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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Ron and I decided to celebrate National Pancake Day with some whole-wheat buttermilk pancakes.  Wow!  When I saw this recipe in the recent Cooking Light magazine, I knew that I had to whip these pancakes up.  These are, by far, the best homemade pancakes we've ever made.  I'm excited to have a go-to recipe that I can use from now on.  I plan to have some trial runs and mix in blueberries or bananas or apple chunks or oatmeal!!  So many variations! 

These pancakes took about 20 minutes total from start to finish.  By far, the best part was the fact that we ate them at 9:30 at night.  Breakfast for dinner is such a fantastic way to end an evening :)

Ron and I have a tendency  to make our pancakes rather large so we did not have nearly as many servings as the magazine suggested (reflected below).  Honestly, who eats a pancake that is the suggested serving size?  We were nearly able to polish off the entire batch!  6 servings, haha, ummm....  If you can restrict yourself to 2 pancakes, I commend you!
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
adapted from Cooking Light
Yield:  6 servings (2 pancakes, 2 tbsp syrup, 1 1/2 tsp butter)
  • 3.4 ounces AP flour (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3.6 ounces WW flour (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Cooking Spray
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp butter
  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  2. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg and egg white, stirring with a whisk.
  4. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  5. Heat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  6. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  7. Spoon about 1/4 c batter per pancake onto griddle.
  8. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.
  9. Serve w/ syrup, butter or whatever toppings you prefer :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Granola is one of my favorite snacks.  For a while, I got hooked on eating Nature's Path Hemp granola w/ blueberries, banana and honey.  Thanks to a buttload of carbs, I was sprinting around like I had the energy of a 5 year old!  Sadly, after 3 months straight, I eventually grew sick of it.  But, you can best bet that once blueberry season rolls around, I'll start up the routine again.

For the past few months, I've been making my own granola.  I still love some of the store-bought brands, but I love how easy it is to make your own granola.  You can make tons in a roasting pan or a small amount in a baking sheet.  Plus, the kitchen (and entire house) smells incredible while it's baking.  It is easy to store and you can easily add your own ingredients.

This recipe is great.  It is easily adaptable and you can add whatever mix-ins you want.  And, prepare for some incredible smells emanating from your oven! 
Pumpkin Cranberry Granola
adapted from Homemade by Holman who adapted from A Year in the Kitchen
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/2 c flax seed
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 T olive or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. 
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until the wet ingredients are evenly incorporated. 
    1. I whisked the wet ingredients & the spices in a small, separate bowl before adding to the dry to ensure an even mixture.
  4. Spread out mix onto a baking sheet, try to get it into an even layer but don't worry too much about clumps at this point. 
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, stir and spread mixture in an even layer again. 
  6. Continue baking about 30 minutes more. 
  7. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Home-Made Pizza

I haven't always gotten along with the oven in our apartment.  You see, the oven has a mind of its own and does whatever it wants to do.  I'll tell it to heat to 350 degrees (technically I tell it to heat to about 370'ish because it has a hard time understanding simple instructions) and the oven thermometer yells "350 degrees!"  Then, I put something in there to cook and by the time I go to remove the food, the oven has decided to jump to 400 degrees.  Sigh.

Accordingly, I was a bit hesitant to try making my own pizza.  But, I did.  AND, it was a SUCCESS!!!

I'm not talking about a pizza prepared on a wrap either.  I'm also not talking about a frozen pizza or pizza with a pre-made crust.  I'm talking about a good, hearty pizza with fresh ingredients that I made all by myself!!  Yay!!  However, I did not make the pizza sauce or the pesto.  I decided that I was going to take my "trial run" easy.  But, next time there will be homemade sauce.

I found the recipe on my favorite blog.  It is super easy and incredibly delicious!  It involves a little bit of prep and some time management skills, but it's nothing that can be handled by reading through the recipe before you begin.  The dough makes up 2 batches.  I made 2 separate pizzas: a pepperoni pizza and a chicken pesto pizza with sundried tomato and kalamata olives.  I'm only listing the ingredients for the toppings because I didn't really measure them out.  I was just trying to get this dinner to work out (which it did, yay!).  Plus, pizza is more of a personal preference type thing :)  I am so excited to try out different variations with this dough!

In the recipe below, I reflected my process while mixing by hand.  You can also use a stand mixer for this or a bread machine.  Those instructions can be found by clicking either link below.
Awesome Home-Made Pizza Crust
adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield:  2 pizza doughs
  • 1/2 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 c water, at room temp.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups (22 oz) bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cornmeal
  • Non-stick cooking spray for bowl
  1. Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil; stir to combine.
  2. Combine the salt and half of the flour in a deep bowl.  Add the liquid ingredients and use a  wooden spoon to combine.  Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 7-8 minutes) using as little dusting flour as possible.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double in size, about 1.5-2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.
  4. In the final minutes of the dough's rise, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
  6. Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, roll-out and shape the dough into a crust.  Transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with cornmeal.  Top as desired!
  7. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone.
  8. Bake until the crust edges are brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8-12 minutes.
  9. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.
Pepperoni Pizza; Pizza Dough, Pizza Sauce, Pepperoni, Pizza Cheese, Red Pepper Flakes & Italian Seasonings
Chicken Pesto; Pizza Dough, Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato, Shredded Chicken, Kalamata Olives, Red Onion, Mozzarella Cheese & Fresh Basil

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dorie's World Peace Cookies

I've been wanting to try these cookies ever since I saw the TWD (Tuesday's with Dorie) posts fly through the blogroll of Foodgawker.  TWD is a group of bakers that bake selected recipes from Dorie Greenspan each week.  In due time, I will purchase her cookbook.  In the meantime, I've decided I need to make my own cookbook.  Every month, I go through my cooking magazines and jot down recipes that I plan to make.  I never include recipes that I will never make.  Yet, I save the entire magazine instead of putting it out for recycling.  This will be my summer project!  It is time to pull out those recipes, organize them and create my own cookbook with recipes that I like.  I'm looking forward to having a clean closet again.

Anyway, these cookies are excellent.  Apparently, there is a back story to these cookies.  Dorie's neighbor began referring to the World Peace Cookies (originally called Korovas) because he was convinced that all you needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness was a daily dose of these cookies.  Dorie subsequently changed the name and I whole-heartedly agree with her neighbor!

These cookies are chocolate sables.  They taste like a chocolate shortbread and have just enough salt to make them insanely addictive.  There's a little bit of prep involved for them, but they will be enjoyed in our kitchen for years to come.  Ron wasn't a huge fan (I'm not so sure if he liked the texture) but they are made with more brown sugar to have that shortbread taste.  I think he's more of a cakey-cookie type person.  Regardless of your preference, these cookies are fantastic and should be baked.
World Peace Cookies
adapted from Cookbook Habit who adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Yield:  I halved the recipe so I only had one log that yielded about 16 cookies.  The recipe below reflects the full measurements that makes about 36 cookies.
  • 1 1/4 c AP flour (remove 1 tbsp)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp (11 tbsp total) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 2/3 c (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 c mini chocolate chips
  1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together
  2. With a mixer (preferably a stand fitted w/ a paddle attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl), beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
  3. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Turn off the mixer and pour in the flour.  (You may want to drape a kitchen towel over the mixer to shield yourself from flying flour.)
  5. Pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time.  If there is still flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more.
  6. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough.  (For the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added and do not be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly.)
  7. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
  8. Turn the dough onto a a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half.
  9. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  10. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.  (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.  If you freeze the dough, you do not need to defrost it before baking - just slice the logs into cookies and bake them 1 minute longer.)
  11. GETTING READY TO BAKE:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  12. Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick.  (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them - don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookies.)
  13. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.
  14. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes - the cookies will not look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be.  
  15. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

For the past few weekends, I've been preparing large batches of rice mixtures to eat for the 1st half of the week.  These rice mixtures (needs a better name) have turned out to be excellent.  They are flavorful, nutritious and easy.  Best of all, they are great for my recovery period.  On Mondays (in particular), my training is pretty heavy.  I get up, grab a quick bite for breakfast and I'm in the pool for about 45-60 minutes.  I have about a 10-15 minute break to change and grab a few bites of an energy bar before I am on a spin bike (soon to be my road bike, hopefully, please weather!) for another 60-120 minutes.  And, this is just the beginning stages of an 18-week program!  Considering I have to be at work and ready for an 8-hour day at school by 12:30/1:00, some days can get pretty tricky (especially if I'm having a hard time dragging myself out of bed and into freezing cold water).

