Friday, September 18, 2009

another teaser...

Super Squash Cheesey Mac

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dark Chocolate Peanutty Nougat

Easy, peasy to make, easy, peasy to drop on the floor. But guess what! Not only do these babies have the power to withstand the 5-second rule (shhh don't tell Public Health), but if you really are concerned, the most "painful" thing about making these is unwrapping the kisses.

Here's the recipe for 1 nougat. Multiply to your heart's content!!! :)


1 pretzel (I used circle-shaped, but I hear the checker board or even usual twist type work fine)

1 dark chocolate Hershey's kiss (I think I may experiment with new kinds of kisses in the future... I was thinking mint might be yummy)

1 peanut (or walnut or pecan or m&m or whatever you fancy)

How To:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Unwrap your kiss.

3. Place pretzel on a baking sheet. Place kiss on top of pretzel.

4. Place baking sheet with your pretzel-kiss in the oven. Bake for 4 minutes.

5. Remove baking sheet from oven. Rather quickly (but no need to rush), carefully press down peanut (or item of your desire) down on top of the kiss, somewhat flattening it.

6. Let sheet cool. Place in freezer if you're impatient like me.

Savor your mini treat!!

Estimated Nutritional Information:

Calories: 28
Fat: 1.5 g
Sodium: 22 mg
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Baked Tofu anyone can do!

Tofu is so flippin' cheap, I don't know why so many people don't fall in love like I do. $1.69 for a brick at Whole Foods, and I've got my protein source for a work-week's worth of lunches! Seriously, does it get any better? And when I make it like this, the cheapness and tastiness is just a wam-bam-thank you, sir duo. It can't be beat. Some (ahem, Jay, ahem) dislike the texture of tofu in general, but really it's nothing different than a soft cheese like brie, and I actually love the smooth creaminess. To all those haters, I say try this version of preparing tofu, and if you don't like it, try the tofu at Leona's (I'M SERIOUS IT'S AWESOME) and THEN I may accept your true (yet odd) dislike for delicious things.


1 container tofu (choose firm or semi-firm... it all depends on your taste. If you want your tofu more dense, firm is (obviously) probably more up your alley. You may also notice that firm is more concentrated in nutrients...)

italian dressing (whatever you fancy... I used Ken's Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano, and it was fabulous)

balsamic dressing (again, the brand is up to you! Feel free to try making it yourself (see my recipe in my recipe (woah redundancy) for Rainbow Salad)

any or all of the following spices: garlic salt or garlic powder (choose one), kosher salt (umm don't use this AND garlic salt, otherwise you'll be puckering your face and reaching for water) black pepper, coriander, onion powder, italian seasoning (salt free), a splash of nutmeg... the list is endless!

How To:

1. Slice tofu into 1/2-inch slices down the longest length of the tofu block. Place slices in a single layer in a colander and lay a place or some other flat surface (like a pie tin or cutting board) over the tofu. Pile a few more plates or random pieces of kitchenware on top of your base layer. I wouldn't put too much on there, although I do enjoy making my own leaning tower of bowls... :)

2. While you're tofu-towering (yes, that's a new verb), take a baking dish (I'm partial to a glass/ceramic, non-stick kind like my Corningware), and coat it lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour a bit of both dressings into the bottom of your dish so that it covers the entire bottom, and about 1/8 of an inch deep. Just know that you want enough so that the underside of your tofu to soaks of up the flavors! If you want to, swirl the dressings together, but it really doesn't matter.

3. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Once you've pressed the tofu (so that it's prime for absorbing your dressings and seasonings) for anywhere between 1/2 hour to 1 hour, remove your tower and place tofu in a single layer in your baking dish. Poke each brick about 5 times with a fork. I don't know if this really does anything, but I like to think that my poking helps the dressing penetrate into my tofu.

4. Douse your slices with dressing so that they're covered and maybe about halfway submerged in the dressing. You don't need so much so that it's swimming. Sprinkle with your seasonings of choice.

5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check your dish after about 30 minutes to make sure your oven isn't a slow-poke like mine. You'll be looking for tofu that has dressing encrusted in it's dressing and may have a hint of dark brown color at its edges (like my picture).

Slice up, dice up, and enjoy!

Pictured above: Jay enjoys his salad with baked chicken (made the same way as the tofu only without the plate/bowl towering) doused in ranch :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bulgogi a la Momo (the non-Korean beef barbeque)

This is one of those meals that evokes a rainbow of emotions within me, with the strongest pair being a sense of longing with a good dose of soothing contentment. My Momo would make this every now and then growing up, and a couple months ago when I made it myself for the first time, the pleasurable mixure of spices skipped around my brain, taking me back, and I wished Momo was there by my side to enjoy my success in mastering what will forever be HER dish.

Even though it's ridiculously easy to make, you can easily fool anyone you're cooking for that you really slaved in the kitchen pulling this one together--it's that good. I've found that referring to it as "Korean Barbeque Steak," as it is sometimes called, causes less upper-lip-raising (as in, "WHAT are you going to be serving??!?!"). Nevertheless, sometime the adverse reactions are funny and "Bowl-gog-E" is fun to say!

I like to serve this with my quinoa pilaf and fresh asparagus grilled (or broiled) in 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon miran (sweet rice vinegar), 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (or garlic salt), and a sprinkle of ginger.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)


1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed (By this I think they mean trimmed of fat, but I've found that most of the times the steak is already trimmed. Sometimes there's a little bit that may be clinging on for dear life, but I tend to leave it on and trim after cooking because I'd rather not deal with the raw steak anymore than I have to.)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (I always use just one packet of splenda. Blame it on being a splenda fiend, or the fact that I never have brown sugar in my apartment... I find it goes hard too fast in my moist cupboards. Sad, I know.)

6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (I used powdered and it still turned out magnificently)

2 teaspoons sesame oil 6 garlic cloves, minced (I often use the jarred minced garlic. If you don't have this much garlic on hand, no worries! Your steak will be yum-yummy no matter what!)

3 fresh scallions, whites and green cut into about 1/4 inch slices (I've actually used dried chives when I realized I had totally blanked on picking up scallions at the store... even though they're technically not the same, it still turned out delicious!)

How To:

1. Combine sugar (or sugar substitute), and next 6 ingredients (sugar through scallions) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake up until well mixed. Drop in the steak (gently, now) and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, turning bag occasionally. I've found that longer marinatation times yield exponentially better, more flavorful steaks. So if you can, plan ahead. Easier said than done, right?

2. Once your steak has marinated to its (and your) heart's desire, prepare your grill (a.k.a. turn on that bad boy), or preheat broiler.

3. Carefully remove beef from bag, reserving the marinade. Place beef on hot grill or under a preheated broiler. Your cooking time will depend on the steak's thickness, so keep a careful eye on your beef. For a steak that was about 1/2 inch thick that I placed under the broiler (no need to flip it), I cooked it about 8 minutes. I think these are best cooked to medium or medium-well, and that timing made them perfect! If grilling, cook the steaks for about 4 minutes per side, again until desired level of doneness.

4. While the steak cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium high heat, until it comes to a rolling, slow boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. I usually boil it for about 5 minutes to make sure anything and everything that isn't supposed to be in your food is killed off. (Notice how I'm sensoring myself so as not to gross you out!!)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208 (33% from fat)
Fat: 7.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g)
Protein: 26.1g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 457mg
Calcium: 19mg

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Britt's Blueberry Breakfast Scones

As some of you may know, my mother love, love, loves her blueberry scones. So, as a "thank you" for her running an errand for me, her car-less daughter, I baked a batch of these for her. Her review: "Scones were awesome!!"

I must warn you, though. Despite their non-fibrous taste, these do pack a bit of a punch and may get things moving... if you catch my drift :-D


3 packets high fiber instant oatmeal, such as that by Quaker, though I've seen generic versions (for this ingredient I didn't want all of the sugar these packets typically have, so I emptyed the 3 packets into a colander over my sink and gave it a good shake. A lot of powdery looking stuff fell through the colander, and I was left with the oats themselves. I wouldn't say shake it too much, because I'm not sureif there's bran in the packets, and that would be small enough to fall through. And we want that bran!!)

2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (I have the "golden
crunch" version of that by Kretschmer, a Quaker brand)

2 heaping tablespoons protein powder (I u
sed the MLO Vegetable Protein Powder, though I'm sure any kind will work as long as it's mild tasting and not some wild flavor like chocolate... which is soooo wild, I know!)

a couple sprinkles of cinnimon

2 egg whites


non-stick cooking spray

How To:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking tray with your non-stick stuff of choice. Parchment paper works even better, but I've run out!

2. Strain the blueberries in the jar that come in the "lazy person's answer to homemade muffins" box. Set aside.

3. Combine the first 4 ingredients until well blended.

4. Add the egg whites and about 1/2 cup water, stirring until moist. I don't have a machine mixer, so you'll be fine using just a strong fork like I do. If you need to add more water, go right ahead. My batter was actually runny, probably the consistency of Mary Jeanne's mashed potatoes. :-D

5. Add the blue berries and give the batter another stir until they're interspersed.

6. Drop onto a greased pan in large mounds (maybe about 3/4 cup batter? Sorry I cook so estimatingly!). I was able to make 6-7 very large scones which I ended up cutting in half.

7. Bake in 350°F oven for 20 or 30 minutes (it all depends on the size you make your dollaps). Feel free to use the toothpick test to ensure they're fully cooked.

8. Let cool (or not) and ENJOY!!

I apologize for the lack of pictures of this delight... none really did my baking justice. Next time, next time.

Also, I'm looking around for my nutritional calculations, but in the mean time, I can tell you I remember that for a batch made with 7 scones, one-half of a scone had around 100 calories, 5 grams or so of fiber and around 5 grams of protein. I will keep looking or re-calculate so that you know these facts for sure (even though they're always estimates!)!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nom-Nom Chicken with Balsamic Reduction Sauce

This is Jay’s FAVORITE, and I have to say it is most definitely one of mine too. It is pretty intense, especially if you’re busy trying to prepare multiple side dishes at the same time like I do. Nevertheless, all the dish-dirtying is SUPER worth it!

I still remember the first time I decided to make this… I was living at home with Mo and Mark after moving out of that crazy apartment with the crazy roommate, and I decided I wanted to try to make a “reduction” sauce. I had never tried it, and you know me; I like to challenge myself! Anywho, I’ll never forget those “mmmmms” from that oozed from M&M’s mouths!! And all I did was follow a recipe!

So this beauty comes from the glorious Cooking Light, where they called it “Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce.” I call it mother-loving DELICOUS. I typically serve it with quinoa (you know, the Indian “mother grain”); I’ll post a little more about it later raving some more and giving some ‘tails about how I like to make it. This time you’ll see I served it with rice, brown basmati to be exact, which is probably my most favoritest rice in the whole world. When it cooks my whole mini studio smells nutty and delicious. I like to make it kind of pilaf style, with carrots and spinach, a twirl of extra virgin olive oil, some garlic salt, pepper, coriander, and onion power. Mmmm. Also, I must note, that my recipe doubles the sauce, because REALLY it is the BEST PART. Okay okay, enough jibber jabber. Let’s get to the goods!

The Cooking Light pros say, “To assure the chicken gets done, use breasts on the small side, about 4 to 5 ounces each. Serve with polenta or orzo to absorb the sauce.”

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast and 2 tablespoons sauce)


1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons honey (I usually use about 1 teaspoon honey and one packet of splenda)

1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

enough flour to cover your breasts (chicken breasts… do I really need to clarify that? ;-)

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (about 1 shallot, though I like these a lot so sometimes I’ll add two or so)

Chopped parsley (“optional” according to the original recipe… I’ve never used this!)

How To:

1. Combine broth, vinegar, and honey.

2. Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. (I think it works best to use a skillet that is not cast iron or very dark so that you can see when the butter browns in the step that follows.)

3. While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. (I always forget to season them, and it still turns out yum-yum yummy. Testament to how much you don’t necessarily need salt!!) Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.

4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots, and sauté 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Estimated Nutritional Information:

Calories: 269 (27% from fat)
Fat: 8.1g (sat 2.7g,mono 2g,poly 2.5g)
Protein: 34g
Carbohydrate: 13.1g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 90mg
Iron: 1.7mg
Sodium: 331mg
Calcium: 29mg