Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Easy Banana Puddin'

Last night Matt came over as our dinner guest! We had a good time and devoured some paella. Then, for dessert we had some banana pudding. This was a really easy recipe that I found on All Recipes. I wanted to make it because Publix's version of Nilla wafers were the penny item a couple weeks ago, and what do you do with Nilla wafers?? You make banana pudding! No other options!
Nick and Matt eating their pudding

Matt sporting the Chicken on the Green apron

I pretty much followed the recipe as written but did substitute for a couple of lower fat things. You can find the original here. The recipe with my changes is below:
* 1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese
* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
* 3 cups cold milk (I used 2%)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8 ounce) container lite frozen whipped topping, thawed
* 4 bananas, sliced
* 1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafers
1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.
2. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with vanilla wafers. Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers. Spread with pudding mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chicken Gyros

Last night, Nick and I tried something new for dinner- Chicken Gyros! I had seen them on a few different blogs lately (Annie's Eats, Elly says Opa, and Lovestoeat's Weblog), and everyone seemed to like them so I thought we would give them a try! They did turn out well! (By the way, see this post for the pronunciation key :) ) My pictures don't really do them justice, but you get the point.

Also, they were normal sized, but I think they look miniature in comparison to Nick's hand.

For the tzatziki sauce
16 oz. nonfat greek yogurt (you don't have to use nonfat)
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic, or finely minced (I kind of wished that I had only used 1 but its up to you)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Shred the cucumber, and then drain the water off. (I did this by putting the cucumber over a very fine strainer and pressing to release the water. I read that you can also wrap it in a towel and squeeze to remove the water).
2. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

For the Chicken
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. chicken pieces (I used chicken tenders and cut them into thirds)

Other ingredients:
Pitas (I think the softer they are the better)
Diced tomato
Thinly sliced onion

1.Combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well.
2. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
3. Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. (We broiled them for about 15 minutes, but it will vary depending on your oven and the size of your chicken pieces)
4. Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
6.Heat pitas.
7. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions.
8. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pie

I was searching for a recipe to use my 2nd frozen pie crust and came across this one on All Recipes. It looked simple to make, had gotten 5 star reviews, and I had all the ingredients on hand- it sounded perfect! It came together in no time, and it was really good! It tasted like a big chocolate chip cookie! We tried it both warm and at room temperature and both preferred it at room temperature. When it is warm, the chips are all melty, which is good, but it tastes more like a chocolate pie. At room temp, it tastes like a cookie. So try it both ways and see how you like it! I followed the recipe with the exception of using half brown sugar and half white, so just click on the link above to get it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Couscous with Shrimp and Roasted Okra

Last week, I bought some fresh okra at at road-side vegetable stand. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it (and I never buy things without already knowing what I am making), but I like okra so I bought it. So, this whole meal was centered around this okra I had bought. When I started making it, I wasn't even excited about it and definitely didn't plan on adding it to the blog. But after we started eating, we both decided it was good and so we stopped to get a photo so we could add it! Also,it came together quickly (less than 30 minutes for us is good :) ) so it makes a good weeknight meal.

1 box Near East wheat couscous w/roasted garlic and olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 viladia onion, diced
3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
olive oil
salt and pepper
old bay seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Combine okra, tomatoes, and onions on a baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil. (This is not necessary but helpful). Toss with 2 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Place the baking sheet with vegetables in oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until done.
4. While vegetables are roasting, prepare cous cous according to package directions omitting butter/olive oil.
5. Also while veggies are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1-2 tsp olive oil. Add shrimp to pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning. Cook until they turn pink and are opaque, flipping half way. (Our shrimp were medium sized and took 1-2 min per side)
6.To assemble the dish, place a small pile of couscous in the middle of the plate and top with shrimp and veggies.

Monday, June 1, 2009

California Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite nights because it is fun to experiment with breakfast foods that I normally wouldn't take to the time to try in the morning. This sandwich is one of my favorites- maybe it is just the avocado kick I am on lately. Oh well, it doesn't matter- they were good and Nick liked them too! It was a great combination to have the richness of the egg, saltiness of the Canadian bacon, and freshness of the tomato and avocado all captured between a toasty English muffin!

Ingredients (for 1 sandwich):
whole wheat English muffin
slice of ripe tomato
1 piece of Canadian bacon
1/4 ripe avocado, sliced
1 egg
salt & pepper

1. Preheat broiler
2. Slice English muffin in half
3. Place tomato slice on one half, and sprinkle with salt.
4. Heat a non stick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat.
5. Place both halves of English muffin under broiler and broil until one side is slightly toasted and tomato begins to cook. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
6. While it is broiling, cook Canadian bacon in pan flipping half way until both sides are slightly browned or bacon is warmed throughout.
7. Cook egg in the same skillet flipping half way until done, but with the yolk still runny. (That's how I like it, but you could cook it any way you prefer).
8. Assemble sandwich. Place Canadian bacon on tomato, egg on top of that, and avocado on the other half, and put it all together!