Monday, February 28, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

I am normally pretty good about putting the leftovers away without picking at them, but when I make this, I definitely sneak a few extra noodles and mushrooms out of the pan in the process (or maybe "accidentally" pick a container that's a little too small and be forced to eat what doesn't fit...I may have done that once!) Norris and I both love this and I love that it comes from Cooking Light.

Pasta with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce
from Cooking Light

Serves 6

10 oz uncooked whole wheat farfalle (bowtie pasta...used rotini the second time but prefer farfalle!)
1 tbsp butter
12 oz sliced mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini and button)
1/2 cup chopped onion (omitted)
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots (omitted)
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Metl butter in saute pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper (I also put in a little onion powder here to make up for at least a bit of onion flavor). Cook until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth and cook for about 6 minutes or until liquid is mostly evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Add half and half, cheese, and parsley. Stir well to combine. Add in salt if desired. Stir in pasta and garnish with minced parsley.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 257; Fat: 8.5 g; Carbs: 31 g; Protein: 12.9 g

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

The crispy sage leaves absolutely make this dish--do not skip out on them! The Greek yogurt gives it a touch of tanginess but not too much. I think we are all in agreement that these are the best mashed potatoes we have ever tasted!

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

Baking potatoes 1.5 lbs, diced
Unsalted butter ¼ cup
Sage leaves 12 fresh leaves
Whole milk ½ cup
Plain Greek yogurt ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp
Sea salt ¾ tsp
Freshly ground black pepper ¼ tsp

Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by half an inch.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. When it begins to foam, add the sage leaves and gently fry until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on a paper towel and reserve. Continue to cook the butter until it is golden brown and nutty, an additional two minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat just until hot, careful that the milk does not boil. Remove from heat and reserve in a warm place.

Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Rice potatoes using potato ricer. Stir in milk, yogurt, salt, pepper, and brown butter, making sure to get all the dark butter solids.

Garnish with fried sage and serve.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Asparagus

Rather than posting a picture of the meal every time, I'm going to just leave you with the first picture. I just like to post the recipes separately so they are easier for me to find in the search function later! This is great asparagus--even high school students are loving this stuff. One girl went home and made it for her family because she liked it so much, so that's definitely saying something about this recipe! It is very simple to put together. We got the idea from when we made soy glazed sauteed green beans in class and they all loved those. We needed a veggie side for our entree so we experimented a bit and wound up with this! I am so proud of them for getting creative and not just following recipes all the time--I feel like that means they're learning more.

Balsamic Glazed Asparagus
Asparagus ½ lb
Salt Pinch
Pepper Pinch
Butter 3 tbsp
Soy sauce 1 ½ tsp
Balsamic vinegar 1 ½ tsp
Honey 1 ½ tsp

Heat 1 tbsp butter in sauté pan over medium high heat.
Saute asparagus until crisp tender, about 6 minutes.
Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
Melt remaining 2 tbsp butter in same pan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Pour sauce over top of asparagus. Keep warm until service.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Essence Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Check out the grill marks on that steak! My student was SOOO proud of himself and I was very proud of him, too! We can only use two butane burners (no electrical equipment or anything else) so we have to cook the steaks on a cast iron skillet. He did an awesome job and cooked them to perfectly medium-rare. 

Essence Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Serves 2 (plus extra Essence seasoning)
2 (6 oz) tenderloins
Paprika 1 tbsp
Salt 2 ½ tsp
Garlic powder 1 tbsp
Black pepper 1 ¼ tsp
Onion powder 1 ½ tsp
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Vegetable oil as needed
Medium yellow onion 1/2, julienned
Worcestershire sauce 1/2 tsp

Combine all spices thoroughly.

Rub steaks with approximately ½ tsp (each) of spice mixture.

Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. Lightly oil grill pan.

Once grill pan is heated, sear steaks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until medium.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp vegetable oil. Saute onions until translucent and tender. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Keep warm until service.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spinach Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Yummmm...I think even people who think they don't like spinach will like this salad. This is the start of the recipes my students will be using in their ProStart state competition next Wednesday. A little preview for those of you who will be coming to watch! This salad is excellent. This is a class recipe, but actually was inspired by a salad I had at a restaurant. I love the basil mixed in with the spinach for a little extra flavor and the sundried tomatoes are like candy. The dijon vinaigrette gives it just enough tang and bacon a little smokey flavor. Such a great combination of flavors!

