Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chicken Sate Wraps

Those people (you know, the smart budget, planning and/or nutritiony types) recommend taking time one day to plan and make your meals for the week.    It avoids the "Ack!  It's 7:30pm on a Tuesday and I just got home from a long day at work then a crazy workout at the gym and I'm starving and there's no food so I'd better get a pizza / sushi / frozen custard.   Oh screw it, I'll just have cereal" situation. 
I know I've told you, about 1.5 million times, that I really love Cooking Light.   At the library, I picked up the Cooking Light Mix and Match Low Calorie Cookbook.   Going through it, I found some great looking things for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   
I can look through cookbooks all I want.  
But it does me no good if I don't actually get the ingredients and make the dish.   And then I asked myself, why make one dish if I can make three?   Three different things already portioned and stored in the fridge ready for that 7:30pm post gym dinner.   Or for my sister to take for lunch. 
(Have I mentioned that my job has a free employee cafeteria?   I take it for granted that I never have to pack a lunch or bring my own coffee or provide my own apple.  Or pay for it.)
These sate wraps were quick and easy to put together.   The recipe said it would make 4, but I was able to make 5.   It may have been my unscientific measuring of the chicken.   I used Penzey's Hot Curry powder for a nice kick, as well as the nameless (English name, anyway) low sodium soy sauce from the H-Mart.  
Seriously.   Make these.  Wrap them.   Eat them.   
What You Need
1/2 cup shredded carrots (make it easy on yourself - preshredded from the store)
2/3 cup light coconut milk
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon lower sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (didn't have this, used red wine vinegar instead)
1 teaspoon curry powder (love it hot!)
2 cups shredded skinless boneless chicken
4  (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups packaged angel hair slaw (just the shredded cabbage portion - you'll find this with the bagged salads, lettuce, etc at the store)
What You Do
Heat a large nonstick skilled over medium high.  Spray with cooking spray.   Add carrots and saute for 1 minute.   Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and curry powder.  Stir.   Add chicken, cook 1 minute stirring to coat.   Remove from heat.
Warm tortillas (I spritz with a little water and warm in the microwave).    Spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortilla and top with 1/3 cup of the slaw.   Roll it up. 
My rolling technique is not all that.  I used a tiny bit of peanut butter to "glue" the wrap shut.   
If you're packing it for lunch, roll in wax paper, foil (or both).   If you're eating immediately, it's a handheld design, just go for it. 
Enjoy the luxury of having something delicious already made that you can just grab and go.
I made this recipe omitting the green onions and I failed to use fat-free tortillas.  See the original CL recipe here. 


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Put the Lime in the Coconut (Sugar Cookies)

Cookies, instagram style

We just started a healthy living & weight loss challenge at work.   Since I'm one of the people who put the program together, I feel like I need to participate.   With enthusiasm.   There's prize money for the top 5 who lose the highest percentage of weight loss, Biggest Loser style.   
I have some motivation.    Summer is coming up.   The Bike MS is coming up.   Sun dresses are coming up.   The contest is 12 weeks.  I can (as my trainer says) streamline my nutrition.   Make more conscious decisions and pay attention.    Yes, Starbucks lattes, that means you.   I'm paying attention to you.   
However, these cookies came up before the start of the contest.   As always, I like to give treats away.   I feed my co-workers and friends.   So there aren't that many of these left.    Less temptation.
I found different versions of this recipe on different blogs.  Some credited Cooks Illustrated.   Some credited America's Test Kitchen.    They were very similar - some had 1/3 cup oil, some had 1/2.   Some had lemon zest, some had lime.    No matter how you bake it - these cookies are delicious, soft and chewy. 
What You Need
2 1/4 cups AP flour (add an additional 1/4 cup flour if needed for altitude - I did)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, chopped (I know, you look at it and you say, it's already small...the coconut is really for texture, so chop it some more)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces (I used reduced fat cream cheese)
1 teaspoon lime zest
6 tablespoons butter, melted and warm
1/3 cup oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk (I used skim)
1 tablespoon lime juice, from that lime you just looks sad and naked
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling the cookies
What You Do
Preheat oven to 350.   Put silicone baking mats on your baking sheets.
Whisk flour, powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl.  
Place 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese and lime zest in a large bowl.         Pour butter over mixture and whisk until combined.   Whisk in oil until well mixed.  Add egg, milk and lime juice.   Continue to whisk until smooth.   Add flour mixture with a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.  It is soft.  That's ok.  No reason to panic. 
How many cookies you'll get depends on how you roll them.   I got 36 buy rolling dough balls the size of quarters.    Roll the dough into balls and then roll in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet.    Lightly flatten using a glass or spatula.   Bake until edges are set, 11-13 minutes.   Let cookies cool for a few minutes before putting them on a wire rack.
Give them away or shove them in your mouth.   They are that good

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bake MS: Bailey's Brownies

The weather on Friday was amazing.    It screamed out "Rush home from work and sit on the patio sipping sangria."  Of course, in order to sip sangria, I needed to stop by the liquor store for wine.   

And Baileys.

Not for the sangria.  That would be disgusting.   I need to the Bailey's to make these brownies.  

And to put in my coffee.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I felt I could join the masses in making green and/or Irish (or Irish inspired) desserts.   No green food coloring.   No shamrocks.   Just rich, smooth Irish Cream.

{Bake MS Campaign for 2013 Now Closed}
Did I mention that these are a gift?   A friend from college made a donation to the Bike MS.  In return, as a part of my Bake MS Campaign, I asked if I could make her a treat.   She said no walnuts.  I can handle that.

What You Need

For the brownies:
1 (1lb 3.8 oz) package of fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

For the glaze:
1 tablespoon butter
1 oz chocolate chips

What You Do

Line a 13x9 pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.   Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the brownie ingredients in a large bowl, beat 50 strokes with a spoon.  Spread into pan (it's thick).    Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until brownies are set.   Don't over bake them (or you'll be forced to simply dip them straight into your Bailey's laced coffee biscotti style).    Cool for at least 45 minutes.

Make the frosting by beating the butter in a medium bowl.   Slowly add the Bailey's and powdered sugar.   You want the sugar to be in the frosting, and not all over your clothes.    Spread over cooled brownies.

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a small bowl on low heat in the microwave until just melted.  Stir until smooth.     I'm sure there are classy ways to drizzle chocolate, but I just used a spoon and flung it over the brownies.

Chill brownies until firm (or over night).   Remove brownies from the pan using the foil and cut into small squares (all that rich smooth Bailey's, you know.  And the butter).

Gift them to a friend who donates to the MS Society.  Click here and you can be the next winner helping to create a world free of MS.

Other Irish inspired things you could make...
Gingerbread Guinness Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Guinness Brownies
Mudslide Brownies

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Duffey Roll Cafe - Denver

I love going out for breakfast and brunch and wish I had enough mornings to do it in.   Work interferes with that....just a bit. 
Today I met up with two good friends and had lunch at the Duffey Roll Cafe right by the Louisiana Pearl light rail station.    The breakfast sandwich (the Bakin Sun in my case) came with a mini roll.   My latte also came with a mini roll.   I got to try both the Irish Cream roll in honor of St. Patrick's Day, and also the orange roll. 
The sandwich, rolls and coffee were all delicious and the company made it even more so.  
I guess I have no more excuses saying that work interferes with my breakfasting.    I ride the train every morning and it goes right by Louisiana Pearl.    I could give myself an extra half hour and stop in. 
Let's see if I can successfully get out of bed and make that happen.
Have you had a Duffey Roll?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wasabi Grilled Cheese French Toastwich

One of the food blogs that I like to read is the Smart Cookie Cooks.   The author loves a grocery store called Wegman's and periodically makes a run to that particular store that is about an hour from where she lives and then documents all the great things that she found.  

That's kind of how I feel about Trader Joe's.   The closest one is in New Mexico.    And that's not close.   Not remotely a day trip.   When I'm visiting friends and family in the Chicago suburbs, I try to hit the TJ.    When I'm out in California, I do the same.

Trader Joe's is officially coming to Colorado and we will have two stores later this year.   Yay! 

For Christmas, I asked Santa for a couple TJ treats, including Wasabi mayo, Island Soyaki and Thai basil and chili cashews.   You know Santa is a foodie when he comes through with a jar of mayo in your stocking.    

I've made a sweet french toastwich before, but I was intrigued with what kind of breakfast sandwich I could make using the wasabi mayo.   How about grilled cheese?    I made a grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread, munster cheese and wasabi mayo and put it on the griddle to get the bread toasty and the cheese warm.   Then I dipped it in egg and skim milk and put it back on the griddle. 

The finished product?  Gooey grilled cheese with a real kick!

Do you have a favorite food store?  What is it and why?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Amaretto Mocha Pudding Cake

Alas, this is the third and final recipe from my Saturday Snowday adventures in the kitchen.    The sun came out on Sunday and I could no longer, guilt-free, hole up inside.   I had to go and do things.  Gym.   Work.   Errands.  

You know the drill.  

Pudding cake, and it's fancy restaurant-issue cousin, the molten lava cake, is a combination of actual cake and cake/brownie batter that is rich, delicious and not quite cooked.  And it's all on purpose. 

Once you cut into it, it oozes all over, just like it's supposed to.   It's not the most photogenic dessert on the planet, but who cares?   You have warm chocolate dripping down your chin.  

What You Need

A snow day.   If you don't have a snow day, than any day that ends in -y where you want chocolate will do.

You will also need....

Level 1:
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup of skim milk just for fun)
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla

Level 2:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Level 3:
1/2 cup water, heated
1/4 cup amaretto liquor
1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee granules

What You Do

Heat the oven to 350 and put the rack in the middle.   Grease an 8x8 pan with butter and set aside.

Combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking powder and salt (all Level 1 items) in a medium bowl and whisk together.     In a large bowl whisk together the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, milk, butter, egg and vanilla until combined and smooth.    Add flour mix to milk mixture and whisk until just combined.   Lumps are ok.     Transfer the batter to your 8x8 pan and smooth it out.

Combine 1/4 cup cocoa, 1/4 granulated sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar in a small bowl until mixed.  Then sprinkle over batter evenly.

Heat up a 1/2 cup of water.  Then add the amaretto and dissolve the instant coffee powder.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour it over the batter (no stirring) and put the pan in the oven.

Bake until cake is bubbling, puffy and set at the edges while jiggly in the center, about 25 minutes.    Let cool for 5 minutes before diving in!

From personal experience this cake is delicious the day after for breakfast.

Adapted from (original recipe)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

More Fun with Garbanzos: Tuscan Garbanzo Bean Soup

Found another delicious dish to make with the erstwhile garbanzo bean (aka the chickpea).    After making Chickpea Curry, I still had two cans of beans left.   Conveniently the good people at Bush's Beans put a recipe on the label that sounded mighty tasty - I just omitted the ingredients that I didn't have and called it good.    This was another cooking adventure courtesy of the Saturday Snowday.   
What You Need
1 cup medium pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped (I think mine was more medium-ish)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 cans (16oz) garbanzo beans, drained and divided (save 1 cup of whole beans - the rest will go in with all the veggies)
What You Do
Cook the pasta shells following the package directions (boil, boil, toil and trouble).
In a medium sauce pan heat oil over medium.  Add onion, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes.    This will smell awesome real quick.   Add 2 cups water, carrot, and garbanzo beans (minus 1 cup).   Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat.   Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.   
Grab your food processor or blender for pureeing everything in your sauce pan.    Once it's nice, smooth and soup-like, pour it back in the saucepan and add the cooked pasta shells and remaining cup of garbanzo beans.   
Season with salt and pepper to taste.    It's thick and hearty (and vegetarian if you're looking for that). 
If you love the garbanzo bean / chickpea, try one of these recipes:


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cooking with eggs, because, you know, it's snowing

It's snowing.    Two weeks ago we had a lot of snow on a Sunday.    Maybe people didn't take the meteorologists seriously last time.  So when they were predicting a lot of snow for today, the general population of Denver sat up, took notice, and hit the grocery store so that they would not starve if they had to stay home to wait out the storm.  
I'm not sure what it is about snow storms that causes people to go crazy about eggs.   They run to the store because omg it's going to snow.    And once they get what they really want: ingredients for bloody Mary's, Velveeta, rotel, tortilla chips, and Oreos, they realize: "I need eggs."  
In the general course of life a person, maybe you,  might go a week or two without cooking eggs.    But in the heat of battle at the grocery store the night before a snowstorm you decide that eggs are essential to staying home and combating the snow.      I'm convinced that all over the state today, french toast, scrambled eggs and omelets are being consumed in epic quantities.  
To celebrate my Saturday Snowday, I too, felt compelled to cook with eggs.   
And I made something new.  
New to me, that is. 
Apparently egg in bread has many names including: Egg in the hole, Bird's nest, or (not sure where this came from) Rocky Mountain Squattled Eggs.
Whatever you call it, it's easy, delicious, and a great way to use the egg and bread that you stocked up on in preparation for this most recent storm.
What You Need
A slice of bread - I used thick slices from a cheese demi loaf that happened to be around
An egg - 1 egg for each slice of bread
Salt, pepper or other seasoning to taste
A little butter/margarine for the griddle
What You Do
Set the griddle on the burner and turn to medium heat.   Put a little butter on the griddle.
Cut the center out of the slice of bread using a shot glass.
Set the slice of bread on the griddle and crack an egg in the hole.   Cook for 3 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side. 
Slide onto a plate and dig in.
I made these for breakfast today.
It's still snowing now.
I may have to cook with eggs again later today.
Stay safe.  Stay warm.  Eat eggs.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Let's Tart at the Very Beginning: Chocolate Ganache Tart

Hopefully all you Sound of Music fans appreciated this post title.    I knew there had to be a good tart pun out there somewhere!    Looking through my photos, I realized that I never posted this recipe.  
I bought a tart pan last year with a Sur la Table gift card.    And then time passed.
I made no tarts.  
So I thought I would contribute something that wasn't pumpkin or pecan to our Friendsgiving dinner.   Yes.  Way back in November.   Right before Thanksgiving.    The same Thanksgiving where I made Caramel Pecan French Toast rather than a turkey.    For those following along at home, my corporate turkey is still in my freezer.   Maybe it will be an Easter turkey?
I think my first tart was a success.    Of course after I made it I realized that I wasn't sure exactly how to pop it out even though it has a removable bottom.   Thankfully someone on was able to explain it.   It was really easy.   The tart crust itself is designed not to stick.
What You Need
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups AP flour
Ganache Filling
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli chips)
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (more chocolate chips)
4 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
There are lot of things you could top a rich tart with:
Nothing - it's awesome on its own
Whipped cream
Fresh Fruit
Cherry Vodka Sauce
Cherry Vodka Sauce
2 10oz bags of frozen cherries
1/2 cup vodka
6 tablespoons sugar
small splash of vanilla
What You Do
To make the crust
Heat oven to 350.    Put the rack in the middle.
Combine butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir.   Add flour and stir until just combined - soft dough.    Sprinkle the dough over the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.   Evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan (flour your fingers so it doesn't all stick to you).   
Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.    Once chilled, prick it all over with a fork and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.    When the crust is done let it cool on a wire rack.   
Ganache it up
Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl.  Combine cream, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium eat and stir until sugar dissolves and the liquid is just simmering.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit until melted.   Watching chocolate melt is kind of like watching water boil.   Distract yourself for a few minutes.    Stir until smooth.  Pour ganache into the tart shell and transfer to the fridge.   Chill until set (2 hours).
Rock the Vodka Sauce
Place cherries, vodka, sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan at medium-high heat.   Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Stir occasionally until the cherries start to break down and the syrup has thickened.   This will take about 50 minutes.   Let the sauce cool and serve with the tart.
The vodka sauce is also delicious by the spoonful or on anything else you might enjoy. 
Recipe Source:  Chow

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Bake MS Campaign 2013

It's hard to believe, but bike season is back again.   Here in Denver we alternate between extreme winter (like last Sunday when I was using my weather ruler to measure the snow) and spring.   Today it's over 50 degrees and people are out and about doing March 2nd type things:  walking dogs, moving items into a truck from a storage unit (my neighbors),  going on errands and running stairs at the gym (that was me).   
This June I will participate in the Colorado Bike MS for the 5th time.   According to wikipedia, that makes this my Wood anniversary.   Awesome.  Maybe I will treat myself to a nice cutting board as a gift. 
The Bike MS is a fundraising ride.    The event raises over $3 million.   The team that I ride with, Team Stay Fit, should have break the million dollar mark this year.    You can help!
Last year, I introduced my Bake MS Campaign - combining cooking and fundraising together to create a world free of MS.    Friends were very generous in contributing to my ride and in return, I gave the gift of treats and public adoration via Facebook.
Some of my 2012 Bake MS treats included:
Denver Friends
If you make a donation of at least $25 on my participant page for the Colorado Bike MS, I will bake you a treat of your choice. You can use it to bribe or thank your child's teacher. You can lie and say you made it. You can put it in your freezer and break it out after you finish your diet.

Friends Everywhere Else
If you make a donation of at least $30, pick a treat that will ship well and I will send it to you.

What Can I Have?
Feel free to pick a recipe off this blog (or my list of recipes that I tried before this blog). Or if you find another recipe, I'm willing to try it and see what happens. If it turns out well, I'll give you a shout out when I post the pictures here.  If you want to donate and diet (donate without a treat) that's fine too and I'll still sing your praises. 

Click here to make a donation to my ride in the 2013 Colorado Bike MS. 

To learn more about MS and the impact that it has on people you know and love - watch this video.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...