipe and voila- here they are.  I am glad my mom suggested some coconut grass and jelly beans to add a little color around the seemingly bland looking cakes.  This icing is great!

angel food cake with orange icing (epicurious)
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
juice from 2 oranges

Blend with a hand mixer then drizzle over cakes.