I'm normally rushing back in the door around 11:00 and by the time I'm showered and dressed, I must get on the road.  Here is where these rice mixtures come in brilliantly.  One of the most important aspects of a "training regime" is the recovery stage that takes place within an hour after a workout.  With that much endurance, I need food to restore my depleted muscles.  I normally have a lunch-sized portion of my mixture set and ready to grab out of the fridge.  I eat some protein in the car and I'm off!  Lunch is reheated at the office and I'm all settled in for the day (despite the fact that my hair is always dripping wet at school, oh well).

This rice mixture is fabulous!  Seriously, it is incredible and it took about 7 minutes cooking time!  After reading through the recipe before prepping, I realized that there isn't much downtime to measure out ingredients so I spent about 5 minutes getting everything in order before I started the skillet.  I'd recommend doing the same.  This recipe is great and so easy to substitute.  You can swap the protein and the veggies with whatever you prefer.  I plan to use this as a base for a lot of future rice mixtures.  The link takes you to the original recipe (C.C's used shrimp!!), but I made some changes and reflected them in my recipe below.
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
adapted from Sugar Cooking who adapted from Closet Cooking
Yield:  About 5 1.25-cup servings.
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used cashews and almonds)
  • 3-4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup pineapple, bite sized pieces
  • Protein - I used about 1 cup of shredded/cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
  • 2/3 c peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 c currants (or raisins)
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions (sliced)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallots and garlic.  Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the egg and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, curry powder and sugar; stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the nuts and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the rice, break up any clumps and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  7. Add your protein and soy sauce.  Gently stir.
  8. Add the pineapple, peas and currants.  Stir-fry to mix them in.
  9. Remove from heat and serve with sliced green onions.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches w/ Pineapple and Mango Salsa

I was feeling Hawaiian.  Granted, I've never been to Hawaii, but I was still feeling Hawaiian.  I think this was because I love pineapple and I was craving it.  I love Hawaiian pizza, Hawaiian inspired sandwiches and anything with citrus.  Perhaps the recent sunshine has given me a Vitamin-D overdose!

I often make a Hawaiian BBQ pulled chicken recipe in the crockpot.  It's awesome (I'll post at some point) and it's so easy.  However, I decided I would give this pork recipe a shot.  I also decided that I needed some kind of "slaw/salsa" to go on top.  I looked in the fridge and saw some leftover cilantro, a lime, some pineapple and mango.  Score!!  I recall seeing a grilled chicken w/ mango and pineapple salsa recipe using the same ingredients in Cooking Light over the summer.  I searched for the recipe and found it!!  The original recipe called for a jalapeno, but I'm not a big fan of mixing that "spark" to my tang.

This recipe was very easy to make.  Total hands-on time was probably about 20 minutes.  However, I was not a fan of the meal.  Apparently, I really dislike pork.  I didn't really know this until this meal was made.  I don't like the taste or the texture.  Regarding the recipe, I normally don't remove the meat from the crockpot before I shred.  And, I didn't this time.  Accordingly, the pork was soaking in the BBQ juice and it made for an unpleasant experience.  I used a slotted spoon to make my sandwich, but by the time I took the picture, the juice had soaked through the bun.  Perhaps it was the weak buns I used (or the fact that I didn't follow directions).  But, I still think that a hoagie roll/thicker bun would work better.

Regardless of my distaste for pork, I am posting the recipe because the flavor was excellent.  I really enjoyed the Hawaiian sauce because it had the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.  I plan to make this again using chicken and I plan to thicken the sauce (and remove the meat before shredding).  Honestly, the flavors in the sauce were dynamite.  It just needs a bit of tweaking.  Also, it got the seal of approval from Ron so up goes the recipe.  (Eh.  I hope I'm not turning into the household picky eater.)
Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches w/ Pineapple and Mango Salsa
adapted from and (click this link for an awesome chicken recipe, I plan to make this soon with the grill pan!)
Yield:  A lot!!
Pulled Pork
  • 1 packet of teriyaki marinade
    • I used McCormick Grill Mates Hawaiian Luau.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3.5 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chili sauce
    • I used a Sweet Chili Sauce (can find in ethnic/asian aisle)
  • 1 6 ounce can of pineapple juice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Hamburger rolls
Hawaiian Sauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 c diced and peeled mango (one medium)
  • 2/3 c diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
For Pulled Pork
  1. In a small bowl, combine the teriyaki, paprika and pepper.
  2. Coat the pork with the rub mixture until all rub is used.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce and pineapple juice.  Set aside.
  4. Place the chopped onions and carrots in the bottom of a 5 quart slow cooker.
  5. Place pork on top of the carrots and onion. 
  6. Pour half of the pineapple juice mixture over the pork.  Cover the remainder and put in fridge to reserve for the Hawaiian sauce.
  7. Cover the pork and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  The meat should fall apart easily.
  8. Remove the roast and place on cutting board to shred with 2 forks.
    1. Do this!  It's a necessary step :)
  9. Serve pork on rolls drizzled with Hawaiian sauce.
For Hawaiian Sauce

  1. In medium pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add remaining pineapple juice mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Then, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Either drizzle sauce on top of sandwiches or keep on side for dipping.

For Salsa
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes until ready to serve.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Um, yum?!  Yes, definitely YUM!  This breakfast bread cake is insane!

I wanted to use up the buttermilk I had recently purchased.  I hadn't baked Ron a breakfast bread in a while so I decided to pull up a recipe that I had bookmarked a while back for cinnamon swirl bread.  Ron and I are huge fans of all things cinnamon and sugar.  Honestly, I contemplated naming my blog "Cinnamon and Sugar Buttered Toast" because I normally eat this in addition to my daily PB and Graham.

Ron's ideas of "breakfast breads" differ from mine.  I like things with fruit, grains and minimal sugar.  This breakfast bread would probably fall along the lines of what I would call a breakfast cake.  Regardless, it's amazing.

This treat smelled incredible while it was baking in the oven.  Hell, it smelled incredible while I was mixing the ingredients!  Seriously, cinnamon and sugar... oh my goodness, it is definitely a weakness of mine.

Note:  the blogger who made this bread prior mentioned that her bread had sunk in the middle and the inside had not fully cooked.  Be careful, if your break sinks, it might not be completely cooked.  Also, use caution with the "do not overmix" language.  They aren't lying!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
adapted from Mangio da Sola
Yield:  1 9x5 loaf
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.
  2. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans (if using), and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl or mixer bowl. 
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg. 
  5. Then, stir in buttermilk (or milk) and oil
  6. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture; stir just until mixed.  Do not overmix.
  7. Pour half of the batter into loaf pan.  
  8. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. 
  9. Repeat. 
  10. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion.
  11. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done.  
  12. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. 
  13. Then, cool completely on a wire rack and top with glaze.
    1. I left off the glaze.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beef and Broccoli Orange Stir-Fry

Ron and I love chinese take-out.  Unfortunately, chinese take-out is another one of those foods that I can't seem to eat anymore.  :(  So, I've been working with other ways to satisfy these cravings!  I've turned to making a lot of stir-fry recipes.  Stir-frys can be so fast and simple and such a winning combination of fantastic ingredients.  This stir-fry worked out pretty well and was very, very tasty.  I normally empty the stir fry skillet to brown rice but I decided to use soba noodles to add some more nutrients.  Soba noodles are awesome and buckwheat-rich!

I found this recipe in the Clean Eating magazine but you can easily substitute ingredients.  For instance, you can sub regular linguine or whole wheat spaghetti for the noodles.  You can add chicken strips instead of the beef, etc.  It was very simple to make and only took about 45 minutes total to prep.

My only complaint?  I should've added more broccoli!  I forgot how good broccoli can taste with noodles, especially these ones!
Beef and Broccoli Orange Stir-Fry
adapted from Clean Eating
Yield:  6 servings.  Nutrition per 1 cup:  270 calories, 2gfat (0g saturated), 51g carbs, 4g fiber, 14g protein, 520 mg sodium, 10mg cholesterol (thanks, CE editors!)
  • 12 oz soba noodles
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 lb lean round steak, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness and sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
    • I used a red onion.
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, separated into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienne cut
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium tamari soy sauce
  • Juice 1 medium orange
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp raw organic honey
  • 2 tsp whole-wheat flour
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 1 minute.  Reduce heat to medium-high, mist pan with cooking spray and saute steak for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove steak, leaving juices in the pan.
  3. Mist same pan again with cooking spray.  Add onion, broccoli and pepper and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, orange juice and zest, garlic and honey.
  5. Add steak back to vegetables in pan and pour in soy sauce mixture.  Saute steak and vegetables over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, then whisk in flour to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.  
  6. Add noodles to pan and cook until warmed, about 3 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and serve!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pat's Smoked Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

I love sandwiches.  I could eat a sandwich for every meal of the day and be perfectly content.  They are so easy to make and it is personalized.  Having a a meal be personalized is good in a house where one person uses nothing but meat and cheese as their ingredients.  Ahem.  My sandwiches normally consist of every vegetable grown in a garden plus a tuber grown underneath soil!  (Not really, but I do load up on vegetables so Ron and I never share sandwiches.)  

