Friday, August 27, 2010

Weight Watcher's Zucchini Bread

My Grandmother's neighbor grows tons of veggies.  Every summer they bring my grandma a basket full of summer veggies, including zucchini.  I'm not a zucchini fan, except in bread.  I love zucchini bread so much.  I can usually snag a couple of them and make a loaf or two.

Zucchini Bread:
(Weight Watchers- 3 points)

1 egg
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, spray and 8x4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat the egg until pale yellow, gradually adding the sugar.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter, and lemon zest.  Mix the wet and dry mixes together, alternately.  Fold in the zucchini, the batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 10 minutes on the top oven rack, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

I also like to add walnuts or pecans (which will change your points value if you're watching that).  Toasted, this is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast.  This bread will also freeze well if wrapped in freezer wrap.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Magic Cookie Bars

Every family has a version of this dessert.  It's a great dessert to make if you have to throw something together at the last minute or just want to use what you have in the pantry.  I've seen it made with peanut butter chips, white chocolate, and and a million other things.

I made these for one of my coworker's 5 year working anniversary and they were a big hit.  They were so rich that we were able to eat on them for a couple of days.

Magic Cookie Bars:


1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick salted butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Sprinkle pecans, coconut flakes, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips on top in layers.

Pour can of sweetened condensed milk over mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.

These are so rich!  (but so good)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weight Watcher's Tabbouleh

I never tried tabbouleh when I worked at the vegetarian cafe in college.  I don't know why, it was a really popular item on the menu.  I found this version when I was poking around one of my cookbooks.  I've enjoyed eating it this summer because it's filling without making me feel gross in the summer heat.

(Weight Watchers- 2 points per serving)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup Bulgur
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 scallions (green parts only), sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
In a medium saucepan, bring the lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil.  Stir in the bulgur, oil, salt, and pepper.  Remove from hear; cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, onion, scallions, and garlic.  Add the bulgur; toss to combine.   Refrigerate, covered for at least 3 hours.

I love this dish because it's easy to make and it will keep a couple of days in an air tight container.  It's perfect for Labor Day picnics too.  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've heard great things about Alton Brown's chocolate chip cookies.  He has three versions: "The Chewy", "The Thin", and "The Puffy".  I have no interest in puffy or thin chocolate chip cookies so I obviously went with "The Chewy".

Alton Brown's "The Chewy":
from The Food Network

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

They tasted really good but I didn't love the texture.  They were puffier than I was looking for.  I brought them into work and everyone else loved them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

When I was at my mom's house this weekend I found a new cookbook.  Simply Florida: A Taste of Flavors From the Sunshine State was published by the University of Florida (GO GATORS!!) and focuses on using ingredients that can be found all over the state of Florida.  I think that this book might just find it's way over to my house.  ;)

This is a really easy dinner roll recipe and there is nothing better than warm rolls at supper time,

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls:
(Simply Florida: A Taste of Flavors From the Sunshine State)

2 envelopes dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl.  Add the hot water, oil honey, eggs, and sea salt.  Mix well.  Add the flour, gradually, mixing after each addition; do not knead.

Place the dough ball in a greased bowl, turning to coat the surface.  Chill, covered with plastic wrap, for 8-10 hours.  Pull down the dough and shape into rolls, about 1/4 cup worth.  Arrange the rolls om two 9x13-inch greased baking pans.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mexican Casserole

Mr. T loves mexican food, so do I.  I'm always looking for new things to make and who doesn't love a casserole?!

Mexican Casserole:
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 teaspoons vegetable oil
18 flour tortillas
4 cups cooked cubed or bite size chicken meat
6 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoons seasoning salt
1 cup chopped green onions
3/4 pound (3 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 ounces Queso blanco, shredded (substitute Parmesan if unavailable)
1 cup sour cream
Salsa or Pico de Gallo


Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, little by little, until thoroughly combined. Add the chicken stock and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and flavorful, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper jack and stir until melted. Season with the season salt and remove from the heat. Set aside, covered, while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-by 13-inch casserole.

Spoon 1 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with 6 of the tortillas, spreading them evenly to form a complete layer. Top with half of the chicken, half of the poblanos, half of the green onions, 1 1/2 cups of the sauce, and 1/3 of the shredded Monterey Jack. Make another layer in exactly the same way.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 15 minutes longer, or until the casserole is bubbly and light golden brown on top.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blue Cheese Bacon Bites

This is another quick and easy appetizer that you can make if guests show unexpectedly. 

Blue Cheese Bacon Bites:(Mom)

Cook six slices of bacon about half done and drain. Chop into small pieces.
1 can of biscuits cut into quarters. Arrange in a baking dish.
1/4 cup soft butter
4 oz blue cheese

Mix cheese with butter and spread evenly over biscuit tops. Sprinkle with chopped bacon.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

These are so good and seriously easy!  I love blue cheese so I usually add some extra when I pull them out of the oven.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spinach & Mushroom Pasta

Here's another addition to the quick meals section.  Pasta always seems to be something that people gravitate towards when making meals for the family.  It makes since.  Pasta is cheap and easy to find.

This is a little bit of a different spin on the normal everyday pasta.  I love spinach and mushrooms and I try to put veggies in as much of my meals as possible.  This is a 2 pot meal, which also helps during the week.

Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Pasta:

(Family Favorites- Vegetables)

10 ½ oz penne pasta
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
9 oz of mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoon cream cheese
1 cup frozen spinach

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserve ¾ cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes or until almost crisp. Stir in the oregano, stock, and lemon juice and cook 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced by half.

Stir in the cream cheese and spinach. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid, then the cooked pasta. Stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat through before serving.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken

Here's an easy weeknight meal.  This is a really good chicken dish that goes great with a side salad or some steamed broccoli (my favorite).  The leftovers are also really good for lunch the next day.

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken:

3 tbsp. olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
¾ cup water
¼ cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
4 cups hot cooked extra wide egg noodles
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tbsp oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet.

Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir soup, water, tomatoes, vinegar, and basil in skillet.

Return chicken to skillet and heat to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken and sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

If egg noodles aren't your thing leave them out and serve this dish with mashed potatoes.  It's just as good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grits- repost

I'm reposting this because I did it a while ago and I took some better pictures this weekend.

I love grits.  Seriously, it's my favorite.  Cheese grits are the best.  Whenever we do anything that involves breakfast food or seafood I am volunteered to bring the grits.

I use 5 minute quick grits.  I just don't feel like standing infront of the stove most days to stir the stone ground kind.

1 cup of 5 minute "quick" grits, NOT instant
3 cups of water
1 cup of milk
4 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup of cheese I like cheddar and swiss.
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, boil water.  After water comes to a boil add grits and turn off heat.  Stir with a whisk while the water is being absorbed. 

Add the butter, milk, and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  It takes a decent amount of salt and pepper. 

You can add more cheese or butter or whatever as you go.  Just try it.

Best breakfast ever!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

I love cheesecake.  It's probably my favorite dessert.  One of the reasons that I like it so much is that you can add a million different flavors to it.  I love oreo, turtle, snickers, chocolate mint... the list goes on.

Here's one that I made this weekend.  I found peanut buttercups on sale so I decided to make a peanut buttercup cheesecake.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake:
3 pounds cream cheese
4 eggs
2 T flour
2 T corn starch
3 cups sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
pinch of salt
10 large peanut butter cups
large spring form pan, greased with butter.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Take a spring form pan and grease it well with either non-stick cooking spray or butter.

Cream the cheese and sugar well. Add corn starch, flour, vanilla salt, cream again.

Add eggs, one at a time.

Add chopped peanut buttercups this time.  Make sure cake is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pour into pan.

Bake until it's lightly brown on top and the center is solid to the touch, about 2 hours.  Remove from oven. let cool.

Refrigerate on the base of the springform pan in the fridge at least 12 hours before serving.

It's even better the next day.