Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vodka Blue Cheese Dip/Spread

I made this dip for a birthday party and served it with crackers and veggies (the celery went the fastest!) It truly is delicious!

1 1/2 cups blue cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups fat-free cream cheese
3 tbsp peppar vodka (or regular vodka and 1/2 tsp ground pepper-or to taste)
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (parsley would be fine as well)
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Cream blue cheese, cream cheese, vodka (or vodka and pepper) and dill until smooth.
Refrigerate mixture at least 30 minutes
Once chilled, shape into a large ball, cover with sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Garlic Spinach Dip

Today, I received my Michigan Door To Door Organics box which included such goodies as Abate Fetal Pears, Avacado, Yellow Baby Carrots, Red Cabbage, Cilantro, and Spinach, amongst many other things.  Mikey and I aren't big veggie eaters, but we're (make that - I'm) trying.  I need some ideas to use the veggies, instead of let them go to waste, like I have so many times before. :(
I don't like regular spinach much anyway-especially cooked (belch), but I'll try anything so I decided to start scavenging "the internets" for ideas.  I didn't come up with anything, so I 
decided to experiment.  After discovering that my blender sucks and murding one of my favorite mini spatulas, I got out the ol' food processor (which I've never used) and it worked like a charm! THANKS GRAM! 

<~~~~~~Murdered Spatula. :(

So, I came up with this.  Mikey gave it a smile, nod and thumbs up!

Garlic Spinach Dip
1/4 c, plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice french or white bread, 1/2 in thick/ 6 inches wide (approx)
1/2 lb spinach, raw, stems removed
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

In a small bowl, place 2 tbsp olive oil. Place bread slice in the oil, turning once to coat. Let set until all oil is absorbed, then tear into cubes. Set aside.

With a food processor, finely chop the spinach. Add the bread, lemon juice and garlic and process until well blended.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, puree.  Place mixture on/in serving dish and garnish with desired amount of grated Parmesan cheese. I served this with whole wheat pita bread bits (pita bread torn into pieces).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thai Green Curry Stir Fry

A few weeks ago, we went to Stir Crazy at the mall. Before then, I hadn't been there since high school. It was SO GOOD! We did the create-your-own type of thing, where you pick your meat, veggies, sauce and noodles, etc. I decided to try their Thai Curry sauce...OMG I'm obsessed. It's one of the few things I crave on a constant basis.
Because we haven't been back (Mikey won't eat "un-american foods" more than "once in a while"), I decided to try my own Thai Green Curry sauce. mmmmm. I came pretty close. Surprisingly, Mikey liked it...he usually only likes teriaki.

This was enough for 3-4 people and measurements are approximate as I was taught to cook with "a teacup of this" and "a pinch of that" lol.

For the Green Thai Curry Sauce:
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tsp green curry powder (I used M & B Spices, which is 100% organic)
2 tsp Light soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar, red wine or regular should suffice as well

1 box rice noodles, cooked according to box directions

Stir Fry:
sesame, olive, veggie or other cooking oil
1 lb chicken, cubed
1 vidalia onion, cut into bite sized pieces
1 red, yellow and or green pepper, bite sized
1/2 c water chestnuts
1/2 c baby corn
1 c broccoli, coarsely chopped
3/4 c baby carrots
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

Bean sprouts, cilantro, and lemon wedges for garnish and or flavor.

Sorry, pictures are from my phone... :(

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cousin Patti's Orgasmic Cream Cheese Dip

Since I'm too lazy to go back and look, I'm not sure if I've posted this before but it's worth posting again. My cousin Patti brought this dip to a family picnic at my parent's house a few summers ago. No one would leave the food table. No one wanted to share.
She says the guys in her office call it orgasmic dip. We'll go with that.

2 packages cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp apricot jam
2 garlic cloves
(I added a little dill weed as well, for color)

With a hand mixer beat all ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with crackers. That's it. It's that easy!

Wait until you try it. :D

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Have a Happy Resees Peanut Butter Birthday!

While visiting other people's blogs, you get hungry.  I mean, you get some really great ideas!  In my search for all things peanut butter for Michel's birthday, I visited Lindsey's blog. Since My husband really likes peanut butter, I decided to make these for his Birthday today. Now, I'm not a fan of peanut butter and cannot eat them because of my diet so,I figured these would be safe.

Apparently, I cannot resize the picture, which, is from my phone and blurry. Sorry.

2 c creamy peanut butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
36 mini Reeses peanut butter cups, unwrapped
mini marshmallows

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used fat free Half and Half)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. water
mini Resees Pieces or M&Ms


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine peanut butter, sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until well mixed. Divide the dough evenly between 24 wells of a mini-muffin pan, making dough balls. Make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until almost done. Remove from the oven and press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie until it is flush with the top of the dough. Top each cookie with 3-4 mini marshmallows. Return the pan to the oven and bake 2-3 minutes more, or until the marshmallows have puffed up. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool completely in the pan before removing them. 

Once the cookies are completely cooled, transfer them to a wire rack over a sheet of wax paper. Place the chopped chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil, then pour the liquid over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Gently whisk the mixture together until smooth. Leave the glaze to sit until it thickens to your desired consistency. Drizzle over top of the cookies. Sprinkle with Resees Pieces before the glaze hardens.

Crock pot too big? Try this!

I've been having trouble with things burning in my crock pot because I really don't want to cook for more than just 2, if there's just 2 of us.  So, things have been burning because the ingredients don't fill the entire pot.  WELL. Over at Cara's Cravings food blog, she mentioned the perfect solution! Inside of the regular crock pot pot, place a smaller, oven-proof pot, like pyrex or calphalon ceramic.  It makes perfect sense: less hot, dry surface=less burning. DUH. 
So, the next time you want to use your crock pot for smaller meals, try that.  Let me know how it works for you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A note about feta.

I love feta cheese. Love love love. Lately, I've been using more of it in my cooking since I've turned to Mediterranean recipes for low/good fat dinners. A note about feta:

Sheep are the most important dairy animal in the Mediterranean. In much of the Middle East, the sheep’s milk cheese of choice is feta. Look for imported sheep’s milk feta cheese which has been barrel aged. To feta aficionados, there is no comparison between artisnal-barrel aged feta and the feta produced in huge automated factories. However, given the expense and in some areas the unavailability of barrel-aged feta, feta cheese imported from Greece, France and Bulgaria are your next best bet.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ooey Gooey Snack 'Cake'

Whether you make this 'cake' for breakfast, snack or dessert, it's both nutritious AND delicious!
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
1 tbsp rolled oats
1 pinch baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp yogurt, low fat
2 tbsp fruit; berries, pineapple, peach, etc.

Spray a microwavable bowl with cooking spray. Place yogurt, and dry ingredients; mix well. Gently add fruit. Place uncovered, in microwave.  Cook on high for 1 minute. Serve warm. (microwave ovens do vary, please watch your item carefully. if it is not done, add a few seconds at a time)

1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar or other sweetener
1 tbsp rolled oats
1 pinch baking soda
.5 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp chocolate yogurt, low fat (I used yoplait whips)
caramel sundae topping

Spray a microwavable bowl with cooking spray. Place yogurt, and dry ingredients; mix well. Place uncovered, in microwave.  Cook on high for 1 minute. Serve warm, drizzled with caramel topping
(microwave ovens do vary, please watch your item carefully. if it is not done, add a few seconds at a time)

I did not take a picture, as it isn't much to look at. ENJOY! mmmm.

The below is estimated, based on the 'breakfast version':

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 158.8
  • Total Fat: 1.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.6 mg
  • Sodium: 68.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 36.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 3.2 g

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tomato Basil Feta Couscous Salad

Once again, I've forced my husband to try something he's never tried in the food world; couscous. When he asked what it was and why it had such a stupid name, I replied that it is a Moroccan staple. "Why the hell do I want to eat staples?!" Funny guy.

This recipe was more than enough for 3-4 people.

1 1/2 c tomato, diced
1 c shallots, minced
1/3-1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsp lemon juice (vinegar is ok as well)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c arugula, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp salt (kosher recommended)

1 c water
1 c uncooked couscous
4 tsp fresh basil, chopped
basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Combine first 7 ingredients, set aside to marinate 20-30 minutes.
Cook couscous according to package directions. Cool.
Combine all ingredients, garnish with extra basil leaves. Serve chilled.

I also like this with pasta.  I use whole wheat rotini.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Banana Split Freezer Dessert Trifle-esk Thingie

**2/2/11 SO! According to my Live Traffic feed to the right, THIS is the most popular post found off of the web. If you've made it, please leave a review to let me know if you loved it, hated it, changed it, etc. I'd like to know YOUR opinions! Thanks so much!

I walked in on someone talking about a banana split dessert at work the other day. She said it was AWESOME, though it wasn't actually a banana split. So here it is, my challenge piece, the Banana Split Freezer Dessert Trifle Thingie.

3-4 bananas
1/2 gal Neapolitan ice cream (the kind in the box)
1/2 c chopped nuts
1 c chocolate chips
2 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs (divided)
1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
2 c powdered sugar

Cover the bottom of a 11x15 or 13x9 in pan with 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs. Thinly slice bananas and place over crumbs. Slice ice cream into 1/2 inch slices and layer next in the pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Place in the freezer until frozen solid.
While freezing, melt the chocolate chips & butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Add powdered sugar and evaporated milk. DO NOT BOIL. Cool mixture slightly. Remove pan from freezer and add chocolate as the next layer. Freeze again. Remove from freezer, cover with Cool Whip and sprinkle with remaining crumbs.
Keep frozen, remove 5 minutes before serving.
(not my photo)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Freezer Biscuits & Bread

These great biscuits are made ahead of time and are to be kept in the freezer. NOTE: they must be kept frozen, or they will not cook correctly.  I actually made these today, making half the dough into biscuits and the other half into bread.

