Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almond Boulettes - Take 2 and a poll

I found out where to get rose water in Austin! Actually, I found out over a month ago. I just didn't get there. Well, this weekend we went. We also got some halva (sesame paste mixed with sugar pretty much.) So, having rose water in hand, I had to make the Tunisian Almond Pastries again. I mixed up the pulverized almond with the powdered sugar, and added a splash of rose water. It was crazy! Just like I had spilled rose perfume in the room. I stirred it in, but it needed more liquid. I ended up added plain water to make the 'dough' hold together. Dan and I tasted it, but it was just so much like biting into a chewy rose petal that it was distracting. Not bad, but that's not something I normally eat. Enter chocolate:

Yes, the picture's a little sad, I know. But the addition of a chocolate coating really helped! It's still definitely rose flavored, but the chocolate balances it to make it an interesting combination instead of taste bud confusion. If I ever make these for money, I will certainly take a class in making the chocolate more even, but for now my own taste buds really don't care. I think that next time I will use about a 1/2 teaspoon of rose water diluted in 1/4 cup of plain water to see how that goes. I need to figure out how they really do it...

The poll that I promised:
What should I call these? "Almond balls" seems very dull, and I don't think they're dull. Give me your answers as comments. Here's what I came up with:
A - Almond Boulettes (adding in some of the French name)
B - Almond Kaaber (adding in some Arabic)
C - Almond Pastries
D - You think I'm boring and would like to propose a name I didn't give.

Thanks for your help!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I beg to differ! Somewhat.

I happen to like this site that comments on celebrity clothing, but today they may have crossed a line:

"It's like one of those Food Network shows that's trying to teach you to cook an entire meal lickety-split for $10: At the end of the day, it's just going to taste rushed, probably a little bland, and almost certainly like it only cost $10."

Now, I don't love all of the food network chefs, and the ones who use pre-chopped/pre-washed/pre-shredded EVERYTHING make me a little ill when they claim it's the same as doing it yourself, just quicker. (Semi-Homemade is fine by me. Even the title says it's not the same!) And garlic from a jar is often kinda bland. However, I have had some darn good meals for 4 that cost under $10. They can stick with fashion, I'll stick with food.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No-Fuss Steel Cut Oats

I grew up with a variety of hot grains for breakfast. They are cheap, keep in the fridge for at least a few days, and are healthy, too. If you don't like oatmeal, that's ok; these don't taste like regular oatmeal, have a different texture and they're nothing like the packaged instant crap. Since they're less processed, they also retain more nutrition than their rolled friends.

If you know anything about this kind of cereal, you're probably wondering how it fits into the "fast" idea, but I shall make a believer out of you here in a second. Steel cut oats do normally take a good bit of cook time, but with a little pre-planning, you'll be fine. I did try them in the crockpot and have one word: EWWWWWWWWW. Mushy, mushy, mush, surrounded by (tasty) hard stuff. Someone suggested putting them in a bowl inside the crockpot, and that worked better, but still too much fuss. I know I could try it again, but I found this way first.

The picture below has a plum and a small handful of almonds added to make it a complete breakfast . Any kind of nuts or dried fruit would be great, too. Oh, and the cheap - don't go buying McCann's real Irish oats or, of course, you'll be paying a ton. I have personally only found non-brand steel cut oats in bulk food sections. It looks a little like cracked wheat to me, or like smaller tan grains of rice chopped a bit. You may be able to find a cheap off-brand near the fancy ones, too. These supposedly keep in the fridge for a week, but I've never tried it. I just eat them.

Easy hands-off steel cut oats
Serves: 4 Cook time: about 10 minutes of your effort (soaks overnight)

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
any fruit or nuts you like
syrup or brown sugar

- Place the oats and water in a medium saucepan (one that has a lid!)
- Bring to a rolling boil, then turn off heat and cover (ok to leave it on the burner if you have an electric stove)
- Let the thing wait while you sleep
- In the morning, turn it on to med-high, bring back to a boil. Cook until it looks creamy, but is still chewable. After all, you're not making instant here!
- Top with your favorite combination of fruits, nuts, and/or sugar

Nutrition info for 1/4 cup (dry) oats: Calories - 140   Fat - 2.5g   Carbs - 27g    Protein - 6g

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Food bars

You could call these energy bars or protein-ish bars, but I like the term "food bars" best. It's good, easy, healthy food in bar form. How much better than that can you get? The original recipe is from foodnetwork but, as usual, you will find my own changes below. My main complaint with theirs is that they asked for EVERYTHING to be blended up in a processor. I don't really like the bars that are all one consistency, so I kept some of my stuff bigger. If you want to make it quicker, don't process anything, or process everything. I also replaced the wheat germ with garbanzo flour. Seemed like a cool idea. If you make only 10 bars, they are a pretty good size, though the original recipe suggests 20 (size pictured.)

Update: I have since tried them with wheat germ, and it worked really well, too. It changes the flavor, and I'm not sure yet which I prefer. Wheat germ is certainly easier to find, though. :)

Food Bars
Serves: 10 Total time: 30-40 min, depending on whether you chop stuff

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted, but unsalted are better for you)
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup craisins (or raisins would work)
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup pitted dried dates
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey - I used lower-sugar syrup that doesn't have fake sugar)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, mix oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and craisins. Pour half of mixture into food processor
- Add to food processor both flours, spices and milk, spice til there are no big chunks left
- In large bowl, mix eggs and syrup, stir in mixture from processor
- Process dates (alone) until all in small bits, add to large bowl
- Process the conserved oat mix 4-5 times, leaving some large chunks (whole almonds are ok)
- Mix everything except chocolate chips in the large bowl until basically combined
- Press into a greased pan (13x9, 9x9, whatever you have) and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
- Once cooked, remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let set to melt a few minutes, then spread.

Nutrition info (1/10th with chocolate chips): Calories - 277 Fat - 7.1g Carbs - 47.2 g Protein - 9g
Nutrition info (1/10th, NO chocolate chips): Calories - 254 Fat - 5.9g Carbs - 44.7 g Protein - 8.7g

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tasty Peanut Sauce

I think that the key to this is natural peanut butter. I can't be sure, though, because I never have the other stuff anymore. My mom's jaw is likely hitting the floor. When we were little, natural pb was the cheapest. Adam's, I haven't seen it in years. We didn't like it though. The oil separating looked gross, and we had some other complaints. Who knows. Well, after realizing how much fake crap is in food, I have been trying to do little things to put less fake crap in me. Like the natural peanut butter. Just peanuts and salt. I got it for a good price at a warehouse store. More than their "normal" pb, but about the same as a regular grocery store's pb. Well, the recipe, then! We had this with udon noodles, chicken and green beans. If you want to mix this in with the stir fry over heat, you'll want to increase the water to 1/4 cup. The pepper gets hotter when cooked, but if used cold, this is a mild heat recipe. The ground ginger gives it a more uniform flavor, and the fresh adds to it. I happened to have both, but one or the other would work, too.

Peanut Sauce
Serves: 3-4 Prep time: about 5 min

1 1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger (if you just have fresh, use 1 Tbs)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (if you just have ground, used 1/2 tsp)
1 large clove garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbs teriyaki sauce (or 2 Tbs soy sauce, 1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but chunky would work)
2 Tbs water

- Mince the garlic and ginger.
- Mix spices, garlic, fresh ginger and teriyaki sauce in a bowl.
- Stir in peanut butter until mostly mixed.
- Add water, stir until well mixed.
- Eat over meat, in chicken salad (with celery and onions, maybe a little cilantro), on rice over stir fry, on grilled veggies, a burger, whatever you might put teriyaki sauce on. mmmm, I want more now....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweet Potato Burgers

Well, this picture is from CL again (along with the recipe.) I wasn't taking pictures when I made these, you'll have to forgive me! I made them when we had people over, one of them a vegetarian, and everyone agreed that it was really good. The only thing to be careful of is that they are much softer than a regular burger would be, so I found that they sort of try to squish away when you bite if they are too thick. I used bbq sauce on them, and it was realllly good.

Sweet Potato Burgers

6 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

1 teaspoon canola oil
3 cups sliced onion (I used one large sweet onion)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (I used one large sweet potato)
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
1 cup regular oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon oil, divided
6 lettuce leaves
6 (1 1/2-ounce) 100% whole wheat or whole-grain buns


1. To prepare onions, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion to pan; sauté 12 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds or until vinegar is absorbed. Remove onion mixture from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel.

2. To prepare burgers, place potato in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender; drain.

3. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

4. Place potato, chopped onion mixture, oats, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a food processor; process until smooth. Place potato mixture in a large bowl; stir in nuts. Divide potato mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

5. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 patties to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and 3 patties. Place lettuce leaves and patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with about 3 tablespoons onion, and top halves of buns.

Nutrition for 1/6 of recipe: Cal: 376 Fat: 12.3g Protein: 11.3g Carbs: 59

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What to post?

First, do not worry, I have loads more things to post. I feel bad that I do not have more up. But I am working on it, I swear!

Anyway, I've made a few things lately that Dan has told me I should post, but it's a bit difficult to be sure. If I'm going for the "easy, cheap, and healthy" aspect, then the chai sugar cookies I made don't exactly qualify. I may end up making a new label, something like "indulgent" just as a warning that not everything is so healthy. And some of my recipes, like those that have lots of nuts, certainly have higher fat and calorie content, but it's still a healthier fat.

Another food blog made me think about that a bit. I do like to use lots of fresh ingredients, stay away from really processed things, and not drown everything in butter. But I do use butter. I tried to go light in a buckwheat crepe recipe by using cooking spray and it was a minor disaster til I gave in and used real butter. I know that fat is important in cooking, and in your daily diet. I just also know that a lot of people use way too much, or use it when it's not really necessary. The reason I don't post those things as often is because those sorts of recipes are super easy to find, each with a thousand variations. If I were blogging every day, sure, I'd add them, but I don't really have the time for that, so I'm gonna stick (at least mostly) with posting the healthier stuff. Just don't think that it's the only thing I eat!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rich and light french toast

I love Alton Brown's french toast recipe. It has eggs and half and half and vanilla and spices. And probably something else. The half and half makes it more of a special occasion recipe, though, so I wanted something that was thicker than regular egg-and-milk, but not by adding flour because then I just feel like you may as well have a pancake. Enter evaporated milk. I thought of it after using it in my hot chocolate. It soaks into the bread well without being so thin that it makes it fall apart. For extra fun, I used banana bread for part of the recipe (pictured). Of course, that makes it take a rather long time to make, but it was SOOOO good. We got the idea from a cafe near campus that served zucchini bread french toast. Either way, I approve.

French toast
Serves: 4 Cook time: about 20 minutes (depends on your pan and bread size!)

3 eggs
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

- Heat a skillet on medium while you prepare the rest
- In a flat dish (square baking dish, plastic leftover container), beat the eggs
- Stir in evaporated milk and spices
- Put bread, 1 layer at a time, into egg mixture. Let soak on each side for about 10 seconds, then flip. (Shorter for thin bread, or lighter bread or else it will fall apart)
- Spray the skillet with cooking spray, then put in as many piece of bread as will fit, leaving enough room to flip them
- When bread looks brown around the edges, up to one minute, flip it over
- Keep finished french toast on a plate in the microwave (don't turn it on, but it's insulated in there to keep them warm and won't have a draft) until you are ready to serve, or serve as you finish them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amazing banana bread

I know, I know, I am totally biased, but this stuff is good. Really, really good. It does take more time than most things I make, but you know you want some. When I have bananas that are too soft to eat, I wait for them to turn all brown and throw them in the freezer. Then, when I have 3 or 4, I make this. I know some of you will leave out the coffee, but if you are willing to try a fake flavoring, I would recommend that because it gives the bread a much richer flavor. You can decrease the butter to 3 tablespoons, or you could up it to 6 tablespoons if you're feeling wild and too skinny. The original had 1/3 cup. This isn't quite as low-fat as most of my stuff, but I think it's worth it. If you want more nutritious, last time I used half wheat flour (with brewed coffee) and it worked really well.

Banana bread!!
Serves: 1 if you can keep it away from others! Ok, should be about 8 real-people servings, and 16 if you go by what most recipes say it should be.

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules*

3/4 cup sugar (reduce to 2/3 cup if using sweetened coconut)

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

* instead of instant granules, you can use 3 ounces of STRONG brewed coffee - add 2 tablespoons of flour if you do this.

- Preheat the oven to 350°F

- Mash bananas in a large bowl, then mix in butter and coffee.

- Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla.

- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

- If you have a food processor, process the coconut until it is completely chopped up.

- Add the flour and coconut to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated.

- Pour mixture into a greased 4x8 inch loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

- Cool on a rack if you are patient, but I always cut into it while hot to enjoy it immediately.

Nutrition info for 1/8 of recipe (using 1/4 cup of butter): Fat - 8.4g Cal - 275 Carbs - 48 Protein - 3.8g

I sort of feel bad after putting this nutrition info, but then again Emeril's recipe, here, has 28.7g of fat and 508 calories for 1/8 of it! I think his is going to be an outlier on the heavy side, though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Corn and bean salad

I really like making things that can be changed to make it seem new or different. I sometimes call my meals "creations" because there often isn't a good name, I just throw things together. Corn and bean salad is something that you can do a lot of different things with. Here, I added couscous to make it a main dish. I admit that it makes it similar to the southwest couscous I already posted, but I often leave the couscous out. If you want, you could throw in some meat - chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, whatever. One time I had avocado that I chopped up. Hard to go wrong, really, which is nice to use up whatever you have.

Corn and bean salad
Serves: 4-6 Cook time: about 15 minutes

1/2 cup couscous
1/2 cup water

1 bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp tabasco

- In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Once reached, turn off, add couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- While couscous is sitting, chop bell pepper, drain beans, and put them into a large bowl with the corn.
- Once couscous is done, stir it into the bowl.
- Sprinkle spices over the top and stir in. Eat immediately or wait and let the flavors blend.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Satisfying hot chocolate

I've heard a lot of times that you should give in to your cravings a little, because if you don't, then you will just keep having the craving and eat too much of things you don't want. I have no idea if it's actually true, but I like the idea. A good, rich, satisfying hot chocolate from Starbucks or another coffee shop could set you back $4 and 10 grams of fat (without the whipped topping, of course!) You could always go with a packet from the store, but it just isn't the same at all. My solution? A small, but very tasty, drink. If you use evaporated milk, it's really thick and so you feel like you're drinking something really indulgent, but it's not. I have been using Brown & Haley drinking chocolate to make this, but good chocolate chips (guittard, ghiradelli, or better) should work well. If all you have is hershey's or a cheap store brand, personally I'd save those for cookies and reach for the powdered cocoa instead. I don't think it'll incorporate properly and you'll be left with gritty waxy bits in the bottom of your cup. The other weekend we had it with Apple Oven Pancake, topped with chocolate frozen yogurt and toasted blanched almonds.

Satisfying hot chocolate
Serves: 2 Cook time: 5-8 min

One 6oz can fat-free evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1/4 cup good chocolate

- In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the chocolate, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the liquid is hot. It should steam a little, but you don't want it to boil because it can change the taste and texture of the milk.
- I serve this in 3-oz espresso cups. They will be filled to the brim, which always feels better than a big cup with hardly anything in it.

Nutrition info: I'll update this if I figure out how many chocolate chips are in 1/4 cup, but I think it should be about 3-4 grams of fat and maybe 130 calories with 5 grams of protein (yay, milk!) for half of this recipe.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grilled pizza on a whole wheat crust

The way that we did this, it was really quick. We had some friends over and grilled a lot of food. After everything else was done, but while the coals were still hot, we threw on two chicken breasts that we had no intention of eating that day. If somebody had decided they were still hungry, they could have eaten them, but everyone was stuffed before the chicken was cooked. So, now we have grilled chicken and left-over grilled veggies. Stir up some quick pizza crust and - voila! - tasty, healthy pizza. The crust recipe is originally from here, I didn't change it at all. It's that good. Add spices if you like.

You can let it rise, or use it immediately; I've done it both ways, and it's always good. If you want to make it go even faster, put the crust into a pan, cook it for about 5 minutes while you finish getting the toppings ready, top with veggies/meat, cook 5-10 minutes, top with cheese, cook about 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Whole Wheat pizza crust
Serves: 8 Prep & cook time: 20-25 min. (just the crust)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast/instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot tap water (120 - 125°F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar

- Preheat oven to 425°F
- To prepare pizza dough, stir whole wheat flour; lightly spoon into a measuring cup and level flour.
- In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. Blend in water, oil and honey or sugar. Stir by hand vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed; about 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to desired size.
- Place dough in greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan or 12 to 14-inch pizza pan. Press dough to cover bottom of pan and up sides to form a rim.
- Add pizza sauce of your choice and your favorite pizza toppings; bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toppings are done.

Nutrition: One slice of crust only provides approximately: 146 calories, 5 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 37 mcg folate, 2 mg iron and 219 mg sodium.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Potato Salad

I really like potato salad. I usually put lots of mustard in mine. I really like mustard. It's pretty amazing that this one didn't have any. But the mayonnaise definitely isn't so great. Dan saw a recipe video that he thought looked good on CL (Cooking Light, I'm tired of typing it out!) . They used reduced-fat mayo and fat-free sour cream, but I don't like any mayo and fat-free tends to get weird. We went for miracle whip & plain yogurt. I am actually not going to link to it, because after looking at it again, the only things in common are potato, pepper and celery. You can see that we used red potatoes with the skin on, they hold together really well after cooking, but any kind works. I bet adding some egg would be nice if you like that. Interestingly, our version came out with lower fat & cal than the CL one, but the same amount of potato and servings.

Tater Salad
Serves: 4-5 Time: 30 min

4 cups cubed potato (about 1 1/3 lbs)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery

2 Tbs salad dressing
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp parsley

- Start with the potatoes! Put a pot of water on to boil before you begin to cube them. When it comes to a boil, add potatoes. Reduce heat, simmer about 9 minutes or until fork goes in easily. After done, throw them in ice water if you want to cool them faster. If not, just drain.
- While the potatoes are cooking, chop up your vegetables.
- While potatoes cooking/cooling, mix up dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Taste it! Add more spices if you like.
- When potatoes are cool, add them and the vegetables to the bowl, toss well to coat them.

Nutrition info (1/5 of recipe): Cal: 95 Fat: 2.5g Carbs: 15.9 Protein: 2.9g

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New links

I've been collecting links to other blogs for a while. You will see the result in the sidebar now. I am not trying to be exhaustive, of course, because that would be thousands. I am planning on linking to bloggers whose recipes I have actually used myself, even if they weren't featured here. Also, they have to be related to part of our goals here, preferably at least two - easy, cheap, and healthy. I know that "healthy" can sort of vary, depending on their own goal, but usually the focus of the blogs are pretty obvious. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cocoa Almonds

We went to a waterpark last weekend, so we were in the grocery store looking for treats and something caught my eye: cocoa roast almonds. They looked delicious. But, they were about $8 for 11 oz, and I still had over 2 lbs of plain almonds at home. So, like any self-respecting baker girl, I left them on the shelf and went straight to the computer when I got home to figure out how to make them myself! I found a promising-looking recipe on a low-carb site here, but the portions are quite off to me. (The basic idea is what I went with.) I ended up doing it in two batches to make them not touch as much, but it would work in one batch, you'd just have to break it apart more after.

*Update 7/12*: I bought some of these today because they were like $4 at Target, and we vote that mine are better. Theirs have a thinner coating and, according to Dan, are "more crunchable" but you can taste the splenda, which isn't my favorite.

*Update 8/17*: We finally finished eating the store-bought ones. Mine were gone in a week. Theirs in over a month. Mine are definitely better.

Cocoa Almonds
Serves: 8 Time: about 25 min.

2 cups whole almonds
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa

- Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, fluff the egg white with a fork until it is nice and frothy (like soap suds - takes 1-2 minutes)
- Mix in sugar and cocoa
- Pour in almonds, coat with egg white mixture
- Spread out on a tinfoil-covered pan (or a silicone mat, I bet that would work even better). I ended up doing it in two batches because my pan was a bit small. Bake 15 minutes, until coating is dry.
- Remove from oven, let cool until touchable and break apart any clumps. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Nutrition info per serving: Cal: 175 Fat: 12.4g Carbs: 14.4g Protein: 6.5g

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nan's Pumpkin Cookies

Yep, another from my sister. She went to a college where one main major was naturopathic medicine and lots of people were very health-conscious and she said that everyone at school as well as the regular people at home liked these! I had never heard of the ground flax seed for egg, but I might try it some time. Since eggs are so cheap, though, I admit that it may take me a while to go look for it.

Nan's Pumpkin Cookies
Serves: How much do you like to eat? Time: Haven't tried them yet, but cookies tend to be slow.

1 3/4 cup pumpkin
1 Tblsp oil
1 egg or (1 Tblsp ground flax mixed with 3 tblsp water)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp total spices you would put in pumpkin pie they recommend 1/4 nutmeg & 3/4 cinnamon I use pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups oats
1/4 - 1 cup chocolate chips (depends on you)

- Mix it all together and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. =) [That's how she told me - cookies should be first four, then second four, then oats, then chips.] They will not brown and have a more cake-like quality than normal cookies do. They do look different when they are done and you test them by breaking one in half and seeing if it is cooked all the way through.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Smoky Broccoli Casserole

This is one of the recipes that I used my left-over chipotle chiles in. It was definitely a good call. The original title from CookingLight was "Zesty Broccoli Casserole", but I don't know where they think they found "zesty" in their version unless their cheese was SUPER sharp. They used frozen broccoli, but I used fresh. It was still a bit crisp, but I don't like mushy food. We decided that this would be really good as a main dish with (1 1/2 lbs) chicken added in. We used the chipotle pepper in adobo left over from the sloppy joes, and it added a nice flavor.

Smoky Broccoli Casserole
Serves: 4-6 Time: 40 min


2 medium heads broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened (or neufchatel)
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, rinsed, drained, and sliced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
3/4 cup breadcrumbs


- Preheat oven to 375°.

- Chop broccoli and arrange in an even layer in an 11x7 or 8x8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; set aside.

- Combine milk, flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheddar and cream cheese; stir until smooth. Stir in onion, chipotle pepper and water chestnuts. Spoon cheese mixture evenly over broccoli.

- Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over cheese mixture. Lightly spray breadcrumb layer with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble and breadcrumbs brown.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flavored oatmeal

Here's another one from my family. As my sister said, "With quick oats they don't take that long and have real fruit compared to the packaged stuff." I think it's a good point. She tops hers with white or brown sugar or honey with cinnamon if she uses apple.

Nan's flavored oatmeal
Serves: 1 Time: 10 minutes

1/2 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick)
water (according to oatmeal package, or your taste)
1/2 apple or banana (eat the other half with your breakfast!)

Apple version:
- So for the first one you chop up half an apple (if you use a food chopper it's quick) and you add it just after you have the oatmeal stirred into the water.
- Then you add some brown sugar/honey/sugar and cinnamon when it it done cooking.
- And you eat the rest of the apple.

Banana version:
- For the other one once it is done cooking you add a sliced banana (or half depending on how big it is/# of serving) and some maple syrup/honey/sugar/brown sugar and maybe seeds or nuts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yogurt Pancakes

This one is from my mom and sister (yay, for other peoples' recipes!) Well, we all know that pancakes from mix don't generally have a lot of nutritional value. But my mom found a way to add some calcium and protein, along with flavor. My sister reports that they are really good and don't need any additional toppings.

Mom's Yogurt Pancakes
Serves: 2-4 Time: Depends on how big your pan/griddle is!

1 cup pancake mix
6 oz flavored yogurt (most containers now)
6 oz (one yogurt container) water (If you use Bisquick, reduce water to 1/3 cup)

- Preheat frying pan or griddle to medium high.

- Combine all ingredients in a bowl until mix is damp, don't overmix!

- When pan is hot enough, (water drops fizzle and evaporate right away) spray pan with cooking spray and ladle 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mix onto pan

- When bubbles form, flip and cook til pancake is the color you like.

*Update* I tried these out on Sunday and liked them a lot! I even used pina colada yogurt and threw in a handful of coconut for fun, and it was really tasty. I used Bisquick. I think that they are harder to flip than regular pancakes, so I made them smaller and it worked great.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Favorite - Cheese Steak Sandwich

My husband loves cheese steak sandwiches so for special occasions like his birthday and Father's Day I make his favorite despite the kids complaints.

This meal can be as inexpensive as the meat you choose to buy. I made enough for 7 people (5 of which chose to have slice cheese and lunch meat instead) for about $9.

Cheese Steak Sandwiches
What I used to feed 7.

3 lbs. semi frozen roast/chuck roast/tri-tip /what ever you found in the quick sale bin at the store. Slice this while it is still semi frozen and it comes off in smaller pieces, a plus for this recipe.
1 bell pepper thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
about 7 medium mushrooms thinly sliced.
(any or all of the ingredients besides the meat are optional)

I have a Pampered Chef Ultimate Slice and Grate that I slice my veggies on and I use an egg slicer for the mushrooms. (You can also slice olives and strawberries super quick with an egg slicer too)

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. I let mine set and get yummy for a day or two but it can also be cooked right away.

Heat 3 Tblsp oil in a wok or large frying pan. Cook until meat is no longer pink.

Serve on various hard rolls, hoagie buns, hot dog or hamburger buns. My husband loves his with cream cheese which I was really doubtful about at first but it's good. Any kind of cheese can be substituted. The original cheese steak was served with provolone but I understand you can get one with cheese whiz in Philly.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

This recipe is from Cooking Light again, but I changed it. This is their picture, though - I would never make nasty coleslaw! The main flavor-giver here is the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. DO NOT skip it. They are awesome, and have a lot of heat. They also store for a long time in the fridge, and are a great addition to a lot of things. Soup, quesadillas, soft tacos... I know I've put them on other things, because they're hot enough that a little is enough. If you'd like to see the original recipe, it's here. The main thing I did was up the pepper and use turkey instead of beef (it's what we had.)

Chipotle Sloppy Joes
Serves: 2 Time: 20 min (I think, it was a while ago!)

Cooking spray
1 medium/small sweet onion, sliced into rings.
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/3 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 small (3 oz?) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 whole-wheat Kaiser rolls, toasted

1. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. Remove 2 chipotle chiles from can; chop really well and set aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook turkey 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in everything else other than the buns, cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 of meat mixture over bottom half of each bun, and top evenly with onions and top half of bun.

Nutrition Info: The Cooking Light link above has nutritional info for the original recipe, but mine is pretty close to the same.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

After-workout Peach Treat

Dan made this - it's really good. He would like to point out that I came up with the name. I didn't think it was a bad name. Anyway, after working out it is nice to get something in your system so you don't just feel all worn-out, and this is one option for doing that. I'm sure it would be good for breakfast or a fresh snack any time of day. Works well with strawberries, nectarines, berries or most any soft fruit that has a lot of flavor. Probably not grapes, watermelon, or citrus (the acid might curdle the cottage cheese even more.)

After-workout Peach Treat
Serves: 2 Prep time: 10 min

2 small peaches (may need less if peaches are large or in better condition)
3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup granola
2 tbs sunflower kernels

- Chop up the peaches into bite-size pieces. Put in a bowl
- Add cottage cheese
- Top with granola and sunflower kernels, drizzle top with honey
- Mix if you want and eat!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cheater Salad with Chicken

One of the dinners we like to have when we feel lazy is salad topped with chicken strips. They're usually fried, so not super healthy, but when there are only 2 or 3 on top of a salad shared by two people, it's not so bad. If you want to be *really* lazy, just grab a bag of Fresh Express (I recommend Caesar Lite or Fiesta) and just open up all the pretty packets.

Cheater Salad with Chicken
Serves: 2 Total time: 15 min (not including trip to store)

- Go to the store and grab a few chicken strips. If you live near a healthy place, you might even be able to get grilled chicken. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Rinse and rip up lettuce. Spin or shake to remove excess water, and place in a large bowl.
- Add red onions, carrots, bell pepper, pepperoncinis, soy nuts, sunflower kernels, radishes, or whatever else you have that would be tasty.
- Pour on a little light dressing and top with chicken.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Mmmmmmmmmmmm..... I am a big fan of pumpkin pie for breakfast. I love it! But I clearly can't have it for breakfast all the time. Solution? This oatmeal! Unbelievably good. I was a little skeptical when I saw one recipe (can't remember where, sorry!) but decided it was worth a shot. I've made it on the stovetop and in the microwave - I actually prefer plain oatmeal from the microwave, but this was better on the stove. I like my oatmeal a little chewy, too, so if you like yours reallllly cooked, just add a few minutes and a little more liquid.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
As written, serves 2 Total cook time: about 4 min using microwave, 8-10 on stovetop

1 1/2 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
1 cup water or milk (or a blend of the two)
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
brown sugar to taste

- Put oats and milk or water in a large micro-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
- Add pumpkin puree and spice. Microwave for an additional 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached. Top with sugar and eat!

Stove top:
- Boil water/milk. Once boiling, add oats and reduce heat to medium low, stirring constantly. Once most of the liquid is absorbed (about 2 minutes), add pumpkin and spice. Stir at least 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Aragorn Cookies

Dan named these - they are improved Ranger Cookies. "Improved" because I used part whole wheat flour and cut out some sugar and half the butter. I really like this kind of cookie because you can put pretty much anything in it. Just be careful because if you add too many things, there won't be enough dough to keep it all together. Because of the corn flakes, I would recommend making a smaller batch (like I have here) unless you will be sharing with a lot of people. They're just not as nice if they lose all of their crunch. Also, if you have two cookie sheets or one big one, I think it's worth baking them all at once so that the cereal stays crisp.

Aragorn Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter, softened
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups corn flakes
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut (toast it, if you have the time)*
1/3 cup craisins (or raisins)
1/4 cup butterscotch chips (if using raisins, consider chocolate chips) (and yes, that's enough for a healthier version to still get them in all the cookies)

-Preheat oven to 350.
-In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until it lightens in color, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg, yogurt and vanilla; blend well.
- Stir in oats flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add corn flakes, coconut, craisins, and chips, mix gently until blended.
- Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet in your favorite size.
- Bake at 350 about 10 minutes for heaping-tablespoon cookies, longer for bigger.
- Cool on wire rack, store completely covered. Enjoy at least one while hot!

*To toast coconut in oven: Sprinkle in an even layer on a cookie sheet, place under broiler, turn on. Watch carefully! Stir if needed, toast until browned. To toast on stove top: Heat dry frying pan over medium-high. Sprinkle in coconut, stir gently until browned.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Another one from Cooking Light, with the original recipe here, this was so much easier than I would have expected, and fun. It calls for oil-packed sun-dried tomato, but instead we used a dry kind of "sun ripened" that our store had in the dried fruit section. I think they were a bit softer than usual sun-dried tomatoes, so if you use dry sun-dried, I would soak them in warm water for 2-3 minutes. We also added a little olive oil since the tomatoes would normally have some.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese
Serves 4

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh linguine (This is the exact size of the Buitoni package)
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons almonds
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

- Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain through a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.

- While pasta cooks, place tomatoes and next 7 ingredients (through black pepper) in a food processor; process until finely chopped.

- Combine tomato mixture and the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk. Add to pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with feta.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Best ever coffee for one

Not a single person from my known audience drinks coffee. Some may even doubt it has any healthy qualities. So this is mostly because I think it's cool.

Key 1: Freshly ground coffee is best. I don't have a grinder - I don't feel like buying a pricey one, the reviews for cheap ones aren't that great, they sound sort of messy and I don't need another gadget in the kitchen. Instead, I buy mine from the supermarket and use their grinder. Be sure to run the grinder first and lift the flap because there are loads of inconsiderate people that leave beans in there - and you want the kind you picked, not some weirdo mix from what the last guy wanted! Grind as much as will last you til your next trip on a setting around auto drip to use my favorite method (try it and see how it goes - I find espresso grind doesn't taste as good for this.)

Key 2: Melitta one-cup cone filter holder. I love it. If you don't know what it is, I put a pic below. You can easily make a nice 6-16 ounce cup from this. It's $3 for the cone, and filters are cheap, too. You put the filter into the cone, your coffee (2 Tbs/8 oz cup) into the filter, and pour in water that was brought to a boil and then allowed to cool for 15-30 seconds (I use an electric kettle). Fill it up all the way once for a small cup, or refill with water for a larger cup. Super quick, super good, and SOOO much better than instant! If I want a cheap mocha, I just put hot cocoa mix into the cup and let the coffee mix in as it drips from the filter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Strawberry Raisin Bran Muffins

In elementary school, if we didn't eat all of our cereal for breakfast, my mom would put it all in one big bowl and while we were gone she'd make muffins for our after-school snack. (Yep, we had after-school snacks - pretty often, even. One benefit of having a stay-at-home mom.) I've found out that some people are grossed out by this, but it worked well. I'm not saying here to use the exact method, but it did give me an idea when the box of raisin bran got stale. I didn't want to revive it, using yesterday's method, because I didn't want the raisins to get hard. Instead I made muffins. This will work with any kind of cereal, but using raisin bran has the benefit of at least seeming healthy. I also had some strawberries that were in danger of getting moldy, so I threw them in, but the recipe would work with apples, craisins, or no additional fruit. This recipe does take longer, but the use of stale cereal is worth the time in my book.

Strawberry Raisin Bran Muffins
Makes: 18 muffins

3 1/2 cups Raisin Bran cereal (any brand, really)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (I used 2 T of white vinegar and enough 1% milk to make 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups strawberries, diced

- Mix the dry ingredients (including cereal) in a large bowl
- Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and add to dry mixture. Mix in fruit.
- Let sit at least 45 minutes
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease muffin tin or use liners and fill cups completely (does not rise very much).
- Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Tops will be light brown.

Nutrition info per muffin: Cal: 183 Fat: 4.3 g Carbs: 33g Protein: 6g
(As a comparison, Starbucks bran muffins, which are bigger, have 420 cal, 19 grams of fat, and 58 carbs)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Revive stale cereal and chips

My mom used to do this when I was little, and I've had loads of people think I'm nuts, but it seriously works! I hadn't had stale stuff in a while - until one day we left the windows open when it was like 100% humidity outside. And then a lot of the cereal got a little funky. Yes, things get stale because of moisture. In their bags, they are nice and safe, but then air and its moisture get to them and take the crunch right out. Do not despair, there is hope! Just do not walk away! CornPops, for example, can make some big flames for quite a long time.

Revive stale cereal, chips, or crackers
Serves as many as you like

- Take your stale food and put it in a thin layer on a cookie sheet or the tray of your toaster oven.
- In the toaster oven: set to toast. Watch carefully, and stir every 30 - 90 seconds. At the first sign of browning, remove from oven, let cool, and eat as usual.
- In the conventional oven: Put rack on second highest shelf. Turn on broiler. Watch carefully, and stir every 30-90 seconds. At the first sign of browning, remove from oven, let cool, and eat as usual.

I've never tried this with potato chips, but it definitely works for tortilla chips. If you serve chips or crackers warm, it gives them a bit of a restaurant feel. If you serve cereal warm, do it as a snack without milk. With milk it's just sort of funky, warms the milk, and gets soggy fast. Don't try it. Seriously.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Southwest Couscous Salad

I can't believe I've put up so few couscous recipes! Well, time to fix that. This one has a southwestern kick to it with the kidney beans and salsa. It works as a main dish or a side. If you feel the need for meat, I would chop it up and pan fry it with minimal oil (or cooking spray) and season with cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt (or any blend to your liking.) It's served cold, which makes it perfect for parties or making ahead. If you use frozen corn, the corn cools the couscous and the warm couscous thaws it, so you can also make it right when you want to eat. Leftovers are good for lunch, too.

Southwest Kidney Bean Couscous Salad
Serves: 4 as main dish, 2-3 as a one-dish meal, or 4-8 as side.

3/4 cup uncooked couscous (I use whole grain)
3/4 cup water
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup salsa
3/4 cup frozen corn
1 medium bell pepper, diced (I used green because I had it)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin

- Boil water in a small saucepan. When water boils rapidly, remove from heat, add couscous, and cover. Let sit 5 minutes while preparing vegetables.
- Chop up the pepper and onion. Place in a large bowl. Add beans, salsa and corn to bowl.
- Once couscous has sat for 5 minutes, add to bowl and fluff with a fork (even if everything else isn't in the bowl yet.)
- Mix with a fork and serve immediately or cover and chill in fridge until serving.
- Topping options: Top with cheese (jack, cheddar,pepper jack, feta) or sour cream.

Nutrition info (for 1/4 of recipe using regular couscous): Cal: 528 Fat: 1.9g Carbs: 100 (but 20g of fiber) Protein: 30g


Ok, I really doubt that I had any readers *to* lose, but that's probably for the best, considering my major lapse in posting. The semester caught up with me and I have finally finished everything, recovered from the craziness, and started looking for and trying out new recipes. And........ I am trying to take pictures! Yay, food pictures so that my tasty things will have lovely visuals. More to come, starting today...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tunisian Almond Pastries

One thing I miss from Tunisia is the pastries. They were so rich and so good! They often use nuts in their pastries, and that is the main ingredient here. I'm not sure of the name in Arabic, I think it's kaaber louz, and in French they are Boulettes aux amandes. I like the flavor - it reminds me a lot of sugar cookie dough. We have a 3 pound bag of almonds, so I decided to make some and was pleased by how quick and easy they are! Ideally, you should use blanched almonds for a lighter flavor and color, but regular ones worked fine, too. A common practice is to either cover the outside in nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios) or to color 1/3 of the dough red, 1/3 green, and to roll bits of all 3 together to make multi-color balls. If you blanch the almonds yourself, it will definitely take you longer to make these!

Tunisian Almond Pastries
Serves: 6-8

1 1/2 cups almonds
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water (for more authentic taste, use rose water or orange flower water)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

- Combine syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the dough.
- For the dough: Powder almonds in a food processor (blender might work, but do just part at a time.) In a bowl, combine almonds and powdered sugar. Add water a tiny bit at a time, stirring to blend. You want the dough to barely cling together, and you may not need the whole 2 tablespoons. Form the dough into balls about the size of a tablespoon.
- When syrup has thickened remove from heat (about 10-15 minutes - when boiling, the bubbles stay on the surface for a second and look almost soapy).
- Coat each ball in syrup. You can stop there, or then roll in chopped nuts to coat. You can eat right away, or let sit for an hour to firm up more. Should last for 1-2 weeks in an air-tight container.

Here's the first batch I made, too. They weren't quite as pretty.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Homemade Pita chips

I like pita bread. I like pita chips. I don't get why 6 oz of pita chips should cost me more than 5 whole pitas (12 oz.) These are really good chips, and go well with any dip, though I like them with my yogurt hummus or, like I'll do today, with guacamole. I use whole wheat pitas because I like the flavor, but any kind will work.

Pita Chips
Serves: 4

4 whole pitas
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425. Cut each pita in half. Split the halves of the pita (like where the pocket would usually be) and spray each side lightly with oil. Cut each piece into 3-4 chip-size triangles.* You will have 12-16 triangular chips from each pita. Spread out onto a baking sheet in one layer. Bake in 425 degree oven on top rack for about 3 minutes. Stir chips around, and bake an additional 2-3 minutes, until brown in spots. VERY important to watch these as they can quickly go from almost-done to burnt.

*If your time is more important to you than uniform chips, bake the large sections and break them up by hand afterwards.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuna melts

Simple? Maybe. But they seem sooo much fancier than just a tuna sandwich with cheese. I don't mix the tuna with anything before putting it on the bread to give it a more delicate flavor. It also means that it doesn't stick together the same way as a traditional tuna melt, so to make it more kid-friendly, mix in a couple tablespoons of mayo, dijon mustard, or salad dressing. We eat ours with tomato & red pepper soup.

Tuna melts
Serves: 2-3 people per can Prep time: about 20 minutes (depends on size of pan and number of sandwiches)

1 can tuna
1 medium tomato
2 slices cheese per sandwich (I like pepperjack)
2 slices bread per sandwich
Cooking Spray

- Turn a large frying pan, skillet or flat stove-top grill to medium-low heat.
- Open and drain can of tuna. Stir in mayo, etc. if you wish.
- Slice tomato into thin slices.
- Spray pan with cooking spray, place bread in single layer in pan. Spray top sides with cooking spray. Let cook 2-3 minutes, until bottom side is light brown.
- Turn over one slice of bread per sandwich. Place 2 slices of cheese on bread and top with 1/2 or 1/3 of can of tuna and tomato slices.
- Put the other slice of bread on top, making sure that the side browned in the pan is facing the tomato & tuna. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until bottom side golden brown.
- Flip and cook and additional 2-3 minutes, until final side is golden brown.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thick Chicken Chili

I made this in my little crockpot, so it ended up being much more chicken-y than I expected. A smaller chicken breast could be good, or just plan to put it on top of rice, noodles, or tortillas. This was quicker than I expected, and when I put in the info, the protein in this is insane!

Thick Chicken Chili
Hands-on time: 15 min Cook time: 7+ hours
Serves: 3-4

1 chicken breast, thawed and trimmed
1 (14-16 oz) can diced tomato, with juice
1 (14-16 oz) can kidney beans, drained (but not rinsed)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Toppings (optional - cheese, chopped onion, plain yogurt/sour cream)

- Put all ingredients into crock pot. Stir. Plug in and cook on low at least 7 hours. I left mine for 9.
- Before serving, stir to break up chicken into small pieces.

Nutrition info (for 1/4 recipe): Cal: 466 Fat: 3.1g Carbs: 73g Protein: 39g

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bread Pizza

We used to have this all the time when I was little. French bread is probably the most common thing to use, but we used any kind of regular bread. And then topped with whatever was in the fridge - most often chopped up hot dogs or maybe bologna. Pepperoni when lucky.

Bread Pizza

Bread (1-2 slices of regular bread per person)
Meat (if you want)
Veggies (bell pepper, onion, tomato)
Pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or tomato paste (with a little water and pizza seasoning sprinkled in.)

- Preheat oven to 375.
- Place bread on a cookie sheet. Spread on tomato paste, and top with meat and veggies, then cheese.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes (until cheese is melted and bread is toasted)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicken Quesadilla Pasta Roni

My best friend (also a grad student) pointed out that I don't have any Rice-A-Roni or Pasta Roni recipes on here. Honestly, I feel like Rice-A-Roni takes too much effort with the pre-cook and then add water, plus the flavors aren't as tasty to me. I do try to avoid foods with pre-mixed seasonings because they're so high in sodium, but I admit that I *love* Chicken Quesadilla Pasta Roni. Not plain, but with tasty stuff added. If you want to make this quicker, cheaper, easier, or just vegetarian, use 1 can of drained, rinsed black beans.

Fancied-up Chicken Quesadilla Pasta Roni
Serves 3-4

1 box Chicken Quesadilla Pasta Roni
1 1/4 c water
1 T margarine/butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup corn (frozen or from a can)
1 chicken breast, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1/2 bell pepper, chopped (optional)

- If using chicken, brown in a small frying pan. Add salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin if you want.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk and margarine to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Slowly stir in pasta and Speical Seasonings. Separate pasta with a fork, if needed. Boil uncovered.
- After about 5 minutes, add in chicken (or beans), corn and bell pepper.
- Boil a total of 7-9 minutes, or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently.
- Sauce will be thin. Do not overcook. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Breakfast couscous

Similar to rice, couscous can be eaten sweet. I usually have this for breakfast, but really any time would be fine. The basic process is just as quick and easy - it's the additions that take longer. I've just listed "fruit" below because you can use whatever's on hand. I've used dates, raisins, cherries (really good, but pitting them was an awful pain), strawberries, and dried apricots. I bet apples and pears would be good, too.

Breakfast couscous
Serves: 4

1 cup couscous
1 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar (If you use dates, omit completely - can be left out with any fruit if you like)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 -1 1/2 cup fruit
3/4 cup nuts (Almonds, walnuts, pecans, or cashews)

- Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, and cover.
- Chop fruit and nuts if necessary.
- After couscous has fully cooked (5 minutes) stir in milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and fruit. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Add nuts right before serving.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Asparagus and Poached Eggs

This might be a breakfast recipe, but I made it for dinner last night. I always figured poached eggs were difficult and something that only old people eat, but it was actually really easy and tasted good! Asparagus is already in season here, which landed it in the "cheap" category. I suppose you're getting two for one here, because these are really separate things. The nutrition facts for the asparagus are going to depend on how you season it - I used Newman's Own light balsamic this time, but I've done black pepper, salt, and chili powder in the past.

Roasted Asparagus
Serves: 2-4 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 5-8 minutes

1 lb Asparagus
Cooking spray and spices OR 2 Tbs Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

- Preheat oven to 425.
- Rinse asparagus and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut off the ends so that they don't look woody (like little holes).
- Place in dish (I use a 9x9 dish, but anything would work) and drizzle with dressing or spray with cooking spray and sprinkle on spices. Toss to coat.
- Bake in 425 oven for 5-8 minutes (should still be green and crisp, but easily stabbed with fork.)

Poached Eggs
Total ready time: 10-15 minutes

1 egg per person

- In a medium to large pot (depending on number of eggs) boil at least 3 inches of water.
- Once water is boiling, turn to low. Crack an egg into a cup with a handle and then gently lower the cup into the water so that it fills up and then tilt so the egg slides out. Repeat with all your eggs. Don't worry if they touch each other - mine ended up right on each other and were fine.
- Cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes (3 for runny yolk, at 5 my yolks were totally hard - the way I like it.)
- Scoop out eggs with a slotted spoon and serve.