Friday, February 27, 2009

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken

It's Friday & it's Not So Fat!!!!

This may not be a particularly exciting dish but it's healthy & clean & just what you need sometimes after you have had a few bad eating days. It's very simple & quick too! The salsa lends flavor & moistness to the dish without adding any fat!

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of salsa, mild or hot (we use hot)

I grilled my chicken breasts with a little salt, pepper & garlic powder. Use whatever cooking method you prefer. When cooked set chicken aside & slice. In a medium pan, heat olive oil. Saute vegetables until tender. Add salsa & cook just until warm. Spoon over chicken. Serve over whole grain brown rice.

To give my whole grain brown rice a little more flavor, I use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. I also throw in a little garlic powder or cilantro depending what the main dish is. This time, I threw in some fresh chopped mushrooms at the very beginning of cooking the rice.

{My Thoughts}

Just omit the jalapenos if you don't want this dish to be spicy.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Tonight I am going out with my best friend Tam to see a show at our intimate & charming Winter Garden Theatre. And Sunday we go to Disney to see my talented nephew perform in a show as part of his high school band. He will also be marching in the parade down Main Street. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vegetable Tian

This was one of those recipes I saw & had to make as soon as possible. It looked so beautiful but I knew it would be delicious too. There are a few definitions for a Tian but it's basically a French gratin of mixed vegetables. I had actually never heard of it until I saw it on Pam's For the Love of Cooking blog. You should see the delicious stuff she cooks up. 

A Tian is sometimes a layered dish as well but what captured my eye & tummy on this one was the way the veggies were upright & spiraled. Just gorgeous. You can use whatever veggies you like. I didn't have squash on hand so I just used the tomatoes, potatoes & zucchini. 

Picture courtesy of Pam. I delved in too quickly to take one.

2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 large sweet yellow onion cut in half and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 russet potatoes, unpeeled
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
3 large Roma tomatoes
Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions & saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic & cook for another 60 seconds. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the greased baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash & tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. Season with sea salt, black pepper & dried thyme, to taste. Drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil over the top.

Cover the dish with tin foil & bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover & sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top & bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Look at all the colors!
Between the beauty of the dish & sharing Mojitos with my best friend as I was preparing this dish I was one happy girl. 

{My Thoughts}

I recommend making sure not to have the vegetables too upright. Let them lean a little forward so that when you put your seasonings on top, including the parmesan cheese, the flavor & browning is on part of the veggie & not just the tippy top.

Click Here to Print Recipe

I had leftover veggies so last night I assembled a quick version of this Tian. I didn't even saute onions & garlic for time sake. I just spiraled the vegetables & sprinkled with salt & pepper, garlic powder & some Tuscan seasoning along with the olive oil. I followed the directions & put parmesan cheese on toward the end plus a little gruyere!!! 

A Tuscan Beauty of a Dish!

Updated to add:

I just came back from my morning walk/run & had some leftover Vegetable Tian on an egg sandwich. I was licking the plate it was so good. Just an egg, over medium, with turkey bacon & a slice of cheese on a multi grain English Muffin. Heavenly!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Like Father, Like Son...

~ 1969 ~

My husband, Terry, at 4 1/2 years old.

~ 2006 ~

My son, Tristan, at 3 years old.

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cheddar Veggie Torte

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. One of my best friends Tara came to visit me for a brief but wonderful overnight stay. We have been friends since 7th grade when we both lived in NY. She moved to Florida shortly after we became close but time nor distance has ever stood between us. I came to Florida years after & we now just live 2 1/2 hours away. 

We had a great time, laughing & catching up. We enjoyed ~ an afternoon in my quaint little downtown, sipping on Blue Moon at a sidewalk cafe ~ Mojitos by the pool as the sun was setting ~ a brisk afternoon walk by the lake ~ a tearjerker chick flick ~ and sharing some time in the kitchen. I knew I wanted to make this recipe for Tara's visit as soon as I saw it. 

Perfect for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Or if you prefer, this makes for a nice breakfast or brunch. Oh heck, dinner too! It's good anytime. I will definitely be making it again!!!!! 

It's loaded with lots of veggies. With only 4 eggs, it's more like a torte than a quiche. And with a multi grain cracker crust, it's simply delicious!

1-1/3 cups finely crushed multigrain crackers
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
5 small fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz spreadable garlic & herb cream cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tblsp crumbled cooked bacon (I used turkey bacon)
2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (I used dried basil)

In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs & butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. In a large skillet, saute the zucchini, mushrooms, onion & red pepper in oil until tender. Spoon over cheese.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in bacon. Pour over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Garnish with basil. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.

{My Thoughts}

You can substitute whatever veggies you prefer. This is best at room temp so let sit for a bit when out of oven. To re-heat leftovers from the fridge, just place a slice in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds to get the chill out.

For more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays Please Visit Lisa at Blessed with Grace!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Curry Shrimp & Vegetables - Not So Fat Fridays

It's Friday & it's Not So Fat. I hope everyone had a great week!!!! I haven't been out of the house in 3 days since my little guy has a fever. It seems to be going around. But he's a trooper & it's been nice chilling out with him.  

I made this dish last night for myself. I adapted this recipe from others & also added a few things from my fridge so they don't go to waste. If you don't like curry you can still use this as a canvas & create your own sauce. Or use chicken instead of shrimp. I posted a stir fry tip a while back here so check it out to see how easily you can throw together your own combo & have it on the table in 15 minutes. 

½ lb. shrimp
2-3 tblsp vegetable oil
½ tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp cornstarch
2 cups broccoli
2 cups onion
2 cups mushrooms
5 tblsp water
1 tblsp curry powder
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

Blend 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, soy sauce & cornstarch with shrimp. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Briefly stir-fry broccoli, onion, mushrooms until tender. Add an additional 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to pan if necessary. Move the veggies to the side of pan & add shrimp. Stir-fry for just a few minutes until pink. In small mixing bowl, combine water, curry powder, salt, sugar & cornstarch. Add this mixture to the pan & blend well until heated thoroughly. This is amazing over jasmine rice.

{My Thoughts}

I added red bell pepper & whatever veggies I had leftover in the fridge. Use whatever veggies you like. I also added a little fish sauce & red curry paste to the sauce just to use it up but this is not necessary. 

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

Have a great weekend everyone. I will be catching up with you this weekend with a glass of wine in hand. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mexican Mojito

I discovered this drink last June at a restaurant on the way home from vacationing in Destin, FL. A day I'll never's THAT good.

5-6 mint leaves, torn up
Half of one key lime (cut into 2 wedges) or 2 regular lime wedges
3/4 oz 1800 Silver Tequila
3/4 oz Cointreau
1 oz Sweet & Sour Mix (we use Mr. & Mrs. T)
1/2 oz Agave Nectar Syrup (I find this in my organic section at Publix)
2 oz club soda

In the glass you will be sipping from, place your torn mint leaves. Squeeze the juice from your limes into the glass & then drop limes in. Take a muddler or back of spoon & gently smash the mint & limes together. This will release the oils from the mint as well as the lime rind. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice.

In a cocktail shaker with ice (just to make the alcohol cold) add your tequila, cointreau, sour mix & agave. Be precise with your measurements. Shake well, strain ice & pour into glass. Top off with the club soda. Makes one approximate 8 oz drink. 

Quadrupling the recipe can give you (2) 16oz drinks. Your glass will look like this before topping off with club soda.

{My Thoughts}

Precision is important with a drink like this so you want to make sure you have the 3/4 oz & 1/2 0z measurements. We bought a jigger for this purpose. Make one drink first & then adjust to your tastes. As for the agave syrup, it can be pricey but it's worth it. It's popping up everywhere as an alternative to sugar. It's great when used in smoothies so it won't go to waste!

If you're making more than one drink at a time, just do it the same way but double up accordingly in the cocktail shaker & then pour into each glass. I just highly recommend muddling the lime & mint into the glass you will be sipping from. I also recommend topping that glass off with the club soda rather than mixing it with the other ingredients in the shaker.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day - Make Someone Smile

My wonderful friend Kacey over at Chronicles of a Mommy headed up Project Happy Heart in honor of Tuesday, a little girl who went to heaven too early. Kacey really wanted to turn her heartbreak into something positive & asked that we all try to do something special for someone who really needed it in the spirit of Tuesday, and then post about it today, appropriately Valentine's Day, when we all extend our hearts a little bit more. 

