Friday, June 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Happy Friday! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, well except maybe dessert if that counts as a meal, so the other night we had breakfast for dinner. It is not common for me to be able to convince Jason to share my love of breakfast for 2 meals so I was excited. He had been craving hash browns and since we didn't have them for breakfast I took that opportunity to go for dinner. I subscribe to Self magazine and usually like their healthy recipes so why not try it out on my beloved chocolate chip pancakes. This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, quick cooking oats and honey as a natural sweetener to be healthier. The pancakes are thinner than usual so be sure to keep an eye on them while cooking to avoid burning. As the weekend approaches these are a great healthier spin on a breakfast treat you can try for breakfast, brunch or in my case dinner...enjoy!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon–Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Makes   pancakes (2 servings)
Adapted from: Self Magazine

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
6 Tablespoons quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
egg whites
teaspoons honey
4 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup skim milk
Vegetable cooking spray

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Place egg white, honey, chocolate chips and milk in well. Stir liquid with a wooden spoon until flour is just combined.  Add more milk if needed for desired consistancy.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook other side, about 1 minute more. Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Rosemary Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Happy Friday! This has been a long week and am definitely looking forward to the weekend. It is hard for me to think of different recipes and ideas for dinner during the week. This one is definitely a keeper. An added bonus for us was that we could use the rosemary from the huge rosemary bush in our backyard, I don't think we will ever run out! It can be hard to find a baked chicken that does not get dried out. The panko bread crumbs are light and form a great crunchy coating. The Parmesan and rosemary provide a lot of flavor so for us it didn't even need a dipping sauce. You can cut them up or eat them with your hands, especially if you have kids. Either way, enjoy a healthier and more flavorful spin on chicken.

Rosemary Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
Serves 4
Source: The Slow Roasted Italian

1 pound chicken tenders
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese, finely chopped
2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary (divided, ½ chopped, ½ crushed)
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Non-stick olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

In a gallon sized plastic bag combine flour and salt, set aside. Add bread crumbs, 1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary and parmesan cheese in a flat bowl, stir to combine. Set aside. In a second bowl, add egg whites. Set aside.

Add chicken tenders to plastic bag and shake until the flour coats the chicken tenders. Place chicken tenders, one at a time, into egg mixture. Flip chicken to cover on both sides. Remove and place chicken tender into bread crumb mixture. Flip in mixture to coat both sides, lightly pressing it on if necessary.

Place chicken tender on baking sheet. Once chicken is all on the baking sheet, spray with olive oil spray. Bake for 8-12 minutes (until the tenders are golden brown on the bottom side). Flip nuggets over, lightly mist with olive oil and bake for another 3-5 minutes, until crispy and golden brown on the outside.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with crushed rosemary and serve.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Congo Bars

I know it has been a while since my last post, but it seems to have been a busy summer and it just started! I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends come visit for a few days and was busy catching up and not posting. It is so nice to have visitors, especially when this time we hung out by the pool and sunbathed and chatted as if no time had passed. Then of course it was back to reality and work.

When work stresses me out I need to find an outlet or release. Depending on the day that can be through a run, swimming or baking. Today it meant baking since it seems like I haven't done much recently. I had seen a few version of these congo bars on blogs and pinterest. I took today as a great way to not only relieve stress but to try out the recipe since I can bring them to book club tonight, another perk so I don't eat them all. They are soft , chewy and chocolatey with a sweetness from the brown sugar. I added walnuts for a small crunch.

Congo Bars

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 package milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in chips and then pecans.

Coat a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake. Let them cool before cutting and enjoy!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs

I love Italian food, especially spaghetti and meatballs. The only problem's that I was not great at making meatballs that don't have chunks of onions or taste mealy. So when I came across this recipe for healthy meatballs that can be made in the crock-pot and left alone it was a perfect match. As you know, we received a crock pot for our wedding and since then have been trying to find a variety of recipes to make in it since it's such a great invention. The recipe is really easy and doesn't take much prep time or cost a lot of money. I think this whole recipe cost under $10 and can serve at least 4-6 people. It does call for 93/7 lean ground turkey, the additional fat is what gives it more flavor, but you can use the 99/1 ground turkey if you prefer, just a bit drier. I didn't brown the meatballs in the oven prior since I was tight on time, but if you want to you can bake them at 350° for 15 minutes to brown them and add a bit of crunch. I plan to do this next time.Overall, this was a success and Jason was impressed that not only did I make the meatballs but homemade sauce that they cooked in.

