Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pasta to the Rescue


When you are in a rush, but need a quick home-made meal.... its pasta to the rescue.

Today, I created this beauty in between International Business Transactions and Evidence.  I didn't have enough whole wheat pasta for two people, but I didn't let that stop me, I just tossed in some cappelini and ended up with a two-toned creation.

For the sauce/topping I caramelized about 1 cup of onion with 4 cloves of garlic and about 2 oz of Italian Seasoned ground turkey. I then deglazed it with 1/8 cup of white wine. Next came the three diced Roma tomatoes, some frozen artichoke hearts, and 1/2 box of sliced crimini mushrooms. I finished it off with some freshly cracked pepper, sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil. Let it simmer until all the flavors marry, but before the tomatoes completely disintigrate.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Pictureless

Wow... I just made an amazing and healthy lunch if I do say so my self.... So good in fact, that it was gone before I could take a picture of it.

First, I saute ( in olive oil) some sliced onions with 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of jalapeno and 1 small box of sliced crimini mushrooms.  Meanwhile microwave 3 small potatoes and 1 medium sweet potato.
Once the veggies in the sautee pan are soft, deglaze with aboug 1/4 of white wine. Continue cooking it on "low" while u peel and dice the sweet potato and dice the potatoes ( i leave the skin on). Add the sweet/potatoes and stir. Finally, add some french cut green beans, salt and pepper and 1/8 cup of chicken broth. This should be just enough liquid for the beans to warm through. Cover and let it sit for a few minutes on low. Lastly, toss in about 1/4-1/3 cup of french's onions. Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

I served this with some quinoa. This meal is not only full of nutrients and vitamins but it is filling and comforting as well. Perfect for an autumn day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gooey Pumpkin Cupcakes



This one is sure to please the belly, maybe not the diet.

I took the famous "gooey bar" recipe which can be found everywhere online and tweaked it a little. The first change is putting the crust and filling in muffin tins, creating cute single servings.

Crust: One box yellow cake mix, 1 tsp pumpkin spice,  1 egg, 1 stick of butter
     - Melt the butter, when it is room temperature whisk in the egg without scrambling it and finally stir in the cake mix and spice . It should be dense like a cookie dough.

Filling:  8 oz cream cheese, 3 eggs, 2 cups pumpkin, 1 tbsp pumpkin spice , 1/2 tbsp vanilla , 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar , 3 stevia packets ( the original recipe calls for an entire box of powdered sugar :: gasp::)
      - Whisk ingredients together. I  soften and wisk the cream cheese separately before whisking it into the eggs and butter to prevent lumpiness

Preheat oven to 335, line muffin pan and put a golf ball size of the dough into each muffin holder. This will make about 15 muffins or so so I made the extra three in aluminum muffin holders which create a mini-pie looking cupcake.

Next using a round spoon press the dough along the bottom and up the sides creating a crust. Finally spoon the filling on top and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The topping should get browned and cake but it should be soft and gooey to the touch.

Serve after refrigerating for best results. Top with freshly whipped vanilla cream.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade Cranberry Sauce



Simply rinse a bag of fresh cranberries, place it in a saucepan along with once cup or orange juice, the zest of one orange and just enough minced ginger to give a bite. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer until most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce develops a nice bright red color and thick consistency

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quinoa and Black bean stuffed Butternut Squash



This is as simple as healthy recipes get. Simply save the bottom round portion of the butternut squash, take out all the seed and sprinkle it with a little bit of raw sugar. Broil it on low while you make the stuffing.

The stuffing consisted of one can of Trader Joe's Cuban Black beans poured into a pan ( drain at least half the liquid), 1/3 cup of quinoa, a pinch of turmeric, and a pinch of granulated onion. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to this and let it simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked ( it should be partly translucent)

By this time the Butternut should be cooked and nicely caramelized along the top. Portion some of the filling into the center of the squash, top with fat free feta and garnish with cilantro.

Post Note:  Some freshly chopped cilantro folded into the filling at the end would be a perfect addition




Friday, November 20, 2009

Breakfast Soup


Mmm.... while part of the nation wakes up in the morning to frost covered windows and bundles up for a chilly day, we southern californians are still enjoying 80 degree weather. This alternative to morning oatmeal was a perfect way to start the day.

Simply put 1 fresh mango ( peeled and cored) 2/3 cup fat free plain yogurt ( I like Trader Joes  Organic European Style) 1 packet Stevia, 1 splash vanilla  and 1/3 of a frozen banana. It should result in a smooth consistency.

When serving, I topped it with a tiny bit of milk and some frozen rasperries. Not only is it a pretty addition, but it adds a fresh flavor. Plus, I'm sure little children will love the swirls of pink that magically appear in their breakfast!!

Enjoy



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Struesel Topping



































(Before)

Dry Ingredients:


1 cup white flour;1 cup whole wheat flour; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1 tsp baking powder; 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs; 1/2 cup packed brown sugar;
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce;1/2  cup nonfat plain yogurt;1 cup pumpkin puree;2 Tbsp butter; 2 tsp vanilla


Topping Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup raw sugar
pinch of pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Honey to drizzle

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix the wet ingredients together one by one in a larger mixing bowl. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. It should have a fluffy, mousse texture when incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients and set aside. Evenly distribute the batter in the muffin tin, top with the oat topping and drizzle with honey.

Bake for 30 minutes

The apartment smelled amazing while these were baking.... 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Choco-nana Oats




It's getting cold again so I thought it was time to bring the breakfast oats back.  This particular version has no sugar, but gets its sweetness from a ripe banana whipped into the oatmeal at the very end.

Simply make regular oats ( I used 1/4 cup of oats and 1/2 cup of skim milk with a splash of vanilla). When the oats begin to thicken, add a very ripe banana and mix/whip it in. This will not only give it a creamy smooth consistency but also provide the sweetness. Finally, I mixed in 1 tsp of Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder.

The oats are garnshied with more cocoa, white choco chips and a tsp of peanut butter

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Moist Chocolate Loaf ( Low fat, thank you pumpkin)



This super moist, just sweet enough chocolate loaf only has 1/8 cup of olive oil as its source of "fat" and attributes its moist texture to pumpkin puree

Ingredients

3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unweetened Ghiradelli cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinmamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup backed  brown sugar
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/s tsp vanilla
1/8  cup olive oil
1 serving each of 60% cocoa chocolate chips, semisweet chips, classic white chips
Cream cheese ( optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 315 degrees and spray loaf pan

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients ( flours, baking powder/soda and spices, cocoa)
In a larger bowl combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugars, vanilla and olive oil
Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into loaf pan. I chose to add a strip of cream cheese along the top because it looked pretty.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a tooth pick ( or stick of pasta) comes out fairly dry/clean when you poke it into the thickest part of the loaf.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Butternut Squash Naopoleon


Filling:

Saute the diced butternut squashed  in some olive oil with 1/2 a diced white onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Once the onions become translucent add about 1/8 cup of white wine to deglaze. Then add 1/4 cup of brown jasmine rice and saute for about 1 minute. Finally, add about 1 cup of chicken broth and let it simmer until the rice has cooked. ( It should smell and taste amazing at this point).
Optional: add diced water chesnuts for some extra crunch and 1 tbsp of grated Parmesan for flavor and garlic

The Butternut Squash " layers":

Slice 3 slices of butternut squash from the neck where it is still solid. Either spray with Pam or coat with some olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt on both sides. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes ( depending on your ovens strength). Flip the squash and bake for another 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle some raw sugar and paprika on the top side of the squash and broil on low for 5 minutes until an nice golden color develops.

Layer as depicted and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A variation on memories


 All of a sudden, I had a flashback to being a young child sitting at my paternal grandmothers table eating a dish she referred to as "potato jajik"  as an appetizer.  It has been years seen I have thought of this dish, much less eaten it. Nevertheless, I felt inspired to recreate it in a new way.

Essentially all I remember was that the original dish contained potatoes walnuts and greens. From that I created this new recipe

 Ingredients:  
3 cups of baked/boiled potato , skinned
2 cups of walnut halves which you will mince in a food processor
1 medium white onion, sauteed until translucent in unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic
A few sprigs each of : parsley, cilantro, dill
Sea Salt
3 tablespoons whipping cream
Beet juice ( if you want to turn it into the pink color for added presentation)

First, mix the minced walnuts with the cooked potatoes until well combined. Next in a food processor blend the translucent onions, garlic and herbs into a pseudo-pesto. Combine the potato/walnut with the pseudo-pesto and slowly add the whipping cream until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt.

This may sound like an odd combination and it may be an unfamiliar taste, but it brings back memories. Think of it as a type of potato salad. Based on some research I did, it may have its origins in Georgia (the country).

Let me know what you think!


Post Script:  Apparantly this also functions as an appetite suppresant ???  One spoonful is keeping me full for hours.  If it works the same for you , let me know .  I'm curious if I have stumbled upon something here.

Pico De Gallo



I'm sorry , but nothing is better than home made food -- at least not if you have the time, the quality ingredients and the love to put into it.

Even a simple Pico De Gallo can become amazing with a little bit of care.

Ingredients

4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 large jalapeno (mostly seeded and diced)
1/2 small bunch of cilantro
1/2 medium white onion
Sea Salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Juice of one lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Garlic Salt, one pinch

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Apricot Blueberry Muffins ( Low fat, Low Cal)


Dare I say it rivals with the discontinued Starbucks version??  Except mine of course has much fewer calories (152 vs. 350)... and less fat  = less guilt and more smiles.

My Fiance's mother loved the above mentioned Starbucks muffins and requested a recipe to help fill the void. Hopefully this one does the trick !

Ingredients
1/2 cup Blueberries
1 cup diced dried Apricots
1 Oranges
1 cup White Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened Applesauce
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 large Eggs
2 tbsp unsalted Butter
2 pinches of Ground Cinnamon



   DIRECTIONS
 Preheat oven to 375F

In a small bowl reconstitute the diced dried apricot in the juice of one orange, add the zest of said orange and the blueberries to this bowl as well.

In another bowl, mix both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and set aside

In a larger bowl mix the wet ingredients including the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and butter.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Lastly fold in the apricots and blueberries.

                                                   Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cranberry Oatmeal Walnut Cookies


( Inspired by Recipe at Smitten Kitchen)
Ingredients
  1/2 cup unsalted butter Butter

  3/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  1 fresh Egg, large
  1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract,
  3/4 cup All purpose flour
  1 1/2 cups Rolled oats
  1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  1/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
  1/3 cup Craisins, Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries
  1/3 cup Walnut Pieces
  3 tbsp Organic Sour Cream
  2 servings ( 66 chips) Ghiradelli Classic White Chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F

In one bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice,cinnamon and sea salt(optional) together. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
Fold in the oats, cranberries, walnuts and white chocolate chips.  Portion out the cookie dough using a tablespoon. Each cookie should be just over a tablespoon and make around 38-40 cookies.
If you want the cookies to be chewy or cake-like I recommend  either cooking the portioned cookie dough for a few hours, or freezing it overnight. As a bonus, you will have cookies ready to pop in the oven at your leisure.
Assuming you make the cookies after freezing the dough, it will take about 15-20 minutes ( depending on your oven)
Don't rush to take the cookies off the baking sheet as soon as you take them out of the oven because they will still be soft and could lose their shape. Wait at least five minutes -- as they cool down they will be easier to transfer to a serving plate.


Vegetarian Inspirations....



This one is for you Daisy :)

A simple, healthy vegetarian lunch.

In particular, i used : 2 slices of Oroweat Dutch Country Extra Fiber Bread; 2 Tbsp of Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus; 2 small sliced persian cucumbers.  I finished the meal with a gorgeous Honeycrisp apple. Yes, they cost more than the average apple, but they taste anything but average.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cinnamon Chicken ( Modified from a family recipe)


Ingredients

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 medium onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1 tbsp raw sugar
Makes 2 servings




Directions

Saute the onions in the olive oil ( add some salt and pepper to your taste). Then turn the heat on low, place the chicken breast on top of the onions and add the remaining ingredients ( tomato sauce, chicken broth, cinnamon, turmeric, granulated onion, and raw sugar). Bring the liquids to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer. After about 15 minutes, return to the pot and pull the chicken apart into "big shreds" . Let it cook for another 15-20 minutes ensuring the chicken absorbs the flavor of the sauce.  If the sauce is too liquidy at this point, uncover the pot completely and let it simmer for a few more minutes, allowing the liquid to evaporate and thicken the sauce.  Serve with basmati rice. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Simple Samosa





I had a few friends coming over tonight for wine, cheese an appetizers so I took the opportunity to experiment with a recipe.  I had some puff pastry in the fridge waiting to be used so I decided to make a mini-Samosa .

While the dough was thawing, I made the filling:


Ingredients
 3 Russet Potatoes
1/2 large onion
1 cup crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup peas
Salt
Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
3/4 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp sour cream

Microwave the potatoes. At the same time, caramelize the onion and mushroom together on the stop.When the potatoes are done, peel and dice them and place them in as mixing bowl. Now add the spices ( salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and garlic salt) to the onion/mushrooms and stir.  Add this mixture to the potatoes along with the carrots, peas and sour cream. Mix well and set aside

Now that the puff pastry has thawed, use a rolling pin to thin it out and allow you to get multiple servings.  Cut the dough into desired sizes ( I used a cup to cut them into circles which i used to create small half circle samosas) .  Place the filling in the middle of each piece, fold over the dough and pinch the sides to seal them.

Bake in the oven at 360F for about 30 minutes. Make sure to spray the cooking pan with Pam ( or like product). Also, spray the top of the pastries. ( You may use an egg wash instead)


This is a great alternative to the traditionally fried samosa.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"White Chocolate Cheesecake" Raspberry Oatmeal






I feel almost guilty after eating this for breakfast. Maybe its better served as dessert?  Actually, it would be perfect for a weekend brunch.

Ingredients

1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla essence (be generous)
2 tbsp cream cheese
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1 tbsp brown sugar
22 Ghiradelli white chocolate chips ( optional, adds about 50 calories to the total)
Total calories:  343 ( including chocolate)
  DIRECTIONS:

As usual, begin cooking the oats in the milk, water and vanilla. Once it begins to thicken add the brown sugar and cream cheese stirring constantly to ensure it melts evenly. Now add 1/4 cup of the raspberries and allow them to melt giving the oatmeal a dainty pink color. When the oatmeal is done, fold in another 1/4 cup of berries.
Finally, garnish the oats with the remaining berries and the white chocolate.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

C








CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

Ingredients

Makes 4 servings
 
8 oz  boneless skinless chicken breast
1 Spanish Onion, Med, diced
1 tbsp Oil-Smart Balance Omega
1 cup Masala simmer sauce, (Trader Joes)
3/4 cup Chicken Broth
Ginger Root, 1 tsp (remove)
1 cup crimini mushroom
1/2 cup Frozen green peas
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp Garam Masala Indian Spice Mix


 Total Calories per serving: 241 calories

Directions

Sautee the onions in the cooking oil. Next brown the chicken on all sides for about 5-8 minutes.
Add the Masala Simmer sauce, broth, ginger root and garam masala. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Add the cream in slowly while stirring, then add in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes
Lastly, add the peas in just long enough for them to thaw and warm through, retaining their green color.
























RAITA ( my version)                   
Makes 2 servings                     

Ingredients                                

1 cup fat free plain organic yogurt
1 small persian cucumber            
 sea salt                                       
fresh cracked pepper                  
3/4 tsp dried mint                        
1/2 tsp dried basil                       
       

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This one is for Pru.....



KUNG PAO CHICKEN

During my first year of law school my DC Studio totaled a generous 400 square feet -- the Kitchen took up about 36 square feet!  Crazy huh?!   It was a tiny 6 feet by 6 feet, -- pretty much a sing next to a mini stove/oven. 

Yet, I managed to make use of my limited space and resources to make meals. The pleasure I got in cooking for friends and myself and the effect it had on reducing my stress levels was well worth the effort and creativity. 

One of my classmates, Pru, lived a few flights upstairs from me and toward the end of our first year we spent plenty of time studying together -- especially during finals. During one of these nights she tried my kung pao chicken and immediately thereafter begged for my recipe. This post is me making good on my promise.

So here ya go Pru!  I hope these directions serve you well :)


Ingredients


1/4 cup unpackedBrown Sugar
3/4 cup Chicken Broth,
4 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp Ginger Root
2 tbsp Garlic
1 cup Green onion
1/2 cup Sliced Water Chestnuts
4 oz chicken breast boneless skinless,
1/8 cup Peanuts unsalted
Pam, cooking spray

Directions

Combine the brown sugar with the chicken broth, the soy sauce, the rice vinegar, the chopped ginger and chopped garlic and end up with something like this in a separate bowl:

Then, before I begin cooking, I like prepping my vegetables which included measure out the peanuts and water chestnuts and cutting the scallions:




All together now:



Ok, so now that the prepping is complete ( I'm assuming you've washed and diced the chicken as well) we can move on to the next step.

Spray your cooking pan with some pam ( add a few dried red chilis if you are adventurous)
Once the pan is warm add in the chicken and let it brown on both sides on high heat ( hibachi style).
Next, pour the liquid into the pan  and  cover. Let the chicken simmer for at least 10-15 minutes.
Once the liquid has thickened into a sauce add the water chestnuts, peanuts and half the scallions.
Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Finally, fold in the remaining scallions and serve


Apple Pie??? .... Sorta


You know you wants some....
The Breakfast Saga continues with Apple Pie Oats.... what to do tomorrow?

Ingredients

1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 small granny smith apple, cored, peeled and diced
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
11 Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips

Total Calories: 215

OK. THIS TIME, we cook the apples first :)
Melt the butter, then add the sugar and apples and let it cook for about 5 minutes on medium low. Make sure the sugar/caramel doesn't burn

Once done, set this aside in a small bowl and cook the oats in the water/milk mixture.

Finally, fold the apples back into the cooked oats, plate and hide the white chocolate chips inside for a surprise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Post Script....

Banner Design ( and inspiration) by DAISY M.

Send me your new address Daisy so I can send you a fresh batch of cookies!!  :)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


Can you tell I finally got my own digital camera????  No more cell phone pics, yay!!

I had quite a bit of fun actually..... see




Ingredients

1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp Stevia
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon garnish
Ghirardelli Classic White Chips (33 chips)
Total Calories  ( 211 )

Cook the oats in the 1/2 water, 1/2 skim milk, + vanilla mixture
When done, stir in the pumpkin, spices, stevia and brown sugar until warm
Top with the white chocolate chips :)