Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Egg Nests



Easter is one of my favorite holidays...filled with pastel colors and hard boiled eggs...and of course the vast amounts of chocolate. I try to always make something sweet and this year I made Peanut Butter and Chocolate Egg Blondies and these adorable egg nests! There are tons of egg shaped hard candies, I used peanut M&M's but you can choose your favorite. They are super easy to make and will definitely get some oohs and ahhs at your Easter table! 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (about half a 14oz can)
  • 1 large egg white 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • M&M's Easter Eggs or other Egg shaped candy

Method:

Preheat oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt. Add the coconut and mix until well combined with the other ingredients. 


Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough for each nest. Form the cookies into a shape of a nest and push down the middle with your thumb. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 17-20 minutes until slightly browned. Push down the center of the cookies again with your thumb, careful not to burn yourself. You can also use the back a tablespoon. Cool the cookies completely before filling.


Once cool, fill each nest with about a tablespoon of Nutella then top with the egg candies. 



Happy Easter! 




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Balsamic Mushroom Sauce


Mmmm meatballs...mmmmm cream...boo diet.

Eating well is always a balance. You can't give up everything you love or you will end up eating everything in one sitting (who me? nooo). Everything in moderation and this is a great way to satisfy a comfort food craving without going off the deep end. It's creamy, it's hearty and full of flavor. Instead of serving with pasta or potatoes, I served it with some sauteed green beans. This meal definitely hits the spot for warm comfort food without busting the calorie bank! 

Ingredients:

Meatballs-
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tbs olive oil
Sauce-
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs corn starch 
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tbs half and half 

In a medium bowl mix the ground turkey, egg, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg and breadcrumbs together with clean hands until well combined, do not over-mix. Roll into 1 inch balls, it should make about 16. 

Heat a heavy bottomed skillet with 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and let cook on the first side for for about 3 minutes. Do not move too soon or the meatballs will fall apart. When the meatballs give a little, flip over and cook and additonal 2-3 minutes on the second side. Remove from the pan and set aside (they should not be fully cooked at this point).


In the same skillet, add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and tablespoon of butter. When melted, toss in the onions and mushrooms, cook for 5-7 minutes until soft; add the garlic and season the mixture with salt and pepper. 

Sprinkle the cornstarch over the veggie mixture, stir to combine. Cook for a minute then add in the chicken stock and vinegar; whisk to combine making sure there are no lumps. Add in the half and half and let the mixture come to a boil. 


Once thick, add the meatballs back in and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with egg noddles, mashed potatoes or veggies. 




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Greek Chicken with Veggies


I haven't been posting lately...mainly because I have been on a diet and diets are no fun. Personally I like to look at food I shouldn't be eating, not foods that are good for me. Cheeseburger or carrot stick? Please. 

Thinking about what I could make with the ingredients in my fridge and pantry without feeling like a rabbit, I came up with this simple but full of flavor dish. I love the white wine because I feel like it gives it an extra special kick. Something about the smell of wine hitting a hot pan is just amazing. It's also a great way to add a lot of flavor with minimal calories and no fat. This dish makes 4 servings and each serving has only 256 calories, 4.5g of fat or 4 WW+ points. 

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into cubes (about 2 large or 3 small)
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced 
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 
  • 1 tbs Cavender's Greek Seasoning 
  • 2 tbs olive oil 

Method:

Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tbs Greek seasoning, toss to coat. In a medium heavy bottomed skillet, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is evenly browned (it does not need to be fully cooked at this time). Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.


In the same pan, add the other tbs of olive oil. Add the onions, zucchini, and squash. Sprinkle with the additional 1/2 tbs of seasoning; cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly brown. 


Add in the white wine, stir to scrape up all the brown bits at the bottom (flavor!) add the chicken back in and cook for 5 more minutes. 


Voila! 


Serve with brown rice or quinoa to keep it healthy :) 




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole


Skinny Cheeseburger? Whhhat? Those two words usually don't go together. I found this recipe on Skinny Mom and immediately wanted to try it. I subbed the lean ground beef for lean turkey but you can use either one here; I just prefer the taste and texture of ground turkey. How can you go wrong with pasta and cheese? You can't! This doesn't look or taste skinny but the proof is in the numbers! With only 258 calories per serving or 6 Weight Watchers points, it clocks in even lower than most lean frozen meals. It also makes a ton, so you'll have plenty leftover for lunches throughout the week. Serve it up with a side salad or a veg and you have the perfect meal!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat mini penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey 
  • 2 cups (or one bag) reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 28 oz cans diced tomatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 1 minute then add the garlic. Cook for one more minute until soft but not brown. Add the ground turkey to the pan and cook until brown, seasoning with salt and pepper. 

