27 August 2009

Tuna Pan Bagnat

Micah and I love road trips and surprisingly we do really well in the car. We've even made it 19 hours in one day! When we do go on vacation we're C-H-E-A-P! We bring a huge cooler with food that we can make throughout the trip and always bring a grill. For the actual road tripping part we love this sandwich. I make it before we leave and wrap it in some parchment or wax paper and they're so great after sitting a couple days. The olive oil begins to seep into the bread and the flavors just meld so much better.

Now you'll have to decide what kind of bread you want to use. My dad raised me on breads with hard crusts. He always said that it wasn't good bread unless it cut the roof of your mouth and I totally agree. Micah on the other hand, does not. It's up to you but Rachel suggests a crusty bread. I'm sure you could make this with some good quality canned tuna but I always make it with the tuna steak.

I don't have any pictures of this but I made it when I went camping last month. They worked out just as good as always and I had leftovers to take to work, too. I made a potato salad to go with it - blog entry to follow!

Happy (late) Fourth of July!

I wanted to find an amazing dessert to make for the fourth and I saw this one on 17 and Baking. I had no idea if I'd be able to pull it off but it turned out being much easier than I imagined. If I make it again I need to try to use 8in pans because the layers ended up being too thin. Also, I didn't cut them very evenly so it made for somewhat of an odd shaped flag. Haha. I will admit that I cheated and used boxed cake. I did doctor it up a bit and made it a lime cake. Instead of using just water I used half the amount in lime juice and also threw in some lime zest. For the frosting I used homemade cream cheese frosting and I subbed in lime juice and zest in that as well. I was worried that it would be overwhelming but it was so great. The link is above that gives detailed instructions on how to assemble the cake. Enjoy!

******Please notice the beautiful flowers my husband sent me (and ignore the beer bottles)******

18 August 2009

Shrimp Scampi on Couscous

I made this as the main dish when I had Liz over last month. I'm not going to lie that I like to impress people with cooking. I needed to have a theme, though. She had us over a couple weeks before and had gone Mexican so I had to find another avenue. I chose Italian. Of course, I took out my Giada cookbook and looked through it. This recipe seemed light enough for summer but still had my tastebuds watering. I have to admit that it wasn't the easiest thing to make quickly or without making a mess. However, if I had worked my time frame out better, you can actually make the messy part the day before. I suggest doing that if you're making this for guests. Enjoy this, sorry the picture isn't amazing. It needs something green in it!

Scampi on Couscous (from Everyday Italian cookbook)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbl EVOO
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (8 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes in their juice
1 ( 8 ounce) bottle clam juice (I used chicken broth)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
about 1 1/4 cups water
2 cups plain couscous
2# large shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbl chopped fres parsley
1 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Heat 1/4 cup oil over medium high flame. When almost smoking, add onion, carrow and half of the garlic and saute until the onion is soft (5 minutes). Add the tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, wine, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boi and simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Carefully transfer the tomato mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth, adding water a couple of Tbl at a time to form a broth consistency. (This is the part that can be made a day ahead. Bring the broth back up to a simmer before continuing.)

In saucepan, combine 2 cups of tom broth, 1 cup of water and 1 Tbl oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, then stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat. cover and sed aside until absorbed. Season with S&P. Keep the remaining tomato broth warm

In a large skilled, heat the remaining 1/4 of oil over a medium flame. Add the remaining garlic and sute until fragrant, about 20 secs. Add the shrimp and saute until the shrimp just begins to turn pink, about 5 mins. remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parley, red pepper flakes and the remaining salt.

Spoon the couscous into the center of serving plates and top with the shrimp. Spoon some of the remaining tomato broth around the couscous and serve.

Triple Chocolate Rum Cake

All I can say about this is....yum!!! Someone at work brought this in for her birthday and I had to ask for the recipe. I had a friend over the other month and I made this for dessert. Frankly, I think we ate more of this than the actual dinner - 2 pieces each! Plus, I was finally able to use the bundt pan that my sister got me at my bridal shower. Please make this, it's amazingly yummy and super easy. I made it the night before and just kept it in the fridge. I brought it up to room temp and dusted with a little powdered sugar before serving.

Triple Chocolate Rum Cake (from recipezaar.com)
1 (18 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
1 (2 7/8 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup rum
4 eggs
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

whipped cream
1Preheat oven to 350°F Spray and flour a bundt pan. (As always, I highly recommend Kittencal's recipe #78579 ).
2Mix all cake ingredients *except chocolate chips* in a large bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and gently swirl them into the batter.
4Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.
5Pull cake from oven and set it aside on a wire rack.
6Immediately make the glaze by bringing butter, rum, and sugar, to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
7Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the bottom of the hot cake. Slowly pour glaze over the bottom of the cake and let soak in and cool completely.
8Invert cake from pan, dust with powdered sugar and serve with raspberries and whipped cream.

