Saturday, February 27, 2010

Goat Cheese Marinara Dip

The picture does not do this justice, but I promise that it is still tasty! I love goat cheese, and I love dipping things into marinara sauce. So as soon as I saw this appetizer, I knew I would love it. This dip is great with pita chips, melba toasts, sliced bread, and so on. I have brought it to a couple different gatherings, and I always bring home an empty dish. This recipe is from Kellie's Kitchen.

You will need:
*goat cheese
(the amount can vary depending on the portion you want. I used a 4oz log of herbed goat cheese)
*marinara Sauce
*2 teaspoons minced garlic
*olive oil to drizzle
*cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Divide goat cheese into 4 balls. (You may need more, depending on the amount you are working with)
3. Put the round goat cheese in a small shallow baking dish, and pour your marinara sauce around the goat cheese. You do not want to cover the cheese balls.
4. Add the minced garlic and olive oil around the goat cheese balls. Then, add a little fresh cracked pepper on top.
5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
6.Serve with any bread/cracker combination that you prefer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mediterranean Turkey Burger

This is one of our favorite burgers. The tzatziki topping is what makes this something different. I first received this recipe in a My Recipes 'Dinner Tonight' e-mail. (This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine). We do not have any outdoor space at our apartment, so the only place we can currently grill is in a pan or on our Cuisinart Griddler. Although I love our Griddler, I cannot wait for this summer because we plan to be in a house and I may have an outdoor grill to use! I imagine that will make these even better. We often enjoy this burger with some fresh veggies to dip in the tzatziki; such as celery, carrots, and peppers.

*Please note, this recipe is for a serving of 4. I often use the same amount of ingredients as below, however, I make 6 smaller patties and use mini wheat pitas.

For the burgers you will need:
*1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
*1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
*1 tablespoon minced red onion
*2 tablespoons pesto
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*1 pound ground turkey breast
*1 garlic clove, minced
*Cooking spray
*2 cups arugula
*2 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, toasted and halved (I don't toast them)

For tzatziki you will need:
*1/2 cup plain low-fat, Greek-style yogurt
*1/4 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Divide the mixture into 4 portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick oval patty. (Or 6 even sized portions if you are using the mini pitas like I do)

2. Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan and cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

3. Place 1 patty and 1/2 cup arugula in each pita half.

To make the Tzatziki sauce: Combine all of the ingredients. Serve with vegetables of your choice. We also like to top some of the burger with the tzatziki.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pretzel Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

I was surprised by how much we enjoyed this recipe. Neither Dave or I are huge pretzel lovers, so I wasn't sure how this would work out. I had leftover pretzels from the Christmas pretzel treats that I made, and I wanted to use them so that the chip clip could be put to better use. We love honey mustard and Alton Brown, so there was no doubt in my mind, that addition was going to make this recipe. This is another success that will be added into our weekly dinner rotation. I was originally going to make the pretzel chicken recipe in my Rachael Ray cookbook, but as with many RR recipes, it called for quite a few ingredients that I thought could be simplified. Then, I found this recipe on Joelen's blog-What's Cookin Chicago? and knew this one would work out better.

You will need:
*1 egg
*1/4 cup all purpose flour
*1 cup crushed or processed pretzels of any variety
(I just bagged mine and pounded them to have a thicker coating)
*oil for sauteing
*4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I always use cutlets for stove top recipes)
*salt and ground pepper to taste
*garlic powder to taste

1. You will need 3 shallow dishes. In one, whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of water. In the second, place the flour. And in the final dish, place the crushed/processed pretzels.

2. Heat a skillet over medium low heat with the 1/4 olive oil. While the oil is heating, season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Dredge the seasoned chicken breast in flour and shake off excess. Dip the chicken breast in the egg wash and then press it into the crushed pretzels to cover both sides.

3. When oil is hot, carefully place the crusted chicken breasts in the hot oil and fry until browned on both sides. This should take about 5 -7 minutes, but will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken.

4. Serve warm with the honey mustard sauce below.

Honey Mustard Sauce
recipe taken from Joelen who adapted it from Alton Brown

You will need:
*5 tablespoons honey
*3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
*2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Serve over the pretzel chicken or on the side.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pizza Bites

I made these pizza bites for the Superbowl. I hadn't planned on making them, but I had defrosted dough that I needed to use. These were tasty and simple. I think I will make them again soon because it seemed like everyone enjoyed them! Another great thing about this recipe is that we usually have these ingredients on hand. This recipe is from Annie's Eats.

You will need:
*pizza dough (amount used on one pizza_
*4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed into about 20-24 pieces
(I sliced some part-skim mozzarella string cheese we had on hand)
*sliced pepperoni
*olive oil
*Italian seasoning
*grated Parmesan cheese

1.Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan.

2. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 sized pieces (try to keep them equal). Take one of the dough pieces, and top with a cube of the cheese and a slice of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

3. Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired. (I reheated these before serving, and I used marinara as a dipping sauce)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

I made these pancakes for breakfast last weekend. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but these were the first non-Bisquick pancakes I have ever made. You can also tell this by the varying sizes of my pancakes, as evidenced in the picture above. We are not huge breakfast eaters, but we are trying to get in more satisfying meals on the weekends. These pancakes were tasty and a fresh start to the day. We liked the lemon zest to them. I found this recipe on Lime in the Coconut, who got it from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch.

You will need:
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon of salt
*1 1/2 cups buttermilk
*2 large eggs, separated
*1/4 cup sugar
*3/4 cup ricotta cheese
*1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
*butter for pan/griddle

1) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks, sugar, ricotta and lemon zest. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.

2) In a separate bowl the bowl of a mixer (or use a whisk), beat the whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the ricotta mixture just until blended.

3) Place a large griddle or fry pan with low sides over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then evaporate. (I used our Cuisinart Griddler)Brush the pan/griddle with a 1/2 teaspoon melted butter.

4) For each pancake, ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until small bubbles appear, the edges start to look dry and the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 minutes.

5) Carefully turn the pancakes and cook until lightly browned on the second side, about 2 minutes longer.

6) Repeat with the remaining batter and butter to make about 16 pancakes, each about 4 in in diameter. (Mine were larger so I made about 12 pancakes).
Serve with syrup and any sliced fruit you desire.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms = My Husband Rocks!

I think I have stated it here before, I love mushrooms, and Dave can't stand them. Imagine my surprise when he did the food shopping on Valentine's weekend and came home with mushrooms. (He also did the shopping while I was out with a couple of girlfriends. Another reason he is a keeper!) He then made these mushrooms as a part of our Valentine's Day dinner. I am still enjoying some of the leftovers from the fridge. Dave did not follow a recipe for these, but here is his dictated retelling of what he did.

You will need:
*stuffing mushrooms
*small yellow onion, diced
*4 garlic cloves, minced
*1-2 cups chopped spinach
*1 cup of shredded cheese-(1/2 white cheddar, 1/2 orange cheddar)
*bread crumbs to sprinkle in
*1/4 cup butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350.
2) Stem the mushrooms and dice the stems.
3) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions and heat until translucent.
4) Add the garlic, diced mushroom stems, and spinach, and cook until the spinach becomes wilted.
5) Add the cheese, and heat until melted. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs to help the mixture thicken.
6) Spoon stuffing into the mushrooms, and bake them on a greased pan for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Champagne Chicken

This is a recipe that I have tried to make a couple of times but things kept coming up. We have had the ingredients on hand, and I finally had the opportunity to make it on Valentine's Day. This was delicious! I had a bit of trouble getting my sauce to thicken like I wanted it to, but it still tasted great. We served this with spinach to soak up some of the extra sauce on the chicken. This dinner seems impressive and is still easy to make. I felt like the name makes it worthy of a special occasion. I saw this recipe on Cooking in Cucamonga who found it on The Rookie Chef.

You will need:
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used thin cutlets)
*1/3 cup flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon pepper
*1/4 cup butter
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*1 1/2 cups champagne
*1 cup whipping cream
*1 teaspoon ground dried rosemary

1. Place the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.

3. Saute the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn over and add the champagne. Cook for another 12-15 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken)

4) Add the cream and rosemary and gently stir the sauce to combine. Cook until the sauce is thickened. (The chicken can be removed as soon as it is cooked

5) Plate the chicken and spoon the sauce over the top.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Skinny" Red Velvet Cupcakes

I know I am a day late, but Happy Valentine's Day! We spent the day relaxing, visiting a few open houses, and cooking dinner together. I will post our dinner and appetizer over the next few days. Since my sweet tooth is craving more of these cupcakes, I figured I would share them first! I was trying to decide what to make as a V-day treat, and as soon as I saw these pop up in my Google Reader I knew they were it. This recipe is another from Gina's WW Recipes. These tasted great and were a lot lower in calories than your usual red velvet. I had some fun playing with the frosting on these. I would certainly make this dessert for another occasion in the future.

For the cupcakes you will need:
* 1 1/2 cups cake flour
* 1 cup white whole wheat flour
* 1 cup 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
* 2 tsp vanilla
* 1 1/3 cup light buttermilk
* 1 tbsp red food coloring

1) Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tins.

2) In a large mixing bowl, stir together both flours, salt, cocoa, and baking powder.

3) In another large bowl beat sugar, applesauce and butter. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

4) In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and vinegar.

