Monthly Archives: October 2014

Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshakes

Happy Halloween! I’m way too old to go trick-or-treating and I have no kids so I’m not letting myself indulge in the bite-size candy bars that line the aisles for Halloween. I don’t even get trick-or-treaters at my door, probably because no one knows me, and I hope that I’m not known in the neighborhood as the scary lady. While I usually buy candy to have on hand just in case, I decided not to do it this year because no one will come knocking and I will be left with a bag of candy that will torture me day in and day out until I finally cave in and eat each and every bite. I won’t have it! Instead, I’m indulging in some grown-up decadence with this Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshake. I’m expecting it to act as a comforting blanky tonight while I’m watching scary movies.

Peanut butter, marshmallow cream, and Nutter Butter cookies are mixed with vanilla ice cream and milk (low-fat or full-fat, who cares?) making a sweet fluffernutter milkshake. But THEN, to make it even better, marshmallow vodka is added which makes this milkshake all grown-up and all decadent. This is a sugar bomb for sure but for one night, on Halloween, why not? Peanut butter and vanilla ice cream is my go-to favorite but with marshmallow, vodka, and whipped cream added, it’s even better. Even if you have kids you are taking from house to house, make this ahead, put it in a travel smoothie cup and drink up as you walk around the neighborhood. No one needs to know.

4

Spiked Nutter Butter Fluffernutter Milkshakes

  • 2 cups low-fat vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons marshmallow cream
  • 4 Nutter Butter peanut butter sandwich cookies, broken into pieces
  • 2 ounces marshmallow or whipped cream vodka (like Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow)
  • whipped cream

Combine ice cream, milk, peanut butter, marshmallow cream, vodka, and cookies in a blender and blend until smooth.

1

Top with whipped cream and crushed cookies.

3

For extra indulgence, melt 1 tablespoon peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle over whipped cream.

2

Advertisements

Cheesy Penne with Broccoli

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m shocked by how little I eat pasta anymore. When I was a vegetarian, it was all I ate. Which may be why I never lost weight. Now, I appreciate a good pasta meal but I don’t crave it (thankfully). I had some milk and cheese in my refrigerator that I didn’t know what to do with and some lingering penne that just never seemed to go away. This is typically how I decide what foods to make – by looking at what’s left in my fridge/pantry. Because even though I love to cook, I don’t love to spend a lot of money at the grocery. This Cheesy Penne with Broccoli was an easy way for me to use up some leftover staples I had hanging around my kitchen without having to spend a dime.

Cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese are all melted into an easy milky cream sauce and poured over cooked penne and boiled broccoli. The result is this hearty dish which will satisfy any pasta craving you have. The cheese sauce, even with it’s three cheeses, it light and thin enough to be a backup singer to this song. And even though I get weak (in a good way) when mustard is added to cheese sauce, the best part (in my opinion) is the broccoli. I mean, broccoli and cheese? Yes please. I have to point out that broccoli being my favorite anything is something that never would have come out of my childhood mouth. My how things have changed. Now, I won’t even consider pasta unless it has a veggie in it.

e

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli to pan; drain. Place pasta and broccoli in a large bowl.

a

Combine milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat.

b

Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, cream cheese, Dijon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheddar cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

c

Add cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss.

d

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

f

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat penne
  • Whole grain Dijon

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha

Breakfast is what’s for dinner tonight. I can’t imagine not liking breakfast food. I can eat eggs at any time of day or night and often eat hard boiled eggs as a snack or scrambled eggs at dinner. Several months ago, after trying Sriracha mayonnaise, I decided to top a deviled egg with a few drops of Sriracha. I never looked back. That turned into me adding Sriracha to my scrambed, fried, or sunnyside up eggs as well. Just for kicks, I wondered what it would taste like to make a savory French toast and top it with Sriracha instead of syrup. You guys, I can’t even tell you how happy I am with this result: Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha.