We decided to send a gift to Travon, among a few others, through the Make a Child Smile organization. Travon is only 2 years old & suffers from Opsoclonus - Myoclonus - Ataxia Syndrome. You can read about him here. Travon is one of the featured children of 2009 but there are also other children with addresses where you can send a simple card to uplift their spirits. 

And here are just a few more Valentine's Day pictures:

Roses we gave to Tristan.

The cake I made for Tristan's school party.


Kisses from Nash to you on V Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Club Med-iterannean Baked Chicken

Welcome to another Not So Fat Friday. I almost called this dish Fridge Door Baked Chicken because I created it in order to get rid of some things on my - yep, you guessed it - fridge door. You know the stuff I'm talking about - half jars of olives or roasted red peppers that you haven't used up, or the bit of shredded cheese left in the crisper. 

I call it Club Med-iterranean because I worked as an au pair in the Bahamas Club Med for a month when I was younger. And the olives & roasted red peppers give it a mediterranean flair.  

This dish has a little more fat than the others I have posted but they are healthy fats from the olives & olive oil. Just a little bad fat comes from the cheese but use sparingly.

2 thick boneless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
About a cup of roasted red peppers from jar, drained
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
2 tblsp of kalamata olives or your favorite
1 tblsp of olive oil
Mozzarella Cheese
Herb stuffing mix or bread crumbs (optional)
White wine or chicken broth (optional)

Pre-heat over to 350. Split the chicken breasts to butterfly them & pound thinly with a mallet, until flat & uniform. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Combine roasted red peppers, spinach & olives in a bowl. Toss with olive oil & sprinkle with a little salt & pepper. Spoon mixture over one side of chicken breast, top with a little mozzarella cheese. Fold over other side of chicken. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & top with just a little herb stuffing mix or bread crumbs.

The cheese below was asiago but I used mozzarella after & it was much better! Just didn't get a picture of it.

Place chicken in a baking dish & pour a little wine or broth in the dish. This is optional, I just think it keeps the chicken moist & gives a steaming effect. Bake for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear. Ovens will vary.

I had leftover filling & chicken so 2 days later I made a little more but this time pan fried the chicken in just a tiny bit of olive oil. I didn't bread the top & just turned it carefully to cook the other side. It was equally enjoyable but if you're cooking for more than 2 it's easier to bake!

Have a great weekend everyone! 
And Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Broccoli Salad

I have had this recipe in my queue to post since December, when I made it for Christmas potluck at work. While it's not the most exciting of side dishes it was delicious enough to share & catalog so I can make it again, especially for a picnic or barbeque.

See you tomorrow by noon for Not So Fat Fridays, for one of my own healthy creations!

5-6 cups broccoli flowerets
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
5-6 strips of bacon, crumbled
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar

Combine broccoli, onion, bacon & cheese in a large bowl. Mix mayo, sugar & vinegar well. Pour over vegetables & mix well. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours before serving.

{My Thoughts}

Next time I make this I might just cut down on the mayo to 3/4 cup & use light. This is a very tasty dish though & wouldn't change much else about it! 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Girl Time & Pomegranate Mimosas - Wordful Wednesday

Girl time - we all need it!!!!! Last week, both my best friend Tammy & I were a bit stressed & needed to get together. Honestly, I have been in a major funk for the past 2 weeks & am just starting to slowly get myself out, or at least I hope. 

What helps is a lovely evening with a best friend! I am so fortunate Tammy lives just a couple of miles away. So, she came over in her PJ's which fit right in with my attire, something probably from the day before, with the way life has been lately, & we shared a few appetizers, including the flatbread & shrimp veggie wontons, as well as a new cocktail.

The wonderful people over at POM Wonderful sent me a complementary case of their all natural pomegranate juice. It came a few hours before Tammy was coming & since I forgot to buy the white wine for the sangria I planned to make, the pomegranate juice came in handy.

