Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spicy Peanut Chicken with Vegetables and Rice

My new favorite way to eat chicken! I could eat this one every week - it is that good! The spicy peanut sauce recipe came from my talented cousin. If you are worried about the spice, leave out the cayenne pepper.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
4 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons peanut butter - smooth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a bowl, whisk hot water over the peanut butter to smooth out the consistency. Then, add remaining ingredients and whisk together till well combined.

1 lb chicken breasts; cubed
2 red peppers; chopped
1/2 large, white onion; chopped
1 bag frozen broccoli (I bought the steam bags and steamed in microwave - then drained before using)
2 scallions; chopped
Cooked brown rice
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (peanut works best, but vegetable will work)
Salt and pepper

In a wok or large skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium-high. Add cubed chicken; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add 2 spoonfuls of peanut sauce to chicken and toss to coat. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add remaining oil to pan. Then add chopped red peppers and onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes until tender. Add steamed broccoli and scallions. Toss back in the chicken and adjust seasoning,

Serve over cooked brown rice and top with additional peanut sauce.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mexican Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas

Ok - these carnitas were awesome! Chad was eating the leftovers for lunch everyday; he could not get enough of them. Very flavorful and easy if you prep the night before. I found this recipe on Gina's Weight Watchers blog and made a few adjustments. Great blog with tasty low-fat recipes. Make these this week! You will not be disappointed! 

2 1/2 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean - with all fat removed
6 cloves of garlic; cut in slivers
Homemade taco seasoning (found here
3/4 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
1 small can diced chilies 
2 bay leaves
A few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Salt and Pepper

Season pork salt and pepper. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (This step is not necessary, but adds a lot more flavor!)

Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork and cut small holes. Insert garlic slivers throughout pork. Season pork with taco seasoning all over.  

Pour chicken broth in crockpot, add bay leaves and diced chilies. Place pork in crockpot and cover. Cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork and remove any bones. Combine well with the juices, remove bay leaves and adjust seasonings. Let cook for another 15-30 minutes. 

Serve with corn tortillas (warmed over a gas stove is best), fresh cilantro, lime juice and light sour cream. I would also recommend light, shredded Monterrey jack cheese, salsa and avocado. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Michigan Salad with Cinnamon Raisin Croutons and Cherry Maple Vinaigrette

A new restaurant opened in town called Twisted Rooster. Their menu is guided by locally grown product offerings and has a twist on every meal. We have been there a couple of times now and love the food! I have to say that their house salad is awesome! The croutons are made with Cinnamon Raisin Bread! I knew I had to recreate this one at home and I am so glad that I did.

For the salad:
1 bag mixed greens (I did a combination of spinach and romaine)
1 Granny Smith Apple; diced
6-8 Strawberries; sliced
1 package Dried Cherries (I had leftovers that I have been using in cereal!)
1 small bag Pecans; toasted
Blue cheese crumbles; as much as you want

For the croutons:
6 thick slices of cinnamon raisin bread; cubed
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

For the dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon cherry juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
Melt butter in a large skillet and add the bread cubes; toss to coat.
Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar over bread cubes; toss to coat again. Spread cubes on the baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Combine all salad ingredients, toss with dressing (as much as desired) and top with croutons.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garlic Lime Chicken over Mexican Style Orzo

I saw this recipe for grilled garlic lime chicken and knew I had to make it. If you are looking for a flavorful and easy chicken recipe, try this one. 
I made (what I am calling) a Mexican style orzo pasta to go with the chicken. YUM! No recipe to source here as I made it up myself. I can't wait to make this one again. 

Garlic Lime Chicken
3-4 cloves of garlic; minced
1 lime; zested and juiced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; pounded and halved

Combine garlic, lime zest and juice, olive oil and salt. Whisk with a fork to combine. Add chicken to the dish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. 
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Mexican Style Orzo
1 package orzo
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese
1 can reduced sodium black beans; drained and rinsed
1 can Ro*tel (diced tomatoes with chilies)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Return to hot pan and add feta, black beans, Ro*tel, olive oil and lime juice. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. 

Top Mexican Style Orzo with Garlic Lime Chicken and Avocado slices. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicago style dogs with Charm City Corn

This recipe was not intended to go up on the blog, but I am glad Chad had me take a picture of his plate before we ate. He must have known it was going to be a good one. Corn on the cob in the summer is classic and this recipe gives it a new spicy kick. 

Charm City Corn - recipe found here
2 cups water
1 cup milk
4 ears of corn
4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper
Dash of hot sauce

Bring water, milk and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large pot. Break ears of corn in half; add to the pot and cook until crisp-tender about 5 minutes, then drain. In the same pot, melt butter, Old Bay Seasoning and a dash of hot sauce. Toss the corn in the spicy butter and season with salt and pepper. 

For our Chicago style dogs, we used only the best hot dogs - Hebrew National. Cooked according to package directions (I like to boil and lightly grill). Place cooked dogs in a whole wheat bun and top with sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sliced pickles, diced onion, mustard and pepper. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Turkey Burger Pitas with Tahini Sauce

Fast and flavorful turkey burger recipe adapted from Cooking Light - September 2010 edition. 

1/2 cup plain 2% Greek-style yogurt
1 Tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove; minced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons parsley; finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 lb ground lean turkey
Cooking spray
2 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
Tomato slices

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. 
Combine onions, parsley, salt, onion powder and turkey in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2 inch- thick patty. 
Heat a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add patties to the pan. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done.
Line each pita half with patty (I sliced cooked patties in half), tomato slices and tahini sauce. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Turkey Taco Salad

I found this recipe on my Everyday Food Ipod app; you can find the original recipe here. I love this app because there is a new recipe sent to me everyday. I have saved several and this one has been sitting saved for awhile. This week was a great time to use it. YUM! We both loved it. 

1 lb ground turkey; lean
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion; diced
1 small zucchini; diced
1 can black beans; rinsed and drained (I added these)
1 red bell pepper; ribs and seed removed and diced
1 1/2 cups green salsa
Salt and pepper
Romaine lettuce
1 1/2 cups Fritos (recipe calls for tortilla chips, but Fritos sounded better) 
1 cup small cherry tomatoes; halved
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent (about 5-7 minutes.) Add turkey; cook, stirring often until starting to brown (another 5-7 minutes.)

Add zucchini, bell pepper, black beans, and 1 cup of salsa; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool. 

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with Fritos, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer to serving dishes and top with turkey mixture and cheese. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Berries and Cream Cheesecake

I started making this cake 3 years ago. Chad's birthday was coming up and I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to make. He requested "Blueberry". Odd request, but then I stumbled upon this recipe in EveryDay with Rachael Ray's magazine and thought it was perfect! It was a huge hit with everyone and now I make it every year for his birthday. It is a perfect Summer cake; light and full of flavor. 

2 Tablespoons sugar
Grated peel of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup blueberry preserves
3/4 cup blueberries, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup chopped strawberries, plus more for garnish
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
Two 12 ounce pound cakes, sliced 1/3 inch thick (Meijer sells pre-sliced pound cake which works well)

In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup water, granulated sugar and the lemon peel to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. 

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, the preserves and the berries and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, about 15 minutes. Let cool. 

Meanwhile, using a mixer, mix together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. 

Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with a layer of pound cake slices, cutting to fit as needed. Brush with the lemon syrup and spread half the berry sauce on top. Spoon half the cream cheese mixture over the berries. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. 

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight. Release from the springfoam pan and top with more berries before serving. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Garlic Chicken and Spinach Gnocchi

Vacation and work have been keeping me busy, but I am back. And I have a lot of blog updates coming....

1 - 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; diced
1 package shelf stable gnocchi
2 cloves of garlic; minced
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the gnocchi according the package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add diced chicken and cook until lightly browned.
Add minced garlic and cook until softened; 2-3 minutes. Add remaining olive oil, butter, drained gnocchi and salt and pepper. Cook until the gnocchi are golden brown on the bottoms. Use a spatula to gently flip the gnocchi. Add the spinach, tossing frequently and cook until wilted; about 3 minutes.

Easy weeknight meal that is satisfying.
Recipe adapted from Delish.
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