Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cinnamon Oatmeal Griddle Cakes

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This past Saturday I went on a brewery tour with some friends. It was great. Indianapolis has some really great microbreweries. We went to Sun King and Flat 12. I knew we were going to be sampling a lot of beer, so I wanted to make sure I had a big breakfast. After much cookbook searching, I finally found a recipe that I had all the ingredients to make. Also I felt like this recipe when with my attempts to eat healthier. They were very hearty and easy. The batter actually made a lot of cakes. I would say it serves 3-4 people, or 2 very hungry people. I think it’s a really good spin on traditional pancakes. They were great with a little butter and maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat (do not boil); remove from heat. Stir in oatmeal, let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in butter and eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Fold in oatmeal mixture. Gently stir in additional milk if batter is too thick.

    Griddle Cake Batter

  4. Heat a lightly greased griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until bubbles form on top of griddle cake. Flip and cook until done. Repeat with remaining batter.

    Griddle Cake!

My Notes…

I don’t have a ton of notes on this one. It’s a pretty straight forward recipe. I do recommend them. They had a great flavor and the texture was really nice and fluffy. I really enjoyed them, and it’s not something I would have looked at and thought “ooh these look good.” But they were and I would definitely make them again.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

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I love looking through recipe books trying to find my next experiment. I will see a picture of this fantastic looking dish, read the title, and then think, “Yes! I’ve found one!” But then as I read, I notice it serves 8. 8? But I’m cooking for just me! I don’t need 8 meals worth of a dish. So I recently tried googling “Recipes for 1.” This didn’t produce much. So then I tried “Recipes for 2.” That was a little more fruitful. It helped that Valentine’s day wasn’t that far off, so there were lots of articles and ideas about Valentine’s dinners for two. This recipe showed up as one of the “lighter” options from Martha Stewart’s website. I didn’t make it for V-day, but I was anxious to try it. It serves four, and it was fairly easy and filling. If you like chicken stew, then this healthier recipe is for you. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list, most of it you will already have in your pantry.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tbsp plus 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
  • 5 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, 3 tbsp oil, and 1/4 cup milk. Add to flour mixture and stir until moistened. Drop four scoops of dough onto a baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake until golden, 12 – 14 minutes.

    Drop Biscuits before Baking

  3. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat remaining 2 tsp of oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 7-10 minutes.

    Vegetables cooking before adding remaining ingredients

  4. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour, stir in remaining 3/4 cup of milk. 1/2 cup water, and thyme. Simmer until liquid is thickened, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Add chicken, simmer until cooked through, 3 – 5 minutes. Serve chicken stew with biscuits.

My Notes…

I’m not a huge fan of pearl onions. So I chopped up about a fourth of a large white onion and tossed that in instead. I thought that worked fine. I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor. Overall it was pretty bland. I’m thinking I either needed to put in more salt and pepper. I’m also thinking I needed some additional spices instead of the thyme. I’m open to suggestions. I don’t know a lot about seasoning, so that’s probably the issue. But it was super easy to make, and you could use the biscuit recipe separately if you wanted. I thought they made a nice drop biscuit. And it’s good to have a recipe for four biscuits. I actually used one of the biscuits to make an egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. It turned out really nicely. If you’re looking for a light stew for winter, this is a great option.

Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles

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I’m not sure if any of you have ever been to Handel’s. It’s one of my favorite ice cream shops. If you’ve not been there and there’s one near you, you should go. But I feel like it’s called Handel’s because if you go there a lot you will get extreme love handles. And with this attempt to be healthier, my trips to Handel’s have come to a screeching halt. That being said, my favorite flavor from there is “Spouse Like a House.” I’ve been told this is very similar to “Chubby Hubby” from Ben and Jerry’s. If you’re unfamiliar with either of those, it has chocolate-covered, peanut butter filled pretzels swirled with fudge in vanilla ice cream. Sigh, I’m getting hungry just typing about it. Chocolate-covered, peanut butter filled pretzels. How could you go wrong?? I’m a huge, huge fan of PB and Pretzels. Sometimes for a snack I will just dip pretzel chips into peanut butter. Oh so good. Throw some chocolate in the mix, heaven. The problem is that they are the opposite of low calorie/fat. I wanted to find a recipe that would be close and give me half the calories. In doing some browsing I came across this recipe on delish.com. It claims that one truffle is only 64 calories! They are quite small so I can believe it. If you’re looking for a sweet-tooth fix I highly recommend these. My boyfriend enjoyed them so much, he said he might even attempt to make them. I feel like this must mean they’re winners if he’s willing to make them. Currently I’m having issues trying to not go eat another one. Will power don’t fail me now.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crunch natural peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (melted)

Instructions

  1. Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze until very firm. About an hour.
    The truffles before going into the freezer the first time.
  3. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

 

