Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

This is one of our FAVORITE meals. My husband, of course, only eats the chicken and the rice, but that leaves all the veggies to me, which is a good thing as I just officially joined Weight Watchers. I usually make this dish by eyeballing everything, but for the purpose of my new Weight Watchers lifestyle, I measured everything out so that I could calculate the points value. Now this IS a spicy dish. If you choose to try it yourself and don't like really spicy food, feel free to alter the amount of red pepper and chili oil, or omit it altogether! That's just one of the many beauties of this dish.

Source: Violet, an old friend who now lives in the U.K.

2 chicken breasts (8 oz.), sliced thin
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp chili oil

1 green pepper, chopped to your liking
1 small sweet onion, chopped to your liking
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili oil
2 tsp crushed garlic

3/4 cup cooking sherry (or any dry white wine)
4 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp corn starch


1. For the chicken - in a small bowl stir together the soy sauce, garlic, crushed red pepper and chili oil. Add chicken and stir to coat the chicken well.

2. For the veggies - in a large skillet, heat the sesame oil, chili oil and garlic over medium heat until fragrant. Add veggies and saute until tender crisp. Remove veggies and set aside.

3. Add chicken mixture to skillet and cook chicken over medium heat until cooked through.

4. While the chicken is cooking, mix together the sherry, soy sauce and corn starch for your sauce.

5. When the chicken is cooked through, pour in the sauce mixture and return veggies to skillet. Stir and simmer until the alcohol is cooked off or until your veggies reach the desired tenderness.

Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Servings: 4

Weight Watchers points value: 5 points (not including rice)

Cals: 241/Fiber: 2/Fat: 7

Disclaimer: the nutritional information was calculated on Spark Recipe's food calculator, which I then used to calculate the Weight Watchers points values.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's up, doc?

Ever since I came across this recipe about 4 years ago, it's been a must-have for Easter dinner every single year. If you're looking for a new carrot cake recipe to try, I highly recommend you try this one! It's so moist and has the perfect density. The only change I make is I exclude the nuts entirely, and I prefer it baked in a 9x13 cake pan (which takes about 35-45 minutes).

Source: Emeril Lagasse - Food Network

3 sticks, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Pecan Cream Cheese Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 3 (9-inch) cake pans with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer.
Add the sugar, and beat.
In a medium bowl or on a piece of parchment, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after the addition of each.

Add the vanilla extract and mix.
Add the carrots and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Fold in the nuts.
Divide between the 3 cake pans and bake until set and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes.
Invert onto wire racks, remove from the pans, and let cool.

For the Frosting:
In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly.
Add the vanilla and pecans.

When the cake is cool, place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread the top with cream cheese frosting and top with a second and third cake layer, spreading the icing between each layer. Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and let harden slightly before serving.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Scone? What's a scone?!

No, people, I've never had a scone. In my life. EVER. But alas, the day has come! I had about a half gallon of milk about to go bad. Basically my milk was dated today. I'm sure there are people like me; I hate to use milk past the date on the jug (I don't I've ever used the word 'jug' in my everyday life. Wow, another first!). I've wasted milk before, but I've never been ambitious enough to find a way to use up my kitchen and pantry items before they go bad. I don't know what came over me, but I knew if I asked my friend Katie, she'd have plenty of ideas for me to get rid of my almost-sour milk.

So I emailed Katie, and she came back with a few ideas, and I was like nah, that's not doing it for me, so then she wrote back with "blueberry scones." DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER! I knew I had all of the ingredients on hand at home (that's a first!).

I came straight home after work and immediately starting working on these babies. They turned out great!

2 c. flour plus 2 Tbsp, plus 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, plus 1/2 Tbsp, chilled
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 c. half and half, chilled (I used 1% milk with a few spoons of fat free vanilla yogurt)
2/3 c. frozen Maine wild blueberries (store brand frozen berries for me!)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment (I used my silpat sheet).
2. In small bowl combine frozen blueberries and 1 Tbsp flour and toss to combine.
3. Place blueberry mixture back into freezer.
4. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
5. Take butter out of fridge, cut into chunks and add to flour mixture. Cut butter into flour until pea sized or smaller.
6. Add vanilla and half and half and mix in with a spoon until just barely incorporated.
7. Take blueberries out of freezer and knead into mixture until mixture forms a ball of sticky dough.
8. Turn dough out onto floured surface and pat down into rough 9-10 inch circle.
9. Cut into 8 triangles and place triangles onto prepared baking sheet at least an inch apart.
10. Take 1/2 Tbsp butter and cut into 8 small pieces. Place one small piece of butter on top of each scone.
11. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy. Now as I've said, I've never had a scone before in my life, so I don't have anything to compare mine to, but if I still wanted more after eating one, that must be good!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"mock" Chicken Marsala and Oven Roasted Broccoli

I'm not really one for making elaborate or fancy meals. In fact, I have nothing against cooking with condensed soup. I came up with this really simple, delicious and healthy dish that also comes together really quickly. And recently somebody posted on the WC board raving about this oven roasted broccoli recipe. I'm always looking for a new interesting way to cook broccoli and it fit the bill. I tried it once last week and am officially in love with it.

"mock" Chicken Marsala
Source: me

olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

1 can fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
thin/angel hair spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste
1. Set pot of water to boil for cooking pasta.
2. Heat pan and lightly coat bottom of pan with oil (I use my Misto sprayer). Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
3. Add chicken broth and simmer while pasta is cooking.
4. While pasta is cooking, add condensed mushroom soup to pan, stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until pasta is done.
5. Drain pasta and serve with chicken and sauce.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
1 pound broccoli, rinsed and trimmed (I just used one crown)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I just spray with Misto sprayer until lightly coated)
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 clove per crown)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (I did not use)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalk into 1/8-inch thick, round slices.
3. Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal cake pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.
5. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine.
6. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes.
7. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.
My notes: Instead of cutting into bite size pieces and the stalk into rounds, I just cut into small spears. It just takes a little longer to roast.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

...and I'd like to thank my fans!

Who would've thunk I'd've made somebody's day with my measly blog. Well I did! Crazy, I know, I have no lofty goals with my blog, I just like to, well, eat! Simple stuff at that. And every now and then I'm inspired to make something a little more creative from other blogs. So I must say I'm thrilled to have fallen into the blogging world and am able to make anybody's day with my own! I guess it's sort of voyeuristic, getting all up in somebody's kitchen, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it (hello numerous baking DISASTERS!).

Anywho, I won this beautiful award that I will proudly display here

And would now like to also call the following people for their acceptance of the award!

Lindsey, my "sis", over at Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings. I love to get all up in your kitchen ;) (I hope you don't mind getting another award, considering as you received it and then passed it on to me. Is that even allowed? Idk, I want you to have one anyway).

Katie over at Good Things Catered. I have to disinfect my keyboard regularly as I drool over your blog on a regular basis.

Duchess281 over at Confections of a Foodie Bride. Love your food porn girl! And thanks for turning me on to making my own vanilla!

and Mrs.OCandME over at My Apples and Oranges. Again with the food porn. I think I must have a fetish.

Thanks girls!