Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tzatziki

  • 12 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • *optional: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, mint, or chives 
  1. Squeeze all the excess moisture out of the shredded cucumber, then blot it on a paper towel. Try to dry it the best you can.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
I didn't take any pictures.. Whoops.
We had 'Greek Chicken Pitas' (grilled chicken seasoned with Greek seasoning from World Market, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion & feta cheese on flatbread) for dinner and this complimented them perfectly.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Healthy changes/additions that I use to justify eating this while on a diet:
Substituting half the white flour with whole-wheat flour.
Using applesauce in place of canola oil
Two of these little guys are perfect for this recipe.
Using fresh, grated zucchini! 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Original Recipe from skinnytaste.com
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (1 medium)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.
  2. Whisk the flours, cocoa, b. soda, b. powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, canola oil, vanilla, and unsweetened chocolate until smooth.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the zucchini, chocolate chips/walnuts. Divide batter between the two loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.
Serves 16 (8 slices per loaf)
Points + / Serving: 5

:)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beer Bread

I bought beer today. On a Tuesday! But it wasn't to drink.. it was to bake with. It's a sad day when you realize you're no longer as young & exciting as you used to be.

I'm normally a Coors Light [with lime & green olives] Girl. But I like perusing the beer aisle for fun, fancy beers. I used Pyramid Apricot Ale for this batch of beer bread. The ale is surprisingly fruity, and it's just kinda.. delicious. You can use any beer that you want, just choose a beer that you like. The variation I tried this time was SO good, but I'm going to try to use different beers/ales/stouts so it will taste different every time. Try the beer, or read the label, then decide if any additions (fresh rosemary, grated cheese, raisins, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc) would complement the flavor. The bread WILL take on the flavor of the beer, so be creative!
Pyramid Apricot Ale.
Mix everything together.
Until just combined.
Put into a greased 9 x 5 pan*
[This was an 8 x 4- This was a mistake]
Drizzle with melted butter.
Bake 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Delicious with our dinner!

Beer Bread
  • 12 oz bottle of beer, unopened & at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan*.
  2. Mix the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. 
  3. Pour the beer in all at once- it will foam up- and stir until everything is just combined, about 20-25 strokes.
  4. Transfer the batter to the pan, drizzle with the melted butter, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature within 2 days.
Variation:
Pyramid Apricot Ale: add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 tsp. orange extract.

*Make sure you use a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan for this. I made the horrible mistake of trying to fit it into an 8 x 4 because I couldn't find my larger pan... the bread fit, but the butter spilled out and smoked out my kitchen. Oops.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Tomatoes

I was carb-loading. I didn't have a marathon coming up or anything- but my cycle was about to start. Ladies, you know how that goes..
This pasta was so good it blew my mind. I was ridiculously proud of myself. It took 30 minutes from start to finish.

This is what it looked like a day later for lunch.
Here it is, all fresh and delicious, in all it's glory.



First, I minced a boatload of garlic. 
By a boatload, I mean 8-10 cloves. Whoa.
These were my fresh ingredients:
Sliced mushrooms.
One chopped onion.
Chopped basil & parsley.
Boatload of minced garlic.
One lemon, even though there are 2 pictured.
Saute the mushrooms & onion in butter and olive oil.
Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic,
Saute until fragrant, about a minute.
**Start boiling a large pot of salted water!!**
Add in the shrimp.
I used 1 lb. of 41-50 count shrimp.
I removed the tails.
It was on sale, and I like little shrimpies in my pasta instead of big guys.
Continue to saute until the shrimp are all nice & pink.
Dump in one can of diced tomatoes.
**Your water should be boiling now, throw the capellini (angel hair) pasta into the water**
Stir everything around while your pasta boils.
The pasta should only have to cook for about 3 minutes.
Add in as much crushed red pepper flakes as you want!
Once the pasta is done, use a pasta grabber/pasta fork 
and take it directly from the boiling water into the shrimp pan.
Add in the fresh parsley and basil.
Squeeze a lemon over the top.
Mix everything together, along with a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
So delish.
I didn't get a good picture of the final product 
because I ate my heart out as soon as it was done.
But this is what it looked like this afternoon when I had leftovers for lunch!