Say hello to my little friend, the POM Mimosa. All you need is: 

1/2 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 glass of dry champagne
1/2 oz. Cointreau

Pour champagne into a champagne flute. Add pomegranate juice & float the Cointreau on top. If you don't have Cointreau then orange juice may be a nice addition. Go visit POM Wonderful for other great recipes!

Do I need to mention we polished off the entire bottle of champagne???

Tammy also got a little play time in with Nash & has since got a little doggie herself!

Here's to friends. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. The time I spend with you each day is Girl Time too & I need it!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cheesy Zucchini & Red Onion Flatbread - TMTT

Appetizers are just about my favorite "genre" of food so when I come across one that is not only delicious & easy to make but also so pleasing to the eye, I get excited. And I am excited about this one!!!!!! My best friend Tam & I both needed a little girl time last week so she came over & we enjoyed a few cocktails as well as this gorgeous treat.

This 1st picture is from Epicurious, sister site of Bon Appetit, which is where I found the recipe. In all my eagerness to try this I had forgotten to take a cross-section view so here you go. I also wanted to show how you NEED to overlap the zucchini & put more onion then you think you will want. I didn't have enough of either & wanted more!!!!!!!

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
3/4 cup garlic & herb cheese spread (such as Alouette), divided
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1 small red onion
1 7-8" long zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, divided
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray. Unroll dough onto parchment. Spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan & 2 tablespoons parsley. Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges). Spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Remove enough outer layers of onion to yield 2-inch-diameter core; cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of dough, overlapping the zucchini. Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini. Arrange 1 more row of zucchini alongside onion. Brush vegetables lightly with oil; sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake bread until puffed & deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

I will make sure to overlap my zucchini next time & use more onion!!!!!

{My Thoughts}

I used dried parsley rather than fresh & it was just fine. I also used the entire container of garlic herb cheese which brings it to about 1 cup. I would do the same next time as this appetizer was outstanding!!!!!! You also want to make sure to overlap the zucchini as seen in the 1st pic & use more onions than you think you want because they really do shrink up & the dough also expands.

For More Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays please visit Blessed with Grace!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The 5 Ingredients You Meet in Heaven - Not So Fat Fridays

The Five Ingredients You Meet in Heaven is just about one of my favorite sandwiches of all time!! Since I've been home the past few weeks, I have had a craving often for this fav of mine, so I knew I needed to cut cals wherever I could. Ya know what's funny, I ate this sandwich almost daily when I was home on maternity leave with Tristan 5 years ago. And now, as I sit home potty training our little Nash & getting this craving again it's as if my body associated taking care of a new baby, fur ball or other, with a breakfast sandwich. 

Anyway, for this heavenly makeover, I use a whole wheat English Muffin instead of a bagel, Canadian Bacon instead of regular, 1 egg cooked in Pam rather than butter & a slice of reduced fat cheese instead of whole milk. Sometimes I may use just half of a slice. And instead of the usual slathering of extra butter on the bread, the muffin goes untouched & relies on the wonderful oozings of egg after that 1st bite.

Even with cutting all corners, I enjoy this sandwich so much & without the guilt!!!!!

If you want a little something on the side, these potatoes are perfect. I make them all the time for dinner. You see, I love potatoes but I just can't eat a baked potato without a dollop or two of butter and/or sour cream. But these potatoes are so delicious & healthy, cooked over high heat in just 1 tblsp of olive oil. The trick is to not move them around too much & let them get crispy but tender. 

I love the tiny potatoes such as fingerling but use what you prefer. Slice 1/8" thick. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in large pan. Scatter potatoes in even layer & cook over medium high heat. Season with salt, pepper, oregano. I often use a Tuscan seasoning sometimes but you can use whatever spices you want. I cook the potatoes until golden brown, flipping occasionally, about 20 minutes. If your pan is getting dry just add a little Pam or brush on a little oil. Toward the end, I sprinkle with just a little parmesan cheese.

I assure you, this easy process brings out the simple but delicious flavor of these potatoes without adding extra fat you find in so many potato dishes. 

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

See you next week for another new & exciting appetizer I made just yesterday that will be a hit at your next party!!!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blogging: Doggy Style

For the past 2 weeks I have been taking care of our newest addition, this little guy ~

And there has been a lot of this going on ~

Good thing he likes to do it while I'm blogging!!!!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from: