Saturday, January 29, 2011

Walnut Coffee Cake

  Cooking Light April 2006

Before I start on how to make this, I need to tell you to write down the ingredients and go get them. Because you will want to make this. this is amazing!

3/4 C brown sugar
1/3 C chopped walnuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon

mix those in a small bowl.

3 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine flour, soda, powder and salt in a medium bowl.

1 1/2 C sugar
10 tbsp butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

cream sugar and buttah. add eggs and vanilla, mix well.

add flour mixture and 1 1/2 C buttermilk to butter mixture alternately, starting and finishing with flour.

Spoon half the batter into a greased bundt pan. sprinkle half of brown sugar mixture, and spoon the rest of the batter in the pan. sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or so. Cool in pan at least 10 minutes before inverting.

The verdict: wow. I mean, WOW. YUM. I want to make this every day but I don't trust myself that much. I would hoard it from the kids and eat it all before Dave gets home from work so he won't know I made it and be mad he didn't get any.

Dave's Raves: Good. Very good. I want more now.


Chicken Piccata with Summer Veggies

  Cooking Light April 2006

1 C bell pepper strips
3/4 C sliced onion
1 1/2 C matchstick cut zucchini
1 1/2 C matchstick cut yellow squash
1 C cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
8 oz. wheat spaghetti
3/4 C parmesan
1/2 C sliced basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 C flour
1 1/2 C chicken broth
6 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP capers
1/2 C sliced green onions
1 tbsp butter

In a large skillet, saute onions and peppers until soft. Move to a large bowl and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute zucchini and squash for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Add to onions and keep warm. In the skillet add some oil and heat.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Shake off the excess and place in the skillet. Brown on each side and keep warm.

In a large pot of water, throw in the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/2 cooking liquid. Put cooked spaghetti into the onion mixture bowl.  Add reserved cooking liquid, and 1/2 C parmesan and basil and toss. Keep warm.

Back in the skillet where you cooked the chicken, add the broth, capers, juice, and green onions. Boil for 3 minutes and then add butter. swirl until melted.

1 Cup of pasta on a plate, top with 1 chicken breast, 1/4 C sauce, and 1 tbsp parm cheese.

The verdict: I would leave out the pepper and tomatoes. The onions and squash items were great. Sauce is bright and yummy. Mostly I really liked it. The chicken was YUMMY.

Dave's Rave's: It was alright.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CL Testing - Tuscan Vegetable & Bean Soup w/ Cheese Croutons

Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2006

  1 bag pinto beans, soaked and cooked until soft (or 2-3 cans)
1 1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups Chicken stock
2 cups sliced zuchinni
2 cups cubed yukon gold or red potatoes
1 cup green beans (I used 1 can)
1 C sliced carrots
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 C chopped Kale

Set the beans aside and saute in oil onions, celery, and garlic. After 5 minutes, add the stock all the way through the pepper. Simmer for 35 minutes and then add the kale. While the kale cooks down,
for the cheese bread:

take 6 THICK slices of bread (homemade or a thick french bread slice) and place on a cookie sheet. top each slice with a good 2 tbsp of mozzarella cheese and then a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Broil on high until it's toasty and brown. Serve on top of a bowl of soup.

Calories: 237 in 1 1/3C soup and 1 slice of bread
Fat: 7g
Protein: 10g
fiber: 7.3g

Verdict: Pretty yummy. Super low in calories so you can eat A LOT. I found it needed more salt, so I added extra salt and parmesan at the table. I also added about 1 tsp dried basil while simmering and 2 bay leaves. The cheese bread ROCKS. so good dipped in the broth.

Dave's vote: "I like this. It's pretty good. A good way to get my veggies in." I am allowed to make it again, which is impressive since this is a vegetarian dish.

CL Testing - Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili

  Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2006

1 pound ground sausage (I used spicy)
2 C diced onion
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo (minced)
1 bag dried black beans, soaked, and cooked until soft. (or 4 cans)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 C cilantro

Cook up the sausage in some oil in a large soup pot with a heavy bottom. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add the rest through diced tomatoes and simmer for 45 minutes. If it looks a little dry, add some water, 1 C at a time. Right before serving, add the lime juice and cilantro. Top with some sour cream and chopped green onions.

Calories: 395 for 2 cups
Fat: 11g
Protein: 35g
Fiber 13g

Verdict: This was pretty spicy. Using the spicy sausage AND the chipotles was probably overkill for the kids but dave and I both liked it a lot. Maybe use regular sausage, but the chipotle's have to be in there for the smokiness and deliciousness.

Dave's vote: He loved it. He must have mentioned at least 4 times that night how good dinner was and then today, when I mentioned that I had the leftovers for lunch, he panicked because he thought there was no more for him!!

It's a keeper!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

CL Testing - Potato Zucchini Skillet Pancakes

  Cooking Light April 2006

Do not be fooled by the name, these were not so much pancakes as they were hashbrowns in the shape of a pancake.

3 cups shredded yukon gold potatoes
2 cups shredded zucchini (I peeled mine so they were very mild)
1 cup shredded onion

This was pretty easy if you have a food processor with a shredder attachment. And I do. And the shredding took maybe 2 minutes.

Put your shredded veggies in a clean kitchen towel and wring out all the excess liquid. Really get in there and SQUEEZE. I thought I had done well, but there was still about 1/2 liquid in my bowl when I was done.

Dump your de-liquided veggies into a large bowl and add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup flour. mix all together.

In a HOT skillet, put 1-2 tsp. veggie oil and pour 1 cup of mixture into hot pan. Flatten and spread out to about 6 inches in diameter. Cook for about 3-4 minutes and flip. another 3-4 minutes and remove from the pan, keep warm. Repeat until all the mixture is gone.

Verdict: I really liked these. They mostly tasted like potatoes with some onion in there. They would be so good in the morning with eggs, we had them as a side with the balsamic chicken.

Dave's vote: They got soft after sitting and waiting for all the batches to be cooked. I would have liked them more if they were crunchier.

CL Testing - Vanilla Balsamic Chicken

  Cooking Light April 2006

In a small saucepan:

1/2 C chicken broth/stock
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C chopped onion
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/4 C orange juice
2 tsp vanilla

Bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced to 1/2 C. It will be at least 20 minutes.

2-3 pounds Chicken thighs. Remove the skins and place in a single layer in a 9x13 pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stick in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and baste with HALF the balsamic mixture. back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Pull out and top with the rest of the balsamic. Back in the oven for 15 minutes.

When I pulled my chicken out at this time, my thermometer did not register 180 degrees, so I basted one more time and stuck it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. They were perfect after that.

Verdict: subtly sweet chicken. Very moist and tasty. I liked it a lot but I have other chicken recipes that I like better.

Dave's vote: I liked it. Not my favorite but pretty dang good. (that's a direct quote) (and saying something since he hates chicken on the bone and didn't hate this.)

CL testing - Whole Grain Blackberry Spice Muffins

  Cooking Light Magazine Jan/Feb 2006

2 C all purpose flour
1 C oats
1 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the following:

1 C skim milk
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until barely mixed.

Then add 1 1/2 C chopped frozen blackberries. Stir gently and fill muffin cups 1/2 - 2/3 full. Bake at 400 for 14-17 minutes. Cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes and enjoy!

(makes 18; 177 calories each; 3g fat; 3.5g protein)

Verdict: The texture was really nice with the oats and the spices added a new dimension. The blackberries added a tart background. These muffins are NOT overly sweet, we found them just right. You could substitute any berry for these if you like. Raspberry, blueberry, etc. I've eaten 7 by myself so far today.

Dave's vote: SO good. Please make these again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe #2 - Chicken with Lime Sauce

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add 2 tsp. olive oil to a skillet and brown chicken on both sides (not cooked all the way through)

Remove from pan, keep warm.

In the pan add:

3/4 C chicken broth
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice (FRESH - I don't know what bottled will do the the finished product)
2 tsp. mustard

scrape up the bits on the bottom and simmer for a few minutes.

mix in a small bowl, 2 tbsp water and 2 tsp. cornstarch. Add to skillet.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer (BTBRTS)

Finish with 1 tbsp butter and 1 more tbsp lime juice. add chicken back into the pan until cooked through.  The sauce would be great on rice. I served this with a green salad and garlic roasted red potatoes.

Verdict: The sauce is strong. The chicken was really good, but I wish I had served it on a bed of rice instead of with potatoes. My kids ate it dipped in ketchup.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cooking Magazine Test Run

I have way too many cooking magazines. I am trying to cut down and eliminate the excess. SO, I am FINALLY trying all the recipes I wanted to in each magazine and keeping the good ones and tossing the magazine when i'm done.

Magazine #1 - Cooking Light April 2006
Recipe: Chipotle Orange Chicken Cutlets

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts. Pound them flat in between 2 pieces of saran wrap.

Mix in a plate:
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. cumin

Pour in a bowl:
1/4 C orange juice concentrate.

Coat the bottom of a hot skillet with veggie oil. salt the chicken and then dip in the bowl of OJ, and dredge in the flour mixture, and throw in the pan until nice and brown. Since brown food tastes good.

After the chicken is cooked, take out of the pan and add to the pan 3/4 C OJ concentrate, 1/2 C water, and 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, diced. Boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes. (You can add some more water to thin it out if you want.)

Add the chicken back to the pan to warm through. Serve over brown rice mixed with 1/3 C. chopped cilantro.

Dave would not stop talking about the sauce. He mentioned it like 12 times or something. And insisted that it was the best thing in the house to take for lunch tomorrow. (over my red beans and rice, even!)

This one is a KEEPER.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

FHE Treats - Peanut Butter Oat Bites

Since one of my new years goals is to do family home evening every week on sunday night, and ANOTHER one of the goals is to focus on healthier eating ( I know this must be a run on sentence, but bear with me), is that FHE treats need to be not so treaty. If you know what I mean. Healthy cookies, muffins, etc. Instead of ice cream or other super high in sugar items.

Today I found a recipe that I had ripped from a magazine two years a while ago. For Peanut Butter Oat Bites. Sounds good, right??

I like these because they are not overly sweet and make you feel sick after the fact, but still special enough that the kids LOVED them and thought they were as great as a bowl of ice cream.

Melt in a saucepan:
2 TBSP butter
2/3 C peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1/4 C. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla

then pour over these items that happen to be in a medium sized bowl.
1 1/2 C rice krispies
1 C quick oats
1/4 C raisins
1/4 C chopped dry roasted peanuts (omit if using chunky PB)

mis them all together and let cool. DO THIS STEP.

When cool, add 1/4 C. mini chocolate chips and mix again. Roll into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge.

makes 24, 1 ball = 125 calories, 7g fat, 2g fiber, 14g carbs, 4g protein.

Hailey asked me if I could put these in her lunch box for school since she liked them so much.

Make sure you have a cup of milk, they make you thirsty!