Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter


So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers


Going to try to keep this simple because I have a million and one things to do… but as I mentioned on my facebook page, I have been trying to find some healthier recipes to get me back on track after the holidays.  You know how it goes… beginning of the year, time to diet and make all sorts of promises to eat healthier and yadda, yadda, yadda…  Well, for now I really am trying to eat better and we’re counting calories so that means a lot of my usual recipes just don’t make the cut… boo!  So you may find that it takes me longer to get up new recipes as I wade through the world of “healthy recipes”, because after trying many of them I just don’t feel they are blog worthy, or even worth finishing my plate at times.  Anyway, that’s where I am at and why it’s taking me so dang long!

I have made stuffed bell peppers in the past, usually with some sort of rice, and beef.  Jeff claims to have hated them, so I don’t make them often, though I always enjoyed them.  I figured it was time to try again however, and have been wanting to try them with quinoa for quite some time.  So glad we did!  They are definitely filling/satisfying with the quinoa, and the flavors were great.  The recipe I was following didn’t call for any meat… afterall quinoa has a good deal of protein itself, but Jeff is usually more willing to try things if it has some meat in it lol.  I think the addition of the ground turkey I used, seasoned with a bit of chili powder and smoked paprika worked really well in this.  Jeff even gave them rave reviews and said I could make them often… quite the turn around I’d say. 

My only issue with stuffed peppers is that I can never get them tender enough… at least not following the cooking instructions.  I feel like they maybe need a headstart in the oven before stuffing them to really soften them up.  Of course this just depends on your preference for texture.  I don’t mind them firmer, but I think I would like them even more if they were soft.  So my plan next time is to try cooking them a bit first and then finishing with the filling.  As it stood, with these, I ended up cooking them probably closer to 40 minutes and there was still a good deal of crunch to the peppers, but we really didn’t want to wait any longer as it was getting late.

Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Makes : 6 peppers

Ingredients :

  • 6 bell peppers of your choice (make sure to pick well rounded ones that can stand up)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (cooked and seasoned to taste)
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen and thawed them in a bit of water)
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 3 T. chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine your stuffing ingredients. 
  3. Cut tops off peppers, and remove seeds.  Spoon stuffing in peppers.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender and filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes (see note above).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

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Paprika Chicken Stroganoff


This dish has almost all the elements that to me make a perfect meal…. pasta, mushrooms, garlic, meat, bold flavor, creamy sauce, and some fresh parsley!  The only thing it IS missing to be a perfect combo of my favorite things is some cheese, but this isn’t really a recipe that needs it, so I guess I will give it a pass on that lol.  This is not only a tasty dish, but is also very visually appealing.  The red/orange color of the sauce, the white of the pasta, and the bright green of the parsley make it look like a piece of art!

As if those elements alone weren’t enough to make me or anyone else want to try this, I was also intrigued by the use of Greek yogurt in the dish.  When I think of stroganoff I think of cream of mushroom soup, or some other variety.  If the recipe is more health conscious or just more involved it at least calls for cream or butter or something to make it so good and creamy, but not quite so healthy.  With this dish there really was no need.  The sauce was thick and creamy from the yogurt and the flour alone.  This for me at least cuts back on the guilt of either using cream and butter or “cream of soup” (which I am trying to phase out in our house).

I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, which for me is rare lol.  So with that, I will just get on with it and share the recipe.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium  yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1o oz. dry egg noodles
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions :

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink (no need to cook through); remove the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the last teaspoon of oil to the pan and allow to get hot, about 1 minute; stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add noodles. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, whisking well. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
  6. Add the flour and water slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe from Prevention RD

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Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese


Continuing on with my comfort food theme of late I decided to give this Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese a try.  I am not really a fan of basic mac and cheese, but I do like the jazzed up versions.  Nothing screams comfort like pasta, cheesy sauce, and other flavorful bits all mixed in with it!

