Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brownie in a Mug

Cue the Homer Simpson food song...(I admit it's a bit strange)

A coworker and friend of mine shared this recipe with me last week (I tried it that night...mmmm) and I'm not sure why it took me this long to share it with all of you.  I had this tasty treat topped with ice cream at The Fountain on Locust (major yummy spot if you're looking for a great lunch) back in December but wasn't sure how to duplicate it at home.  Turns out it's really quite simple...sweet.

Brownie in a Mug

4 Tbls. flour
4 Tbls. sugar
2 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
2 Tbls. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
chocolate chips (just a few...or not)

Place dry ingredients in the bottom of a mug, stir.  Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Microwave 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (just depends on your microwave).  Top with ice cream if you'd like and enjoy!

I plugged this recipe into one of my calorie counting apps which estimated it to be around 500+ calories (without adding ice cream).  This was a little hard for me to swallow (no pun intended) so I cut the recipe in half, which was very easy to do, and enjoyed a smaller version of this delicious snack.  Either way you go, you're sure to be a very happy camper.  :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Healthy Doesn't Have to Be Boring

...or bland, or gag-inducing, nor does it have to leave you hungry!

I discovered Kalyn's Kitchen months ago when some family members were on the South Beach Diet and I was looking for a side dish to bring to my parents' for dinner.  I found a Spicy Sweet Potato Fries recipe that I made...boy were they spicy (and yummy!)  I added her blog to my Google Reader and told my mom where I had gotten the recipe, then all but forgot about it. 

Fast forward a few months to January when my mom brought the Healthy Hummus to CID's Trivia Night and my mother-in-law asked my mom for the recipe.  Lucky for me, my mom decided to share the hummus recipe AND this tasty main course that she found on Kalyn's Kitchen that had quickly become a favorite in her house:  Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze.  Whether or not you are a fan of balsamic (I didn't think I was...) I would HIGHLY recommend trying this.  It cooks up super fast so it's perfect for a weeknight or when you're having guests over and don't want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen. 

Serve it up with two or more of the following:  steamed broccoli or cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary, a salad with light dressing, or "grilled" (in a grill pan) mixed veggies and you have one heck of a healthy and delicious meal! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Penne with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

Quick share of one of my all-time favorite recipes! 

Penne with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce

2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb salsiccia
1 tsp. minced garlic
crushed red pepper flakes (to taste...I go a little crazy)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
2 Tbls. vodka
1 lb. penne pasta

Brown sausage in olive oil then add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook noodles.  (Back to the sauce.)  Add cream and vodka and bring to a boil.  Add cooked pasta and heat through for about a minute.  Enjoy!

This is one of my husband's absolute favorite makes great leftovers for lunches or more dinners so you can enjoy it again!  Pretty low fuss (especially if you have a splatter screen like mine!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Holy Smokes Rachael Ray

Just spent some time on Rachael Ray Magazine's website and am dying to try some of these recipes. 

Sweet Potato Chicken Quesadillas

Seared Scallops and Tenderloin Steaks with Manhattan Sauce  (gonna need a special occasion for this!)

Drunken Risotto with Sausage and Spinach (definitely making this one this week cause I have everything!)

Smoked Mozzerella and Chicken Sandwiches with Italian BBQ Sauce

There were 4 or 5 more that sounded yummy but I thought I would let you check them out for yourself.  Maybe something that didn't catch my eye will catch yours!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fish Fry Fridays!

I'm surprised it took me this long to discuss these annual events I look forward to each year but I'm gonna keep it short and sweet (we all know how this ends up with me...).  I've been to a few mediocre fish fries but never any that have been downright gross so I'm going to refrain from negative comments. are a few of my favorites in the St. Louis County area.

3.  St. Peter's in Kirkwood--(4:30-7pm)--They have weekly specials so you have to check their bulletin or website to see what they are serving up that week and if it meets your tastes/needs.  The food is good, desserts available for an additional fee (I think they are just $0.50 or something like that.)  It's also the most reasonable on my top 3 coming in at $6 for an adult plate and $3 for a child plate.  Warning...some weeks have a shellfish special so if you have food allergies, you will want to check this out before you go.  Most weeks are shellfish free...I believe this week is one of those weeks.

2.  Our Lady of Providence (OLP)--(4-7pm)--Big sad face for this week as they are not hosting a fish fry tomorrow but they have one planned for the 26th so you can check them out then.  To be honest, it has been 2 years since we have been to OLP so I don't remember many of the specifics (I think it was $7 for the adult plate.) but I remember being very impressed with the selection, price, and quantity of food. the past shellfish is regularly on the menu so if you have food allergies use caution.

1.  St. Clement of Rome--(4:30-7:30)--This one gets crowded!!  Why?  Because it is SO GOOD!  For $8 (adult plate...can't remember what a child's plate is here) you get two pieces of cod OR one cod and 4 shrimp OR baked tilapia or salmon (my favorite thing they have here!), 3 sides (choose from salad, slaw, applesauce, french fries, mac 'n cheese, beans, etc), and bread.  Beverages are included (lemonade, tea, water), desserts are an additional $0.50, and beer is available for $2/each.  I believe there is also cheese pizza and other kid friendly items far the biggest selection I have seen.  Come early or be ready to stand in line but don't worry...they keep it movin. Warning...shellfish is regularly on the menu so if you have food allergies use caution.

St. Clement is by far our favorite and we go whenever we can.  We've made other plans for tomorrow evening but you better believe we'll try to make it there next week!

Note:  Most parishes have their final fish fry on Friday, March 26th this year.  It will be difficult to find one after that but if you do, let me know!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Greek to Me...

So this past Saturday I went over to a friend's house for dinner.  She is self-proclaimed "I don't cook" but holy smokes she is definitely not "I can't cook."  This girl took on some serious Greek cuisine...something I have never dared to do.  It looked beautiful, it smelled great, and boy oh boy did it ever taste incredible!  Hats off to her for this amazing meal...

Spanikopita--I've had this tasty treat in appetizer form before but never as the full casserole...I could have eaten the entire pan.  Phyllo sheets can be a real pain to work with but as long as you're up for the challenge, it's worth it!  Might be a little easier to manage the phyllo for the appetizer/bite sized form but who knows with that stuff.  

Stuffed Eggplant with Orzo, Lamb, Feta, and Tomatoes--This dish looks so complicated in its finished form but after reading the recipe I think it can be done.  It also helps that it can be prepped in advance and baked later...up to 2 days later!  Bonus!  Again, could have eaten the entire pan!!

Baklava --I haven't had this in years and I forgot what I was missing!  But again with the phyllo!!  I tell you what...she must be a master at phyllo after cooking this dinner.  Flaky, tasty, delicious.

These are all the exact recipes she used so I can personally give them my stamp of approval.  ;)  What I didn't manage to get, however, was her apple pie recipe....mmmmmmm.  Maybe apple pie seems a bit out of place in this menu but I promise once you see and taste her apple pie, you realize that it works just fine alongside any meal.  Wowee.  I will have to try to remember to get that recipe from her...if she's willing to share, that is. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"...barely counts as cooking..." says Cooking Light

Made this recipe last's definitely a new favorite, for several reasons.

1.  As Cooking Light put it, "This recipe barely counts as cooking, yet you can take full credit as everone devours it."  Word.  The "cooking" was a no brainer and took less than 10 minutes from start to finish.  Pretty much amazing in my book.
2.  The flavors were just divine. wine vinegar and olive oil with fresh veggies and cheese stuffed ravioli?  Yes please!
3.  Clean up was a breeze since you cook all in one pot.
4.  Versatility!  Yes, that's right folks, if green beans and sun-dried tomatoes aren't your thing Cooking Light suggests "mixing it up" (yep, pun intended) with other veggies like bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, or anything else you may have around that sounds good to you!
5.  Do I really need to go on?  If you're not sold yet, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it!

Is your mouth watering yet?  I haven't even told you what it's called but I bet it is!  I give you...

Ravioli Toss (not as elaborate as you imagined?)

2 (9oz) pkgs. refrigerated whole wheat four-cheese ravioli
2 cups (2-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup thinkly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 6)
2 Tbls. olive oil
2 Tbls. red wine vinegar
4 plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 lb)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1oz) shaved fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese

1.  Prepare pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Add beans to pasta during last 5 minutes of cooking.  Drain.
2.  Combine sun-dried tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl.  Add pasta mixture, salt, and pepper; toss gently to combine.  Top with cheese.  Yields 6 servings at 347 calories per serving.

But I'm not finished yet cause you know I can't just leave a recipe alone.  I'm always looking for ways to speed up the cooking's what I did with this one.

First of all, I halved the recipe...there's just the two of us in my house remember?  I bought frozen cheese ravioli (22oz. pkg) and used half of only takes 5 minutes to cook so I started the green beans right away with it and it was perfect.  I bought a resealable package of julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes (no oil) and just pulled out the 1/2 cup I slicing required.  You know me and my jar of minced garlic.  :)  I also omitted the salt...I don't like to add salt if I don't need to and this recipe definitely didn't need the added flavor so I left it out and saved some sodium.  I also was too lazy to buy a block of parm and shave it so I just used my shaker can of grated and tossed it in there and it was delish.

Amazing, delicious, and incredibly fast...perfect for a weeknight or rushed weekend meal when you just want something healthy and delicious without spending hours in the kitched with prep, cooking, and clean up.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bread Pudding

Well friends, it has been far too long since I've been on here but I assure you I have been plenty busy cooking these past few weeks!  Today I just wanted to share a quick recipe (or rather, share quickly...).

I made this bread pudding about a month ago and it was just too good to keep to myself!  My husband and I love us some bread pudding so I went hunting for a recipe.  I found tons of them but I wanted it to be really good (note: not the healthiest choice...doh!) and for that, I turned to none other than Paula Deen.

Paula Deen's Best Bread Pudding

2 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups cubed Italian bread (allow to stale overnight in a bowl)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened (remember to soften it on the counter for about 30 minutes rather than in the microwave!)
1 cup chopped pecans

For the sauce...
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy (I substituted whiskey)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish (I used glass).  Mix together sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla.  Pour over cubed bread and let set for 10 minutes.  In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.  Pour bread mixture into prepared pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until set.  Remove from oven.

Mix together sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a suacepan over medium heat.  Stir together until the sugar is melted.  Add the brandy (or whiskey), stirring well.  Pour over bread pudding and serve warm.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  It took us almost a week to eat it all and when it was gone, it was a sad day at our house. :)