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs
Serves: 6
Source: Skinnytaste

20 oz (1.3 lb) ground turkey breast 93% lean
1/4 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Reggiano Parmigiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 egg
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or parsley

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Using clean hands, mix all the ingredients and form small meatballs, about 1 heaping Tablespoon each.

In a small saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. 

Pour crushed tomatoes into the crock pot with bay leaf. Add garlic and oil.

Drop meatballs into the sauce but do not crowd them or they won't cook well. Cover and set crock pot to low, 4 to 6 hours. When meatballs are ready, adjust salt and pepper to taste and add fresh chopped basil or parsley. Serve over your pasta of choice, I like the fresh linguini from the refrigerated section and enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp

We just got back from Jason's sister's wedding in Ohio. And as usual our fridge was pretty empty. Usually we have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer and some form of lettuce, but not this time. Luckily, the shrimp were on sale at the grocery store and we only needed a few items to make this recipe. Most people love buffalo chicken wings so this is a take on the same flavors. Instead of the mess from the wings, I have coated shrimp with Frank's original hot sauce and grilled them. This recipe was inspired by a blog I read for Grilled Buffalo Shrimp Po' Boys, only I put it on a salad to avoid all of the bread. I used the same flavor profile as the recipe with the peppery arugula to cut the heat and some celery for crunch. If you like blue cheese crumbles feel free to add or use blue cheese salad dressing. This is a quick, healthy spicy weeknight dinner.

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp
Serves 4

1 pound frozen uncooked shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined and tails removed (about 41-50 per pound)
1/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
1-2 cups baby arugula for dressing
½ cup chopped celery
1-2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Blue cheese crumbles for topping
Blue cheese or Ranch dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste

If using skewers, soak skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.

Preheat grill on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick grill cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Place shrimp on skewers and brush with hot sauce or toss with sauce if using a grill basket, reserving about 2 Tablespoons.

Grill shrimp until cooked, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from skewers or basket and place in bowl. Toss with reserved sauce.

Dress with baby arugula, topped with shrimp, celery, dressing and garnish with blue cheese crumbles and chopped parsley. If you don't like blue cheese, you can substitute for a light ranch dressing.

Cook's notes- I prefer using skewers to cook my shrimp to get them charred but you could use a grill basket if preferred.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Key West Grilled Chicken

This is an easy, inexpensive and very flavorful weeknight dinner. Most of these ingredients are items that are already in our house on a regular basis so it is an easy go to. It is great now that summer is here to use fresh limes that are on sale with your pretien of choice on the grill outside! If you do them in a kebab format add in some veggies and you are ready for a weekend BBQ! You can also substitute shrimp if you prefer, just don't let it marinade as long since the acid in the lime will start to cook it. According to Jason this was "great" so goes down as a keeper in our house.

Key West Grilled Chicken
Serves: 4
Source: Grocery Budget 101

3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Juice of 1 Lime
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a ziploc bag combine soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice and garlic. Place chicken breasts into mixture and and turn to coat. Seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you prefer kebabs, cut the chicken into large chunks and skewer onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for 5 minutes so they don't burn on the grill. (For a zestier version add a teaspoon of  fresh chopped cilantro to marinade)

Grill chicken on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes per side until juices run clear, depending on thickness of chicken.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Shortcakes

Summer is here! Despite the heat, it still feels like back home when you start grilling, having friends over, pool parties and tons of fresh fruit! I absolutely love strawberry shortcake and yet rarely make it. And I mean the home made sweeter biscuit version, not the sponge cakes you find at the store. The strawberries are in abundance in the summer and it's a tore.great way to use some up or take advantage while they are cheaper in the stores. These are super simple to make and you can taste the difference.

Strawberry Shortcakes
Serves: 8
Source: Betty Crocker

2 pints strawberries (4 cups), sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firm butter
2/3 cup milk

1. In a large bowl, stir strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar until well mixed. Let stand about 1 hour so strawberries become juicy.

2. Heat oven to 425F.

3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposit directions), until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in milk justuntil blended. Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

5. Cut shortcakes horizontally in half while warm. Fill and top each with strawberries and whipped cream. Enjoy!

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