Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chewy Butterfinger Cookies

I know, I know I wasn't going to eat carbs...especially carbs from sugar and flour. But I had President's Day off work, and I have had baking withdrawals really bad! I just HAD to bake something!! Plus I only ate 1 cookie and then sent the rest with my Hubby to a Youth Activity. I found this recipe on Sally's Baking addiction website, and while I stuck mostly to the recipe I tweaked it by adding some brown sugar instead of all white sugar (makes a chewier cookie) and  the vanilla (LOVE vanilla extract and a cookie without it is just missing something if you ask me) and then of course I added milk chocolate chips. While this recipe was good just with the Butterfingers it needed more chocolate...  I thought maybe next time I make them I may add in Reese's Peanut Butter chips too... YUMMO!! And yes... I only ate just one! once in a while you just have to treat yourself!

Chewy Butterfingers Cookies
adapted from  sallysbakingaddiction.com
makes approx. 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg*
8 fun sized Butterfingers candy bars, chopped (while still in the wrapper I just hit mine a couple of times with my meat mallet, then just open the wrapper and dump in the cookie batter)
1/2 (or slightly more) cup milk chocolate chips (or a mix of milk chocolate and peanut butter chips)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat sugars and butter until creamy. Beat in  vanilla extract and egg until just combined.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in Butterfingers pieces and chocolate chips by hand. The dough will be very thick. Drop by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet (I lined mine with Parchment paper).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool and enjoy!

*if dough seems too dry, mix in 1 extra egg.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home Made English Muffins

I love English Muffins and had ran across this recipe on Tasty Kitchen / Pioneer Woman one day while browsing the Internet. I had been meaning to make these for quite a while but just hadn't had the time until this last weekend. I hate buying English Muffins because of all the preservatives and things added to them, and being on my low carb diet I didn't even want to go there. I thought I would give this recipe a try..but with a few tweaks of course! I thought I would use some whole wheat flour / and cracked wheat (I run the cracked wheat through my blender so it's not so chunky and more like a sandy looking flour) to the dough instead of just all white flour. They were great and pretty easy to make!! Now about every other morning I have a home made "egg Mcmuffin" before work ...YUMMO! They are also great with peanut butter or Almond Butter on the top!

Home Made English Muffins

Prep Time 1 Hour
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings 20

Ingredients:
1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 cup Warm Water
¼ ounces Yeast (one envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ cups Cornmeal
5-½ cups Flour (with this batch I used half white whole wheat flour and half regular all purpose flour with a 1/4 cup cracked wheat for some texture)
1 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions:
Combine milk, butter, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm until butter starts to melt, then whisk briefly. Remove pan from heat and allow liquid to cool to lukewarm.
Pour water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast and the 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir gently with a fork. Set bowl aside for 10 minutes, or until yeast has dissolved.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with a generous amount of cornmeal.
Pour cooled milk mixture into yeast mixture and gently stir until well blended. Add 3 cups flour and stir with your electric mixture with the dough hook attached until smooth (about 3 minutes). Beat in remaining flour and salt until the dough is no longer sticky (about 3 or 4 more minutes, add more flour if necessary, you don't want the dough to be too sticky) . Pour and scrape the dough onto a generously floured surface and let rest 5 minutes.
Roll out dough with rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles (a tumbler or wide mouth mason jar lid does well). Transfer muffins to prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover with a dry, lightweight towel and let rise until doubled in height, 35-45 minutes. This is what they should look like.
When muffins have risen, heat a skillet over medium heat. Carefully lift muffins from the pan and place on the ungreased skillet. Cook about 10 minutes on each side, using a spatula to flip them. I did 5 at a time in 2 separate skillets......
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Don't they look YUMMO!!??
I put half of mine in a large gallon size freezer bag and froze them for later. The others I keep in the refrigerator to eat as I like. Before serving,  split with a fork and toast them, then you can add a fried egg, a thin slice of cheese and turkey sausage for a yummy 'Egg Mcmuffin" or top with peanut butter! Enjoy!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mini Meeeeat loaves

Sorry about the Mini Meeeeat loaf title but it reminded me of the Austin Powers shows with Dr. Evil and Mini me. As you know I'm trying to eat healthier and help my husband eat healthier too, I try to come up with healthier but tastier recipes for meat and veggies since that is what my husband likes to eat in the evening. So I thought I would make mini meat loaves. For some reason my hubby seems to get heartburn with my usual meatloaf recipe, so one evening I just threw this and that into some ground beef and this is what I came up with. He LOVED them and didn't get heartburn! Sorry they aren't picture pretty, but they taste delicious! I served them with steamed broccoli, how heart healthy is that? Enjoy!