Spinach salad with Dijon vinaigrette
Serves 2

2 cups Spinach leaves
2 tbsp Sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp Feta cheese
2 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
6 leaves basil, chiffonade
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
1/4 Red pepper,  brunoise (tiny dice)

Cook bacon in sauté pan over medium heat. Remove from heat, place on paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon.
Wash, trim, and drain spinach leaves. Chill until service.
Chop sundried tomatoes. Crumble feta cheese.
For dressing, combine white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and sugar in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble salad, toss spinach with dressing to taste in bowl. Toss in cheese and sundried tomatoes. Plate salad and top with bacon and red pepper.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Asian Glazed Drumsticks

I have never had the Asian Zing wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, but I would imagine that if they're any good, they taste like these. I absolutely loved the sauce and the chicken was fall off the bone tender. While this recipe takes some time to cook, it is very simple and doesn't require many dishes, which is always a bonus! I never share recipes here that we don't like, but I definitely have some favorites, and this is one of them. This will be a regular! Two more great things about this recipe: it's a lot better for you than traditional wings or saucy chicken and it's also very inexpensive to make! I put some of the sauce on my steamed broccoli and loved it there, too. We plan to make the sauce by itself in the future also to serve over smoked chicken wings. Yum!

Asian Glazed Drumsticks
from Skinny Taste
Serves 4

8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed
cooking spray (I use an olive oil mister)
1 cup water
1 tbsp Sriracha
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tsp agave nectar (used sugar)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ginger, grated (used 1 1/2 tsp)
2 tbsp chives or scallions, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds

Spray large saute pan with oil and heat. Brown chicken on both sides, about two minutes each.
In a separate bowl, combine water, balsamic, Sriracha, sugar, garlic, and ginger. After chicken has browned, pour this mixture into pan with the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover and bring the liquid back to a boil. Reduce sauce until it has formed a thick glaze (but watch out so it doesn't burn!). My chicken was falling off the bone, so I removed the chicken and reduced the sauce by itself after about ten minutes. My sauce took about 25 minutes to reduce to a medium thick glaze.
Drizzle glaze on top of drumsticks and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

Nutrition Info: (2 drumsticks plus sauce)
Calories: 180; Fat: 3.5; Protein: 23.5; Carbs: 9

Turkey Chili Taco Soup

I know I have already professed my love for taco soup, but there is officially a tie after making this soup. I was a little apprehensive when refried beans were part of the ingredient list, but they just thicken it up some. It's great! It freezes easily, which is also nice. You can pack in a couple servings of vegetables plus fiber and protein in just 1 1/4 cups of this soup plus it will leave you full all afternoon. I have been eating it with a piece of fruit or yogurt for lunch and it's the perfect amount to get me through until dinner.

Turkey Chili Taco Soup


1 lb lean ground turkey (she suggests 1.3 lbs, but I thought this was plenty)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
10 oz can rotel tomatoes with green chiles
15 oz frozen corn
15 oz kidney beans, drained
8 oz tomato sauce
16 oz fat free refried beans (I used spicy--yum!)
1 packet taco seasoning (I used chipotle taco seasoning)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Brown turkey in a soup pot over medium heat. Drain and return to pan. Add onions and pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer 15 minutes. Garnish with desired toppings.

Makes 9 servings

Nutritional Info:
 Calories: 212.8; Fat: 4.3; Protein: 17; Carbs: 28

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baked Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Norris loves mushrooms, so I always try to make something with mushrooms every week. It typically winds up just being a topping on our homeamde pizzas, but last week I stepped it up a little. I wound up buying a ton of bulk mushrooms at the store, but easily went through all of them! This was a simple dinner--I served the chicken over brown rice with broccoli on the side. It comes together pretty quickly, but is also company worthy in presentation (especially if you don't look at this picture--I had two choices, this super bright one or one that was so dark you couldn't see what the food was, so here you go!). I read the reviews of the recipe online before I made it and wound up changing quite a bit of the original recipe, so the way I made it is listed below. For the original, follow the link to All Recipes!

