Friday, September 28, 2012

Classic Eggs Benedict with Low-Cal Hollandaise

I know what you're thinking. Low-Cal hollandaise? Why would you do such a thing??

Let me explain. Do you have any idea how much butter is in hollandaise sauce? Seriously, it's pretty scary. I mean, to-die-for-delicious scary, but also roll-me-away-from-the-table-get-me-a-triple-bypass-now scary. SO.

I bring you a rather tasty (though surely unfit for the taste buds of true hollandaise connoisseurs) alternative. A low calorie hollandaise. One which means you don't have to shun the goodness of Eggs Benedict altogether, but may quite comfortably indulge with minimal guilt.

So, point being made, enjoy your full calorie real hollandaise on special occasions, but stash this recipe to keep cravings at bay with a clear conscience.

You're welcome.

By the way, this was my very first attempt at poaching eggs! I must say, it was an enchanting process and came off with great success! You may have your own method already, or you may want to try google for your preferred method, but I used the fairly common route of simmering in vinegar and water. Worked great, the eggs were beautiful, and there was no vinegar taste.

Classic Eggs Benedict with Low-Cal Hollandaise
sauce recipe from Eating Well
serves 2

4 eggs
1/4 cup white vinegar

4 English muffins, split
4 slices thick sliced Canadian bacon

1 TB butter
3/4 cup non or low-fat buttermilk, divided
1 TB cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TB lemon juice

To poach eggs, break each egg carefully into separate small bowls or ramekins. Fill pot with at least 2 in. water. Bring to a boil. Stir in vinegar and reduce heat to a gentle simmer (water should be steaming and small bubbles coming up from bottom). Submerging the lip of each bowl into the water, gently slide eggs in, one at a time. Stir carefully to create a gentle whirlpool effect. Cook 4 min. for soft set, 5 min. for medium and 8 for hard. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on a clean towel.

Meanwhile, make sauce. Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan. Cook until butter turns golden, 30-60 sec. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk 1/4 cup of buttermilk, cornstarch, salt and cayenne in saucepan until smooth. Whisk in egg and remaining buttermilk. Set pan over med. heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it comes to a simmer. Whisk and cook 15 sec. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and reserved butter.

Toast English muffins. Heat bacon in frying pan. To assemble: butter muffins if desired. Top with bacon. Place one poached egg on each half of the muffin and pour desired amount of sauce on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas

What is the difference between a flauta and a taquito?

If you're looking at the pictures and thinking, gee, I have no idea, then you're in good company.

I had no idea either, so I googled it, of course!! From where we stand, there's really no difference. The terms are interchangeable.

However, if you live in the regions of the world from whence we were blessed with such foods, you may know that a flauta is usually made with a flour tortilla and a taquito is usually corn. Also there are some questions of size, but we won't go into that.

For all practical purposes, there really isn't a difference.

And even if there is, who really cares what you call it as long as it's crispy and has cheese oozing out of it? Am I right??

Sooo...pick a name out of a hat and enjoy this yummy and healthy Mexican-cuisine inspired appetizer/dinner!

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas\
adapted slightly from Healthy-Delicious
makes about 10 flautas (serves 3-4)

1 lb. chicken breast or thighs (or pre-cooked, shredded equivalent- those rotisserie chickens would be great here!)
16 oz. chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced (I used canned pickled jalapenos since they are less hot)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
10 soft taco size flour tortillas
6 oz. good melting cheese, shredded (I used a mozzarella blend)
cooking spray (or oil) and additional salt

Preheat oven to 450.
If using uncooked chicken, chicken pieces in deep pan and cover with broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from liquid and shred. Mix chicken with seasonings.
Pour out all but 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add jalapeno and spinach and cook over low heat 2-3 min. or until spinach is wilted.
To assemble, spread about 1 TB of the chicken mixture along one edge of a tortilla. Repeat with spinach and cheese. Roll up and place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Spray tops of flautas with cooking spray or brush with oil then sprinkle with salt, if desired.
Bake 10-15 min. or until crispy, turning if needed to brown evenly. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Caramel Apple Crumble Bars

Are there two things that say "Fall is coming!!" more than apples and caramel? Together? I think not.

Every year I struggle with the fact that summer is waning and fall is moving in.

Even now, as I write about a delectable fall treat, the war wages! It doesn't help that it's still about 80 degrees outside.

And hey people! Fall isn't officially here until Saturday!

Maybe you're welcoming fall with arms wide open, already stirring the soup kettle, scouting out the pumpkin patches, lighting up your apple scented candles and drizzling caramel and/or shaking cinnamon on everything imaginable.

But, if you're like me and you need something to get you in the mood for crisp cool nights, boots, pumpkin lattes and spiced cider, here's a surefire recipe. Watch out! It'll be here before we know it.

Caramel Apple Crumble Bars
adapted from Annie's Eats
makes about 16 bars

2 TB unsalted butter
4 large (or 5 med.) apples, peeled and sliced
3 TB sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
9 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
2 TB heavy cream

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
12 TB cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 lg. egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9x9 in. baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Grease.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 min. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend. Add in the butter and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and stir with a fork just until a crumbly dough begins to form. Transfer about two thirds of the dough to the foil lined pan and press down into an even layer. Bake until light golden, about 12-14 min.