5) Add half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and mix well. Next, add the buttermilk and red food coloring. Mix well.

6) Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold in vinegar and baking soda.

7) Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners until they are 3/4 full.

8) Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting you will need:
* 8 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
* 1 cup confectioner's sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Apply to the cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Red Wine Pasta

We have had this dinner a few times. It is something that Dave often requests, so I take that to mean that he really likes it! Because I use whole wheat spaghetti, it is often more a brown/maroon tone. If you used white pasta, I imagine that the color would be a bit more vibrant. We love the little kick that this pasta gets from the red pepper flakes. I found this recipe on Pink Parsley who adapted it from Food and Wine. Another filling and simple weeknight dinner.

You will need:
* 5 cups water
* 3 1/4 cups dry red wine (I use Pinot Noir)
* salt
* 3/4 pound spaghetti (I use whole wheat or whole grain varieties)
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I use minced garlic)
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
* 1 cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
* Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the water with 3 cups of the wine in a medium saucepan. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

2.Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, stirring often. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

3. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper, and season with salt. Cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine and the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.

4. Stir in the pasta and continue cooking to absorb most of the liquid. This will take about 2 minutes.

5. Mix in the parsley, nuts, 1/2 cup cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with additional salt and pepper. Serve with additional cheese if desired.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

I have never been a fan of meatloaf. Dave, however, does like to eat it from time to time. When I saw this recipe, I knew that it was something we would have to try. It also gave me an excuse to use my new mini loaf pan! I found this recipe on The Novice Chef, who saw it on Erin's Food Files, and it is adapted from The Biggest Loser Cookbook. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed this. It was a nice change of pace weeknight dinner. We were also shocked at the serving size. Two slices out of 8 (or mini loaves in my case) were a serving. I couldn't eat two, and Dave was stuffed after both. The leftovers made a great lunch. If you like buffalo chicken, I suggest you try this.

You will need:
Olive oil spray
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup hot sauce, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 lb extra-lean ground chicken breast
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat blue cheese

1) Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a nonstick loaf pan with olive oil spray. (As mentioned before, I used my mini loaf pan. You could also use a muffin pan if you wanted.)

2) Combine the oats and milk in a medium size mixing bowl, and mix well. Let stand for 3 minutes or until oats are softened.

3) Stir in hot sauce until well mixed. Add chicken, celery, onion, egg whites, and salt. With a fork, mix the ingredients well. Add blue cheese and gently mix.

4) Transfer the mixture to pan and spread so that top is flat. Sprinkle a couple shakes of hot sauce on top and spread evenly. Bake 35 to 40 mins (or until chicken is no longer pink).

5) Cut into 8 slices. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Laughing Cow Chicken

I go through phases with Laughing Cow Cheese. One week, I love it and snack with it on celery, pretzels, or crackers. Then I leave it untouched for a few weeks and end up cooking with it. As soon as I saw this recipe on The Rookie Chef, I knew I would make it. These are all ingredients that we usually have on hand, so it made a quick weeknight dinner. This recipe can take on many different variations if you use different flavors. If you have not tried Laughing Cow Cheese, I highly recommend that you do.

You will need:
* 4 thin chicken breasts (I used chicken breast cutlets)
* Italian breadcrumbs
* 4 wedges Laughing Cow cheese (I used the light garlic herb kind)
* 4 scoops of pesto
* A little olive oil
1) Wash and dry thawed chicken.
2) Spread 1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese one side of each chicken breast.
3) Scoop some pesto on top of the cheese.
4) Roll up the chicken breast and secure it with a toothpick.
5) Place breadcrumbs in a bowl. Brush a little olive oil on the chicken-to completely cover. Roll your chicken around in the breadcrumbs.
6) Place rolled chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking pan and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

EASY Tortellini Soup

This is one of those weeknight meals that is so quick and easy that you almost feel like it cooks itself. It was perfect for a busy Monday night. We had one of those nights where I didn't want to get take out, but it was already 7:30 and we just needed something to eat! This is another Rachael Ray recipe that I found online. The soup was warming on this cold evening, and the leftovers were great for lunch the next day. I needed to use leftover chicken stock, so I did not have quite the full quart. Try this some night when you are busy and just need something warm. It is only five ingredients, many of which we usually have on hand. The recipe says it makes 2 servings, but for us it made about 3.

You will need:
* 1 quart chicken stock
* 1 16-ounce bag tortellini, dried or fresh
(I used a bag of frozen tortellini that was about 13oz.)
* 1 bunch spinach
* zest of 1 lemon
* Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used shredded parmesan)

1. Place a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring the stock to a boil.
2. Drop the tortellini into the pot and cook according to package directions.
3. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the spinach and lemon zest into the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish each serving with some freshly grated cheese.
4. Serve with bread.