Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creamy Pumpkin Breakfast Bowl

Mmm, this breakfast bowl is one of my favorite ways to start Fall and Winter mornings!  Canned pumpkin turns traditional Cream of Wheat into something special without too much effort.  This recipe takes just a few minutes to prepare, so you don't have to set aside too much time in the morning to put together something delicious and healthy.  Yes- healthy!  It definitely tastes more decadent than it is.

- 1 1/4 c milk (I use Silk Coconut Milk)
- 3 tbsp Cream of Wheat cereal
- 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (make sure you aren't using Pumpkin Pie Filling- this isn't the same!)
- Pumpkin Pie spice, to taste
- Splenda, as needed (I used 2 packets)

Bring milk to a rolling boil on the stovetop.  Add 3 tbsp of the Cream of Wheat cereal, plus the canned pumpkin.  Whisk to combine, stirring consistently so lumps do not form, about 2 minutes, or until desired thickness is achieved.  Turn off heat, whisk in Pumpkin Pie spice (approx 1/4th tsp) and Splenda.  Serve in a bowl- garnishing with more Pumpkin Pie spice if desired.

Yum- happy eating!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cozy Comfort Dinner: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Now that the weather is cooler, I am diving headfirst into making cozy comfort foods.  One of my favorite things to make is Tuna Noodle Casserole- chances are, you have most of the ingredients (if not all) on hand, and it is quick and easy to put together.  Delicious + quick + easy = Sunday night dinner!

- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- skim milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cans of tuna (5 oz each)
- salt and pepper to taste
- whole wheat pasta (use something small but with shape, so that it can hold the sauce well- I used a combination of orecchiette and rotini)
- breadcrumbs

Over low heat, saute garlic and onion in a pan with olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup.  For easy measuring, just fill the empty soup can 3/4 of the way full with skim milk, and add to pan.   Drain both cans of tuna, and add.  Stir to combine, add salt and pepper to taste and cover.  Continue to stir occasionally.  While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta as directed on package.  I like to cook mine for 15 minutes, which still leaves the pasta al dente.

Once pasta has finished cooking, drain, and mound into a baking dish.  I used a 9x9 square baking dish, and this was the perfect size for me.  Distribute sauce evenly over the pasta, and then mix, to ensure that the sauce covers all the pasta.  Sprinkle the top of the mixture with a fine layer of bread crumbs, pop in the oven and broil for a few minutes- just to get the top crusty and brown.

I serve this with a side of peas, which I know are commonly cooked as part of the casserole, but this makes it easier in the case that people don't like to mix- although I always do : )

So there you have it- just a few ingredients combined in the right way give you a dish that's easy to make and even easier to eat!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally Fall! Spice Cakes Recipe

I need to get into a solid blogging groove.  I am always cooking, but I need to sit down and take pictures and then upload everything on to the blog.  Most of the time I finish cooking and then realize that I didn't take any pictures or write down any amounts of ingredients!  Must.get.better.

Anyway, fall is FINALLY here.  And it is my favorite season- the cool air, the changing leaves, the warm yummy foods!  Yesterday I made a batch of spice cakes to celebrate the season- even though today it's supposed to hit 80 degrees.  Go figure.

These cakes are easy and you can make 2 loaves, or many smaller cakes.  I opted for 1 loaf (made in a 9 inch loaf pan) and 5 smaller cakes to give away as gifts.  The beauty of these cakes is that the flavor is nice and light without being overly sweet, with just a hint of spice.  Perfect for serving with coffee!

Cake Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups milk

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp nutmeg

  • Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2-1 cup confectioners sugar, depending on how much glaze you want to make

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • water

  • Combine all dry ingredients and mix.  Combine all wet ingredients (milk, vanilla extract, oil, eggs) into a separate bowl.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir to combine, until batter is smooth.  It may look a little liquid-y, but trust me, it comes out perfect!

    Divide batter in two, and pour each half into a greased 9 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.  Cool on wire racks.

    To make the glaze, combine confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.  Add water until you get a smooth glaze.  Consistency of the glaze will be quite thin.

    Once cakes are mostly cool, use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the cakes with your glaze.  

    Loaves can be sliced and frozen.  Slicing ahead of time makes it easy to defrost slices as needed : )

    Enjoy!  More fall cooking and baking to come!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Summer Sweet Chili Chicken and Pineapple Salsa

    Summer-themed cooking continues!  To me, nothing says summer better than some slightly sweet, slightly spicy chicken with a fresh salsa.  This dinner is fairly quick to make, and there aren't too many steps to get a yummy end result that doesn't have your typical flavors!

    Summer Sweet Chili Chicken:

    Chicken Breast- slice in half, so the thickness is reduced
    Sweet Red Chili Sauce (I like to use the one by A Taste of Thai)

    Pour oil in sautee pan, heat on low heat.  Slice chicken breat to reduce the thickness of each piece so the pieces don't get overcooked and tough.  If necessary, pound pieces to make them even thinner. Brush each piece of the chicken with Chili Sauce- then salt/pepper each side of chicken.  Place in pan and cover.  Add more chili sauce as necessary while cooking- cooking should take about 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness of the chicken.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

    Pineapple Salsa:

    Fresh pineapple chunks (or you can use canned, to save time)
    Cilantro, chopped
    1 Lime, juiced (or lime juice)
    Red onion, very thinly sliced, and cut in half

    Separate the onion slices so you have individual pieces, and not rings.  Place in bowl, add a handful of chopped cilantro and mix to combine.  Add fresh pineapple chunks (if you are using canned, be sure to drain the juice out first) and squeeze lime juice on top.  Stir, and place in fridge for 10-20 minutes for flavors to meld.

    Serve chicken with the pineapple salsa, and if desired, more Chili Sauce for dipping.  Alongside this I just made a quick package of Near East cous cous- they are my favorite brand of packaged cous cous to use- they have amazing flavors and a package takes only 5 minutes to cook up!

    See- easy, quick and flavorful!  You don't need a ton of ingredients or a lot of time to create a dinner that's healthy, summery, and pleasing to the eye!

    Happy Cooking, and even Happier Eating!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    First Post- Summer Tilapia with Corn & Black Bean Salad

    Hey all!  I've been meaning to start a cooking blog for a long time now, and summer seems like the perfect time to do it..days are a little less hectic, so hopefully I can keep up with posting consistently.

    Anyone who knows me at all will say that I love to cook- and hopefully they would also say that I'm excellent at it!  I cook by feel mostly- I love reading recipes to get ideas, but when it comes down to it (unless I'm baking) I rarely measure.  I think it's important to be able to tweak and improvise, and the best way to do this is by just going for it..so that's what I do!  And my boyfriend is excellent about giving me feedback- he might not be a cook himself, but he definitely knows what tastes good!

    So for my first post- here's a quick and simple dinner that I made last night.  It's perfect for summer because it comes out nice and light, but still has great flavor.  And it's extremely healthy too!

    Ingredients for Summer Tilapia:
    - 2 tilapia filets (or other light, white fish)
    - 1/2 red onion, sliced
    - red wine vinegar
    - tequila
    - sea salt/pepper
    - 1 tbsp white sugar
    - 2 limes, juiced (or lime juice)
    - 2 cloves garlic, minced
    - oregano (dried or fresh)

    Swirl large pan with olive oil (approx 2 tbsp), and heat until oil is warm.  Put in red onions, allow to cook down a bit, add minced garlic (be careful not to let garlic burn).  Cook until onions have softened- about 5 minutes.  Nestle tilapia filets on top of onions/garlic.  Drizzle fish with red wine vinegar (enough to get the bottom of the pan wet).  Add the lime juice, then the tequila- don't go crazy with the tequila, a simple glug from the bottle will do it!  Sprinkle fish with sugar- use about 1/2 tbsp on each filet of fish.  Then sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and oregano.  If you are using dried oregano, you don't need that much, since flavors of dried herbs are more concentrated. 

    Cover pan and let cook through on low heat- about 10-12 minutes.  Fish should flake easily when done.

    Ingredients for Corn & Black Bean Salad:
    - 2 ears of corn, cooked (also possible to use frozen corn)
    - 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    - sea salt/pepper
    - 1 lime, juiced
    - 1 squeeze of Fat Free Italian dressing
    - cilantro, chopped
    - grape tomatoes, quartered

    Pour the drained and rinsed black beans into a shallow bowl.  Add a handful of chopped cilantro- I like to use quite a bit, but it does have a strong flavor, so start off with a little less and you can always add!  Cook 2 ears of fresh corn in boiling water for 12 minutes, or until cooked through.  Rinse the cobs in cold water so they're easier to handle, then slice the corn off the cob.  Add corn kernels to the black bean/cilantro mixture.  Add tomatoes to the bowl as well, and mix,  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper, add lime juice and a squeeze of Italian dressing- mix to coat everything evenly.

    Note- you can also use frozen corn- just make sure to rinse it under cold water in a colander to thaw it first!

    Serve the Corn & Black Bean Salad alongside the Tilapia- make sure when you're serving the Tilapia to scrape up some of the red onions from the pan- they will have softened and will have a terrific flavor.

    Happy Cooking, and even Happier Eating!