Sorry, I have no pictures. I find it weird taking pictures before eating when you have guests over.

16 June 2009

Light Sesame Chicken

So Chinese food is by all means my favorite take out food/hungover food but I hate how horrible it is for you. I love looking for healthier versions of my favorite Chinese dishes. My all time favorite is wonton soup and while I've found a recipe I have yet to make it. One of my go to main dishes is Sesame Chicken but I hate that Chinese places fry the chicken first. I saw this recipe and I had to try it. It was AMAZING! It tasted so much like the take-out version and it was 12 times healthier. I did take the advice of blog I found this from and doubled the sauce. It took a little while for it to thicken up so keep that in mind when you're first cooking the chicken. I think I could have cooked it a little less in the beginning since it had to cook another 3-5 minutes to thicken the sauce. I boiled some broccoli (couldn't find my steamer) and had some leftover rice with it. It was great. I literally had to stop myself from eating it so I didn't gorge myself. If you like Chinese Food, try this! Wonton soup is on my list to tackle next. :)

Light Sesame Chicken
Found on Mrs. D Loves to Eat but from Martha

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and flour. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken. Cook, turning occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, or until golden and opaque throughout. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken.
Return all chicken to skillet. Add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat. Serve over steamed broccoli and white or brown rice.

Taco Pasta Salad

Yum! We went to Noah's Ark the other day for Red Arrow day and Hannah's birthday. Since it was a brigade function the FRG set up a a pavilion and we had to bring a dish to share along with the hot dogs. I wanted to bring something that Erin and I could use as a main dish since neither of us like hot dogs. I saw this on Cara's blog and thought it'd be perfect. I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken (my fav go to thing to buy) so that I could add some chicken to it so it was a little more hearty. This salad turned out great! It was healthy and filling which was perfect for spending a day in a bathing suit. I used a bottled salsa in it and I think next time I will try to use more of a pico de gallo salsa as it'll give it a little more crunch. Also, I'd love to find some Wagon Wheel pasta since that's what it calls for but of course my grocery store doesn't have any. I think this might become my go to pot luck dish.

I don't have a picture of this one since I made it in a tupperware to be taken to the water park so I'll just link it directly to Cara's website. You all should definitly make this! Here is the recipe.

Crock Pot White Bean and Sausage Soup

The crock pot is one of my favorite things. Especially during the week when I'm busy after work with working out and getting the dog exercised. I made this over the weekend so that I could have leftovers during the week. I had made it once previously when I was moving and it was great as leftovers! I think that, as a rule, soup is almost better as leftovers! This soup is the easiest and it's pretty healthy. This time I made it even easier by using frozen mixed veggies as I didn't have any fresh on hand. I also used some previously made and frozen homemade veggie stock mixed with boxed chicken broth. It turned out great and it actually looks much fresher with the frozen veggies I used. Also, the recipe calls for the hot turkey sausage but my grocery store never has that. Both times I've used the sweet turkey sausage and it turns out fine. I do think it'd be better with the spicy turkey sausage so next time I see it I'll be sure to stock up!

I love the website that this came from. She uses the crock pot everyday to make her food. I have found a ton of different crock pot recipes from her and I'm hoping to be able to use the crock pot once a week! Here's the recipe with my changes!

White Bean and Sausage Soup
From: A Year of Slow Cooking

--1 can white kidney beans
--1 can pinto beans
--1 can garbanzo beans
--1 t thyme
--2-4 spicy chicken or turkey sausage (I used three and I took it out of the casing and broke it up into the broth as there was no direction of what to do with it and this made the most sense to me)
--1/2 chopped yellow onion (I used more than this)
--1/2 cup leftover rice pilaf (if you want to use raw rice, you should have enough liquid to add 1/4 to 1/3 cup without losing soupiness)
--2 cups chopped fresh vegetables (I had broccoli, carrots, asparagus--as I said above I used frozen mixed veggies)
--1 quart chicken or vegetable broth (I used half homemade veggie broth and the rest boxed chx broth)

The Directions.

Drain your beans (I didn't rinse, for no reason other than sheer laziness -- I rinsed 'cause I'm a sodium freak) and throw them into your crock. Chop up whatever vegetables you are going to use in tiny pieces. Break up sausage and add.
Cook on low for 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. The soup is done when it's heated through and the vegetables are tender, but it's not going to hurt anything to cook it longer and give the flavors more time to meld. (This time I cooked on high for about 5 hours but last time I let it cook on low all day. I think it was a little better cooked on low all day)

Tangy Tilapia with Zucchini Boats

So I've been trying to eat healthier again. The past month has sort of been on and off with making food and eating out. Sometimes I just get convinced by the ease of ordering in, especially when it's just me! Anyway, I love fish and it's so good for you. When I went to the store Tilapia was on sale so I bought two bags of it. I saw this recipe on a great cooking blog and thought it sounded great. It goes along with the asparagus soup I made before in that it uses cottage cheese as a filler. This was very good. Only problem was that I made the whole bag of Tilapia which was about 6 pieces. Since it was just me, after the fourth meal of this I was tired of it. I did end up throwing a little bit of it away, horrible I know! It was great though, just make the actual portion size below or make it for more than one person!

Recipe can be found at Cara's Cravings. Check out her blog, it's great!

02 June 2009

Rachel Ray's Buffalo Joes

This is one of Micah's fav dishes and it's so easy to make. I made it the other night quickly before taking the dog for a walk and then just re-heated it when I got back. The recipe says to put blue cheese on the top but we found that a little over-whelming. However, we may have gotten skunky blue cheese. I used feta this time because feta is good with everything. I put the pickles on this time as well and it was nice. Added a little crunch. I do add a little extra hot sauce, and I'm a heat wimp so I think anybody else who makes this definitely should. The recipe also calls for turkey but I use chicken. I halved the recipe this time but when Micah's here we easily go through the whole recipe in a couple days.
Here's the recipe as I made it:

Buffalo Sloppy Joes:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 8 good quality burger rolls, split and toasted
  • 1 cup Feta crumbles
  • 2 large dill pickles, chopped


Heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and break it up with wooden spoon, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, onions and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cook 7 to 8 minutes more. In a bowl combine the vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and stock. Pour into the pan and stir to combine. Simmer a few minutes more. Pile sloppy Buffalo filling onto buns and top with blue cheese and chopped pickles.

This is the best side dish for it too: Mashed Potato Skins
It's from a Rachel Ray episode of guiltless pleasures. I used turkey bacon in the potatoes. Enjoy!

Wilton Cake Class

So I took the first Wilton cake decorating class. It was a lot of fun to learn and now I am the official "cake baker." Haha. For our first cake we had to bring in our own design so I drew one up. It turned out really nice I think. I tried to re-make our wedding cake with it. It was chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and raspberry filling. I didn't have just raspberries so I used mixed berries. The cake was really good. Again, for times sake, I used a cake mix but my cake tasters didn't seem to mind. I'm really just posting this to brag a little bit. I think I did pretty well and I can only get better from here. :)

Last weekend, for multiple birthdays - including Brewers - I was asked to re-create this cake. My aunt wanted chocolate frosting instead of the white frosting. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which is one of my favorite blogs. Everyone loved it but I thought it was a little rich. I also think that I may have overcooked the cake layers as they weren't quite as moist as I would have hoped for. I just don't think I can do the chocolate on chocolate. I still think it's best with buttercream! I didn't get a picture of the before (probably for the best since I misspelled birthday) but here it is after.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

I'm always looking for healthy ways to make things that aren't always that healthy. This recipe is one of those. Instead of using cream to thicken the soup you use cottage cheese that you blend in. I have to admit, I was quite skeptical at first because I don't like cottage cheese, but this was so good. I did add some garlic toast which made it even better. I think it might have been better the next day. When I took it to work I put a little parmesan cheese in it and it gave a sort of salty, nutty flavor.

Asparagus Soup
From: Cara's Cravings

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-lb bunch fresh asparagus
freshly ground salt & pepper
1 tsp Greek seasoning
2 cups chicken broth
6oz low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup nonfat milk

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Chop asparagus into 1/4 inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 7 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add asparagus, salt & pepper, and seasoning and stir to combine. Add chicken broth; this should be enough to just cover the vegetables in the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Blend together the cottage cheese and milk in a blender or in a separate container using an immersion blender, until completely smooth. Set aside.

Remove the soup from heat and process until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by transferring to a food processor or blender. Return to medium-low heat and gently stir in cottage cheese mixture. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1-2 minutes to let it fully thicken.

I found the most luck using a regular blender. My immersion blender didn't seem to work very well.

Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 158.8
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 11.9 mg
Sodium: 882.8 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.1 g
Protein: 15.4 g

Happy Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I was responsible for most of the food. I had a blast making all sorts of different kinds of food for our brunch. The day before Hannah, Maddy and I made our own edible arrangements as gifts for our grandma and my mom. They turned out really well and we had a blast making them I recently started a cake decorating class so I also wanted to make something fun for dessert. I made devil's food and vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate raspberry frosting. They were so yummy. I also made a candy flower to go on top. I used ***gasp*** cake mix for the cupcakes but here's the frosting recipe.
I also made this quiche with a hash brown crust. Instead of goat cheese I used cream cheese and I also added some turkey bacon. It was pretty yummy. Lastly, we made Monkey Rolls. So amazing. I didn't manage to get a picture of these before they were devoured. Make these, they're amazing!
It was a great day of great food.

06 May 2009

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Even though I was only cooking for myself, I still had to cook something in honor of Cinco De Mayo. I found a Tostada recipe from a blog that I follow, For the Love of Cooking. It sounded so light and simple that I had to try it. I also made my aunt's recipe for guacamole to put on top. I haven't decided if I really liked the tostada or if I liked that I had another excuse to eat guacamole. No, the tostada was really yummy with lots of lime flavor, which I love. I loved that it was easy clean up too, since nothing was actually "cooked." Yum!

I adjusted a little from the original recipe. Below is what I used, the actual recipe can be found in the link above.

Chicken and Roasted Pepper Tostadas

Chicken and Dressing:
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and flattened
1 cubanelle pepper, cored, seeded and flattened (it called for pasilla but my store didn't have it, I just got a mild pepper)
2 cups of leftover roasted chicken meat, shredded
1/4 sweet yellow onion, chopped finely
2 tsp olive oil
Ground cumin (a couple shakes)
1 clove of garlic, minced
Lime juice - about 1 lime but I think I added extra

Using your broiler, blacken the peppers on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet. Once the skin is blackened (charred) transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for around 10 minutes. Then peel the skins of the peppers and chop.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, onions, peppers. Add olive oil, cumin, garlic and lime juice. Toss well.

Other ingredients:
-tostada shells (you can make these by baking corn tortillas but buying pre-made ones was easier for me
-shredded cheese (I only had mozz on hand)
-sour cream dressing (recipe to follow)
-guacamole (recipe to follow)

Layer chicken mixture on top of tostada shell, add sour cream and then a little cheese. Bake until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and top with fresh guacamole. Would also be good with a side of salsa.

Sour Cream Sauce:
-1 cup fat free sour cream
-1 T chopped onion
-2 T chopped cilantro
-juice of a lime
-1 clove garlic, minced

Mix and keep refrigerated until you need it

Guacamole (Margaret's recipe)
-2 ripe avocado
-2 roma tomato (seeded, drained and chopped)
-1 bunch green onions, chopped
-1 T pickled jalapenos, chopped
-1 T cumin (or a couple shakes)
-1 T lime juice (or more...can you ever really have enough lime??)

Start by mashing the avocado against the side of a bowl with a fork until it's to the consistency that you like. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Enjoy!

13 April 2009

Open-Faced Chicken Burgers

This has become a staple in our house. It's easy, quick and healthy. The original recipe called for ground turkey and used ricotta cheese. I substituted ground chicken and didn't have any ricotta cheese so I substituted cottage cheese and added feta. They're so juicy and light on the carbs. A lot of times, when I have them as left-overs I don't even use the bread on the bottom.

****Please excuse the horrible pictures! I really need to work on them. And yes, I used reduced fat cheese that doesn't melt as well.

Here's the recipe:


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup vertically sliced sweet yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup part-skim cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup Feta (I don't normally measure it, I just dump some in)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 T italian seasoning
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices bread (I've used everything from wheat to english muffins)
  • Dijon mustard


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned; stir occasionally. Transfer onion to a bowl.

Preheat broiler.

Combine cheese and next 4 ingredients (through egg white). Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Return pan to medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes or until brown. Turn patties over; cook 1 minute.

Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on each bread slice; top each serving with 1 patty and onions. Top with cheese and broil until melted

Nutritional Information

348 (23% from fat)
9g (sat 4g,mono 2.2g,poly 2.6g)

12 April 2009

Ellie Krieger's Garlic Fries

I made these along with Parmesan Crusted Tilapia. They're a little time consuming but were tasty. I might have used a little bit too much Olive Oil due to my inability to measure. :) There wasn't a huge garlic flavor to them so I found that a little disappointing. I'm going to keep looking for a better fry recipe but use this as a fall-back until I find a better one!

Here's the recipe:


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 large baking potatoes, 12 ounces each
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks. In a large bowl, toss the oil, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.

Remove potatoes from the tray with a metal spatula. Toss with parsley, reserved garlic, and additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.