Friday, February 27, 2009

Spicy Chicken in Lettuce Cups

I found this recipe in a magazine that Lifetime Fitness sends for free every month. We were just discussing P.F.Changs as I was reading the magazine, and this recipe popped up. Its pretty close to their lettuce wraps, but probably much healthier.
3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. ground chicken
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. chopped fresh ginger
1 T. chopped garlic
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1 T. toasted sesame oil
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
bibb, or boston lettuce
  1. Combine soy sauce, broth, cornstarch, and sugar. Stir until smooth. Place ground chicken in a medium bowl and separate into 5-6 big lumps. Pour in about half soy sauce mixture; mix. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat a large deep skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat, and then add ginger, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook, tossing often, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add seasoned meat, crumbling it in and using a spatula to spread into an even layer. Let it cook for about 1 minute, until browned on bottom side. Turn to cook other side, breaking meat up into large chunks.
  3. When meat is cooked through, add remaining soy sauce mixture; toss to mix. Add red pepper flakes, green onion, sesame oil, and cilantro; toss well. To serve, arrange lettuce cups and place a generous spoonful on each.

The Verdict: Nice light meal for a 90 degree day. Yes it was 90 today in Texas. The boys work outside so this was the perfect meal. I also served this with steamed edamame.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warm Spinach Salad with Grilled Sausage

We have a great grocery store here in Texas, HEB...Here Everythings Better. We bought some smoked jalapeno sausage that they were sampling the other night, and man these were good. They were Shiner brand, just like the beer.

4 sausages (about 1 pound)
4 plum tomatoes, cut in half

1 onion, sliced

4 T. olive oil

bag of spinach

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. spicy brown mustard

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. With a fork, prick the sausages in several places. Grill, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 10-12 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile brush tomatoes and onions with one tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, and add the spinach, and toss.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper. Serve sausages with the spinach salad and dressing.

The Verdict: Easy and good. I also made a basic polenta recipe, cooled it, sliced it, and grilled it. It made a nice light side dish. The dressing in the recipe is amazing, and might be my new go to salad dressing!! To season the tomatoes and onions, I used a new sea salt that I just won on Joelens blog, and the flavor was great. The sea salt is from Urban Accents, and it is their Isle of Capri Seasoned Sea Salt. YUM!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pistachio-Crusted Pork Chops

Recipe adapted from "Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine"
These are by far the best pork chops I have ever had. The crust on the chops is so fragrant and taste so yummy.
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated lemon peel
salt and pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 1-inch thick pork chops
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven 400. Using a food processor, finely grind the nuts, garlic, lemon peel, and 1/2 tsp salt. Transfer to a shallow bowl; whisk in the breadcrumbs.
  2. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip each chop into the egg, then coat with nut mixture; transfer to baking sheet.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chops and cook until golden, about 2 minutes each side; return to baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 140, about 20 minutes.

The Verdict: Abe loved this dish....I served it with grilled asparagus and grilled tomatoes. Easy A+ meal. If you buy pistachios shelled in bulk you will get a better deal, just a little tip. I also used whole wheat bread crumbs in this dish just for a little whole grain factor.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oatmeal Knots

Recipe adapted from "Cooking Light"
1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup honey
2 T. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3 cups whole wheat flour
11/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
cooking spray
1 tsp. water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T. regular oats
1 T. poppy seeds
1 T. sesame seeds
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and adds 2 cups of boiling water, stirring until well blended. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture to oats mixture; stir well. Stir in flaxseed meal.
  3. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Gradually add whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour to oats mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic(about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1 T. at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place fro about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Divide dough in half; cut each half into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, shape each portion into an 8-inch rope. Tie each rope into a knot; tuck top end of rope under bottom edge of roll. Place rolls on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover with a plastic wrap coated with cooking spray; let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400.
  7. Combine 1 tsp water with egg in a small bowl; brush egg mixture over rolls. Combine 1 T. oats poppy seeds and sesame seeds; sprinkle over rolls. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Yield; 24 servings.

