Guest Baker

January 29, 2012

My sweet little niece Sasha turned 5 this week, which means we got an afternoon with her to celebrate! So I decided we would bake a cake, decorate it and of course eat some of it too. I know my blog focuses on healthy recipes, but its not everyday I make a cake, and we had too much fun not to share. You can read more about Sasha here.

And what to do while everything bakes?

Our nails, of course:) And then it was back to decorate and eat.

The cake recipe was from non-other than Betty Crocker’s box mix 🙂

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

January 28, 2012

I realize that all of my recipes involve chicken or salmon, so I decided to switch things up a bit. Conclusion, stick with what you like. I think I would have liked this more if it was in taco’s or pasta, but I served it with this salad. Still love that salad but I’m starting to think I just don’t like shrimp – or at least prepared this way -I know I’m really selling you on  it:)

Here is the recipe if you decide you want to make it after my lovely description:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 lb shrimp, shelled and deviened
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat.Add oil to the pan, when hot add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. When the shrimp is cooked on one side, about 2 minutes, turn over and add garlic. Sauté another minute or two until shrimp is cooked, careful not to overcook. Remove from heat. Squeeze lime all over shrimp and toss with cilantro. Serve hot.

recipe from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/

* this is actually the only recipe I have tried from this site that I haven’t fallen in love with

I feel like I start every blog post off by saying this recipe was so easy, so why change things up… this recipe was so easy! Actually this is one of my favorite dishes I have made in a while. The peppers give a nice sweetness which goes great with the spice rub for the chicken. This will probably start to be one of our”fall back meals.” Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder ( I used fresh garlic instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
  • 11/2 tablespoons shallots from the jar, or about 1 fresh shallot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle spice rub over chicken. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until done.
  3. 3. Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, shallots, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

recipe from Cooking Light

We had the best intentions of making a new, healthy, creative recipe last night; but, time got away and we ended up looking for something quicker.

So, thanks to Nardo and Christina for getting married and the presents that we received because Todd was in the wedding.

For those Chicago’ans – you may recognize this array of spices and sauces from the famed Lillies-Q up in Bucktown. While its no Slow’s, it does offer its accouterments for sale, which is helpful when trying to recreate some BBQ magic at home.

No recipe, just some spice, sauce and a grill in the middle of winter.

Mediterranean Chicken

January 16, 2012

We’re back!

After enjoying the holidays and taking some time off from cooking, I decided this week I need to try some new things again. This recipe was easy to make, and had lots of flavor. It actually reminded me a bit of the mushroom chicken I made a few months ago, yet I liked this dish more with the additional veggies. We had our food critic Phil (@p_hilip) staying with us this week, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, however, I don’t think there is anything he won’t eat.

Serves 4:

  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini and stemmed shiitake), sliced
  • 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chopped shallot (I use the pre-chopped)
  • 1/2Tablespoon drained capers 1 Tablespoon chilled butter
  • 1/2 cup pear tomatoes (red and yellow)

1. Preheat oven to 200°F.

2. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Pound down chicken if needed so it in thin slices. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.. Cook until brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to ovenproof plate and place in oven to keep warm.

3. Add 2 Tablespoons oil to same skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until wilted and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add broth; boil until almost all liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add olives, plum tomatoes, garlic, shallot and capers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add butter; stir until melted. Mix in teardrop tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken.

Puebla-Style Chicken Mole

December 5, 2011

We went to Mexico a few weeks ago to celebrate my 30th birthday and while we were there we ate some great Mexican food. We’re back and still not sick of the Mexican food, but are making it healthier as we don’t want to pack on the pounds this holiday season.

