Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Cinnabon" rolls= best cinnamon rolls I've ever made!

There have been Spangles commericals on recently for Yoder cinnamon rolls. If you have ever been to Carriage Crossing, you know how excellent they are, and now we can conveniently get them right down the street! Temptation for sure! We both thought that sounded pretty good, so I searched a while for the perfect recipe, and found what seemed to be a good one with good reviews on AllRecipes. They're amaaaaaazing! I will go ahead and call them the best homemade cinnamon rolls I have ever had (sorry if I've had yours..I am sure they were good too:) Gotta try these!

Do go buy bread flour just for these. There is a protein difference--if you can only use all purpose, use a bit more all purpose. But it's worth the trip for the bread flour. Also, the original link shows you how to make them in a bread machine. I adapted the recipe for my bread machineless household.
I really couldn't care to position this in the most flattering way because I was too excited to eat it!

Cinnamon Rolls
from allrecipes, adapted for my equipment!
1 cup warm milk (2% or higher will be best here...I heated in microwave for about 1 minute 15 seconds)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 pkg)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
raisins, optional
icing: (they call for cream cheese icing..the man of my house doesn't eat that, so we did glaze)
powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla (combine the right amounts to get a good consistency..I probably start out with around 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 tbsp of milk, and a tsp of vanilla and adjust from there)
Combine yeast with milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Let yeast dissolve for about 10 minutes. It should be frothy. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 F. Also, put some water in a heatproof dish and bring it to boiling in the microwave (or if it's an ovenproof pot, on the stove).
Add the egg, melted margarine, salt, and sugar. Mix in the flour, then turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead (will have to add in more flour during this process) for approximately 10 minutes. Grease an ovenproof bowl or pan and place dough in it.
Turn off the oven and place the water on the bottom rack of the oven and the dough on the top rack. Let rise for 1 should double.
After dough has doubled, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16x21 rectangle (or a little larger for more, smaller rolls). Spread dough with the softened butter then with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle raisins, nuts, or whatever other filling you want to now!
Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. (I made 15 out of this. If you want to make mini rolls, just roll a wider rectangle!) I cut with fishing line--slide under the roll, pull both sides around like you're going to tie it, but don't tie it--it will cut. Place dough in a lightly greased 9x13 pan (I also needed an additional small pan) just a little apart from each other. Cover and let rise until almost doubled (about 30 minutes).
OR at the point you are supposed to cover and rise again, you may put them in the fridge overnight, which is what I did, and will pick up from there. That way, you don't have to get up 3 hours before breakfast to have fresh rolls!
In the morning, I turned the oven to 350, took the plastic wrap off the rolls, and put them straight into the (non-preheated) oven so they could warm up with the oven. Baked for about 25 minutes (~27/28?). As they baked, I made glaze, dumped it on top while warm, and devoured! Um, I mean, I put them on a plate and politely ate them with a fork and knife and absolutely did not scrape any of the good stuff from the bottom and eat it with a spoon.
Hope you like them as much as we did! (if you're still with me at this point!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Potato Soup

During the holiday season, my mom and I went with a good friend and her mom to a Holiday Galleria at Ag Hall, where there were lots of vendors set up trying to sell holiday items and lots of great finger foods to try! We stopped by the Pampered Chef table...where I found a great garlic press that comes with its own removable cleaner, and my parents got me for Christmas!

Oops, sidetracked...they passed out a couple of recipes, one of which was for "Loaded Baked Potato Chowder" Now of course their recipes call for using a bunch of their gadgets, of which I have none, so I used my own gadgets and methods and this soup was excellent!

I used low fat cream cheese, skim milk, and that healthier version of plant margarine stuff (whatever that is...), so it changed the nutritionals quite significantly. It also was designed to be a microwave recipe (click the link for the original!) but I wanted stovetop. So, here's the way I made it:

Loaded Baked Potato Chowder
(although I am pretty sure I didn't make it loaded...the instructions suggest bacon bits, onions, more cheese, etc. I topped with sliced green onions!)
from Pampered Chef
3 baking potatoes large (about 2 1/2 pounds)
3 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
4 ounces 1/3 less fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons margarine/butter/something like that
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Put a pot of water on to boil.
Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes, then cook until tender.
While the potatoes cook, soften the cream cheese
After the potatoes are cooked, mash them coarsely with 1/2 cup of the milk. Return to low heat.
To the cream cheese, whisk in the rest of the milk until the mixture is smooth, then add to potatoes. Add the butter to pot also.
Heat thoroughly. It took a while for this step for me because I also wanted it to thicken up, which takes longer with skim milk.
Garnish however you like. I loved it with steamed broccoli! I mixed in the broccoli and it was so good!
This tasted even better heated up for lunch the next day as it was much thicker. I ate it all before I got a picture in!

