Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skinny Jalapeno Poppers

Dinner has taken a real nose-dive in this house. I used to make extravagant meals- last night we had hot dogs, jalapeno poppers, and leftover beans.On paper plates. C'est la vie.
Since I started WeightWatchers, Michael has been deprived of some of the full-flavor/full-fat meals he's grown accustomed to. He described these jalapeno poppers as "not exactly exploding with flavor..." I thought they were delicious! And you know what makes them even more delicious? Eating them while 3.4 pounds lighter after 7 days on WeightWatchers. Yeeeees!

Cut them in half. 
For aesthetic reasons, try to cut the stem in half too.
Remove the seeds & the membranes.
Then wash your hands like crazy before you touch your eyes!
Mix cream cheese, bacon, cheddar, scallions, salt & pepper together in a small bowl.
Fill each jalapeno.
I took a little break at this point. 
I refrigerated my peppers for 3 hours because I had to run some errands.
Dip each popper in the egg whites.
Then coat them with seasoned panko.
I used a spoon to make my life easier and to keep my fingers nice & tidy.
Cover the peppers with a light spray of oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes
They're done when they're golden brown! :)

Baked Jalapeno Poppers
My variation of this recipe from SkinnyTaste
  • 12 jalapenos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds & membranes removed
  • 4 oz. neufchatel light cream cheese, softened
  • 5 medium scallions, only the green parts, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs*
  • 1/8 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/8 t. chili powder
  • salt & pepper
  • oil spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly spray with the oil.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon and scallions in a small bowl. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Combine the panko & spices.
  4. Fill each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture. Dip in the egg whites. Coat with seasoned panko, and place on the greased baking sheet.
  5. Once all the poppers are coated, lightly spray them with the oil.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and cheese begins to ooze out.
Makes 24 Poppers.
Serving Size: 2 Poppers
Points+ / Serving**: 2

*The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of panko, but only 1/4 of the panko is actually used. The additional breadcrumbs are to make coating the poppers a little easier, then discarded. The additional points for the unused 1/4 cup of panko are not calculated into the points per serving.
**I use to determine the points per serving. Their eTools include a Recipe Builder, which allows me to plug in all the ingredients & calculate the points per serving.

    Asian Glazed Chicken

    Holy smokes. This was delicious. Michael declared it my best meal of 2010.
    Asian Glazed Chicken
    [Original Recipe from]
    • 4 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
    • Pam spray oil
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 t. Sriracha (more or less to taste)
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 t. ginger, grated
    • 1 T. scallions, chopped
    • 1/2 t. sesame seeds
    1. Brown the chicken over high heat in a large, heavy saucepan lightly sprayed with Pam. About 3-4 minutes. It doesn't need to be cooked- just browned.
    2. Combine the water, sriracha, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl. Pour over the browned chicken. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
    3. Remove the cover, bring the sauce to a boil, and allow it to reduce down for 8-10 minutes on medium-high heat. Watch the sauce carefully so it doesn't burn, and turn the chicken occasionally. 
    4. Once the sauce has reduced down (will be about the consistency of maple syrup), transfer the chicken to a platter, drizzle with the sauce, and top with the sesame seeds and scallions.
    Serves 2*
    Points+ / Serving: 8

    I served this with steamed broccoli, brown rice (for me), and potstickers (for Michael).
    Chicken, Rice & Broccoli:  12 Points+

    *This was enough food for 3 people. We gorged ourselves.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Broccoli & Cheese Soup with Tomatoes is chock-full of so many recipes. So many bland, low-point recipes...
    I added a few extra ingredients, recalculated the points, and realized that adding a mere 2 points per serving turned their thin, sad soup recipe into a hearty, delicious soup. One serving really filled me up. 
    Broccoli & Cheese Soup with Tomatoes
    • 2 t. Olive Oil
    • 1 Yellow Onion, minced (medium-sized)
    • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
    • 2 Broccoli Crowns, chopped
    • 32 oz. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
    • 6 oz. Velveeta, cubed (*4 oz. Velveeta in original recipe)
    • 1 can Rotel*
    • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
    • 1/2 cup Sour Cream*
    • Splash of Worcestershire* 
    • Dash of Cayenne Pepper*
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 2/3 cup Water
    • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
    1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the broccoli and broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.
    2. Reduce heat to low, add the velveeta and stir until cheese melts; stir in milk, sour cream and Rotel. Season with the worcesteshire, cayenne, salt & pepper. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
    3. Whisk together water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add mixture to the soup and simmer 2 minutes, until thick. I topped mine off with a little Sriracha.
      Serves 5
      7 WeightWatchers PointsPlus per 1 1/2 cup serving
      I put an * next to each ingredient that I added, if you omit them, it will be 5 points per 1 1/2 cup serving. 

      Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

      "It's a Nutter Butter on steroids... 
      Creamy, delicious steroids." 
      So.. Michael likes them. And so do I. They're delish & adorable. 

      Use a cookie scoop to make uniform balls.
      Mine aren't very aesthetically pleasing..
      Cut them in half. 
      Roll each half into a ball.
      The Hancock boys claim these look like lady-parts. Little pervs.
      Flatten each ball ever-so-slightly with a fork.
      Baking them was a pain. 
      I burned two batches.
      But I figured out the perfect temperature & time!
      325 for 8-10 minutes. Until just golden brown on the bottom sides.
      Allow them to cool completely before flipping half the cookies over.
      Whip the filling together.
      Put a ziplock bag into a glass, then load the filling in it, & cut a corner off.
      A little make-shift pastry bag!
      Squeeze a dollop of filling onto the middle.
      (This was my burnt batch. Still delicious.)
      Squeeze that little bad boy together.

      Peanut Butter Cookie:
      • 1/2 cup butter, softened
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used extra chunky)
      • 1 egg
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup quick cooking oats
      • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
      • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
      • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
      • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
      1. In  a small bowl, combine the flour, bs, bp & salt. Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add in the peanut butter until well-mixed. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture. Stir in the oats. Refrigerate for two hours.
      2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a cookie scoop, make 24 uniform dough balls. Cut them in half and roll into balls (48 total). Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly with a fork. They will be small cookies! That's okay! Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
      1. Cream 3 tablespoons butter  with the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream until light and fluffy.
      2. Fill the filling into a large ziplock bag, cut one of the corners, and squeeze  the filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half, squeeze them together until the filling reaches the ends of the cookie! 

      Sunday, March 20, 2011

      Tiffany's Broccoli Salad

      And as a follow-up to my sad blog about gaining weight and vowing to change my ways... I'm posting a mayonnaise-based recipe. FAIL.

      Michael's uncle is in town this weekend and everyone was asked to bring a side to a BBQ. I had no idea what to bring, then I remembered that I always request for Tiffany to make broccoli salad every time we have a BBQ- it's easy, delicious, and only has a few ingredients. I've watched Tiffany make it a few times; she eyeballs all the ingredients so it took me a few adjustments to get things right, but it turned out delicious!

      I couldn't take a picture of it because I felt like a total creep taking pictures of the food in front of Michael's family at the BBQ, if we're going to be honest!

      I love this picture of Michael & Tiffany :)

      Tiffany's Broccoli Salad
      • 10 cups Broccoli Florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
      • 1 small Red Onion, diced
      •  1/2 cup Raisins
      • 1 can of sliced water chestnuts, drained (I forgot to buy these, Oops!)
      • 1 cup Mayonnaise (I used low-fat mayo, doesn't make a difference)
      • 1/3 cup White Sugar
      • 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
      • 2/3 cup Cashews
      • 1/3 cup Sunflower Seeds
      • 5 slices Bacon, cooked and chopped
      1. Whisk together the Mayo, Sugar & Vinegar in a large bowl- toss in the Broccoli, Onions, Raisins & Water Chestnuts. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
      2. Before serving- mix in the Bacon, Cashews & Sunflower Seeds.

      Friday, March 18, 2011

      Sloppy Joes

      Have you ever seen It Takes Two
      When Alyssa eats her first Sloppy Joe? 
      That's how I felt today.

      My mom used to make Sloppy Joes from a seasoning packet- which was good, but I decided I wanted to try to make them from scratch. 

      This was my first Sloppy Joe since grade school and.. Holy Delicious... Michael thought they were fantastic. 

      Sloppy Joes
      • 1 pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
      • 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
      • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
      • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
      • 1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
      • 3/4 cup Ketchup
      • 2 tablespoons BBQ Sauce
      • 3 teaspoons Brown Sugar
      • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
      • Dash of Worcestershire 
      • 1 tablespoon Quick-Cooking Oats 
      • 1/3 cup Water
      1. Brown the beef, onions, and bell peppers in a pan. Drain the meat well.
      2. Mix in the remaining ingredients- simmer on low for 20 minutes. 
      Serves 5 
      260 calories per serving 
      260kcal + 150kcal (bun) + 100kcal (1 cup of fruit salad) = 510 calorie meal

      My Butt > Size 4 = Sad Day.

      It's getting warm outside.
      The sun is shining, the birds are singing.. and I can't fit into my summer clothes. Shit.

      I can't lie to myself- I knew this was happening.
      But I blamed the scale- I blamed the extra pounds on forgetting to pee before I weighed myself.

      This blog & my body are officially getting a healthy make-over. The Green Cake is going into the trash. The ice cream in the freezer can go melt in a dumpster somewhere.

      Starting tomorrow... it's time to lose that muffin-top! Why tomorrow? Because I just ate a footlong hot dog, fries, and onion rings for lunch at Ted's Hot Dogs (I don't know why I'm gaining weight!? haha).

      I don't really have a game plan- just want to be aware of what I eat, move my body more, and count calories so I can hold myself accountable for what goes into my body. I have a great app on my phone that helped me lose a ton of weight a few years ago, they also have a great website that can track calories, pounds, goal dates, etc. I highly recommend AND it's free. Whoo-hoo!

      Wish me luck!

      Thursday, March 17, 2011

      St. Patrick's Day Cake

      Last time I tried to make a yellow cake from scratch, it tasted like eggs. 
      I'm sticking with boxed mixes!
      I made a yellow cake, as directed on the package.
      Added some green gel coloring.
      Divided the batter between two 9" round pans.
      Baked & cooled as directed.
      Once my cake was cool, I put the first layer (top side down/flat side up) on my pedestal.
      Then, for the sake of keeping things tidy, I tucked some wax paper around the edges of the cake.
      Frosted the top.
      Arranged the top cake layer- rounded side up.
      Frosted the sides.
      Frosted the top, removed all the wax paper and..

      *And by 'voila' I mean 'I don't know how to properly frost a cake so it looks a little rough!'

      Wednesday, March 16, 2011

      St Patrick's Day!

      The smallest one I could find was 3.48lbs.

      I don't know what 'corned beef' is. I, literally, had to research it before I could commit to making it into a meal. Michael requested Corned Beef & Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day, and I'm on Spring Break and have nothing better to I'm committed!

      I was raised by a Korean; she didn't ever make us corned beef! Last time I had a grilled cheese sandwich at my parents' house, she made me a grilled cheese... with pepper-jack cheese on cinnamon raisin bread. She's not exactly a connoiseur of American/European food, so a lot of things I want to try to cook take some serious research before I can commit to making them. Corned Beef and Cabbage is no exception.

      After googling, looking through cookbooks, and scouring, I've come to the conclusion that it seems kinda... gross. and bland. But Michael loves it, so I'm determined for this to be successful! Therefore, I'm making up a recipe based on what I think might work out. Will it taste good? I don't know. Will it be authentic? Definitely not. But it'll be my own! Let's pray it doesn't suck! :)

      But want to know what was REALLY intimidating? Going through the giant mound of corned beef in the meat section at Sprout's. There were 4 different kinds, all different weights, all different seasoning blends/cuts.. I don't know! I stood in front of all of them for about 15 minutes, reading all the ingredients and trying to sort out the differences. Eventually, an old woman came by, snatched up a package, and walked away.. She grabbed the green package, and so did I.

      I still don't know what it's seasoned with. Oh, well!
      The meat came covered in a weird, red, gelatinous substance.
      It grossed me out.  
      I gently rinsed it off before putting it into the pot.
      I poured 1 1/2 bottles of light beer over my beef.
      Happy St. Patty's Day, ya cow!
      I filled the pot with water until it reached about one inch above the top of the beef.
      I also threw it some garlic and chopped shallots.
      Brought it to a boil, then simmered it- covered- for 3 hours.  
      Once the meat was tender, I removed it from the liquid,
      placed it on an oven-safe dish, covered it, then put it in a 200 degree oven.
      Added carrots and potatoes to the pot.
      Brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat to a simmer.
      Simmered, covered, for 15 minutes.
      Then I packed all the cabbage wedges and onions into the pot.
      Brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat.
      Simmered, covered, for 15 minutes.
      While the cabbage was simmering, I sliced the meat. 
      Once the vegetables were tender, I arranged the cabbage around the beef.
      The potatoes and carrots didn't fit on the platter- 
      so they went into a separate bowl.
      They were not very photogenic so I have no documentation that they actually existed.. 
      But they did.

