Thursday, February 26, 2009

Healthy!: Italian Turkey burgers with basil garlic mayo

I was sick last week and went to the basement in the middle of the night to find this. (I woke him up when I turned on the light...poor dog, huh?)

Anyway, I feel all better now. Dinner tonight: Italian turkey burgers with basil and garlic mayo. (sides of rosemary ciabatta bread that I'm stilllll trying to stretch. I love that stuff! and steamed green beans, fresh from frozen:) This is another recipe from my personal trainer cousin Carianne. She has shared a lot of tasty healthy recipes with us. I'm not normally a mayo eater, but I really like her mayo recipe!

Italian Turkey Burgers with Basil and Garlic Mayo

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
2 egg whites
1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1 t. Italian herb seasoning
½ t. salt
Additional salt and pepper to taste
1 T. Basil and Garlic Mayo (recipe follows)

Mix ground turkey, egg whites, bread crumbs, Italian herb seasoning and salt together in a bowl. Shape into four patties, approximately ¾” thick. Wrap each patty in plastic wrap and let chill for about one hour. (can skip this step) Before grilling, season each burger with additional salt and pepper. Grill burgers for about 6 min. each side. Serve with Basil Garlic mayo.

Basil Garlic mayo

½ cup reduced-fat mayo
1 clove garlic
½ cup fresh basil leaves (about 25 leaves) or about 1 t. dried basil
Process all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth

When I went back upstairs, I checked back in on Bruno. This was where I found him. Oh, to live a dog's life...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Accordian Potatoes

Not really a recipe, nothing fancy. I have seen these on pretty fancy plates though, even though they are just a baked potato cut up! My potatoes were a little large for this, but they still did the trick.

2 small baking potatoes

3 T fat free Italian dressing

2 T low fat mozzarella cheese

Scrub potatoes. Cut them every 1/8 inch or so, being careful not to cut all the way through. Top with 1 T dressing per potatoe. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove, put the remaining dressing on top, and top with cheese. Bake another 5 minutes. You're done!

Fiesta! Margarita Bars

Tomorrow night is girls' night, and it's at our house. We're going to attempt to play bunco, since it doesn't really require any skill, and I decided on a Mexican theme. As the hostess, I provide the drinks and dessert, and everybody brings a side/appetizer that's Mexican inspired. I am excited to see what everyone brings--hopefully some yummy salsa!

I looked high and low and saw an awesome recipe for sopapilla cheesecake and tres leches cake, but decided to go a little lighter.

I pulled from this recipe to create some bars that weren't like lemon bars, since I know one of my friends thinks they are one of the worst things ever! (although I strongly disagree:) I changed the filling thought to how I thought we would like it more. Even though it's Fat Tuesday, we'll be having a Bunco filled fiesta here tomorrow, complete with Raspberry "margaritas" (Crystal light combo, non alcoholic, just yummy!).

Margarita Bars

3 cups salted stick pretzels
1 egg white
3 T sugar
1 T vegetable oil
1 T water

1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 T tequila, Grand Marnier, triple sec, or premixed margarita (optional)
1 c cool whip lite
1/3 c fresh squeezed lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a pie plate or half size casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Crush pretzels with sugar in food processor (or in a big baggie). Add egg white, sugar, oil, and water to form a crust.
Press the crust into the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 minutes.
After removing from oven, allow to cool completely on wire rack.
To make filling, combine condensed milk, lime juice, alcohol (if using) and food coloring (if using).
Fold in cool whip.
Pour over top of crust and freeze for at least 4 hours covered.
Top with extra cool whip and lime zest, or whatever other garnish you like. I also topped with crushed pretzel sticks.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Resume Class as normal...

The ProStart competition has finally come and gone! Last week was a crazy week with only four days of school, and I was gone for 2.5 of them. My ProStart students competed in the state culinary competition. It was our first year and such a great experience for them. We didn't place in the top three, but hey we didn't expect to :) The kids were still smiling at the end, and one of my girls (and me!) was even in a newspaper article about it!
Race is on, there are 60 minutes to make the meal that they have been practicing every day for the last 7 weeks. "Start" is yelled, and one of my students flips on the portable burner only to have a small burst of flame go out the end. Oops! Leaking butane...not something we had to worry about in practice! Only a few cinged arm hairs, and they were off, nicknaming themselves the "firestarters"...
Their final plate presentation. FINAL! How many times did they practice these recipes and evolve them...I don't even know. They are all a combination of many different sources plus some thoughts from their own brains, which I'm most proud of:)
Our cheering section! I was so grateful to have a lot of their parents come out, and my grandparents even came to check it out....we found my grandpa checking out the display tables. I think he wished he would have brought a fork.... Thanks for coming!