Makes 6 servings, with about 250 cals per serving.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apricot Balsamic Vinaigrette

I made this a separate post so it would be easier for me to search for later, because I think I'll be using this recipe again! I am already brainstorming to decide what else it would be good on...

Apricot Balsamic Vinaigrette
(for pork chops...or whatever you want to put it on!)

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup 100% apricot fruit jam

1 t dijon mustard

2 t balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add remaining ingredients, heat and mix thoroughly. Pour 2 Tbsp of sauce over each pork chop.

This is around 150 calories to add to your chop cals.

Panko Crusted Pork Chops

This is another recipe from my cousin Carianne--I've almost tried every recipe she's given me and I've enjoyed them all! The only thing I changed was to bake them instead of pan fry them. I have had them stovetop before though and they are excellent that way, too!

Like she said, less smoke in the house this way, too! I served these with apricot balsamic vinaigrette (also from Carianne) and my favorite apple spinach salad.

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops

2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 c whole wheat panko bread crumbs
2 T olive oil (if you are cooking stovetop)
4, 4 oz pork chops

Mix egg whites and egg on a large flat plate. Place bread crumbs on another large plate.
(If cooking stovetop, heat pan and olive oil. If baking, preheat oven to 400 F). Coat pork chops with egg mixture then bread crumbs and cook in pan for eight minutes on each side or in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. I used my pizza crisper pan to make sure to get crispy on both sides. The underside always crisps first, so don't be fooled because your top isn't crisp--go ahead and flip halfway through! Check with meat thermometer that you're eating fully cooked pork!

Serve with apricot balsamic vinaigrette.

I calculated these to be 282 calories per chop. (if you bake them)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fun day in the kitchen!

On Sunday, I was feeling a little ambitious about getting some things done in the kitchen. Don't know why, but I did, and it was fun! So combined with Saturday's afternoon experiment, I spend most of the weekend in the kitchen.

  • I made a batch of baked oatmeal to have for breakfasts all week.
  • A batch of stuffed shells for my friend Molly and her husband to have--they just had a baby today!! I figure if I promise to bring dinner I have a better chance of getting to see the baby soon, right?:) I made them until the point of baking them, then put them on a cookie sheet and froze them. I will give them some spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese with instructions to pour sauce in bottom of 9x13, place frozen shells in, then pour sauce on top and sprinkle cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or so at 350 and they're good to go! I changed them up--used ground turkey, some turkey pepperonis, about 3 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, pizza seasonings, and mushrooms. Pretty much stuff them with whatever you have around! Easy fast homemade dinner to pull out of the freezer anytime.
  • Made a double batch of Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy chocolate chip cookies (the same recipe we sell at school every week!) to bring to the new parents and for Norris and Russ who have been finishing the garage all day!
  • A new pizza crust recipe, which (again!) is a new favorite. Used 50% wheat, 50% white flour and a tiny bit less olive oil. Crispy and delicious.
  • A loaf of English muffin bread for Norris' breakfasts and to have with my roasted vegetable soup.
  • Roasted Vegetable Soup for this week's lunches

I think that's it? It was fun and very productive! And snuck in a trip to the gym! For some reason, when I'm in the kitchen all day working with food, I feel like I've been eating all day and wind up not eating much. Just working with the food makes me lose interest in actually eating much that day. Maybe I should work at a restaurant so this could be true every day? :)

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Norris claimed this to be nursing home food since it was a pureed soup, but I am really enjoying it! A student made ratatouille and had a bunch of leftover vegetables that he gave me, so I made this out of it and other random veggies sitting in my fridge on the verge of going bad. Appetizing sounding, I know:) This really is filling and hearty without many calories. I calculated it at about 80 calories per serving if you make 4 servings out of this.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

2 zucchinis
1 yellow squash
1 tomato
1/2 red onion
1/2 shallot
2 carrots
(you could add something like potatoes or parsnips here, or anything you want! mushrooms, garlic, other squashes, the possibilities are pretty endless)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper,and any seasonings you like (I used a spicy garlic seasoning, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper)

Roast all vegetables at 425 for about 40 minutes (flip halfway through) dressed in a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

Combine with chicken stock in food processor or blender and puree. (definitely get a better texture in the food processor!) At this point you could add a bit of milk or cream if you want, but I was really trying to limit the calories here. Return to heat and season to taste.

