Monthly Archives: January 2012

Layered Bean Dip

Dips are usually a necessity for game day and in the middle of winter, what’s better than a baked, warm dip? This Layered Bean Dip will appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It has layers of refried beans, black beans, sour cream, salsa, and Mexican cheese and baked until bubbly. This recipe calls for reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar cheese but obviously you can use whatever full-fat ingredients you want (I mean, at a party, who cares?!).

If you are heading to a friend’s house, this is an easy dip to assemble at home and bake later. Serve this with corn chips, tortilla chips, baked chips or pita chips (I made my own pita chips out of leftover whole wheat pitas cut into small wedges and baked for 10 minutes at 375°F). Kids will surely love this too!

The ingredients:

Mix the refried beans and drained black beans in a bowl.

Spread bean mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 or 8x6x2 baking dish.

Top bean mixture with sour cream.

Layer on a cup of your favorite salsa.

Sprinkle Mexican cheese over the salsa and cover in foil.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite chips.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

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Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bites

The Super Bowl is this coming weekend and even though my team isn’t playing, I’ll still be watching and wanting to munch on snacky-snacks. So, I’m dedicating this week to munchies, appetizers, and snacks that you can enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday!

Most people love buffalo chicken so these Buffalo Chicken Cheese Bites are a perfect bite to serve guests or to take to a friend’s house for the big game. I made these spicy, cheesy, crunchy apps with chopped precooked chicken but rotisserie chicken or chicken breasts will work as well. The chicken is mixed with buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and scallions and rolled in layers of flour, egg, and bread crumbs. These bites were baked to help save some calories but they could easily be cooked in a skillet with some oil for a crunchier coating. I loved the light, slightly crispy coating and the creamy, oozy filling of these bites. Serve these with your favorite blue cheese or ranch dressing. I guarantee they’ll be a hit!

The ingredients (I forgot the scallions):

Chop up the chicken into small pieces and place in a bowl with the buffalo sauce, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and scallions. Mix well.

Place 1/2 cup of the flour onto a plate, 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs on another plate, and the eggs into a shallow dish. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop chicken mixture into the palm of your hand and roll into balls. (If the mixture doesn’t stick together, try adding some more cream cheese – I used an extra ounce of cream cheese). Roll each ball into the flour first, then the egg, then the bread crumbs and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Add more flour and bread crumbs to the plates as needed.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350ºF oven.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • 1/3 Less-fat cream cheese
  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Panko bread crumbs

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Macaroniandcheesecake.com

Enlightened Egg Salad Pitas

I’m a sucker for hard-boiled eggs. Whether it’s deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches, I’m all over it. Eggs were a big source of protein for me when I was a vegetarian and egg salad was a staple for me. But, as we all know, any kind of “salad” sandwich – egg salad, chicken salad, pasta salad – usually means tons of mayonnaise and tons of calories. So, I was intrigued when I came across Shape Magazine’s Enlightened Egg Salad Pita. Sounds light and lovely, right?

This recipe uses a tablespoon of light mayonnaise and two tablespoons of fat-free plain Greek yogurt which keeps this salad creamy. I have to say that I enjoyed the yogurt in this and didn’t feel like I was missing out on any flavor. But I have to say that I don’t think they got the measurements of the spices right. I’m not a huge salt fan and this was extremely salty to me. Also, I like curry but I think that a little less would have been a lot more. Overall, this had too much curry and too much salt. A little less of both and I think this would have been a much better sandwich. I usually add cayenne to my egg salad so I didn’t mind the flavor of the curry here since I’m used to a little extra something mixed in. But I might experiment with this recipe since I like the addition of the yogurt. If I can get it just right, this will be a mighty fine egg salad sandwich!

The ingredients:

Place eggs in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for 11-12 minutes. Cool in ice water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine light mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, curry powder, salt, and pepper.

Add in onion, celery, and chives (I omitted the onion and celery).

Peel the eggs, rinse, and discard the yolks from two eggs.

Chop the remaining eggs and add to the yogurt mixture.

Serve in a pita with greens and cucumber slices.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers

Substitutions:

  • Spinach for baby greens

Overall Rating: So-So

Source: Shape Magazine

Zucchini Bread

Never tried Zucchini Bread? That’s just too bad. I grew up eating zucchini bread and just assumed it was as popular as banana bread until I mentioned it to a few people and they looked at me in horror and asked “zucchini bread?” All I can say is, you have to try it!

It really isn’t any different than banana bread (besides the obvious) – it’s moist, hearty, nutty, and flavorful. Think about it like this – if you like carrot cake, do you really taste the carrots? Not really. This is the same way. It’s a delicious quick bread that gets a nutritional boost from zucchini which melts into the bread. This is a great way to use up any leftover zucchini tucked away in your veggie drawer. Trust me. Don’t knock it until you try it!

The ingredients:

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix egg substitute, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg in another large bowl. Add in sugar.

Add shredded zucchini (make sure to squeeze out excess moisture from the zucchini first) and stir to combine.

Combine zucchini mixture with the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Add in toasted walnuts.

Pour batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350°F for one hour.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Lemon zest

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Sausage and Spinach Risotto

It snowed in the Philadelphia region this past weekend and it was icy, gray, and cold.  Saturday was the kind of day where you didn’t want to go outside but stay curled up on the couch with a warm bowl of something and a cozy blanket.  I wanted something a little more stick-to-your-ribs and comforting than soup so I decided to make Sausage and Spinach Risotto.

This risotto is made with arborio rice, mushrooms, spinach, and sausage and cooked slowly until creamy and dreamy.  (I used Thin ‘N Trim’s Spinach & Red Onion Chicken Sausage but I bet sweet turkey or pork sausage would be good here too.)  I messed up making this and left the mushrooms in the pan the whole time (the recipe says to cook them, set them aside, and add in at the end) but it turned out fine.  I love the salty addition of the cheese at the end too so don’t leave that off or you might need to add in some salt.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love risotto and don’t mind that it takes time and patience to make.  It was exactly what I wanted while the sleet fell against my windows and I stayed nice and warm inside.

The ingredients:

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small pan and keep on low heat.  Add oil to another pan and cook mushrooms and salt over medium-high heat until browned (about 8 minutes).   Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add sausage until browned.  Then add shallots and garlic, cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to medium and add rice, cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in wine, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed.  (Ahh, fragrant!)  Stir in 1 cup of broth mixture and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue adding remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until each portion of broth mixture is completely absorbed.  Stir constantly.

Once all of the broth has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and add mushrooms and spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

Serve topped with cheese.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Pre-cooked chicken sausage for sweet sausage
  • Shaved parmesan cheese for Romano cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Salty Chihuahua

Salty what?!?  Yep, this cocktail is called a Salty Chihuahua.  Apparently it was created by a bartender in Chihuahua, Mexico in the 1940’s.  This is the first cocktail I’ve made so far with tequila and it isn’t because I don’t like tequila, it’s just not my favorite.  Tequila feels heavy to me and, aside from the occasional margarita, I prefer my cocktails lighter so I usually stick to vodka (or bourbon!). 

My staff at work got me a bottle of white tequila for my birthday in July and it’s been sitting there unopened begging to be given some life.  This cocktail gave me a reason to open it.  Although the recipe calls for silver tequila, I didn’t see why my tequila blanco shouldn’t work.  I have to say that this cocktail is pretty good.  With the salt around the rim, it’s pretty much like a shaken grapefruit margarita.  And there is something about the tanginess of the grapefruit juice that almost makes you forget you are drinking tequila.  Almost.

The ingredients:

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • White tequila for silver tequila
  • Bottled grapefruit juice

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:    Cooking Light Magazine

Spicy Turkey Meat Loaf with Ketchup Topping

A few months ago, I made a meat loaf recipe that I enjoyed so much, I decided right then and there that it would be my go-to meat loaf recipe from here on out.  But, I had this Spicy Turkey Meat Loaf with Ketchup Topping tucked away in my recipe binder so I had to try it out also.  I almost didn’t want to like it because I loved the other recipe so much but oh boy, now I’m torn!

The “spicy” in this meat loaf is from Sriracha, hot chile sauce, which is a staple in my refrigerator.  It’s spiciness creeps up on you but is tamed slightly by the sweetness in the ketchup topping.  Since I’m in love with spicy food lately, I think I uttered “Yum” after every single bite.  The other special ingredient in this meat loaf is mushrooms.  Not only to do they add a low-calorie flavor boost but they also help keep the meat loaf incredibly moist.  I guess it’s better to have two winning meat loaf recipes than to have none at all, right?

Also check out Cheesy Turkey Meat Loaf.

The ingredients:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook onion, mushrooms, and garlic to pan for 8 minutes.  Remove from heat, place in a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add panko, broth, parsley, soy sauce, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, ground turkey, and egg to the mushroom mixture and mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and nutmeg.

Pat turkey mixture into a loaf pan and top with ketchup mixture.  Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F.

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Worcestershire sauce

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

 

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