So, now it's back to class as normal. We can make things other than cucumber cups, spicy tangerine beef, and poached pears. THANKFULLY!! We are excited to try some different things again (Dec. was the last time they made anything not for competition). I think yeast breads are going to be next, just for a break, then on to the stocks, sauces, and soups unit.

Anybody find a Savannah bar???? I am hoping our Great Harvest here in Wichita has them!

Blueberry Buckle

I've been craving cobbler or crisp of some sort for the last few days, after seeing these. (How good do THOSE look...yumm!!! They're called Savannah bars. I need one:) I saw a lot of great recipes in my search for satisfying the craving, but also wanted to stay on the lighter side, if possible. I found this recipe in my book called "Lickety Split Meals" by Zonya Foco, a registered dietician. I have liked about every recipe I've tried from her book. She has lots of good information and suggestions along with recipes, also. I listed nutritional info, if you're interested. Also, if you're interested, find me a Savannah bar! :) Please!

In case you're wondering, that's a little frozen Cool Whip Lite on the side. Does the same trick as ice cream/ frozen yogurt, but better nutrition facts, and I always use less than I would of ice cream!

Blueberry Buckle
From Lickety Split Meals by Zonya Foco
4 servings

12 oz frozen blueberries, thawed (or 1 point fresh blueberries, washed and drained)
1 ½ T sugar
¼ c orange juice
¼ c whole wheat flour
¼ c AP flour
2 T sugar
2 T Splenda
½ t baking powder
1 ½ egg whites
1/8 t almond extract (optional)
1 ½ t Splenda

Coat a small baking dish (half casserole size) with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Spread blueberries in baking dish. Sprinkle 1 ½ T sugar on top.
In a medium bowl, mix together orange juice, flours, 2 T sugar, 2 T Splenda, baking powder, egg whites, and almond extract. Drop 9 equal spoonfuls on top of blueberries in 3 rows of 3.
Sprinkle 1 ½ t Splenda over dough. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is lightly browned.
Serve warm with a scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream or yogurt!
**She actually says in the book—(quoted from p. 287)- “Don’t feel guilty eating it for breakfast either. It’s just as nutritious as toast with jam and fruit!” YAY!!!
Calories: 165 Fat: less than 1 g Fiber: 4 g Sodium: 72 mg Carb: 39 g
Protein: 3 g

I had to make some dinner food to eat before this, so I settled on this. A simple, classic recipe that's easy, tastes great, and warms on a cold night. Perfect weeknight meal.

Simple Baked Chicken and Rice
4 servings
From Lickety Split Meals by Zonya Foco
1 can cream of chicken soup (98% fat free)
15 oz. reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 c fat free sour cream or plain yogurt
16 oz. California blend frozen vegetables (optional)
4 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (2 breasts), cooked
1 ½ c instant whole grain brown rice
1 t dried onion flakes
10 grinds fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Stir cream of chicken soup, broth, and sour cream together in a 9x13 baking dish.
Add veggies, chicken, rice, onion flakes, and pepper to dish and stir.
Cover and put in oven to bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, uncover and bake another 10 minutes.
Nutrition Info:
Calories: 340 Fat: 5.5 g Fiber: 7 g Carb: 50 g

Monday, February 16, 2009

Photo game!

LJKC, aka "Superhero" :), a NY fashionista who makes some beautiful meals AND a fellow June08 bride with an incredible wedding!, passed along this photo-tag game to me. The rules are simple: open the 6th picture folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog it. Write something about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same.

I'm so glad I got a picture that I love! This is right after walking out of the church, through the line of our bridal party (they are in the background; made us walk under their arms) and we are about to hop into our sweet ride to go to the country club to party all night! I think you can see the fun we're already having just in this one picture!

Anybody else who wants to do this, it's yours! Have fun, and make sure to let me know; they're fun to see!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why don't we just celebrate love all year long...?

I had a BAD day on Thursday. Seriously...I don't normally say a day was bad, but Thursday definitely was. Wednesday and Friday were good though! We watched Fireproof on Wed. night and it was actually a pretty good movie. The acting was a little cheesy, but good message and movie overall. Norris even liked it!

So anyway, on Thursday, I came home to these pretty flowers and a couple of boxes of CheezIts:) I had made an offhand comment about CheezIts sounding really good, and he must have heard me because there were two boxes waiting for me at the end of a terrible, no good, very bad day (anybody know which book that is from??).

Anyway, Friday was better--I went to a Health Symposium on Adolescent Obesity. Two of the four sessions were really great, so that's pretty good for a conference. The funny part was that they served mega muffins and danishes for breakfast (along with fruit, I have to give them credit for that), and then for lunch there was chicken parmesan with a ton of pasta and green beans obviously cooked in a bunch of oil with nuts. Cookies for dessert. Hmm....the message of the day was how to prevent adolescent obesity and talking about us being good role models for them. So I decided the purpose behind the food was a trick--they were watching to see if we would eat in moderation. I did, thankfully, I beat their trick :) (whether it existed or not...)

Today, we're going to my sister's basketball game--one of her final college games, kind of sad! I wanted to bring a Valentine's day treat, so I made some sugar cookies. I confirmed that I am not certain sugar cookies are worth the hassle. They take soooo long! The dough is quick to make, but then chilling (although not actually active), then rolling, cutting, waiting to bake, waiting to cool, making icing (took FOR-EV-ER), then actually icing them, waiting for that to dry, then stacking. Whew! Hope they like them!

I got the recipe (same as one we used for school) from Ashlee's "Year in the Kitchen" (any Twilight lovers will also appreciate this link). I used her cookie recipe, then I used a different icing recipe, since I didn't have meringue powder. I liked how my icing hardened up and the cookies are stackable. Last night, the cookies were a little dry, but this morning they taste better. Yes, I tried them this morning:) The icing soaked in a little. Here is my "labor of love":

I'm not so great on the stable hand decorating thing. That's why I'll probably stick to cookies that don't look quite the same, but taste great and don't require any decorating! These were fun to make though, and I hope my family enjoys them! Our hot date tonight involved my parents, sister and Zac, grandparents, and aunt all out to dinner at a family restaurant in my sister's college town. But hey, it's all about celebrating love, right? And these are many of the people that love us! Hope you get to spend today with the people you love.
Recipe: (I cut it in half to make this many about 1.5 that I ate worth of dough...:)
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. lemon zest
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.Add in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.Add in vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.Beat for 10 seconds.Add in baking powder and salt, beat again.Add in flour 1 c. at a time, mix for 15 seconds between each addition.Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.
Icing recipe: (I just had to figure this one out...I'm sure it's somewhere, but it came from memory, so I don't know where it's from!)
1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
food dye
Beat egg white and lemon juice for ten minutes, until soft peaks form.
Add in powdered sugar, 1/2 c at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add in food dye as desired.
Tip from Ashlee that I used: I used the icing as is for the edges of the cookies, then divided the icing into two for my two different colors. I added 1 tsp of water to each, then added food dye. The water thins it out in order to "flood" the cookie with icing--the icing is much too stiff to flood the cookie with as the original recipe states.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No Bake Cookies

Can you tell I ate one???

This one's for my mom. When I was living with them I didn’t even like these cookies. Maybe it was because I made them so often? I also didn’t use to like chocolate at all, so that was probably a big part of it. I’ve finally grown in to liking chocolate more (is that a good or bad thing??) so I enjoy these a lot now! I have lots of memories of making these for my mom and the whole batch being gone that night…which is probably something she didn’t want everyone to know! Sometimes I would come home from college and she would have all the ingredients out and ready for me to make some of these for her. The best part about them is how fast they are. Cleanup is fast too—all in one pot plus a couple measuring utensils.

No Bake Cookies (the original recipe came from a really old cookbook put together by children’s authors, and I don’t even know where that book is now…I remember this page had chocolate smears all over it!)