Herbes de Provence are added to the egg and milk mixture which coats thick slices of hearty bread. Cooked until golden brown, these slices are topped with a flavorful chive butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light and didn’t miss the extra calories!) and drizzled with as much (or as little) Sriracha as you want. The result is a mildly herby French toast with a buttery tang and spicy bite. The floral herbes de Provence can easily be replaced with dried thyme or oregano and you can definitely leave off the Sriracha if you’d like (but why would you?). For an even bigger oniony bite, use the chive butter to brown the slices if you desire. Everything about this French toast is savory and perfect for your next breakfast dinner. I’m ecstatic!

12

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha (serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices hearty bread (such as French loaf or Artisan Wheat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha

Combine the softened butter and chives in a bowl. Transfer to plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

14

Over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet. While butter melts, whisk together eggs, milk, herbes de Provence and salt in a shallow dish. Add one slice of bread at a time and soak, flipping frequently, until saturated with egg mixture.

9

Add 2 soaked slices to the hot skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown; flip and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked slices to a plate and keep warm while cooking the remaining bread slices.

10

11

Garnish each slice of French toast with one pat of chive butter. Drizzle with Sriracha.

13

Banana Pumpkin Smoothies

After all of the cheese and wine I consumed last week in Buenos Aires, I need to get it together. Quite frankly, I’m tired of chicken, have no desire for salads, and can’t eat any more eggs. When I get into an eating rut like this, where I want to eat healthy but can’t stand to eat the same old, same old, I like to replace a meal with a smoothie a few times a week. It’s the middle of October so it feels completely appropriate to break out the pumpkin. This Banana Pumpkin Smoothie is the perfect fall meal that tastes more like a treat and keeps my pants fitting.

Vanilla yogurt, canned pumpkin, orange juice, and frozen banana are the basis of this smoothie which is jazzed up with warm spices and a hint of brown sugar. Right around now, you can find all kinds of recipes for pumpkin pie smoothies but what makes this one unique and different is the addition of the banana and fresh orange juice. I always have slices of frozen banana in my freezer just for smoothies like this but if you don’t, a fresh banana will work fine, you just may want to add extra ice. I never thought to combine orange and pumpkin together but the flavors marry perfectly, giving this drink a light freshness you don’t typically get with fall pumpkin flavors. I’m sold.

4

Combine yogurt, pumpkin, ice, orange juice, brown sugar, spices, and banana in a blender, and process until smooth.

1

2

Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.

3

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Smoky Weeknight Chili

I was shocked the other day when I was driving around and noticed how few leaves are on the trees already. Didn’t summer just end? Did I miss the full color of bright yellow, red, and orange leaves that I’m typically in awe over every single Autumn? It’s only the middle of October! And, I might add, it’s going to be 80 degrees in Philadelphia today! Where are my leaves? I shake my head thinking about how quickly Christmas will be here, which means winter, which means cold, which means…sad face. I love Fall, and all that comes with it: bright leaves, football, pumpkin beer, and warm chili. I may not be able to do anything about the leaves but I can certainly make some chili. This Smoky Weeknight Chili is perfect for the busy person who doesn’t have time to hang out in the kitchen before dinner.

With two different kinds of beans and no meat, this vegetarian chili gets thick tomato flavor from tomato sauce, smokiness from fire-roasted tomatoes, and a warm, surprising undertone from cocoa powder. Don’t worry, there is nothing sweet about this chili which is hearty and fulfilling, even though it’s vegetarian. Sure you can add meat if you’d like but there is no need. The white beans are creamy, the chickpeas are chewy and the onion and peppers round everything out. This is a perfectly quick meal for the middle of the week in the middle of month like today.

5

In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add sweet pepper and onion; cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.

1

Add beans and chili powder; cook and stir 2 minutes.

2

Stir in tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

3

Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4

Top with sour cream, green onions, and additional chili powder, if desired.

