Monday, January 31, 2011

Groundhog day-repost

Groundhog day will be here on Wed. Feb. 2!  Do you celebrate this wacky holiday?  I love a reason to celebrate and make fun food, so the following 2 posts are re-posts from last year.  I'm not so ahead of the game this year and haven't decided what will be happening in my kitchen this year.  Plus I'm on this crazy detox thing and my food choices are limited.  I may post about that later, but for now... happy groundhog day!
p.s.  not the best pics here, but you get the idea.  I think I've actually improved, so that's a good thing.  :D

Think Spring!  I have never celebrated, much less thought about, Groundhog day.  But, having young children and being the middle of winter, I thought we could use a celebration.  We're half way thru winter!  That's great if you're a warm weather person like me!  Don't get me wrong, I love all 4 seasons and have really grown to appreciate winter.  Big chunky snowflakes falling down, while I sit in front of the fire... pure comfort.  Or "cozy-ing up" as my kids say to read books.  God has really helped me to see His beauty in the winter.  I don't do much in the way of winter sports, so the season does get a bit long for me.  My friend Cindy posted something about groundhog day on her blog, and that is where my inspiration came from this year.  To see her post, click here
We started the day with these fun pancakes.

I found this recipe at gourmet mom on the go.  You will also find the hot cocoa recipe here. 
Actually, it's more like putting it all together, not the actual recipes.  Mine were a basic pancake recipe with green food coloring added.  I would recommend a whole wheat or whole grain pancake to make this a little healthier.  Underneath the pancake is an apple w/peanut butter... that was our protein for the morning! 
I hope this will be helpful for next year if you need a little pick me up in the winter.  Or, you could still do it this week.  Hey, people celebrate Christmas for a whole month!  Enjoy!!

Is'nt he cute?  Okay, his eye looks a little bloodshot, maybe he's just tired of winter.  :-) 
I made my own hot cocoa.  I will share the recipe, but I'm warning you, it is pretty rich.  My daughter usually wants it, but won't finish it.  Is there such thing as too much chocolate?  I'm just not sure.  This recipe comes from Real Simple Magazine

2 cups cocoa powder
3/4 cups sugar (personally I think it needs more sugar)
8 oz mini chocolate chips

blend together and store in an airtight container. When you make it, use 1/4 cup cocoa mix to 8 oz very warm milk.  I think it blends best when you whisk it together on the stove. 

For the cute groundhog and his shadow, you can find the instructions here.  I used an oreo cookie, because it's what I had.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Korean Beef BBQ

I found this on our best bites.  I've made some substitutions.  I loved having some grilled food... a little reminder of summer.  :-)
I used my grill pan, instead of freezing outside.  

Korean BBQ Beef
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes
1 1/2 lb. stew meat
1/2 c.  pear juice (1 4 oz. bottle of pear juice from the baby food aisle is perfect and cheap)
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce (regular soy sauce makes it taste vaguely like beef jerky)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 red bell peppers (or different colors), chopped into large pieces
2 sweet onions, chopped into large pieces

Combine pear juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili sauce, and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add stew meat.  Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. 

Thread the onions and peppers onto a skewer.

Preheat the grill. While the grill is heating, thread the meat onto skewers. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, being careful not to let the meat get too cooked. Serve immediately; serves 4-6.

mmm raw meat!

Healthy Eggs Benedict

2 slices of whole grain English Muffins
2 slices of lean ham
2 eggs
1 tomato chopped
fresh parsley chopped

First, poach your eggs.  Gently boil some water in a pan.  Just before cracking your eggs, give the water a little stir to form a whirlpool effect.  Then crack your eggs and cook them for about 5 minutes.  Honestly I don't always time it, I just go by the looks.  Meanwhile toast your English Muffins, and warm your ham in a small fry pan.
When the toast is done, put a little butter on it if you like, and put a slice of ham on each muffin.

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top of your toast.  Top with some tomatoes and parsley.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taco Soup

What's better than hot soup and yummy bread on a cold day in MI?  Mmmm!  Actually, sitting poolside on an 85 degree day with an icy cold drink, but hey, I'm thankful for seasons.

This is again from our best bites.  

1 lb.  lean ground beef 
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1.25-oz. packet taco seasoning (about 1/4 c.)
3 c. water, divided
2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained or if you used dried, it will take about 1 1/2 cups dried beans.  when you soak and cook them you should have the right amount
1 can corn, drained (or frozen)

Pico de Gallo, light sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips, guacamole, etc.

Heat a large soup pot over medium. When ready, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic. When almost brown, add the taco seasoning and 1 c. water. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 c. water, bring to a medium boil, then, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings. Makes 10 12-oz. servings.
Slow Cooker Instructions: After browning the meat, place all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Apple-Celery Salad with Pomegranate and Pecans

This salad was inspired from one I saw on  She used fennel instead of celery.  I would have loved to try that, but celery was what I had.  So feel free to try either.  And, if you've not tried Pomegranates... you are so missing out!  Many people won't try them because they don't know what to do with them, or how to eat them...that was me.  But, I have seen the light!  I can tell you step by step how to cut a pomegranate, but why should I when you can find it here?  
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
2 med. apples
 2-3 stalks celery
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2-3 Tablespoons Clementine Vinigrette
salt & and pepper to taste

1.  Wash celery
2.  Chop apple
3.  In a medium bowl, combine celery, apple, pecans and pomegranates and toss to combine.
4.  Drizzle with clementine vinigrette, season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well. Serve at once.

Clementine-Coriander Vinigrette

I found this on  Very bright and fresh.  

2 ripe clementines or 1 orange
a pinch of coriander
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Squeeze the juice of the clementines or orange into a bowl.  Add the seasonings and Olive oil, and whisk until combined.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

I've been visiting our best bites ALOT lately, and loving it!  As a matter of fact, all my cooking this week was inspired by them.  This is one of their recipes.  We had it last night on grilled chicken and fettucini.  It was delicious!  Also, it re-heats great!  Most Alfredo sauces seperate, so I was really happy with this, plus it's alot less calories.  I've never counted calories or cared much, my philosophy has been everything in moderation.  But, I know many ppl that do count, especially this time of year.  Plus my super hot husband is taking care to stay healthy so I certainly don't want to mess that up.

2 C low-fat milk 
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender.  Process until smooth and set aside.

In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic.  Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn it.  Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it's nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

To make Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, I grilled some chicken that I had seasoned with Salt and Pepper (about 3 breasts), and cooked up some fettucini (1 box).  After draining the pasta, I toss with a little olive oil just to keep it from sticking.  Then I cut the chicken into bite size pieces, or you could do strips, I tossed it all together in a big bowl.  I don't cook with much salt, or use much salt.  But I will say for this recipe I added both salt and pepper to my plate.  

The family all loved it.  Even my picky eater.  :D

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This weeks menu

Here's what's cooking this week at my house:

Chicken Alfredo (with Guiltless Alfredo Sauce)
Taco Soup w/buttermilk cornbread
Korean bbq beef with rice
Hawian turkey burgers with sweet potato fries
Rotisserie chicken in the crockpot with stuffed blue cheese potatoes

What's cooking at your house this week?  And, which of these would you like to see recipes for?

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peanutty Chicken

Another 'fancy' name!  Only Kidding.  This is also from one of my kids cookbooks.  I've been really impressed so far with these recipe's.  They are kid friendly, the kids are able to help, and the recipe's are great for both the kids and the adults!  My kids love to help in the kitchen, and yes, it takes a little more time and patience, but they really take ownership of the meal and enjoy eating something they helped prepare.

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tbs lime juice
4 tbs coconut milk
4 tbs creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 lb corkscrew pasta
2-3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup shredded carrot
3 green onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped peanuts

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain the pasta and place in a big bowl.  Add sauce chicken, and veggies, toss gently to blend.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Corn Quesadillas

I'm not sure why these are called quesadillas, because they don't look anything like a traditional quesadilla, but it is fun to say:  "corn quesadilla's"  It's just more catchy than corn enchiladas, or something.  Anyway, I adapted this recipe from "the toddler cookbook".  This is one of the books my little one's got for Christmas.  And of course, they were great helpers.

These were really good!  For both kids and adults.  :D

1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 red or orange pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups black beans
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs honey
corn tortillas
11/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

My measurements are probably not exact just eyeball it.

Heat oil in a pan and stir-fry onion and pepper for 3 minutes.  Add corn and black beans and cook for 2 minutes until the onion and pepper are soft.  Add vinegar and honey--after 1 minute remove from heat.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave so they will be easy to work with, you may want to do it in batches.  Spread half of each tortilla with a tbs or so of salsa.  Then add the corn mixture, and sprinkle some cheese.

Roll your tortilla and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Top with cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes, until the filling is hot and the cheese topping is lightly golden.


Here's the the colors!

My little helpers... they are SO serious!

Before the broiler...

and after.

We topped ours with a little sour cream and avacados.  This is a pretty quick and easy meal to prepare.  Let me know what you think!