Thursday, May 7, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Okay, I do occasionally make pizza crust from scratch. It is fun to do and pretty tasty. But, when I want dinner on the table in a hurry, homemade dough, isn't really a realistic application! So I buy ready made dough and go from there. I love whole wheat pizza dough! Tasty and filling! Boboli's makes a great one that you can use. I found one at a local farmer's market that I stock up on and keep in the freezer! Now we can have tasty and healthy pizza anytime!

Pizza dough
Any topping you like!

Here is the pizza dough that I like to use (thank you Dekalb Farmer's Market!)
Here are three of our favorite types of homemade pizza. Being creative is part of the fun.
With one of the pizza rounds, I spread 1/2 with tomato sauce and 1/2 with olive oil.
On the olive oil half, lay out fresh spinach leaves.
Next top the tomato sauce side with sauteed onions and bell peppers.
Top both halves with fresh tomato slices and black olive slices.
The spinach side is then topped with fresh feta cheese and a little bit of Parmesan cheese. The tomato sauce side is topped with low-fat mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
I love veggie pizzas. They are my favorite! Also tasty with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, zucchini or any other veggie that you love!

A new way that we recently made were "Italian Sausage Sub Pizzas".
We topped the pizza with tomato sauce, browned turkey Italian sausage, sauteed peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese (forgot to take a picture with the mozzarella cheese ~ trust me it was there!). Good Stuff!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fettucini Alfredo - the healthy way!

I love Alfredo sauce. I could eat it by the spoonful - right from the pan. But, of course, it isn't so helpful for my weight goals. After several attempts, I made a tasty and healthier version of this great comfort food! What I love, is that most of the ingredients are pantry staples, so you've got dinner anytime in about 30 minutes. The calories have been cut from 550 to just at 200 for the sauce. Fat grams have been cut from 35 grams a serving to around 12 a serving. What helps to make this lower calorie is the use of chicken broth to thin the sauce instead of half and half and heavy cream. Also using some white wine gives the dish a great rich tasting flavor. When paired with whole wheat pasta and some steamed broccoli, you've got a delicious meal and a non-guilty one too!

2 TBSP. olive oil
2 TBSP. whole wheat flour
3 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
1 cup of fat-free chicken broth
1 cup 1% or skim milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 TBSP. reduced fat cream cheese
1 TBSP. reduced fat sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Favorite pasta
Favorite add-ins (steamed broccoli, lump crab meat, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc.)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chopped garlic over medium low heat.
Stir frequently so the garlic doesn't burn.
Once the garlic is lightly browned, stir in the flour. This is how you make a roux. This is the basis to all white cream sauces. I first learned how to make a roux at a cooking class in New Orleans. Being able to make my own roux, gave me power..made me super chef...then I woke up!

Let the flour and oil cook together for about 2 minutes. This makes sure the flour taste is cooked out. Don't cook on high heat, you don't want the roux to brown.
Add a cup of chicken broth and stir until well combined. The sauce is kind of brown in color. This is because I used whole wheat flour. If you use white flour, the sauce will be white, unless you cook your roux too long!
Once this starts to get thicker, add the cup of milk and stir until well combined.
Next add the white wine. This is my most favorite white wine in the whole world.
Pour a little, drink a lot! ;-))
At this point I added about 2/3 a cup of sun-dried tomatoes. I love the tangy taste of them in Alfredo sauce. If you don't love it...leave it out.
Once this starts to thicken, add the cream cheese and the sour cream. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Add the Parmesan cheese about a 1/3 a cup at a time and stir until well combined and the cheese is melted. You can grate your own, but I prefer the easy stuff! I've even used the stuff in the green can in a pinch!
If the sauce starts to get thick....mine ALWAYS does, add a little bit of chicken broth until it is the consistency you prefer. I normally have to add chicken broth about 2 - 3 times during the course of cooking, as I don't always time my noodles to be done when my sauce is!

I cooked a whole wheat fettuccine noodle to serve with the sauce, but I also like Penna pasta too. Whatever makes you happy!
Tonight, I served the pasta with steamed broccoli. To save time, I threw a bag of broccoli florets in with the pasta water when the pasta was just about done.
You can also serve it with chicken, shrimp, crab or other vegetables. Take the sauce and run with it! So glad there was enough for left overs!!!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Corn Pudding

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a healthy recipe!

Cookouts, potlucks, covered dishes....what to make???? This is my absolute Go-To recipe for any and all of those occasions. Everyone ALWAYS loves this recipe - kids and adults alike! It is also the absolute EASIEST thing to cook. I mean it...nothing homemade could be easier. It is SUPER cheap to boot. I also like that it can sit out and doesn't have to be more consistently refrigerated. Your friends will love you for bringing this dish to your next get together.

2 cans whole kernel corn (drained)
2 cans cream corn
2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 stick butter
1 16 oz. container of sour cream

Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
Place unwrapped stick of butter in your baking dish and put in the oven until it is melted. (Time Saver: this melts the butter and greases your pan at the same time!)
I do use Smart Balance 50/50 - trying to make it a tiny bit healthier

Pour 2 cans of corn and 2 cans of creamed corn in the pan

Pour 2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix in the pan

Add container of Sour Cream (I use reduced-fat)

Stir until completely combined. (don't you love throw-away aluminum baking dishes - great for cookouts!)

Cook in 350 degree oven for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. (depends on how deep your dish is). The dish should be evenly browned on top and toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sweet Potato Burritos with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce

I got this burrito recipe from my friend Christina who got it from Allrecipes. Got that?? I, of course, added my own touches and spices like most cooks do. This is written how I made it. You can also do a search at Allrecipes for Sweet Potato Burritos. The recipe there is a bit different. I think part of the fun of cooking is taking recipes and making them your own!

I wanted a sauce to go with them other than just plain sour cream and I didn't think salsa would taste quite right. I love the flavor combination of chili pepper and lime, so I based a sauce around those flavors. It ended up working really well with these burritoes!

Although this sounds like a super weird combination, it was really yummy. Interesting flavors and other than baking off the sweet potatoes last night when I was cooking some thing else (time-saving tip from Christina). I assembled these (7 minutes) and cooked them (20 minutes) after church today. Beginning to table~ less than 30 minutes. They were yummy, filling and filled with great vitamins (and really budget friendly too~I think the entire meal cost me less than $8!!!!)

Sweet Potato Burritos
2 large sweet potatoes
1 can fat-free refried beans
1 pkg. (2 cup) shredded 2 % reduced fat Mexican Cheese
1 pkg. whole wheat tortillas
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. chili pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Bake sweet potatoes until tender and oozing. (I did these the night before and just left them in their skins in the refrigerator until I needed them - you could probably do this up to 2 days in advance. )

Scoop out sweet potato flesh and mash lightly once cooked.

Mix can of refried beans with the listed spices.

Assemble the burritos in the following order: Beans, sweet potato, cheese. 1 can of beans and 1 package of cheese with the sweet potatoes made 6 burritos with a little cheese and sweet potatoes left over.

Place burritos seam side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Brush the tops of the burritos with some olive or canola oil. Just a little bit.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Chili-Lime Cream Sauce
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (added to spicy preference and to taste)
zest of one lime
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Zest a lime.
This is my zester, it is super easy to use and makes really pretty zest strings!
Add zest to the sour cream. Add the juice of 1/2 the lime. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy this yummy - but totally different type of burrito. If you like sweet potatoes, I promise you will love these burritos! The Chili-lime cream sauce adds another great layer of flavors. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moroccan Triple Pepper Chicken - Crockpot!

Very little makes me as a happy as being half way through a hard day and thinking about what I'm going to make for dinner once I get home and then remembering with a big smile on my face that I have dinner already cooking in the crock pot! Woo Hoo! Of course, the same old same old can get kind of boring after a while. So here is a new flavorful dish I hope you will enjoy! It was really good and had lots of terrific flavor!

I know this seems like a ton of ingredients, but it was all stuff I had on hand. The entire mixture came together in my crock pot this morning before work in about 7 minutes. No joke!
4 - 6 frozen chicken breasts
2 packages of sliced peppers and onions (or you can be really domestic and slice in strips 1 red, yellow and green bell peppers and 1 onion)
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Serrano peppers sliced thin
1 can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 tsp. curry
2 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. thyme
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 1/2 TBSP. honey
1 small piece of dark chocolate
salt and pepper to taste

Layer one bag of peppers and onions in the bottom of your crock pot. Lay frozen chicken on top of the peppers and onions.
I love these bags of chicken. ~ I like the way the bag at chicken looks like it is floating above the counter!

Top with the other bag of peppers and onions.

Take the Serrano peppers and slice them thinly.
Add dried cranberries. Sprinkle spices and minced garlic on top.
Place chocolate piece in the middle of the entire mixture.
Pour chicken broth over the mixture. Top with can of tomatoes.

I think these fire-roasted diced tomatoes give it an awesome flavor.

Cook on low for 9 - 10 hours. If you are going to cook the food for about 7 hours, use thawed chicken breasts.
Once the chicken is cooked the entire way through, take the chicken breasts out of the crock pot and shred the chicken.

Add the chicken back to the crock pot and stir in the honey.

I served ours with Almond Couscous.

Loved this yummy dinner!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jambalaya Beans and Rice

I've been visiting several different cooking blogs and have realized that most include pictures. So here is my first attempt at that. I didn't take pictures of all the steps. I'll try to get better about that. I'd love some input on it all!

With this dish I've taken a traditional Jambalaya type recipe and increased the fiber by adding beans and serving with brown rice. Also using low-fat turkey sausage and other low-fat meats like chicken breasts and shrimp give lots of protein without upping the fat content. I cook the brown rice with 1/2 water and 1/2 fat-free chicken broth and omit the butter. Great flavor, no added fat!
This recipe was made in about 15 minutes with 30 minutes simmer time. If you start the rice first, it should all be done just about the same time.
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. Turkey Smoked Sausage
2 cans favorite beans (I found a new type that had black, red and pinto beans all together)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pepper sliced
1/2 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground red pepper
2 bay leaves
4 - 5 dashes of hot sauce (add more if you like it hot!)

Slice turkey sausage on the diagonal. (of course my pieces didn't all get cut that way...I was in a hurry!)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
Cut peppers, onions and mince garlic. I was lazy and didn't want to take the time to chop them all up. These are some of my favorite time savers.
Add peppers, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until onions are translucent and the peppers are slightly browned on the edges. Add sausage to the skillet and cook until the pieces are slightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 30 minutes. You can also add cut up chicken or peeled shrimp if you like. I had some leftover chicken and added it. Serve on top of some brown rice. Enjoy!