Sunday, July 31, 2011

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

Men: beware.  This is total chick food.  Cheesy broiled tomatoes over garlicky, basil-y cheesy pasta?  Mmm-hmm.  Sounds like a perfect meal to me.  As for my husband?... He'd ask where the meat was.
Me?  Didn't miss it at all. This was great!

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes 
From Noble Pig

12 ounces spaghetti
3 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), each cut into 4 thick slices
3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves & more for serving.

Heat broiler.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella and Parmesan.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the garlic oil, basil, salt and pepper to the pasta and toss to combine.  Serve topped with tomatoes, additional basil and more Parmesan.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Chip Blondies

Oh my goodness. I do not have much to say except for peanut butter and chocolate is most likely my favorite food combination ever. 

I am sorry.  These are not healthy but I do not regret making them.  Sometimes you just gotta give in a little to your cravings.  And PB + chocolate is always a huge craving of mine!  These are like a giant chocolate chip cookie bar with creamy, sweet peanut butter frosting on top! To die for!

Chocolate Chip Blondies
from How Sweet It Is
1 cup of butter, melted
2 cup of dark brown sugar (I used light brown)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and melted butter until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients together, and whisk into the batter. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in an 9 X 9 pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting
3/4 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and peanut butter. Add sugar gradually. Add vanilla. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Creamy Alfredo Spaghetti with Asparagus

I will tell you right now that my husband just thought this was "okay."  He still ate it, of course (he's good enough to at least eat whatever I put in front of him) but it wasn't his favorite dish ever... probably because he is used to eating Olive Garden-style fettuccine alfredo.  And this recipe, my friend is lighter and healthier than Olive Garden-style fettuccine alfredo.

BUT, in my own opinion, I think it is no less delicious, just different.  But in a good way!  When you can appreciate the fact that you are eating a guilt-free version of one of the guiltiest dishes on this earth- that is a LOT to love!  Add in the fact that the taste really is fantastic (I recommend you don't compare it to another-style of fettuccine alfredo and just take it as it is) and you have a new favorite weeknight meal!

Lighter Alfredo Spaghetti with Roasted Asparagus
from Cooking Light

  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or parmesan)
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti (or you can use 16 oz. either regular or whole-wheat spaghetti)
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Combine first four ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until mixture simmers, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Cover.
  • Place asparagus on jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° 10 minutes or until browned, stirring once.
  • Cook both pastas according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.
  • Place pastas and asparagus in a large bowl. Add cheese mixture, tossing well. Add truffle oil and pepper; toss gently. Serve immediately.
Yields: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Nutritional Information: (per serving) 296 calories, 11.4g fat (5.2g saturated), 14.5g protein, 34.9g carbohydrate, 3.7g fiber

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Just so you know, I would never post a recipe on this here blog without having made it myself first.  However, sometimes I'll make a recipe and forget to take a picture and then I'll be mad at myself for my laziness and then I'll just promise myself to make the recipe again but then I don't, and then a couple months later, I'll be like, "Oh yeah, I remember when I made ___insert recipe here___ and it was so good!" and then I'll want to make it again, but before I do I figure I should blog about it first, since, I mean, I DID make it a while back and tasted it and it was GOOD!

Whew.  This is one of those recipes.  A true-blue, highly-decadent non-forgettable (ahem) dessert that I'd like to tell you about:  if you like snickerdoodles, or even just like cinnamon, plain and simple, there is absolutely no way in heaven's mercy that you would not like these.  Snickerdoodle Blondies are divine- a moist, rich, buttery and cinnamon-y mouthful of goodness.  Guiltiness... but goodness all the same.  I suggest you crank out the mixer and your taste-tester husband.  He will kiss the ground you cook on.

Snickerdoodle Blondies
Recipe and photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 24 blondies
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.
4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuit Poppers

If there's one type of food that I love, it's bread.  I can eat it any way, in any form, in any flavor, at any meal.  I LOVE it! There would be NO way I could ever do a low-carb diet... anyway, these biscuit poppers are so easy and so quick to make.  They would be a perfect compliment to a Mexican-themed dinner, or alongside your breakfast egg scramble.  Or heck, just scarf em down for dessert.  See? I told you I love bread.

Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuit Poppers
Adapted from Betty Crocker

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix (or Bisquick Heart Smart mix)
2/3 cup fat-free or low-fat milk
1/2 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  1. 1 Heat oven to 450°. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Stir Bisquick mix, milk, cheese and onions until soft dough forms.
  2. 2 Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls (or a little larger if you want them to be more of a standard biscuit size) onto cookie sheet.
  3. 3 Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until golden brown. Brush butter over warm biscuits. (Note: I did not follow this step- I left out the butter and I was perfectly okay with it) Serve with salsa if desired

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Healthy Sweet Pork Salad

I know, I know, I know!  I have been seriously M.I.A.  But, for good reason.  Well okay, not really that good of a reason- I mean, it's summer after all.  Summer= no school and no school= less stress, right?
I wish! I have been busy with every little "here and there" errand and to-do task that has occupied my planner for months now.  And although it's been great and I have loved the break from school, I'm partially excited for it to start back up.  Just partially. 

 The other half of me is sad that I have no more vacations to go on.  Arkansas, Memphis, California and Mexico were my seasonal rounds of summer lovin' this year!  My new hubby and I took a week-long trip to visit the area where he served his LDS mission a couple of years ago- Little Rock, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Southaven, Mississippi. It was AWESOME! I loved meeting all these people that he taught and loved and it was great to see how much they loved him as well.  Aww :) Also, the "Southern" culture is every bit as culturally unique as I imagined! And the southern cooking is downright dangerous!  I'll admit I came home with a couple extra you know what's....

But it's all good now... after a couple other short trips to Carlsbad and Rocky Point, I am beached-out (okay that's a lie, cause you can't really ever get enough of the beautiful Cali and Mexi beaches...).  I am home, and alive, and ready for the new school year, and back to a more regular cooking schedule!

To compensate for the little extra weight I picked up in the South, I have been eating super healthy since I returned.  This recipe I'm about to share is a perfect no-guilt recipe makeover for those super fatty SWEET PORK SALADS at CAFE RIO AND COSTA VIDAS!!!  Seriously, those salads are one of my weaknesses.  SO. GOOD.  This recipe is comprised of 3 recipes... one for the cilantro-lime rice (which, by the way is the best rice I have ever, ever had.  Even when eaten alone.), the sweet pork, and the salad itself.  You need to try it!

Slow Cooked Sweet Barbacoa Pork
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: about 10 • Serving Size: 3 oz Old Points: 4.5 pts Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 202.5 • Fat: 6.3 g Protein: 26.2 g Carb: 11.5 g Fiber: 0.6 g

Adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

  • 2.5 lbs pork loin roast, all fat trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 6 oz Coke zero
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
  • 1/4 cup water
Step 2
  • 8 oz Coke zero
  • 6 oz can sliced green chilies
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (unpacked)

Season pork with salt, pepper and garlic powder and place in the crock pot. Add 6 oz of coke and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Marinate refrigerated for a few hours or overnight turning meat at least once while marinating.

Remove crock from refrigerator, add water, and cook on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily). Remove pork from crock pot and discard any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork with two forks.

Step two: In the crock pot, combine 8 oz coke, green chilies, tomato sauce, chipotle chile, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder and remaining brown sugar.

Put shredded pork back in the crock pot and combine with sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook on high 1-1/2 hours more.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • 1 cup long grain white or brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  1. Bring the rice, water, and chicken bouillon to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, cilantro, and salt; fluff with a fork and serve.
Nutrition Per Serving:  Calories: 115 | Total Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: < 1mg

Once I had the pork and rice made up, I also made a pico de gallo (you could substitute salsa), and put everything together to create a salad with lettuce, corn, black beans and fat-free sour cream added in addition to the pork and rice!  Delish!

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