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Showing posts from April, 2010

Baked Rigatoni with Turkey Bolognese Sauce

I really enjoy rich baked pastas, but my waistline does not so much.  When making them at home you can easily adjust a recipe to make it a little more figure-friendly.  Granted, a baked pasta will never be considered "good for you" you can still make subtle adjustments here and there without sacrificing too much flavor.  


Bolognese sauces seem like a sauce that just scream "Bake Me" to me for some reason.  I think because they're so rich and hearty.  With this Bolognese sauce I replaced the ground beef with heart healthier ground turkey.  I also used skim milk instead of whole, or even 2%, as well as 2% cheese.  Just a few small steps can make a difference.  Also, I prefer to pair this sauce with sturdier pastas, such as rigatoni.  It seems to hold up better, and I love that you get more great sauce with each bite when it makes its way in to the tube of the noodle!

Baked Rigatoni with Turkey Bolognese SauceIngredients:3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ cup Grated Carrots

Chicken Francaise

This is without a doubt my favorite way to make chicken.  It is quick, easy, made from ingredients I always have on hand and full of flavor.  Plus, I love that you can make it lighter or heavier based on the sides you add to it.  One of my favorite things about this chicken is the sauce - I could seriously eat it by the spoonful if I wanted.  How I've restrained myself all these years of making this I'm not sure.  My husband, who is not a huge fan of lemon flavors, actually likes this as well because the flavors don't overpower the dish and make lemon the main flavor.  




Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, with rind, cut in thin rounds
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley Directions:

Put the chicke…

Mexican Rice

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner... are you having a Mexican themed party or meal?  Mexican food is something that I've never really had a love affair with like most people, but over the past few years I've grown an appreciation for it.  Part of that has to do with the rice!  The first time I remember trying Mexican Rice I was in love.  The tomato, the garlic and the spice - love it!  The perfect side dish for quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas.... and, goes perfectly with a big ol' margarita!


Mexican Rice
Ingredients:
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 medium white onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
3 medium jalapenos, ribbed, seeded and minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and move a rack to the middle position.  …

Stuffed Burgers

I will always love aperfect burger, but when you throw in the surprise of the cheese on the inside they're just that much better!  Stuffing your burger with cheese and various "toppings" is always a great way to vary up your standard burger.  The possibilities are limitless as well, based on what you want to throw in.  To make them husband friendly I like to stuff them with cheese and bacon or ham, but whatever you want would be great!  One day I swear I will stuff mine with spinach artichoke dip... how good does that sound?!


Stuffed Burgers
Ingredients:
1 -  1 1/4 lb. ground chuck or ground lean beef
2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 or 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce 
3 slices desired cheese, or 3 tablespoons shredded cheese (if using slices, quarter the slice so it fits in the burger)
3 slices crumbled cooked bacon or other desired toppings
3 Hamburger Buns
Condiments for serving, such as onion, pickle…

Bacon Cheeseburger Bread

In many households ground beef is used for spaghetti & meatballs, meatloaf, tacos and burgers, and while those are all great things sometimes you just want something a little different. Since there are so many things to do with ground beef all you have to do is think outside the box.    I've had the idea of a Bacon Cheeseburger Calzone, filled bread, etc. in the back of my mind for a while now, and while menu planning I saw this recipe on Rachael Ray's magazine site and thought I'd try it out with a few adaptations.  


I've made pizza breads similar to this as appetizers, but this was more of a quick weeknight meal than an appetizer, in my opinion.  However, that is what I was going for!  When my husband tried it, the first thing he said was "this tastes like a steakburger."  My response was, "umm... OK..."  To which he replied, "which means that it's awesome."  (The steakburger he was referring to is one from Steak 'n Shake)  I …

White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse Filling

OK, so, while this recipe was the result of me literally quick thinking at the grocery store rushing around to pick up a few ingredients over Easter weekend, I came up with a fantastic cake filling, in my humble opinion.  I love the cake fillings at Costco and wanted to make a variation on that.  This is really semi-homemade but oh so good!  It's rich, creamy and decadent.  Even my husband loved it, and he's not really a cake fan.  It was so easy to make too!


White Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse Filling
Ingredients:
1 package Jello Pudding - Cheesecake flavor
1 8-oz. container Whipped Cream Cheese, softened
1 8-oz, container Cool Whip, thawed
3 oz. White Chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Beat softened cream cheese and vanilla with mixer until well blended and light (a few minutes).

Beat in pudding mix until fully incorporated.

Stir in melted white chocolate.

Fold in thawed Cool Whip

Allow to set in fridge for a few hours, but don't let it get too cold that it…

P90X Lean Schedule

For anyone that is interested in my P90X progress, or would like to start the P90X program themselves, below is the Lean Program schedule.  For the most part I'm sticking with the schedule verbatim EXCEPT when it has me doing Yoga X during the week.  The Yoga X routine is 90 minutes long and given the fact that I work out between coming home from the office and cooking dinner, I just don't have 90 minutes to workout like that.  I pretty much plan to do a little switcheroo with Kenpo and Yoga X.

Now, regarding my progress - I've been doing the program for a week, and unfortunately after my second routine (Cardio X) I got a nice little second degree burn pulling dinner out of the oven.  The burn is on the inside of my left arm, right under the elbow, so it's not an easy part of the body to not use.  Needless to say, working out is a bit of a challenge, but I'm still doing it.  I can't workout with the full intensity I would like to, but at least I'm still doin…

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

No matter how old you are, there is ALWAYS something comforting about Grilled Cheese sandwiches.  I will always have a soft spot for the classic white bread/American cheese version but there is nothing wrong with making something feel a little more "grown-up".  There are many ways to make Grilled Cheese feel more grown-up, but when I saw this version I loved the concept of brushing the bread with a compound butter of herbs and Parmesan cheese.... adding more cheese is always a bonus in my book!



Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
Ingredients:
4 slices of any Artisan bread (in this picture I used a Country Miche from Panera Bread)
2 slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 slices Provolone Cheese
2 slices Colby-Jack Cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions:
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat.

Combine butter, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley in a small bowl.

Place the chee…

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

I have mentioned before how much I love Chicken Cordon Bleu and any variation of it.  Once my husband brought home some leftover pizza from a family event I couldn't go to and I tried some Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza I was hooked.  I don't eat it that often because while my husband likes it, he's much more of a pepperoni fan, but occasionally I breakdown and have it.  It's Chicken Cordon Bleu and pizza - what's not to like?

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza Ingredients: 1 batch pizza dough (here is my fave) 1 c. milk 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon flour 1/2 cup Swiss Cheese S&P to taste 1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken 3/4 cup diced cooked ham 1 1/2 cups cheese blend for topping (I like to use mozzarella, swiss and cheddar for this pizza) a dash of Italian seasoning
Directions: Make the dough according to instructions
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the milk, whisking constantly.  Bring to a low boil and immediately reduc…

Lemon Spaghetti

I love the fresh flavors of springtime and lemon is definitely one of my favorite.  A few years ago when I found this recipe for Lemon Spaghetti from Giada DeLaurentiis on Food Network I knew that I had to try it.  Ever since then I've made it numerous times, and many times a variation of it when I'm working from home and want a quick lunch that isn't my normal deli-sandwich.  Now that we're in full-on spring mode I knew this was the perfect time to make this dish again.  It's such a refreshing and light take on spaghetti with simple flavors: lemon, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and basil (though occasionally I make with parsley as you can see - it all depends what I have on hand).
Throw some grilled chicken on top and you've got a great main course as well.  I am not a seafood fan but I would imagine that this would be great with some seafood as well (salmon perhaps - some shrimp...)