My Notes…

My Kroger has a peanut butter station. It’s super cool. It’s near the organic foods. I’m guessing that places like Whole Foods, or similar grocery stores also have this station. Basically it’s a grinder, with a tub of peanuts on top. You put a plastic tub underneath, press the button, and it dispenses freshly ground peanut butter. And it’s not overly pricey. I got half a cup for like 68 cents or something ridiculous. It doesn’t add any oils or extras in. So I feel like it has to be better for you than other peanut butters. I wouldn’t recommend it for PB and J sandwiches or anything, and initially I thought these were going to taste terrible. The PB does not taste at all like what most people are used to in terms of peanut butter. The flavor was just iffy. All peanut, not butter. So if you do get this type of peanut butter, be prepared that I will not taste great to start. But getting just what I needed for this recipe worked great. It was also nice because then I just put the crushed pretzels in the tub, stirred them up and put it in the freezer.

Also I would recommend freezing the PB mixture balls (before chocolate) for longer than an hour. They fell apart fairly easily and were difficult to coat with the chocolate. I think freezing them longer would have been helpful. Also I couldn’t get 20 balls, so I ended up only getting 16. Since I made mine a little bigger, I needed more chocolate. (The math teacher in me wants to turn this into a word problem on surface area for my students, but I digress). I need about 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Even with the peanut butter not having much flavor adding the milk chocolate really balances it out nicely. It tastes like a crunch Reece’s cup, and what could be better than that?? If you don’t like the thought of a crunchy Reece’s, then make them without the pretzels. So good. Enjoy!!

Enchilada Soup

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The health craze continues. I just signed up to do the Tough Mudder race in Northern Indiana. It’s in June, so I have a long way to go before I’ll be ready for that. That means I have to continue to eat right. One of my favorite foods is Arroz con Pollo from my local Mexican restaurant. It’s loaded with calories and fat though, so I’ve been looking for a healthier alternative. I thought this soup might give me the flavor of the dish I love, without all of the calories and fat. It was really easy and surprisingly delicious for the amount of prep involved. I enjoyed the flavor, and I’m looking forward to eating it again.

I’ve been reading a lot of recipes that use pumpkin in place of higher calorie/fat ingredients. While I like pumpkin, the thought of putting it in all these foods isn’t exactly appealing. I figured this one couldn’t hurt.  I couldn’t even taste the pumpkin in the soup, and it made for a really nice consistency. I like my soup half-way between a broth and a chowder, and this one is fairly close. It’s not thin, but it’s not too thick. This recipe makes a lot of soup. I’m going to freeze some of it and hopefully it will be just as good after that. If you’re looking for a warm, easy, healthy soup I highly recommend this one.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
  • 3 cups green enchilada sauce (I used Las Palmas)
  • 1 15oz can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 10 oz can of chicken (or 10 ounces of shredded cooked chicken breasts/tenderloins)
  • 1 cup frozen yellow or white corn

Optional Ingredients

  • Hot sauce
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Shredded cheese

Directions

  1. In a large pot bring the chicken broth to a low boil.
  2. Add in the celery and onion. Simmer until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
  3. Add pumpkin and enchilada sauce. Stir to mix.
  4. Let mixture return to a low boil and then add chicken and corn.
  5. Right before serving add hot sauce (or not, depending on how much heat you want).
  6. Garnish with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese if you want.

My Notes…

I used an entire can of Las Palmas. It’s a little over three cups, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with 1/4 cup green enchilada sauce, so I just dumped the whole can in. Next time I think I will put more corn in, and possibly some Northern beans. I highly recommend using hot sauce in it. I used Franks, but you could also throw in some salsa if you wanted. Whatever spicy concoction you have around your house will suffice. I also highly recommend adding the cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Even with the cheese and chips a cup of soup is a little over 200 calories. I really enjoyed it.

Raspberry Swirl Banana Muffins

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Happy Valentine’s Day!! Say what you want about the commercialism of today, or how it’s really “Single Awareness Day” but I like it. Any excuse to eat stuff you normally shouldn’t, and say things you normally wouldn’t. Now I’m not overly romantic at all, but I can always appreciate a good excuse for a party. Now I didn’t have a party today per say but I did spend part of today doing one of my favorite things… Baking! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while. I really liked my last banana muffin recipe and I thought this would be even better. I’m not so sure it’s better, but it could have been my preparations. I got the recipe off a Marsh flyer. It was easy enough, and a great way to use ripe bananas. If you like raspberry jam then I highly recommend these.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine bananas, eggs, oil, honey and vanilla. Mix well. Add to dry ingredients, stir just to combine (do not overmix).
  3. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the raspberry jam on top of each, gently swirl with a large skewer or a small knife to create a marbled effect.

    Jam swirled into the muffin batter.

  4. Bake 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove pan from oven, and let muffins cool in a pan several minutes. Transfer muffins to a wire cooling rack, let cool completely.

