Sunday, September 30, 2012

Holy Moly Macaroons!

When it comes to sweets, there are a few things that I just can't get enough of. In no particular order, those things include coconut, chocolate, hazelnut, pumpkin, and maybe another thing or two that I can't recall at the moment, as it is nine o'clock at night and my mind is full of cotton balls. True story.  So anyway, I was asked to come up with a dessert that would complement a lemon meringue pie and the first thing that came to mind was coconut. Being that I knew I simply wouldn't have oodles of time to dedicate to baking, I made the impeccable decision to whip up a batch of macaroons. Excellent decision.

It took all of nine minutes to get my cookie "batter" from the cabinet to the oven, eighteen minutes to make the coconut puffies, and maybe ten minutes to cool. What's more, however, is that in addition to taking barely any time at all, they tasted awesome. And I mean awesome.

So if you have thirty-seven minutes to spare, I say give these a try. They're supremely easy and are guaranteed to knock your socks off in terms of taste.

1 2/3 cups shredded coconut
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

1. Set your time and ready, set, go!

2. Preheat oven to 325'. 

3. Combine coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Give it a good stir.

4. In a small dish gently mix the vanilla and the egg white together. Do this for about ten seconds, which should be just enough time to break up the rather gelatinous albumen-containing slime. 

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a prepared cookie sheet. You should get about 30.

 6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Banana Surprise Muffins

So after a week hiatus, I'm back to promote an old, yet delicious recipe  for 100% Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins to share with all of my loyal followers. Actually, I've done some research and have learned that the majority of my page hits come from Russian spam bots. When I check my traffic sources, I can see the URLs from which people were directed to my blog. Well a lot of the unknown ones are actually links to highly inappropriate Russian websites. Oh fuck, now the entirely of the IT staff at my job thinks that I'm some sort of workplace pervert. I guess that'll teach me not to click work-unrelated links.

Anyway, let's move on to the topic of the hour: Banana surprise muffins. I am a rather huge fan of muffins; in fact, muffins were the inspiration for the shape of my body. Thought I'll admit, however, that I've been eating quite a lot of carrot soup, so I've been losing weight, but I still can't seem to shake the billowing fat emerging from the top of my pants. Whatever.

So per usual, some of the measurements may be a little off, so I encourage you to use your intuiton and add more dry ingredients if necessary. Afterall, you're a smart cookie; Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading my blog, right?

Anyway, what's not to love about  100% Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins?
Whole wheat
Low, low fat

Stop making excuses and make them already! :) Pin It

Monday, September 24, 2012

Turkey- Broccoli Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those things that reminds me of warm, comforting meals. While it's not the fanciest of dishes (in fact, someone once told me that it was "white trash"... I tend to whole-heartedly disagree with that statement), it's certainly found its way into my repertoire and onto my dining room table.

As mentioned previously, my boyfriend and I have opted out of traditional date night and have traded it in for a no-leftover policy. Along with the no-leftover policy, it has also unofficially transitioned into a more-than-one-serving-dish policy. As someone who enjoys cooking, I have grown quite fond of Thursday nights.

Along with my cauliflower mashup, which if I can say, was a huge hit, I also took the time to make a meatloaf. Because I try to make "date night" food a little more special than a brick of meat, I decided to add a dash of pizazz in the form of broccoli. It was well-received and quickly consumed.

1 pound-ish lean ground turkey (My package was about 20 ounces)- you can also use ground chicken
1 1/2 cups broccoli, somewhat finely chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (don't add this to the meat mixture)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp salt (don't add this to the meat mixture)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp onion powder (I didn't feel like chopping an onion... sue me)
1/4 cup ketchup (I suppose that's the white trash component)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
Extra ketchup

Preheat oven to 350'.

2. Partially cook your brocolli until it is tender, but not mushy. I did this in the microwave my adding a splash of water, covering the bowl with Saran wrap, and nuking it for 3 minutes. I then let it sit, covered, for about 5 minutes.

3. Combine ground turkey, 1 tsp salt, garlic, onion powder, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs and the egg. Knead with your hands until all ingredients are well blended. If the mixture is too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a squirt of ketchup.

4. On a large cutting board, spread your meat mixture out and form it into a larg rectangle about 12 x 12. This is not an exact measurement.

5. Spread broccoli over the meat, leaving about half and inch of broccoli-less meat around the edges. Gently press the broccoli into the turkey. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Sprinkle cheese over broccoli.

6. Gently roll meat into a "jelly roll". Carefully transfer your loaf into a prepared pan. If it won't fit, smush the ends together.

7. Squirt about 1/8 cup of ketchup on top of the loaf and spread it around. It's kind of gross looking/ feeling, but I promise that it's really good.

8. Bake for 45 minutes at 350' Pin It

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cauliflower Mashup

As previously mentioned, I am quite the fan of making unhealthy comfort food dishes healthier. I experience the occasional flop, but have learned that in order to maintain the integrity of the dish, I can't go crazy with substitutions. In fact, I've learned that complete substitutions aren't the way to go, either. Where am I headed?

By bf(f) and I used to have out date nights on Thursday, but due to schedule changes, we have transformed our date nights into "nice dinner nights". They're not super fancy, but the rule is that we don't have any leftovers. Sounds pretty good. It's a lot cheaper than going out to eat, too. So, I have run into the problem of making a "fancy" dinner a healthy one. Trying to figure out what to serve with my turkey meatloaf with a broccoli swirl, I figured that mashed potatoes would be perfect. The only problem is that mashed potatoes are high in calories when you start adding butter and milk. Think, think. I didn't want to lose sight of the mashed potato idea, so I decided to create a concoction of half potatoes/ half cauliflower. Certainly I'm not the first person to think of this, but I am pretty proud that the thought came to my mind in the first place.

It's not a dead-ringer for the 100% potatoes dish, but like my diet-friendly brownies, they do satisfy the craving for dense, white goodness. Best of all, however, cauliflower is so good for you! It has far fewer calories than potatoes and is loaded with fiber. As any good dieter knows, fiber is essential to weight loss, as it keeps you feeling fuller longer.

1/2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 red potatoes, chopped slightly smaller than the cauliflower (I kept the skins on because that's where the fiber and the nutrients are. They also look pretty.)
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic
handful of cheese (I used 2% mozzarella because that's what I had on hand)
1 tbsp unsalted butter (I managed to find a light one)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a single pan, boil potatoes and cauliflower until they are soft. It's important that the cauloflower is very soft so that it will easily break up with your hand mixer.

2. Drain your cauliflower and potatoes. Return to pan and with your hand mixer, whip the crap out of those suckers.

3. Slowly add 1/4 cup of milk and butter. Continue to mix. If they are too thick, slowly add more milk. I didn't really measure the milk, so I apologize for not being able to give you a better idea of exactly how much to plan for.

4. Add garlic and cheese. Mix, mix, mix, girls and boys!

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Chicken Stew (What to do with leftover roaster chicken)

Being that I'm on a diet and making adequate progress (by adequate, I mean that I lose about 2 pounds per week, put the two pounds back on over the weekend, and then lose them again the next week), I am constantly brainstorming on how to make my favorite comfort food dishes a bit healthier. I'm not one to swap out so many ingredients that he final product has zero in common with the original dish, so I usually only change a minor thing or two. For this meal, I substituted cream for flour and salt.
Those of you who still believe that the Atkins Diet is a great way to lose weight, shame on you. And those of you who are shaking your head and thinking thinking that flour has a lot of calories, well shut yo' filthy mouf because while it does contain calories, it does not contain fat. Blah blah, argue with me about how "dangerous" carbs are all you want, but I'll just tune you out and remind myself that my brain on carbs functions better than your clogged arteries on protein.
Anyway, so immediately after I finished consuming my portion of the roasted chicken that I previously posted about, I picked the thing apart and tossed the cooked muscle (not to gross you out, but that's essentially what you're eating when you ravenously consume any animal... it's muscle, but I digress...) into my crock pot. Can we take a moment of silence to truly reflect on how amazing slow cookers are? You can make almost any meal without adding extra fat and oil and you can throw a bunch of stuff together before work and come home to a fragrant house. What I love the best, however, is that when I come home, my dinner is already made, which eliminates my need to eat a granola bar and a yogurt to diminish my nagging hunger pangs before dinner. It's amazing and I think I may celebrate its inventor's birthday.
Like some of my other recipes, some of the measurements arent's exactly accurate, but I'll do my best.
All the picked chicken from the carcass
6 cups chicken stock (you can either buy this or make your own by boiling bones)
6 carrots (I used the two that were leftover from dinner and chopped another 4), sliced to 1/4" thick
3 celery ribs, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 onion (I recycled the one from inside the chicken and just chopped it up)
4 potatoes, chopped
Peas (as you see fit)
Chicken drippings (I used all of them, but you could just as easily skip this step to reduce calorie count. Just be sure to season at the end.)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4- 1/3 cup flour mixed with equal parts cool water (this is a guesstimate... I have no idea how much I actually used)
1. Combine all ingredients aside from salt and pepper and flour in crock pot.
2. Cook for as long as you want (low, medium, high).
3. Just before serving, add the flour/water mixture. The purpose of this step is to thicken up the stew. Add more or less depending on how thick you like it.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
** If you want to go the extra mile, you could easily turn this into a pot pie by pouring it into a crust-lined pie plate and topping it with another crust. Proceed to brushing the top crust with egg wash and poking a few holes for venting. Seal the crust by pressing the edges down with a fork.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roasted Chicken

I made a chicken. And I roasted potatoes and carrots under the seven pound bird. That however, was all after I had to rip out the neck, liver, and whatever else caused me to violently gag and say a few things that are too inappropriate for this blog. Anyway, though, the chicken was delicious and may have earned me a few points from my amazing bf.

While I didn't really measure anything out, I'd like to give you an idea of what I did just in case you'd like to bake up a chicken for you sweetheart. 

1. After you remove the innards and all of the gross stuff that I previously spoke of, tie the chicken's legs together with a piece of twine. Being that I did not have twine handy because I used it all wrapping a gift, I used friendship bracelet string. Some of you may refer to it as "embroidery floss." Call it what you will, just be sure to tie up the legs so that your roaster not only looks awesome once it's done baking, but also so that it cooks more evenly.

2. Cut an onion in half. Cover each half in olive oil and garlic. Then, stuff the onions into the gaping hole within the chicken. Can we not talk about that part anymore?

3. Next, find a small bowl and create a rather fragrant mixture of the following herbs. Let's just say  1/4 teaspoon of the following: Rosemary, Sage, Thyme. I may have sprinkled a dash of "Poultry Seasoning" in there, too... who knows what's in that? Mix it all together. Add salt and pepper until it tastes delicious.

4. Add a few cloves (I used 6) of pressed garlic to the salty herb mixture. Now add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mix around until you have a nice thick paste.

5. Pretend you're a massage therapist and give your chicken a nice oily rub-down. Seriously, though, make sure that you've evenly coated your chicken so as to ensure that every piece of this ol' clucker here will be quite tasty.

6. Plop the bird on top of potatoes, carrots, and any other vegetables that you may fancy. If you're roasting potatoes under the chicken rather than along the sides of the chicken (I think this is how normal people do it), be sure to poke holes in them so that they bake all the way through. 

7. Bake until the thermometer pops up. Wow... you will make an amazing housespouse.

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Super Easy Diet-Friendly Brownies

As you can tell, I am quite the chocolate fanatic. Yes, I do eat foods other than those of the chocolate variety, but I haven't posted the recipes because they've been too simple (a whole baked chicken), repeats of old posts, or things that I haven't bothered to measure out. For example, I whipped up a side dish of whipped cauliflower/red potatoes. I didn't really measure my seasonings, so I figured that would be a pretty crappy post for a recipe blog.

Anyway, I've been doing really well on my diet and aside from the tablespoon of mini chocolate chips that I sprinkle on top of my plain yogurt, I haven't really been spoiling myself with the good stuff. That's why today, with my diet in mind, I pulled out "Old Reliable". Old Reliable is a ridiculously easy brownie recipes that calls for two ingredients. And while it won't leave you groaning, "Oh my goodness gracious, that's the best brownie I've ever had in all of my life," it will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving without forcing you to unbutton your pants. Don't judge me... you know you've done it while no one's looking.

So the two ingredients are black beans and a box of brownie mix. "What's up with the mix?!" you might be asking yourself. Well, my dear friends, the answer is quite simple. Creating a batch of brownies that each measure 2 x 2 and contain only 110 calories is easier that way. Sure, I've found recipes for "healthy" brownies, but the recipes are usually so disgustingly altered that there's no possible way that it could even taste like a brownie, let alone any sort of delicious treat. Also, even if I did do it the "right" way, I would have to spend like sixty big ones on a single batch. Here are my instructions to you: If you're seriously counting calories and aren't afraid to make a compromise in order to save yourself $56, make these. Like I said, they're not the most FABULOUS things you've ever tasted, but it certainly does the trick when your other option boasts three times the calories.

1 can of black beans, drains
I box of Ghiradelli brownie mix (Do yourself a favor and splurge on the Ghiradelli. The first time I made this, I bought the bargain brand. Let me tell you, they were so disgusting and fake tasting that I threw them out. Yup yup... I threw the whole God-forsaken tray out, which if you know me, is a deal of epic proportions.)

