Friday, May 29, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Happy Friday everyone. Happy Not So Fat Friday!!!!!!!! And Happy I'm Going to NY today Friday & Happy I am the mom of a pre-school Graduate Friday! Last night's graduation ceremony was beautiful. As soon as Tristan's name was called & the director mentioned he had been there since he was crawling I just lost it. To see my little 5 year old in a red cap & gown was breath taking. Guess what my next Wordful Wednesday will be?????????

Anyhoo, these lettuce wraps are just wonderful ~ healthy & delicious. I was not happy with the original recipe so I modified it by combining it with a recipe we all really enjoyed for the Asian Shrimp Lettuce Wraps I made a while back.

3 tblsp fresh lime juice
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 tblsp sesame oil
2 tblsp soy sauce, divided
1 tsp ginger
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 bell pepper, green or red or orange
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/4 cup onion or scallions
3/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 8oz can water chestnuts (optional)
1 tblsp hoisin sauce
1 pkg Bibb lettuce
Sweet garlic chili sauce for serving
Soy sauce for serving
Slivered almonds or lightly salted roasted peanuts

In medium bowl, combine lime juice, 1 tblsp vegetable oil, sesame oil, 1 tblsp soy sauce, ginger & garlic. Add chicken & marinate in fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat medium skillet with cooking spray. Add bell pepper, carrots & onion (& any veggies you want). Cook for 3 minutes until slightly softened. Add chicken & marinade & cook until chicken is cooked through. Stir in 1 tblsp soy sauce & 1 tblsp hoisin sauce.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon a few tblsp into each romaine lettuce cup. Garnish with either slivered almonds or roasted peanuts. Serve with sweet chili garlic sauce and soy sauce.

{My Thoughts}

Use whatever veggies you like but think about color & presentation. Even the pic above could use more red bell pepper. And definitely taste your filling before putting it in your wraps. You can always add a sauce or more garlic. And I really enjoyed the Bibb lettuce on this one, the taste as well as not having to trim it, but Hubs preferred the romaine I used for the shrimp wraps.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

And after you click ~ have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Good morning!!!! I feel like it's a holiday for some reason ~ maybe because my little guy is graduating tonight from the pre-school he has been at for 5 years. And tomorrow I head to NY for my 20 year high school reunion & to visit with some of my oldest & dearest friends. I am excited!!!!!
On to the food -while these mushrooms aren't as special as my Tuscan Stuffed Mushrooms from Giada, they are super easy & taste wonderful. How can you go wrong with pork & mushrooms all in one bite. My sweet friend Kacey - you can fill them with chicken perhaps :) I made them for Mother's Day & made the filling the night before to make things easier.

• 20 to 24 large fresh mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
• 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/4 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked, crumbled & drained
• 3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
• 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
• 1 egg white

Remove mushroom stems from caps. Set caps aside (discard stems or save for another use). In a small skillet, saute onion & garlic in butter until tender. In a large bowl, combine the sausage, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley & egg white. Stir in onion mixture. Fill the mushroom caps; place in a lightly greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender & tops are browned. Yield: about 2 dozen.

{My Thoughts}
Just one tip: prep the mushrooms ahead of time to make it easy on yourself. Remove the stem & wipe down mushrooms with a damp towel. Store in a ziploc bag until you're ready to fill. Also, make the filling ahead of time & then take out of fridge for enough time to take the chill out of them so they heat nicely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Little Boy.....

My little boy....

goes to Kindergarten in August.

And he's ready!

My baby can read.

He's not a baby anymore!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Cheesy Spinach Bites

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!!!! Mine was one full of BBQ's, good times, great food & lots of rain. But that didn't stop me. Friends were over on Saturday, family over on Sunday. These were made as an appetizer out of one of my fav recipe sources, A Taste of Home. I just can't seem to have a get together without an appie so here's a taste from my home. Everyone loved 'em. So easy to make too!!!!!

• 2 tblsp butter, melted, divided
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/4 tsp dried basil
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 2 pkg (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
• 2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
• 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 cup chopped onion
• Sliced pimientos, optional

Brush the bottom & sides of a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish with 1 tblsp butter; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, seasonings, eggs, milk & remaining butter. Stir in the spinach, cheeses & onion. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean & edges are lightly browned. Cut into squares. Garnish with pimientos if desired.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

Visit Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grilled Chicken Piri Piri

This is some of the best grilled chicken I ever had. I watched it being made on Food Network a few months ago & it always stayed in my head. I made it last weekend for our BBQ with family & I can't express enough how much everyone enjoyed it. The marinade really stuck with the chicken & gave it such an awesome flavor. The reason why? I divulge in my thoughts below. This was so good, I am making it again for our BBQ with friends tomorrow. Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone!!!!!

• 2-3 lemons, zested & juiced plus 2 sliced for garnish
• 1/2 head garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 red peppers, seeded & roughly chopped
• 5 chili peppers like serrano or jalapeno
• 2 cups fresh parsley leaves (use fresh)
• 1 1/2 tblsp paprika
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 cup olive oil
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper
• 3 pkgs cut up chicken pieces, skin on

{ just before grill time }

In a food processor add lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper, chiles, parsley, paprika, red wine vinegar & oil. Process until it becomes a paste (wasn't too pasty to me). Season with salt & pepper. Reserve 1 cup of the sauce as set aside for garnishing cooked chicken later.

Divide chicken pieces into 2-3 large resealable plastic bags. Divide the marinade into both bags & seal. Turn the chicken around in the bags to distribute the marinade. Place chicken in the refrigerator & let it marinate for at least 1 hour & up to 1 day. I did mine overnight after baking it (see my thoughts).

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from bags with tongs & drain well. Season with salt & pepper. Place on grill, skin side down first & grill for about 15 minutes on each side turning occasionally until cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges & the reserved piri piri sauce (optional).

{My Thoughts}

Whenever I grill out with chicken on the bone I always bake it first for about 25 minutes with just a bit of salt & pepper in a 375 oven. Not only does this cut down on the time on the grill it also allows the marinade to really penetrate the chicken better. And it’s still on the grill long enough (about 15 min) to get that delicious grilled flavor. My Dad & I have been doing this for years & swear by it!!!!! For this recipe, I needed 2 baking sheets, one for the thighs & legs & the other for the breasts.

I halved the original recipe (here) & the amounts are reflected above. 3 pkgs of cut up chicken feeds about 6 with a few leftover. As for the peppers, I used about 4 jalapenos because I didn't want it to be too spicy for my in laws. It was perfect.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

From the Barefoot Contessa, this was one of the best pasta salads I have ever tasted. It was so flavorful due to the roasting of the veggies & fresh simple ingredients like garlic & lemon juice.

I made this last Sunday a few hours before both sets of our parents came over for a BBQ & there just wasn't enough. Everyone devoured it & would have had more. This was so delicious I am planning to make it again this Memorial Day weekend as we have a couple of friends coming over for another BBQ. C'mon by!!!!!

1 small eggplant, peeled & 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled & 1-inch diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb orzo

For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 scallions, sliced thin (white & green parts)
3/4 lb. good feta, 1/2-inch diced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion & garlic with the olive oil, salt & pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain & transfer to a large serving bowl. 3. Add roasted vegetables to the orzo, scraping all the liquid & seasonings from roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper & pour on orzo & vegetables. Add the scallions, pignolis, feta & basil.

{My Thoughts}

Instead of using plain feta & adding fresh basil, I always buy the reduced fat tomato basil feta. And rarely do I add the pine nuts.

This dish is also great at room temp but we prefer it cold

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

Come on back tomorrow night for the amazing Grilled Chicken Piri Piri that paired so perfectly with this delicious salad. Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend!

The Boy

Keeping it simple today...

My love on Mother's Day.

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spinach Cheese Pinwheels

Hey everybody!!!! What's shaking? I'll be quick, these are amazing!!!!! This was the last appetizer to be served on Mother's Day when we got out of the pool & we all wished there was double the amount. Or triple. So easy, so delicious. A must try for your next get together. I am a huge sucker for appetizers like this & can make a meal of 'em.  
I have a few more good recipes piling up so you'll see me at least 2x more this week. Have a great one!

1 8oz tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1/3 cup spreadable garlic & herb cream cheese
4 slices thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach

Pre-heat oven to 400. Separate crescent dough into 4 rectangles; seal perforations. Spread cream cheese over each rectangle to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top with ham & spinach.

Roll up each jelly roll style, starting with the short side. Pinch seams to seal. Cut each into six slices. Place the slices cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

{My Thoughts}

Double the recipe!

Visit Lisa at Blessed with Grace for More Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shrimp & Bean Packets

Welcome to another edition of Not So Fat Fridays. I clipped this recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens & knew I wanted to make it sooner than later. While the name isn't exciting, it made for a delicious & quick weeknight dinner tonight & one I will definitely be making again. It filled my tummy & fulfilled me completely!!! All the flavors just came together so beautifully for a simple & healthy meal. 

1 1/4 lb. medium fresh or frozen shrimp
1 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 large fresh tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil (I omitted this)
1 tsp Old Bay or seafood seasoning
4 slices country style bread, toasted
Fresh basil and/or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Thaw shrimp if frozen. Peel & devein shrimp; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fold four 24x18-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil in half. On center of foil, evenly divide beans, tomatoes, shrimp & onions. Drizzle with broth, juice & oil. Sprinkle seasoning, lemon peel & black pepper.

Allowing room for steam to build, fold together narrow ends of foil; seal with double-fold. Place packets on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Carefully open packets. Serve with bread. Top with basil & Parmesan. Makes 4 servings.

~ Nutrition facts: Calories 335, Total Fat (g) 5, Saturated Fat (g) 1 ~

{My Thoughts}

Instead of country style bread I wanted to go even lighter so I took one slice of whole wheat bread, brushed it with the little olive oil I passed on in the dish, sprinkled it with a little salt & pepper, a lot of garlic powder & a bit of Tuscan spice blend (optional) & then broiled it under low 6 inches from the heat for less than 2 1/2 minutes. I didn't miss the fat laden garlic bread at all. I also used roasted garlic chicken broth for a little added flavor to the packets.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

Have a great weekend everyone. No plans here except visiting you & making up for the last 2 weeks of no shows!!!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mojito Pie

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend & a relaxing Mother's Day. Mine was great but I wasn't shooting for relaxing. Instead of going out for a nice meal I wanted to make a bunch of appetizers & this dessert & just enjoy being at home with family & a couple of  friends. 

This Mojito Pie was awesome!!!! It was delicious, not too sweet, not too tart. And the kicker? It's out of a Weight Watchers magazine. Just one slice is 258 calories with 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of sat fat & 0 grams trans fat. So, I grabbed a slice without all the guilt & saved the calories for cocktails by the pool on Mother's Day!!!!! 

If you like a little vanilla, a little mint & just a little lime rolled into one, then this is for you. I can't wait to make it again. 

Have a little fun by asking your guests what they think the crust is made of. It took a few go rounds before my Dad guessed it was pretzels!!!!!!

2 cups miniature pretzel twists
2 tblsp light stick butter
1 tblsp sugar
1 6oz container thawed frozen limeade concentrate
1 quart vanilla lowfat frozen yogurt, slightly softened
3 tblsp rum
1 tblsp creme de menthe
1 tsp grated lime zest

Pre-heat oven to 375. To make crust, put the pretzels in a food processor & pulse until finely ground. Add the butter, sugar & 2 tblsp of the limeade concentrate. Process until moist & crumbly. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom & up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie plate. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then freeze until cold, about 10 minutes.

To make the filling, mix the frozen yogurt, remaining limeade, rum, creme de menthe & lime zest in a large bowl until blended. Spoon the filling into the crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Loosely wrap the pie in wax paper & then in heavy duty foil. Freeze up to 1 month. To serve, let the pie soften slightly in the fridge for about 20 minutes before slicing.

{My Thoughts}

Don't worry when you first mix the rum & other ingredients with the yogurt that they won't all combine. Just slowly mix with a spoon or even fork folding the yogurt over into the other ingredients. You will also be pouring rather than spooning the filling into the crust. And it definitely took closer to the 20 minutes for my pie to be ready to eat. I sliced it after 15 minutes into 8 slices & then waited a few more minutes. 

This is not supposed to be soft like regular pie but more like an ice cream pie. 

Be Sure to Visit Lisa at Blessed with Grace for More Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Walnut-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with White Bean Mash

You didn't think I'd miss Not So Fat Fridays two weeks in a row, didja? I thought I would make my absence up to you with not only a wonderful main dish but a side one as well. This was super easy to make on a week night & we really enjoyed it. 

What I love about the chicken is that it is only breaded on one side. As for the white bean mash, it's such a wonderful healthy alternative to mashed potatoes & just simply delicious.


Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted & cooled
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed
1 large egg white
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 lbs chicken-breast cutlets, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place rack in 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan; spray pan & rack with cooking spray. On large dinner plate, combine panko, ground red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. In food processor with knife blade attached, blend walnuts & parsley until nuts are finely chopped; toss with panko mixture until well blended. Set aside.

In pie plate, whisk egg white and Dijon until well mixed. One at a time, dip 1 side of each cutlet in egg-white mixture, then into walnut mixture to coat side evenly; press firmly so mixture adheres. Arrange chicken on rack in jelly-roll pan, coated side up; lightly spray with cooking spray.

Bake chicken 10 to 12 minutes or until topping is golden-brown & chicken is no longer pink throughout.


In saucepan cook 2 cloves minced garlic in 1 tblsp hot olive oil for 1 minute. Stir in two 15oz cans white beans, rinsed & drained. Coarsely mash. Stir in chicken broth to moisten beans (up to 1/4 cup). Stir in 1/2 tsp crushed dried thyme & 1 tsp lemon juice. Season to taste; heat through. Makes 4 servings.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I will be catching up & seeing you shortly!!!!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who Lives in a Pineapple....

Under the Sea?


Uh, yeah, I've never been a fan of the little sponge, probably never will be, but my little guy is & that's all that matters, right?!

Plus, putting together the KrUsTy KrAb legos over a glass of wine can be quite therapeutic!

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo

Hey all, hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was a perfect balance between relaxation & productivity. This post was meant for my Not So Fat Friday but I just couldn't find the time to post so my apologies. Hopefully, I can make it up to you right now with some deliciousness. 

1 tblsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 oz smoked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 3/4 cup(s) canned tomatoes, drained & chopped
1 tblsp tomato paste
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup rice, preferably long-grain
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley

In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 tsp each of the salt & pepper. Cook the chicken, turning, until well browned, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 2 tblsp of the fat from the pan.

Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the ham, onion & garlic to the pan & cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers & cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes longer.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth & the remaining 1 3/4 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp of the pepper & bring to a simmer. Stir in the rice & add the chicken in an even layer. Simmer, partially covered, over moderately low heat until the chicken & rice are just done, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley (I used dried).

{My Thoughts}

I have a rule to always double the amount of garlic in any recipe I see. I've never regretted it. So, the garlic above is already doubled. As for the parsley, I used dried & would again. And for rice, jasmine is my favorite & the one I chose for this. 

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

I continue to make up for lost time & get around to everyone who has come to say hello!!!!!!