Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

I didn’t grow up in a household that served much in the way of vegetables. While other kids were being forced to eat asparagus, cabbage or brussels sprouts we were complaining about green peas. Finally, when I was a bit older I remember asking my Mom if we could try something new. She brought home and cooked frozen brussels sprouts, and they were terrible. That incident pretty much made me hesitant to try another unknown vegetable until I met my hubby. His family introduced me to cabbage and since that moment I have intentionally tried so many new vegetables, and fruits for that matter. I had fresh blueberries for the first time about a month ago. Love.

When I saw this package in the store I knew this was the perfect time to finally reintroduce myself to these tiny little green bundles of flavor. Sure I’ve cooked with them before, and I think doing so is the main reason I felt brave enough to try them alone, but how to cook them without being disguised in cream? That was the million dollar question. I searched recipes and finally decided to make them the same way I make my fried cabbage. They turned out wonderful and will making their way to our table as regularly as cabbage does, and cabbage does a lot.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

1 carton brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and halved
4 tablespoons non-salted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons seasoning blend, your choice

Over medium heat in a large skillet sauté the chopped onions in the butter and canola oil until done and/or translucent.

Add the brussels sprouts and seasoning to the skillet, stir and cook until caramelized. You can cover it with a lid and continue cooking over low heat for 25-45 minutes or until they become completely soft.

They seriously turned out fabulous. No joke, I am a brussels sprout convert. Yum.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cranberry Glazed Chicken Thighs

There was a sale on boneless skinless chicken thighs the other day when I swung by the store to pick up some chicken. The family pack was marked down to a great price so I bought it. Now Baby Cakes and I are only two people, although Baby Cakes does eat enough for 3 people, so I chose to break the package up to two meals. Hence why earlier this week we had Italian Honey Mustard Chicken and now we’re having Cranberry Glazed Chicken, both equally satisfying but I must admit I like the Cranberry one the best. Blame on my propensity for meat and fruit together but it is amazing!

You’ll be seeing an adaptation of this recipe very soon because I will be trying it on salmon next week.

Cranberry Glazed Chicken Thighs
recipe from Cully’s Kitchen

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion chopped
6 chicken thighs
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
8 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Place the butter and onion in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 3 minutes; set aside.

Place the chicken thighs in a dish in a snug single layer.

In the onion bowl, stir together the onions, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard powder, and cranberry sauce. Pour half of the mixture over the chicken thighs and then bake for 25 minutes.

Pour the other half of cranberry mixture and return to the oven baking about 25 minutes more.

I served it along side butter beans and stewed okra and squash. Not really the side dishes you would normally put with chicken but Baby Cakes has been complaining that he wants more beans and I am more than happy to ablige. The okra and squash because we are down to the wire with fresh produce and those are what I had on hand. I just couldn't eat another green bean.

Again, this is the best cranberry glaze I have ever had. I can imagine eating it on fish, turkey, chicken breasts and anything else that might pair well with cranberries.

For 2 thighs and 2 tablespoons of the glaze it equals 268 calories.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Italian Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Apparently I have a chicken theme going. What can I say? It’s what’s for dinner.

In the past I shared an amazing chicken recipe with you all, you might remember it its Simply Great Chicken. It’s titled that because it is just that, simply great. Seriously, I have never had a better chicken thigh in my life. Well I because I have been cooking things I’ve made in the past instead of new recipes lately I thought I would play around with this recipe and see what happens. This is what happened.

I really have no logic behind the creation of this recipe. It just is. But boy am I glad it is. It was amazing! Now I don't know which chicken is better, the simply great chicken or this italian honey mustard chicken. It's a toss up.

Italian Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

6 boneless-skinless chicken thighs
1 packet of italian salad dressing mix
½ cup honey
½ cup yellow mustard
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the dry salad dressing mix with the honey and mustard.

Pat dry the chicken; Set into a casserole dish and pour/spread over ½ cup of the mixture.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes or until done.