Our friends Amy & Peter came over for dinner this weekend and we enjoyed this Chicken Mole for dinner. I have never been a big mole fan, but actually liked this recipe as the mole is very subtle.We made this with a side of Mexican rice and black beans for a perfect easy Mexican meal. You could also use this inside of enchilada’s.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 stemmed dried seeded ancho chiles, torn into 2-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped tomato (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
3 (1/2 x 2-inch) orange rind strips
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until almost tender. Combine cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over onion in pan. Cook 1 minute. Add chiles and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes or until chiles soften. Add broth and next 4 ingredients (through rind) to pan; bring to a boil. Add chicken to pan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; shred with 2 forks. Set aside.
Add chocolate to chile mixture; let stand until chocolate melts. Using an immersion blender in pan, puree the chocolate mixture until smooth. Cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until reduced to 3 1/2 cups. Add shredded chicken to sauce; stir in salt and pepper.

Recipe From Cooking Light
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup chicken mixture)

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 169(0.0% from fat); FAT 0.0g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); PROTEIN 0.2g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 13mg; SODIUM 37mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 0.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.2g

Every once and a while I think it’s good to go veggie.  I found this recipe from cooking lite, but changed it around quite a bit because the recipe seemed boring.  Even with my changes, I was still worried so I proactively started warming up some spaghetti sauce and to my surprise we didn’t even need it.  I will for sure make this again.

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti (I just used what i thought would fill us up)
  • 2 2/3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced Mushrooms ( I almost used a whole container, but I like mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup Onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped or torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup crumbled semi-soft goat cheese

I really didn’t measure this out too closely, and am proud to say that it turned out

Preparation

  •  Preheat oven to 450°.
  •  Bring 4 quarts water to a boil . Add spaghetti to boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until spaghetti is al dente. Return spaghetti to pot; set aside, and keep warm.
  •  While spaghetti cooks, combine tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper on a jelly-roll pan, tossing well to coat. Bake tomato mixture at 450° for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and lightly charred in places.
  • Add tomatoes and any tomato juice to spaghetti along with 1 tablespoon oil into spaghetti mixture. Stir in basil, sprinkle with cheese & serve immediately.

Applesauce

November 7, 2011

Who doesn’t like some homemade applesauce to go along with a meal ?  This recipe is easy, and makes your house smell like fall as the apples cook in the slow cooker all day. The only real work involved in this recipe is peeling the apples. My only regret with this recipe is that I didn’t make more, looks like our house will be smelling like fall again soon.

Applesauce:

Servings: 12 • Size: 1/4 cup

  • 8 medium sized apples, I went down the grocery isle and grabbed one of every kind.
  • 1 strip of a lemon peel- use a vegetable peeler
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 5 tsp light brown sugar (unpacked), or agave

Directions:

  • Peel, Core & Slice the apples
  • Place them in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and brown sugar.
  • Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours (or less depending on your slow cooker, mine took about 5 hours).Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce.  Remove cinnamon stick.
  • If you like chunky applesauce keep it as is, otherwise you can blend it for a smoother taste.

Rub?

November 6, 2011

This is the simplest recipe to make, yet this post may have taken me the longest to write. You see once you start writing about using rubs things start sounding a bit x rated…okay maybe more like pg-13 rated but my mother views this post so I am trying to keep it appropriate.

Anyways when I don’t have time to cook I rub…the meat that is. Oops sounding bad again. My mom bought me this over the summer and we have had lots of great fish & chicken since. Turns out you can buy this in Ann Arbor (see below). I happen to have a big birthday coming up and I am sure your all looking for gift ideas so look no further, I would like more rubs… for my chicken; get your minds out of the gutter!

We have been using the coffee bbq rub, Here is the link to the store:

https://secure.spicemerchants.biz/sm/products/c/107/Spice_Blends

Happy Rubbing!

Another easy delicious recipe, it was really easy for me because Todd made this one. You may be asking yourself, “does Allison really cook or simply pass off all responsibilities to Todd?’ The truth is, I did cook this week – just be patient and I’ll get to posting my creations.   In the meantime enjoy this flavorful, and super easy, chicken.

 

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and about 1 tsp sauce) 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

Preparation

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Combine first 3 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Add the chicken to bag; seal and shake to coat.

Melt butter in pan. Add chicken, and cook 4 minutes. Turn chicken over. Add cranberries and remaining ingredients; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

Recipe from Cooking Light

Calories: 269, Calories from fat: 17% , Fat: 5g