6

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Cannellini beans

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce

I was in Buenos Aires for work last week and was either working, eating, drinking, or sleeping and didn’t have time for blogging or much else. In Argentina, people don’t eat dinner until sometime after 9pm. One night, we didn’t even finish eating until after 12:30am! I was worried about finding something to eat in Buenos Aires since I’d heard that they eat a lot of meat down there, primarily beef and pork, both of which I don’t eat. But luckily, they had plenty of grilled chicken, plenty of fried cheese, and tasty cheese empanadas. The empanada options there were typically either cheese or pork so I decided to come home and make my own with some chicken and spinach. The result were these Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce.

Precooked chicken, cheese, spinach, onion and pimientos are combined with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and smoked paprika before being folded into empanada dough and baked until golden brown. A quick chimichurri sauce of parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flake adds a bold, fresh flavor which would also be a great addition to any beef, chicken or pasta dish. These empanadas are full of flavor and are perfect for a small meal on the go.

Tip: I found the empanada dough discs in the freezer section of my market, near the international and vegetarian frozen meals. To quickly thaw the dough, remove the discs from the packaging, separate them by the paper between each one and sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

q

Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce (makes 10 empanadas)

For the empanadas:

  • 1/2 pound rotisserie or leftover chicken, shredded
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package frozen empanada discs, thawed (such as Goya Empanada Discs)
  • 1 egg

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and red pepper flake to taste

To prepare the empanadas, cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly. In a bowl, mix chicken, spinach, mozzarella cheese, pimientos, onion, and pepper.

i

In a small saucepan, mix broth with cornstarch. Add cream cheese and smoked paprika. Whisk over high heat until mixture is boiling, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape over chicken mixture and combine well, adding salt to taste.

j

k

Place thawed empanada discs on a flat service. Stretch each disc carefully to expand dough slightly. On each disc, spoon heaping 2 tablespoons of chicken mixtures.

l

Fold dough over filling to form a semi-circle, then fold edges together and pinch to seal, using a fork. Gently place empanadas, slightly apart, on baking sheet.

m

In a small bowl, beat egg to blend and brush generously over each pastry.

n

Bake in a 375°F oven until empanadas are golden browned, 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

photo

To prepare the chimichurri sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

o

p

Spoon into a bowl and serve with empanadas.

r

Fudgy Oatmeal Bars

After talking the other day about how I haven’t been eating so good lately and need to eat more salads, well this is part of the reason why. I can’t help but bake. I love it. If I could bring you guys a cookie, brownie or cake recipe every single day, I would. In fact, I think I’ve only ever made one cake for this blog and it was around Thanksgiving when I was having my family for dinner. Otherwise, how am I going to eat a whole cake? Or a whole batch of cookies? Or a whole tray of brownies? Well don’t tempt me because it can be done! But here is the great thing about these Fudgy Oatmeal Bars: they freeze perfectly so even if you only want one brownie, freeze the rest and forget about them. They’ll always be there when you get that chocolate craving.

Creamy brownie batter is poured over a toasted, light oatmeal crust and topped with even more sprinkles of oatmeal goodness. The result is a cookie-ish brownie that is rich and chewy and begs for a glass of ice cold milk. A little addition of espresso powder melts into the background making the bittersweet chocolate really shine. For a low-calorie brownie, this is mighty tasty. So pour yourself a glass of milk and dig in. Brownies are meant to be enjoyed, not regretted.

photo 3 (3)

Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add canola oil and butter; toss with a fork until crumbly. Remove 3/4 cup of oat mixture; set aside.

photo 1 (4)

Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with baking spray. Bake at 350°F for 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

photo 2 (4)

To prepare filling, weigh or lightly spoon 3.4 ounces flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

photo 3 (4)

Combine milk and espresso granules in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until espresso dissolves. Add 3 tablespoons canola oil, 3 tablespoons butter, vanilla, and eggs to milk mixture, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Fold in chocolate.

photo 4 (4)

Spread batter over prepared crust in pan. Sprinkle with reserved 3/4 cup oat mixture.

photo 1 (3)

Bake at 350°F for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a rack.

photo 2 (3)

Cut into 28 bars.

photo 4 (3)

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

 

%d bloggers like this: