Peppermint Blondies

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These blondies are moist and chewy and speckled with bits of peppermint and chunks of dark chocolate. You can substitute whatever mix-ins you like. They’re perfect for tailgates and graduation parties this time of year because they pack easily and freeze well too. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peppermint bits
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, corn starch, peppermint bits and salt and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  6. Place the chocolate chunks on top.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just set. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

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Tomato and Ham Frittata

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Frittatas are perfect meals for busy weeknights and a great way to use up leftover vegetables and meats. This frittata combines tomatoes ham and cheddar but you can use whatever meat, vegetables and cheese you may have on hand. Warm eggs bind the ingredients together and a dollop of greek yogurt adds a rich creaminess. The eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt all provide great protein and are low in fat and you can bump up the fiber, vitamins and minerals by adding a range of seasonal vegetables. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Whisk eggs, milk and yogurt until combined. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium hight heat.
  4. Pour in egg mixture and allow to cook over medium heat until just set (about 3 minutes).
  5. Transfer the entire skillet to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until just cooked through.

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Baked Chicken Tenders

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These chicken tenders are crunchy and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside – they’re a delicious guilt free version of the classic. The tenders are coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked, instead of fried, which greatly reduces they overall fat and calorie content found in regular chicken tenders. You can serve them with your favorite condiment and kids and adults alike will love this twist on a classic comfort food. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb. (about 8) chicken tenders

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour in a medium bowl. In a shallow container, whisk together the eggs and Dijon mustard. In a separate shallow container, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg mixture until the chicken is coated. Last, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, completely coating the outside.
  4. Transfer the chicken tenders to the prepared wire rack.
  5. Lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side.

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Chicken Florentine Pasta

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The pasta is an easy weeknight meal that comes together quickly and provides a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein. You can add any other vegetables you may have and vary it based on what is in season. It’s important to sear the chicken in a hot pan to create smoky caramelization before tossing it with the pasta and vegetables.  The white wine, garlic and chicken broth combine to create a light, aromatic sauce that glazes the entire dish and brings all of the flavors together.

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Penne
  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 3/4 cup Low-sodium Broth
  • 1 bag Baby Spinach
  • 2 cups Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise

Method:

  1. Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.
  3. Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it’s reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)
  4. Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss.

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Thai Green Curry Dip

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Thai food is famous for blending the four fundamental tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. This dip draws on the quintessential flavors of Thai green curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce for a comfortingly creamy, yet bright and fresh spread. The fragrant flavors of the chillies, lemon grass, galangal, garlic, cilantro and kafir lime of the curry paste are mellowed by sweet, creamy coconut milk. And a dash of salty umami from fish sauce rounds out the dip. It’s great with raw or cooked vegetables or rice crackers or even as a spread on sandwiches. Coconut milk is rich in lauric acid and vitamins A, C and B and I use the light version which is lower in fat. I also blend in artichoke hearts to help thicken the dip and boost the antioxidants and fiber. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup artichoke hearts (defrosted)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

Method:

  1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium low heat.
  2. Add in the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium low heat until the dip is thickened and coats the back of a spoon (3-4 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor and blending until smooth.
  4. Chill and serve.

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Healthier Peanut Butter Fudge

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Fudge is one of my favorite holiday desserts and is usually loaded with butter and sugar… To start the new year off right, this version is a healthier alternative that feels indulgent but is less processed and draws on more nutrient dense ingredients. Healthier fat comes in the form of homemade peanut butter (you could use any nut butter) and coconut oil and sweetness comes in the form of natural maple syrup and honey. You can pack this fudge for a protein boost on the go or store it in the refrigerator as a chilled sweet treat. It comes together in about 10 minutes and is very adaptable to other flavors – try adding cocoa powder for a chocolate fudge or sprinkling chopped pistachios and dried cherries over the top. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
  • 1 cup coconut oil (softened)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup carob chips
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients except the sea salt in a medium bowl until completely smooth.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, folding it into the corners. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt and carob chips.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until completely hardened. Cut into squares, and serve.

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Thanksgiving 2013 + Scalloped Potatoes

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Sweet Soy Glazed Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

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This is a quick and easy weeknight meal and a great way to use up leftover rice. The pork chops are cooked with a combination of onions, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and Sriracha until tender and succulent. Then rice is fried with a dash of soy sauce, garlic, scrambled eggs and tossed with smoky roasted peppers, crisp, fresh peas and sweet, juicy pineapple. It’s a great mix of salty and sweet and a delicious Asian-inspired twist on classic pork chops.

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 whole Pineapple, Cut Into Spears And Skewered
  • 2 cups White Or Brown Rice, Cooked
  • 4 whole Pork Chops
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Sliced
  • 6 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha, Or Other Hot Sauce
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 jar (small) Drained Pimentos
  • 1-1/2 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (additional)

Method:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Saute pineapple spears until they have good color on the outside. Slice, then set aside.
  3. Heat butter and oil over medium high heat, then add the pork chops to the pan. Saute on both sides until they have nice color.
  4. Add the sliced onions and saute until softened. When the onions are starting to soften, add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce. Shake the pan, stir it around, and let it cook and bubble up for a good couple of minutes until the pork chops are completely cooked and the sauce is thicker.
  5. Remove the pork chops and let the sauce bubble up and cook for another until reduced. Pour it over the pork chops. Set aside.
  6. Add a small amount of oil to the same pan (without cleaning it) and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir it around, then crack in the eggs and immediately stir them to scramble them a bit. Add peas, pimentos, and a couple of tablespoons (additional) soy sauce. Add cooked rice and stir it around to cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. To serve, pile rice on a plate, then top with a pork chops and onions from the sauce. Drizzle a little bit of sauce over the top.

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S’mores Bars

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These bars are soft, moist, chewy and super simple to make. They come together in one bowl in about five minutes. You can substitute graham flour for an even more authentic s’mores flavor or add peanut butter in place of some of the butter for a fluffernutter spin. The brown sugar gives them a rich caramel flavor. Studded with chunks of dark chocolate and gooey toasted marshmallows, these bars are delicious with or without the campfire. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour minus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 large marshmallows cut into thirds along the middle
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, corn starch and salt and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  6. Place the marshmallow slices and chocolate chunks on top.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just set. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

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Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

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Making your own nut butters is so easy and one of my favorite things to experiment with. Almond butter, cashew macadamia nut butter, mixed nut butter, and pecan butter … the options are endless. This recipe combines the familiar taste of peanut butter with warm cinnamon and chewy raisins. You simply put the peanuts in the food processor with a pinch of salt and sugar and grind it until it becomes rich and creamy. The cinnamon adds subtle spice and raisins give it texture and fruitiness.   It’s great on everything from toast to ice cream, or just straight out of the jar with a spoon.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dry roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants

Method:

  1. Place the peanuts, salt and sugar in a food processor and blend for around 10 minutes or until smooth.
  2. Add in cinnamon and raisins and pulse until combined.
  3. Store in a sealed jar.

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