Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazingly Simple and Delicious Homemade Hot Chocolate

I am seriously addicted to this hot cocoa recipe. It's so easy to make and tastes amazingly rich, even when made with fat free milk. It's perfect by itself or served with some crisp cookies.

Serves 2

2 cups milk (I used fat free)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk together the milk, cocoa powder and sugar in a sauce pan and heat until steaming. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Whisk until the chocolate chips are melted. Enjoy!

Honey Mustard Turkey Wraps

I know recipes can be ridiculously simple at times, however, I think it's always nice to get fresh ideas for how to use typical ingredients. I made these wraps for lunch the other day and my 2-year-old son and I really enjoyed them. They would be great for busy, working ladies to take on the go or for moms at home who need something a little different to eat for lunch. They fresh and very low fat.

Serves 2

1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 whole wheat tortillas (my favorite brand is Tumaros Honey Wheat, made without lard and with very little added sweeteners)
1 cup spring mix salad
4 sliced turkey deli meat (I used peppered turkey breast and it was awesome!)

Combine the honey and the mustard. Spread a 1/2 the mixture down the center of each tortilla, reserving the other half. Spread it around the tortilla, using the back of the spoon. Place two slices of turkey down the center of each tortilla and top with 1/2 cup of the salad. Drizzle the remaining honey mustard over the salad. Roll up and slice on a diagonal in half. Enjoy with fresh fruit and brown rice chips for a perfect lunch!

Baked Chicken with Brown and Wild Rice

I adapted this from a recipe I found in a cooking magazine that called for white rice and chicken thighs. I found that chicken breasts and par-boiled brown and wild rice worked great! This is a sneaky way to get kids to eat veggies because the rice is made with carrots and mushrooms.

Serves 4

1/4 cup wild rice
3/4 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 small package button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sherry cooking wine, or regular wine
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp chicken broth, divided
Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the rices and 2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof skillet (one with a lid). Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Brown chicken on both sides, then set aside. Add the carrots, mushrooms, onions and 1/4 tsp salt to the pan. Sautee until all of the liquid is evaported from the veggies and browned bits begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the garlic and black pepper and cook one more minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the half and half and the 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir in the rice and mix well. Spread rice mixture evenly on bottom of pan. Place chicken breasts on top of the rice and drizzle the 3 tbsp chicken broth over the chicken. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover with the lid of the pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cover again. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to make sure rice doesn't stick in the pan.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This is another go-to dish for our family. We love to eat sweet potatoes year-round, but especially in the fall. I prepare them with fat free milk and a touch of butter, so they are light and not extremely rich. The walnuts add such a nice bite to the dish. The crunch is a nice contrast to the soft potatoes.

Serves about 6

3 medium to large sweet potatoes, rinsed and pierced with a fork
1/4 cup milk (I use fat free and sometime add a splash of half and half)
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp real maple syrup
Nut topping:
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp half and half
dash of salt
cooking spray

Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 40 min, or until you can easily poke them with a fork. Remove the skins from the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, through maple syrup. Beat with a hand mixer or a fork until smooth. For the nut topping, combine ingredients and mix until the nuts are well coated in the sugar/half and half coating. Pour onto a cookie sheet coated in cooking spray (you can cover the sheet in foil first and grease the foil). Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted and the topping is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool. I make them in my toaster oven and just toast them once on medium-dark. Sprinkle nuts over the bowl of potatoes.

Quick Greens

Greens are one of those veggies that are SO good for us, but often take a long time to cook. This is a recipe that turns them into a side dish that can be prepared in under 20 minutes. Thus, they can be eaten any night of the week. The hint of turkey bacon and loads of garlic and onions make them taste like they've been simmering for hours. I serve them alongside roast chicken and mashed sweet potatoes for a perfect fall dinner.

Serves 4

1 bunch collard greens, turnip greens or kale rinsed well and hard stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp olive oil
3 slices turkey bacon, chopped into bite size pieces
1 c finely diced onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
black pepper

Season a large pot of boiling water with salt and add greens. Boil greens for 7 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Sautee until light brown and crispy. Add the onion and sautee until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the drained greens, the chicken broth and season with the black pepper. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

We love popcorn in our family- it's cheap and pretty versatile, not to mention tasty! This is my go-to recipe for caramel popcorn (my 2 year old actually asks me to make it for him). I combined a few recipes that I found in one of those company cookbooks where everyone contributes their favorite recipes. The caramel is made in the microwave, so it's really easy (I've only burnt it once! :) )

Makes about 10 cups popcorn

1/2 c popcorn kernels
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 c unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pop popcorn in an air popper or in a pot on the stove. In a glass bowl, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes longer. Stir in the baking soda. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. It's totally worth the effort!!

Multi-Grain Waffles

I'M BACK!! It's been so very long since I've taken time to update my blog, but at least I've been productive! I am now a mommy of 2, so life has become somewhat busier. However, my baby girl is now 8 weeks old, so I feel like I'm finally finding my way back into my kitchen again. Breakfast, as we all know, is a very important meal. So, I'm starting to collect more breakfast recipes, in order to keep things interesting. This is my new favorite go-to waffle recipe. I found it on my new favorite iPhone app- SparkRecipes. Although you have to purchase several items that you might not have on hand (ground flax seed and wheat germ), you'll be able to make OODLES of waffles once you buy them! It's a good idea to store the ground flax seed and wheat germ in the fridge for longevity. These babies are packed full of great nutrients and they're lowfat! I make them with my round waffle maker. The full recipe makes around 10 waffles, so I usually halve it for us. Enjoy with some real maple syrup and sliced fruit!

Makes 8-10 round waffles

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c oats
1/4 c ground flax seed (AKA flax seed meal- buy it in the flour section of your grocery store or
health food section)
1/4 c wheat germ
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients, through salt. Set aside. Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients. Bake in waffle iron until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately or keep warm on a cooling rack in a 200 degree oven.