We both thought this was really good.  It has a rich creamy/cheesy feel to it, but the best part is that you are saving so many calories by using laughing cow cheese in this dish.  I used garlic and herb as suggested in the recipe, but I bet it would be good with the french onion variety or perhaps some of the others as well.  I used oricchiette, but the person who posted it used shell noodles.  The last change I made was to use half and half in place of the milk.  I know it undid some of the benefit of using the laughing cow cheese, but I had some left over from another recipe and I didn’t want to waste it.  I used probably about 1/2 cup of that, and 1/2 cup of fat free milk.

Anyway, this dish is a complete meal, comes together easily, and would please even the pickier eaters (as long as you can actually get yours’ to try things that is lol).  It also looks very nice on the plate with all the colors, I would just suggest tossing it a bit more gently than I did since I broke up a lot of my broccoli in my haste to get dinner on the table.  What can I say, I was hungry! lol

 

Broccoli-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Ingredients :

  • 8 oz. large macaroni noodles (or whatever noodle you prefer)
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 6 oz. laughing cow lite cheese wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions :

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

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Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake


If you are looking for a dish low in calories, while still allowing you to eat your fill, this is a great one for you.  It definitely resembles that stroganoff taste, but tastes lighter.  My husband liked it, but when asked to elaborate he said it tasted like health food lol.  Well he’s right, it is health food, but that’s not a bad thing.

It came together easily, and I didn’t change a thing.  I would say it is somewhat thinner than I might have liked, but not terribly so.  I didn’t get a chance to eat the leftovers (my husband took them to lunch) but I imagine by then it soaked things up a bit better.  I almost broke from the directions and put more pasta in, but I really wanted to give the dish a chance because of the low calorie count.    For a whopping 2 cups it boasts only 390 calories.  And while I know my husband would have appreciated more pasta, I was fine with the smaller amount.

Overall, if you are watching what you eat, and don’t mind compromising just a bit on those comfort food dishes this is one to try!

Cheesy Chicken Stroganoff Bake

Makes : 4 servings

Ingredients :

  • 5 oz. whole-wheat or multi-grain rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 6 cups small broccoli florets
  • 12oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • optional : salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste (I just did salt and pepper)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 11/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup (about 1 can) 98% fat-free condensed cream of mushroom soup (I used the whole can)
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 T. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, season chicken if you like (I definitely recommend this!). Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook and stir for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook and stir until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add soup and sour cream and cook and stir until hot and well mixed. Remove from heat. Add drained pasta and broccoli to skillet and mix well.
  4. Spoon mixture into baking pan, cover with foil, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover, top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and bake uncovered until cheese is melted, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Recipe from Callie Cooks

 

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Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili


I have to admit, I did not choose this recipe based on the self-proclaimed title of being kid-friendly, knowing all to well my kids would in fact NOT eat it.  Rather I chose it because it boasted of a mere 226 calories a serving.  Whether or not that is fully accurate I can’t say, and I am too lazy to plug it all in to a nutrition calculator myself, but I figured it can’t be much more and that’s definitely low enough to have some wiggle room and fit into anybody’s diet!

So as I said I had no intentions of my kids eating this, but I did urge my oldest to at least try it.  He actually gave it the thumbs up, which is no small feat, but then after a few bites decided maybe it wasn’t for him.  But trust me, that the fact that he liked it at all speaks volumes.  My husband and I, however, thought it was very good.  We topped ours with a bit of sour cream, cheese and chips as suggested, which I am sure brings the total up, but as I said the calories are so low that’s no problem, and you can certainly choose healthy versions of your toppings such as low fat, or multigrain chips like we did.  I actually made this with plans to use the leftovers for the blogger’s Turkey Chili Loaded Baked Potatoes, but then my entire family ended up really sick and my meal plans went out the window.  It was just as good heated up though the next few days.

