Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

We love muffins! But what do we love even better? A healthy version, of course! This recipe was in a local grocery store flyer, and when we saw it, we just knew we needed to try it...for all you readers, you know. Ok, ok...maybe we just wanted to try them because we wanted to eat them...they sounded so yummy!! But the great thing about these muffins is that they are not overly sweet, so they make a good snack in the middle of the day. Try them soon, folks! You won't be disappointed, and either will your kiddos!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

2 c. whole wheat flour pastry flour
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
15 oz. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. plain yogurt
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. frozen blueberries
3/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped

Whisk the whole wheat four, flaxseeds, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, milk, egg and egg white in a bowl and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix until moistened.

Fold in the blueberries and walnuts. Spoon the batter evenly into 18 muffin cups coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 375* for 28 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whey Peachy Pancakes

Let's see, we've already made pancakes with Bananas, Blueberries, and Apples, so why not peaches? And since we made Greek yogurt the other day, we now have healthy and tangy liquid whey that we need to use, so we're going to put that tang to good use by incorporating it into these Whey Peachy Pancakes.

Removing the whey from yogurt takes the sting out of the flavor and creates a milder substance that can be easily substituted for sour cream. The flavor we want removed from the yogurt to create a different taste and texture, is the same flavor we really want in this recipe to give the pancakes a lift, so to speak. The ingredient list below looks fairly standard for pancakes, but trust me, the whey, peaches, and nutmeg help make this no ordinary breakfast cake.

If I dare say - and I do - these cakes taste a lot like Peach Cobbler without the ice cream. When taking a poll after serving them to nieces and nephews, I found that I was not alone in my assessment. So, go ahead and try them out for yourself and conduct a poll of your own!

Whey Peachy Pancakes

1-1/2 Cups Flour
*we like using at least 1/2 oat flour
One Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1- 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Eggs, beaten
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, or Butter, melted
1-1/4 Cups Liquid Whey
One Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
One Peach, diced small
Sprinkles of Nutmeg

Pour all the dry ingredients into one bowl and the wet ones in another. Then mix them altogether. Pour desired-size pancake onto a hot griddle and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. Flip pancake when tiny bubbles form in the batter.

Drown them in maple syrup, lightly drizzle the maple syrup, or just eat them plain - they can certainly stand on their alone and still shine!

Have a Peachy Day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yogurt and Chive Pasta

Okay. This is going to go fast, so don't blink!

If you're looking for something quick, light, and tasty to sit next to your steak or chicken on the plate, we have the perfect side entree' for you. If you've already made your Greek yogurt or decided to go with store-bought, which is absolutely fine.........then this pasta will go together in a flash.

Try your best to time it so that when the pasta is al dente, you are ready for it to take it's place next to the chicken - if that's who's being served up for dinner - because tossing the pasta with the yogurt sauce and serving immediately is simply the best way to eat it - fresh!

We ask that you refrain from using dried chives here, because only fresh will do.


Yogurt and Chive Pasta

1/2 Pound Capellini Pasta
3 Tablespoons Butter
One Tablespoon Olive Oil
One Clove of Garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
One Cup Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Chives
*and a little extra for decoration
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

While a boiling pot of water is cooking your Capellini pasta - which won't take long at all - melt butter and olive oil together in a separate saucepan on loooow heat. Add garlic and lemon juice and stir together. Remove from heat and slowly incorporate the yogurt, chives, and salt.

When pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the yogurt mixture. Toss it so pasta is completely coated with yogurt. Add the Parmesan. Feel free to add more lemon juice and/or salt to taste.

Serve immediately with chopped chives on top.

Note: Even though this heats up beautifully the next day, I also like it cold, straight from the fridge....

A Second Note: You could make this crazy healthy by using Brown Rice Pasta, OR even crazier than that.....Spaghetti Squash!

Go Crazy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's Make Some Greek Yogurt


You could buy greek yogurt, but you can just as easily make it. Why would you want to do that, you ask? Why not? It's easy and it makes itself overnight - like magic!

So, buy yourself a large carton of plain whole milk yogurt or lowfat yogurt. Pour a good two cups into a strainer as it sits atop a bowl. Place in the refrigerator overnight, dream sweet and goofy dreams, and then wake up to magically made Greek Yogurt. You'll be amazed by the thickness and fantastic creaminess of the yogurt and you'll notice all the healthy whey liquid that has collected down below. Do NOT discard that whey - it's seriously healthy stuff and we're going to put it to good and yummy use very soon. That whey contains many of the most important vitamins and nutrients found in yogurt, so pour it into a nice glass container with a lid and respectfully put it back in the fridge for when we make Whey Peachy Pancakes for breakfast- coming soon!

But first, we're going use the Greek Yogurt in a delicious pasta recipe. A variation of this recipe uses sour cream and it is divine, BUT it calls for a whole cup of sour cream, so it better taste good, right? Just for a moment though, reflect on the facts provided by Stoneyfield Farms down below and then we'll continue....

Calories In one cup
Sour Cream 492
Mayonnaise 1540
Whole Milk Yogurt 180
LowFat Yogurt 120

Total Fat in One Cup
Sour Cream 48 grams
Mayonnaise 176 grams
Whole Milk Yogurt 9 grams
LowFat Yogurt 2 Grams

We are NOT opposed to using sour cream, but it's always exciting to consider tasty and healthy alternatives and that's what we're talking about today. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream is a great way to still enjoy fabulous flavor and save some serious calories! Besides the calorie factor, sometimes we like to strain our yogurt before we make our Frozen Lemon Yogurt simply because it makes it a tad richer and creamier.

So, tune in tomorrow for Yogurt and Chive Pasta. It is a simple, easy, quick, and oh-so flavorful pasta that you'll love to make! And then in a couple days, we'll use that priceless whey with it's special tangy flavor to make the best peach pancakes you've ever had!

Prepare to be surprised!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Do you loooove surprises?

You know, like sweet creamy filling spilling out of a chocolate truffle, a tootsie roll unveiled after a thousand licks of a cherry tootsie pop, chocolate pudding cascading out of a luscious lava cake, or maybe a long awaited 3 carat-diamond hid inside a fortune cookie?


We both LOVE surprises of any kind, so these meatballs with a cheesy surprise hidden inside is a surefire winner in our book. Even though we're the ones hiding the cheese inside for the kids or guests to happily discover, we still get to enjoy the magic of the cheese oozing out when our fork cuts the first bite.

We love using the traditional Mozzarella, but that's never stopped us from using other varieties of cheeses, especially after our first Cheese Tasting Party. ( We say First cheese tasting party because somewhere around cheese number four, it was unanimously decided that tasting a mere six cheeses was not nearly enough, so there will be more parties to come honoring the almighty cheese!) So, as always, step outside your comfort zone and go crazy with your cheese choice, because it's hard to go wrong with cheese!

IF you are not into surprises or cheese (which, by the way, is totally crazy) this little meatball recipe all by itself is a winner - cheese or no cheese!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

One Pound Lean Ground Beef
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Milk or Water (more or less)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
One Medium Onion, finely chopped
One Large Garlic, pressed
One Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Dash of Thyme and Basil
One Egg

4 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese

Mix all ingredients together, but don't add all of the milk/water at one time. It should be moist, but not so much that the meatballs fall apart.

Roll each meatball around a one-inch piece of cheese of your choice to a desired size and place in an 8x8 inch pan. Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve as is, with warm spaghetti sauce, or with sauce and noodles.

OR, broil meatballs until outside is slightly browned on one side, then turn and broil the other. When finished, add to spaghetti sauce and simmer at least 20 minutes.

Serve and Surprise!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rice Crust Pizza

I was around 12 years old when my mother rocked our world by doing away with white flour, white rice, white sugar, and marshmallows. Iceberg lettuce became the enemy, as did margarine, velveeta and the microwave you melted it in.

Instead of Cheerios and doughnuts for breakfast, she fed us brown rice bathed in milk, honey, and cinnamon, which was actually very good. She tried to convince us kids that we would perform better in sports if we ate a bowl of brown rice in the morning instead of sugared cereal. She didn't have to work too hard to convince us, because deep down we knew it made good sense.