My Notes…

I only used two small bananas (because that was what I had). I feel like the batter would have been less dry had I used three. Also I accidentally forgot to put the vanilla in, but the taste was fine. The batter itself was a little thick and made the muffins a tad dry. I really think that was because I didn’t have a full cup of mashed bananas. I did like the jam on top of the muffin. It didn’t really swirl as I was hoping, but it still tasted great. I mean it saves a step of putting jam on the muffin itself, so there’s that.

Fruit Salsa

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I’m not sure if any of you have picked up on this, but I’m a fairly picky eater. And if it’s healthy, chances are I won’t like it. I’m not big on veggies and I really don’t like fruit. I envy people that enjoy eating strawberries and oranges. That being said this is one of my favorite things to make. It’s easy and delicious. I recently took it to a birthday party but I think it’s best for tailgating and summer parties. I got this recipe from allrecipies.com and made a few changes to it. It’s nice because it’s healthy (for the most part), and it lasts more than a day (unlike other fruit salads). It does make a lot and I recommend halving it for a smaller crowd or just yourself. I’m also including a recipe for cinnamon tortilla chips but if I’m in a crunch (which is almost always) I get cinnamon pita chips from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere.

Ingredients

– 2 kiwis
– 2 apples (I use Gala)
– 6 oz raspberries
– 1 pound strawberries
– 3 tablespoons preserves or jelly

Instructions
Peel and dice the kiwis. Also dice the raspberries and raspberries. Peel, core and dice the apples. Stir in preserves. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

My Notes
I always add the apples last. This prevents them from getting brown. Once you mix them with the other fruits they will not brown at all. A lot of other fruit salsas add sugar. That is totally unnecessary with this combo. If you do add sugar do so sparingly. It will make the salsa really syrupy if you put too much in. The preserves really do the trick for changing it from a bowl of fruit, to a bowl of fruit salsa! ¡Delicioso!

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

Ingredients

  • Flour tortillas (or corn if you’re ambitious)
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray (To be extra healthy, use Canola)
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by coating it with the cooking spray.
  2. Use a pizza cutter to cut the tortillas into triangles.
  3. Lay tortilla triangles on the baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  4. Turn over and repeat.
  5. Bake at 400° until crispy, about 10 minutes.

My Notes…

I cannot say enough about cinnamon sugar. Growing up my mother used to always have a shaker of it out. I used it on toast, pancakes, ice cream, chips, even sandwiches! I loved it. It comes in handy for recipes like this (and banana muffins)! I don’t have an extra shaker, so I keep a small tuperware with it in my pantry. It’s good stuff.

When baking these you have to really watch them. There’s a really fine line between done and burnt. I really recommend using parchment paper. The baked on cinnamon sugar can be a real pain to clean up. Just make sure you trim off an excess parchment paper. With the oven hot, it can easily scorch. As I said earlier. This process can be a bit time consuming, so if you have somewhere were you can buy cinnamon pita or tortilla chips, no one will think less of you.

 

Coffee Cheesecake Brownies

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So lately I’ve been craving chocolate, and cheesecake, and not coffee, but oh well. Being on the super diet means I don’t get to have a lot of chocolate or cheesecake. These delicious little brownies only have 100 calories a piece. This recipe was really easy to make, and they turned out great. I liked the look of them as well. They were great for my super bowl party, and also were a hit at my lunch the next day. I really, really like the coffee flavor in the brownies. I don’t drink coffee, but I don’t mind the flavor of it if it’s not too strong. It’s perfect in these. If you like any kind of coffee drink: lattes, cappuccinos, or others, you’ll like these. They’re not overly sweet either which is great. Also they’re fairly rich, so you can stop after one (if you have a strong will-power).  I promise if you make these, you’ll enjoy them. Makes 24 small brownie squares.

 

Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup strong (or prepared instant) coffee, or black tea
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cheesecake topping

  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch brownie pan with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare topping: Place cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg, flour, yogurt, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Set aside.

    Cheesecake Topping

  3. To prepare brownie layer: Whisk flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Place egg, egg whites, and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat with the electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add oil coffee (or tea) and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until well blended, stopping once to scrape down the sides.

    Dark, beautiful looking batter

  4. Scrape about half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Slowly pour the topping evenly on top.
  6. Drop the remaining brownie batter in large dollops over the topping.
  7. Draw the tip of a sharp knife or skewer through the two batters to create a swirl effect.
  8. Bake the brownies until the top is just firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Coat a knife with cooking spray and cut into 24 bars.

My Notes…

So as I was typing this, I realized I was probably supposed to make the coffee and then put it in. But I didn’t. I just poured in a fourth of a cup of instant coffee. Hence the strong coffee flavor. So if you want less coffee, brew it first. But they turned out great texturally anyways. I would even go as far as to say you should just pour in the grounds. Otherwise I can see the batter being quite soupy.  I know this isn’t as easy as making a boxed brownie mix, but it’s so much more impressive and really easy. DO IT! Make these brownies!