Ingredients1 pound spaghetti2/3 cup olive oil2/3 cup grated Parmesan1/2 cup fresh …

P90X - Day 1: Core Synergistics

I started the P90X Lean workout program on April 12 in hopes to lose a little weight before swimsuit season actually hits, as well as to fit in to this AWESOME dress I am about 1-size too big to be comfortable in for the wedding of some friends in about 2-months.  To disclaim - no I won't be journaling each day of the workout - however more so the milestones, such as the first workout, big accomplishments, etc.
My first P90X workout of the Lean program was Core Synergistics.  I've done a few of the workouts before because I've done them with my husband, but this is the first I've done of this workout.  W-O-W, this kicked my butt.  In a good way, of course.  Going in to it, while excited, I knew it would be tough because I have a relatively weak core area.  (TMI alert) - I wasn't expecting to feel like I was going to throw up from exertion though!  Last summer when I still belonged to a gym I did 3-sessions with a personal trainer - I think p90x is going to be like 9…

Marshmallow Fondant

I've been wanting to decorate a cake with fondant for such a long time, but I've been completely intimidated.  Not only was I intimidated by the actual act of rolling and using the fondant, I knew I wanted to make my own because store bought fondant doesn't have the best taste in the world so I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal.  With the exception of one mistake on my part making and decorating with fondant proved to be SO EASY for me.  Really, you just need 3-4 simple ingredients and that's all so honestly I'm not so sure why I was freaking out.  
All of the recipes, blog posts, etc. that I'd read said to make sure to liberally grease your hands and counter top with Vegetable Shortening before kneading and rolling out the fondant.  Well, I guess my definition of liberal wasn't enough so that was my one minor error.  The fondant was sticking to the counter top something crazy.  I did end up greasing over the stuck fondant, basically saying "a…

Turkey & Bacon Panini

Sandwiches are without a doubt one of the easiest things to make, in my opinion, and the options are limitless.  I'll admit that my husband and I are pretty plain when it comes to our food because neither of us really like condiments too much, but even without condiments it's easy to make a flavorful sandwich.  Another thing I love about sandwiches is that they're great for lunch or dinner, or even to cut in to small pieces for a few people to snack on, or appetizers for a group.  
I get a lot of my sandwich ideas from commercials and restaurants/cafes where I've seen or had something that I know I can replicate, and often times make it a little less fattening if I saw the sandwich on a commercial.  Such as this sandwich, inspired from a Jack in the Box commercial for the Turkey, Bacon and Cheddar Grilled Sandwich.  I admit it - I LOVE Jack in the Box - but I'm a spicy chicken bites fan.

Turkey & Bacon Club Panini
Ingredients:
1 loaf French bread, or other favori…

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

One of my favorite flavors in the world is vanilla.  Give me vanilla over chocolate any day and I'm a happy camper.  I even love anything vanilla scented, such as my favorite Vanille Apricot perfume.  However, something even better than vanilla, is VANILLA BEAN.  When I see those little black flecks, in my ice cream especially, there's no denying that I'm going to want to try whatever it is in front of me.


Truth be told though, I don't really do a lot of baking with vanilla bean, because they're so expensive at the grocery store.  However, that's all going to change because vanilla beans are so easy to find now.  Lately I've been buying them from Cost Plus/World Market and they're like $4 for 2 pods.  Not too shabby for the ol wallet!


One of my first forays back in to the world of vanilla beans were these fantastic cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake! The batter was amazing - so velvety and rich!


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Ingredients: 
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tea…

Steel Cut Oats

Oatmeal is not one of the most glamorous breakfast foods out there, but there are so many great things about oatmeal that it's a shame so many people have such a negative opinion of it.  ESPECIALLY when you're eating Steel Cut Oats rather than quick rolled-oats.  The steel cut oats hold their shape much better and have a better texture.  

Steel-Cut Oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into two or three pieces using steel discs. Golden in colour and resembling mini rice particles, they are as nature intended – nothing added and nothing taken out.  Rolled oats are flake oats that have been steamed, rolled, re-steamed and toasted. Due to all of this additional processing they have lost some of their natural taste, goodness and texture. (source: McCanns Irish Oatmeal website)  Steel Cut Oats are high in B-Vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber while low in salt and unsaturated fat PLUS - everyone loves food with variety.  There are inf…