Mini Meat Loaves
1 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and diced
3 or 4 green onions, diced (I use the whole thing, both white and green parts)
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1/2 cup Panko crumbs (found in the Chinese food section)
1 egg
1/3 cup salsa (any kind you like, I used a homemade chipotle for the spice)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (have I told you I LOVE parchment paper? It sure helps with clean up! ) If you don't have parchment paper, spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat about 1 tablespoon Olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the poblano pepper and saute until slightly tender (about 3 minutes) Then add the diced green onions and garlic; saute for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove this from heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl add the ground beef, poblano mixture, flax seed, Panko crumbs, egg, salsa, salt, black pepper, and chipotle pepper. Toss with a fork (or use your fingers) until the ingredients are combined. Then divide your beef mixture into 5ths or 6ths (or however mini meat loaves you want) I think I had about a pound and a half and made 5 mini loaves.
Take each piece of your burger mixture and form into a loaf shape and place on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes (depends on the size of your mini loaves, I baked mine for about 25 minutes), or until the juices run clear. Serve with a steamed veggie and enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cheese and Chile-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

(sorry, I forgot to take a pic of my mushroom with the garnishes on the top)
Since January 2nd and the holidays were over, I decided to try to lose a little weight just by eating healthier and trying to incorporate a little exercise in my day. My hubby decided to join me, he likes to remove all carbs from his diet to do so, so this gives me a challenge when cooking. As for me, I started with Dr. Oz's 3-day Detox diet... LOVE it, if you can get through the first day, you can find his diet w/ recipes for smoothies here, I lost 6 pounds and felt great!! (Hint... don't put the celery and cucumbers in the lunch smoothie, makes too much and isn't very good, liked everything else in the smoothie and ate the cucumber and celery on it's own). Since I did that and felt great I didn't want to start with eating processed foods again. I still like to eat healthy carbs but find I'm better off eating those in the morning, good carbs that I eat in the evening seem to stick to my hips. But anyway, long story with all that, but I have enjoyed this month trying to find or create healthy recipes. So far this month I have kept my 6 pounds off that I lost those 3 days and lost 2 more!! This recipe was delicious, I love stuffed mushrooms and it was a great side to grilled steak, (or you could serve with grill chicken) rather than having something with creamy sauce or lots of butter (liked baked potatoes). My hubby LOVED it too! I loved using the wheat Germ instead of bread crumbs like some stuffed mushroom recipes call for, worked great. Oh, yes, I have to give credit where credit is due, this recipe was in this month's issue of Food Network Magazine. I did tweak a few things to what I had on hand, but the main idea was there. ENJOY!

Cheese and Chile-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Ingredients:
Olive oil cooking spray
4 medium portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
6 green onions, diced
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley  (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt
1 red or green jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and coarsely chop them. Scrape the gills from the underside of the mushroom caps using a spoon; discard those. Place the mushroom caps on your prepared baking sheet.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, half of the green onions, the poblano chile and garlic and cook, stirring, until the poblano is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mushroom stems and parsley; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup wheat germ and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat; and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the mushroom caps with one-quarter of the mozzarella, then one -quarter of the poblano mixture. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon wheat germ and generously spray with cooking spray. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the wheat germ is golden, about 20 minutes. Top with the sour cream, jalapeno and the remaining scallions.