I did alter things a little to suit our tastes…. I added black beans and some more tomato sauce.  I actually doubled the recipe, and used two cans of the beans, and 2 (15oz) cans of tomato sauce.  I also cut the meat back to an even 2 lbs, rather than 2.6 as it should have been.  Other than those changes I made it as stated and thought the seasoning in particular was just right.  I have made many chili recipes with a lot more chili powder, and wondered if this would be too bland, but it really wasn’t.

 

Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili

Serves : 5

Ingredients :

  • 1.3 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 10 oz. can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
  • 8 oz. small can plain tomato sauce (see notes above)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Optional : black beans (see note above)

Optional Toppings :

  • diced avocado
  • reduced fat sour cream
  • reduced fat shredded cheese
  • baked tortilla chips

Directions :

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up with a spoon until turkey browns and is no longer pink; place into the slow cooker.
  2. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon over turkey into the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

Note : the original recipe said to add a bay leaf after adding the spices in step two, but I wasn’t sure if it was a mistake since there was no bay leaf listed in the ingredients list and I didn’t really think it was necessary so I skipped it, you are welcome to put it in though if you prefer.

Recipe from Skinny Taste

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Skinny Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Walnut Streusel


Continuing on with my Fall cravings I had to try these when I came across them.  I have been trying to be really good and not bake every day even though that’s exactly the kind of food I want this time of year, but after reading that these (without the glaze on top I think) were only 150 calories a piece I all but ran to the kitchen to whip them up.  Luckily I already had everything on hand.

These muffins are fantastic!  They aren’t really sweet, but the addition of the glaze and streusel on top lends just the right amount of sweetness to make these healthier little gems taste as indulgent as the not so healthy ones.  The pumpkin flavor comes through nicely and the spice is just the right amount to not seem overwhelming.  And while these are not large muffins, you could eat two and still be under calorie compared to some of the muffins you COULD be eating.

True to their usual selves neither of my kids would even try these, but I did give some to a friend and she reported that their family loved them, kids included.  My husband and I had no trouble devouring the rest of them.  I would absolutely make these again, and again, and again.  The only slight change I made was to add a little bit of vanilla to the glaze because I just don’t like the flavor of straight powdered sugar.

 

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Walnut Streusel

Makes : 24 muffins

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg + 3 egg whites
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Streusel :

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 T. butter, diced
  • 2 T. oats
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 T. flour

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a mixer or separate bowl, beat the egg, egg whites, and pumpkin puree together until combines.
  4. Mix in the olive oil, both sugars, and vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly combine the flour mixture and wet mixture, stirring to just combine.
  6. Grease a muffin pan and fill each section a little more than half way.
  7. To make the streusel, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, using a fork or your hands to make rough crumbs. Top each unbaked muffin equally with the crumbs.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
  9. Optional: drizzle with powdered sugar mixed with milk!

Recipe from Apple of my Eye

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Skinny Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken


I know I posted a very similar dish recently (Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole) but with just a few changes this is a much lighter version.  And of course, using the crockpot, makes it even simpler for a lot of people with busy schedules.

Though it is very similar in theory, it’s actually quite different in flavor.  While the casserole was creamy and more mild, this dish is a bit more spicy and thin I guess.  If I were being totally honest I would have to admit I prefer the casserole, however this is still a great alternative for those times when you are trying to cut back a bit and eat a little healthier.  The chicken mixture itself is very low calorie, so if you are truly trying to cut back you need to be aware of the way you serve it and any toppings you may add.  We used a bit of brown rice and some tortillas with just a little bit of cheese and it was good that way as a sort of burrito.  You could easily serve it with just the rice though, or maybe even with just the wraps.  There are many other things you can top this with, like sour cream, avocado, more cheese, chips, or anything you want really…. just be careful!

As I mentioned, it’s a bit on the spicy side (at least to me), so if you have little ones eating it you may want to cut back a bit on the cayenne pepper.

Skinny Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken

Yields : 8 (1 cup) servings

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb (about 2) boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (I just used an entire 14oz can)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp each : chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 scallions, chopped

Directions :

  1. Combine all ingredients except cilantro and scallions in your slow cooker. Nestle chicken into mixture and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  2. Half an hour before serving, remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste. Stir in cilantro and garnish with scallions.
  3. Serve over rice, tortillas, or large lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap. Add your favorite toppings.

Recipe from The Comfort Of Cooking

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Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 10:34 am  Comments (2)  
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Banana Buttermilk Waffles and Coconut Syrup


I recently bought myself a nice belgian waffle iron, and so it doesn’t take much convincing for me to declare a waffle night.  Since I hadn’t made it to the store in a while, and still had no idea what I wanted to make for the upcoming week that is what we did.  Waffles are great because they use ingredients you probably always have on hand, they are quick and easy to make, and they usually please everyone in the house…. unless you live here.  My kids do like waffles, so I guess sometimes I can get away with just making waffles for everyone, but this particular night they decided they wanted pancakes so I had Jeff make those while I made ours.  In their defense they had just eaten frozen waffles the night before with chicken nuggets, but they definitely missed out this time.

While the waffles were not really very sweet by themselves I think they paired fantastically with the coconut syrup I had made earlier that day and some walnuts.  As I mentioned they weren’t super indulgent waffles, but sometimes that can be a good thing, such as when you are watching what you eat!  I browsed through numerous waffle recipes before deciding on that one because it used less eggs, less sugar and just seemed more diet friendly to me.  The recipe did call for low fat versions of the milk and buttermilk, but since fat free is what I have on hand that’s what I used.  The one thing I was disappointed about was the subtlety of the banana flavor in these.  I would consider adding more banana, or even topping them with some slices of banana at the end.  I didn’t have any left over or I would have tried that.  I didn’t have white wheat flour so I just used half all purpose flour and half wheat flour which worked out well.

The waffles would be good topped with whatever kind of syrup you like, or some fresh fruit, but I wanted to try something different.  I did a search for syrups I could make myself (knowing I didn’t have many ingredients for this on hand) and came across a coconut syrup…. DING DING DING!  I love coconut, and coconut and bananas is one of my favorite combos.  The recipe had some mixed reviews with some of the people saying it was really great, and others saying it was disappointing so I decided to give it a shot but to alter it a bit right from the start.  I halved the amount of cornstarch, left the shredded coconut out completely (didn’t want it to taste too sweet) and added some coconut and vanilla extract.  The results were amazing.  It’s not super thick, sweet but not sickeningly so, and the coconut taste really shines through.  Adding the vanilla gives a flavor that reminds me so much of the rum we brought back with us from our honeymoon in Tahiti.  Definitely gives that tropical flavor I was hoping for!  I am just going to list out the ingredients based on my changes.  Make sure you do prepare the syrup ahead of time because it will need time to cool and set up all the way.

 

Coconut Syrup

Makes : about a cup and a half

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 T. cornstarch
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions :

  1. In a small saucepan whisk together the coconut milk and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved.  Pour in the corn syrup, sugar and both extracts.  Bring to a boil, stirring continuously,  As soon as the mixtures comes to a rolling boil remove from heat.  Allow to cool completely before serving.  Keep in the fridge.

Recipe from allrecipes.com

 

Banana Buttermilk Waffles

Makes : 5 waffles (based on my beligan waffle iron)

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups white wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • walnuts for topping (optional)

Directions :

  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, balking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. In another bowl mash the banana with a fork and whisk together with the rest of your wet ingredients.
  4. Combine the wet and dry gently stirring just until combined.  You don’t want to overmix the batter.
  5. Fill iron and cook waffles according to your model.  Top with chopped walnuts and the coconut syrup, or whatever toppings you prefer.

Recipe from Prevention RD

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Published in: on August 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ultimate Tuna Melt


Let me start by saying I did not name this recipe.  It came from Food.com.  However, I do agree that this is one awesome tuna melt!  The first time I made this recipe was in 2007, and I have made it countless times since.  Not only are they tastey, but they are quite quick and simple to prepare, and low in fat and calories.  These melts make it into our meal rotation often during those times we are trying to lose a bit of weight… such as last night lol.

Over the years I have very slightly altered the recipe to suit our needs and this is what I will share on my blog.  The ingredients are all basically the same, but I may have changed a few amounts and also the method a little to give the best results.  Jeff and I usually each eat 4 of these…. yeah I know it sounds like a lot, but even at that many the calorie total fits well within our daily budgets.  If you can find the 100 calorie english muffins that works best (if you are counting calories anyway), but any type will do just fine.  Likewise, I use the ultra thin cheese for diet reasons, but have used regular slices before as well.  As for the tuna, I use chunk light because I try to avoid Albacore for the mercury levels, however the original recipe did suggest the albacore.

 

Ultimate Tuna Melt

Serves : 2-4               Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 4 (100 calorie, or wheat variety) english muffins, cut in half
  • 2 small cans of tuna (in water), well drained
  • 3/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (I usually use one of the small jars of marinated hearts)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (start with the lesser and taste it)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 slices ultra thin provolone

Directions :

  1. Preheat broiler, and arrange muffins on baking sheet.  Spray lightly with any sort of cooking spray and brown slightly.  This happens fairly quickly so keep an eye on it.  Once done set aside while you mix the topping.
  2. In a large bowl combine the tuna, artichokes, onions, lemon juice and zest, seasoning, and oil.  Spoon carefully onto each toasted muffin.  Top with a slice of cheese.
  3. Broil for a couple of minutes, watching closely until cheese has melted and starts to brown.  I find that rotating them helps get them all evenly done.

ultimatetunamelt

Day 110 : Pita Pizza


We’ve been trying to eat a little healthier, or at least to balance out our calories for the day better lately.  Since we had take-out subs for lunch we decided some personal pita pizzas and salad would be just fine for dinner.  I came across these while browsing “healthy” recipes and thought they were such a great idea.  The recipe called for wheat pitas, but the store was out so I ended up getting white.  We also added the pepperoni and olives, but I figure even with that it was still fairly low calorie and properly portioned, which is the key!

For the marinara I picked out some tomato, basil, and garlic pasta sauce.  And like I said, I added some mini pepperoni to them as well.  You could of course take the idea and make any variety of pizza you typically eat.  The pita makes a very nice crust…. like a hand-tossed crust.

Pita Pizza

Serves : 1                     Time to make : 15 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 (6 inch) whole wheat pita
  • 1/4 cup marinara
  • 1/4 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced white onion
  • 1/4 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread marinara on pita, top with mushrooms, onions, and cheese and bake until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 39 : Grapes Elizabeth


What a day!  It started earlier than usual because my 11 month old is teething and has decided sleep is overrated… then I had a fridge delivered and installed this afternoon (YAY I finally have more room for all the food I buy and make lol).  With things now off schedule the day went the exact opposite of smoothly and of course today of all days Jeff was stuck at work late and we just finished our take-out dinner at about 8:30!  This meant yet another day I needed something quick, and LIGHT after all the calories of dinner.  This is where a well stocked refrigerator comes in handy!

I have had these once before and that time I did use green grapes as it calls for, but for my own personal tastes I think I prefer the red grapes.  I am just not a fan of the bitter tartness of the green.  You really can’t get more simple than this and it is surprisingly good!  The sour cream takes on such a smooth and sweet quality which when paired with the sweet/tart grape just tastes so fresh and vibrant.  You will think you are being indulgent but this treat is pretty guilt free in my book!  It’s also a great way to use up left over sour cream which I am sure most of us have in our refrigerator.

 

Grapes Elizabeth

Serves : 2         Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup green grapes, halved
  • 2 T. fat free sour cream
  • 1 T. brown sugar

Directions :

  1. Mix brown sugar and sour cream together in a small bowl until smooth, then stir in the grapes and enjoy!

 

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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