Thursday, March 22, 2012

Onion and Chive Lemon Pepper Penne

Last night was a "clean out the fridge for dinner" kinda night. And it turned out delicious! One of those made up recipes that you have to rack your brain for afterwards to figure out exactly what and how much of everything you threw in. So, if your feeling like you need a new meal in your weekly rotation, try this light and zesty option! (extra points too because it's only about 550 cal. per serving, and the left overs are even more amazing!)

Onion and Chive Lemon Pepper Penne

4 chicken breast tenderloins, sliced
4-5 mini sweet peppers, sliced and de-seeded
couple handfuls of broccoli florets
1 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon pepper
1 cup skim milk
1/2 box Onion and Chive Boursin cheese (any flavor or seasoned cream cheese could work)
1/2 box of whole wheat penne
garlic salt

In a large saucepan, bring water to boil. Add garlic salt to water and then add noodles. Cook until ale dente.

In a small pot, add about a 1/2 inch of water, bring to a simmer, then add broccoli and place sliced peppers on top. Steam until broccoli is tender.

Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil, drizzle over the entire base. Put sliced chicken and lemon pepper in the pan. Cook chicken through, then remove from pan into small bowl.

In a blender, add milk and cheese, and blend until smooth. Pour milk mixture into the hot frying pan. Deglaze the pan, and heat the sauce until slightly thickened. Add the chicken back into sauce.

Serve with the vegetables on top of penne, and drizzle the chicken and sauce on top.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


my first turkey!

the whole feast!

my plate (i didn't even half, my eyes were WAY bigger than my stomach)




Green Beans



Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yams


Banana Cream Pie


· Prepare the sourdough starter:

o 2 cups warm water

o 2 cups flour

o 1 package yeast

· Place Turkey in Fridge to defrost


· Bake Sourdough Bread:

o 4 3/4 cups bread flour

o 3 tablespoons white sugar

o 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

o 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

o 1 cup warm milk

o 2 tablespoons margarine, softened

o 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

o 1 extra large egg

o 1 tablespoon water

o 1/4 cup dehydrated onion

o In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Add milk and softened butter or margarine. Stir in starter. Mix in up to 3 3/4 cups flour gradually, you may need more depending on your climate.

o Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface, and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

o Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place on a greased baking pan. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

o Brush egg wash over tops of loaves, and sprinkle with chopped onion.

o Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or till done.

· Start Yams. Prepare and then put in fridge to be cooked on Thursday.

o Candied Yams:

§ 2-3 yams, peeled and diced

§ 1 cube butter

§ 1 cup brown sugar

o Cook in a covered pot at Medium heat for 30 minutes, until tender.

o Once softened, place in the mixer, and beat until whipped and smooth. Sprinkle in nutmeg and cinnamon.

o Scoop into 8x8 baking dish, cover with marshmallows.

o Cover with Foil


· Make Pie:

o Crust, Preheat oven to 475 degrees:

§ 1 cup flour

§ 1 tsp. salt

§ 1/3 cup and 1 Tbls. butter, cubed

§ 2-3 Tbls. Cold water

· Mix all together, form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge 45 minutes.

· Roll out into a large circle. Gently fold into fourths, place in greased pie pan, and gently unfold.

· Press dough into plate. Don’t stretch it. Trim excess.

· Bake 8-10 minutes

o Filling:

§ 5 Tbls. Cornstarch

§ 1 cup sugar

§ ¼ tsp. salt

§ 2 ½ cups milk

§ ¾ cup half & half or evaporated milk

§ 3 egg yolks

§ 2 Tbls. Butter

§ 1 tsp. vanilla

§ 1 cup whipping cream

§ 2 bananas

· Mix cornstarch, sugar, salt in medium sauce pan.

· Add milk and half & half. Cook over medium heat until smooth and thick. STIR CONSISTENTLY.

· Pour small amount of milk mixture into egg yolks, mix, pour back into the rest of milk mixture.

· Cook another 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.

· Add vanilla and butter.

· Slice bananas into the bottom of pie shell.

· Pour filling on top, chill 3-4 hours

· Top with whipped cream and bananas

· Brine Turkey:

1 gallon water

1 bunch fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon dried thyme

10 garlic cloves

1 cup salt

1 bunch sage

2 cups maple syrup

1 gallon ice water

2 cups apple cider

§ In a large stock pot, combine the water, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, maple syrup and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, and stir frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

§ When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket (we used a cooler). Stir in the ice water and cider.

§ Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight but no longer than 12 hours.


· Make Roll dough:

o 5-6 c. Flour

o 4 T. Sugar

o 1 t. Salt

o 2 T. Yeast

o ½ c. Powdered Milk

o 2 ½ c. Water

o ¼ c. Margarine (melted)

§ Put 2 c. flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and yeast in bowl. Stir to mix.

§ Add 2 ½ c. very warm water and melted margarine. Mix with mixer (dough hook) about 2 minutes.

§ Add remaining flour ½ c. at a time until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Continue mixing 5 more minutes.

§ Place in greased bowl. Turn to coat. Let rise

· Turkey:

o Preheat oven to 500 degrees

o Remove the turkey from brine and carefully drain off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.

o Make a ‘breast plate’ out of doubled foil (in case it begins over browning)

o Place inside the cavity:

§ Fresh rosemary sprigs

§ Fresh thyme

§ Chopped onion

§ Chopped apples

§ Chopped carrots

o Rub with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper

o Place in 500 degree oven for 30 minutes

o Check for over browning, if so add breast plate

o Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Add the meat thermometer.

o Bake until internal temperature reached 165 degrees

o Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook about 5-10% faster so watch the temperature!

· Second Rise for rolls:

o Roll out ½” thick in large rectangle.

o Top rectangle with half of butter mixture then sprinkle with ¾ c. grated cheddar cheese on top.

§ Butter-Herb Mixture

§ ½ c. Melted Butter

§ 2 t. Rosemary

§ 2 t. Oregano

§ 1 t. Lemon Pepper

§ ½ t. Garlic Salt

o Roll like cinnamon rolls, cut and place on pan.

o Coat with remaining butter. Let rise until double.

· Prepare Stuffing:

o 12 cups cubed (1 inch) sourdough bread

o 4 tablespoons olive oil

o 2 tablespoons dried thyme

o Salt and pepper, to taste

o 2 pounds sausage meat

o 4 cups chopped onions

o 4 cups diced celery

o 2 tablespoons minced garlic

o 2 teaspoons dried sage

o 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into ½-inch dice

o 1 cup dried cranberries

o 1 cup dried small black figs (or dates), halved

o 2 cups chicken broth

§ Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes on two baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

· Brown the sausage in a heavy pan, breaking up the clumps. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to the bowl; discard the fat. Place remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and wilt the onions, celery, garlic and sage over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bread cubes along with the fruit.

§ Drizzle the broth over the mixture to moisten. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

§ Bake with sweet potatoes after turkey is done and cooling.

· Bake Rolls:

o Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

· Bake Candied Yams and Stuffing at 350 for 30 minutes, until warmed through.

· Green Beans:

o Boil fresh snapped green beans, 30-40 minutes until tender

o Dice onion and bacon

o Cook bacon until crispy. Place on paper towel.

o Sautee onion in remaining bacon grease.

o Toss bacon and onion into the beans.

· Mashed Potatoes:

o Peel and chop

o Boil

o Mix on high, add:

§ Little milk

§ Parsley

§ Minced garlic

§ Salt

§ Pepper

§ ½ cube of butter

· Gravy:

o 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

o 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

o 1 teaspoon dried thyme

o Salt and pepper, to taste

o 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

· Whip the whipping cream for pie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Best dessert ever. I made this the other night, and we ate it so quick, I couldn't believe how fast all the chips were gone! And it's the easiest thing ever!

Strawberry Mango Salsa

1 mango, finely diced
8-10 strawberries, finely diced
1 tsp. vanilla extract
couple shakes of basil
one shake cinnamon

Mix well, chill in fridge for a about an hour. Serve with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:

3-4 flour torillas
Pam light cooking spray
Cinnamon sprinkle

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Stack the torillas on top of each other, cut with pizza cutter into 8 triangles. Arrange each chip onto the coated sheet, and spray the tops of totillas with Pam as well. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 10-15 minutes until they feel crisp and start to brown.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Tonight's dinner discovery did not disappoint! It was so yummy and filling, and low low LOW cal! Try this baby out! We didn't even need sides with this meal, and it was on the table within 40 minutes from freezer to belly!

Baked Chicken Fajitas
6 servings, 118 calories/serving

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders, sliced
7-8 mini sweet peppers, sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 can diced tomatos
1 can diced green chilies
2 tbls. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1.2 tsp. oregano

Pre-heat oven to 400. Pile all ingredients into a medium sized baking dish, and toss to coat everything with spices and oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Serve with warmed tortillas.

Cranberry Almond Breakfast Muffins

I was reading through an app on my phone for Health and Fitness UK magazine, and I came across this yummy looking recipe...had to try it out! Problem was, all the measurements were listed in milimeters and grams, not cups and teaspoons, weird right? I also didn't have some of the healthier ingredients they called for, so I improvised it into this recipe of my own, and added a crumble topping. It turned out delicious, and I added up the calories with my 'not so healthy' ingredients, and they turned out to be 300 calories/muffin. With a yummy glass of vanilla soy milk in the morning, it's delicious!

I'll list the recipe with my ingredients, and the ingredient they called for, so you can decide what you'd like to use:


  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil (sunflower oil)
  • 1 T. white sugar (caster sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. plain greek yogurt (low-fat yogurt)
  • 1 minced honey crisp apple (any apple)
  • 1/2 c. dried and sweetened cranberries (dried unsweetened cranberries)
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour (wholemeal flour)
  • 1/4 c. whole grain oats (porridge oats)
  • 1 T. chopped almonds (flaked almonds)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 T. chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients together. In seperate bowl, mix the next 4 dry ingredients. Fold into wet mixture, just until mixed. Pour into 6 muffin liners. Mix brown sugar and remaining chopped almonds, and sprinkle on top.
Bake for 20 minutes

Each muffin:
calories: 300
total fat: 21.2 g
cholesteral: 80 mg
total carbs: 24.6 g

Panko Breaded Salmon and Mandarin Salad

Lately Ryan and I have been really trying to lose some extra weight. I'm about 4 pounds from pre-baby size, and 8 pounds from my goal weight. Ryan is about 15 pounds from his goal weight.

To help us accomplish our goals, I've been cooking a lot healthier and cutting out a lot of our past 'staple foods'. I've found some new things that are really good, and a much healthier alternative, like quinoa and greek yogurt, both high in protein without the extra fat that meat has. Also, I've been packing veggies into EVERYTHING! Spinach in scrambled egg whites, and just doubling the amount of produce called for in recipes.

The dinner I made tonight was SO yummy and filling, and only 486 calories...can't beat that! I don't remember where I found the recipe, so I can't link you to it, but I'll post it here, along with the calorie count for each part of the meal. If you try it, then come back and comment to let me know if you loved it as much as we did!

Panko Crusted Salmon
368 calories per serving, serves 2

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 salmon filets (7 oz each)
1 tsp canola oil

Line a baking sheet with foil. Pre heat oven to 400. Combine salt, panko, and lemon pepper on a dinner plate.

Add oil to a large non stick skillet and heat to medium high. Dredge one side of the salmon in the bread crumb mixture, and place that side down on the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer salmon to the foil lined sheet, now with the crispy side up, and bake in the oven about 10-15 min. depending on the thickness of your filets.

Serve with the following fruit salsa on top

Mango Salsa
40 calories per serving, serves 4

1 mango, diced
1/2 medium red onion, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
kosher salt and ground black pepper to your taste

(I've made this with peaches before too, just as yummy. Also, if you have a jalapeno, de-seed it and it's yummy to chop up in there too for an extra kick)

Then the yummy salad I made was super easy to throw together!

Mandarin Salad
30 calories per serving, serves 4

2 cups loosely packed spinach
1 head of petite heirloom lettuce heads (the multi-pack at Costco)
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 medium red onion, minced
chopped or sliced almonds

Mandarin Salad Dressing
48 calories/Tbls

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
couple grinds of black pepper
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 green onion, FINELY chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil

put all ingredients in the blender. Or if your blender is broken like mine, get out the whisk and give your arm a work out!