Individual Chocolate Desserts

While looking for a dessert for the students' ProStart competition, I came across this recipe in the 365 Dish a Day cookbook. I was excited to try it because it reminded me of an incredible dessert we had on our honeymoon, and it looked like a fun experiment!
One of the stipulations of the competition is that we have nothing but two butane burners, so we need to create a nice looking dessert without baking or any battery/electric powered gadgets. The kids tried twice on Friday, but it didn't go so well (their first step of eggs and sugar kept looking like paste), so I promised to try it at home this weekend. This fit the bill, although it has a rather strange cooking method. I took pictures of some of the steps to share with the kids, so I decided to put them here, too. I can't even talk about how long it took me to try to put these in the right order on this stupid blogger thing, and one is sideways and I can't figure it out, so here they are anyway !
Individual Chocolate Desserts
with Caramel sauce
(Dessert from 365 Dish a Day)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (I used regular granulated)
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
scant 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
3.5 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
Caramel Sauce: (from me)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk (or cream, or evaporated milk would work)
a dash of vanilla or rum extract
For the desserts, put sugar and eggs into a heatproof bowl and place over pan of simmering water (here is my "double boiler" just one pot inside of another)--don't let the top bowl or pot touch the simmering water.

Whisk for approximately 10 minutes, and it should be frothy.

Remove the bowl from the heat and fold in the flour and cocoa. Fold in the butter, then the melted chocolate and mix well. (Leave the water simmering on the'll need it later)
Grease 4 small heatproof bowls with butter. Pour the mixture into the bowls . It should be pretty glossy.

Cover the bowls with waxed paper. Top with foil and secure with string.

Place the desserts in a large pan filled with enough simmering water to reach halfway up the sides of the bowls. Steam for about 40 minutes (more like an hour for mine!!) or until cooked through. (yeah, you don't want to pull them early because if they're not done you won't want to rewrap them up! If they aren't done, stick them in a 350 oven instead to finish them off!)

About 10 minutes before cooking time is over, begin your caramel sauce.
Mix sugar with the flour in a pan over medium heat and mix well. Add your water in and stir the whole time you cook. (7 minutes or so?). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla or rum extract.

When the cakes are finish, turn them out onto a serving plates and pour the sauce over them. The book suggests to decorate with coffee beans (they also suggest a chocolate sauce with Kahlua in it). This is extremely rich chocolate cake and I think one per every two people would be plenty!
If you decide to try this, let me know! It was definitely a fun experiment!..and totally worth it, it was very good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

Need a breakfast that will last through your morning? This baked oatmeal is fast to prepare (bake it on Sunday and just reheat part of it each day!) and so great tasting and filling. It's from Cooking Light. I changed a couple things in my preparation--I left out the raisins and walnuts (didn't have any--good enough reason to leave them out!) and instead cooked some chopped apples in a bit of water and cinnamon and mixed those in. I also added a dab of peanut butter when reheating it for breakfast and WOW! Forget buying those instant packets--make this soon!

Baked Oatmeal

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
(instead of raisins and walnuts, I chopped one apple and cooked on stovetop in a bit of water, cinnamon, and a sprinkle of sugar until softened)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg. Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information (this is for the original recipe)
Calories: 281
Fat: 7.6g
Protein: 7g
Carbohydrate: 48.8g
Fiber: 3.4g

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twice Baked Garlic Potatoes

These may be Weight Watchers, but I liked them better than regular twice baked potatoes! They were a "top winner" of all time WW recipes. (this according to WW taste testers) Half of a potato is definitely enough.

Twice Baked Garlic Potatoes

from Weight Watchers

Makes 8 servings

4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed
1 garlic bulb (the whole thing of it, not just one clove!)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F. Pierce potatoes with fork and place on baking sheet. Wrap garlic in foil and place on baking sheet. Bake for about an hour or until potatoes are tender and garlic is softened. Let cool for about fifteen minutes.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scroop the pulp out with a spoon. Leave the skin intact. Cut the garlic bulb in half and squeeze out its innards. Add garlic, broth, sour cream, and pepper to potato pulp and mash. Spoon this back into teh potatoes and sprinkle with cheese and paprika.

Place potatoes back on baking sheet and bake about 15 more minutes until lightly browned and heated all the way through.