6 c flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c cream (I used half & half)

Line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon about 1-2 minutes. (dough will be like a thick waffle batter)  Turn dough out onto a floured work surface (you'll need LOTS of flour to keep dough from sticking to you and your surface) and knead until smooth. Pat dough out to be about 3/4 in thick.  Use a 2 in. biscuit cutter to cut as many as you can from the first knead.  Re-knead remaining dough and cut again.  Place biscuits on baking sheets, 1 in. apart.  Freeze until solid; about 4 hours.  Once frozen, put into freezer safe container to keep.
You can also use this dough to make a thick, heavy, rustic-looking bread.  After kneading, simply form into a loaf shape and place into loaf pan.  
Bake 450 for 20-25 minutes (35-40 for bread)

Orange Glazed Chicken

I discovered this recipe in my search for easy to make and easy to freeze recipes.  I don't remember the source, however I changed the recipe significantly...therefore, whatever.

2 lb chicken; breast, pieces, etc.
1/2 c french dressing
7 oz ginger ale
1/2 c orange juice
1/3 tbsp corn starch

Marinate chicken in french dressing 60 minutes or more.  Place in roasting pan or deeper baking sheets;  sprayed with cooking spray.  Brown chicken under broiler.  Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, combine ginger ale, orange juice and corn starch over medium heat.  Glaze chicken with orange mixture. (at this stage, you can cover and freeze)  Bake at 300 for 1.5 hours, basting with orange sauce.
(If frozen, thaw before cooking)

Zesty Veggie Soup

This soup is very easy to make on a lazy day, either in the crock pot or stove top.  Makes about 10-12 servings.

4  c   hot & spicy tomato juice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 c each; frozen or fresh corn, green beans, peas, carrots; etc.
2 c potato; chopped
1/2 medium onion; diced
2 tsp garlic; minced
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil; dried
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large stock or crock pot.  Simmer 4-6 hours. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You asked for it! Soft Pretzels!

Prep time, 1 hour, 40 minutes
Bake time, 10 minutes
Ready in 2 hours

3 to 3 1/2 c all purpose or unbleached flour, divided (can use 1/2 and 1/2 with whole wheat flour as well)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 (1/4 oz) dry active yeast
1 c water
1 tbsp shortening
6 c water
1/4 c baking soda
pretzel salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 c flour, sugar, salt and yeast; blending well. Heat 1 cup water and shortening in a small sauce pan to 100-110*f. Add water mixture to flour mixture. With an electric mixer, blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir, by hand, and additional 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups of flour, or until dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in 1/2-3/4 cup flour on a floured surface, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with non stick spray. Punch down dough. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 16 inch rope. Form into pretzel shape (if ends won't stick to the middle of the knot, use a drop or 2 of water to bind). Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise again for 15-20 minutes.

Adjust baking rack to top position and heat to 375* (non stick and dark sheets)/ 400* (light/glass sheets). Combine 6 cups of water and baking soda in a shallow sided sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil. Slowly drop pretzels into water, one at a time, cooking 15 seconds on each side. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with desired topping.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Best served warm.

Makes fabulous 12 pretzels!
This recipe was on the side of a flour bag. (not my photo)

SUPER AWESOME Oven Fried Chicken

I LOVE this oven fried chicken. It's a hit every time I make it. I always make at least double what I think everyone will eat- apparently, their stomachs enlarge at the very smell! It's also very good the next day, cut up and placed on a salad as well.
1 to 1.5 lbs chicken
1 c cracker crumbs & rice chex crumbs, mixed (bread crumbs are ok too)
1 c flour
1 egg
1/2 c half & half or milk
1/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp Crazy Jane's seasoning salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350* for dark, non-stick pans and 375* for light or glass. Grease a cookie sheet.
Clean chicken.
Place flour on a small plate.
In small bowl, beat egg and half & half.
In a separate bowl, mix all spices, Parmesan cheese and crumb mixture.
Dredge chicken in flour, followed by half & half mixture, then crumb mix. Place on Greased cookie sheet. Continue until all pieces are covered. Drizzle melted butter evenly over all pieces. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until no longer pink. (I used 1 lb of chicken tenders, baking at 350* for 30 minutes)
(not my photo)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Holy Starches!

Yesterday, I was on a baking streak...
Brownies, biscuits, pretzels, pot roast and beef barley soup with lots of veggies. I'm sure that I'm missing something, but...I'll have recipes up soon. No pictures as everything was eaten before I got a chance to take any. Boo. MMMM, homemade pretzels!