Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crispy Kale Chips

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie! Makes the perfect late night snack... completely guiltless!!! :) 1 cup of cooked kale has only 36 calories and 1 gram of fat and provides you with 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber! It has over 300% of your daily vitamin A and 89% of your daily vitamin C!

1 bunch of fresh kale
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash kale thoroughly and tear into bite sized pieces. There is no wrong way to do this... tear, chop... doesn't matter! :) I tend to tear away from the thick part of the stem and toss it out as it tends to be a bit bitter for me. I stick with the leafier part of the kale. Spread kale out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it... you don't want it to brown... just get a little crisp!


Try drizzling with a teeny bit of lemon juice OR balsamic vinegar for a little extra kick!

Some more information about the health benefits of kale...


Less-Sinful Silken Chocolate Trifle

So I'm a bonafide chocolate junkie. I mean the needs-therapy-kinda-chocoholic with a real problem! So I decided that IF I was going to be forced to give in to my weakness on occasion, I at least needed a healthier way of doing it. One of my favorite desserts is silken chocolate pie but the calories and fat grams in a slice of that stuff is frightening! I figured that was place to start... I was amazed with the results of this filling! I guarantee that no one will ever know that it is made with tofu! My husband even ate a helping and said it was really good! He is anti-tofu! :) My daughter went crazy over it too! It is so rich and creamy... the best part is that you don't need a large helping... I mean, a small spoonful is all you need! :) A truly decadent treat...

I started out making a pie but it turned into a trifle... either will work for this recipe! :)

Less-Sinful Silken Chocolate Trifle

18 ounce block of silken tofu (firm will work okay too but not extra firm)
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
3 tbsp honey
12 ounces milk chocolate chips
Crust (I used crushed double stuf oreos but you could use crushed chocolate graham crackers or even a regular graham cracker crust, I would suggest using oreo's the first time as they are far superior... if you are trying to sneak the tofu past your family!)

Start by chopping your tofu into small pieces and put in the blender. Add coffee and blend until smooth.

Melt chocolate chips using a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Once chocolate is melted, add honey and stir. Add chocolate mixture to the tofu mixture in the blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into your pie crust or trifle bowl and chill in the fridge for several hours or until set.

Now... here is where you can get creative. I actually thought my filling was going to be too runny for a pie so I decided to put it in a trifle bowl layered with the oreos. It DID set overnight and would have been fine for a pie! The trifle was very pretty though so feel free to get creative with it! You could layer with some fresh raspberries, strawberries or my favorite... cherries! Yum! You could even toss a layer of whipped cream in there for a really impressive presentation!

My next endeavor... key lime pie!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Leftover Lentil Samosas

So, I'm notorius for leftover waste. I'm not a fan of leftovers and my husband pretty much refuses to eat them. I've been trying to be better about not wasting so much and I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed with myself! My fridge is normally filled with those little blue ziploc containers but the last couple of weeks it has stayed nice and neat and I vowed to let no leftovers sit for more than two days!

Today I was pondering what I should do with the leftover Lentils and Rice from my last post. I had a hankering for some Indian food so here is what I decided to do with it. The result was nothing short of WONDERFUL! :)

First I emptied my leftover lentils and a little of the leftover rice into my little food processor. I have a 2-cup processor if that gives you an idea of how much I made. I then added about a 1/4 cup of chicken broth (water or even milk would be sufficient too) and a couple dashes of curry powder. Add the curry powder slowly... you can always taste it and add more if you want more. I then blended it all in the processor until it made a paste. This becomes the filling for the samosas.

I poured enough oil into a pan to come up the sides about 2 inches (I used a small 2qt pan) and turned my heat up to med. I then used store bought wonton wrappers, rubbed a little egg white along the edges, filled with a teaspoon or so of the lentil filling, folded the pastry over and pinched it closed, making a triangle. Now, maybe there is a secret to wonton wrappers but I couldn't keep mine from splitting open in the oil using just one wrapper, so I ended up doubling my pastries (used 2 instead of one thin one), this solved that issue! These take only seconds to cook as the pastry is thin and only needs to be lightly browned... so be forewarned! I highly recommend getting all of your samosas wrapped and ready before you start putting them in oil. Also, just put one in at a time, it just seemed to work better for me!

Drizzle your cooked samosas with a little agave nectar (yes, sounds like a weird combo but it's truly an amazing mix of flavors!) and enjoy!!!! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegetable Lentils and Rice

First, let me start this post off with an apology for neglecting you for so long! I have to admit, since spring has sprung and the weather has been so irresistibly beautiful, I haven't spent much time slaving over the stove. We've been planting flowers and playing outside so much that our meals have been pretty last minute and simple lately, not really 'share worthy'! So... I decided that I can't neglect my kitchen any longer!

The recipe that I am about to share is perfect for this amazing weather. Easy, refreshing and filling. But not the bad kind of filling that leaves you feeling like you just swallowed a horse whole! ;)

Note: If you don't own a rice cooker, I HIGHLY recommend you get one! It will be the best $13 (cheap walmart one) that you ever spent if you like rice like I do!

Vegetable Lentils and Rice

2 medium carrots (not peeled or you loose the flavor and some of the nutrients!! ;))
1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic. minced
approx 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
couple dashes garlic salt
2 cans vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice (you won't be able to taste it, it just wakens up the flavors!)
1 cup red lentils (regular lentils are fine too)
2 cups cooked rice (white or brown... your call!)

Drizzle a couple tbsp or so of olive oil into a large pan. Toss in your chopped carrots, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and garlic salt. Sautee until your onions are translucent. Deglaze your pan with the chicken broth and pour in your lemon juice and lentils. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Then turn your heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until your lentils are tender.

Serve hot over rice and enjoy!

Get creative!!! Try adding some curry powder and a can of diced tomatoes for an indian flare and serve over jasmine or basmati rice! OR... add some extra water to your broth and make a soup!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken and Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

Note: This photograph does not do justice to this dish!

few tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 of a red onion - chopped finely
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup of low fat milk
teaspoon or so of lemon juice
handful of coarsely chopped Italian parsley
teaspoon garlic salt
few dashes of white pepper (black pepper is fine too, white is just prettier)
one teeny little dash of cayenne pepper
about 2 cups of shredded Italian blend cheeses (Kraft)
2 cups shredded chicken
one bunch of asparagus
low-fat ricotta cheese
package of no-boil lasagna noodles

Saute your onion and garlic in your pan with some olive oil until onions are transparent. Next, scoot your onion and garlic to the side of the pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil in the middle of the pan. Once it gets hot, sprinkle your flour slowly into the oil until it dissolves. Now you can mix it all back together. Your onion mixture will be thick and gooey. Now pour in the rest of the broth, the milk and lemon juice. Whisk until it thickens and is nice and creamy. Then add your parsley, garlic salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, about 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend, chicken, asparagus and salt and pepper to taste.

To being your layering, grease a 9x13 pan. Start with a very thin layer of your sauce and chicken mixture. Then noodles. Now spoon some ricotta cheese over your noodles and smooth it out. Now another layer of your sauce. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used up. Sprinkle the top with the rest of your shredded cheese and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese and sauce is nice and bubbly!

Tip - If you aren't a huge fan of asparagus, try spinach or broccoli!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fresh Vegetable and Parmesan Fettuccine

2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a small red onion - sliced or chopped, however you prefer it
3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
a handful of fresh oregano - coarsely chopped (or about a tablespoon of dried oregano)
a handful of fresh Italian parsley - coarsely chopped
1 medium bell pepper (I prefer yellow but any will work)
about 3/4 cup of a dry white wine (you can also use the cooking sherry found in the salad dressing aisle, I used a Chardonnay)
about 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
a few dashes of chili powder
fresh ground black pepper
a dash of garlic salt
2 good handfuls of fresh spinach
freshly shaved Parmesan
fettuccine (really any pasta will work)

Start by drizzling a couple tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan. If you didn't use enough, you will soon know to add more and can do so without any harm done. If you used too much... well, you can't use too much olive oil so don't fret, you didn't ruin anything! Now, add your onion, garlic, oregano, parsley and bell pepper to the pan. These ingredients are called your aromatics. Saute until onion starts to soften. Pour your wine down over the pan, this is called deglazing your pan. Deglazing simply means pouring cold liquid over a very hot pan, loosening up those yummy little brown bits that get stuck to the bottom, that's where all the flavor is! Anyway... back to it... let your wine and aromatics simmer for a few minutes and then add your Parmesan. Sprinkle in your chili powder (a little goes a long way), salt, pepper and garlic salt. Once your sauce gets a nice creamy texture, add in your fresh, chopped spinach. You just want it to wilt so remove the pan from the heat. Spoon mixture over a nest of fettuccine, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and serve!

Now... there is a LOT of room for creativity here! For some variation... here are some suggestions...

Try adding some fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Saute some diced chicken or shrimp with your aromatics.

Add some broccoli, diced zucchini and matchstick carrots.

Add a can of diced tomatoes after you deglaze the pan with the wine.

The possibilities are endless!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Oooiest, Gooiest, Yummiest Chocolately Chip Cookies Ever (No Seriously)

Okay... so I decided to start out with a classic. Not a healthy one but hey... I wanted to celebrate with the first recipe! These are truly the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat. Crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the center, the pinnacle of chocolate chip perfection! I should know, I think I have tried just about every recipe out there! These are what my daughter would call, "Yummy-olla"!

And for my measurement fanatics out there... this one actually has EXACT measurements! I've tried 'winging it' with cookies and um, no. Doesn't work so well with baking! Enjoy because few of my recipes are this precise!

My number one tip for chocolate chip cookies (most cookies actually) is 'popping' them about halfway through the baking process. To do this, pull the cookies out of the oven somewhere near the halfway mark. Using a large metal spoon, 'pop' the tops of the cookies, causing them to fall in the center. This will ensure that you get a chewy center every time! It is a MUST! Once you learn the art of 'popping', you'll never look back, your days of crunchy cookies will be over!

The Oooiest, Gooiest, Yummiest Chocolately Chip Cookies Ever (No Seriously)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you are like me and obsess over chocolate!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In your mixer, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a spoon. Drop cookie dough a heaping tablespoon at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, pull out and using a large spoon, 'pop' the tops of the cookies. Put them back in for approx another 7-9 mintues or until the edges are lightly toasted.
  5. Cool (or don't and serve warm with ice cold milk) and enjoy!
And there you have it... the most amazing cookies in the world!