Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Won't Have A Beef With This Burger!

I've had my eye on this recipe for a while now - it combines two of my favorite things - Italian food & burgers. It was my first time using ground chicken to make the burgers. I think it would also be great using a grilled/baked chicken breast, but then I guess it wouldn't be as "burger-like". It was a great dinner that is a quicker alternative to the standard chicken parm, and I served this with a spinach salad, instead of pasta. Roasted potato wedges & green beans would also be great sides to go with this dish.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Elly Says Opa

Serves 4


1 lb. ground chicken (I used breast meat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley I used fresh basil
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 shallot, finely diced
salt and pepper

1/2 cup pasta sauce
4 slices mozzarella or provolone (or 1/2 cup shredded) I used a small and handful of shredded mozzarella and a slice of provolone on each
sautéed mushrooms (optional) I used Baby Bella mushrooms
4 buns (brushed with a little garlic butter, they are even better)

Lightly mix together all the ingredients for the burgers. Form into 4 patties. I like to make
them about 30-40 minutes ahead of time, to let the flavors meld a little bit.

Preheat & spray the broiler with a little oil (or use the grill, or a pan). Broil the burgers for
about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and broil for 3 minutes.

Top each chicken burger with 2 Tbsp. pasta sauce and a slice (or about 2T) of cheese. Place
back under the broiler for 30-60 seconds, until cheese in melted and burger is cooked
through. Top with mushrooms, if desired.

Place the buns in the broiler for about 10 seconds, just until toasted.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blueberry Mornings

I love muffins...the wonderful, decadent kind that you get from a coffee shop is one of my favorite ways to start the mornings. But....you honestly can't indulge everyday...so I love finding muffin recipes that are a little more healthy, but don't sacrifice any flavor.

Blueberries are the perfect ingredient for muffins right now - they're in season, healthy and add a great burst of flavor to get you going for the day. The lemon zest and juice in this recipe adds even more zing to your taste buds. The original recipe included a glaze on top of the muffins...however I left that out to make them a little healthier and to freeze better.

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
Cooking Light

1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup blueberries
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine buttermilk, egg, and rind; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack to cool.

* I omitted the following step, but I added 1 tsp of lemon juice into the batter when adding the rind and other ingredients.

Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled muffins.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 187 (23% from fat)
Fat: 4.8g (sat 2.7g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 3.7g
Fiber: 1g
Cholesterol: 30mg
Iron: 1.1mg
Sodium: 264mg
Calcium: 59mg

Friday, June 26, 2009

Restaurant-Quality Soup - At Home

This is another one of my catch-up posts...I made this a couple of weeks ago when it was not so hot outside, you know in the low 80's! LOL But it was too great not to share...only a few years ago, I would have never thought I could make mushroom soup that tastes like it comes from a great restaurant (and not from a can), but I did, and so can you with this easy to follow recipe.

This soup was flavorful, not too thick or too thin, just perfect. I didn't read the whole recipe through before beginning the cooking, so it took a little longer than I anticipated...but it was worth the wait.

Wild Cream of Mushroom Soup
Good Things Catered


6 Tbsp butter
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
3 shallots, finely diced
3 small garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 lb. wild mushrooms of choice, cleaned, stems removed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 cups boiling water
1 fresh sage leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry vermouth (I used chicken broth)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water
salt and pepper to taste


-In 5 qt Dutch oven (or heavy stock pot), over medium heat, melt butter.
-When butter is melted and edges start to foam, add onion and shallots.
-Stir well and let cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
-Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
-Add sliced mushrooms to pan and stir to coat well in mixture.
-Stirring occasionally, cook down until beginning to release juices, about 8-10 minutes.
-Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low.
-Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened.
-Take lid off pan and add chicken stock, boiling water, and sage leaf.
-Turn heat down to simmer, stir to combine well and when soup comes back up to a boil, vent lid (covering most of soup - letting a small amount of steam escape) and let simmer for 30 minutes.
-Remove sage leaf and discard.
-With immersion blender, blend soup mixture in pulses to completely chop up mushrooms (this will also thicken the soup). (note - if you are using regular blender instead be EXTRA careful! Only add a couple of cups of soup mixture to blender at a time because the high heat of the mixture will form steam and make the blender "explode" with hot soup)
-Once blended well, with small pieces of mushrooms still visible, add heavy cream and vermouth to pan.
-Stir to combine well and bring back up to temperature, slowly.
-Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and stir to make a slurry.
-Add to soup and stir to combine completely.
-Once soup is up to temperature, salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Peanut Butter &...Turkey???

This is actually my second time making this recipe - I'm not sure where my original picture disappeared to...so I just had to make it again. Believe me - it was no hardship, this is one of our favorite turkey burger recipes. Using turkey instead of beef can sometimes make the burger more dry, but with the addition of an unusual ingredient for a burger - peanut butter - there's no chance of that! The burger itself is full of healthy ingredients, and with the addition of roasted veggies as the side, it's a great meal you can feel great about.

Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

Found on Cara's Cravings; originally from A Good Appetite

8oz ground turkey
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 large scallion, minced
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
handful of cilantro, finely minced
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce
hamburger buns of your choice
mixed greens

Combine burger ingredients a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.

Form the turkey mixture into two patties. Cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve on buns with cilantro-chili mayo and greens.

Nutritional Info, Burgers Only (does not include hamburger bun or cilantro-chili mayo)Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving Calories: 276.1
Total Fat: 16.7 g
Cholesterol: 80.0 mg
Sodium: 212.1 mg
Total Carbs: 7.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 26.1 g

Sesame Roasted Vegetables

cauliflower, broccoli & carrots, washed and stems trimmed (I had one of those small fresh bags of ready to eat veggies)
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and a non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together oils, salt, pepper and ginger. In a large bowl, combine vegetables and oil mixture, and spread out on baking sheet, and roast for 10 minutes. Turn vegetables over, and roast for about another 10 minutes or until desired. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marvelous Mayo-less Pasta Salad

Summer is in full swing here.....it's been about a week and a half in the 90's. Although I love grilling to get out of the kitchen, sometimes hot food just doesn't sound very appetizing. I've heard great things about this recipe, and I love Mexican/Southwest flavors, so I just had to try it. I'm sorry I waited so long - it's awesome! It would be perfect for any occasion, but would be great at picnics, etc, since there's no mayo or meat (although I did add some grilled chicken for the hubby)

This salad is light, healthy and full of color....although you will notice mine has an unusual color...blue. I appologize - I had some University of Michigan shaped/colored pasta on hand, so I used that, not really thinking of the weird color it would add. This is a must try for your summer menu!

University of Michigan aka Wagon Wheel Taco Pasta Salad
Cara's Cravings

*I cut the recipe in half
*I added one grilled and sliced chicken breast, recipe below

1 lb wagon wheel pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz package frozen corn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
8oz shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, diced

Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Just before serving, stir in the diced avocado.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Breast

1 chicken breast, pounded thin to about 1/2 inch thickness
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients, minus the chicken. Add marinade and chicken to a ziploc bag or covered container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from marinade, grill on medium-high heat for 7 minutes per side, or till cooked through. Remove from grill, slice and place on top of pasta salad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's Better Than A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup??

......an ice cream version of it!! As soon as I came across this recipe while deciding on my next creation to concoct with my new ice cream maker, I knew that my search was over. This recipe is heaven in a bowl - rich, decadent & creamy double chocolate goodness with ribbons of peanut butter swirled throughout. Wow.

** I have submitted this entry to the Ice Cream Maker Tasty Tools Event. Check for this, other events and recipes out at Joelen's Culinary Adventures!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Joy The Baker

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup smooth salted peanut butter ( I like the all natural peanut butter)

In a sauce pan over medium heat, stir together 2 cups whole milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Heat until the milk start to steam, but before it starts to boil.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup of whole milk and the cornstarch. Stir until no lumps remain.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the heated milk and chocolate mixture and bring to a low boil. Boil until thickened. The mixture will look the consistency of chocolate pudding. Remove from flame.

In a small sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir the cream and chocolate mixture until incorporated.

Stir the cream and chocolate mixture into the cooling chocolate ice cream base. Place in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a lid, and put in the fridge until cool.

Once cool, follow the manufacturers instructions on the ice cream maker to churn ice cream. Once the mixture has chilled and thickened in the ice cream maker, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Don’t over mix. You want a nice ribbon of peanut butter running through the ice cream.

Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Cover and freeze until solid.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Great Use For Yogurt

I had some bananas in the pantry that I sort of forgot about, and were too ripe to eat - but are just perfect for banana bread. Even though I seem to enjoy every banana bread/muffin recipe I try, I rarely make the same one twice. It was my first time using yogurt in baking, and I thought it added great texture and flavor - I look forward to trying more recipes using this cheap, healthy ingedient.

Classic Banana Bread
adapted from Cooking Light

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt I used low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I added 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)CALORIES 187 (21% from fat); FAT 4.3g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.3g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 40mg; CALCIUM 20mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.4g; SODIUM 198mg; PROTEIN 3.3g; FIBER 1.1g

It's Going To Be A Delicious Summer

I love ice cream - it's the perfect warm weather treat. When I was young, you had to go to ice cream stores to find unique flavors, but now, they conveniently available in the grocery stores. I've seen so many great recipes for creative ice cream flavors that I was dying to try, but I didn't have an ice cream maker - until now.

Kohl's was running a great sale this past weekend - so I happily picked up one ($24 off the original price!) I decided to go pretty basic with the first recipe, vanilla ice cream, but I added a little twist - Reese's Peanut Butter chips. The ice cream turned out wonderful, and since you are only using 4 ingredients, it tastes fresh and natural as well.

Stay tuned for more chilly & delicious summer treats!

Peanut Butter Chip Vanilla Ice Cream
Cuisinart recipe booklet for ice cream maker

Prep: 5 minutes, plus 25-30 minutes chilling time, 2 hours to ripen - please follow your ice cream maker's instructions, some may be different
Makes: 10 1/2 cup servings

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, to taste
I added 8-10 oz Reese's Peanut Butter Baking Chips in the last 5 minutes of mixing

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk to combine the milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved, about 1-2 minutes on low speed. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste. Turn machine on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes.