Friday, February 27, 2009

Caramelized Banana Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a delicious and healthy breakfast! There are so many variations you can make depending on your taste and what you have on hand. It is always fun to experiment with new ingredients. This week for breakfast for dinner night we had caramelized banana oats! I have to take every opportunity I can get to use the kitchen torch!

Recipe makes 2 large servings

1 ripe banana, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup, steel cut oats
3 cups water
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/2 banana, sliced
sugar, to taste
milk (or almond milk is my preference)

1. Put water, cut up banana, vanilla, and raisins in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once it begins to boil, add oats. Reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until oats have absorbed water. Stir in cinnamon.
3. While oats are cooking, cover one side of banana slices with sugar. Use kitchen torch to caramelize sugar. You can also do this in a broiler, but watch carefully.
4. You can add milk and sugar to taste depending on your personal oatmeal preference :)
5. Top with caramelized banana slices.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cinnamon Apple Bars

Happy Birthday to Marcus, Happy Birthday to Marcus! I have had a bag of cinnamon chips that I was saving for a special occasion and it turns out that Marcus's 26th Birthday was that occasion! I found these apple cinnamon bars on the blog Culinary in the Desert, and thought they looked delicious so I chose to make those. They were tasty, and it seems that they reminded most people of a carrot cake type taste (which is one of my favorite desserts)- maybe it was the cream cheese frosting! My version of the recipe is posted below, and sorry they were not very photogenic :)

Here are a couple pics of Marcus with his treats :)

Frosted Cinnamon Apple Bars (Adapted from Land O Lakes)

For the bars

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups white wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped apples

For the frosting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

To make the bars

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt and baking soda.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in cinnamon chips and chopped apple.

Spread the mixture into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with nonstick spray. The batter is pretty thick so you will have to push it into the corners. Bake until golden and a toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes.

To make the frosting

In a medium bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled bars.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free Kashi Meal!

For a limited time, Kashi is offering a coupon for a free frozen entree! Click here to sign up!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

This is an easy, simple stir fry, but it really is delicious! Cutting up the fresh vegetables takes a little time, but it is worth it. It is also a healthy alternative to stir fry that is usually served in restaurants because it is made with very little oil. I love it served over brown rice because I think it has better texture, and it is healthier than white rice. I don't know that this can be called an actual recipe because the vegetables and their amounts can be customized to your specific tastes or whatever you have on hand. So, with that being said, my "recipe" is below.

* 3/4 lb chicken breast tenders cut in bite size pieces
* 1 medium zucchini
* 1 medium squash
* 1/3 cup chopped carrots
* 1/3 cup diced onions
* 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
* 1/2 red pepper, diced
* 1/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup Lawry's Teriyaki Marinade
* 2 tsps sesame oil

1. Add sesame oil to large skillet or wok if you have one and heat on medium high.
2. Add vegetables and cook until they start to soften. (If they cook before the chicken is done, you can either turn heat to low or turn off until you cook everything together)
3. Meanwhile, cook chicken pieces seasoned with salt and pepper in another skillet. You can cook in the same skillet, but I never have enough room.
4. Mix water and teriyaki marinade, and add to vegetables, stirring to coat vegetables.
5. Once chicken is cooked, mix it in with vegetables and sauce.
6. Cook everything together for about 3 minutes or until heated throughout.
7. Serve over brown rice.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Orange and Roasted Beet Salad

This is my favorite salad! The combination of flavors is so delicious- the sweetness of the oranges, the creaminess of the goat cheese, the earthiness of the beets, and the nutty flavor of the walnuts all tied together with a light balsamic dressing. I could eat this all the time, and it is quick and easy so it is a great weeknight meal.

Salad Mix
Steamed beets (or you can roast your own)
walnuts, toasted
crumbled goat cheese
1 orange, peeled and segmented
grilled chicken, sliced (you can also use a roasted chicken from the grocery to save time)
Newman's Own Light Balsamic Dressing

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Quarter beats and put in oven to warm up and slightly roast (I usually put them in for about 10 minutes).
3. While beets are in the oven, begin to assemble salad:
* put your favorite blend of greens or salad mix on a plate
* top with organge, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and chicken
* when beets are done, add them on top of the salad
And you're done!

Butternut Squash Bread

I know butternut squash bread may sounds a little weird, but it's good- I promise! It is similar to pumpkin bread, but it still has its own uniqueness. This recipe is pretty healthy and despite being low fat, and the bread stays really moist! You can also add chocolate chips or nuts to it if you want- both are great mix-ins. I don't have a very good picture because I forgot to take one before I wrapped the loaves up, but you can get an idea of what it looks like from the picture below (It is one of the loaves with mini chocolate chips).

* 1 (15 ounce) can butternut squash puree
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 2/3 cup water
* 2 1/2 cups white sugar
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
* 1 cup mini choc chips or chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 7x3 inch loaf pans with nonstick
cooking spray with flour.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, water and
sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking
soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin pie spice. Stir the dry
ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick
inserted in center comes out clean.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blackened Tilapia Sandwich

This is a quick and easy recipe that never disappoints. I use Zatarain's blackening spice mix, but you can use whatever kind you like. I like it because it has just enough spiciness but it isn't too hot. I also use fat free tarter sauce to cool the spice a little.

* 2 tilapia filets
* Zatarain's blackening spice mix
* wheat buns
* lettuce
* tomato slices
* fat free tarter sauce

1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2. Sprinkle both sides of tilapia with blackening spice.
3. Place tilapia in skillet and cook about 3 minutes per side or until fish is opaque and can be flaked with a fork. ( I always cut my piece in half to make sure it is cooked through because obviously you want it to be done, but you don't want to cook too long because it can dry out)

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I saw this recipe on the blog, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and she made it look so delicious that I knew I had to try it. I made the blondies for Nick's Valentine's Day treat. He really liked them- so much that he had one for dessert and then again for breakfast the next morning! (I loved them too, but not for breakfast...) And he says this is a treat that he won't be taking to work because he wants to eat the entire pan himself.

8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
3 ounces Mascarpone cheese (I just used cream cheese because it is cheaper- not sure what the difference with Mascarpone would be)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
¾ tsp cream of tarter
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Sugar for coating (about 1/3 cup)- (I used 1/3 cup sugar and 4tsps cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar and move pan around to make sure that the bottom and sides are coated. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cream of tarter.
Using an stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat for three minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the Mascarpone cheese and beat until fully incorporated.
Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
On low speed add the sifted flour mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. This will be hard as it is a thick batter. I found it easiest to just wet my hands a little and press the batter into the pan. Then even it out afterwards with a spatula.
Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top of the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

BBQ Turkey Burgers

These BBQ Turkey Burgers are from Cooking Light. I love turkey burgers and think I should branch out and try new recipes, but I always keep coming back to this one because I know it's good! It also comes together really fast so it is a great recipe for a weeknight meal. For the BBQ sauce, I use Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbecue because I like the hint of sweetness, but you can use your favorite sauce.


* 1/4 cup finely diced onion
* 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided
* 2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
* 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
* 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound ground turkey (I use the 99% fat free and they aren't too dry)
* Cooking spray
* 4 large leaf lettuce leaves
* 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
* 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns ( I like to use whole wheat)


Combine the onion, 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, breadcrumbs, and the next 5 ingredients (breadcrumbs through turkey) in a medium bowl. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1 1/2 inch-thick patty.

Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place patties in pan; cook 7 minutes on each side or until done.

Place 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, and 1 patty on the bottom half of each bun. Spread each patty with 1 1/2 teaspoons barbecue sauce. Cover with top halves of buns.

Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta

I made this for Nick's birthday this year. We have had it several times because my mom used to cook it pretty often and always when we go to the beach. It has always been a favorite and a crowd pleaser :) I usually serve it over whole wheat pasta and with steamed green beans as a side. YUMMY!

*1 lb. unpeeled medium-size fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
*5 green onions, sliced
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 Tbsp. olive oil ( I only use 1 Tbsp)
*1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts,undrained (I used canned quartered artichoke hearts- not marinated to cut back on fat and calories)
* 1/4 cup white wine
*6 plum tomatoes, chopped
*1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
*2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
*1/4 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. pepper
*fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Sauté onions and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender.
2. Add wine, Italian seasoning, and rosemary.
3. Stir in artichokes, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Cook until vegetables are tender, and then add the shrimp and cook until pink.
6. Serve over pasta and add fresh grated Parmesan on top, if desired.

Serves 4 people.

Low Fat Banana Bread

I made this low fat banana bread for "Healthy Alternative" goodie day at work. I had read about it for a while on Cookie Madness, one of my favorite blogs. Since it had gotten such good reviews, I knew I had to make it. It was delicious, and I could not tell that it was low fat! I highly recommend you try it! Sorry the picture isn't great- I think I need to hire a new photographer :) But it does look a lot better in real life and when you cut into it.

Recipe (from Epicurious)

* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
* 1/3 cup buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Spray a 9×5 inch metal loaf pan with flour-added cooking spray.
3.Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
4. Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy and light (about 5 minutes). Mix in smashed bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir just until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
6. Bake bread until golden brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn bread out onto rack and cool.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash

I think that butternut squash gets my vote as my favorite vegetable. I could eat it for every meal every day! My favorite way to cook it is roasting it with a little olive oil and maple syrup. It is kind of a pain to peel and cut, but well worth it (especially since that is usually Nick's job)!

- Butternut squash
- olive oil
- maple syrup
- salt

1. Peel, seed, and cube butternut squash. (We have found that a spoon is the best tool for scraping out the seeds.)
2. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat.
3. Pour about a tablespoon or so of maple syrup into a small dish, and then use a brush (silicone if you have one) to lightly brush maple syrup over the cubed squash.
4. Sprinkle with salt.
5. Bake at 400 until tender and they begin to caramelize- I would start checking them around 25 minutes, but may take longer- it will depend on the size of your cubes.

Balsamic roasted brussels sprouts

A lot of people claim they don't like brussels sprouts, but I love these! Roasting them brings out a much better flavor than steaming them in my opinion. These are really easy to make and very healthy!

Brussels sprouts
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Trim the stem ends of the brussels sprouts and then halve them.
2. Drizzle brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat evenly.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
4. Bake at 400 until tender- not sure how long- I would start checking them at 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Chili

I have been wanting to try this recipe from Cooking Light for a while so I figured the Super Bowl would be the perfect occasion. Nick and I both liked it a lot, and I will definitely be making it again. I especially liked the flavor the black beans added to it. I did make a couple of changes to the original- the main one being that I added some ground beef to it because Nick claims that it can't be chili without meat in it. It would be good either way. The recipe as I made it is below.


* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
* 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 lb 96% lean ground beef
* 1 teaspoon brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
* 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions
* 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sugar and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.