Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An act of love

While I typically try to avoid refined sugar and dairy, this cake screamed to be made for my husband.  He adores citrus, especially key lime.  So as an act of love I made this cake for him!

If you have someone in your life who feels the same way my husband does about citrus desserts, give this recipe from Trisha Yearwood a try.  It is perfect for a special treat. 

Everything in moderation right?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Clean Eating Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Life gets busy but eating well is still important to our family. The way I plan and prepare meals has had to change over the past few months since we welcomed our son and I started back to work part-time.  We want to continue to live a healthy lifestyle as we transition into parenthood.  It is something that requires better planning and organization than ever before!

One method I use is menu planning.  It helps to make one grocery store trip a week with a firm list of ingredients.  That way I know that when I get home the kitchen will be stocked for healthy dinners.

Coming home from work and preparing dinner was my way of unwinding from the day.  I miss that because now when I get home from work, I need to feed our munchkin and get him to bed.  If I waited to prepare dinner after that, well my husband and I wouldn't eat until 9pm.  That probably won't fly in my house.  So now I have shifted my routine to preparing dinner during my son's nap. This has forced me to change the types of dishes I'm making but challenged me to continue to prepare healthy food for my family.

Clean Eating's Mustard Chicken Thighs is a dish I've already made at least 3 times in the past few months.  We love it and I can quickly finish it in the oven while I'm feeding our son. 

The honey mustard sauce ties everything together and I love the almond topping!  The best part is that I can do 90% of the dish ahead of time and finish it off in the evening before dinner.

Honey Mustard Thighs
adapted from Cleaning Eating Magazine

12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs total)
4 TBS of whole grain mustard
2 TBS of honey
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp of ground cayenne pepper
olive oil
4 bell peppers (mixture of green and red), sliced in half and seeded
2 TBS of toasted almonds, chopped

2 TBS of fresh parsley, chopped

Combine the mustard, honey, pepper, cayenne, thyme and garlic.  Pour half over the chicken and set the rest aside.  Preheat the broiler with the rack positioned 6-8" away.  Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet and brush with a couple TBS of olive oil.  Place under the broiler for 12-15 minutes and rotate halfway through.  When the skins are mostly dark remove from the broiler and set aside to cool. once cool, peel and slice the peppers.  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  place the thighs in a single layer on the baking sheet.  place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes on each side, looking for charred marks along the edges. 

In a 9"x13" baking dish, spread the pepper slices out evenly and then top with the chicken.  Pour the reserved mustard sauce over the top.  *At this point, I cover the dish and refrigerate until I'm ready to bake and serve dinner.  I do let the dish sit at room temperate for 15-30 minutes before cooking.

Combine the almonds and parsley.  Sprinkle over top the chicken.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes until warm and bubbly.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mexican Shrimp

When my husband and I choose to eat out, we typically opt for a Mexican restaurant. To say that it is our favorite may be an understatement. The majority of the time, I order shrimp tacos. I just do not seem to tire of them. 

after picking up Cook's Illustrated Mexican Edition, I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Mexican Seared Shrimp.  What I love about Cook's Illustrated is that they have impecable directions and fully explain why they wrote the recipe the way they did.  The only thing I changed was that I served my shrimp over a bed of brown rice but you just as easily could grab some tortillas and go to town!

This recipe is perfect for a weeknight, it comes together in under 15 minutes.  Especially impressive considering the huge flavors that result!  Definitely worth a try, I know we will be having it again soon!

Mexican Seared Shrimp
adapted from Cook's Illustrated: Mexican Favorites

3 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, divided
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
salt & pepper
1 1/2 lbs of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 TBS of vegetable oil
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 TBS of lime juice
1 avocado, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, red onion ( minus 2 TBS), cilantro, garlic and chipotle peppers. Season with salt and pepper to your taste preference. Set aside.

Toss shrimp in salt, pepper and sugar.  Heat 1 TBS of oil over high heat.  Cook half the shrimp in a single layer without moving them.  Once one side is spotty brown, about 1 minute, transfer to a platter.  Repeat with the remaining 1 TBS of oil and shrimp. 