The Verdict: You have to eat these straight out of the oven. They are FABULOUS. I'm always looking for ways to get more omega 3's in our diet and this does it in a discreet way. I will start making these for every dinner party oer special dinner, they were too good. I did half this recipe because we didn't need 24 today, and they still turned out perfect.

Cod with Beans, Corn, and Pesto

Recipe adapted from "Real Simple Magazine"
4 6oz pieces of cod fillet, skin removed
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
1 leek, sliced into half moons
1 cup corn
2 T. pesto, plus more for serving
  1. Season cod with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cook until the under-sides are golden, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Flip the cod and scatter the green beans and leek around it. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the fish is opaque throughout, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the corn and pesto and cook for 1 minute. Transfer cod and veggies to plates and enjoy!!!

The Verdict: Perfect and light. The boys had been golfing all day in beautiful weather and wanted a nice light meal. This is the 2nd time I have made this and it turns out perfect every time. Instead of salt to season the fish I used my favorite seafood seasoning, from Alden Spice Mill Alden Spice Mill. Check them out. I stock up on spices when I go home to Michigan, but they do send through the mail. I use my "Miracle Blend" everyday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pulled Pork with The Best Sauce Ever

Ok if you live in Texas you know that Smokey Mo's is good. I hated BBQ joints until I went here. Now we go every couple weeks for the great food and the great prices too. Last time we went I bought the famous sauce in the HOT flavor, my fav. So, we decided to do an at home version of Smokey Mo's.
Pulled Pork

2lb pork tenderloin
1/2 BBQ sauce (You know what I used, but use your favorite)
2 onions, sliced

  1. Place pork in crock pot.
  2. Scatter onions over pork.
  3. Add BBQ sauce on top.
  4. Cook on High for 4-5 hours or Low for 8-9

I serve my pulled pork with all the toppings, they serve at the restaurant. Which is very simple.

Pickles, Raw Onions, and more Sauce.

The Verdict: Just like our favorite lunch spot, but a little healthier. Using the pork tenderloin cuts some fat, and I used whole wheat buns. Abe added cheese to his, which he said made it even better.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Homemade Yogurt Cheese

This is super easy to do, so don't be intimidated.

*Take 2 cups of plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt ( I used Greek Style)
*Place in a couple layers of cheesecloth (I forgot to grab some at the store so I used 6 coffee filter, but cheesecloth would be easier)
*Put cheesecloth in a colander in the sink with a 2 pound bag of beans over it
*Let the liquid drain out of the yogurt for 6-8 hours
*Then wrap cheese tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate
* When ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil, and any type of spices or herbs

The Verdict: Abe was very suspicious and did not want to try it. But once he did, with a warm pita, he liked it. So everyone looking for a lowfat cheese to snack on, this is it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shawarma Turkish means "Rotating", which is exactly how it is traditionally served. An Israeli Shawarma is usually made from turkey with lamb fat added. To make the real thing one needs a huge skewer fitted with a special heating device. As seen in Middle Eastern Restaurants. Sliced marinated meat is stacked on the skewer, which rotates slowly and roasts it on all sides. The meat is than stuffed into a pita with many different salads, aka...hummus, tahini dip, parsley, Israeli salad, Labenae....the list goes on, even french fries.
This process is different from traditional shawarma, but the result is quite the same.
3 lbs. deboned chicken thighs
3/4 cup olive oil
3 T. curry powder
2 T. garam masala
1 T. chicken soup mix
3 T. oil
1 1/2 onions, sliced
salt and pepper
  1. Mix olive oil, curry, garam masala, and chicken soup mix together in baking dish. Add chicken and mix well. Marinate for a minimum of 5 hours in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Before serving, finely slice the chicken.
  5. Fry the onion in oil until golden and remove from pan.
  6. Add the chicken with some of the marinade to the pan. Season and stir fry for a few minutes, until edges are golden brown. Spread the fried onions over the meat and serve.

THE VERDICT: It didn't taste exactly like Israel, but it was very good. The chicken was super moist. I served it with fresh pitas, hummus, yogurt cheese, olives, feta, and tomatoes. Just like being overseas again......I don't know if that's a good thing or not...hehe.

