Melissa's Cuisine: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bailey's Marshmallows

I know, it's nearly spring, so why I am posting a snowman?  Well, here in Michigan, we're expecting an ice storm to hit today.  (Actually it looks like it's going to just rain instead...gotta love our Michigan winter!) I love to have a cup of hot chocolate with melty marshmallows to keep me warm when it's so cold outside.  I thought I better post this marshmallow before winter is completely over :)

I love to make my own marshmallows, there's just something so fun about making and eating them!  These marshmallows are a little different from my typical recipe for marshmallows...these have a special ingredient in them that make them unique.  These marshmallows get their kick from Bailey's...yes that's right, the liquer you might enjoy in your coffee or just on the rocks.  Mike tried rum cream (similar to Bailey's) on our honeymoon and really liked it.  I knew he'd get a kick out of these marshmallows too!
These Bailey's marshmallows do have the flavor of a shot of Bailey's!  The texture was slightly different from a typical marshmallow but the fun flavor made up for that!  These were delicious in a cup of hot chocolate, but I think they would also be fabulous if you dipped them in melted chocolate...yum!

*Note:  These are not kid friendly, so please make and indulge responsibly!  Please see my other marshmallow recipe for a kid friendly version!

Bailey's Marshmallows

Makes one 9x13" pan

You will need:

3-1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold Bailey's
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 Tablespoon vanilla

1.  Spray a 9x13" pan with cooking spray and coat with powdered sugar.  Set aside for later.

2.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, pour 1/2 cup of the cold Bailey's and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Stir once with a spoon and then let it sit.

3.  In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup of Bailey's, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Heat over low heat, whisking constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. 

4.  Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sugar mixture up to a boil.  Let it boil for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. 

5.  Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and slowly (carefully) add the hot sugar mixture to the gelatin mixture.  Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 6-8 minutes.

6.  While the sugar and gelatin mixture is beating, add the egg whites to a medium bowl and beat with your hand mixture. Beat eggs until stiff peaks form.

7.  Add the eggs and vanilla to the sugar and gelatin mixture and beat until just combined.

8.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the greased 9x13" pan.  It will be sticky, so get as much out of the bowl as possible.

9.  If desired, drop food coloring onto the top of the marshmallow mixture and swirl through with a toothpick. 

10.  Dust powdered sugar on top of the marshmallows and let them firm up for 3 to 5 hours.

11.  Once the marshmallows are firm, turn the pan upside down onto a cutting board.  Cut into desired sized squares using a pizza cutter dipped in water. 

Store marshmallows in an airtight container.

Source:  How Sweet Eats

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken

Truth be told, I'm really not a fan of vegetables.  I could live off of fruit, but a plate of veggies is a whole 'nother story!  I do like salads, but one can only eat so many salads before you start to go crazy.  I know veggies are good for you, but they're not always the most fun to eat.

In our quest to eat healthier, I've been trying to get more vegetables in our diets.  This recipe is chock-full of delicious (yes, I admitted these are delicious!) vegetables and full of flavor.  I loved how easy it was to put this recipe together, and it really tasted like I had spent hours in the kitchen, when really it was less than an hour!  Rather than serving this Kung Pao Chicken over brown rice, I opted to serve it over quinoa.  I also enjoyed the leftovers rolled in a whole-wheat flat out tortilla. 

Kung Pao Chicken

Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
1 cup snow peas
4 cups broccoli florets

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch, 2 cloves garlic and chicken broth.

2.  Pour soy sauce mixture over the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

3. Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until tender, about 3 minutes.

4.  Add remaining 1 clove garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute longer.

5.  Add broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

6.  Pour chicken and marinade into skillet and cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is warmed through and thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve immediately, over brown rice or quinoa.

Source:  All You

Friday, February 24, 2012

Payday Bars

For as much as I love chocolate, you might be surprised to hear that one of my favorite candies has absolutely no chocolate in it--I love Paydays!  I love the combination of the salty nuts and the sweet caramel candy surrounding them.