Keeping the pan over high heat, add the tomato mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the shrimp.  Stir and cook until the shrimp are cooked throughout, about another 1-2 minutes. 

Place 2 cups of brown rice on a large platter.  Pour shrimp and tomato mixutre over the rice.  Sprinkle avocado, lime juice and remaining 2 TBS of red onion over the top.  Serve with lime wedges on the side.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Sometimes you find a recipe that works.  One that pleases most folks, is easy to prepare and has a slight twist.  Not easy but when you do indeed find a recipe that fits this bill you'll turn to it time and time again.

This the case for this recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes.  I made it for my parents and cousin's family a couple months ago.  Big hit! It then appeared for a special breakfast at home, amazing! I turned to it again when my husband and I were visiting family in NY.  Smiles all around!

There are a few reasons why I am in love with this recipe!

-It is pretty stinking healthy. Boasting only 2 TBS of sugar and minimal flour compared to the quantity of carrots

-The spices, carrot cake is definitely captured in this panacke recipe!

-Any leftovers freeze great and make for great breakfast on the run. If you are taking the time to make a batch, you can quickly make two. 

Carrot Cake Pancakes
adpated from Joy the Baker Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons aisins (optional)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated* carrots (from about a 3/4 pound bundle whole carrots)
cooking spray

Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 200°F. This will keep the pancakes warmed as they’re cooked in batches.

To make the pancakes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Stir carrot mixture into dry ingredients, stirring until just incorporated.

Over medium heat, lightly coat griddle pan with cooking spray. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto the hot pan per pancake (you definitely want to keep the pancakes small), flipping once, until pancakes are golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer finished pancakes to a serving dish or tray in the oven, to keep warm.  Spray griddle as needed between batches.

*Please note that the recipe calls for finely shredded carrots, done by hand.   I used my food processor for the job and it worked beautifully. 

Hope you'll consider giving this recipe a try!  Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

PB & J Bread Pudding

Doesn't that sound good?

PB & J sandwiches are the quintessential childhood snack.  Why not take that perfect comfort food and turn it into a dessert?  That is exactly what Clean Eating Magazine did! They nailed this recipe too!

The flavors in this recipes are sublte which is in my opinion the best way to put a twist on a classic dish.  All our guests smiled though as we enjoyed this dessert!

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Another great factor in this dessert is that it can be prepared ahead of time.  I did all the steps in the morning prior to baking the pudding.  Then allowed the it to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes and baked as directed. 

PB & J Bread Pudding
adapted Clean Eating: Classic Comfort Foods

cooking spray
6 day-old thick slices of whole wheat bread
2 cups of 1% milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS of agave nectar
1/3 cup of natural peanut butter
2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Coat an 8" square nonstick baking dish with cooking spray and add bread. 

In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, 1/4 cup of agave nectar and peanut butter.  Beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until well combined.  Pour the mixture over the bread then gently push down to ensure the bread absorbed the mixture.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries with the remaining 2 TBS of agave nectar and 1 TBS of water.  Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes to allow the berries to breakdown. 
Spoon 1/4 cup of the raspberry sauce over each serving of the bread pudding.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yogurt Dill Biscuits

Dill is one of my favorite flavors for Spring.  I love adding it to salads, gremolata and cornbread. 
I found this recipe during one of my late night searches while I was hanging out with this little guy. The texture was my favorite part.  The yogurt gave a great snap to the biscuit as well as an acidic note.  Very tasty and easy to make!
Yogurt Dill Biscuits
adapted from
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Baking powder
½ teaspoon Baking soda
½ teaspoon Salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small dice
1 cup FAGE Total 0% Yogurt
¼ cup Fresh dill, finely chopped

Combine first five ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add diced COLD butter, and mix into the dry ingredients, using slow to medium speed until the butter is worked down into small pea sized bits. Stop mixer. Add yogurt and dill. Slowly mix together until just combined.
Turn out onto a floured board and mix by hand until last floury bits are combined. Roll out dough to about ½” thickness. Using a 2” cutter, cut out biscuits and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in freezer.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Enjoy!