Saturday, July 31, 2010

Snack Smarter: Onion Rings

I love a good onion ring! My first job was working at Burger King when I was 16 and I absolutely loved snacking on the delicious onion rings, yum! Unfortunately, when purchased from a fast food joint they're awesomely horrific for you. Seriously, so much fat and calories it's not even worth it. Here's a quick way to make them at home and keep things on the lighter side. One word: fiber! Kicking up the fiber content in the onion rings will help your body to keep from absorbing all the excess fat. If you want to be super healthy you can skip the panko breadcrumbs and just use Fiber One cereal as the breading, but it honestly doesn't stick as well. I sprinkled in some panko, mixed it up, and gave it a go with another ring. It came out perfectly. I'd choose these rings over BK any day. Here's what you'll need:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How To: Spruce Up Your Leftovers

Remember that amazing chicken, lemon, and basil dish I made a couple days ago? Well, the next day I needed something hearty and delicious for brunch but I didn't want to eat the same thing twice in such a short time. If you're like my mother, then you loathe eating the same thing two days in a row. She'll make a giant casserole, enchiladas, chicken, you name it; then the next day she'll be making another ridiculously large meal so that she, my dad, and my little brother don't have to eat the same thing two days in a row. My mom does leftovers the smart way, instead of getting sick of your food you give it a break in between meals but you have enough to last you all week ^_^

Back to brunch. I had a few red bell peppers that were just screaming "pick me, pick me!!" from the crisper drawer. I chopped up and froze most of them, but I saved half of one so I could use it for breakfast. I had only grilled half of one chicken breast to go with my pasta for dinner because it was just me; what I did do with the rest of the chicken breast and another whole breast I had was butterfly them so they'd be thin, and then popped them in the oven to bake with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Standing in front of my fridge I searched for all the ingredients that would work with the peppers. I saw: noodles from the night before, chicken, eggs, and my lovely balsamic glaze. Shizzam!! There it was, a simple and quick skillet breakfast. Not only is this a great way to use up leftovers, it's also a smart way to really stretch a buck.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Lemony Pasta Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Ree over at The Pioneer Woman posted this recipe the other day and I knew I just had to make it as soon as I could! I was already in possession of a live chicken (by live I mean two frozen breasts, not my own of course), a box of penne pasta, and 2 lemons. Seriously for the first time ever all I've needed to buy for a recipe was fresh basil. So money. I love every single one of Ree's recipes, only trouble is she's liberal with both butter and heavy cream. I'm not hating, those ingredients in combination stop my heart and make my stomach sing! Well, make my brain sing. Stomach's can't sing. To lighten up this amazing recipe I used whole wheat penne pasta, cut out the extra fat by skipping the heavy cream and half and half, and topped mine off with a balsamic glaze. I just love balsamic glaze; I don't really care what the dish is, if there's chicken involved it's gonna get showered with glorious glaze. I didn't snap any step by steps because I cannot even begin to compete with Ree's fabulous pictures. Her writing style is so amazing she makes me pee my pants a little every time I read a post of hers. Seriously check out the original recipe; if you aren't worried about the ingredients then by all means use a lot of butta' baby! ;-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kitchen Essentials I Couldn't Live Without!

I never have the time effort to make super cool cooking videos for y'all. I wish I was all crafty and into making movies, but I'm just not =/ There are, however, a few tools I would love to share with you. Not literally, I won't be giving away my favorite kitchen items, but pictures I can share. I won't get into basics; a good food processor, colander, knives, spoons, measuring cups, cutting boards, cooking sheet, pots, pans, etc. are all things of common knowledge. Unless you step foot into a restaurant or chef's kitchen, most likely we all have the same basic tools. In addition to those basic tools I've found a few that add a bit of flair to my kitchen, and some basic tools that simply put: make life easier.

To start out I'll show you some items that add flair to my kitchen. These are items my hubs will never understand the point of, if it were up to him everything would be navy blue & khaki. Shoot me, I need color in my life . . . and lots of it!

Campari & Basil Bruschetta

I love Campari tomatoes because they are sweet, plump, juicy, and so easy to chop up! After watching Julie & Julia for the millionth time, yes I know don't judge me, I decided I absolutely needed to have bruschetta on light rye bread. At Albertsons I buy the Wasa brand organic crackers in the light rye flavor. Three (or maybe two?) crackers a serving, with 3 grams of fiber per serving!! Amazing, they're so light and crunchy I just love 'em. For the bruschetta you only need a few simple ingredients, most of which you will already have on hand.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Croissants

Holy Moly. Mega yum here, and so simple too! I won't even bother to get into why I don't love to bake, but I will say I simply adore baked goods. Enter: puff pastry. A true life saver for times when I'm in need of something deliciously fluffy, crisp, and sugary. This is truly a recipe so simple I shouldn't bother even posting it, but I'm sure there is someone out there who might find it useful!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How To: Roasting Garlic

I love garlic. Garlic and I are having a love affair that I keep secret from my husband. Shh, don't tell him!

If you're like me and love (LOVE) garlic then you should definitely know how to roast it! Roasted garlic will turn your butter into something they would serve slathered on a steak at a 5 star restaurant; roasted garlic will also turn simple vinaigrettes and dressings in culinary masterpieces. I had an extra head that I wanted to use up before it went bad, so when I made my BBQ thin crust pizza I sprinkled it with garlic. Yum! Roasted garlic is definitely a great solution for all the heads of garlic you might have bought on sale that you suddenly don't have time to use up. Once it's roasted you can store it in the fridge for at least a week, but it won't last that long ;-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Potato Love: Gratin Dauphinois

This was an amazing side dish that accompanied grilled chicken and spinach salads for hubby and me. Gratin Dauphinois is French gratin potatoes made with Beaufort cheese (which is French Gruyere) and a lot of heavy cream. I had 5 ounces of Swiss Gruyere and a vision for a healthier version of this fabulous French dish.

For traditional Gratin Dauphinois you would use a lot more butter and there wouldn't be a roux. Instead the butter and cheese is layered throughout the potatoes. I like my cheese ultra creamy so I just made a quick roux, which actually stretches your cheese quite a bit if you don't have enough for all the potatoes!