Friday, December 30, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets

These are the perfect breakfast item when hosting a brunch or breakfast. They are packed full of protein and something that can be popped in the oven so you can actually entertain your guests. I recently made these when having my cousins over for a quick breakfast. I wanted something substantial but that didn't require a lot of time in the kitchen like pancakes or french toast, these were the perfect solution. I was surprised by how flavorful, filling and best of all healthy they were. They would make a great choice for new years day breakfast or brunch.

Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets
Source: Skinnytaste
Makes 12 muffins/servings

4 cups broccoli florets
5 whole eggs
1 ½ cup egg whites
½ cup reduced fat cheddar
1/4 cup good grated cheese like pecorino romano
1 tbs olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Steam broccoli with a little water for about 6-7 minutes, or microwave.
When broccoli is cooked, mash into smaller pieces and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Spray cupcake tin with cooking spray and spoon broccoli mixture evenly into 12 tins.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, eggs, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into the greased tins over broccoli until a little more than 3/4 full. Top with grated cheddar and bake in the oven until cooked, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator to enjoy during the week.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

The other day I got a rotisserie chicken that we shredded for another dish. Of course we had left overs and needed something to make with them. Normally we make quesadillas or tacos but wanted to have something a bit lighter after eating so much during the holidays. With the weather getting a bit colder (by Florida standards) I could finally make some soup! I know that I cheated by buying chicken stock and not making my own, but despite that this turned out really well and was perfect comfort food with minimal effort in a short amount of time.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 4

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to directions, about 10 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Andes Mint Cookies

I received these cookies from the blogger cookie swap and was anxiously waiting for the recipe to be posted. We ate our dozen rather quickly and wanted to make more. They are not only that something sweet you crave after a meal but with the mint pieces give you a refreshing mint taste as well. One of the best parts is that the moment you open the bag or tin they are stored in you get a nice waft of the mint smell. I even made a batch to bring for Christmas. This is a recipe we will definitely keep.

Andes Mint Cookies
Yields: 4 dozen cookies
Source: Somewhere In Between

½ cup salted butter – softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
10 oz Andes Créme de Menthe Baking Chips (or, chopped whole Andes Mints)
2 2/3 cups sifted flour

Preheat oven to 350.

In a Stand Mixer (or, use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer), cream butter and both types of sugar until blended.

Add one egg at a time, blending thoroughly until combined.

Add Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt, and mix until combined.  Pour in Andes Mint Pieces and stir to blend.

Sift flour and add flour a 1/2 cup to one cup at a time and mix only until combined (avoid over mixing, or you will have tough cookies). Chill for approximately one hour (dough will be crumbly).

Form dough into 1”-2” balls and place 2" apart on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined cookie sheet, slightly flattening each of the balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes, only until slightly brown on the edges. Cool cookies on pan for up to 2 minutes before removing.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Cranberry Apple Crisp

I hope everyone had a nice holiday! We spent ours with my in-laws and their family. They live nearby, which definitely makes it nice being able to avoid traveling around the holidays. I did of course do a lot of cooking this weekend which will be posted throughout the week. I tried out a new dessert for Christmas that was really easy to make and delicious. I like to have fruit desserts with turkey and pretend it is healthier. However, I am not a pro at making pie crusts so I was excited to come across this recipe with a crumble topping and no bottom! The tart cranberries are sweetened up by the apples and sugar but it is not an overly sweet dessert.

Cranberry Apple Crisp
Serves 6-8

3 cups
chopped peeled tart apples
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup
3 Tablespoons
all-purpose flour
½  cups quick-cooking oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup chopped pecans

Combine apples, cranberries, sugar and flour. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. 

In a bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over apple mixture. 

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until bubbling and fruit is tender.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

The holidays have started and that means family is in town! We had some over last night and needed a meal large enough to serve all of us but also that didn't require me to be in the kitchen preparing it while they were here. I immediately thought of our crock pot. I have been trying to get as much use out of it as I can. This recipe was really flavorful and super easy, you threw a few ingredients in the pot in the morning and they were ready by dinner time. This makes a ton so either make it for a group or you will have lots of left overs.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Serves 8-10

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces of beer (classic amber), chicken stock, water or ginger ale
32 ounces of barbecue sauce

Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce.
Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired.
After 8 hours, shred chicken in crock pot and add remaining barbecue sauce. Let it soak up the sauce once shredded and serve as desired.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Roasted Carrots and Beans with Herbed Mustard-Butter

I wanted to change it up from all of the baking posts recently. The holidays are not just about cookies and sweets. Last night we started to talk about what would be made for holiday dinner. This is something that my family made for Thanksgiving and was really good. Jason is a huge carrot fan so this was a new dish for us to incorporate something he enjoys instead of standard green beans. The mustard gave it a kick and the vegetables brought color to the dish. By roasting the carrots you bring out their natural sweetness. We didn't have the fancy mini carrots so we used the smaller ones out of a regular package of carrots. This would even make a nice side dish for any weeknight dinner since it is quick, easy and does not require a lot of ingredients.

Roasted Carrots and Beans with Herbed Mustard-Butter
4-6 servings
Source: CHOW Recipes

1 pound carrots (about 2 bunches), peeled, green stems trimmed to 1/2 inch, and wispy carrot tips removed
1 pound green beans (ends snapped or cut off)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, Italian parsley, chives, chervil, or tarragon

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the carrots and beans on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until a knife easily pierces the carrots, about 10 to 15 minutes. (Smaller carrots will cook in less time.) Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the herbed mustard-butter.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the mustard and stir to combine. Add the roasted carrots and herbs and toss to coat the carrots in the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I have gotten into reading a lot of food blogs, some call it fun, some call it dorky but I love it. Only bad thing is that it means I am doing a lot cooking, baking and EATING! One blog featured The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which seemed like a  like of fun. I was able to bake some of my favorite cookies and send 1 dozen each to 3 different food bloggers that I was matched with. The best or worst part is that I also received a dozen cookies each from 3 bloggers. It was a lot of fun to receive boxes filled with delicious home made cookies on our doorstep.  I received cookies from Carol of Lucky Zucca, Jennifer from Somewhere in Between, and Mads from La Petite Pancake.
The hardest part for me was deciding which cookie out of the many that I enjoy to make for them. I decided to go with one of my favorites that my mom would make for us around the holidays and something that made a big batch. It is of course a chocolate cookie that is soft and chewy, I prefer chewy over crunchy cookies. These chocolate chewy cookies are easy to make, but do require 2 hours in the fridge so you need to plan ahead. They can also be made in advance and frozen for a party or holiday cookie platter.

Chocolate Chewies
Yields 4 dozen cookies

½ cup unsalted butter
4 squares/oz unsweetened chocolate
2 ½ cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt 

1. Cream butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Blend into butter with 2 cups sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and mix. Then add in dry ingredients.

3. Chill dough for 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Form dough into balls and roll in remaining sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Do not over bake - cookies should be chewy.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I bought a huge container of blueberries at Costco this weekend and have barely made a dent in them. I can only eat so many in cereal and yogurt. This is a healthier version of blueberry muffins that was a great way to use up some of my blueberries. And the muffins are low in calories and fat, high in fiber and pretty good for you! The applesauce is a great substitute for most of the fat and still gives you a very moist muffin. I also like to make muffins because they make one batch in the oven and I can store them in the freezer to take out for breakfast or snacks during the week. They definitely last longer than my splurge purchase of blueberries.

Low Fat Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Source: Skinnytaste

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups 100% whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (about 6.5 oz)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, melted butter, vanilla and applesauce. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.  Gently fold in blueberries to avoid squishing them.

Pour batter into 12 lined muffin tins and bake at 325° for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Serving Size: 1 muffin • Calories: 147.3 • Fat: 2.7 g • Protein: 2.7 g • Carb: 28.5 g • Fiber: 3.4 g • Sugar: 12.3 g 

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

I am trying out some new and some old and trusted recipes this year around the holidays to send to friends and just enjoy at home also. Who am I kidding, you can't bake cookies for other people without trying some yourself ;)

This is a new recipe that reminded me of a chocolate cookie my mom makes. We all know I love anything chocolate and the crushed candy canes brightened up these cookies making them more festive for the holidays. The candy canes also add a crunch and hint of peppermint flavor to the chocolate and chewy cookies. If you want to make them really peppermint flavored you can substitute some of the vanilla for peppermint extract. It is a sturdy enough cookie that you can freeze them for later.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
YIELD: about 2 dozen cookies
Source: Foodess

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup finely chopped unsweetened chocolate (2 oz/60 g)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup white chocolate chunks
3 candy canes, crushed


1. In a microwaveable bowl, combine butter and unsweetened chocolate. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute, stir, then microwave again in 30 second intervals until chocolate is mostly melted. Stir to melt the remaining chunks. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle flour mixture over chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in white chocolate chunks. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake 7 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Return to oven 2-4 minutes longer, until edges are crackled and center is just set. Remove and cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

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