We ate ours with black eyed peas and green beans, and because I once again know the calorie count I’ll share it. 2 chicken thighs with 2 tablespoon of sauce equal 282 calories. I can get down with that.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pan-Fried Chicken Athena

A person can only eat so many grilled chicken breasts, (okay, it takes quite a bit before I wave the white flag and surrender when it comes to chicken, pork even, I am a white meat girl) but I am just about chickened out. So in my normal fashion I took to searching and because that never disappoints I found a wonderful recipe, one that I had ripped out of a magazine last month. I kinda have a crush on Taste of Home Magazines. I think it’s one sided though because I pay for its love and it won’t let me log on to share a link with you guys.

It was so simple to throw together and who isn’t about that on a weeknight?

Pan-Fried Chicken Athena
recipe adapted from Taste of Home, Dec./Jan. 2012

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Flatten the chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness.

Cook the chicken in butter in a large skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a dish and keep warm.

Whisk in the lemon juice, worcestershire, mustard and salt into the pan drippings. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; stir in the parsley.

Spoon over the chicken.

It seriously took no time at all and turned out wonderful. I know it's not much to look at but flavor wise it's wonderful. To peak Baby Cakes’ interest I sprinkled red pepper flakes over his before I served it.

1 chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of sauce equals 240 calories, I’m down with that.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Banana-Oatmeal Bread

One of the things I’ve noticed from watching what I eat has been the fact that I can’t seem to eat my bananas quick enough. I eat one daily and up until this last shopping trip I was buying them ripe and ready to eat but by the end of the week they were over ripe. Well, my co-worker told me about a little trick; buy them green and they’ll last longer. I did take her advice during this most recent shopping trip but it didn’t help last week’s bananas. What’s a food blogger to do with over ripe bananas? That’s an easy answer. Make banana bread!

I have shared quite a few recipes for banana bread over the years, like Meg’s Sweet Banana Bread (my hands down favorite version), Banana Apple Bread or Kona Inn Banana Muffins (amazing by the way) but this is the first healthy banana bread recipe I’ve made and shared with you.

Baby Cakes was home from work yesterday and called me at work asking how to make banana bread. I told him where he could find my recipe and assumed he was making it. About an hour later he called back and asked me what baking pan he needs to use and then again about 5 minutes later to ask another question. I finally told him that I’ll make it for him when I got home from work. So now I had to bake but the plus side is because I know I will be eating some of it (come on, how could I not have a piece or two) I get to make a healthy version. Thanks to Google, my dear friend, I found the perfect recipe to try.

It was very good oat type bread. It had just enough sweetness to it and although it’s not the moistest bread I’ve made it wasn’t dry at all. I’ll make it again, maybe next time with pistachio.

It would be excellent with applesauce smeared on it like a jam.

Banana-Oatmeal Bread
recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, June 1999

1 cup packed brown sugar
7 tablespoons canola oil
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
3 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat well at medium speed of a mixer.

Combine banana, oats, and milk; add to sugar mixture, beating well.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir with a whisk. Add to sugar mixture; beat just until moist.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

I had ½ a piece that night and 1 piece the following day, and then it had to go to work with Baby Cakes. I know my weaknesses and baked good are one of them.

Don’t get used to me sharing this info but 1/12 of the loaf equals 264 calories. 1/24 of a loaf, or half of one piece, equals 132 calories hence the ½ piece the first night.

Delicious and nutritious,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a super simple crock pot recipe, at least I think it has, and this recipe couldn’t be any simpler. Simply throw all ingredients in the crock pot, no browning or searing or pre-cooking to mess with. Love it. I had the whole day to do other household things (or to sit around and catch up on my cooking shows).

I couldn’t have picked a better day to make this comforting warm chili; it’s in the 50’s here in my neck of the woods. Hallelujah!

The only thing I would change about this recipe is that I would add an extra can of beans, either black beans or another can of dark or light red kidney beans, just to give it a little extra weight. Other than that it seems to me to be the perfect easy supper to feed you on a cold night.

Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
recipe slightly adapted from Plain Chicken

1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can corn
1 can rotel
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
8 ounces cream cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place the chicken breasts into the bottom of the crockpot and top with the drained beans, the entire can of corn and the whole can of rotel.

Sprinkle on the seasonings, including the ranch mix and stir to combine all ingredients.

Once combined, dollop the cream cheese over the top.

Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low heat.

Transfer chicken breasts onto a plate and shred. Place back into the crock pot and stir to combine all ingredients.

Serve hot with some shredded cheese.

And because I know I’ll go ahead and share that ¼ of the chili is 228 calories. So feel free to eat away! I did. Grin.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Stoup

I was hoping to make a few more soups before “winter” was over in my neck of the woods, but the last few days have been in the 70’s here in Southern Texas, not exactly soup weather. Luckily though, a cold snap came in today with temperatures in the 50’s. I’ll take it and run with it!

Lately, I have been trying to make smarter food choices. Not only am I trying to lose weight but I am also trying to make sure I am meeting the nutrients that I need daily. For some reason I have been super interested in that as of late. Once upon a time I was incredibly fit. I did yoga daily and was a vegetarian (early 20’s) and then slowly I have neglected myself to the point of having gained weight and now just walking a mile burns my calf muscles. (Just trying to keep it real here folks.) Now, I did say that this wouldn’t become a weight loss blog, or did I say that to myself? Either way, it won’t become one, I guess I just want to share that this recipe is healthy and sometimes I am long winded about saying something simple. So the short version: This stoup is one of the better recipes on this blog, as of now.

It reminds me a lot of the Stuffed Cabbage Casserole I have made a dozen or so times in the past and although I will continues to make it in the future I will rotate it, when the weather is right, with this stoup.

Baby Cakes ate a bowl full and really enjoyed it. He didn’t score it but I did. I give it two thumbs up or on our regular scale a 10. I ate two full bowls of it and felt no guilt because ¼ of the pot (or two bowls as the case may be) is only 535 calories! Rock on! Big thanks to Rachel Ray!

Stuffed Cabbage Stoup
recipe slightly adapted from Rachel Ray

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
32 ounces chicken stock
1 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounce can tomato sauce
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons dill, finely chopped

Heat a deep pot over medium high heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, once hot add meat, allspice, paprika, salt and pepper, and begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bay leaf, onions, garlic and carrots. Cook veggies 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften them, and then add cabbage and wilt it down a bit, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and the chicken stock; cover the pot.

Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Stir in parsley and dill, and serve.

We had ours with rice served on top. Normally I would use brown rice (healthier) but I had leftover rice pilaf from the night before that I used instead. I just added ¼ cup to the top of each bowl.

This stoup really is amazing! I loved it, so much so that I am having it for dinner again tonight. Yum.

Happily shared over at Newlyweds Recipe Linky.

In the words of Rachel Ray, Yum-O,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cranberry Corn Bread

I have already shared the 3 Pigs in a Pot and New Year’s Good Luck Spinach Dip that we had on New Year’s Day but I thought some of you might also be interested in the cornbread I served up alongside it this year.

This recipe is another one from my Betty Crocker Win at Weight Loss Cookbook which happens to be my favorite low cal recipe book at the moment.

I took this bread with us camping with my husband’s family on New Year’s Eve to be another element to enjoy at breakfast. Our niece (4) and nephew (2) tried it, it’s not a sweet bread per say as the cranberries are rather tart. They took a polite bite or two, my nephew shuddered from the tartness and then handed their pieces back. The adults however enjoyed it.

It was perfect along with the beans. I adore fruit and pork dishes together and apparently cranberry and pork is no exception, absolutely fabulous flavor combination.

A side note: I used fresh cranberries and because they aren’t sold all year and I only used 1 cup from the bag I froze the rest to use later. To do that just spread them onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze until hard. Then store them in a zip lock bag until you are ready to use them. (I already know what I am using them for. As always, coming soon.)

Cranberry Corn Bread
recipe from Betty Crocker Win at Weight Loss Cookbook, pg. 52

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup fat free milk
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare a loaf pan with non-stick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl mix the flour, cornmeal, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk and oil; mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

In a small bowl, toss the cranberries and the 2 tablespoons sugar until coated. Fold into batter and spread into pan.
Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm.

Now, I just want to remind you that although it does look like sweet bread it honestly isn’t. Don’t let that deter you because it is phenomenal with a hot bowl of 3 Pigs in a Pot.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year’s Good Luck Spinach Dip

Let’s talk dip cause’ I love me some dip. (Should I be alarmed that in that sentence the only spell check alert I received was for the word cause’? Hmm.)

Instead of cabbage for New Years I chose to make a different leafy green recipe. I know that everyone makes cabbage, well, maybe not everyone but in my neck of the woods it’s cabbage, but in all honesty you can use any green that you want. Greens symbolize money in regards to New Year tradition so any green can do. I chose spinach. I couldn’t be happier with that decision.

This dip is so flavorful. I was trepidatious about using fat free and low fat dairies but you honestly can’t tell at all. Even Baby Cakes loved it. He is not a veggie eater by the way.

New Year’s Good Luck Spinach Dip
recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

2 slices bacon
1 small sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 red sweet pepper, seeded and chopped (3/4 cup)
10 ounce bag of fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), cubed and softened
1/2 cup (2 ounces) low-fat Monterey Jack or Parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Set aside.

Discard all but 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion and sweet pepper to skillet, and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the spinach and garlic; cover and cook until wilted, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in the cream cheese, cheese, sour cream, salt and red pepper flakes into the spinach mixture, stirring until combined.

Crumble the bacon and stir into spinach mixture.

Spread the mixture in a small casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

I served this along with sliced cucumber and pita chips. Amazing!

I will be making this again, and not just for New Years. Seriously, that good.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

3 Pigs in a Pot

In the Bennett household we ring in the New Year in the traditional way, or we used to anyway. I have always cooked black-eyed peas, cabbage, a ham and cornbread, but this year we’re trying something a bit different. Namely, instead of using canned black-eyed peas (I know, I should be ashamed of myself) I am making them from their dried form using a ham hock leftover from Christmas courtesy of my Momma. And instead of making cabbage (although we will be having cabbage tomorrow via Stuffed Cabbage Casserole) I am making a variation on a yummy dip recipe I came across on the world wide web (coming soon). You know how I feel about dip right? Right.

So you might notice, once you read the recipe, that we have not one, not two, but three variations of pork going into this pot of beans. What do you think? Do you think it will up the good luck factor? I just think it might.

3 Pigs in a Pot
recipe from Megan Bennett

1 pound bag dried black eyed peas
3 tablespoons spice blend of your choice
1 ham hock
5 ½ cups water plus more as needed
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 red sweet pepper, diced
4 slices bacon, large diced
1 link of pork sausage, sliced into coins

Sort through the beans to clean out any rocks or debris and cover them with water; soak overnight.

The next day, drain the beans and rinse clean. Put them into a large pot along with the ham hock and seasonings and cover with 5 ½ cups of water. Bring them to a low boil, stir and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for around 2 hours, stirring often. If at any time the beans are not covered with water add more, enough to cover them again.

Towards the end of the 2 hour cooking time fry up the onion and peppers along with the bacon until the bacon is done. Put into a dish and set aside. In the same pan fry the sausage coins until done. Stir the bacon, sausage and onions into the beans along with the drippings if you so desire.

Continue cooking the beans for another hour on low heat, stirring often.

Carefully remove the ham hock and set on a plate. Once cool enough to touch or using forks shred the meat from the bone. Discard the skin and bone. Stir the ham back into the soup.

Serve hot along with some cornbread and hot pepper sauce.

This was the best bowl of beans I have ever eaten hands down. Baby Cakes and I both mmmm'd our way through it. The only thing I would/will do differently next time is maybe add another half bag of beans to the recipe. Other than there being more meat than bean, this recipe is amazing.

P.S. In the last post I said that I would be sharing all the nutritional information along with all the recipes I share on here from now on. Well, I have decided not to. It is hard enough to count calories, type up posts and blog, so although I thought I might I have decided not to add another layer of complications to things. I love blogging, but I do not love dieting. I refuse to mix the two. XOXO.

Happy New Year,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...