Add in the tomato paste, mustard and tomatoes. Cook the mixture a few minutes until thick and bubbly. 

Stir in the pasta and coat until evenly combined with the sauce. Transfer the mixture to the greased casserole dish and sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Bake 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Top with chopped pickles and serve! 



Friday, December 27, 2013

Hungarian Goulash


This one is a real soul warmer! Great for a cold winters night snuggled up in front of the Yule Log...that's what everyone is using now, right? I wish I could take credit for this one, but I got the original recipe from The Cozy Apron (whose photo is a lot better than mine, but you get the idea). How can you go wrong with buttery potatoes and caramelized onions? The best part about this recipe is it's a one pot meal with minimal cleanup and tastes even better the next day. The only thing I changed about the original recipe is using turkey sausage to lighten it up a bit and I used Yukon gold potatoes instead of red. I also had to cook my potatoes about 15 minutes longer than Ingrid. This dish is best served with a slice of crusty bread, or if you're in Texas a nice warm flour tortilla. 

Ingredients: 

  • 14 oz smoked sausage, sliced 1/2" thick (I used turkey)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 10 medium sized red or Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/2" thick
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional) 
Method:

In a large non-stick pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the sliced sausage and cook until it becomes a dark caramelized color; flip once during cooking. Once cooked, remove sausage and set aside. 


To the same pot, add the butter, allow it to melt then add the sliced onions. Caramelize those for about 7 minutes until they become a nice brown color. Then add in the garlic, a few pinches of salt and pepper, paprika and stir to combine all the ingredients. Cook for a few minutes to allow the  the flavors develop and meld. 


Next, add in the sliced potatoes and stir to coat them in the onion/spice mixture. Add in the chicken stock, stir to combine. Push down the potatoes so they are covered in liquid as much as possible. Cover the pot and allow to simmer on medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove the cover, stir and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. If you're potatoes aren't cooked through at this point, put the lid back on and continue to check in 5 minute intervals if they are done. 



Add the smoked sausage back to the pot, add parsley if desired and stir carefully to incorporate. 



Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Maple Baked Apple Chicken


It's FALL! Well maybe it's winter where you are, but here in Texas it's Fall. That means it's time to put apples in everything, right!? Right. I came across this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked and sounded amazing, then I opened it up. Italian dressing and maple syrup!? Sounds like something you would eat after a late night out and immediately regret the next morning. I decided to try it anyway. It was on Kraft's website, so how bad could it be? It was deeeeelicious! Just the right amount of sweet and savory with the perfect hint of Fall flavors from the apples and caramelized onions. 

Although Kraft is pretty reputable, I am not sure they really know what they are doing in the chef department. I made a few tweaks to their recipe, because if I didn't I would have been eating crunchy apples and onions, no bueno! I think this would also be good with a little Dijon mustard mixed into the sauce, I will try that next time. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large red apple, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (maple flavored is just fine)
  • 1/3 cup Italian dressing 
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Method:

Heat oven to 350°.

Heat a medium oven-proof skillet over medium high heat; spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Let cook for 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Remove from heat. 



Add the sliced onions and apples on top of the chicken. Whisk the syrup and Italian dressing together and pour over chicken/apple/onion mixture. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper then pop into the oven for 25 minutes. 



At this point your chicken should be done, but the onions and apples will probably still be crunchy. Remove the chicken breasts, place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Pop the onion and apples back into the oven for 10-15 more minutes until they are tender and caramelized.  



Serve with couscous or rice. 



TIP: If you do not have an oven proof pan, you can cover your regular skillet with several layers of foil to use in the oven.

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken Stroganoff


Stroganoff is something that fondly reminds me of my childhood. It's one of those meals I think everyone grew up with. Sometimes you need to be transported back to a time when life was easy and carefree...even if it is only for a moment. The pillowy egg noodles drenched in a silky sauce with the slight tang from the sour cream is a familiarity I most definitely welcome. My variation includes chicken and a little mustard powder for an additional tangy element. As Ina always says, it's a classic with the volume turned up. The best part is, it's simple and will be done in less than 30 minutes! 

Serves 4 

Ingredients-
  • 2 large chicken breasts. cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 dry white wine, I used pinot grigio
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 

Method-

In a medium saucepan heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook about 4 minutes a side just until the chicken pieces are browned. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.


In the same pan, add 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spices, cornstarch and tomato paste. Cook for about 1 minute to get rid of the raw taste of the flour and tomato paste.


 Add the chicken broth and wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This is flavor!


Add the chicken back into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 


Add the sour cream, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes. 


Serve over egg noodles and garnish with parsley if desired.