Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sweetest Treat

Sweetest Treat

This little recipe was published a few years ago in the Utah County Journal. I was my first winter in Utah and I loved that little newspaper and its small town flavor. I still love the simplicity of this recipe.

1 cube of butter
1 package of crushed graham crackers
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 package milk chocolate chips
1 package coconut

Set oven at 350 degrees. Place butter in a 13x9 glass baking dish (or Pampered Chef baking pan). Melt slowly in oven, remove, let cool. Place crushed graham crackers into melted butter. Enough to soak up butter and leave some dry crumbs on top. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the graham crackers. Using a can opener with the pointy ends, I put two holes in the can, one to pour, one to let air in. This lets the milke drizzle out and cover the pan evenly. Place chocolate chips on top of the milk, pressing them down lightly. Sprinkle coconut evenly over pan on top of the chips.

Place in oven until coconut changes color and chips melt. Do not over bake. Best served when cool.

This is a good recipe to halve and put in a 9x9 pan. I cut 9 squares and then cut the squares diagonally to make little triangles. The cookie is so rich this seems the perfect size.

The dainty triangles weigh in at 131 calories each.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Curried DeviledEggs

Curried Deviled Eggs

McCormick Spice Website

I have been searching for a curried devil egg recipe that could dazzle my tastebuds. We have met.

12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon course ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped chives or 2 green onions, thinly sliced (green part only)

1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; place in small bowl. Mash yolks with fork or potato masher.
2. Stir in mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, mustard, pepper and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon or pipe mixture into egg white halves. Sprinkle with chives.
3. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

To Hard Cook Eggs: Gently place eggs in a single layer in medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs with 1 inch of water. Bring just to a boil on medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand about 15 minutes for large eggs. (Adjust time up or down by 3 minutes for each size larger or smaller.) After 15 minutes, pour off the hot water and rapidly cool eggs by running them under cold water (or place in ice water) until completely cooled. Refrigerate and use within a week.

Berry Good Spring Time Treat

Berry Good Spring Time Treat

This is just the berry mix from the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Berries recipe. It can stand alone as a topping to sponge cake, the panna cotta, plain or vanilla yogurt, a shortbread cookie, angelfood cake, etc. The tastes are sweet-tart and I swear you can hear baby birds chirping as you nibble.

3 cups mixed berries (fresh is best). I loved the raspberry, blackberry and blueberry combination the best.
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (fresh is best)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine berries in a bowl. In another bowl mix lemon juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved, add zest and mix until separated. To keep from mashing the ripe berries, I use the two bowls to help me mix the ingredients together. Pour the lemon juice mixture over the berries and stir gently. Pour the contents of the berry/lemon juice mixture back into the first bowl. Stir gently. Repeat until combined as desired. The moving from bowl to bowl, gets the ingredients mixed without harming the berries.

Six 1/2 cup servings at 44 whopping calories per serving.

Weight Update

I've now lost 13.333% of my body weight eating all this food. My goal is 20% - although that is really unrealistic. 15 -16% is most likely what I can maintain with traveling and eating out and not being totally obsessed with whether I touch a donut or not.

(And yes, I did have a Krispy Kreme this week!)

Oh Yeah It's Sunday! Breakfast

or also affectionately known as "Under 300 Calorie Oh Yeah It's Sunday Breakfast"

Hang on to your tastebuds and read on!. I'm a ham lover and ham and eggs for breakfast or dinner or whenever is a favorite meal of mine. Here's how you can eat like a queen and look like a princess!

Make coffee - pour a big cup - 11 calories

3 oz ham steak (packaged and sliced from the store) - my package said 120 cal per servings, my trusty calorie counter said 90. Heat steak in non-stick skillet until slightly browned. Remove to plate.

Pam the skillet

Toast a piece of multigrain bread - 69 calories

Place egg in skillet - we're doing sunny side up/over easy today. 50 calories

Butter bread with just a teaspoon of butter - 36 calories. Yes it is a challenge, but you can do it.

Flip the egg - count to ten.

Slide to plate.


258 calories (depending on if you stuck with the teaspoon of butter or not). Really the nicest perk about this breakfast is it tastes like mama cooked all morning. We're talking 15-20 minutes tops - one pan, one spatula, one plate, one fork, one knife, one cup - one happy tummy.

Silicone Cooking Bands

I found a super awesome nifty kitchen "gadget" this weekend at Target. They carry Chefmate brand items. Sorry but I wasn't able to find the item on their website to show you, but....

Introducing Stretch Silicone Cooking Bands. Heat resistant up to 600 degress Farenheit. Use in place of butcher twine to cook; no tying necessary. Oven, rotisserie and deep fryer safe. Dishwasher safe.

I used them on the Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese to keep them all bundled and tidy. They came off in a "snap" (pun intended) and washed up like a dream.

Seek them out!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lemon Pepper

Homemade Lemon Pepper

1/4 cup black pepper (I use part storebought, part freshly ground)
1 tablespoon dried lemon zest (I "baked" fresh for a few minutes at 200-250 degrees - just enough to dehydrate it)
2 teaspoon ground coriander seed powder (adust if using seeds themselves)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion, ground down slightly with motar and pestle
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

Mix, store in tighly sealed container.

Fettucine with Garlic, Parsley and Parmesan

Fettucine with Garlic, Parsley and Parmesan
From the Whole Foods Market Cookbook
(This recipe is not on their website)

1 pound fettuccine
1/4 cup olive oil - I was happy with about half if this. I used all of it to saute the garlic and only half for flavoring the noodles.
12 cloves of garlic (this recipe makes a huge amount of fettuccine. I would have been happy with even more garlic as I counted way more servings than the recipe does.)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup minced fresh parsley (I only had dried. Using less than 1/4 cup I sprinkled it sparingly as I reheated the noodles and added the cheese).
1 teaspoon lemon pepper. I made my own. Commercial brands would work too - but the one I had in my cupboard was old and contained salt).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until the past is al dente, 6-8 minutes. (I used Barilla and followed the directions 12-13 minutes). When the pasta is cooked, rinse in cold water, drain well, and reserve. I cooked my pasta early in the day so I could concentrate on the chicken and dessert. After it was cooled and drainned, I "Pammed" the inside of a plastic bag and plopped it in.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick saute' pan (all the fettuchini needs to fit in this pan later). Add the garlic cloves and saute' them very gently, turning often for 4 minutes, until light golden brown and softened. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan, and reserve. When nearly ready to serve, add the drained pasta to the pan, and saute' over medium heat for 2 minutes, until warmed through. Add the browned garlic cloves, Parmsean cheese, parsley, and lemon pepper, and toss the pasta well to combine.

As a meal, grilled or sauted chicken or small chunks of smoked mozzarella can be added to the final toss.

The cookbook states 4 servings at 410 calories. I will get 10 servings out of this (as a side or light meal) at 198 calories. Add calories proportionately if using the suggestion of smoked mozzerella (yummy) or chicken.

I placed a small cloud of this on each plate, placing a serving of my Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese on top. The flavor combination was very complementary (and so was my guest-complimentary!)

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook
A brightly colored center of green leaf spinach, red roasted pepper, and mild white goat cheese fills these breasts of chicken and makes an attractive presentation. This filling melts in your mouth. Serve this chicken hot, at room temperature or chilled. Offer these to your guests over a nest of fettuccine or a small whimsical pasta, such as star-shaped stellini pasta. Try using piquillo peppers for the roasted peppers in this dish—they are wonderful in this recipe. You may stuff the breasts and freeze them for future use as well. Chilled, sliced breasts become a beautiful tricolor roulade or roll-up, which may be served as an appetizer.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
6 cups fresh washed spinach leaves (approximately 1 bag-if using bagged spinach)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup drained, chopped jarred roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 (or 3 - see below) boneless skinless whole chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded lightly
4 ounces mild goat cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing chicken
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, shallot, and thyme for 2 minutes, until softened. Add the spinach, and saute for 1 minute longer, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat, and let the aromatics cool.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, mix the roasted red peppers with the olives, capers, and balsamic vinegar.
Place about one-quarter of the spinach mixture in the center of each pounded chicken breast. Evenly divide the goat cheese among the chicken breasts, placing a small piece over the spinach; then top with 1 tablespoon of the roasted red peppers.
Fold the top of the breast over the filling to form a package, sealing the bottom of the chicken packages wherever needed. Place the chicken on a baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes (I found I needed to cook them 35-45 minutes). Uncover, brush the chicken with a little olive oil, and cook an additional 10 minutes, until the chicken is brown.
Place the chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle it with the parsley.

The cookbook website says 4 servings at 340. I used 3 whole chicken breasts, (there was enough filling) therefore getting 12 servings (more with slicing the finished servings as a roulade) at 253 calories per "bundle". For lunches, I would say half a packet with the fettuccine is sufficient at 126 calories per serving. As roulade, 1/3 of a packet (2 slices) is good at approximately 85 calories per serving. It is very tasty served cold.

I then served it on small pillows of Fettuccine with Garlic, Parsley and Parmesan.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Berries

Another Whole Foods winner. This amazingly easy to make and absolutely divine to eat.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Berries
The preparation for panna cotta, or cooked cream, can be whisked together in a flash. Buttermilk adds a tangy balance to the rich cream in this version, and seasonal berries contribute color and sweetness. Be sure to allow several hours for the panna cotta to chill and set before serving.

Panna Cotta
3 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mixed Berries
3 cups mixed berries (I used raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top. Let stand until gelatin has softened, about 15 minutes.
Combine 1 cup of cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and cream starts to simmer. Remove from heat immediately. Add dissolved gelatin to hot cream, stirring until gelatin melts completely.
In a large bowl, combine remaining cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Stir in hot cream-gelatin mixture. Divide mixture among eight ramekins. Refrigerate until panna cotta has set, several hours or overnight.
Just before serving, place berries in a mixing bowl. Add lemon zest and juice and sugar and gently toss ingredients until sugar dissolves.
To unmold, dip the base of each ramekin in a bowl of very hot water for 30 seconds. Invert a serving plate on top of the ramekin and flip over. The panna cotta should slide out easily. Spoon mixed berries and their juices around panna cotta and serve. Alternatively, serve in ramekins.

The website states 8 servings, about 310 calories per serving. NOTE: Worth it!

Additional note: When calculated through Calorie Count at 16 servings (so I can have some every day) 104 calories per serving (at 8 that would be 200+ instead of 300). Pick your angel/devil - its up to you!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Quickie Dinner

I had some "dirty rice" in the freezer from the Mardi Gras party. I was in the mood for a carbohydrate laden meal this past weekend.

I sprayed a non-stick skillet with Pam, added some pre-cooked fajita chicken and heated it up, adding about half a cup of the dirty rice. When all was thawed and warmed, I added a pinch of ground chili powder. The chili powder added a bang to an otherwise bland offering.

15 minutes from freezer to belly.