Sunday, June 27, 2010

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Macerated Strawberry Coulis

Is that title an intimidating mouth full or what? Well, just wait until you get a "mouth full!" Don't shy away- you can do it! The lemon and ricotta makes this one stand out from your typical pancake, but then you fold in the fluffy egg whites, and the strawberry stuff- sounds so fancy- (I don't even know what coulis means) but I do know it tasted incredible! SO SWEET and yummy. What a way to kick of the day! If you've got some time... because trust me, this one takes some TLC, whip these babies up... you'll thank yourself after, I promise. Doug said, (and I quote,) "These are by far the BEST pancakes I have ever had."

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Macerated Strawberry Coulis
(Recipe courtesy of Food Network's Anne Burell)

Strawberry coulis:
1quart strawberries, topped and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for egg whites
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, separated
1 heaping cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
Butter, for cooking the pancakes
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Toss the strawberries with the sugar and orange juice. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
After the berries and sugar have macerated and become very juicy, remove 1/2 of the berry mixture, put it in a food processor and puree until smooth. Return it to the rest of the berries and reserve until ready to use.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks, ricotta, milk and lemon zest and juice, and mix until it becomes homogeneous. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients to the well and whisk until combined.
Preheat a griddle.
In another bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture in thirds. Do this quickly and gently so the pancakes will be light and fluffy.
Melt small pats of butter onto the preheated griddle, and spread it around with a paper towel to remove any excess butter. Spoon or ladle the pancake batter onto the prepared griddle to desired size of the pancake. When the top of the pancake is full of holes, like bubbles have risen to the surface and burst, the pancake is ready to flip. Flip the cakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown.
Remove the pancakes from the grill to serving plates. Top with the macerated strawberry coulis and garnish with powdered sugar.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creamy Pasta Alfredo

I know I have made something similar to this before, but this is such a quick and easy way to make "restaurant-rival" pasta Alfredo, that it is hard not to repeat myself. I like to add other veggies in it if I have them on hand- I'll put my additions in red. This is also a great way to use up left over ham- can you tell I made a big ham and I've been working through it! :)

Creamy Pasta Alfredo (Adapted from KraftFoods)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 chopped green onion
1-2 chopped bell peppers (I like to use red)

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, cubed
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) chicken broth
1 cup peas
1 avocado
1 pkg. Honey Ham, chopped
3 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 lb. mostaccioli, uncooked (you can use any pasta)
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
I also like to add salt,pepper, basil and oregano and add it to the sauteing onions to bring out the flavor.

SPRAY large skillet with cooking spray. (I just like to use a little olive oil.) Add onion (red pepper and I like to add the ham at this point.); cook 5 min. on medium-high heat until tender. Add cream cheese and broth to skillet. Bring to boil, stirring to mix ingredients. Add peas, ham and 2 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese. Keep warm.
MEANWHILE, cook mostaccioli as directed on package; drain.
TOSS hot mostaccioli with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Healthy Living
Save over 25% fat per serving, by preparing as directed, using PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese. You will also trim 30 calories!

Cooking Know-How
Use a large pot of water to cook pasta so it has room to move and won't stick together.
Do not rinse the pasta or the sauce will slide off. Toss hot pasta immediately with sauce for great coverage.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 21, 2010

Over-the-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding

HEAVENLY! A MUST TRY!!! Anything that has "Over the Top" in the title is a must try! This is a new favorite! It was a grand-prize winner in Simple and Delicious, and I'm really glad I tried it. I think puddings like this are my favorite dessert- and I pretty much loved everything that went into this- just a recipe for success (no pun intended). :) I made a little substitution, for lack of cream, that I think maybe made it even better... is it possible to be "over" over the top. :)

Over-the-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding (Simple and Delicious)
3 eggs
4 cups heavy whipping cream (I used 2 cups ricotta and 2 cups milk)
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla. Stir in blueberries and baking chips. Stir in bread cubes; let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.
Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
For sauce, place baking chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over baking chips; whisk until smooth. Serve with bread pudding. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 piece with about 2 tablespoons sauce equals 869 calories, 54 g fat (33 g saturated fat), 195 mg cholesterol, 344 mg sodium, 89 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 11 g protein.
Posted by Picasa

Easy Ham and Cheese Mini Pizzas

I have seen this idea in other places, and I'm sure you can get a lot more creative, but this is how we like to do it. The girls made these the other day. This is a great one for kids to put together. (Makes them feel quite important! :) Also great if you have left-over ham.

Ham and Cheese Mini Pizzas by Lyd
Whole Wheat English Muffins
1 small can of tomato sauce
Pizza Seasoning

Spread tomato sauce over muffins, sprinkle pizza seasoning, and top with ham and cheese. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 13, 2010

For the "Healthy" Chocoholic...

Is it possible for chocolate to be completely healthy? I submit that indeed it is. My new neighbor friend, Melissa, brought these lovely chunks of chocolate tart over for me to sample and I was amazed that healthy chocolate could taste this good. The texture was awesome- mostly, I just wanted to munch on the filling! These are not ingredients I would have on hand, but worth hunting down. She said she likes to freeze them and get her "chocolate fix" from time to time without feeling too guilty. Brilliant, Melissa! :) Thank you for sharing!

Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart
(adapted from the book: Raw Food/ Real People “100 Recipes to Get the Glow” by Kenney and Melngailis

¾ cup Raw Cacao Powder
¾ cup Finely ground raw almonds
¼ cup Raw Agave (they use maple syrup powder)
¼ cup (or less) Coconut Butter (softened)
pinch of salt
--Mix in a bowl to a dough consistency. Press into a pan or spring form pan. Chill in frig. for 1 hour.

2 ¼ cup Raw Cacao Powder
2 ¼ cup Raw Agave Nectar (or they use Pure Maple Syrup)
1 cup Coconut Butter softened
-- Blend until completely smooth. Pour over crust and freeze. When set, you can cut into pieces, but still store in the freezer to maintain firmness.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This is a great one to throw together in a hurry, and great if you have some left-over rice sitting around waiting for a home. :)

Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole (KraftFoods)
1 lb. ground beef
2 green peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend, divided

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
BROWN meat with peppers and garlic in large skillet; drain. Stir in rice, spaghetti sauce and 3/4 cup cheese.
SPOON into 2-qt. casserole; top with remaining cheese.
BAKE 25 min.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Substitute brown rice for the white rice.
Prepare using KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad

I've been on a salad kick of late- just trying to eat a little fresher, but of course, if your headed into the "rabbit food" direction, you've got to load it up with LOTS of good stuff to trick yourself... or maybe you don't, but I do. :) So here is a yummy fresh salad, loaded up with lots of the good stuff. :)

Lyd's Tip: I really liked the flavor of the ranch and salsa combined- I'm going to do that again! If you are counting calories you can do just a bit of ranch and a little more salsa. You still get a creamy dressing. :)

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad (KraftFoods)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) torn salad greens
3/4 cup Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
1/4 cup Light Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup Thick 'N Chunky Medium Salsa
1 cup baked tortilla chips, coarsely broken
I also added about 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, and a chopped bell pepper.

COMBINE first 4 ingredients in large bowl.
MIX dressing and salsa. Add to salad; toss to coat.
ADD chips; mix lightly. Serve immediately.

Extra Tips: (Kraft had these and I thought they might be useful.)

Selecting, Ripening & Storing Avocados
Look for avocados that are either slightly soft or firm. Small light-brown markings on the peels are normal and won't affect the quality of the fruit inside. If mashing the avocados for recipe use, look for softer avocados. If needing sliced avocados, or if not using immediately, select firmer pieces of fruit. Avocados will continue to ripen after being picked. To ripen, place in paper bag and let stand at room temperature until desired softness. Ripe avocados can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Perfect Asian Pasta

This is another great one for kids to help with from Annabel Karmel's "Mom and Me Cookbook." Amberlee had a lot of fun helping me with this one. I really liked the sauce- it had a fun Asian flavor that took me by surprise. This is a quick and easy dish to prepare. Whole wheat noodles taste great in it too.

Lyd's Tip: Whenever you are going to the trouble of cooking chicken, whether it is boiling, grilling, frying, or slow cooking it, always throw an extra chicken breast in, and refrigerate it. It is great for meals like this. The next day, when your not sure what to make for lunch or dinner, you can just pull it out and slice it up, and throw it in a chicken salad or something like this. Great way to speed things up. I like to slow cook my chicken in a little bit of Italian Dressing. The less I have to handle it, the better. It is always moist and has a good flavor.

Perfect Pasta
2 cooked chicken breasts
1 cup sweet corn
2 green onions
2 cups broccoli 7 oz pasta shapes

For the Dressing:
4 T honey
2 T rice wine vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
2 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil (I used olive oil)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes. (I didn't catch that- I microwaved my broccoli, but it was still a bit undercooked. I think I would be a much better cook it I would thoroughly read my instructions. :)
Tear the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Remove any fat or skin.
Carefully slice the green onions.
Make a dressing by whisking together the honey, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Mix together the pasta, broccoli, chickens, green onions, sweet corn, and dressing.
Dish it up and EAT!
Posted by Picasa

Coconut Dream Smoothie

I got this cute little cookbook called "Mom and Me Cookbook" by Annabel Karmel (Wasn't her name just make for cooking?) I have found some really fun recipes in it that are easy and tasty, and great to make with kids. It is very visual, so Amberlee can see what ingredients we need and what she should do to help. We made a little smooth that was yummy- I added a few strawberries to it too.