      Corned Beef & Cabbage
      • 3-4lb Corned Beef (mine came pre-seasoned)
      • 2 bottles Coors Light Beer (technically, I used 1 1/2... I have a drinking problem) 
      • 4 cloves Garlic, smashed
      • 2 large Shallots, roughly chopped
      1. Put the corned beef, beer, garlic, and shallot into a large stock-pot or dutch oven. 
      2. Cover everything with water (1/2" to 1" above the beef), throw a lid on it, and bring it to a boil. 
      3. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes per pound. My corned beef is 3.48 pounds, so I simmered it for 2 1/2 hours.
      4. After the corned beef has simmered for hours and is tender, double check: insert a skewer into the thickest part of the meat and make sure it easily slides in and out of the beef.
      5. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Remove the corned beef from the pot and place it on a large dish, ladle some of the stock (approximately one cup) onto the meat. Cover it with foil, and place it in the oven.
      • 15 small Yukon Gold Potatoes
      • 6 Carrots, cut into 3" pieces
      • 1 head of Cabbage, cut into 6-8 wedges
      • 2 Yellow Onions, quartered
      1. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot and bring the stock to a boil. Cover and simmer the vegetables until they begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes. 
      2. Add the cabbage wedges and quartered onion, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for another 10-15 minutes- until all vegetables are tender.
      3. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the oven. Slice meat across the grain (I'll also need to google how to do that), and return the meat to a platter. Arrange the vegetables around the meat, and serve.

      Tuesday, March 15, 2011

      Cake Balls!

      Spring Break means I have waaaaaay too much time on my hands!
      My Schedule / To-Do List for the day:
      • Start the laundry [we've accumulated approximately 400 loads over the past 10 days]
      • Bake a cake for Cake Balls
      • Research which vegetables thrive in Arizona's climate for my garden
      • Switch the laundry over / start a new load
      • Let the cake cool for 30 minutes
      • Fold laundry / start a new load 
      • Study for my anatomy practical next week
      • Roll the cake into balls, stick them in the fridge for two hours
      • Switch the laundry over / start a new load / fold laundry
      • Check on the Cake Balls a million times to see if they've hardened. Get impatient. Put them in the freezer.
      • Laundry. 
      • Watch Law & Order: SVU
      • Dip/Decorate the Cake Balls
      • Laundry.
      • Laundry.
      • Laundry.
      Life is really exciting these days.

      I made a Pillsbury Funfetti Cake with Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting. It's Micheal's favsies.
      Prepare & Bake as directed on the package for a 13"x9" pan. 
      Cool 30 minutes.
      Cut the hardened borders & corners away. Discard. Or eat. I ate.
      I cut the cake into smaller pieces to make it easier to crumble.
      Mix in 1/2 to 3/4 of the tub of frosting, until the mixture looks like stiff cookie dough.
      Roll the dough into 1" balls. Refrigerate (if you're patient) or freeze (if you're me) until hardened.
      Once the balls are hardened, dip into the melted candy coating (I used milk chocolate) using two forks.
      Decorate them right away! They harden fast, so you have limited time to get things to stick.
      I threw mine into little candy foil-cups I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

      Cake Balls
      • Box of Cake Mix, Any Flavor
      • Tub of Frosting, Any Flavor
      • Candy-Coating
      • Sprinkles/Shredded Coconut/Colored Sugar/Chopped Nuts/Anything!
      1. Bake the cake in a 9"x13" baking dish according to the directions.
      2. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes- cut around the edges of the cake to remove the hardened borders & corners.
      3. Crumble the cake into a large bowl- mix 1/2 to 3/4 of the frosting, until the cake starts to resemble a dense cookie dough.
      4. Roll the dough into one inch balls, place on wax paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or put in the freezer until hardened).
      5. Dip the balls into the candy coating, place on waxed paper, decorate however you want!