Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sour Cream Raspberry Swirl Loaf

People often ask me if I’m spending a lot of money buying ingredients for this blog but the truth is, when I’m planning what to make, I always take into account what I already have in my pantry or fridge. It’s very hard for me not to make dessert after dessert because I always have flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda on hand. But that would just be disastrous for my waistline so I have to be careful. This recipe for Sour Cream Raspberry Swirl Loaf is a perfect example of something I easily made without having to buy a single thing at the grocery store. It’s been tucked away in my files for ten years (really!) and this is the first time I’ve made it. I found it after looking for a way to use up the soon-to-expire sour cream sitting in my refrigerator.

This is a loaf that is part cake, part quick bread and is light and moist enough for breakfast but also slightly sweet enough for dessert. I love the fruity punch of the raspberry jam and think this would also be great with orange marmalade or any other berry jam. Lemon zest gives this dish a real freshness that is soothing without being overpowering and the walnuts provide a delicious crunch. This is a definite keeper.

The ingredients:

Combine jam and walnuts in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix the sugar, butter, lemon rind, vanilla, egg, and egg white with electric beaters. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and sour cream until a batter forms.

Place half of the batter into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray. (The batter may be sticky and if so, wet the back of a spoon or your hands to spread the batter.)

Spoon on the raspberry-walnut mixture.

Pour the remaining batter over the top.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 55 minutes. Allow the loaf to cool completely and drizzle the icing over the top if using (I didn’t).

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk

Substitutions:

  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour for white flour
  • Light sour cream for fat-free sour cream

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets

I love eating eggs for breakfast (and for dinner!) but I’d rather get an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning before work than get up to make myself an omelet or scrambled eggs. I often make eggs for myself on weekend mornings and add veggies and different spices. I’ve never attempted to bake eggs in a muffin tin but I think it’s great if you have company over because you aren’t stuck standing over the stove while trying to have a conversation. Not to mention it’s great portion control! I found these Broccoli and Cheese Mini Egg Omelets on a food website dedicated to healthy eating and since I bought a HUGE bag of broccoli at the produce market this weekend, I figured this was a perfect recipe to try out.

Eggs and egg whites are mixed with cheese and poured into muffin tins over steamed broccoli. This recipe uses two kinds of cheeses, cheddar and pecorino romano, but any cheese here would do (I only used cheddar). This is also such a versatile recipe because you could add in sausage or ham, replace broccoli with tomatoes or spinach, and also toss in herbs like basil or parsley. I threw in some cayenne pepper because I love a little spice with my eggs. Baking eggs might take a little longer than a quick scramble but by making them this way, you can sit back and enjoy your coffee while the oven does the work for you.

The ingredients:

Steam the broccoli, either on the stove or in the microwave. Chop the broccoli and place in a muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, grated cheese, salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin over the broccoli. Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.

Additions:

  • Cayenne pepper

Omissions:

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Pecorino Romano

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Skinnytaste.com

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Soups are great for healthy eating! When I’m trying to eat better, I love making them because as soon as the soup is prepared, I portion out the sizes into individual containers to make it easy to grab for lunch (and to not overeat!). This Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale is rich in fiber but low in calories and fat. Not to mention it’s vegetarian! Creamy, sweet Great Northern Beans are simmered with onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme in vegetable broth (any kind of broth will work here) and then carrots and kale are added until soft. Red pepper flakes and white wine vinegar are tossed in at the end where both lend a real flavor boost. The original recipe calls for escarole but since I started eating kale a few months ago, I always try to use it wherever I can. Any leafy green – spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard – will work, so use whatever you like. The only thing I left out is the addition of the parmesan rind and although I’m sure it adds a ton of flavor, I didn’t see the need for the extra calories so I just used a little parmesan cheese on top before serving. I loved this soup more than I ever expected to and cannot rave about it enough. I will make this again, no question!

The ingredients:

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook until soft and then add in the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Add in the vegetable broth, water, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 10 minutes.

Add in chopped carrots and kale and cover for 15 minutes.

Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove the parmesan rind (if using). Serve with shaved parmesan cheese.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Parmesan rind

Substitutions:

  • Kale for escarole

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Jamaican Jerk Rubbed Chicken

I have a whole list of different kinds of rubs, sauces, and marinades that I keep around for when I have chicken breasts that I want to dress up. This recipe for Jamaican Jerk Rub works great with chicken but can also be used with pork, shrimp, or even beef. It’s a combination of paprika, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper making this slightly sweet and spicy. If you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you’ll probably have most of the ingredients on-hand already. To keep with an island theme, serve this with mango or peach salsa. This rub also works great with chicken tenders and a nice honey-mustard dipping sauce (that’s how I did it the first time I made this). I keep extra rub stored in a plastic container in my spice cabinet for the next time!

The ingredients:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Place chicken in a plastic bag and add the rub (for one pound of chicken, about half of this rub will be enough). Shake or massage the chicken in the bag until all sides are coated in the rub.

Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake in a 450°F oven for 10 minutes or until done.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Coastal Living Magazine

Apple-Oat Muffins with Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Swirl

Are you one of those people who sometimes skips breakfast because you hit snooze one too many times and you just don’t have time to eat it?  Or you end up grabbing a calorie-loaded bagel or greasy egg sandwich because it’s quick?  That’s me!  When you are watching your weight, breakfast can be hard.  I love making muffins because they are tasty, filling and already portion controlled.  These Apple-Oat Muffins with Brown-Sugar Swirl are low in calories, full of flavor, and can start your day off right.  These muffins use whole-wheat flour and oats in place of some of the white flour to help boost fiber and keep you fuller longer.  Applesauce helps keep these muffins moist without adding fat and cinnamon and cloves give them spice.  Muffins easily freeze well too so if you can’t eat 12 muffins (or 24 mini-muffins) in a week, throw them in a freezer bag for later and just give them a quick pop in the microwave for a fresh muffin whenever you want it!

The ingredients:

In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 of the cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves.  Create a well in the center and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix remaining cinnamon, brown sugar, and water until brown sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla.  Pour mixture into well of dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

 

Fold in diced apple.

 

Spoon batter into a muffin tin and top each muffin with the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Use a toothpick to swirl the mixture into each muffin.

 

Bake in a 400ºF oven for 12 minutes.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Shape Magazine

Oven-Roasted Green Beans

I’ve become a big fan of fresh green beans.  I remember eating canned green beans a lot as a kid and now I won’t even touch them.  Fresh green beans are so much better and now that most grocery stores carry steam-in-bag green beans, they can be made in no time.  I never thought about roasting green beans until I came across this recipe for Oven-Roasted Green Beans.  Fresh green beans are tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper and roasted in the oven for 8 minutes.  The green beans come out so crisp and flavorful that they will complement any meal.  These don’t take much longer to make than microwaved green beans and they are so much better! 

The ingredients:

Place trimmed green beans in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the beans and toss until all the beans are seasoned.

Lay the beans flat on a baking sheet and roast in a 425°F oven for 8 minutes.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Baked Chocolate and Banana Ravioli

I’ve been very good (and very disciplined) on my diet but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I think it’s okay to splurge a little and have something chocolatey, don’t you think?  I found a recipe for a fried version of Chocolate and Banana Ravioli on Food Network’s website so I decided to adapt it to something a little healthier.  These Baked Chocolate and Banana Ravioli are baked, not fried, and include nothing else but chocolate-hazelnut spread, bananas, and walnuts.  Simple.  Since bananas are already naturally sweet, I didn’t see any reason to include additional sugar.  These have a yummy banana flavor and the Nutella is creamy and rich making these taste decadent without being terribly fattening.  If you don’t like Nutella, you could easily swap it out with your favorite chocolate chips or regular peanut-butter.  Eat these as-is, with a little bit of chocolate or caramel dipping sauce or a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Baked Chocolate and Banana Ravioli (makes 16 ravioli)

Recipe adapted from Food Network

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • non-stick spray

The ingredients:

Cut up the banana into small pieces or mash it in a bowl.

Add in chopped walnuts.

Lay out a wonton on a flat surface.  Place one teaspoon of chocolate-hazelnut spread into the center of the wonton.

Add one teaspoon of the banana mixture into the center of the wonton.

Using your finger or a pastry brush, brush the edges of the wonton with water.  Fold one corner over to the opposite corner and press the edges together.

Place ravioli on a parchment-lined baking sheet coated with non-stick spray.  Spray the tops of each ravioli with non-stick spray also and bake in a 350ºF oven for 11 minutes until golden brown.

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