Since brown rice is such a fabulous grain - rich in fiber, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals - my mother used it a lot! Whenever a recipe called for pasta, she used rice. She found this recipe in a cookbook that is no longer in print, called "Whole Foods For the Whole Family" by the LaLeche League. It was surprisingly one of my favorites growing up and when my older sister made it for lunch over the July 4th weekend, it brought back yummy memories.

As with most of our recipes on this blog, there is plenty of wiggle room and creativity encouraged here - we are making pizza after all, so anything goes once the crust is made, because this very healthy and tasty crust is the star of the show!

Rice Crust Pizza

To Prepare Crust:
One Cup Uncooked Brown Rice
2-1/4 Cups Liquid (water or broth)
One Teaspoon Salt
Combine all three ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and allow to simmer with lid on for approximately 45-50 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

Add and Mix:
2 Eggs, beaten
One Cup Mozzarella Cheese, grated

Spread rice mixture thinly on a round 10" pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and "decorate" with desired toppings. Return to the oven for ten minutes longer or until heated through.

On the gorgeous pizza showcased above, my sister used pizza sauce, mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, mushrooms, red peppers, and hamburger seasoned well and cooked with onions.

What will you do?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Do you have zucchini growing out of your ears?

If you're growing it in your garden, you probably do.

If you've been paying any sort of attention to our little blog up until now, you'll know exactly what to do with this fabulous green monster, because we've made Pastistio, Zucchini Quesadinnis, Veggies with Orzo, Roasted Veggie Quesadillas, and Fiber and Flavor Muffins - just to name a few.
We've got a lot more healthy recipes up our sleeves when it comes to the zucchini, but right now we're going to take a break from healthy and talk dessert. Since it is our mission in life to search out every possible way to mix chocolate with anything else, it was only a matter of time before we stumbled upon a Chocolate Zucchini Brownie recipe.

It was truly love at first bite, no doubt about it, but we weren't completely sold on the name. It didn't fit the bill as a brownie, so we decided it was a cake. Then it became a cake baked in two round pans, stacked and glued together with icing, and later it/they became cupcakes. Any way you bake 'em, they are wonderful. They are perfectly moist with a hint of cinnamon and the oh-so marvelous taste of chocolate.

And since no cake is complete without frosting, we've included two killer recipes that really make this "cake" sing, so choose your poison.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
One Teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Cocoa PowderOne Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Cups Shredded Zucchini

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, and sugar for 3 minutes at medium speed. Add dry ingredients and mix slowly until combined. Add zucchini and stir until incorporated. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool before frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing #1
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 Cup Butter, softened
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
One Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing #2
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa PowderOne Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Creamy Corn

Sometimes, you just need a meal that comes together quickly and doesn't use a lot of fancy ingredients, wouldn't you agree? Well, we came across this one in BHG recently, and it sure fits the bill! Completely unassuming, it uses only the most basic of summer ingredients, and goes from the fridge to the table in a just a little over 20 minutes! And best yet, the entire crowd loved it! Try it tonight!

Grilled Chicken and Creamy Corn

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
3 ears fresh sweet corn
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c. sour cream
1/4 c. shredded fresh basil
Salt & Pepper

In a small bowl, combine oil and paprika. Brush the corn and chicken with the oil mixture, then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill directly over medium coals for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink (170*), turning only once.

Carefully cut the kernels from the cob by firmly holding the corn at the top and slicing downward with a sharp knife. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sour cream. Season with additional salt and pepper. Stir in milk to the desired creaminess. (Note: I didn't use any milk, because I didn't think it really needed it...but use your best judgement!) Slice the chicken breasts and serve with a big spoonful of the creamy corn. Sprinkle with shredded basil.

*We highly suggest using fresh basil here, as the taste is undeniably summery!!!*

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Casserole...OLE!

Do you ever have those days when you come home and want something hearty, but quick to throw together? We have them all the time, and this is one of our favorite go-to meals when that happens. Now if you're like us, you keep some cooked diced chicken in your freezer for just such an occasion. Simply pull that out, and let's get started!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

8 corn or flour tortillas
2 c. cubed or shredded chicken, cooked
1 c. shredded monterey jack or cheddar
2 tbsp. chopped green chilies
1 bunch green onions, chopped
(1) 20 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
(1) 8 oz container nonfat, plain yogurt

Begin by preheating your oven to 350. Coat an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with cooking spray, or if you're a rebel, like we are, you can use a round casserole dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with 4 tortillas. Sprinkle half the chicken, half the cheese, and half of the green onions on the tortillas. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt and enchilada sauce until smooth. Pour half of the mixture over the casserole.

Layer remaining tortillas, chicken, and chilies. Sprinkle with half the remaining cheese. Pour the rest of the sauce over the dish. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and remaining green onions. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

See, didn't we tell you it would be easy?? Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy!!!

**A word about the enchilada sauce...we always use Old El Paso or Ortega enchilada sauce, but for some reason the last time I made this, I used the store brand. Let it suffice to say that I would not recommend that. Barry wouldn't eat any of the leftovers, which NEVER happens. So, choose your enchilada sauce carefully, peeps!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Black Thai Burgers with Gingered Shiitakes

These here burgers are not for everyone. They are not for the weak at heart, they are not for the Plain-Jane eaters at your table, and they are not for the Big Mac lovers of this world.

These burgers are for the adventurous soul, the live-like-there's-no-tomorrow explorer, and that specially spirited person who says "Yes" to trying anything at least once.

Who are you?

Black Thai Burgers with Gingered Shiitakes

For the Burgers:
1-1/2 Pounds Ground Chuck
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Mint
One Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons Minced Jalapeno Peppers, with seeds
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
One Teaspoon Grated Lime Zest, opt.
One Teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Mushrooms:
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Oil
2 Teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger
8 Ounces Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

To Prepare Burgers:
In a large bowl, gently mix together the burger ingredients with your hands. Shape the meat into four patties of equal size and thickness (about 3/4-inch thick).

To Prepare the Mushrooms:
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil and add the ginger. Add the mushrooms and cook, Stirring occasionally, until tender, 4-6 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Brush both sides of the patties with the oil and grill over direct medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees for medium, 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. During the last 30 seconds, grill the buns until lightly toasted.

Serve the burgers hot on the toasted buns, topped with gingered mushrooms.

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Goat Cheese Frittata

Another Frittata!

And you know why? Because it's just so obvious.





We don't know how you feel about Goat Cheese (Chevre). Don't know if you know what it is or what it tastes like, but we're here to tell you it's a wonderful cheese to work with in the kitchen. It's favorably known for it's pleasant tang and creamy texture and can be found in anything from salads to cheesecakes!

For us, getting a speck of goat cheese with each bite is as exciting as getting a chocolate chip in every bite of a cookie. The cookie itself is worth our attention for sure, but let's get real shall we, everybody's eating the cookie for the chocolate. We KNOW we are not alone in this...........

We certainly aren't comparing goat cheese to chocolate - that's preposterous - but in this frittata, you're going to want a little cheese surprise in every bite you take!

Goat Cheese Frittata

4 Large Eggs
One Medium Sized Yellow Squash, chopped in one-inch pieces
1/2 Medium Red Onion, chopped in one-inch pieces
One Red Bell Pepper, chopped in one-inch pieces
One Cup Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Milk
1/8 Teaspoon Chili Powder
2 Ounces of Goat Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, toss vegetables with olive, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on cookie sheet and place in hot oven. Roast for approximately 20-25 minutes until veggies are cooked.

Preheat broiler. Whisk the eggs, milk, chili powder, and another pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl and blend. Set aside.

Pour some olive oil into your cast-iron skillet - enough to coat - and warm to medium heat. Add the roasted vegetables to the skillet when warmed, then pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes just until the eggs start to set. Crumble the goat cheese over the eggs and vegetables. Reduce the heat and cook until it is almost set but the top of the frittata is still a little runny - 2-3 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler and watch it closely. You want to broil the top so it's set and golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool a minute or two, then remove the frittata from the skillet using a spatula. Cut into triangles and serve.

This heats magnificently the next day.