My other favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter you notice the peanutty trend?  I've made a bar version of PB cups before, and they are one of my favorite treats.  When I saw this recipe for Payday bars, I knew I had to try them.  I was really impressed with these and I find myself grabbing one every time I open the fridge--yes, they are that good!
Payday Bars

Makes about 30 bars

You will need:
3 cups salted peanuts
2-1/2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups peanut butter chips
14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini marshmallows

1.  Sprinkles 1-1/2 cups of the peanuts onto the bottom of an un-greased 9x13" pan.

2.  Melt butter and peanut butter chips in a large saucepan.  Stir until smooth.

3.  Remove pan from heat and stir in sweetened condensed milk and marshmallows.  Stir continuously until marshmallows melt and the mixture is smooth.

4.  Pour the peanut butter mixture over the peanuts in the pan.

5.  Sprinkle remaining 1-1/2 cups of peanuts over the peanut butter mixture.

6.  Refrigerate until the bars are solid.  Cut into bars and store in the fridge.

Source: Bake or Break

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cheese Twists

I made this recipe for New Year's Eve, and it was a huge hit!  They were the first tray that was completely emptied and no-one could believe that I had made them myself.  These cheese twists are so easy to make, and they are delicious!  They're simple enough to throw together for a last minute get-together, yet elegant enough for a party.  Give these a won't be disappointed!

Cheese Twists

Makes 32 twists

2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

1.  In a bowl, combine cheese, herbs and cayenne.

2.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out a sheet of pastry to a 16x9-1/2"rectangle.

3.  With the short side facing you, spread half of cheese mixture over bottom half of pastry sheet.

4.  Fold top half of pastry toward you over the bottom half, enclosing cheese mixture (making 8x9-1/2" rectangle). Press pastry down to help dough layers adhere and force out air pockets.

5.  Roll pastry into a 8x16" rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet and cheese mixture.

6.  Remove 1 pastry sheet from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured cutting board.

7.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut pastry into 16 1x8" strips. Holding 1 end in each hand, twist each strip 3 or 4 times and place 1 inch apart on lined baking sheet, pressing ends down. Repeat with remaining pastry.

8.  Bake twists for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve at room temperature.

Source:  All You

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monte Crisco Sandwiches with Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

After having January off for some modifications, the Secret Recipe Club is now back up and running for February!  This month, I was assigned to Sara's blog, Cook with Sara.  I spent hours reading through her blog, all the way back to the beginning.  I made a list of recipes to try--a huge list!  I found that Sara and I have similar tastes and so many of her recipes sounded delicious! 

I finally narrowed my choices down to a few and I let Mike pick the winning recipe.  Luckily for me, he chose the Monte Crisco Sandwiches, which meant I also got to make Sara's Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread.  What a fantastic choice!  The bread was so easy to make, and it was absolutely delicious!  We enjoyed the bread on the sandwiches and for a few breakfasts.  The sandwiches were also fantastic.  Mike and I both love breakfast sandwiches on english muffins, so it was a delicious twist to have it on a sweet bread instead.  I made my eggs differently than Sara (Mike and I don't care for fried eggs, so I made ours omelet-style), but otherwise followed the directions pretty closely.  I know these are both recipes we'll make again and again!
Sweet and Salty Breakfast Monte Cristos

Serves 4
8 slices cinnamon raisin quick bread (recipe below)
8 thin slices smoked ham
4 slices swiss cheese
4 eggs, fried or cooked omelet-style
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

1.  On 4 slices of bread, layer two slices of ham, one slice of swiss cheese, and one cooked egg.

2.  Top with second slice of bread.

3.  Whisk remaining two eggs and milk in a shallow dish.

4.  Carefully place the sandwiches, one at a time, in the egg batter to coat. Flip to coat both sides.

5.  Place sandwiches in a hot skillet and cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

6.  Carefully flip sandwiches over and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove and serve hot.

Source: Cook With Sara
Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

Makes one 9x4" loaf, approximately 12 slices

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 T vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil (I used applesauce)
1/4 cup raisins
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda and salt.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and oil.

3.  Stir the wet mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins.

4.  In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

5.  Spoon half of the batter into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Repeat layers and cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

6.  Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.

Source: Cook With Sara

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Favorite Things!--A Giveaway

As I mentioned the other day, Melissa's Cuisine has hit 200 followers on GFC!  This is super exciting for me as I watch my blog grow.  Your comments and encouragement on my blog means so much to me, so I want to take this chance to say THANK YOU to you!

I'd like to give away a few of my favorite things...
*2 Awesome Mugs from Paula Deen's Collection--So cute!
*Dove Chocolate bars--my favorite chocolate!
*M&M's--so yummy!
*Peach Green Tea--delicious and good for you!

This prize is exactly what you need for a relaxing afternoon, a mug of hot tea with some chocolate!  I'll choose a winner on March 3rd.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  Here's how you can win:

*Leave a comment on this post--tell me one of your favorite things

*Follow me via GFC or Linky Followers--leave a comment (you can also leave a comment if you're already a follower.)  As a side note, I've joined Linky Followers, you can find out more here and here.

*Follow me on Twitter--leave a comment if you're a new or current follower

*Tweet or blog about this giveaway--leave a comment telling me you did

So there you have it, 4 chances to win this prize pack of my favorite things.  Have fun entering, and thanks again for your support of my blog!

*3/4/12--The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Kristin!  Thanks to all who entered :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

MandM Cookies

I'm blessed to have a job where I have Fridays off.  As a result, I typically spend my Fridays in the kitchen!  I love it :)  I recently asked Mike if there was anything he would like me to bake for him.  Typically he says no, but on this day he requested his favorite--M&M cookies.  I, of course, turned to my go-to recipe for chocolate chips and just subbed out the chocolate chips for M&M candies.  These are the cookies that I grew up eating.  I remember coming home from school to my mom pulling a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  It was the perfect after-school-snack.  One that kids and adults alike can enjoy.  I'm sure you'll love these cookies as much as Mike and I do!
M&M Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

You will need:
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup M&M candies

1. In a medium bowl, beat together the shortening, margarine, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

2.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3.  Mix in flour and baking soda until well combined.

4.  Stir in M&M candies.

5.  Drop cookies by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.

6.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Source:  My mom's recipe

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homemade Poptarts

One of Mike's absolutely favorite things to eat is a poptart.  It's a very rare day when you don't find our pantry stocked with boxes of various flavors of poptarts.  He eats one package a day for his breakfast or first break at work, so you know we go through the boxes quite quickly. 

I decided that since Mike eats poptarts so frequently, he should probably have a slightly healthier version to enjoy.  They're so simple to make, just pie crust smeared with jam or cinnamon sugar or Nutella (my personal favorite), baked and topped with a powdered sugar icing.  It took a little over an hour to put these together (including time to chill the dough), but it was certainly worth it to know that Mike was getting a healthier snack.  And his verdict on the homemade poptarts--delicious!  We'll definitely be making these over and over again :)
Homemade Poptarts

Makes about 12 poptarts (actual amount varies based on the size of your poptarts)

You will need:
2-1/2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
8 to 10 Tablespoons cold water
1 cup strawberry jam (or any other filling you desire), you may need more or less filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons milk

1.  Combine flour, sugar, and salt.

2.  Cut in shortening until crumbly.

3.  Gradually add water and stir until a ball forms.

4.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, until it's easy to handle.

5.  Divide dough into 2 sections.  Return one to the fridge and place one on a flour covered surface.

6.  Roll dough into a rectangle, about 1/8" thick.

7.  Using a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife), cut dough into rectangles approximately 3" by 5".

8.  Spread jam in the center of a rectangle, leaving about 1/4" uncovered around the edges. 

9.  Place another piece of dough on top of the jam covered piece.  Seal using the tines of a fork.  Place on a greased baking sheet.

10.  Repeat steps 8 & 9 for remaining dough rectangles and then repeat steps 6-9 with remaining dough.

11.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

12.  While poptarts are cooling, mix together powdered sugar and milk to make an icing. Spread over cooled poptarts and top with sprinkles, if desired.

There are so many variations on this recipe!  I made a Nutella stuffed poptart with chocolate sprinkles, strawberry jam stuffed poptart with red sprinkles, and cinnamon sugar stuffed poptart with a brown (from a tiny bit of cocoa powder) icing.  I think the possibilities are quite endless and I'd love to know what versions you love!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf

Have you jumped on board the quinoa train yet?  I finally have (better late than never!), and if you haven't, I really encourage you to give it a shot!  Quinoa is gaining popularity as a superfood because of it's amazing nutritional value.  Quinoa is a seed, but is often thought of as a grain.  It is relatively low in calories, high in protein, fiber and many vitamins.  {Source}

The first time I had quinoa was in this quinoa pilaf.  I immediately loved it and since then I've used it as a substitute for rice or pasta.  I've served it topped with apricot chicken and as a topping to a lettuce salad.  There are so many options for quinoa and I have so many more ideas for ways to incorporate it into our meals!

Oh, and on an exciting note...remember a while ago I told you that I'd do a giveaway when I reached 200 GFC followers?  Well, I hit 200 yesterday so it's time to celebrate. I want to thank all of you for reading my blog and for all your comments.  I'll be posting the giveaway later this week, so stay tuned!!!
Quinoa Pilaf

Serves 6

You will need:

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
8 baby carrots, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 cup quinoa
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt

1.  Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes.

2.  Add quinoa to a saucepan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

3.  Stir in broth, water, thyme, and salt.

4.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. 

Nutritional facts per serving: 140 calories, 4g fat, 4g protein, 23g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 396mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol

Source:  Family Circle, September 2011

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homemade Gumdrops

Did Valentine's Day sneak up on you this year?  Or were you planning for it weeks in advance?  If you're in the latter group--kudos to you.  If you're in the former group, well, join the club!  Sure, we all know that February 14th is Valentine's Day, but wasn't it just January 1st?!?!  I've known Valentine's day was coming soon, but until yesterday it hadn't hit me that it was just a mere 4 days away.  I have a gift for Mike but I still need a card...oops!  And don't even get me started on the baked goods!  I've realized I have plenty of recipes for Christmas, but very little for the other holidays. Time for that to change...

I've seen multiple recipes for homemade gumdrops and they've been on my list to make for quite a while now.  When I saw a recipe for heart-shaped gumdrops, I knew they would be perfect for a Valentine's Day treat.  These sweet treats are so easy to make.  About 15 minutes of hands-on time, plus cooling and you've got an impressive looking snack. These would be great for your kid's school party, or a fun treat for your loved ones!

Homemade Gumdrops

Makes about 60 1" heart shaped candies

You will need:
2 cups sugar, plus a little extra for rolling the gumdrops in
1-1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 3-oz packages Jell-O (I used Strawberry)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients.  Let it stand for 1 minute.

2.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 2 minutes.

3.  Pour into a greased 9x13" pan.

4.  Place in the fridge for 3 hours, until firm.

5.  Run a spatula along the edges of the pan to loosen the gumdrops.  Turn onto a cutting board.

6.  Cut gumdrops into your desired shape.  I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter, but you could also cut these into squares using a knife dipped in hot water.

7.  Roll gumdrops in extra sugar.  Let them sit out until they're slightly dry.

Store in an airtight container.

Source: Hoosier Homemade

Friday, February 10, 2012

Strawberry Fruit Leather

I've seen many recipes for fruit leather and I always say that I want to try it.  I finally decided that enough is enough and it was time to give it a try!  It's hard to call this a recipe, it's more like a guide I suppose.  These are so easy, I don't know why I haven't made these before!  The hands-on time was so minimal, and these are delicious.  It's an good way to get some more fruit in your diet while feeling like you're eating candy!  I will warn you though, it takes about 8 hours for these to dry in your oven, so don't plan on using your oven for anything else.  Oh yeah, and don't be like me and start these at 6pm...I had to get up at 2am to take them out of the oven!
Strawberry Fruit Leather

Makes 1 10x17" cookie sheet full, about 36 strips

You will need:
1 quart of strawberries, washed and hulled

1.  Blend strawberries in your blender until they are completely smooth.

2.  Pour onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread into an even layer.

3.  Set your oven to the lowest possible temperature, mine was 170 degrees.  Place cookie sheet in the oven until the fruit is dry.  It took mine about 8 hours.

4.  Let the fruit leather cool completely before cutting it into strips.  Store in an airtight container. 

If your fruit leather ends up too dry, especially around the edges before the center is dry, you can spritz it with a small amount of water.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Chocolate Root Beer Bundt Cake

This cake combines one of Mike's favorite things, Root Beer, with one of my favorite things, chocolate.  Put them together in a cake, and you end up with a delicious dessert that people can't stop talking about!

When Tina announced that February's Crazy Cooking Challenge was Chocolate Cake, I set out on a mission to find the best chocolate cake on the Internet.  Mike is not a big fan of cake, so my mission was to find a cake he would enjoy too.  I came across this cake at Brown Eyed Baker and I knew my search was complete!  I immediately pinned it to my "Recipes for Mike" board on Pinterest. (Are you on Pinterest?  You can find me here.)

Just as I thought, this cake certainly did not disappoint!  The cake itself was very moist and you could certainly taste the root beer in it!  The frosting was also delicious, I had some left over and it's fantastic on graham crackers.  As Michelle stated in the original recipe, the flavor certainly does intensify as the cake sits.  I made this cake on Saturday and let it sit overnight until Sunday afternoon.  I brought it to my parent's house for dessert and then to Mike's grandma's for dessert (twice in one day!).  It got rave reviews at both places, and the leftovers were delicious on Monday too.
You'll certainly want to serve this decadent cake with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.  It's a new way to enjoy a root beer float!

Chocolate Root Beer Bundt Cake

Makes 1 10-inch Bundt cake, approximately 12 servings

For the cake you will need:

2 cups regular root beer
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

For the frosting you will need:
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar (I actually ran out and used only about 1-1/2 cups giving me a thinner icing, which I really liked)

1.  Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.

3.  Add the sugar and brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool, about 10 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.

5. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.

6.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter might be slightly lumpy, which is okay (just try to avoid any large chunks of flour).

7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

8.  Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then on a wire rack until completely cooled.

9. While your cake is baking (or cooling), make the frosting.  Combine cooled dark chocolate, butter, salt, root beer, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar in the bowl of your mixer and mix until completely combined and shiny.

10. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the cake in a thick layer, or pour over cake if you choose to make it thinner like mine. Let the frosting set before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice-cream. Store leftovers wrapped well or in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Source:  Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, February 06, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein

The results are in and the people have spoken! Results from my poll--that is.  The majority of the votes were for healthier foods and main dishes.  Well, you're certainly in luck because I have quite a few recipes to share with you.  As I've mentioned before, Mike and I are eating healthier than ever before and so we have been experimenting with lots of healthy foods, especially main dishes.  As a result, I'll be featuring more healthy main dishes.  My plan right now is to share a main dish on Mondays, healthier snack on Wednesdays, and a sweet treat on Fridays.  I like how I'll have more balance, plus a better posting schedule.  I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

Mike and I really enjoyed this Chicken Lo Mein.  Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like I'll be able to enjoy it again.  You see, the morning that I made this dish, I made the chicken marinade before work.  Then I headed to have a nutritional analysis done by muscle testing.  (I've been dealing with having less energy than usual and feeling tired, so we're trying to get my vitamins balanced.) Apparently I showed that I now have a soy intolerance so I was told to stay away from soy products.  I was told to go ahead and eat the meal I had prepared, but watch for any side effects.  Sure enough, I got a horrible stomach ache and stomach cramps.  No more soy for me.  On that note you know how many foods contain soy?  It's certainly more than I thought!

Now that you know that random knowledge about me, I really do recommend that you try this dish, it was delicious!
Chicken Lo Mein

Serves 6

You will need:
16 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (could also use 2 lean pork chops)
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (from about 1/2 head)
1 medium carrot, grated
1 cup snow peas
Salt and pepper

1. Cook spaghetti noodles as directed on package.  Drain.

2. In a large bowl, whisk soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, vinegar and broth. Add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

3. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and marinade; stir-fry until meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.

4.  Add cabbage and stir-fry until just wilted, about 2 minutes.

5.  Stir in carrot and snow peas; cook, stirring gently, until snow peas are slightly softened yet firm, about 2 minutes.

6.  Stir in noodles and toss to coat with sauce and warm through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition facts per serving (based on original recipe using pork): 315 calories, 3g fat, 31mg cholesterol, 6g fiber, 23g protein, 51g carbohydrates, 1,210mg sodium

Source:  All You

Friday, February 03, 2012

Protein Balls

I've been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet lately.  There are so many choices out there for high protein foods--chicken, eggs, cheese, yogurt.  I've been doing well reaching my targeted amount of protein each day, but sometimes I want a snack in a different form.  Specifically something sweet--but without derailing my healthy eating habits. 

Enter protein balls.  These little snacks are packed full of good things!  I shaped mine into approximately 1-1/2 inch balls and ended up with 40 of them.  Each ball has 4.2 grams of protein, which I think is pretty good, and it is sweet enough to satisfy my sweet craving.  Of course, your nutritional stats might vary depending on the brands you use (especially the protein powder), and feel free to substitute ingredients or add some in to make your own version.  I think these would be great with with dried cherries or raisins...really your options could be endless!

Protein Balls

Makes 40 1-1/2" balls

You will need:
1 cup honey
1-1/2 cups peanut butter (I used chunky)
2 cups powdered milk
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup protein powder

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  (I used my hands to mix it as it was too stiff to stir.)  Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls.  Store in the refrigerator.

One protein ball has approximately: 118 calories, 14.5g carbohydrates, 8.7g sugar, 1.8g fiber, 4.2g protein, 5.7g fat

Source:  My original recipe

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Strawberries Romanoff

I found this recipe on Olive Garden's website.  Since their breadsticks are about the best food I've ever made, I thought trying one of their dessert recipes would be a big hit as well.  My dessert looks nothing like the picture of the dessert on Olive Garden's site, but it still tasted delicious.  It's not a heavy dessert and the triple sec and orange juice adds a wonderful citrusy background flavor.  I enjoyed this dessert and it's simple enough to make with just a few minutes notice. 

Strawberries Romanoff

Serves 4

You will need:
2 cups sour cream (I used low-fat)
1/3 cup brown sugar
juice of one orange (or 1/4 cup orange juice)
1 Tablespoon triple sec  (can be left out to make this kid-friendly)
2 quarts strawberries, washed and quartered
Whipped cream

1.  Combine sour cream, brown sugar, orange juice, and triple sec in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. 

2.  Add strawberries and fold in until evenly coated.

3.  Place coated strawberries in serving dishes and top with whipped cream.

4.  Chill until you're ready to serve.

Source:  Olive Garden
01 10 11 12
Blogging tips