Friday, August 29, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Cajun Shrimp and Guacamole

This is such a simple recipe, but we really enjoyed it.  Everyone gave it a 9, and we will have it again, because it is so quick to come together.  Each serving was only 240 calories the way I made it with the guacamole, so this is fast and low calorie, bonus :).  Absolutely Avocado came up with the recipe, but I just made my own guacamole, make it the way you like.  Here's what I did for the shrimp:

2 T butter
1 T Cajun seasoning
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

Mix the Cajun seasoning and the shrimp together.  Melt the butter in a large pan, then cook the shrimp, about 2 minutes per side.  Season with salt to taste.

Dip in the guacamole of your choice, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Border Cookbook's Rancho Cheese, Onion and Olive Enchiladas

I grew up eating enchiladas made with flour tortillas, and the first time I made them that way in Mexico, everyone was surprised.  They said they were fine, but weird :).  After that, I tried making enchiladas with corn tortillas, and I was hooked.  They work out so much better that way.  Well, in the Border Cookbook, they have this recipe for cheese enchiladas made with flour tortillas, so we revisited that idea.  It wasn't entirely successful.  The enchiladas were just a little smooshy and unappetizing, prompting Aaron to give this a 7, but the rest of us gave them a 9, Noah felt like they were too oniony, and Owen didn't like the flavor of the enchilada sauce as well as my other recipes.  You can make your own enchilada sauce or use canned, your choice, I won't be featuring the sauce on the blog.  Each enchilada, and we made 10 of them, was 407 calories, not surprising considering the cheese and flour tortillas.  Another plus about corn tortillas?  They are lower in calories :).  Here's what to do:

3 T olive oil
2 onions, diced
10 flour tortillas
3 c enchilada sauce
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 c chopped black olives

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13 pan, and set aside.
Warm the olive oil over medium low heat, and then cook the onions for 30 minutes, stirring often.
Dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, then fill them with cheese, onions and olives.  Roll them, place them in the prepared baking dish, and then cover with the rest of the cheese and toppings.  Bake for 20 minutes, then serve.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Michael Symon's Steak with Garlic and Bacon

So, I wasn't going to post this, because it seemed to be such a simple recipe, but these steaks were amazing!  We decided we had to share them, and everyone gave them a perfect 10.  Michael Symon's second cookbook, Carnivore, is full of such great recipes, we love his food, and this recipe for steak was no exception.

No pretty plate, but disregard the picture and make this, it's so worth it.  Each half of a steak was 488 calories, so an 8 ounce steak approximately.  Having the well-seasoned steak with the bacon and the garlic spread just was overwhelmingly great.  Michael Symon always has us season the beef the night before, and this was so great that way.  I don't have a grill pan, so I just used a regular pan I can put under a broiler.  Anyway, Michael Symon came through for us again.

2 T-Bone steaks
4 strips bacon
Roasted Garlic with Parsley and Lemon spread

Season the steaks, then refrigerate them overnight.
Remove the steaks from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the broiler, then cook the bacon in the pan on the stove top, leaving some of the grease in the pan.  Remove the bacon to cool slightly, then cook the steaks under the broiler, about 4 minutes per side.  Smear the steaks with the roasted garlic, and then top with crumbled bacon.  Serve.

Roasted Garlic with Parsley and Lemon

1 head garlic
1 T olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
.25 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 T chopped fresh oregano
.5 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350. 
Slice the head of garlic in half crosswise.  Drizzle both sides with the olive oil, and cover with aluminum foil.  Roast for about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven to let cool slightly.  Squeeze the cloves out of the skins and mash the garlic.  Add in the lemon juice and zest, the oregano, parsley, and salt.  Spread over your steaks.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Perfect Scoop's Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

So this was a calorie bomb treat, but it was sooo worth it!  The boys picked this Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop cookbook, and it was great.  We had it in a sundae, per the author's suggestion, with blondies and hot fudge, and the ice cream with the sundae was fabulous.  The ice cream is a custard base, with brown sugar for the butterscotch, and buttered pecans added in, and I added a little brown sugar to the buttered pecans to give it a little sweeter flavor.  I'll just feature the ice cream, and the other elements you can make on your own, or mix things up.  Each serving, about .5 cup of ice cream, is 293 calories, and we gave this a perfect 10, it is so delicious.  I'll be using decimals rather than fractions today, and maybe for a while, because somehow our keyboard was changed to a Spanish keyboard, and I can't find the slashes.  Somehow my baby is smarter than me, sigh...

5 T salted butter
.75 c packed brown sugar
.5 t salt
2 c heavy cream
.75 c whole milk
6 large egg yolks
.5 t vanilla
1 recipe buttered pecans

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the brown sugar and salt until well moistened.  Whisk in 1 cup of the cream and the milk, and keep warm.
Pour the remaining cream into a large bowl and place a fine mesh sieve over the top.
Whisk together the egg yolks, then temper the yolks.  Return the mixture to the pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens.  Pour the custard through the sieve, and mix in with the cream.  Then add in the vanilla.  Cool, and churn and freeze in your ice cream maker.  At the end, fold in the buttered pecans.  Freeze before serving.

Buttered Pecans

1.5 T butter
1.5 c pecan halves
.25 t coarse salt
1 T brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.
Melt the butter in a skillet, remove it from the heat, and stir in the pecans, brown sugar, and salt.  Bake for 12 minutes in the oven and cool completely.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Cowboy Caviar Couscous Salad

This was a really good salad!  Absolutely Avocado came up with another winner for us, this was fast and easy, and everyone liked it.  I used homemade salsa, like always :), and used more corn than the recipe called for.  We had 10 servings out of this, and ate ours with cheese crisps for a complete meal.  Each serving was 183 calories the way I made it, and Aaron and the boys gave this an 8 and I gave it a 9.  Great summer meal idea, definitely give this a try!

1/2 c couscous
2 c chicken stock
2 avocados
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 14.5 oz canned black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
4 ears fresh corn kernels cut off the cob
1/2 c diced red onion
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c salsa
3 scallions, chopped
3 T cilantro, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
some red pepper flakes and salt

Cook the couscous with the chicken broth until the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside to cool.  Mix everything together, then season to taste.  Serve.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flour's Intense Chocolate Brownies

As with all Flour's recipes, these brownies are delicious.  I know it seems like I have featured tons of Joanne Chang's recipes on this site, but there are so many I haven't featured, this cookbook is worth every penny because everything in it is delicious.  So buy it :)  These are the perfect texture for brownies, and they have just the right chocolatey taste for me.  The boys liked these so much, as did I.  Aaron and I gave them a perfect 10, and the boys said they gave them a 9.5 :).  Each brownie was 220 calories, and these are mostly chocolate, hence the intense in the name.  Try these out, they are delicious and easy!! 

5.5 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2.5 (I used just a little more) oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
14 T unsalted butter
5 eggs
2 c sugar
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

Heat the oven to 325.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan and set it aside.  Melt together the chocolates and butter in the microwave, stirring frequently and don't let the chocolate burn.  Set aside when smooth to cool slightly.
Place the eggs in a stand mixer, and whisk them on low speed, slowly adding in the sugar, then mixing for about 1 minute.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate mixture.  
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add those to the chocolate egg mixture.  Fold in the flour.  Spread in the prepare pan, then bake for about 30 minutes.  Start checking at 20 minutes, these should still have moist crumbs when testing for doneness.  Cool completely and then serve, I cut mine into 24 brownies.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cinnamon Waffles

These were some great waffles!  I liked the little difference the cinnamon made, and although if I make it again, I would add more cinnamon because I felt like there wasn't enough, it was still a fun change.  Owen felt like there was too much cinnamon, and so did Aaron, so who knows :).  Each waffles was 138 calories, and the recipe made 14 waffles for us.  Aaron gave it a 7, because of the cinnamon, Owen and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave it a perfect 10.  Jonah seemed to really like them as well :).  Anyway, I followed the recipe exactly, so go to the link and try them out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chinese Take-Out's Orange Chicken

This was a great recipe!  While I don't love frying, this was really good, and worth the deep fryer time :).  Even with the marinating and the deep frying, this didn't take more than about 30 minutes, so a quick dinner that is also delicious.  Each serving, and we split it into 6, was 542, so high in calories, but since that is including a cup of oil, I don't know how accurate my calculations are.  We all gave this a 9, so winner!  Here's what I did

1 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
2 egg whites

1 lb chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/3 c orange juice
1/4 c chicken stock
1 T cider vinegar
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 t sesame chili oil
2 T light brown sugar
1 t grated fresh orange peel

Frying oil

1 t oil
1 garlic clove
1 t cornstarch dissolved in 1 T water

1 c cornstarch

Marinate the chicken:  Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and egg whites.  Add the chicken, and stir gently to coat.  Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Prepare the sauce:  Combine the orange juice, chicken stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame chili oil, brown sugar, and orange zest.  Set aside.

Heat the 1 t oil in a pan and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minutes.  Add the reserved sauce and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to simmer until it is reduced by 3/4, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the slurry and let the sauce thicken.  Season with salt to taste.

Spread the 1 c of cornstarch on a plate, and cover each chicken chunk with the corn starch, shaking off the excess.  Fry until lightly golden brown, then remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate.  Add the chicken to the orange sauce and mix until well coated.

We served ours with rice, and we loved it :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Flour's Milky Way Tart

This, people, was an amazing tart.  Flour comes through again!  With oozy, gooey caramel, delicious chocolate mousse, and a crispy sweet tart crust, this one was a winner for everyone.  It received a perfect 10 from the whole family, including my parents.  I made this for my mom's birthday, and we loved it.  The way I made this each slice, 1/16 of the total, was 335 calories.  I did make a few changes to the recipe, and I am glad I did.  I used bittersweet chocolate rather than milk chocolate, and we all felt like the less sweet mousse was awesome.
See that caramel seeping out on the side there?  Yeah, it's delicious :).  Anyway, here is the recipe for this tart, which is really nice because you make everything the day before, then just spend a few minutes assembling it.

1 recipe Pate Sucree, baked in a tart shell

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 c heavy cream
1 t cocoa powder
1 dash of salt

3/4 c sugar
1/3 c water
3/4 c heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
1/8 t salt
2 t vanilla

1 oz bittersweet chocolate, shaved into curls (mine didn't work great :))

Melt the chocolate with the cream in the microwave, stirring very frequently to prevent burning.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, stir in the salt, and cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Place the sugar and water in a deep saucepan, and let cook over high heat without touching it for about 3-4 minutes, while the sugar caramelizes.  As it thickens and begins to darken, swirl the pan very gently to allow the darker color to mix with the lighter syrup on top.  Continue to cook until a deep amber, but don't overcook!  Burnt sugar is gross :).
Reduce the heat to low, slowly add the cream, and stir constantly but carefully while you pour it in, then continue to whisk and turn the heat to medium.  Whisk in the butter, salt and vanilla when the cream and sugar come together and soften again.  Remove from the heat, pour it into a container and refrigerate at least four hours, or more.
Spread about 3/4 of the caramel filling in the bottom of the tart shell.  Using a stand mixer, whip the chocolate cream mixture until it holds soft peaks.  Mound the mousse in the shell, and spread it evenly over the caramel.  Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top of the mousse, then top with the curls.  Chill before serving.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chinese Take Out's Stir Fried Sesame Chicken

This was a good, simple dish, but I made it a little spicier than I needed to, and Jonah wasn't happy about it :).  Owen gave this a perfect 10, Noah gave it a 9, and Aaron and I gave it an 8. We made this into six servings, and each serving was 225 calories, relatively painless, right? :)

Here's the simple recipe:
1 T sesame chili oil
1 1/2 t soy sauce
1 1/2 t mirin
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 t cornstarch

1 lb chicken breasts, chopped into chunks

1 t toasted white sesame seeds

1/4 c chicken stock
1 T soy sauce
1 T sesame chili oil
1 T honey
1 t white rice vinegar
2 t cornstarch

1 T vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c frozen peas

Marinate the chicken:  Stir together the sesame chili oil, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Add the chicken and stir gently to coat.  Let stand at room temperature 15-20 minutes.
Prepare the sauce:  Stir together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame chili oil, honey, rice vinegar, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Set aside.
Heat the oil over high heat, then add the garlic and stir-fry about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and stir-fry about 2 minutes, then add the frozen peas and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the sauce and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken.  Top with the toasted sesame seeds.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Latin American Street Food's Chimichurris

Aaron gave this a perfect 10, and the boys and I gave these a 9.  Latin American Street Food's Chimichurris were delicious, and super easy to make.  We topped ours with Golf Sauce, avocados, and cabbage, and we loved them.  These are pork burgers with a cole slaw topper and the boys had theirs with cheese.  Here's what to do:

1/2 lb ground pork
1/3 onion, minced
1 T cilantro, minced
1 T fresh parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients together, and then cook them in a pan on both sides.  Top them as desired.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Mexican Pizza

Can I just say yum?  Absolutely Avocado's Mexican Pizza was such a winner at our house, and I love how easy it was.  The boys gave this a 9, and Aaron and I gave this a perfect 10.

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can El Pato salsa
1 T paprika
1 T chili powder
2 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t red pepper flakes
8 corn tortillas
cooking spray
1 c canned refried beans
1-2 c Monterey Jack cheese
cabbage, avocados, green onions, tomatoes, etc to top

Combine the chicken thighs, salsa, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes and cook in a slow cooker.  Shred and set aside when thoroughly cooked, about 3-4 hours on low for me.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray, and cook them for 5 minutes.  Remove them from the oven, spread them with refried beans, chicken, and cheese.  Bake them for 5-7 minutes, then serve with the toppings.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Chinese Take Out's Mapo Tofu

So I had this amazing roommate in college whose family was from China, and she made me something that will forever be my favorite Chinese food--Mapo Tofu.  This is so spicy and delicious, and I LOVE having it, and I have tried making it before, but couldn't ever find the correct ingredients.  Well, I ordered the ingredients from, and I tried this recipe out, hoping it would match Jen's (my roommate) deliciousness :).  Success was mine!  Or this recipe's, since I followed it almost exactly.

Aaron loves Chinese food, and I like it okay, but I am never in the mood to eat it out, I would rather eat at some other restaurant.  Anyway, I bought this cookbook called The Chinese Takeout Cookbook for Aaron, and it looked promising and received great reviews, so we bought it and have loved everything we have tried in it.  This dish was exactly what I hoped for, it tasted just like at a restaurant, it was 322 calories a serving, and so here's the recipe:

1 c chicken stock
1 T  rice vinegar
2 t soy sauce
2 t sesame chili oil
2 t sugar
1/2 t Sichuan pepper

1 T vegetable oil
1/2 lb ground pork
5 green onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 lb soft tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 T cornstarch, dissolved in 2 T water
1 scallion, for garnish

Rinse the black beans to remove any grit.  Mash the black beans, then combine them with the chicken stock, chili bean paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame chili oil, sugar, and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat the oil over high heat, then add the pork and stir fry until crispy.  Add the green onions, garlic, and ginger.
Pour in the sauce and bring the liquid to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer.  Gently add the tofu cubes, and then add in the cornstarch slurry and mix until thickened.  Top with the scallion, and serve with steamed rice.

Be careful, this is spicy, but soooo delicious!