Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Citrus Splash Crab Salad

This is perfect for a light spring supper. I love fresh salads that burst with flavor and this does just that. I created it on a whim and it was definitely blog worthy.

The crab has a a juicy sweetness that compliments the citrus very well. Next time I might add some marinated artichoke hearts! Serve it with a warm loaf of sour dough cheese bread.

Citrus Splash Crab Salad

  • 1 pkg flaked imitation crab meat
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • juice from 1 large fresh lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Mayo (made with olive oil)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
In a large salad bowl toss crab, mayo, 1/2 of lemon juice, garlic powder, basil, and oregano together. Add spinach, onions mushrooms and cheese. Toss well. Add remaining lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Toss and chill or serve right away. Serve it with a warm loaf of sour dough cheese bread.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yummy Tip for the Week

I bought these new Fire Roasted Chipotle Tostito Artisan chips. They have zero trans fat and are made with all natural ingredients. Try them as a taco salad with fresh spring salad, fresh peach mango salsa (sold in the deli), your favorite taco meat or grilled chicken, guacamole, cheddar cheese, onions and cilantro vinaigrette.

Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup of non fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in food processor and blend until creamy. Chill for 2 hours and serve.

Tin Foil Dinners

I love doing this with fish, chicken and fresh veggies. It's quick, easy, zero clean up and it steams the the food to perfection. The fish is flaky and juicy, no oil needed. However you can also just do veggies and coat them in olive oil, garlic, salt and herbs before putting in the tin foil.

I love to take salmon, onions, fresh tomatoes, dill and lemon pepper and bake at 375 degrees for 2o-25 minutes. Be sure to wrap the tin foil loosely. Do not seal it all the way. Leave an opening in the top for steam to exit. It should look like a bag that is partially closed.

For picky eaters it's fun to create a buffet of fresh veggies, spices and toppings. Let everyone put what they want in their dinner. It's fun and they will enjoy it even more.

White Velvet Bean Dip

Mmmm this is so satisfying. It's great with wheat crackers, tortilla, corn chips or sweet red bell peppers.

Try spreading this on baguette slices and topping with cheese for a delicious oven melt.

White Velvet Bean Dip

  • 1 can (15 ounces) white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
In a blender or food processor, add the beans, roasted garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Blend until smooth.

Homemade Wheat Thins

I really wanted to be able to make crackers from scratch. It's easy to eat a lot of wheat thins in one sitting so at least knowing what is in your wheat thins will help you not feel so guilty eating so many. these taste just as good as the real thing and it is so easy to do. I have a lot of wheat flour and sometimes I need more ideas of how to use it other than just bread, pancakes, waffles and muffins. This is a great way to use it up and I also recommend making a homemade dip. Your kids will really feel special and this will be a treat for them!

Later try adding Italian herbs, cracked pepper or cheese to make gourmet flavored crackers.

Homemade Wheat Thins

  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • salt for topping
Combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs, no bigger than a pea. Combine the water, honey and vanilla in a measuring cup - add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.

Lay parchment paper on your counter. Dust it with flour. Only use one fourth of the dough at a time. Roll the dough as evenly as you can rolling until the dough is as thin as possible without tearing. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each. Fork pokes make them look extra authentic.

Transfer parchment paper with cut cracker dough onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle crackers with salt and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Make sure they are crisp but remember they will harden even more as they cool. Allow them to cool uncovered. You can later store them in a bag to keep them fresh. Enjoy!

Air Whip

This is something I do when I either don't have whipped cream or we are trying to eat healthy. It tastes so fluffy, airy and light. It's just as pretty as cool whip yet it's so much better for you. I use the pasteurized liquid egg whites just to be safe. If you use regular eggs be sure to rinse them in hot water and clean them before cracking them. Make sure they are fresh and refrigerated. I have used regular eggs before and it turned out just fine. But you never know!

Also...sometimes when I make this I take a muffin pan and and fill each holder with a pretty dollop of this.Then I bake it at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes. This works best though if you bake it on what you will serving it on like a waffle or pudding etc. As soon as you try to scoop it out of the muffin tin it caves in easily. To keep it pretty and perfect you have to bake it on what you are serving.

Tip: To make it even more stiff you can add 1/2-1 tsp of cream of tartar.

Air Whip
  • 2 cups liquid egg whites
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat with egg beaters in high until stiff peaks form. Serve right away or bake as a meringue. If you place int he fridge it generally holds it's stiffness for about 30 minutes. Eventually the tiny air bubbles pop and it turns back into liquid. So serve right away.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Best Banana Pudding

Mmmm!! This is one of my most favorite Spring/Easter recipes to make. It's a dish where your family will lick the pan clean. My husband isn't a banana fan but he'll eat this any day! It's definitely not heart friendly so be sure to eat super healthy before and after you enjoy this.

Best Banana Pudding
  • 2 bags of Pepperidge Farms Chessman cookies
  • 6-8 bananas sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5 0z) box instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese softened
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz) cool whip or whipped cream
Line the bottom of a 13X9 inch pan with one bag of cookies. Layer bananas on top. In a bowl combine milk and pudding. Blend until smooth. In another bowl combine cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Add this mixture to the pudding and mix stir well. Pour over the cookies and bananas. Layer other bag of cookies over the top. Refrigerate 2 hours.

Savory Meatless Taco Meat

I have made this a few times over the past 9 years and my family loves it. I first discovered this when I bought tofu 9 years ago and had no clue how to use it. In order to enjoy tofu you have to find just the right recipe because on it's own it's tasteless and squishy. In this recipe the the tofu soaks up the perfect blend of spices and lentils and together it all creates the closest most delicious meat substitute I've ever had. It tastes just like ground turkey or beef. We make large batches of this and have it on salads and in burritos. It's so yummy and very heart friendly!! Hope you enjoy my version of this recipe.

Savory Meatless Taco Meat
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning or (1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 pkg firm tofu finely diced
  • pinch of salt
Suatee onions and garlic in oil until tender, add tofu and salt and brown it on all sides. Add lentils and stir for one minute. Add broth/water and bring to a boil for one minute. Turn down to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When water has absorbed, stir int o taco spices and stir for another minutes. Press firmly, mashing lentils and tofu into the onions. You can pour salsa, ketchup or mild taco sauce (red or green) into taco meat and simmer for another 5 minutes, or serve right away as is. I like to add a little lime juice and fresh cilantro into my meat. Enjoy!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mango Syrup

This is great on pancakes, waffles and ice cream! It's much healthier than maple or chocolate syrup.

Mango Syrup

  • 1 mango peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Blend ingredients in food processor. Pour in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. You can add more orange juice if liquid is too thick. Serve right away, warm.

Whole Wheat and Chocolate Waffles

These are super delicious. The whole wheat gives them such a rich flavor and if you don't like wheat then add the coco and all you will taste is chocolate. These are very healthy and by the taste you would never guess. Who doesn't love chocolate in their breakfast? I top with non-dairy and meringue toppings, my famous mango syrup and fresh berries. Serve with an egg white omelet. I just love that you can enjoy a large waffle and egg breakfast for only 1/3 of the calories.

Whole Wheat and Chocolate Waffles

Divide the batter into 2 bowls. Add 1/4 cup baking cocoa to one of the batters for chocolate waffles. That way you can try both.

  • 1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1-3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl stir flour, baking powder, honey and salt. In a small mixing bowl beat 1/2 of egg whites, milk, vanilla and applesauce. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Stir mixture until blended. In a small bowl beat remaining egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into original mixture and do not over mix.

Pour batter onto preheated waffle maker which has been sprayed with non-fat cooking spray. They take about 3-5 minutes depending on your waffle maker. To keep waffles warm while making the batch, turn oven on to 200 and place the cooked waffles on the wire rack. These waffles freeze well and will reheat in a toaster.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

This is super yummy!!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Half a white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh white mushrooms sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup skim milk ( or fat-free half-and-half)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
Put olive oil in stockpot and bring to medium heat. Add chopped onion, celery and carrots. Cook until tender. Add mushrooms, vinegar and chicken broth. Cover and heat through. In a bowl blend milk, flour, thyme and pepper. Then stir in cooked wild rice. Pour rice mixture into hot stockpot with vegetables. Cook over medium heat. Stir continually until thickened and bubbly. Serve with bread.

Vegetable Stock

This makes a great alternative to beef and chicken stock if you are trying to watch your sodium and cholesterol. I use it in soups and crock pot dinners. Make a big batch then freeze it in individual zip lock bags.

  • 1 onion
  • 4-6 celery stalks
  • 4-6 sliced carrots
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of aromatic herbs such as basil, oregano, cilantro, parsley, thyme, or rosemary
Fill a large pot half full of water. In a hot skillet sautee or brown onion, celery, carrots and garlic for a richer flavor. Add ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for an hour. Place cheese cloth over a jar and pour liquid over top filtering out all of herbs (cheese cloth is sold with the painting supplies at any home improvement store). You'll be left with a clear brown liquid. You can add salt later when you use for recipes. You can then take your vegetables and use in a stew or soup.

Smokey Swiss Cilantro Portabello Burger

Okay this is probably the longest named burger in the world but I had to get the description just right in the name. It is 100% vegetarian yet gives the same satisfaction as a beef burger. I serve it with sweet potato fries and my family loves it. You don't need ketchup or mayo for this burger and you don't feel like it's missing. I'm a big condiments person and this is the best burger to bring that satisfaction and still be healthy.

Smokey Swiss Cilantro Portabello Burger
  • 4-6 portabello mushroom tops
  • 4 large pickles sliced lengthwise (sandwich stacker style)
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup fresh made guacamole
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 Romain lettuce leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bottle of liquid smoke (on BBQ sauce isle)
Steam portabellos until tender in a skillet on medium high with garlic and 1/2 cup water. Replace water as needed to avoid burning (you could also use 2 Tbsp of oil and fry them). Right before they are tender add 2 Tbsp of liquid smoke. This will brown them and give them a smokey BBQ flavor.

On a whole wheat bun spread mustard then stack portabello, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, 2 heaping spoonfuls of guacamole and 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

Going Bananas

Do you ever feel like you can't keep up with eating your bananas before they go bad? It's enough to drive a person bananas. Well here are some fun and simple ways you can enjoy your bananas in addition to making banana bread and smoothies.

Banana Pops

  • 4-6 halved bananas
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
Place your banana halves on wooden skewers and dip them in chocolate syrup. Roll them in crushed peanuts and freeze for 1 -2 hours. This is a great replacement for ice cream cravings and Popsicles.

Bananas and Mango Dip
  • 8-10 halved bananas
  • 1 mango
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • cinnamon
Peel and pit mango then place in food processor with orange juice and honey. Arrange banana halves on a platter and drizzle mango puree over or use as a dip. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mango Tango Salsa

I love to serve this on fish and tacos. Mmmmmm!!!!

Mango Tango Salsa
  • 1 cup chopped red or green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup mango, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Mix ingredients together and chill before serving.

Mayo Made Fresh

Okay, so I experimented with different mayo recipes and this is my favorite. I made mine with egg whites rather than the egg yolk and it tasted great! I made two other variations (one that's oil free, and one that is egg and oil free). Try adding either cracked pepper, dill, hot sauce or mustard to give your mayo extra flare as a dip or spread!

Mayo Made Fresh

  • 1 egg yolk (or 1/3 cup egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 pinches sugar (or 1 tsp honey)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup oil (canola or olive)
In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then whisk half of that mixture into egg mixture. Blend in a food processor or whisk briskly adding oil a little bit at a time until it thickens. Once half of the oil is in add the remaining lemon juice mixture. Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours then refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Just a caution - when using raw eggs there is a risk of slight risk of salmonella. I used pasteurized liquid egg whites. If you use a regular egg just be sure to rinse the egg shell in hot water before cracking it open. Make sure the eggs are fresh and have been refrigerated.

Oil Free Mayo

Follow recipe above for Mayo Made Fresh and substitute the oil with fat free plain yogurt. You can also emit the eggs if you want. To avoid it being runny, gently fold the ingredients into the yogurt. I tried this as a dip for my sweet potato fries and I stirred in 1 tsp of fresh horse radish.

Dairy and Oil Free Mayo

I used this as a salad dressing in the salad photo above. The soy sauce hides the tofu flavor. You could also just use 1/2 tsp of salt period without the soy sauce. This dressing is runny and I think it works best as a dressing for tuna or potato salad or even pasta salad. I mixed it with tuna and added pickle relish, green onions and dill. I made tuna sandwiches and the family didn't even know the difference. It's great as a substitute for mayo in salads because it's healthy and still creamy!
  • 1 cup drained mashed firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat in food processor and store in jar in refrigerator.

Sweet Balsamic Dressing

I created this for a healthy alternative to the strong, oily dressings. It is light yet full of flavor. Of course if you want it thicker just replace the water with 1/4 cup of olive or canola oil. My 4 year old hates tomatoes and when he tried this salad he said the dressing made the tomatoes taste good and he will only eat them now with this dressing. Hooray!

Sweet Balsamic Dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 cup water (or 1/4 cup olive oil)
Mix all ingredients in food processor and chill1-2 hours before serving.