Pita Bread

Tonight we are having a little trip down memory Israel. Abe and I lived in Israel 6 months this last year, and the food was amazing. We have been craving some of the foods we had all the time. I decided to do an at home version of our favorite fast food. We are having Shawarmas, Homemade Pitas, Hummus, and Homemade Yogurt Cheese. The rest of the recipes will be in later posts.
Pita Bread
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour ( 1 cup can be whole wheat)
a little oil fro dough
extra flour for rolling out
oil for baking tray
  1. Place the water in a medium size bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand for 5 min.--it will become foamy.
  2. Add sugar and salt. Stir until everything dissolves.
  3. Add 3 cups of flour, one at a time, mixing enthusiastically with a whisk. As dough thickens, switch to a wooden spoon, and eventually your hand. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few mins., adding up to 1/ cup flour as needed, to combat stickiness. When dough is smooth, oil both the bowl and the top surface of the dough. Cover with a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place, for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  4. Punch down the dough and transfer to a clean, floured surface. Knead it for about 5 min, then divide into either 6 or 12 equal pieces (depending on what size you want). Knead each little unit for a few minutes, then use a rolling pin to flatten into a very thin circle. The diameter of each circle is unimportant, as long is it is no thicker than 1/8 inch. Let circles rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven 500. Place a baking tray in the oven for a minute or two, to heat it. Then brush it with oil. Place as many circles on the tray as will fit without touching, and bake for just 6-8 minutes, or until puffed up and very lightly browned.
  6. Remove from the oven, and wrap the breads in a clean, damp tea towel, then place in a brown paper bag, closed up for 15 min. This will keep the bread supple.

THE VERDICT: Just like the Israelis would do it. These were very simple. I don't think I will ever buy pita again.

Recipe adapted from "Moosewood Cookbook"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Had To Use Up The Rest Of The Buttermilk....2 Quick and Easy Recipes

So I had lots of extra buttermilk to use up, hence the bread in the earlier post. I hate to throw things out so we have been on a buttermilk extravaganza. And I would like to announce it is finally gone.
Buttermilk Pancakes
Recipe from Cooking Light, The Complete Cookbook
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 T. veg. oil (I used Canola)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
  1. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, oil and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
  2. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot nonstick griddle. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

The Verdict: Good I Think...The boys scarfed them down in about 30 seconds and were out the door.....Oh yea I forgot early Monday meetings at work.

Ok one last use for Buttermilk: A Quick and Easy Chicken Marinade.

1/2 cup buttermilk

squeeze of a small lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

sprinkling of pork and poultry seasoning

salt and pepper

Marinate chicken for about 4 hours, then grill.

The verdict: Chicken was very moist. I served it with asparagus and homemade buttermilk bread. It was an easy but filling Sunday afternoon dinner.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines present from the girls

That right....They are chocolate covered strawberries with different toppings. One is oreo, another chocolate shavings, pecan, and coconut. I told my hubby not to buy anything for valentines day, and he agreed....this is a present from the kitties. They were in the fridge with a note that said Happy Valentines Day Mom!
To aquire these wonderful strawberries, you must live in the great state of Texas and have a HEB Plus near's my favortite grocery store, after Trader Joe's of course.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Buttermilk Bread for all those Bread Machine Junkies

What a great start to your morning, Heart shaped bullseye, with fresh buttermilk bread.
Recipe from "Bread Machine Magic"
This recipe is for a 1 1/2lb. loaf in the bread machine.
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
3 T. Honey
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 T. Butter
3 cups Bread Flour
2 tsp. Yeast
  1. Place all ingredients (wet to dry) in bread pan, using the least amount of liquid listed. Select light crust setting and press start.
  2. Observe the dough as it kneads. After 5 to 10 min., if it appears dry and stiff, add more liquid 1T. at a time. until dough forms a smooth, soft ball that is tacky to the touch.
  3. After baking cycle ends, remove bread from pan, place on wire rack, and allow to cool for 1 hour.

The Verdict: We all had a slice right out of the bread machine last night while is was still warm, all I have to say. Then I surprised the boys this morning with Bullseyes. I cut the bread out with a heart shaped cookie cutter, fried an egg in the center, toasted the extra heart, and walla, valentines day breakfast.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Black Bean Tortilla Pie


4 flour tortilla (I use fresh southwest tortillas from HEB)

1 T. Canola oil

1 large onion, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

2 garlic cloves (or 3 :) )

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

coarse salt and ground pepper

2 cans black beans ( I used 1 can no salt added and 1 can spicy black beans)

12 oz. beer

1 pkg. frozen corn (10 oz.)

4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

1 pkg. shredded cheddar (8 oz.)

  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 min.

  3. Add beans and beer to skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 min. Stir in corn and scallions, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Fit a tortilla in bottom of springform pan. ( I use a casserole dish, and you may have to trim tortilla), layer with 1/4 of the beans and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat 3 times, using 1 cup of cheese on top layer. Bake until hot and cheese has melted, 20 to 25 min. Unmold pie (or not) sprinkle with scallions. Slice into wedges to serve.

THE VERDICT: Always a winner!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Healthier Scalloped Potatoes

Recipe from Rachael Ray Mag March 2009
I cut the recipe in half and it was perfect for 3, with leftovers.
Cooking Spray
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 onion, half chopped and half thinly sliced
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 T. flour
salt and pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 lb. yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 lb. zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  1. Preheat oven 400. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the cauliflower until tender, 8 min; drain.
  2. Using a blender, puree the cauliflower, chopped onion, milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and the flour; season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine 1 T. Parmesan with breadcrumbs.
  3. Spread 1/3 cup cauliflower puree in the prepared baking dish. top with half the potatoes, then half the zucchini. Sprinkle with half each of sliced onions and Parmesan. Spread half the remaining cauliflower puree on top. Layer the remaining potatoes, zucchini, sliced onions, Parmesan, and cauliflower puree.Cover with foil and bake 45 min, then discard the foil. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top and bake until golden brown, about 30 min. Let cool 10 min. before serving.

The Verdict: I pulled it out early because the rest of dinner was ready and the potatoes were still hard. BOO! So we ate the zucchini during dinner and pooped the rest back in , and ate later for a snack. I really liked this alot, my hubby said it was a little bland, but that's because it wasn't drowning in cream and salt.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (Our Birthday Cake)

Recipe from Check it out its a good blog.
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional) - I think I’ll leave out next time.
For decorating:
miniature peanut butter cups, halved and/or chopped
For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.) Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.
Peanut Butter Frosting (Ina Garten)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
The Verdict: Shhh...I will let you know, its a SURPRISE!

Moms Spaghetti Pie

I remember eating this as a kid and loving it! Now the hubby loves it too, nad requests it quite often. I did change recipe up a little bit to make it healthier, sorry mom. I will give you both versions.
6 oz thin spaghetti (whole wheat spaghetti)
2 T butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 lb hamburger (1/2 lb ground turkey)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
pepperoni slices (turkey pepperoni)
  1. Cook pasta until tender and drain.
  2. Add butter, parmesan, and eggs to drained pasta in a large bowl.
  3. Spread pasta in pie plate to form crust.
  4. Spread cottage cheese over unbaked spaghetti crust.
  5. Brown hamburger and add sauce. Spread over cottage cheese.
  6. Sprinkle pie with cheese.
  7. Lay pepperoni over cheese
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-35min.

The verdict: Perfect comfort food!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Our favorite fish dish!!

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives
Everyday Food Martha Stewart Oct 2004
This recipe is for one person, but it is easy to adapt for 2, 3 or 4
1 skinless tilapia fillet
2 plum tomatoes, thinely sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
ground pepper
3 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 T. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. mayo * I use Kraft mayo with Olive oil(which will cut some of the fat out of this dish)
  1. Preheat oven to 450. In a small oven proof skillet or baking dish, arrange tomatoes in overlapping circles. Scatter olives and lemon zest over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together mayo, parmesan, and lemon juice. Place fish on top of tomatoes in skillet. Season fish with salt and pepper. Spread mayo mixture on top.
  3. Bake until fish is opaque throughout and topping is golden brown in spots, about 20 min.

* Per serving: 423 calories; 28 grams fat; 35.3 grams protein; 8.8 grams carbs; 1.8 grams fiber

The Verdict: Abe requests this dish all the time, so it must be good. Our visitor also really enjoyed it. Plus its super easy to make which makes me happy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Go To Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Recipe from Everyday Food Martha Stewart

Makes 2- 1 pound Balls
With one batch of dough, you have enough to make 2 large pizza shells or eight individual ones.
1 1/2 cup warm water(115 degrees)
4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 cups whole wheat flour
  1. Place water in large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 min. Brush another large bowl with oil.
  2. In bowl with yeast, whisk sugar, oil, and salt. Stir in flours with a wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. Transfer to oiled bowl; brush top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. With floured hands, knead until smooth, about 15 seconds; divide into 2 balls.

To Freeze 1 pound balls

Set balls on a plate and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw over night in refrigerator.

To Freeze Individual Shells

Divide each ball of dough into 4 pieces. Using your hands, stretch each piece into 5 inch disk. Freeze shells on two parchment lines baking sheets. Stack frozen shells between layers of parchment paper. Freeze in freezer up to 3 months. Bake from frozen.

THE VERDICT: Great moist crust, and healthy at the same time. My husband the non crust eater actually prefers this crust over any from takeout. Thats a score for me!!!! Plus so easy to make a few batches and have them on hand for Friday Pizza Night! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Healthy Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2009


1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup reduced fat milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork; stir in milk and vanilla.

3. With a mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; mix until combined. Fold in frozen blueberries.

4. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean, 25 to 28 min, rotating pan half way through. Let cool in pan 10 min; transfer to rack to cool 10 more min.

Per muffin: 222 cal, 9.2g fat, 4.4g protein, 32.3g carbs, 2.6g fiber

The verdict: The Boys Loved them! I sent a batch to work with Abe today and boy were those hard workers happy!! I had one for breakfast too, and they are good, very moist. I lost one to a kitty though, oops!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Antipasto sausage skewers...and yes they are somewhat healthy!

Antipasto Sausage Skewers
recipe from Food Network Magazine

Cooking Spray
12 oz. fully cooked poultry sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used sun-dried tomato chicken sausage)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 12oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed, and cut into 1 inch pieces
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces if large (I used whole piece)
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I only halved them)

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat; mist with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times until warmed through and browned, about 8 min.
  2. Thread 1 basil leaf onto small wooden skewer. Adda piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Serving size 4 skewers ( I get 4 which is quite a bit for not a lot of calories)

Calories 140; Fat 5g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 970mg; Carbohydrate 12g; Fiber 2g; Protein 12g

The verdict: A hit!!!! There were leftovers only because I made way too many other apps. But I had a few for lunch today and the leftovers are just as good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Homemade Oreos

"Oreo" Cookies
Recipe from Food Network Magazine

For The Dough

1 1/3 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder*

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

For The Filling

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup veg. shortening

3 cups conf. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1. Prepare the dough: sift together the dry ingredients.

2. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, incorporating each ingredient before adding the next. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

3. Divide the dough into 2 pieces; place on between 2 floured sheets of parchment paper and roll 1/4" thick. Repeat with other piece. Refrigerate both rectangles, covered with parchment sheets until firm, at least one hour or up to several days.

4. using 2 inch round cutter**, cut dough.(you can reroll the scraps once) Places cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet and chill for 20 min. Preheat oven to 325.

5.Bake the cookies until they are set, about 20 min*** Cool completely on wire racks.

6.Meanwhile prepare the filling: Using a mixer cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the conf. sugar and vanilla.

7.Flip half the cookies upside down and spread with filling. Press remaining cookies on top to make sandwich.

*If you dont have Dutch-process cocoa powder you can sub regular cocoa powder with baking soda added. (3T cocoa powder + 1/8 tsp baking soda = 3T Dutch Process cocoa powder.

**I used a canning ring.

***I only needed to bake them for 10 min.

The verdict: This is a labor of love. The cookies are amazing, but they are very time consuming and kinda a pain. The dough is sticky, and really needs to firm well before cutting or you will have a mess. Ask me how I know. These probably won't make another debut till christmas.