Baked Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

adapted from All Recipes

1 tbsp olive oil
5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 lemon, half of it thinly sliced (keep the other half for juicing)
2 T butter
4 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Sear chicken in pan, then turn over and squeeze lemon juice over seared side. Place lemon slices on top of each chicken piece. Cover and allow chicken to cook, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. (depending on size of chicken breasts; you want your chicken to be about 75% cooked so it doesn't dry out in the oven)
Remove chicken from pan and place in baking dish in oven to finish cooking while you make the sauce in the saute pan.
Add butter, garlic, and mushrooms to saute pan and cook until mushrooms are brown and have released their juices, about six minutes. Add flour and stir well. Add chicken broth and stir to make a medium thick sauce. Allow to reduce, adjusting with more broth if necessary to make a creamy sauce. Add parsley at the last minute and spoon sauce over baked chicken to serve.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Skinny Clam Chowder

Happy Valentine's Day!

My Valentine loves clam chowder, so I put it on the menu for this week. I didn't try a single bite of it--he even had to taste it to adjust salt and pepper. I am a pretty adventurous eater and will try most things at least once, but I have tried clams enough times to know that I don't like them. But my Valentine loves clam chowder and enjoyed this soup!
We just booked a tropical summer vacation, so I've been even more on the lookout for waist-friendly recipes. This is from Gina's Skinny Recipes, so naturally it's called Skinny Clam Chowder! I didn't change a thing for this recipe, so check out the link below!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat Squares

Quite a name, huh? Hopefully I had you at "peanut butter chocolate"! I didn't read the recipe (d'oh!) and wound up with a completely different version of the original. The original had regular rice krispie treats on the bottom then layers of peanut butter and chocolate on top, but my version had them all mixed in together. I really liked them, but I would add a little more butter/margarine and cut back on the peanut butter a bit when I make them again (I never thought I would ever say cut back on the peanut butter, either!). I sprinkled some chocolate chips into the mixture and put some on top. I popped them in the oven for a few minutes for the chocolate chips on top to melt into the bars a little. Yum!

Oh, and I almost forgot about the awesome marshmallows used to make these--chocolate/vanilla swirl! They tasted just like hot chocolate and were darn good by themselves:)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat Squares
adapted from Picky Palate

6 cups rice krispie cereal
2 cups peanut butter (would change to 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup margarine (would change to 1/3 cup)
10 oz marshmallows (if you use big, chop them up to melt faster; I used half choco/vanilla swirl and half regular)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided

Melt margarine. Add in peanut butter and stir while heating. Add in marshmallows and stir until mixture is melted. Pour over cereal and stir together. Stir in half of the chocolate chips.
Press into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Put in warm oven for ~5 minutes for chocolate chips to melt into bars a little. Cool, cut, and serve.

Nutrition Info (20 squares per pan):
Calories: 250; Fat: 17 g; Carbs: 21; Protein: 7.4

Monday, February 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I almost always have some rotten (err...super ripe--they just look rotten to me!) bananas in the freezer that I just didn't make it to when they were still yellow. They're easy to freeze, but I found myself with about 12 of them, so I decided to finally use some of them (and to buy less bananas at the grocery store). I used the whole wheat pumpkin bread recipe that I love and just subbed in mashed banana. It wound up taking about six small bananas to get two cups of mashed.
This is really great--Norris said he would only eat it if it wasn't soggy, and I came home to a good chunk of it gone, so that's a good sign:)

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Lightly grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, honey, and sugar for two minutes. Add in the eggs and combine. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and beat just until combined. Beat in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time, careful not to overmix.
Dissolve baking soda in hot water and beat into batter.
Stir in raisins.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake about 70 minutes, or until baked all the way through.

Nutrition Info (1 loaf=14 slices):
Calories: 187; Carbs: 37; Protein: 3.4; Fat: 5.5

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Bottomed Cheesecake Squares

These are really good and really basic! If you're looking for something a little different, I want to point you back to my favorite pumpkin spice cheesecake swirl brownies, but these are really good and a crowd pleaser. My grandma gave me the box of Jiffy brownie mix and this recipe was on the back. I could not stop eating these--cutting them into little bites so I could eat "more" of them:)

Black Bottomed Cheesecake Squares
from Jiffy

Brownie Base:
1 pkg of Jiffy fudge brownie mix
1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used minis)

Cheesecake layer:
8 oz cream cheese, softened (used Neufchatel 1/3 less fat)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup chocolate chips, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch square pan.
Combine brownie base ingredients and pour into pan.
Cream together cream cheese, vanilla, sugar. Add eggs. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour cheesecake layer over brownie layer.
Bake abot 45 minutes or until cream cheese layer is set. (pkg says 30-35, but that was not near long enough!). Cool before serving. Garnish with mini chocolate chips.