1. Preheat the oven to 325'.

2. Pour rinsed beans back into can. Fill said can with water.

3. Empty beans and water into blender and puree for a few minutes.

4. Empty brownie mix and bean puree into a bowl and mix, baby, mix!. There's nothing like burning calories while baking up a storm.

5. Pour batter into prepared 13 x 9 pan and pop the sucker in the oven for 30 minutes.

** A 13 x 9 pan will yield very thin brownies, but if you're contemplating making this, you're already conscious of portion sizes, right? Correct.

6. The next day, jump onto your scale and rejoice over the fact that you haven't packed on a few pounds! GO YOU!!
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thick Fudgey Brownies

I have kept this recipe tucked away in my vault for over fifteen years. Yes, that IS a long time considering I'm twenty-six and swiped this recipe when a family friend brought it over when I was in second grade. Like my gluten-free brownies, these are not your run-of-the-mill generic cake-y brownies to which you have likely become accustomed. They are dense, rich, and usually require a beverage of some sort to help them go down. A little trail of drool just trickled out of the corner of my mouth? TMI? TB.

So last weekend, I made a pan of these for my boyfriend to bring into work. He proudly marched through the can't-stop-me-now doors, set my June Cleaver style Tupperware carrying container down in the break room, went downstairs, and after about five minutes, returned back only to find a completely empty container! Immediately upon his return, his two dozen hungry coworkers promptly lifted him into the air and began chanting with forceful enthusiasm, "You're Number One!" After the commotion ceased, the students let him down and returned to work. However, before he was able to leave the room, the resident old lady warned him that he was taking over her role as the purveyor of fine baked goods and that danger would ensue if the nonsense continued. He was not intimidated, however, knowing that his girlfriend was armed with her silicone spatula and get-ready-for-war measuring spoons, along with a hefty repertoire of recipes that would send any novice baker running for the hills.
It's possible that I'm exaggerating a little, but the brownies were consumed within five minutes, my lovely boyfran did not get to enjoy one, and the resident old lady did clearly convey the message that she felt threatened by the new sweetshop in town.

4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
(or 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa + 1/4 cup canola oil)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup flour
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 bag chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, vanilla, and butter. Add eggs one by one.

3. If you're using unsweetened cocoa and oil rather than melted baking chocolate, add the oil now. If not, add the melted chocolate.

4. In a smaller bowl, combine salt, flour, and baking powder (if using).

5. Slowly incorporate flour mixture into the wet ingredients. After all ingredients are well combined, add chocolate chips.

6. Pour batter into a prepared 13 x 9 baking pan.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Gluten-Free Brownies

It seems like everyone is going gluten-free nowadays, so I figured I should put a few recipes up my sleeve in the event that one of my GF buddies requests a special treat. I've discovered, however, that most Celiac etc.- friendly recipes call for ingredients like rice flour, which is nice and all, but who really has that in their cupboard? Not me. That's why I've been working to modify my current recipes by simply eliminating the flour and adding some other binding agent... or baking for a longer period of time. Most of the time, this works well.

I was feeling rather fat while also craving brownies the morning that I decided to whip up a batch of these bad boys. It then hit me that the gluten-free thing could also work as a DIET food. Before you all go haywire and jump down my throat about brownies never being good for the waistline, hear me out and pay attentch. Flour contains calories. Calories cause weight gain. Therefore, flour causes weight gain. So. If there is no flour, then there are no extra calories. Therefore, gluten-free brownies are diet friendly and I encourage you to throw away your treadmill and make these brownies. I knew I took Logic in college for something!
The following recipe is not intended for those who prefer the lame-o cake-y brownies. These are definitely stick-to-your-ribs, super-rich, fudge-y pudgy brownies that leave you feeling as though you've just done something naughty. I guarantee that you'll like them so much that moments after secretly devouring your first one, you'll grab another, but before you can concentrate on the slightly-grainy sugar crystals that have made their way into your mouth, you notice something funny happening... and realize that it's taking place in your pants! Suddenly they're incredibly loose! Your once sausage-like legs are now Barbie- doll slender and your waist measures a mere twenty-two inches. Oh man, I should really start doing infomericals!

3/4 cup +2tbsp cocoa powder
4 eggs
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup water
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350'.

2. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter, sugar, and vanilla.

3. Add eggs one at a time. Then add water.

4. In a small bowl, combine baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

5. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Once the ingredients are completely combined, add the chocolate chips.

6. Pour batter into a prepared 8 x 8 baking pan. I sprinkled nuts over the top, but this isn't necessary. It just makes it look gawjus.

7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost completely clean.
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