Unfortunately, sandwiches are hard to personalize when you make up a large recipe that already incorporates vegetables in the ingredient list.  However, I am glad that I finally decided to use my brain when adding vegetables to meals.  Use half of what the recipe calls for and you will not have copious amount of vegetables left over to consume individually (because your significant other picks out all of the meat).  Hmm, how many years has it taken me to realize this?

This recipe was excellent.  The Neely's are celebrities on the Food Network channel and I love watching them.  I saw them make this not too long ago and I knew it was a must-try.  I did make some changes and reflected them below.  In total, this took about 25 minutes to make.  It was incredibly easy and already in the recipe rotation box!  The peppers add so much flavor to an already flavorful dish.  I really don't understand how/why Ron chooses not to eat vegetables.  I'm starting to think it's just a schtick because no one could pass up the peppers on this sandwich!

The nutrition for these sandwiches was not bad at all.  Despite the "sausage" heading, I chose to use Bilinski's Chicken Mild Sausage.  Their products are amazing, healthy, tasty and low calorie/fat.  One link was 90 calories - a huge different from your standard sausage.  You can find them at Whole Foods and I encourage you to do so!  You would have no idea that it was chicken.  I also added some more shredded chicken to the sandwich.  Truthfully, I added it because I did not want to see all of the sausage sitting on Ron's plate.  If you are sharing this recipe with people that are not afraid of peppers, feel free to omit the extra chicken.  The sandwich is awesome with/without the addition!

Pat's Smoked Sausage and Pepper Sandwich (w/ shredded chicken)
adapted from (courtesy of the Neely's)
Yield:  4 servings
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into quarters then lengthwise
    • I used the Bilinski's chicken mild sausage, but any sausage would work well here.
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
    • I used a green bell pepper instead.
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
    • I used red onion.
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beer
    • I think we had some type of lager on hand, so I used a dark beer.
  • 1/2 cup Neely's BBQ sauce
    • Sorry, Neely's.  While I am certain your BBQ sauce is fab, I used Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy because I was too lazy to look up your recipe.
  • 1 cup shredded chicken (optional)
  • 4 fresh hoagie rolls


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. 
  3. Add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes. 
    1. The sausages I used were pre-cooked and somewhat frozen when I added them.  I only left them in the skillet for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from skillet and reserve.
  5. Add onions and peppers to the skillet and saute until tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. 
  6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. 
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, beer, and BBQ sauce; Cook for a few minutes.
  8. Add the sausages (and chicken, if using) back to the pan; reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick, about 10 minutes.
  9. Slice the bread open, put on sheet tray, and toast in the oven while the sausage is simmering. 
  10. Remove the bread from the oven and fill with the sausages and peppers.
  11. Transfer to serving dishes and serve.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skinny Mud-Colored Velvet Cupcakes

 Well, these aren't supposed to be mud-colored cupcakes.  However, I somehow misread my handwriting and did not add enough red food coloring.  Oopsy.  Now, you'd think that I might've decided to add more food coloring once I realized the color wasn't correct while I was mixing it in the bowl.  Of course, this thought did not occur to me until after they were in the oven.  I've been working on an outline all morning and it gave me a headache.  Blame law school for lack of concentration (because law school must always be blamed).

Anyway.  Who said dessert has to be terrible for your waistline?  Granted, the best desserts tend to have that effect, but it is absolutely possible to mix up something that tastes good and doesn't pack on the pounds.

These cupcakes are a perfect example!  I found them from a Weight Watchers blog and they sounded promising because I had worked with the ingredients in the past.  I made some slight adaptions and made them even better.  Now, I can eat all 6 and it would still be less than your standard red velvet cupcake!  (I probably won't, but it's nice to know that I can.)  With my changes, the caloric intake for one of these cupcakes is, wait for it, a mere 105 calories!

It is Valentine's Day, so these cupcakes seemed entirely appropriate.  My original plan was to make a dark chocolate base with a peanut butter middle and mixed chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting.  But, I will save those for another time.  :)

I only made 1/4 of the Red Velvet cupcake recipe to yield 6 cupcakes.  It took a little bit of time to cut down the measurements, but it worked.  I had a lot of strange measurements but it was manageable.  Cutting an egg in half can be tricky, but it can be done.  To do this:  Crack the egg into a measuring cup with markings.  Use a fork to lightly beat the egg and mix egg whites/yolks evenly.  Determine how much egg you have and pour half of that into the bowl.  Or, you can use an egg substitute to make it easier.  (Some people have problems with egg substitute.  I don't.)   For reference, 1/4 cup of egg substitute = 1 whole egg.  2 egg whites = 1 whole egg.

Another tip (I need to learn how to heed my own advice):  When cutting recipes in half, cross out the old measurements and sub in the new measurements in a big red pen!  Otherwise, you may get all the way done with the prep when you realize that you messed up (hence the mud-colored cupcakes)!  This could be a no-brainer, but trust me, I am speaking from many terrible experiences...  At least this one only resulted in a coloring mishap.

These cupcakes were very good and I could not tell that they were a "skinny" version.  Like I said, I made 1/4 of the recipe, but I've included the full recipe here and reflected the few changes that I made in red.  If you need something sweet and you want to satisfy a cupcake craving, try these out!  They really are pretty damn good!
Skinny Red Velvet Cupcakes
adapted from Gina's WW Recipes
Yield:  26 cupcakes
Nutrition:  With my changes, caloric intake is about 105 calories.  (No, I am not lying.  An entire cupcake for 105 calories & a small amount of fat/sugar.)  Original recipe resulted in about 141 calories.
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
    • I used Splenda Granulated Sugar.  
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg*
  • 2 egg whites*
    • [Instead of using 1 egg + 2 egg whites, I used 1/8 cup of egg substitute.]
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup light buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
Low Fat Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cool Whip Frosting
adapted from Hungry Girl 
Yield:  Frosting for 18 cupcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed 
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix 
  • Red Food Coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  
  2. Line cupcake tins with liners. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, salt, cocoa, and baking powder. 
  4. In another large bowl beat sugar, applesauce and butter; Beat in eggs and vanilla. 
  5. In a separate bowl mix baking soda and vinegar. 
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, mix well. 
  7. Add buttermilk, red food coloring and mix well.  
  8. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in vinegar and baking soda.  
  9. Pour in prepared cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. 
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  
  11. Cool, then frost with low fat cream cheese frosting or cool whip frosting.
    1. Cream Cheese Frosting; Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
    2. Cool Whip Frosting; Mix together cool whip, SF/FF jello mix & food coloring.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to use.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

I wanted to make something simple, yet delicious for Valentine's Day.  This garlic shrimp pasta meal was a success.  As mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of pasta with marinara.  However, pasta tossed with olive oil will make me happy on any day.

This entire meal took about 20 minutes to make from start to finish.  Most of the time was spent waiting for the water to boil for the pasta.  Had I been feeling incredibly domestic, I would have prepared my own garlic bread.  However, I chose to use my favorite frozen garlic bread and it worked out just fine.

The original recipe (reflected below) called for green peas and mushrooms.  I omitted these ingredients from my preparation because I did not want to watch Ron pick them out individually.  Instead, I cooked up an individual serving of green beans for myself and mixed green beans in my pasta.  It was great.  This meal is so quick and easy to prepare.  It was delicious and I highly recommend serving with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio!  (I had 3 sips and had a headache.  Wow, can you tell my tolerance is non-existent?) 

For dessert, we had some cupcakes.  They were guilt-free cupcakes and absolutely fabulous!  Ron didn't even balk when I told him the nutritional content.  I will post the recipe tomorrow :) 
Garlic Shrimp Pasta
adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yield:  3-4 servings
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • the fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup canned mushrooms 
    • Original recipe reflected that sauteed would taste good.  Agreed!
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  1. Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. 
  3. Add the garlic; Saute for 1 minute.  
  4. Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. 
  5. Add wine and cook for about 30 seconds. 
  6. Remove from the heat; add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, peas, mushrooms and red pepper flakes.
  7. Toss to combine.
  8. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot.
  9. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve!