Original and Practical Recipes. Inexpensive, Quick and Healthy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SND Oscar Edition

I just returned home from another great Sunday Night Dinner.  The Oscars is one of our favorite SND events.  We always watch the awards and bet on the winners.  Last year I hosted the party and I encouraged everyone to dress up.  I purchased a red carpet, a photo backdrop, and an Oscar replica online - so everyone could walk the red carpet and strike a pose when they arrived.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vegetable Risotto

Today I was at Whole Foods buying ingredients to make Guacamole, when I realized I hadn't even thought of what I was making for dinner.  So I wandered the aisles until I came up with a plan.  I decided to make a vegetable risotto because the produce at Whole Foods is so good.  I chose some of my favorite veggies and add in goat cheese to make the risotto creamy.

1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
1 small Red Pepper
1 Zucchini
1 large Portabella Mushroom
1 large carton Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Parmesan
2 ounces Goat Cheese
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons White Wine

Step 1:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pot over medium heat.  Then add the risotto and stir.  Stir frequently until the risotto browns slightly.  Then add just enough chicken broth to just submerge the risotto.  Let simmer.

Step 2:
In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Mix in 2 tablespoons white wine, then add the red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini.  Stir frequently until all of the liquid has been absorbed, and the vegetables have browned.

Step 4:
Once the risotto has absorbed the broth (it takes about 10 minutes), add more broth.  As in Step 2, add just enough broth so that the rice is completely submerged.  Stir to make sure that no rice sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Step 5:
Repeat Step 3.

Step 6:
Once the risotto has absorbed the third addition of broth, add more broth until the rice is submerged.  Stir.

Step 7:
Once most of the broth is absorbed stir in the vegetables, goat cheese, and parmesan.  Stir together.  Serve once the liquid has absorbed and the cheese has melted.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

15 Minute Pasta with Tomato Goat Cheese Sauce

The amazing thing about this dinner isn't that it only took 15 minutes to make - all the ingredients were purchased at Walgreens!  Granted, it wasn't your typical Walgreens, I went to the new flagship Walgreens on State Street in Chicago - which sells sushi and grocery items.

This meal hit the spot on a busy night when I had no time to cook.  The goat cheese makes the sauce extra creamy, which contrasted nicely with the chunks of tomato.

Total time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

You will need:
1 box of Pasta
14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
8 oz Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons Parmesan
2 oz Goat Cheese

Step 1:
Put water on to boil for the pasta.

Step 2:
Heat the diced tomato in a large skillet.  Let bubble and reduce for 5 minutes.

Step 3:
Add 3/4 box of pasta to the water once it is boiling.

Step 4:
Add the tomato sauce and parmesan and let simmer until the pasta has cooked.

Step 5:
Drain the pasta.  Stir the goat cheese into the sauce.  Then stir in the pasta and serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taco Pie

I decided to repurpose taco leftovers and make a taco pie.  The prep time was only a few minutes, and it was delicious.  You could add in any taco leftovers you have on hand - other ideas are sauteed onions or peppers.  The meat doesn't need to have mexican seasoning - salsa is added to the pie for flavor and moisture.

You will need:
3 8-inch Tortillas
1/4 cup Salsa
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Shredded Chicken
1/2 cup Low Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese
1/2 cup Black Beans
Sour Cream
a pie pan

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the salsa and chicken broth.  Then place a tortilla on the bottom of the pie pan.  Spoon enough of the salsa and chicken broth over the tortilla to completely cover it.

Step 2:
Top with a thin layer of chicken, black beans and cheese.  Then cover with a tortilla and spoon more of the salsa and chicken broth mix over the top.

Step 3:
Repeat Step 2.  Then pour the rest of the salsa and chicken broth mix over the top, and then cover with cheese.

Step 4:
Bake for 45 minutes.  Then top with sour cream and avocado.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Key Pantry Items

Here is a list of ingredients that I think are pantry essentials.  Chances are that if you have a few of these ingredients you can pull together dinner.

Chicken Broth
Tomato Sauce
Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
Arborio Rice

And here are a few things I like to keep in my fridge/freezer:
Chicken Breasts
Frozen Spinach

Here are a few meals that you could make using these ingredients:
Mushroom Risotto
Breaded Chicken Breasts stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan
Spaghetti alla Rustica
Alfredo Pasta (with milk instead of cream)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mexican Idaho Sunrise

I love to combine two of my favorite things: brunch and Mexican Food.  This was a hearty and delicious breakfast that I will certainly be making again.

Serves 1 (multiply as necessary)
You will need:
1 large potato (I used Yukon Gold - don't use Red- the skin is to thin)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons reduced fat shredded cheddar jack cheese
1 tablespoon black beans
1 tablespoon finely diced tomato
a dollop of salsa
a dollop of fat free sour cream

Step 1:
Either bake the potatoes the night before, or just bake it in the microwave.  The let it cool off for a few minutes.

Step 2:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the top off the potato and scoop out some of the insides.  You are creating a potato bowl.

Step 3:
Spoon some black beans and tomato into the bottom of the potato.  Then crack 2 eggs into the potato.  Then bake for 30 minutes.

Step 4:
Remove from oven, top with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes so that the cheese melts.

Step 5:
Top with salsa and sour cream and serve.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Online Recipe Calculator

I am making it a goal to try and post nutritional information with my recipes.  I have found an online tool that lets you enter your recipe and it gives you all the nutritional information.  Here is the link.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shepard's Pie

I had lots of leftover baked potato after I made the Buffalo Chicken Baked Potatoes - since I had to scoop out some of the middle of potato.  This inspired me to make Shepard's Pie.  My fiance is British, so he has had a lot of Shepard's Pie.  He thought that his was a very classy Shepard's Pie since I used sirloin instead of ground beef.

You will need:
1 pound Sirloin
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 cup Flour
1 cup chopped Carrot
1 cup chopped Onion
1 small can of Corn
1 cup Red Wine
1 cup Beef Broth
4 medium Potatoes
1/4 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1/4 cup 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
3 tablespoons Chicken Broth

Step 1:
Chop the sirloin into 1 inch pieces.  Pour the flour into a bowl and then season with salt and pepper.  Then toss the meat in the seasoned flour.  In a large pot, melt 1 the butter and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Brown the dredged meat in small batches adding more butter and oil if necessary.  

Step 2:
Once all the meat is browned, set it aside.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pot and add the onions.  Once the onions have browned return the meat to the pot.  Stir in the broth and wine.  Heat until just boiling, then add the carrots and corn.  Let simmer for 2 hours.

Step 3:
As the meat simmers, boil the potatoes in a pot until soft.  Then drain, and add the sour cream, cream cheese and chicken broth.  Either combine and mash with a mixer or a fork.

Step 4:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then pour the beef and vegetable mixture into a glass pie pan.  Top with the potatoes.  Evenly spread the potatoes out over the top.  Then bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and browned on top.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken Tacos

Last Friday I came home from work exhausted and hungry.  I needed to come up with a quick dinner.  I decided to make chicken tacos because I love tacos and I had the ingredients.  You can change this recipe up to add your favorite ingredients.  This only took about 30 minutes to make.

1/4 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
Black Beans
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup chopped Onion
2 Chicken Breasts, boiled and shredded
Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese
Fat Free Sour Cream
1/4 cup chopped Tomato

Step 1:
Boil the chicken for 6-8 minutes, until fully cooked.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then shred with a fork.

Step 2:
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions until slightly browned.  Then add the tomato, salsa, and chicken broth.  Let reduce for 3 minutes.

Step 3:
Add the chicken and black beans and cook until heated.

Step 4:
Assemble the taco.  Spoon the saucy chicken and black bean mix onto a tortilla.  Top with cheese, sliced avocado, and sour cream.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Turkey Avocado and Swiss Sandwich

A delicious homemade lunch brightens up my work day. Most recently I have been enjoying sliced turkey breast, reduced fat Swiss, and avocado on sourdough. It only takes a few minutes to prepare the night before, and it healthier than most takeout options. I make a couple sandwiches at a time, so my lunches are in the fridge and ready to go.

I am lucky to have a panini press at work! Hot melted sandwiches are the best!

You will need:
Sliced Turkey
Reduced Fat Sliced Swiss Cheese

Step 1:
The night before assemble the sandwich, but leave out the avocado.

Step 2:
Add sliced avocado just before heating or eating. This prevents that avocado from browning. I just bring an avocado with me to work. I use half an avocado per sandwich. Save the half with the pit for the next day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

Sometimes it is nice to have a quiet night at home.  Recently we decided to have a movie night at home.  I decided to cook roasted peppers stuffed with risotto.  I don't know where I got the idea, but somehow I thought that it would be a good combination.  My goal was to create a creamy cheesy risotto, which I achieved by adding a little cream and ricotta.

You can add more vegetables or different vegetables to this dish.  Asparagus or peas would fit the dish nicely.

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves 4

You will need:
4 large peppers, top cut off, seeds removed
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
8 ounces sliced Mushrooms
2 tablespoon White Wine
32 ounces low sodium fat free Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Chicken
2 tablespoons Cream
3 tablespoons Ricotta

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet and put into oven to roast.

Step 2:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pot over medium heat.  Then add the risotto and stir.  Stir frequently until the risotto browns slightly.  Then add just enough chicken broth to just submerge the risotto.  Let simmer.

Step 3:
In a skillet melt 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Mix in 2 tablespoons white wine, then add the mushrooms.  Stir frequently until the mushrooms have absorbed all of the liquid, and the mushrooms have browned.

Step 4:
Once the risotto has absorbed the broth (it takes about 10 minutes), add more broth.  As in Step 2, add just enough broth so that the rice is completely submerged.  Stir to make sure that no rice sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Step 5:
Repeat Step 3.

Step 6:
Once the risotto has absorbed the third addition of broth, add more broth until the rice is submerged.  Also add the sauteed mushrooms and the chicken.  Stir.

Step 7:
Once most of the broth is absorbed stir in the cream, ricotta, and parmesan.

Step 8:
Remove the peppers from the oven.  Spoon risotto into the peppers and serve.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Reducing Fat

An easy way to reduce the amount of fat in a recipe is to use only half the amount of butter or olive oil when sauteing.  Add white wine or chicken broth to make up the difference.

Happy Valentine's Day

I just adore Valentine's Day mailboxes.  I have my girlfriends over before Valentine's Day to make mailboxes and Valentines.  I hope that everyone had a great day!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chilaquiles Benedict

I had lots of leftover tortillas, shredded chicken, and cheese in my fridge after making enchiladas so I decided to use the ingredients to make breakfast.  Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast that I first had when I was vacation in Puerto Vallarta with my friend Virginia last winter.  Chilaquiles are something that everyone has their own recipe for, and you can add in whatever you like.  Normally people just eat the Chilaquiles as is for breakfast, but I added a couple poached eggs on top - because poached eggs are Charles's favorite.

The leftover Chilaquiles made an excellent lunch.

Total time: 30 minutes

You will need:
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Flour Tortillas cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded chicken
1 can Black Beans
2 tablespoons 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1 cup Salsa
1 cup Fat Free Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Low Fat Shredded Mexican Cheese
1 tablespoon Sour Cream
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons White Vinegar

Step 1:
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add then onions and heat until they are lightly browned.  Then add the shredded chicken and heat for 1 minute.

Step 2:
Pour the onion and chicken into a bowl.  Stir in the black beans and cream cheese.  Set aside.

Step 3:
Heat the chicken broth and salsa in the skillet.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4:
As the chicken broth and salsa mix is simmering, place half of the tortillas in the bottom of a small baking dish.  Then pour the chicken mixture over the tortillas.  Then top with the rest of the tortillas.

Step 5:
Pour the chicken broth and salsa mix over chicken mixture and tortillas in the baking dish.  Spread the cheese over the top.  Then bake for 15 minutes.

Step 6:
While the Chilaquiles are baking, poach the eggs.  Fill a skillet pan with 3 inches of warm water. Add the vinegar and bring to a slow boil.

Step 7: 
Crack the first egg into a small bowl. Once the water has boiled, lower the egg gently into the water. Please note that if the yolk breaks you need to start over with another egg. Repeat putting up to four eggs in one pan. After 2 minutes gently roll the egg over and gently make sure it isn't stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Step 8:
Remove the Chilaquiles from the oven, and scoop a spoonful onto a plate.  After cooking the eggs for 3.5 - 4 minutes remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on top of the Chilaquiles.  Serve with a little sour cream on the side.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Few Shout Outs

I want to thank everyone who has been reading a cooking!  I think my friend's Mom's are my biggest fans so far.  Thanks Malley and Fay!  For Super Bowl Sunday both awesome Moms made the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese!

Then yesterday I received a sweet email from my brother's girlfriend.  She also made the buffalo chicken mac and cheese - but she came up with a clever way to make it for vegetarians.  The details are below.  She even sent this photo!

Hey Kit,

I made your buffalo chicken for my roommates last weekend! Half of them are vegetarians so I altered it a bit and used soy based chicken breasts. It worked out really well and everyone loved it! I used reduced fat cheddar, mozzarella, and cream cheese and skim milk and used 1/2cup of blue cheese and a full cup of the cheddar. I think I am going to make it again on our trip to Florida next week too. Your blog is great, it always makes me hungry and inspired to cook up something yummy!

Hope all is well!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes

One of my girl friends showed me photo of buffalo chicken stuffed baked potatoes that one of her friends had posted on facebook.  Instantly I knew that this is what I needed to bring to our Super Bowl edition of Sunday Night Dinner.

This recipe is very similar to the buffalo chicken mac and cheese.  The main difference is that instead of adding pasta, you pour the mixture into baked potatoes.

I baked all of the potatoes and prepared the shredded chicken the day before.  This reduced the active prep time to about 20 minutes.

Side note: I saved the scooped out potato and used it to make shepard's pie.  No waste!

You will need:
2 cups Milk
1/4 cup Flour
1 pound Shredded Chicken
6 Large Baked Potatoes
1/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce (for mild, add more for spicy)
1/2 cup Blue Cheese
1/2 cup 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 cup 2% Cheddar Jack

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out some of the middle.  Place on a baking sheet.

Step 2:
Whisk the milk and flour together in a large pot over medium heat.  Bring to a slow boil and let boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  This thickens the sauce.  Then add in the Frank's Hot Sauce, and all of the cheese.  Stir until all of the cheese has melted.

Step 3:
Add the shredded chicken to the cheese sauce.  Stir until hot.

Step 4:
Use a large spoon to pour the chicken and cheese sauce mixture into the potatoes.

Step 5:
Bake for 30 minutes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

My mom made the best rice krispie treats when I was a kid.  I know you are probably thinking that all rice krispie treats are made using the same recipe, but they are not.  My mom added peanut butter to her rice krispie treats making them far superior.  You can make this recipe with original rice krispies, or chocolate rice krispies (which I found at Whole Foods).

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

You will need:
4 cups Marshmellows
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Butter
5 cups Rice Krispies
Wax paper or Parchment

Step 1:
Melt the butter, marshmallows, and peanut butter in a large pot over medium low heat.

Step 2:
Stir in the Rice Krispies.  Once they are completely mixed in, pour the Rice Krispie Treats into a 9x11 nonstick pan.  Use wax paper or parchment to press them into the pan.

Step 3:
Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then cut.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bacon and Guacamole Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is the perfect comfort food for a cold Chicago night.  Pinterest recently inspired me to add guacamole to my grilled cheese.  Why didn't I think of that myself?  Guacamole and grilled cheese are foods that I love.  Then when I was preparing my grilled cheese, I saw turkey bacon in my fridge, and decided to add it in.  It was hearty and delicious, something I will certainly be making again.  This can be served as a meal, or as an appetizer.

You will need (for each):
Cheddar Cheese (shredded or sliced)
2 slices of Turkey Bacon
Tomato (thinly sliced)

Step 1:
Scoop out the avocado.  Add lemon and lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2:
Crisp up the bacon in a skillet and set aside.

Step 3:
Preheat the boiler.  Butter the outside of 2 slices of bread.  Place the bread, butter side down, on a baking sheet.  Spread out a layer of cheese on each piece of bread.  Top with a couple slices of tomato.  Place under the broiler, keeping an eye on it.  The cheese should melt after a minute or two.

Step 4:
Remove the cheese covered bread from the oven.  Spread a layer of the guacamole on one of the slices.  Then add the turkey bacon on top.  Put the second slice of bread cheese side down on top of the bacon.

Step 5:
Return the sandwich to the oven.  Once the top has browned, flip the sandwich over and brown the other side.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nutella Cheesecake

In preparation for Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a dessert recipe for two.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Serves 2

You will need:
2 individual size Keeber Graham Ready Pie Crusts
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Whipped Cream
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese

Step 1:
Combine the sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream.  Use a mixer to whip the cream.  Then set 2 tablespoons of whipped cream aside.

Step 2:
Add the cream cheese and nutella.  Beat until combined.

Step 3:
Scoop into the pie crusts.  Top with the whipped cream.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday tip: Prepare Shredded Chicken on Sunday saves time during the week

Last week I prepared too much shredded chicken when I was making buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. This was a happy accident that ended up saving me lots of time. You can add it to a green salad or add a little celery and mayo and you have chicken salad. I used shredded chicken in enchiladas, risotto, chilaquiles, and potato skins. There are so many options and it requires so little prep work. Just add the chicken into a boiling mixture water and chicken broth and let cook for 6-8 minutes until fully cooked. Then let cool for 10 minutes before shredding with a fork.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

I love Mexican food!  It is something that was impossible to find in Maine (where I grew up), but came to love when I moved to New York and then Chicago.  Recently my fiance and I went to a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood (Zocalo), but were a bit overwhelmed by how spicy their food was.  So with my craving for enchiladas not satisfied, I took matters into my own hands and made them myself.  I tried to make these as healthy as I could, since we have been pigging out lately!

This recipe is loosely based on a recipe in this month's Cooking Light.

You will need:
1 pound chicken breasts
3 cups cold Water
1 large carton of Chicken Broth
5 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup chopped Celery
1/4 cup chopped Carrot
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 jar Salsa (I used Newman's black bean and corn)
1/4 cup Fat Free Half and Half
1 can Black Beans
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2/3 cup 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
12 reduced fat Tortillas (6 inch, corn or flour)
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Mexican Cheese
Cooking Spray

Step 1:
Combine the water, broth, garlic, celery, carrot, onion, jalapeno, and chicken in a large pot and heat to a simmer.  Cook for 8 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked.  Once fully cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and let cool.  Then drain the cooking liquid into another pot.  You want to discard the solids and save the liquid.

Step 2:
Shred the chicken.  Then combine the salsa and the cooking liquid.  Bring to a boil and let reduce for 30 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to low and stir in the half and half.  Cook 5 more minutes.

Step 3:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Then place the shredded chicken in a medium bowl.  Add the black beans, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and cream cheese.  Stir together.

Step 4:
Soak each tortilla in the sauce for 10 seconds.  Then fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture.  Roll up and place in a greased casserole, seam side down.  Once all the tortillas have been filled and added to the dish, spoon the rest of the sauce over the top.  Then spread the cheddar cheese over the top.

Step 5:
Bake for 20 minutes, the top should be lightly browned.

Please note that the leftovers tend to dry out a little - mix some water and salsa together and pour over before reheating.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

My Nutella Granola bars were fun and easy to make, and I thought of some ideas on how to improve the granola bar recipe.  Although they were tasty, the Nutella Granola Bars were too dense, so I decided to add some recipe krispies to improve the texture.

Total time: 40 minutes, plus time to cool
Servings: 16

You will need:
2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup sliced Almonds
1/2 cup Honey
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Butter plus more to grease the pan
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Chunky Low Fat Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Rice Krispies - or Cocoa Krispies

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ in a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Step 2: While the dry ingredients are roasting, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, salt, and peanut butter in a medium sauce pan. Melt together over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Step 3: Once the dry ingredients have finished roasting, fold the wet ingredient, the dry ingredients, and the rice krispies together.

Step 4: Pour the mixture into a buttered glass baking dish. Baked for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.

Step 5: Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to cut into individual portions. These can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutritional Information:
206 Calories
8.9g Fat
 Full Nutritional Information Report

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Idaho Sunrise

This idea was given to me by my fantastic friend Jenn.  I am sure that by now my readers know that I love to make a nice breakfast on the weekends, and that I love potatoes.  So this recipe is perfect for me.  You can change this up to include whatever ingredients you like - this week I decided to keep it simple with cheddar cheese, bacon, and a little fat free sour cream.

This recipe involves scooping out a baked potato.  I strongly recommend using that potato to make potato pancakes or mashed potatoes.

Serves 1 (multiply as necessary)

You will need:
1 large potato (I used Russet - don't use Red- the skin is to thin)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar
cooked crumbled bacon (I used Turkey Bacon)
a dollop of fat free sour cream

Step 1:
Either bake the potatoes the night before, or just bake it in the microwave.  The let it cool off for a few minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2:
Cut the top off the potato and scoop out some of the insides.  You are creating a potato bowl.

Step 3:
Then crack two eggs into the potato.  Then bake for 20 minutes.  Then top with the cheese and bacon and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Step 4:
Remove from oven and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sausage and Kale Soup

Today my Mom/wedding planner is guest blogging.  She sent me this recipe of a soup she recently made along with the photo.  Mary Ann says that you could substitute either spinach or escarole for kale if you like.

You will need:
4 sweet and 4 hot sausage
2 celery ribs- diced
1 red pepper- diced
2 large onions- diced
4 carrots- diced
1 16 oz package of mushrooms- sliced
1 cup of chopped broccoli
1 small bunch of fresh kale- chopped
1 can of red kidney beans
4 potatoes- diced
1 28 oz can of Italian tomatoes- chopped
1 can of artichoke hearts- chopped
3 cloves of garlic- pressed
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 32 oz box of Kitchen Basics beef broth
1 bottle of red wine
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of oregano
red pepper flakes- to taste
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Step 1:
In large skillet, saute celery, carrots, red pepper, and broccoli in olive oil. When soft add onion, then mushrooms and garlic. 
Step 2:
In large pot, brown the sausage (out of casings). Add kale and steam for 5 minutes. 
Step 3:
Add sauteed vegetables to pot. Add potatoes, wine, broth, paste, tomatoes and bring to boil. Add artichokes ,kidney beans, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, parsley and oregano. 
Step 4: Bring to simmer and when potatoes are soft, soup is ready.    

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Recipes Heading Your Way

Hi Everyone,
I want to give you an update about what I have been up to.  My fiance and I are trying to eat better and get in shape before our summer wedding, and for this reason we decided it would be best to end Mac and Cheese Mondays.  I did post one final mac and cheese recipe yesterday: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Here is a recap of all of the Mac and Cheese Recipes:
Low Fat Baked Mac and Cheese
Mac and Cheese Pizza
Chicken and Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese
Christmas Eve Crunchy Mac and Cheese
Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese
BBQ Mac and Cheese
Bacon Mac and Cheese

Charles's favorites were the Goat Cheese and Chicken Mac and Cheese and the BBQ Mac and Cheese.  My favorite was the Mac and Cheese Pizza.

There are lots of recipes that I am working on right now, and I am going to kick off Mexican Mondays next week.  Here are some recipes for you to look forward to:
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Potato Baked Eggs
Chicken Enchiladas
Rice Krispie Treats
Risotto Stuffed Peppers
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

Thanks for reading!


Spinach Dip

Every once in a while I host a girls night at my place.  Our weekends are always so busy, so I invite the girls to come over after work.  I prepare dishes that can be made the night before, so I don't have much to do when I get home from work.  This week I decided to make Spinach Dip, and Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.  This recipe for Spinach Dip is loosely based off of a recipe I found on Cooking Light's website.  This dip could be served hot or cold, I decided to serve it hot.

You will need:
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
3 cloves of Garlic
1 package of Frozen Spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/3 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup 1/3 fat cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Step 1:
Finely chop the basil.  Set aside.

Step 2:
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Use a garlic press to crush the garlic, and then saute it in the oil for 1 minute.  Then add the spinach.  Saute until hot, about 3 minutes.

Step 3:
Add the basil, salt, pepper, yogurt, cream cheese, and Parmesan.  Stir and heat until warm.  Pour into a bowl and serve with bread or crackers.

Optional:  Pour into a baking dish, top with 1/4 cup panko and 3 tablespoons Parmesan and bake at 400 degrees until the crust browns.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I think that buffalo chicken and blue cheese is one of the best flavor combinations out there.  A few of my girlfriends have been making buffalo chicken dip for years, but it wasn't until this past summer that my friend Jenn discovered a recipe that turned it into mac and cheese.  This recipe is a combination of the recipe that Jenn found, and my friend Holly's recipe for buffalo chicken dip.

You will need:
2 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1 large carton chicken broth
3 cups cold water
3/4 pound elbow macaroni
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
1 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
3/4 cup Cream Cheese (I used 1/3 fat)
1 cup Sharp Cheddar (shredded, you can use low fat)
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Combine the water and chicken broth.  Heat over high heat, and add the chicken.  Simmer until fully cooked, about 8 minutes.  Then remove the chicken using a fork, and discard the cooking liquid.

Step 2:
Cook the elbows until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Step 3:
As the elbows are cooking, shred the chicken.

Step 4:
In a large pot over medium heat whisk the milk and flour together.  Bring to a boil, and let boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Then reduce the heat and add the frank's hot sauce, blue cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup cheddar, and chicken.  Stir until the cheese has melted, and then fold in the elbows.

Step 5:
Pour the mac and cheese into a greased casserole.  Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and the mozzarella over the top.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.