Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lighter Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

I have a soft spot for pasta with alfredo sauce on it.  It's so good.  Pasta dishes are great ways to get vegetable into people too.

This is a lighter pasta dish but it was delicious.  The broccoli was tasty and the alfredo sauce got soaked up in all of the little nooks of it and the pasta.  This also makes a great lunch the next day.

Broccoli Chicken Alfredo:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
2 cups roasted broccoli florets
8 ounces whole wheat pasta, I used rotini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk in the flour until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, Greek yogurt, milk, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan.

Add cooked chicken and broccoli to sauce mixture, followed by the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and serve with more Parmesan, if desired.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms

I've been in some what of a Meatless Monday rut.  I didn't grow up eating very many meatless meals and sometimes I have trouble thinking of new ideas.  This one came from seeing my Easter menu and realizing that I forgot to make the dang mushrooms.  I figured that I might have a good idea for something new for Meatless Monday.

These were delicious.  The mushrooms give a really meaty texture so if you're still on the fence about going meatless I think this would be a great place to start. 

Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms:

4 large portobello mushrooms, gills removed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle on top
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion and bell pepper.  Once the onion starts to brown add the garlic and carrots.  Let everything cook for about a minute.  The carrots still need to be pretty crunchy.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, spinach, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and seasonings.  Mix everything to combine.

Brush each mushroom cap with a little olive oil and begin to stuff them. 

Once each mushroom is as full as you'd like it to be place them on a baking sheet and drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

I've been battling a summer cold for the past couple of days. Since I've been sick I haven't gotten around to going to the grocery store and was left digging through the pantry for a snack.

When prepping the chickpeas make sure they are really dry.  I let mine sit in the strainer for a good 5 minutes and then dried them really well with a towel. 

This snack is made up of things I always have in the house and it really took no effort.  The flavor was really good but they didn't get as crispy as I would have liked them to.

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas:
(Sweet Pea's Kitchen)

2 (15 ounce) cans of chickpeas (or 4 cups cooked chickpeas)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoon honey


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander under running water. Thoroughly dry chickpeas with a kitchen towel.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Add chickpeas and toss until coated with spice mixture. Spread chickpeas out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the chickpeas are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle, 35-40 minutes.

Test taste every few minutes until desired texture is reached. Place hot, roasted beans in a small bowl and coat evenly with honey. Spread beans back out on baking sheet and allow to dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

It's Meatless Monday!!

I made Mexican Lasagna this week and it was delicious!  I was a little nervous going into it because I was kind of winging this one.  I didn't really do much research and used it as an excuse to clean out the refrigerator.  It worked out.

Mexican Lasagna:

12 corn tortillas
1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can reduced sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 large bell pepper, diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 cup fat free salsa
1-2 cups reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each tortilla in half and layer 6 halves in a casserole dish or lasagna pan.  Top with a third of the beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, salsa, and cheese. 

Continue layering the ingredients.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until everything is hot and the cheese has melted.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roasted Turkey Breast

I made my first turkey for Easter dinner this year.  I feel like I have crossed into adulthood.  I used a counter top roasting oven (thank you to my boss for letting me borrow it) and pretty much just winged it.  That being said, I cooked my turkey for too long.  The flavor was really good so I'm going to post this anyway.  I would recommend buying a meat thermometer, something I haven't bought yet.  One day I'll get tired of eating over cooked meat... but I'm rambling.

Roasted Turkey Breast:

1 bone-in turkey breast, thawed
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 limes, cut into wedges
3 oranges, cut into wedges
4 stalks celery
4 whole carrots
2 onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
Olive oil

Heat your oven or roaster to 350 degrees.

Season the turkey on all sides (including the under cavity) with the garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt.  Strip the leaves off of one of the sprigs of rosemary and thyme and sprinkle on the turkey.

In the bottom of the roaster lay the celery, onions, and carrots down.  You're trying to create a make shift roasting rack.  Place the cut citrus fruit on top of the celery, onions, and carrots.  Place the seasoned turkey on top of the fruit and veggies.  I took one of the orange slices and squeezed the juice all over the top of the bird.

Place the garlic cloves on and around the bird and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil on the top of the bird.

Cover and cook until the internal temperature of the bird is 165 degrees.  There will be some carryover cooking after the bird is finished so don't let it cook forever.  (Do as I say, not as I do)

When the turkey is finished let it rest for a few minutes and carve.

Here is a good website to look at if you happen to have any questions about cooking temperatures of your turkey.  USDA Factsheets-Let's Talk Turkey

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bean Tostadas

It's Meatless Monday!!  I've been slacking a little bit in updating but here we are.  We all know that my family eats a lot of Mexican Food and this is yet another tasty recipe!

This one is easy to make and if you don't like certain toppings or want something else then it's easy enough to change around.

Bean Tostadas:

8 corn tortillas
1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can vegetarian re-fried beans or a can of drained and rinsed pinto beans smashed
1 red onion, diced
1 cup reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
1 cup fat free salsa
Sour cream or Greek Yogurt

Preheat oven to 350.  Place the tortillas on a pan and place in oven to start crisping up.  I used a pizza pan that has holes in it to bake the tortillas.  Bake about 5 minutes.

Remove the tortillas, leave the oven on, and start to layer each one.  I spread some re-fried beans on mine and then topped them with black beans, onions, salsa, and cheese.  Bake them for an additional 10 minutes or until the tortilla is crunchy and the cheese has melted.

Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt.  These taste great with yellow rice or a guacamole salad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coconut Macaroons

We have just finished up the spring holiday season.  Passover and Easter were the same weekend this year and everywhere I looked there were coconut desserts galore, especially coconut macaroons.  I decided that this, and the fact that I had every ingredient needed to make these little desserts in my panty, was a sign... so I whipped up a batch.

I looked at quite a few macaroon recipes and they were all pretty similar.  I decided on this version from Ina Garten because she used a can of sweetened condensed milk, which is awesome. I think I'm going to add these into my dessert rotation.  They were really easy to make and the ingredient list is small.

Note:  If you are looking to make these for Passover I can't attest to the Kosherness (is that a word?) of them.


Coconut Macaroons:
(Ina Garten)

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons.


Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Strawberry-Margarita Jam

I got a canning set for Christmas this year.   Now that spring has officially sprung and there are beautiful strawberries all over the place I decided to get down to business!  I guess I could have started with a basic strawberry jam but when I saw this one I decided to go for it.  Go big or go home.

This turned out to be more of a sauce than a jam.  It could be because I didn't use the apples but it's also a good possibility that there was some user error.  I'm new to this whole canning thing.

Friendly canning reminder... make sure your jars and cleaned and sterilized before you start canning.

Strawberry-Margarita Jam:
 (adapted from Ball Canning Company)

8 cups halved hulled strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur
2 Tbsp strawberry schnapps, optional
6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

Combine strawberries and lemon juice in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If liquid breaks from spoon in a sheet or flake, it has reached the gel stage. If gel stage has been reached, stir in tequila, orange-flavored liqueur and strawberry schnapps, if using. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle hot preserves into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot preserves. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.