Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Herbs & Lemon





To continue on with the cooking class that I recently took.  I wanted to share with you the main course.
Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Herbs & Lemon.


This is a low-fat, low-fuss way to enjoy tender chicken breasts.  Baking the chicken takes longer than sauteing or poaching, but it produces more flavorful meat.  The lemon infuses this dish with a light citrus flavor that is hard to beat.  Cherry tomatoes become even sweeter as they bake, making them a tasty accompaniment to chicken breasts that cook right alongside.  This has become a new favorite of mine!  It's simple to prepare, looks wonderful, and tastes even better.

For the dessert we had during the cooking class click here.  A luscious Mexican chocolate pudding!

Cooking classes are so fun, and you learn such great recipes...I'm glad I can share this with you!

See the easy prep for baking?






Finished product!



Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Herbs and Lemon
adapted from Healthy in a Hurry

Ingredients
6 1⁄2 tsp. olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground sage
8 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 1⁄2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut into 8 thin slices


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking dish with 2 tsp. of the olive oil.
Place the chicken breast halves in the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the chicken with the thyme and sage, rubbing it on the chicken slightly to adhere the herbs.   Arrange the tomatoes
around the chicken. Drizzle the chicken and tomatoes with the vinegar and 2 1⁄2 tsp.
of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Top each chicken breast half with 2 lemon slices.  Drizzle the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil over
the herbs. Bake until the chicken is opaque throughout,  30 minutes. Arrange
a chicken breast half on each of 4 plates, spooning equal amounts of the tomatoes
and herbs around each. Drizzle with the pan juices and serve immediately. Serves 4

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mexican Chocolate Pudding



One way to entertain myself and to keep my mind stimulated is to take cooking classes.

How many of you take cooking classes?  I think they are great!  The tips they give...teaching you new tricks and techniques.  Plus it is a great opportunity to taste new flavors and learn about new food products.  Who doesn't love that?

Recently I took a dinner class.  It's a private class in an intimate setting with 3 other people and the chef.  They focus on a theme and a cookbook, cooking courses from the book.  Then you are served a full 4 course dinner on special beautiful dinnerware and crystal.  Share the food and talking over the lessons with the chef is invaluable, and the personal attention you get is invaluable.  You gift to take with you is a copy of the cookbook.

The cookbook we previewed was Healthy in a Hurry by Karen Ansel, MS, RD & Charity Ferreira.  It is a great book with very simple, straightforward recipes, that are easy to prepare and healthy to eat.

Today's recipe showcases the dessert we had, Mexican Chocolate Pudding.  This pudding was so creamy, with a hint of spice, and a hint of heat.  I loved it.  It was the first thing I made after the class....of course!  I slightly adapted it to use just a little less cayenne pepper...I'm a wuss.

Some step by step pics...

 

 










Voila, the finish product!  YUM!





Mexican Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Healthy in a Hurry

serves 6

1/4 c light brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t. cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 t salt
2 c 2% low fat milk
2 egg yolks
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 t vanilla

In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk and egg yolks.  Add brown sugar mixture, and mix well.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, until sugar  is dissolved and mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Cook gently, stirring constantly for 1 minute longer, then remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate until melted and smooth, followed by vanilla.  

Spoon pudding into 6 ramekins or dessert glasses, dividing evenly, and smooth tops.  Place a piece of waxed paper directly on surface of each serving to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.  Serve cold.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Pecan Chicken Strips



I really like chicken.


I like's it's versatility.  It's kind of a blank canvas waiting for you to do something to it to jazz it up. It lends itself to building flavors with spices, marinades, or breading.  It can be baked, broiled, grilled, and sauteed.  So versatile.


So for easy weeknight meals, and for healthy eating (cause I'm a beef lover too!) I turn to chicken often for my dinner.  


This time I explored baking.  But not just plain old baked chicken.  I wanted a crispy crusted chicken.  So I came up with a pecan coating that just satisfied my craving.


Again, since this is a weeknight meal, I wanted something quick and easy to make.  This fit both goals equally.  Baking allows for the ease.  The oven takes care of the cooking for you.  And quick?  30 minute baking time!  Can't beat that, and it allows me to do other household chores while it's cooking.