1 stick margarine
2 c sugar
½ c skim milk
¼ c unsweetened cocoa
½ c peanut butter
~4-5 cups oats (quick or regular) **
1 t vanilla

**for the oats, I just pour until it's the consistency I want it to be. If you like your cookies thinner, then you will use closer to 3-3.5 cups of oats. If you like them taller like mine, you will use more.

Over medium heat, combine margarine, sugar, milk, and cocoa. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently or constantly if you can. Allow to simmer for one minute.
Remove from heat and add vanilla, peanut butter, and oats, stirring after each addition. Scoop onto waxed paper and allow to cool…making sure to leave some in the pan to eat before you clean up!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scary trip to the gym....

After my session with the trainer (an awesome free one from the gym!) yesterday, I definitely thought I wouldn't be able to get out of bed this morning. I actually did, and actually went again after work today.

So, I am there on an elliptical-ish (no, not a word) machine in the front row, listening to the radio while I exercise. They always give traffic reports and today they said there was an area blocked off because of a drive by shooting, and they told the exact area. That exact area was the street that runs by my gym.....I look around to see if anyone else is listening to this, and apparently nobody else noticed because they all just kept going. So I just kept going, because I thought, really--if there was a shooting, do I want to go to my car right now? I was a little paranoid the rest of the time though, since I was in the front row right by the parking lot where all the cars go by, so I was planning my route of escape if that same "driver" decided to drive by us. Scary thing to think about when you're working out!

So anyway, I'm okay, we're all okay, nobody was actually hurt in the drive by either. It was right by an elementary school, right after school, so even scarier. What are people thinking?!?

Came home to the boys working on our utility room--we have a pretty new floor and bathroom vanity!! I will post pictures as soon as I can get them. Since I'm not helping out there, I'm "helping" by making dinner for them. I feel like a farmer's wife preparing a hot meal for the men at the end of their work day... last night I made some tostadas with broiled, not fried, tostadas, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream with a corn and black bean side. Yum!! Tonight I made up a mushroom sauce and broiled some pork (only thing on sale...) to put it on top of. Served it with some steamed peas and my favorite Applebee's bread--rosemary ciabatta--toasted with butter. Yummy comfort food, and healthy besides the bread...oops. We are almost out of it, and they no longer have the menu item they used the bread for, so we won't be getting anymore of it...I hoarded a few more pieces in our freezer for some day soon when I'm craving it!

Anyway, if I make that sauce again soon and remember to take a picture before it's all gone, I will post the picture. Nothing too fancy, but it tastes rich and definitely doesn't have anything "rich" in it. I'm thinking that some funfetti cookies sound really good right now....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Snack...Fruit Salad

We are going to Troy and Allyson's to watch the game in a little bit, and when I asked her what to bring, she said maybe something healthy...even though I think we both knew that there aren't many "football" foods that are healthy:)

So, I decided on a fruit salad. I really am doing a lot better job in the last week of getting a lot of fruits and veggies into my day. One more way to get some more fruit in...

This recipe kind of comes from allrecipes-- here is the link, and I posted my own version here. This would also be a good thing for us to keep in our fridge to snack on throughout the week when we get sick of the raw form of the fruits and veggies..might have to go ahead and make the whole batch after all!

And frankly, I don't care who wins the game. I am a little sad that this is the end of football season though! Soccer season, coming right up!!
**I had this all week for snack and lunch and it was good all week, no brown spots! Tasted better every day!

2 t all-purpose flour
3 oz pineapple juice
2 t sugar
1/8 c orange juice concentrate
1 T lemon juice
2 t honey
1/2 container (regular sized container) cool whip (fat free or light works), thawed
assorted fresh fruit

Combine flour, pineapple juice, sugar, oj, lemon juice, and honey in saucepan and cook until bubbling for two minutes to thicken up sauce. Cool in refrigerator.

Combine sauce with thawed cool whip. Stir to combine.

Pour sauce over fresh fruit and chill for flavors to blend.

I used halved green and red grapes, blueberries, orange chunks, green apples, and red apples. It tasted really good right when I mixed it, which means that I'll like it even more after it's all chilled together!