Per serving: 153 calories, 1 g fat, 31 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chili Pilaf with Steak and Chimichurri

While looking for stovetop only meals to make for our culinary competition, some students picked this recipe out of the Rachel Ray magaine. It was SO good. I loved it and they loved it. This picture is from RR, but ours looked pretty much just like this, and hungry teenagers ate it all before I took any photos. The rice was really great, and the chimichurri was good mixed in with the rice. If you don't have a food processor, just mince all of your ingredients into oblivion and you'll be fine :) This is fresh with the chimichurri, but still warm and comforting. We hope you love it as much as we did!

Chili Pilaf with Steak and Chimichurri
source: Rachel Ray magazine

Serves 4 (but really, could serve many more if they won't each eat 8 oz of steak!)

2 tbsp butter
¼ cup orzo pasta (did without, and it was great)
1 ¾ cups chicken stock
1 cup rice
¼ cup pimientos, drained well and finely chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
1 cup packed flat leaf parsley
7 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
6 sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves stripped
Grated peel of 1 lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 8-oz strip steaks, at room temperature

Preheat a grill pan or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes (since we didn't use orzo, we did this with the rice instead). Stir in the chicken stock, rice, pimientos, chili powder, and paprika and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
While the pilaf is working, using a food processor, pulse the vinegar, shallot, garlic, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and lemon peel until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the EVOO; season with salt and pepper.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Cook on the grill pan, turning once, for 8 minutes for rare. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, then serve with the pilaf and chimichurri.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Creamy Pralines

I fully intended to photograph these this morning when I got to school, but over the weekend, someone took it upon themselves to sample the ones I saved for the kids who were gone! I think the same person eats my gum and hard candy out of my desk. This is after I locked the door for the weekend. The person even left the bag sitting there open, but took the treats! Lame!!!

Anyway, these were really good. Be sure to use a candy thermometer and a large pot--on the first batch, the kids used too small of a pot, it bubbled over and they couldn't see the temperature marks on the thermometer, and pulled it too early so they didn't set up. But they tasted great--would be a wonderful sauce over ice cream! The second batch they got it, and they turned out great!

Louisiana Creamy Pralines

2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup clear corn syrup
1 ½ cups pecans
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix sugar, baking soda, evaporated milk, and corn syrup together in a heavy pot.
Cook over medium heat stirring until mixture forms a soft ball in water. (approx 235 degrees)
Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans.
Beat with wooden spoon until mixture thickens enough to drop by the spoonfuls onto wax paper.
Let cool.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grilled Chicken Citrus Salad

Not exactly a soul warming dish for this freezing weather, but you could do this chicken over rice and it would be awesome. We weren't huge fans of the dressing as an actual salad dressing, but loved it as a marinade--the chicken had great flavor. Another Weight Watcher's recipe.

Oh, and if you're looking for another "different" salad and you like bacon (although I decided today I am officially back on the other side of not being a fan--must have been a one day thing, or my dad's special touch!), try out Paula and Bobby Deen's Spinach Salad with Warm bacon dressing that we made at school today. And since you ate a salad (but wait til you check out those ingredients--the dressing screams Paula!:), try out Daisy Martinez' bunuelos. They have an unexpected surprise of orange zest in them, and they're coated in cinnamon and sugar. Takes me right back to childhood memories of homemade donuts...yummmm. We tried out both of these recipes at school today and they are both teenager approved!
But anyway, back to the recipe at hand:

Grilled Chicken Citrus Salad
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
4 4-oz. skinless boneless chicken breasts
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 scallions, sliced
Make the marinade/salad dressing by combining cilantro, juices, shallots, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into a Ziploc bag and reserve the rest in case you want to try it as a salad dressing. Place chicken in bag, coat chicken, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.
Preheat broiler (I alternated between low and high, starting on low). Drain the chicken and throw away the marinade. Broil the chicken for about 6 minutes per side. Slice diagonally in thin strips.
While the chicken cooks, toss the lettuce, oranges, celery, and scallions together.
Toss all the ingredients with the extra dressing if desired.
OR--just use the marinade and put it with rice and beans--I think that would be really really great tasting!
Per serving: 208 calories, 2 g fat, 18 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 30 g protein
with an expected wind chill of -20 or so Thursday, I'm pretty sure something piping hot will sound great for dinner!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Penne with Shrimp and Mushrooms

While eating this, Norris declared it to be one of his favorites. I'm sorry Weight Watchers, but we had to finish the sauce with a bit more butter (about a teaspoon or so) and a little salt. There may have been a light sprinkling of mozzarella on top (but light, promise!!:). I sound like I'm actually on WW--no, I'm not. Just looked through my cookbook this weekend and decided to cook out of it for this week. A couple more recipes to come from them, but try this one! I love shrimp, Norris loves mushrooms, this was great for us.