I made mine with chicken tenders, however they are perfect with breasts as well.  Serve with a vegetable and a mixed green salad.  Such a great meal with wonderful complex flavors.















Pecan Chicken Strips


Serves 4


1 c cornflakes, crumbled
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 lb of chicken tenders


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


In a pie plate or dipping pan combine the cornflakes, pecans, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  In a separate plate place beaten eggs.


Dip the chicken tenders in the egg mixture, covering both sides. Dip in the cornflake pecan mixture, coating both sides.  Place a cooling rack inside a large cookie sheet, and place the chicken on the rack.  This will help keep the bottoms crispy when cooked.  Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is done and juices run clear.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Winter Smoothie



I'm dreaming of summer, and the fruit it brings.


Longing for the abundance of the fruit I love.  Longing for a smoothie.


I know that I've made quite a few smoothies for you over the past year, but this one is special.  It truly is.  You see, it uses winter fruit.  Yes, there is such a thing!  Oranges, lemons, and persimmons, to name a few.


So I created a Winter Smoothie for you, combining the flavors of persimmons and oranges. Sweet and tart, it's ohhh soooo good!


Look at this color...awesome!




Enjoy your day and a smoothie!

Winter Smoothie


Ingredients

1 6 oz container vanilla flavored lite yogurt
1/2  medium banana
¼ cup orange juice
3 persimmons, peeled and diced
1/2 cup of ice cubes

Directions

Combine ingredients in a blender and mix until combined.  Serve in a tall glass with a straw.
A healthy glass of winter fruit!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Black Bean Tostadas





It's been a long hard day at work, even the commute home was horrible.  It took me 1 hour to go 10 miles.


Needless to say when I got home it was late, hunger had set in, and I wanted something easy, fast, and satisfying.  Tall order huh?


Well I was inspired by a recipe I saw in one of my Cooking Light books for a tostada.  So I rooted around in the frig grabbing ingredients that included left over taco meat (yummy tacos we had yesterday!) and some spicy black bean dip we like, and decided to create a Black Bean Tostada.


Super easy to make, especially since most items are on hand.  This came together quick and I was pleasantly surprised that I was fulfilled, and satisfied.  It has both crunchy texture, and creamy flavors, plus spice that gives this a kick!  Yummy tummy!


So try this tostada version and take the easy road with something quick, delicious, and healthy.





Black Bean Tostadas


serves 4


2 cups of cooked taco meat, ground beef or turkey
1/2 spicy black bean dip
2 T salsa
2 T chopped cilantro
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 T water
1/4 t black pepper
4 8" flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped mixed greens
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro leaves (garnish, optional)


Preheat broiler.


In a skillet over medium heat add cooked taco meat, black bean dip, salsa and cilantro.  Heat, stirring until heated through, about 2 minutes.  


In a small bowl combine sour cream, cilantro, water, and black pepper.  Mix until well combined.  Set aside.


Spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray and place flat, in a single layer, on a baking sheet.  Broil on first side until crisp, about 30 sec-1 min.  Flip over and cook the second side until crisp.  Watch closely so tortillas don't burn.


Divide the black bean topping among the 4 tortillas. Top each with lettuce.  Drizzle with sour cream mixture.  Top with avocado slices and cilantro.  Serve.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Bread Crumbs




Everyone uses breadcrumbs.  They are great for breading chicken breasts (schnitzel anyone?), using in meatballs or a meatloaf.  You can sprinkle them over mac and cheese too!


So why buy pre-made bread crumbs?  They are full of stuff that we don't need, like sodium (amongst other things).  Don't get me wrong, I've bought pre-made before and probably will again.  They are quick and easy.  But, making your own breadcrumbs is quick and easy too!  Whenever you have bread leftover, the end of a loaf or day old bread, don't through it away!  Just make breadcrumbs.  


You can make these ahead of time and freeze them.  They will be ready when you are to make some delicious dishes.


See below for some delicious recipes using breadcrumbs!




To make breadcrumbs:

Tear day old bread into chunks.  You can use french bread, white or wheat bread, I've even used sourdough bread on occasion.  It lends a zip to your dishes!  Place the chunks in your food processor bowl, or you can use the blender. 



Pulse or blend until you have the consistency you’d like. I make mine medium fine.  



Store in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag.


You'll love them, they are soft and tender!  Give them a try and let me know what you think.


Here are some inspirations that use breadcrumbs:


buttermilk fried chicken breasts
roasted asparagus with toasted lime breadcrumbs
potato cakes
cauliflower gratin


Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken Wraps with Tzatziki Sauce



With Valentine's Day over, it's time to lighten up a bit.


This dish I deem classified as a "super-fast" meal.  You can put this together in 15 min, and have a satisfying, hearty lunch or a nice and light dinner.  It's perfect for those hectic days where you just ran in from work, late.  Or is you are too tired to cook from doing Zumba!


The ingredients used are all pre-made, so cooking is really non-existent.  It's a great way to use leftover chicken breasts, or you can opt to purchase a rotisserie chicken and shred that.  Another option, which involves cooking, is to poach a chicken breast and shred the meat for the filling.  For this I used some leftover chicken that I had baked previous night and shredded.


This wrap is a spin on some Greek flavors, using tzatziki sauce, with a little middle eastern flatbread thrown in for good measure.


I hope you enjoy this wrap.  It's mighty tasty!

 


How easy was that?





Chicken Wraps with Tzatziki Sauce


serves 2


2 pieces of flatbread
1/3 c chopped or shredded lettuce
1/2 tomato chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded 
5 T. tzatziki sauce, store bought


Lay the flatbread on a working surface.  Divide shredded lettuce and tomato between the flatbread.  Top with shredded chicken, about 1/2 breast on each wrap.  Top each with 2 1/2 T of tzatziki sauce.  


Roll up flatbread starting from the long side.  Secure with toothpicks and cut in half.  Serve.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"In the Mood" Chocolate Mousse Pie



Happy Valentine's Day!


They say that chocolate is an aphrodisiac...  Why not try some chocolate today and see what happens?


Make my "In the Mood" Chocolate Mousse Pie for your valentine today.  They will never guess how easy it was to make!  It's a tasty, creamy dessert!


Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!








"In the Mood" Chocolate Mousse Pie


Serves 8


1 9" prepackaged pie crust
2 1.4 oz package of Chocolate fudge sugar-free pudding mix
1 2/3 c low fat milk
1 8 oz container of whipped topping
2 T mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake pie crust according to package directions.  Remove from oven and cool.


In a medium bowl whisk pudding and milk until mixed thoroughly.  Fold half of the whipped topping into the pudding mixture, and fold until well blended.


Spread mixture into pie crust.  Top with remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with semi-sweet chocolate chips.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Raspberry Balsamic Chicken



Romance is in the air!

I'm a hopeless romantic.  I admit it, I am.  I want the romance, I treasure the memories.  I'm sappy!  I've even gone so far as to plan romantic moments...or at least steer them that way and hope they turn out!  I know, I'm really hopeless.  So it's no wonder that I adore Valentine's day.  I believe that you should express your love everyday.  But Valentines, is just a designated day to celebrate all the love you have for friends, family, and that special someone.

I think I've read too many romance novels.

One thing that is romantic to me is serving a dish that signifies love.   My take on Raspberry Balsamic Chicken is just that, romantic.  Certain items scream romance, raspberries being one of them.  The sweet tart flavor is perfect paired with balsamic vinegar makes a wonderful sauce.  The best part other than the taste...it's quick and easy to make.  Baking the chicken is a great way to eat healthy and it lends to a moist and tender chicken.

This would make a wonderful dinner for that special night.  What do you like about romance??

Some step by step pics for you.




A nice, romantic dinner!





Raspberry Balsamic Chicken

1 t. canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c seedless raspberry jam, or sugar free raspberry jam
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 t black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan add oil and, garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Add raspberry jam, balsamic vinegar, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 3 minutes until it reaches a glaze consistency.  Reserve half of the sauce and set aside.

Spray a baking pan with cooking spray.  Brush chicken breasts with remaining glaze on both sides.  Place inside the baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve, pouring reserved glaze over chicken breasts.




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Banana Stuffed French Toast



It's almost Valentine's Day...!


While I love the holiday I don't particularly buy in to all the retail hype surrounding it.  Don't get me wrong, who doesn't love flowers?  But to buy a dozen roses for $80.00 for this special day, when you can get the same for $25.00 next week just doesn't make sense to me.  Then there's the restaurants.  Around here they all have a special 3 or 4 course meal (planned out for you) at a pre-set price of $80 to $100 per person.  I don't know about you, but I like to select my meal, and again, the price on a "normal" day would be around $40 a person.  It just doesn't add up for me.


That is why we usually celebrate Valentine's in a different way.  Sometimes we spend a whole day doing fun things like visiting a museum, or going to Descano gardens.  Something "we" like to do.  Often, we just went to Vegas and that became our Valentine's trip.  All of these are nice and special, but I don't also love the times we stayed home to enjoy a nice quiet meal.  It's so special cause it's made with love!


This dish is great to make for your loved one...can you say breakfast in bed?  Or brunch if you will.  Banana Stuffed French Toast adds a little flair to the ordinary!  The flavors of the banana spring to life and dance in your mouth!  This dish is made using your oven, so it does most of the work!  I hope you try this recipe and surprise someone special in your life with some homemade loving goodness!

Some step by step pics to help you along.







 Oh my!





Banana Stuffed French Toast

adapted From BHG

Serves 2

2 eggs
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 1-inch-thick slices French bread
2/3 cup thinly sliced banana
Maple syrup or powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray. In a shallow bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
Cut a horizontal pocket in each bread slice, cutting from one end almost to, but not through, the other end.  Fill  pockets with banana.
Dip bread slices into egg mixture, coating both sides. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden, turning once half way through the cooking time. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with syrup. Makes 4 slices.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pantry Staples Checklist

pantry




At the beginning of each year I try to organize my pantry, taking stock of all my items. (I really, really try!)  Bringing the old items to the front so I utilize those items first, cleaning shelves, getting rid of anything that looks suspicious, etc.  Let's just say it now...this is not my pantry above.  I could only dream of a large open space, organized and all pretty like this one.  This is something to aspire to...


One thing I found through my cooking last year is that you really need to have a good variety of staples on hand to make a quick meal.  Also, if you do any pantry shopping (where you make meals from what you have on hand instead of buy new ingredients) then you need variety, and staples that are multi-purpose.  


So I made this handy dandy check list to assist in taking stock of your pantry staples.  It's also a great list to use when going grocery shopping!  These are the items that I use most often, and try to always keep on hand.  You can adjust your list or add new items as you like.  I've also included a word document below that you can copy and save...that way you can adjust to your liking!  


PANTRY STAPLES CHECKLIST
Canned Foods :
Baking:
Dairy:

diced tomatoes

flour

milk

tomato sauce

baking soda

cream

tomato paste

baking powder

butter

black beans

salt

cheese

pinto beans

Sugar/Splenda

eggs

cannellini beans

Brown sugar/Splenda

yogurt

green beans

Powdered sugar

cream cheese

corn

cornstarch

sour cream

Broth, chicken and beef

cream of tartar


stewed tomatoes

yeast


green chilies

oats
Grains/Breads:

enchilada sauce

Corn meal

Pasta


Nuts

Tortillas
Spices/herbs:

Chocolate Chips

Brown rice

Chili powder

Vanilla extract

Wild rice

Cumin

Dried fruit

Couscous

Taco seasoning

Honey

Quiona

Parsley

Maple syrup

Bread crumbs

Oregano

agave syrup


Garlic powder

Olive oil


Thyme

Canola oil


Black pepper

Cocoa



I hope you get some great use of this.  It's just one of the great ways to organize your kitchen.  

Enjoy!!

Printable copy.



LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...