Per serving: Calories 261; Total Fat 15 grams; Saturated Fat 8 grams; Protein 17 grams; Total Carbohydrate 17 grams; Fiber 6 grams; Cholesterol 32 milligrams; Sodium 265 milligrams

Monday, January 7, 2013

My version of "Lo Mein"

I love 'Lo Mien" probably because I think it's less fattening than other chow miens. I have a tradition in my family that we always have a Chinese New year dinner with fortune cookies for dessert just for fun. But usually when we get take out or go to a Chinese restaurant, the food tastes good right at first but it's not that great left over, and I always feel a little sick? or bloated after eating it. The last couple of years I have opted to make our Chinese dinner, and I usually buy the fortune cookies, La Choy makes a good one. It's fun to see what fortune you get in them (this year mine said I would be in a new house by the end of the year.. hmmm perhaps with a bigger kitchen!)  I made this recipe for 'Lo Mien" to go  along with Sweet n' Sour Chicken (or I should call it Manderine Chicken) Mongolian Beef, and rice. We had fortune Cookies with Vanilla Ice cream for dessert. YUMMO!

My version of  "Lo Mien"
Ingredients:
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar (or 2 if you like it a little sweeter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
ground black pepper, to taste

2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2/3 c. chopped celery (chopped diagonally)
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 to 2 cups broccoli florets (Or you could use a bag of frozen stir fry veggies)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 or 2 packages Chuka Soba Chow Mien Stir-Fry Noodles (depending on how much you want, for my family of 3, I used 1 package)
Instructions
■In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.
■Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles well, drain, and set aside.
■Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add celery, carrot and onion and saute for about 1-2 minutes or until onions start to become soft and transparent. Add Peas and Broccoli; saute an additional minute or two until veggies are tender crunchy. Add sesame oil to taste (go with 1/2 teaspoon at first, sesame oil is a little strong, but I LOVE the flavor in noodle stir fries) and toss veggies until veggies and sesame oil are combined.
■Toss Chuka Soba noodles and soy sauce mixture with the vegetables over medium-high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are heated through.
Enjoy!
**You could add some chopped Napa Cabbage if desired as well when sauteing the vegetables.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yay!

Just a note because I was excited... I got my OLD playlist back! the link is at the bottom of my blog, click on 'Di's favorite tunes to cook by" it will take you to my playlist! My pandora stations are ok, but I love the playlist so I can put what songs I want on it. :) Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu


I LOVE Chicken Cordon Bleu but I don't make it very much because you usually have to pound the chicken then add the ham and cheese and roll it up and try to make it all stay together while you dip it in egg and then bread crumbs and then fry it. I did make a lighter version on my grill that I have posted already, but when I watched Cook's Country and they did this recipe I just had to give it a try. You can find the recipe here but I"m posting here so I can find it easy. I followed it just like the original recipe except I used a slice of Swiss (because that is what I had) and I seasoned the flour. I LOVE the breading and this Chicken Cordon Bleu was easy! I served mine with steamed veggies and I like to make a dipping sauce of mayonnaise with a squirt or two of French's mustard whisked into it. ENJOY!

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
25 Ritz crackers (about 3/4 sleeve)
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 thin slices deli ham ( I like Black Forest Ham)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (or 8 slices)
4 Large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total use really thick large breasts because you are going to cut a pocket into them)
Salt and pepper
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions:
1. MAKE CRUMBS: Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse crackers and bread in food processor until coarsely ground. Drizzle in butter; pulse to incorporate. Bake crumbs on rimmed baking sheet on middle rack, stirring occasionally, until light brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to shallow dish. Leave oven on.
2. STUFF CHICKEN: Following **Simpler Stuffing instructions below, top each ham slice with 1/4 cup cheese (or 1 slice) and roll tightly; set aside. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. cut pocket in thickest part of chicken, and stuff each breast with 2 ham-and-cheese rolls. Transfer chicken to plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
3. COAT AND BAKE: Beat eggs and mustard in second shallow dish. Place flour in third shallow dish and stir in the garlic and onion powder. One at a time, coat stuffed chicken lightly with flour, dip into egg mixture, and dredge in crumbs, pressing to adhere. (Breaded chicken can be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day.) Transfer chicken to clean Parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack until bottom of chicken is golden brown, about 10 minutes, and then move baking sheet to middle rack and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown and chicken registers 160 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

**Simpler Stuffing
1. Top each slice of ham with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Roll into tight cylinder.
3. Using paring knife, cut into thickest part of chicken breast to create deep pocket with opening of 3 to 4 inches.
3. Stuff each pocket with two ham-and-cheese rolls and seal. Refrigerate chicken for at least 20 minutes before breading.