Penne with Shrimp and Mushrooms
Makes 4 servings
1 Tbsp (plus 1 tsp, my addition) stick margarine
1 onion, chopped (obviously left this out)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked penne (used whole wheat)
In a large skillet, melt the margarine, then add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is softened and garlic is fragrant. YUM!!
Add the shrimp and mushrooms (or if you're cheap like me, keep your already cooked shrimp out at this point) and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid--around 8 minutes. Stir in the shrimp, parsley, lemon juice, and pepper. Heat through, then combine with the cooked penne (hope you remembered to cook it!!) and serve.
Per serving: 379 calories (although I put it in Spark Recipes and it said less...hmm..), 6 g fat, 48 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 32 g protein

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Orange-Cucumber Salad

This is a light, refreshing side that made me long for summer. It's a lot like what I call "lake cucumbers" because my mother in law makes them and I love them. She uses vinegar, sugar, cucumber, onion, and...??? water? maybe that's it?

Try this out with the juicy oranges in the stores, or use the cutie clementines like I did. Great either way!
I keep forgetting to take photos, plus it's dark when we eat since it's after five! Trust me that it's very vibrant!

Orange Cucumber Salad

from Weight Watchers

3 oranges, peeled and sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch strip (just realized I forgot this--will have to add it in now--this would be even better!!)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Combine oranges, cucumber, pepper, and onion. Add the vinegar, sugar, and salt and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate (I like it kind of cold).

Per serving: 66 calories, 1 g fat, 14 carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
Makes 4 servings

Monday, January 4, 2010

Corn and Bean Chowder

Weight Watchers recipe alert!
If you're looking for something that is warm, hearty, and filling, but on your January diet:), try this out! The original version didn't have any meat in it, so I added a little under a 1/2 lb of sausage to it for some flavor and a little meat. It was excellent--Norris agreed!

Corn and Bean Chowder

Makes 4 servings (I added more chicken broth to stretch it, so I would say closer to 5 big bowls)

adapted from Weight Watchers

3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced (omitted)
1 small all purpose potato, diced
1 onion, chopped (omitted...I know, the horror! I'm sure it's even better with this--I just used a little onion salt so the onion hater wouldn't see it)
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 cup drained, rinsed canned cannellini beans
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 lb sausage, cooked, drained, and rinsed (optional; you could use chicken here too)

1. In a large saucepan, combine broth, carrots, celery, potato, and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Stir in the milk, corn, beans, pepper, salt, oregano, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for a few minutes until corn is tender and soup is heated thoroughly.

I even went all out and put this into sparkrecipes calculator. It says it's around 270 (about the same amount of calories as many frozen dinners, but made by you and much more filling) with the sausage, assuming you make five servings out of it. Not bad paired up with a couple cutie clementines!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites

Look at these little dandies (you should look at their pictures, not mine--I forgot to take one until we were already in the car and they were in the crockpot!)--easy to make and perfect party finger food. I just got finished making these (as in, my hands still smell like bacon. Hope that doesn't stick around on my keyboard...) and they're pretty great! As of a week ago, I did not like bacon or mayonnaise. This week, I ate both. I don't know what's wrong with me, or if it's around to stay. I still really can't stand the thought of a potato salad type thing with thick mayonnaise in it though. Who knows? I also had bacon at my parents' house and liked it, weird! So, I decided to try it this way for a New Years party we went to.
This recipe is from Pioneer Woman, who I am constantly trying to win a KitchenAid mixer from. Hopefully my day will come. She actually was sharing it from someone else--here are both links.

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites

1 lb bacon
1 can chunk pineapple, drained (can sub fresh pineapple here)
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used closer to 3/4-1 cup)

Preheat oven to 375. Cut bacon in half.
Place brown sugar in shallow dish. Dredge bacon through brown sugar, place a pineapple chunk on the bacon, and roll the half slice around the chunk. Secure with toothpick.

Bake on roaster or just in jelly roll pan (foil lined or Silpat for easy cleanup!) for 25 minutes. Place under broiler for last few minutes for the crispy bite. Enjoy!

(I kept them warm in a crockpot for the party-they lost their crisp but they were still good!)