Coconut Dream Smoothie (Annabel Karmel)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
2 scoops ice cream
2/3 cup pineapple chunks

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend. Pour into glasses and serve. Garnish with pineapple chunk on the side of the glass.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Brown-Bag Popcorn

You are not going to believe this until you try it! But it can totally be done, and here is the proof! I didn't even imagine that you could make your own microwave popcorn. This makes a great snack with lower cholesterol. So easy to make! You don't have to pull out the popcorn popper- very little mess! It makes the perfect amount for my kind of single serving-- or for me and the kids to munch on!

Brown-Bag Popcorn (Family Circle)
Mix 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels, 1 teaspoon canola oil, and a dash of salt in a small bowl. Place mixture in a brown paper lunch bag and fold down twice. Cook in microwave on high 2-3 minutes, until there are a few seconds between pops. Makes about 4 cups.
126 calories, 6g fat (0g sat.), 4g fiber

Note: I am adding a few details they maybe should have included. When you are "placing mixture" into the brown bag, put it close the the bottom. Also, I would fold and tape your bag shut (masking tape) otherwise the popcorn flies out. I would also suggest adding the salt after because pretty much it just ends up in the bottom of the bag. And it needs just about 2 minutes on high- maybe just under. But all things considered- I think it is brilliant. I'm so glad there are people in this world who come up with stuff like this! :)
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Simple Pancakes and A NEW BLOG!!!

Yet another pancake recipe-- I know, I'm out of control with my collection of pancakes! So much so that Amy Jo (sis-in-law) has given me permission to contribute to a blog called:
"Piles of Pancakes"
that she started a while back. I think we're going to do kindof a "Sister Thing" :) and I am so excited about it! I think the name and the idea are genius! We'll include every wonderful breakfast pancake, waffle, crepe etc. recipe that we come across! You won't want to miss it, so stay tuned!!! I'm going to have to do some catching up with all my other pancakes recipes, but I think it is going to be super fun!!!

This is a simple easy-to-remember pancake recipe I found of I thought it turned out well, and I liked how basic it was and how quick I could mix it up. The fancy ones are good, but they can't get a little too technical for me early in the morning when my mind isn't fully awake yet. You'll make it through this one at 7am! :)

1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. oil

MIX flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
BEAT egg with milk and oil in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended and smooth.
LADLE batter onto hot griddle or into hot skillet, using 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake; cook until bubbles form on top, then turn to brown other sides. Serve with syrup.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Chicken

My other cute sis-in-law, Chelsea is quite a gourmet cook, and beat us all of us sisters to the "cooking blog" thing when she started her "Increasingly Delicious" blog for a worthy cause, dedicated to Amy Jo "in the hopes that she will be able to find joy in cooking for her family with alternate ingredients. It is a collection of tested recipes that are fairly simple and that avoid: wheat (or gluten), corn (starch or syrup), dairy, cheese (small amounts of mozarella are ok), cream cheese, potatoes, (or potato starch), carbonation, caffeine, and peanuts." Chels is such a good woman! Not to mention a good cook! Amy Jo made this for us and I decided it was some of THE BEST chicken I have ever tasted! This one is going on my favorites list. I don't know how I missed it! Don't pass this one up! Fresh and SO SUMMER in your mouth! Love the lemon flavor (Amy said to be careful follow the instructions and just "douse" the chicken in lemon-- however tempted you may be drown it and not waste the marinade, or it will taste too strong.) The squash and cheese are the perfect mix! Just love this one! Let's hear it for awesome sisters-in-law!!! :)

Chels said about this recipe, "
This is the first recipe that I made just for you, Amy. It inspired me to start this collection."

Summer Chicken for Amy Jo

By Chelsea Romney

4 Tablespoons of butter
3-4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)
Salt and Pepper (or lemon pepper)
Lemon Juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 splash of Italian dressing (optional)

Place 4 Tablespoons of butter in a 9X13 glass dish and place in oven. Turn oven to 350. Prep Chicken

Douse both sides of chicken in Lemon Juice (fresh is always the best). Season both sides of chicken with salt, (lemon) pepper, and thyme.

When the butter is melted, take the pan out of the oven, place the chicken in the hot butter in the pan and let it brown for about 30 seconds, then flip it over to brown the other side. Toss the sliced vegetables on top of the chicken. Splash with Italian dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Take off foil about 10 minutes before the chicken is done to brown the cheese on top.

Note: The trick to juicy chicken is to make sure it is not overbaked. Keep checking it and slicing it open until it is no longer pink at the thickest part.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Golden Graham Smores

To answer your question, YES... these gooey sweet morsels are just as good as the look. And YES... Amy Jo also threw in some mini butterscotch chips. The whole sha'bang is very likely to "spike your glycemic index" and make you really happy and wanting more all at the same time! Warning: Addictive! :) As if dinner wasn't enough, she had to throw these beauties into the mix! Thanks Amy Jo! (We both thought these would make really good drop cookie treats as well.)

3/4 c. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. butter
1 pkg. milk chocolate morsels
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Golden Graham cereal (9 c.)
3 c. miniature marshmallows

Grease 9 x 13 inch pan. Heat syrup, butter and morsels to boiling stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in bowl, toss until coated. Fold in marshmallows 1 cup at a time. Press into pan with buttered back of spoon. Let stand 1 hour. Cut into 2 inch squares. Store at room temperature.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fabulous Fried Rice (Amy Jo Style)

And I thought my fried rice was good!!! Just wait until you try this!!! Amy Jo (my sis-in-law) and creator of Edible Experiments came up with this while they stayed with me and I can't even tell you how competely delicious it was-- and PACKED with veggies! (Great way to sneak them in- the kids loved it!) This is Amy's take on "Our Best Bite's" take on Disneyworld's Ohana Restaurant. :) Got that straight? This is what Our Best Bite's had to say:

"This fried rice is inspired from the same restaurant as our Sweet and Spicy Honey-Grilled Shrimp. It's not your typical Chinese restaurant-type fried rice; it's a bit milder and has a little more Polynesian flair. It goes great with Teriyaki Chicken or it's slightly naughtier cousin, Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Bites. Or try it with Asian BBQ Chicken or the ever-popular Spicy Honey Chicken. Or toss in some leftover Fauxtisserie Chicken or ham or shrimp (or hey, live on the wild side and add all three) and it can be a meal in and of itself. And guess what? My kids love it and I love that they're getting all sorts of "nasty," good-for-you veggies like cabbage."

Fried Rice
Recipe by Our Best Bites, adapted from Disneyworld's Ohana Restaurant

2 c. white rice + 4 c. water (OR 4 c. cold, leftover rice, which is actually better)
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. minced red onion
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped mushrooms
8 oz. (1/2 bag) of coleslaw mix (just cut up a head of cabbage)
3-4 generous Tbsp. soy sauce
Amy also added zucchini and celery and some cooked pork and it was really good!

1 Tbsp. dried onion
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. celery salt
1 ½ tsp. sugar

Boil water and add rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. This step can be done even up to 2-3 days in advance (and for some reason, fried rice tastes better when the rice is cold). Heat butter over medium heat and saute onions, carrots, and cabbage until carrots are tender. Add cooked rice, soy sauce, and seasoning to taste (you won't even come close to using all of it; save the rest for future fried rice or use as you would seasoning salt.)

--Peas, snap peas, or pea pods
--Leftover Fauxtisserie Chicken
Posted by Picasa

Egg Drop Soup

My cute sis-in-law and my brother stayed with us for a few days and TALK ABOUT A GOOD DEAL-- she totally cooked for me! She made some of the best dishes I've ever sampled! It was completely wonderful. Those are the kind of guests I'll keep around! One night she made incredible fried rice (posting soon) and she even kicked it off with Egg Drop Soup- it was quite tasty! I've never had it done "properly"- I always throw an egg or two in our Top Ramen and call it "Egg Drop Soup", but that will just never do now that I know what the real thing is. :)

Egg Drop Soup (Simple and Delicious)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 green onion, sliced

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil over medium heat. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat. Drizzle beaten egg into hot broth, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in onion. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (3/4 cup) equals 39 calories, 2 g fat (trace saturated fat), 53 mg cholesterol, 714 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 3 g protein.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole

I'm back! We're getting settled in to our new place and we finally got the internet up and running, and I have a lot of catching up to do, so I hope I haven't lost you in my absence! :) This is one of the best casseroles I have had in a while! I even used whole wheat pasta and it tasted great! What a great way to get that spinach in, too! It's just creamy and delicious! I think it was the perfect amount of pesto too- sometimes I feel like pesto can be a bit overpowering, but I thought this was just right- gave it just the right flavor! It makes a nice big batch, so this is a great one for company! When I have dishes like this, I wonder why I ever go out to eat at Italian restaurants-- sometimes it really can be created in your own kitchen! Do give this one a try!

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole (Simple and Delicious)
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
6 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
1 jar (10 ounces) prepared pesto
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, cheese blend, spinach, tomatoes, Alfredo sauce, pesto and milk. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.
Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.
Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/3 cups equals 636 calories, 32 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 112 mg cholesterol, 867 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 43 g protein.
Posted by Picasa