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Tomatoes
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • medium yellow onion, minced
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, depending on their size, minced
  • 1 - 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, 41-50 count/lb, rails removed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • red pepper flakes
  • capellini/angel hair pasta (I probably used 1/3 of a 1 lbs package)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the butter is melting, fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the olive oil/butter until the onions are translucent- add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet, and cook over medium heat until both sides are pink and shrimp is almost cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes (with juice) to the skillet. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
  4. By this time, the water should be boiling- add the pasta to the water. 
  5. Once the pasta is done, transfer the noodles straight from the boiling water to the skillet. Turn the heat off, squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the pasta. Toss everything together, including the fresh herbs and parmesan. 
Serves 4Publish Post
WeightWatchers Points+ / Serving: 12

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Camping Essentials

Our first camping trip of 2011 is this weekend. Michael is a camping enthusiast & I'm a s'mores enthusiast, so it kinda evens out.

I had never been camping before Michael and I started dating. Prior to this relationship, I would have considered myself a diva. I had to adjust when I fell in love with a mountain man.

My presence in camp has made things slightly more... comfortable. I refuse to go without certain conveniences.

Big Buddy Tent Heater
I can't sleep if I'm cold.

Coleman Gas Stove
Just like cooking at home!

Pink Polka Dot RainBoots
I wear wool socks inside of them so my feet are warm.
I can rinse them off if I accidentally pee on my feet.
..Don't act like you've never peed on your feet if you've had to pop a squat.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

After a long night of drinking, I used to enjoy a delicious plate of chocolate chip pancakes from IHOP. But I'm grown up now. Now I eat them for breakfast. With blueberries instead of chocolate chips.
This recipe is easy, delish, and produces thick, fluffy pancakes. Personally, I love small pancakes. I like my pancakes petite and adorable. Big pancakes are too hard to flip. I used 2 medium cookie scoops per pancake and they were the perfect size.
The blueberry sauce is really simple. I buy frozen blueberries in a giant bag from Costco, and always have them in the freezer. The warm sauce is fab over pancakes or waffles, but if you chill the sauce it's reaaaaaally good with cheesecake. 
Pancakes
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Whisk egg, butter, and vanilla extract into "soured" milk. 
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium to medium low heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour  batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
Serves 2-4, depending on how many pancakes you eat!

Blueberry Sauce
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference, I used 1/3)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk in the water until the sugar dissolves.
  2.  Add the blueberries and orange zest- bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Let the sauce boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls

One of my favorite places to eat is Saigon Pho in Chandler. It's super cheap, small, and sometimes it smells weird, but I'm a big fan of their chicken pho & shrimp spring rolls, also known as #2 & #14. Everything on their menu is numbered so it's easier to order- some of the servers don't exactly have the best English, but it's never been an issue for me. Michael, on the other hand, can't understand a word they say. 

I want to branch out and try more of their menu items, but they don't have any freakin' descriptions so I don't know what anything is! If anyone considers themselves to be a connoisseur of Vietnamese food, feel free to point me in the right direction.

I ran to Asiana Market on Dobson/Southern to pick up some ingredients. My mom shops there for Korean groceries and I've been there several times with her- I know the layout and I feel comfortable perusing the aisles, even though I can't read the majority of the labels. Michael went with me and carried the basket- he cried the entire time because he left his CocaCola in the car and he was worried his ice would melt. 

This is what I picked up from the market. 
Rice Sticks and Rice Paper.
Follow the directions of the back to cook the Rice Sticks- 
bring water to a boil, add the sticks, and boil for 1-2 minutes. 
I grabbed the noodles out with a slotted spoon, and kept the water in the pot.
Let the noodles cool while you prep the vegetables.
I julienned carrots and cucumbers.
Trimmed the ends of bean sprouts.
Cut butter lettuce leaves into three pieces.
& grabbed mint, cilantro & basil from the garden.
This is the little set-up I had to make the rolls.
I also boiled shrimp (cook for 2 minutes in boiling salted water), 
and cut it in half from where you would de-vein it.
Dip a piece of rice paper into warm water (my noodle-boiling pot) for 3-4 seconds.
Place it on a plate; it'll continue to soften as it sits.
Place 2-3 pieces of lettuce on the bottom. Then rice sticks, then veggies.
Add the shrimp- pink side down.
Sprinkle with herbs.
Roll up reaaaaaally tight, like a burrito.
All of mine are different sizes, oops.
This was my first time.
Now mix together a dipping sauce!
3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce.
1 tablespoon PB.
2 tablespoons water.
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce.
Cut them on a diagonal.
Delicious!

WeightWatchers.com listed Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls as 2 Points+ each. 
uhh... Cha-ching! That means I can eat, like, 15 a day! 

Baked Salmon



Super easy recipe! And the best part about it?
Michael caught this bad boy while he was fishing on the Columbia River!
Start by seasoning the salmon with garlic & lemon pepper.
Mix the marinade together, and seal everything together in a ziplock bag.
Marinade for 2 hours in the fridge
Grill or bake!

Asian Salmon
[Original recipe from allrecipes.com]
  • 1 lb. salmon fillets
  • garlic powder
  • lemon pepper
  • 1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  1. Season the salmon with garlic powder & lemon pepper. 
  2. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil in a small bowl. 
  3. Place the salmon & the sauce in a large ziplock bag. Refrigerate for atleast 2 hours.
  4. Place foil on a cookie sheet and lightly spray it with nonstick spray. Place the fillets on the cookie sheet, discard the marinade, and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes* (depending on how thick your fillets are, it may require more or less time). 
*Normally, I would prefer to grill the salmon- but my grill is a DISASTER after we made homemade wings last week. Grilling the salmon is definitely an option if you'd prefer the grill over the oven.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baked Chile Rellenos

I didn't want to go grocery shopping last week. As a direct result of that decision, we didn't have any home-cooked meals and were nutrient deprived for 5 days straight. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't starving- in fact, I gained weight. Pizza & potato chips will do that to you.

I've had such a hard time keeping up with WeightWatchers, and I think it is mostly because of my lack of planning. Physical therapy is taking over so much of my spare time that we've had late, quick meals almost every night. But this week will be dedicated to more efficient time-management! I'm going to menu plan, count points, and try to get everything back on track.


Our first meal of the week? Chile Rellenos!
For my sake, I'm baking them instead of frying them.
For Michael's sake, I'm adding meat.
Call this recipe whatever you want, but don't call it authentic Mexican food!

I started by roasting poblano chiles in my oven until they were black & blistered.
I did this in the morning, to save myself some time later.
I threw them in tupperware to cool.
Once the chiles cool, you can easily remove the skin.
I also removed all the seeds & membranes.
Sautee the onions until translucent, then toss in the garlic until fragrant.
Add the chicken chorizo, season with cayenne & garlic powder.
Cook over medium heat until chicken is cooked.
Grease a baking dish.
Cover half the chile with chorizo, top with pepperjack & shredded cheese.
Fold the other half of the chile over the filling.
I took a break at this point, wrapped it in saran wrap, and did some homework.
Whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder & milk.
I also opted to season it with salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne & some garlic powder.
 Cover the chiles with the egg mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven.
Spread 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce over the top (we used El Pato), and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Chile Rellenos
  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb. chicken chorizo* (I picked mine up at Sprout's)
  • Dash of: cayenne pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded mexican blend cheese, separated
  • 2 slices pepperjack cheese, cut in half (need 4 pieces)
  •  3/4 cup canned enchilada sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  1. Roast the poblanos either in the broiler on on the grill, until the skin is black and blistered. Place poblanos into a ziplock bag (or tupperware) and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Once the chiles have cooled, remove the skin, seeds, and innards. Cut the tops off and lay the chiles flat. Set aside.  
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Spray a pan with non-stick spray. Sautee the onions over medium until soft and translucent, about two minutes. Add the garlic, sautee until fragrant. Add the chicken chorizo, season with the spices, and cook until done. Drain the meat, if necessary. 
  4. Grease a baking dish with nonstick spray. Mound the meat on one side of the chile, top with half a slice of pepperjack, sprinkle a tablespoon shredded cheese. Fold the other half of the chile over, and place in the baking dish.
  5. Combine the eggs, flour, baking powder, and milk. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add in a dash of cayenne and garlic powder.
  6. Spread egg mixture over the chiles and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, top with 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, remaining shredded cheese, and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Top with green onions.

Serves 4
Points+ / Serving: 9
*If you eliminate the chicken chorizo, it will bring the points down to 6 Points+ / Serving.