While the base is baking, combine the caramels and cream in a saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the caramels, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is totally smooth. Remove from heat. Once the base layer is baked, pour the caramel over the top. Layer with the cooked apple slices. Crumble the remaining dough over the apple slices.

Bake 22-25 min. or until the top is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.  Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken Orzo Skillet

I present to you: another delicious skillet supper!

This tasty dish is full of flavor and healthy ingredients- tender chicken, white beans, orzo pasta, roasted broccoli and stewed tomatoes. All easy to prepare and even easier to enjoy!

Tip: Heating up leftovers the next day, I topped my helping with a handful of grated cheese...definitely an upgrade!

Chicken Orzo Skillet
adapted from Taste of Home
serves 6

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 lb. chicken breast, cubed
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans stewed tomatoes, cut up
1 can cannellini beans
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
about 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, roasted (for instructions on roasting broccoli, click here)
Shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook chicken in 2 tsp oil over med-high heat for 6-7 min. or until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
In the same skillet, cook garlic in remaining oil for 1 min. Add tomatoes, beans, seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in broccoli and chicken and heat through. Drain orzo, stir into chicken mixture. Top with cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pork n' Penne Skillet

I have been enjoying a recent library rental cookbook called the Taste of Home Busy Family Favorites. It has many tested, quick, easy and delicious meals for days when you're on the go or simply don't have time to be in the kitchen for an hour or more. All the recipes take about 30 minutes to make, and this one has the added bonus of being a "one-pan" skillet supper! Sometimes it's nice not to have a stack of dishes to wash when you're done cooking (I'm sure my husband thinks so- he's usually the dish washer)!

That being said, this yummy dish is not only quick, but it's delicious! Tender strips of pork, penne, mushrooms (yes, I said mushrooms...we'll get to that in a moment), peppers and onions, all simmering in a creamy tomato sauce...this is some serious comfort food.

So, about the mushrooms.

If you know me very well, you know that mushrooms are a food I ignore.

I'm not on an active campaign to destroy them, I just avoid them.

And, if they happen to be included in something I want to order, the menu and I exchange awkward glances and I order something else.

Or sometimes I boldly order previously mushrooms laden entrees sans mushrooms.

That's all.

But...this year on Mother's Day we had steak at my in-law's house and Mom sautéed these gorgeous mushrooms in butter and served them with the steak. WOW. I was intrigued.

It was enough to convince me to give mushrooms a chance. I had never cooked with fresh mushrooms before, so maybe it wasn't fair, this avoidance of mine.

So...I bought some.

And put them in this skillet.

Then I ordered a meal at Applebee's that featured mushrooms with chicken. I ate them.

Then I put them on pizza.

All instances were very tasty! Needless to say, I think my frigid relationship with mushrooms is over. While we still aren't BFF's, I am definitely letting them into my life.

No more awkward glances.

Pork n' Penne Skillet
from Taste of Home Busy Family Favorites
serves 8 (I halved it for us)

2 TB flour
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 lb. boneless pork loin chops, trimmed and cut into strips
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 TB oil
1 TB butter
1 tsp minced garlic
3 cups milk
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups uncooked penne

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add pork, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, cook the pork, mushrooms, onion, pepper and oregano in oil and butter over medium heat for 4 to 6 or until pork is browned. Add garlic, cook 1 min. longer.
Add milk, tomato sauce, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 min. or until meat is tender and pasta is done.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Meals-for-a-Month {September/October}

Well, hello again! I almost feel like we need an introduction, it's been so long since I wrote last! The last few weeks have been busy ones for us and the next few will be as well, but I hope to squeeze a least a couple of posts out this week. The first order of business, however, is to give you some inspiration with my month of menu ideas. I am truly excited about some of these meals and I can't wait to share them with you!
It's hard to believe I just wrote the word "October" up there in the title. October!!?? That means fall, cold weather, and my birthday are just around the corner! As usual, I have been holding out on fall, resenting the way it creeps in on my lovely summer, but yesterday I indulged in a salted caramel mocha (albeit iced) and sweet potato fries and bought a few cute blazers at Goodwill. Okay, so maybe I like fall. But I'm not letting go of my late summer days yet!

Week 1 (Sept. 11-15)

Entree: Classis Eggs Benedict
Side: Fresh Fruit

Side: Rolls
Church Family Camp

Week 2 (Sept. 18-22)

Side: Orzo and Green Beans

Side: Fresh fruit
On vacation

Week 3 (Sept. 25-29)

Entree: Steak Gyros
Side: Chips and fruit
Side: Corn Muffins
Entree: Shrimp Tacos
Side: Zucchini Chips?
Entree: Pizza
Side: Fresh fruit/veggies

Side: Bacon and fruit

Week 4 (Oct. 2-6)

Entree: Mom C.'s Hamburger Stroganoff
Side: Green Beans

Side: Tortilla Strips and Corn Muffins

Side: Zucchini
Entree: Pizza
Side: Fresh fruit/veggies
Entree: Baked Pineapple Chicken
Side: Rice

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...