Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baked Doughnuts & Week's Menu Plan

For my parents' last morning with us, I wanted to make a nicer breakfast. I mentally ran through some of our favorite options: scones...I didn't have enough time, crumb coffee cake...I didn't have enough butter. I found the link to a baked doughnut recipe that I had stored and bribed Bryant go to the store for all-purpose flour in exchange for doughnuts (seriously, who wouldn't take that deal?).  These doughnuts were easy to make in the morning; they don't need to rise so you just mix the ingredients and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes.  I was also surprised by the ingredient list, too - it didn't have the levels of fat and sugar that one expects from a doughnut. Don't get me wrong, doughnuts are still a treat, but at least this recipe turned into a pretty easy and tasty morning treat!

I did my doughnuts free hand without the doughnut pan (there was no way I was going to shell out for such a pan!).  They definitely didn't come out as pretty but were obviously tasted just as good!

And so you don't have to worry that we're just eating doughnuts for the rest of the week, here's our menu plan:

Week's Menu Plan

Tuesday: Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Avocado Creme and steamed broccoli

Baked Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts
Taken from: Handle the Heat
Makes 6 doughnuts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 6 oz container of non fat organic vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray (or a doughnut pan, if you happen to own one).
-In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a second bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt.
-Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. The batter will be thick.
-Scoop batter into a piping bag or ziploc bag, snip a bottom corner with scissors, and squeeze out the batter in 6 doughnut shapes onto the baking sheet (I learned that the doughnuts spread and puff up while in the oven so don't make them too big and leave room between them!).  You could also make doughnut holes (but adjust the time to cook for only 5ish minutes.)
-Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few moments and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.
-Use a pastry brush the melted butter over your donuts and then dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately after coating with cinnamon sugar mixture for best texture. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken & Cornbread

You'll have to excuse me for abandoning this blog for the past 10 days.  It should be inexcusable but I'd argue I had a very, VERY good reason - visitors! Specifically my parents and my sister who flew in for an almost-family reunion (sadly, we were missing a sister and her fiance).  The visit was WONDERFUL! Such a great time and like all good visits, went by much too quickly.

Since I'm a such a planner, I had planned for their visit - options of what to do each day and the meals to make while they're here.  I had even prepped some of the meals before they came.  However, what I didn't plan for was AFTER the visit.  I dropped my sister off at the airport and realized I had neglected to plan what we'd eat for dinner for the next few days until I could get to the grocery store.  I managed to use up some meals from our freezer but Thursday night, I was stuck.  Luckily, I found this recipe for Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken and had all the ingredients already in my kitchen. (I always buy lots of boneless, skinless chicken breast when it's on sale so I remove the fat, divide it into 3/4-lb. portions, wrap each portion in plastic and freeze them - it makes dinner a lot easier that way!) The meal was not only fast and easy to make but also delicious! Perfect for any weeknight meal.  

The cornbread went really well with this chicken recipe, too. I love cornbread, especially with honey (in fact, I even had one of my old coworkers keep honey in our office for when I had cornbread!). While I had tried a different recipe for our Thursday night meal, my dad's recipe is far superior so that's the one I've listed below.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken
Taken from: Cooking Light
Serves 4
  • 2  teaspoons  garlic powder
  • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used chicken breast because that's what I always have on hand)
  • Cooking spray
  • 6  tablespoons  honey
  • 2  teaspoons  cider vinegar
-Preheat broiler and move rack to top shelf in the oven.
-Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.
-Place chicken on a broiler pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes (try 3 minutes if using chicken breast) on each side.
-Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush half the honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

Taken from: my dad (and the Fannie Farmer cookbook)
Serves: 8
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (I use skim)
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
-Preheat oven to 425. Spray a 8" square baking pan with cooking spray.
-In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt).
-Add the milk, eggs and oil and blend well.
-Spoon mixture into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes (top will be slightly brown in spots and the cake should feel firm).
-Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mongolian Beef

I don't often go out for Chinese.  I like it but it's been years since I've had takeout and have only been to a Chinese restaurant a handful of times since high school.  But I like making Chinese food at home.  And when I saw this recipe, it immediately made our menu plan.  It also didn't hurt that broccoli AND mushrooms were on sale at the grocery store and we have grass-fed beef sold at our farmers market.  What more could you need? It did not disappoint either - this recipe turned out incredibly well (I might or might not have licked my bowl clean)! The brown sugar adds some sweetness but is nicely balanced from the heat of the red pepper flakes.  It's made our 5-star menu and will be a great go-to recipe.

Another plus? Stir fry is almost always a fast-cooking meal which is great when you want a quick (and fairly easy) dinner. But since it's so quick cooking, it's best to have all the ingredients all prepped (vegetables washed and cut, sauce already made, etc), by the wok and ready to go.  Whether you're making this for a quick dinner, a Chinese food fix or both, enjoy!

Mongolian Beef
Taken from: Handle the Heat
Serves 3-4
  • 2/3 lb. flank steak, sliced across the grain
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  •  2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. (heaping) red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 large scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 broccoli heads
  • approx 6-7 mushrooms, sliced (if desired) or any other vegetable (baby corn, thinly sliced carrots, snow peas, etc)
  • brown rice, cooked (I often cook rice ahead of time and store in the freezer.  While the Mongolian Beef does its last 4 minutes of cooking, I heat up the rice over the stove or in the microwave.)
-Cut steak fairly thinly across the grain.  Pat the steak pieces with a paper towel to get rid of any moisture. Toss the steak and cornstarch together and then shake off excess cornstarch using a fine strainer.
-Mix together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes in a small bowl or large measuring cup.
-Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large fry-pan at medium-high heat and add the ginger and garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant, then add the soy sauce mixture to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes and transfer back to the bowl or measuring cup.
-Heat the wok on medium high and when hot, swirl the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the beef and cook, stirring until just browned (approx 1-2 minutes).  Add broccoli and mushrooms to pan (I had precooked my broccoli and mushrooms slightly but I'll try it next time just adding the vegetables raw).
-Pour the sauce back in and let it cook with the meat. Simmer for around 4-5 minutes or until thickened.
-Place beef mixture on top of a bed of brown rice and garnish with scallions.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pizza Sauce, Pesto and Cranberry Vinaigrette for an Apple Walnut Salad

This was a weekend of lasts and firsts.  It was my last local farmers market of the year on Saturday (although I'll see if there's an open farmers market close by since I can't seem to let go).  Since it was the last, I strayed from my weekly list and got extra items, including lots of tomatoes (which will be made into pizza sauce, salsa and tikka masala sauce), cantelope and fresh basil.  The basil smelled irresistible and while there's a ton of basil in this one bunch, I'm slightly kicking myself for not getting an extra bunch or two.  Since I have the last of the fresh tomatoes and basil, it only seemed appropriate to make homemade tomato sauce for a margharita pizza as well as homemade pesto.

However, it's also a first for our area because we finally got rain today! And a great, soaking rain. I can hear it patter outside.  After an October mostly with 80 degree weather and a summer without absolutely no rain (not even clouds), it's a welcome change.  Don't get me wrong - I've loved the summer weather but I'm excited for some true fall weather.  And what better way to spend a rainy day than drinking coffee and cooking (especially with simmering something on the stove)?

Pizza Sauce
Taken from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes approx. 1 cup of sauce (enough for a small/medium pizza)
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Splash of red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
-Bring medium pot of water to a boil. On the bottom of each tomato, slit the skin making an small X mark with a knife.  Poach the tomatoes for one minute only, and then drain them. As soon as they are cooled off enough that you can touch them, peel them (I ran mine under a bit of cold water to speed the cooling process).
-Drain and dry the pot. Put it back on the burner over medium heat. Pour in olive oil and let it heat completely before adding the garlic and stirring it for a minute with a wooden spoon. Add the red pepper flakes and stir it for anther minute. You do not want the garlic to brown. Put the peeled tomatoes in the pot, along with the wine, sugar and salt. Break the tomatoes up with your spoon.
Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down. Carefully taste without burning your tongue and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

  • 2 cups fresh basil, roughly torn (I find the basil at the grocery store really expensive and very small portions; I highly recommend a farmers market or at least Trader Joe's which gives you a lot more for your money)
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts (I always have walnuts in the house so I use that instead)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. of grated parmesan cheese, if desired (I often omit)
-Place basil, nuts, garlic, salt and parmesan (if using) in a blender or food processor.  Blend, gradually adding oil until mix is thickened.  Taste and adjust accordingly.
-If not using the pesto right away or if you have leftovers, freeze the pesto in an ice-cube tray and then place in the individual pesto portions in a freezer bag for future meals.

Cranberry Vinaigrette for an Apple Walnut Salad
Taken from: AllRecipes
Makes 5-6 servings
  • 2 tablespoons cranberries (if you use dried cranberries that have sugar already, omit sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar (omit if you're using dried cranberries)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

-In a food processor, combine the cranberries, vinegar, sugar (if necessary), and mustard. Puree until smooth; gradually add oil, and season with salt and pepper.
-For an excellent salad for this dressing, combine 1/4 chopped walnuts (toasted, if you'd like), 1/4 thinly sliced red onion, 1-2 sliced apples and lots of greens in a large bowl and then drizzle on cranberry vinaigrette.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce & Week's Menu Plan

I had high expectations for this dish.  It was ranked one of the best recipes on and when I quickly scanned through of a few of the 150 comments, they all sang its praises and offered no changes.

And they were right - it was delicious.  The sauce was divine.  It's a must to serve it with rice (we had leftover risotto) because it really needs something to soak up the sauce. We kept spooning more sauce onto our plates.  I was even dipping my steamed artichoke leaves into the sauce instead of melted butter! The flavors surprisingly delicate.  There's not much heat to it but I think that adding some crushed red pepper flakes would give it some nice (but not overwhelming) heat.  But I think that's the only change I would make.  Since it's from Cooking Light, it's already a pretty health-conscious meal.  Thank you, Cooking Light!

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce
Taken from: Cooking Light
Serves: 4 (which typically means it serves 3 in our house)
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2  teaspoons  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  cup  finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1  teaspoon  curry powder
  • 2  teaspoons  red curry paste
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 4  teaspoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1  (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 3  cups  hot cooked brown rice
  • 4  lime wedges
-Preheat broiler.
-Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add pepper and onions; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.
-Brush fish with 1/2 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve fish with sauce, rice, and lime wedges.

Week's Menu Plan
Friday: Apple, Cheddar & Ham Panini and Grilled Ham, Pear & Cheese Sandwich

Saturday:  Chicken Piccata with Summer Vegetables

Sunday: Mongolian beef with broccoli, mushrooms with edamame

Monday: pizza margharita

Tuesday: Rotisserie Chicken, Apple Walnut Salad  with buttercup squash

Wednesday: feta salmon cakes with roasted sweet potatoes

Friday: shrimp & grits

Saturday: sirloin kabobs w/ black eye pea salad, chocolate Guinness cupcakes for dessert 

Sunday: coffee crumb cake for breakfast, chicken tikka masala with brown rice

Monday: Spanish Tortilla with salad, apple pandowdy for dessert

Monday, October 11, 2010


This meal was inspired both by my monthly subscription to Everyday Food magazine as well as by my younger sister.  I love reading through Everyday Food every month (I actually take it to the gym and read it on the elliptical...but then again, I like watching the Food Network while working out, too). It's full of good recipes and ideas.  In case you get Everyday Food, someone has taken the time to painstakingly index every single issue of Everyday Food: Everyday Index. Unbelievable!

But I digress. My point was that ratatouille was one of the featured recipes in this month's issue.  However, I remember how much my younger sister loved the Moosewood cookbook's version of ratatouille.  Moosewood is a famous vegetarian cookbook (well, I guess I should say famous for a cookbook).  I was so eager to try the original Moosewood version that I searched the website to try to find the real thing.  And luckily, a Syracuse newspaper printed what I hope is the authentic version (if you have the cookbook, you can be the judge).

This recipe FAR exceeded my expectations - it was delicious! It was surprisingly hearty for being only vegetables.  There also seems to be a lot of ways to serve it, too.  We had it with a side of fresh bread which was excellent but I think I'll freeze the leftovers and then serve it over pasta next time.  I also rolled it up in phyllo dough and baked it 15 minutes (a suggestion by Everyday Food) which was great the next day at lunch.

Taken from: Moosewood Cookbook
Serves 6-8
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium bell peppers, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed (or summer squash, or a combination)
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 medium tomatoes, in chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon each: basil and marjoram (I used 1 tsp. dried basil and 1 tsp. dried oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano (I used 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
  • Dash of ground rosemary (I used a large pinch of dried rosemary)
  • 3 tablespoons Burgundy (or dry red wine of your choice)
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt (approximately)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Optional add-ins: freshly chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, sliced black olives
-Heat olive oil in large, heavy cooking pot. Crush the garlic into the oil. Add bay leaf and onion. Saute over medium heat until onion begins to turn transparent.
-Add eggplant, wine and tomato paste. Add herbs. Stir to mix well, then cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes over low heat.
-When eggplant is tender enough to be easily pricked by a fork, add zucchini and peppers. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and tomatoes. Mix well.
-Continue to stew until all vegetables are tender.
-Serve with chopped parsley, grated Parmesan and/or sliced black olives.
-Serve with rice, bread or pasta.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spicy Chicken & Avocado Sandwich and French Baguettes

This is normally a sandwich for the summer but when a website mentioned a spicy chicken and avocado sandwich recipe, I didn't want to wait.  It just sounded too good. While that particular recipe wasn't to my liking, I found this spicy chicken recipe that sounded perfect for a sandwich.  And since avocados were on sale for 2 for a $1, I couldn't resist.  What a delicious decision! The chicken added a nice kick but was nicely balanced with melted cheese and the creaminess of the avocados.

And a sandwich this good can't have just any bread.  I highly recommend getting a good french baguette from your grocery store or bakery.  Or if you're brave (and/or cheap) enough, here's a mini french baguette recipe.  While the dough didn't rise enough for me, the bread was still so, so good and perfect for this sandwich (even though I made the bread several days in advance). Perhaps you'll have better luck getting a proper rise!

Spicy Chicken and Avocado Sandwich
Taken from: AllRecipes
Serves: 3-4 sandwiches
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 - 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 3-4 strips
  •  sliced avocado
  • Romaine lettuce (or any substitute)
  • mozzarella cheese or cheese of your choice, grated or thinly sliced (we've used part-skim mozzarella and sharp cheddar in the past and both were delicious!)
  • sliced tomatoes, pickles or any other topping
  • good bread (French baguette recipe below is delicious)
 -For the chicken:
  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. 
  2.  In a medium bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper. Rub the chicken breasts with this mixture until coated.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the grill, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.  
-Meanwhile, slice bread and broil until lightly toasted (about 1-2 minutes).  Add cheese on one half and broil 30 seconds to 1 minute until cheese is melted and bubbling.  
-Make your sandwich to your liking.

French Baguettes
Taken from: AllRecipes
Make 2 regular loves or 4 mini loves
  • 1 cup warm water (approx. 100-110 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bread yeast
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
-Mix sugar and yeast together in a small bowl.  Add 1 cup water and let sit 5-10 minutes.  
-In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt.  Add proofed yeast mixture and mix until fully combined (starting with a wooden spoon. Knead for several minutes until no longer sticky.   
-Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
-Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in 4 strips, creating four 8x6 inch rectangles (or make two 8x12 inch rectangles). Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 6 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end.
-Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg white with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
-Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers & Week's Menu Plan

Stuffed bell peppers was one of the first meals I ever made...actually, it was the first meal I ever remade, straying from the exact recipe and making my own changes to make the dish healthier.  Although most of my changes are now forgotten, I do remember one as switching from a combination of ground pork and ground beef to lean ground turkey (ground beef could work but just try to make it at least 90% lean).  I have no idea where the recipe was originally from but on the index card, I have the title as "Big John's Stuffed Bell Peppers."  Maybe Big John wouldn't be so big if he had made some of these updates! It's delicious as a one-dish meal and is a recipe that I keep coming back to. It's especially good now that bell peppers are in season here.

As I was making my farmers market grocery list for this coming week's meal plans, I realized that I'm using just about every vegetable that our market offers. While I didn't do it on purpose, I'm happy to fully take advantage of having such a variety of fresh vegetables while I can!

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Serves 6
  • 6 bell peppers, tops removed and ribs and seeds removed (any color but our favorite is red)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • leftover bell peppers tops, diced 
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 3/4-1 lb. ground turkey, 93% lean (you could also use lean ground beef)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup marinara sauce 
  • cheese, if desired (we often grate a bit of mozzarella cheese on top) 
-Make sure to cook brown rice beforehand. 
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a large pot of boiling water, boil prepped bell peppers for 5-7 minutes until peppers are fairly soft.  Drain on paper towels and then put peppers in 9 by 13 baking dish.  Add water to the bottom of the baking dish until the bottom of the dish is barely covered.
-While bell peppers are in boiling water, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil and cook garlic, onions and peppers tops until soft, 5-7 minutes.
-Add ground turkey, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Cook until brown and all pink is gone, about 5 minutes.   Drain off extra grease.
-Add brown rice and marinara sauce.  Combine and remove from heat.
-Spoon mixture into bell peppers.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes.  Add grated cheese, if desired, on top and cook for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
-Serve with additional marinara sauce.

Week's Menu Plan

Saturday: Spicy Chicken Avocado Sandwich with steamed artichokes

Sunday: Ratatouille

Monday: Chicken Piccata with summer Vegetables

Tuesday: Italian wedding soup

Wednesday: Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce (served with steamed broccoli)

Thursday: Bryant makes dinner!

Friday: steak fajitas (pear butterscotch pie for dessert)

Saturday:  Chicken, Apple & Cheese Quesadillas

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chicken & Chickpea Soup

Do you know the feeling when you think you're on the verge of a cold? You're not sick yet but you can feel it coming.  Bryant felt like that on Tuesday so that means sleeping a lot more, lots lof buying some orange juice and making chicken soup.  However, this chicken soup is a bit different than others because it uses chickpeas instead of noodles.  Also, the spices in this soup seem much more Moroccan to me - cinnamon, cumin and coriander. It's delicious and a nice twist on the classic soup. So whether you're fighting off a cold or not, enjoy!

Chicken and Chickpea Soup
Taken from: Everyday Food Magazine
Serves 6
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained OR 1 1/2 cups of cooked dried garbanzo beans
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • squeeze of lemon
- Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add chicken breast (it can even be frozen) and cook 10-15 minutes until fully cooked through (there should be no pink on the inside).  Cool chicken and then shred with fingers or two forks.  Set aside.
-Bring a large pot to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and carrots, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (about 4 minutes). Add garlic and spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth and shredded chicken; add bay leaves.
-Bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer, partially cover, and cook 10-15 minutes. 
-Add chickpeas and celery and just a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cilantro just before serving.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Game Day Food: Boneless Buffalo Wings, Homemade Crackers, White Bean Dip

We had a great Saturday yesterday.  Bryant had to work a bit in the morning but it was just enough time for me to get my workout, farmers market visit and all other chores done before he came home.  The rest of the day was spent hanging out and relaxing.  And the evening, of course, was spent watching college football (and the Huskies won!).  I find that lots of unhealthy food is often served during game day.  Luckily, with a few tweaks, you can make several dishes a lot healthier and still keep the taste.  These boneless wings use chicken breast and are baked instead of fried, saving tons of calories and fat. They're really good, too - you can probably get pretty creative with the sauce but my favorite is BBQ and Bryant's is hot sauce.

Another thing we often have while watching a game is crackers.  However, if you're like me (read: cheap), I'm reluctant to shell out $3 for a small box of crackers so I typically only get them when they're on sale AND I have a coupon. However, I stumbled across this great recipe to MAKE my own crackers.  It's only a few ingredients and it doesn't take much time at all!  It's a great basic recipe but you could add so much to it - I used whole wheat flour, oat bran, flaxseed meal and dried rosemary.  You could really get creative with these; I'll definitely be making them again in the future!

Finally, this white bean dip is a great basic dip for the crackers.  I've made this several times before and it's made from just a few healthy ingredients - beans, olive oil and lemon juice. 

Boneless Chicken Wings
Adapted from: AllRecipes
Serves 3-4
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use skim)
  • 3/4 - 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup sauce (we use 2 Tbsp. hot sauce and 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
-Preheat oven to 400 F.Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then coat with cooking spray.
-In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.  Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture, and then roll in the flour blend. Repeat so that each piece of chicken is double coated. Place on prepared baking sheet.  When all the chicken has been coated, spray top of chicken pieces with cooking spray.
-Cook for 15-20 minutes until tops are slightly browned. 
-Meanwhile, combine 2 Tbsp hot sauce with 1/2 Tbsp butter in a small bowl.  Microwave sauce on High until melted, 20 to 30 seconds. (If you don't have a microwave, place sauce and butter in an oven-proof ramekin or bowl and put in oven for approximately 2 minutes until butter has mostly melted).  Repeat in a separate bowl/ramekin with 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce and remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter. 
-Once chicken is cooked, place half the chicken in one bowl and half in a second bowl.  Pour BBQ sauce mixture over the first bowl and mix to coat.  Repeat with hot sauce mixture over second bowl of chicken.
-Serve with blue cheese dressing or yogurt sauce, carrots, and celery.

Homemade Wheat Crackers
Taken from: AllRecipes
Makes 30-40 crackers (if the dough is rolled thin enough)
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or try substituting oat flour, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, oat bran, white whole wheat, etc or any combination of these)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Any additional add-ins: sesame seeds or other kinds of seeds, dried rosemary or other dried herbs, etc
  • kosher or sea salt for sprinkling
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
-In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour (or substitutes), all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and any add-ins. Pour in the oil and water; mix until just blended. 
-On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as possible - no thicker than 1/8 inch. Place dough on an ungreased baking sheet , and mark squares out with a knife, but don't cut through. (I had to cut my dough in half and bake on two baking sheets because I had so much.)
-Prick each cracker with a fork a few times, and sprinkle with salt. 
-Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and light brown. Baking time may be different depending on how thin your crackers are. When cool, remove from baking sheet, and separate into individual crackers.

White Bean Dip
Taken from: Ellie Krieger
  • 1 (14-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained OR 3 cups of cooked dried white beans
  • 1 garlic clove (if you have roasted garlic, that would be delicious!)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves or dried parsley
-In a food processor, combine the beans, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
-Taste and adjust accordingly. (Add in additional lemon juice, olive oil, salt and/or pepper. You could also thin out a little by adding a little bit of water.)
-Mix in parsley, if desired, and serve with crackers and cut vegetables.