Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

A lightened up version of a comfort food favorite! Lean meat is mixed with sauteed onions and breadcrumbs, shaped into patties, and browned before simmering in a smooth, flavorful, and mushroom stocked gravy that uses NO cream soups!

Along with boots, driving with the windows open, and the changing leaves, I also LOVE fall food. Some meals just seemed way too heavy for summer but now they feel perfect! Soup, chili, and all things comfort food.

Heavy comfort food doesn't have to mean high calories; this version is around 250 calories a serving! And - perhaps more importantly - it's weeknight friendly.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Serving: 8

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound 93% ground beef
1 pound 93% ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 cups beef broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
16 ounce package sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup water

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and saute the onions until they are soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and divide in half.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, egg white, 1/4 cup beef broth, salt, black pepper, and half of the sauteed onions. Mix well and divide into 8 oval shaped patties.

Heat the skillet to medium-high heat and brown the patties on both sides. Remove and transfer to a plate.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and saute 2-3 minutes. Put the patties back into the skillet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining beef broth until smooth. Whisk in the remaining onions, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder. Pour over the meat and mushrooms in the skillet. 

Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Source: slightly adapted from SkinnyTaste  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

Your favorite fall beverage made even easier thanks to your crockpot!

It seems like every year, Starbucks introduces the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier and earlier. Before long, it'll probably be on the menu year-round! I admit to indulging in one every once in awhile because they are darn tasty but I just can't do it before September.

With my venti soy pumpkin spice latte nearing $6 a pop, I'm all about looking for an alternative to my PSL cravings. Even if you're not worried about the steep cost, this version is perfect for those Saturdays at home when you stay in your PJ pants from morning to night and running to the neighborhood Starbucks sounds exhausting.

I shared this recipe a couple of years ago but wanted to give it a much needed revisit!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte
4 cups milk
1.5 cups double strength coffee (I used cold brew coffee)
4 tablespoons canned pumpkin
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
whipped cream, for topping
ground cinnamon, for topping

Add the milk and coffee to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Whisk well before serving.

Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream and ground cinnamon.

Servings: 4 large mugs

Source: Crockpot 365

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Almond Joy Bites (4 ingredients & no bake)

You're just 4 ingredients from homemade Almond Joy flavor! Sticky sweet coconut, crunchy almonds, and dark chocolate are a much loved classic combination!

Every year growing up, my mom made homemade Almond Joys as a holiday treat. She would package them into tins and deliver them as gifts. Don't you love edible gifts? I recall she even shipped them my direction at least once! The other night, I got an intense craving for her Almond Joys. Unfortunately, we live 1100 miles apart so I did what anyone would do - I surveyed the pantry and found all the ingredients necessary to satisfy my craving.

And it worked.

{though I still missed my mom!}

These beauties don't have to be baked, don't destroy your clean kitchen, and you can shovel them in almost immediately. That's a winning dessert in my book.

I'm more savory than sweet (as evidenced by the rare dessert recipes in my index!) so just one of these was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. I stored the rest in the fridge and enjoyed them for several days.

When rolling, they are going to be super sticky so it's helpful to lightly spray the palms of your hands with cooking spray. Very lightly!

Almond Joy Bites
1 14 ounce bag shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and chopped almonds. Using your hands (see note above), mix well.

Form small balls with the coconut mixture and place on the parchment paper. Place the sheet in the fridge and let chill for 20 minutes.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate at 50% power, stopping to stir every 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the coconut bites and place the baking sheet back in the fridge. After another 30 minutes, they should be "set" enough to be transferred to a sealed container.

Store in the fridge.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai basil chicken may be the most popular Thai dish of them all. Chicken, mushrooms, a savory sauce, and loads of basil are quickly cooked and served alongside jasmine rice. The perfect weeknight meal and a crowd favorite!

If you've never had Thai Basil Chicken, you're in for a treat! This simple stir-fry comes together in minutes but tastes restaurant quality. The sauce is savory and addictive. The chicken and mushrooms are sliced thin so they cook fast and soak up tons of flavor. The basil is the true star of this dish. It seems like you're adding a lot but I promise, it's not overpowering. Just delicious!

I'm a rice fanatic so I like to serve this over jasmine rice. It'd also be good wrapped in a lettuce wrap or over noodles!

Thai basil or basil? Traditionally, Thai basil is used - and should be, if you can find it. I sub in regular basil and it's still amazing.

Thai Basil Chicken
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped Thai chile pepper, ribs and seeds removed (sub in Serrano if Thai isn't easily found)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thinly sliced bite sized pieces
16 ounce package sliced white mushrooms
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 cups Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook until golden brown. Add the chile pepper and stir well.

Add the chicken and cook until almost cooked through. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and chicken stock. Stir until the mushrooms are softened and the chicken is cooked through. Add the chopped basil and mix well.

Serve hot alongside steamed jasmine rice.

Source: adapted from Foo Swasdee

Friday, September 19, 2014

Honey Mustard Sauce

Everyone's favorite dipping sauce couldn't be easier to make! Creamy, sweet, and tangy - perfect for chicken nuggets. Just 4 ingredients!

Honey mustard is my go-to dipping sauce for chicken nuggets, tenders, and fries but I also love smothering it over chicken (like Outback's Alice Springs Chicken). I'm beginning to think that children will eat just about anything dipped in honey mustard! :)

You could whisk this together right before dinner and it'd be delicious but I found it's even better the next day.

Honey Mustard Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons honey

Whisk together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Source: adapted from All Recipes

Monday, September 15, 2014

(Skinny) Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

If you love Bang Bang Shrimp, you'll love this pasta - and it's low calorie, to boot! Just 350 calories a serving!

Bang Bang Shrimp is perhaps one of the most popular chain restaurant appetizers - and for good reason. It's addictive, creamy, and slightly spicy. I made a copycat version several years ago and while my photo is awful, the recipe is delicious. The only downside to that version? The calories! We're talking deep fried shrimp. Droolworthy but too much of a splurge to be a regular weeknight meal.

This version? You'll add it to your menu rotation in no time flat. Fast, easy, and guiltless. The shrimp is well seasoned and quickly sauteed while the pasta cooks. Toss with a flavorful sauce and you've got dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less! The chili sauce has some heat to it but not burn-your-face-off heat. If you like spice, be sure and up the Sriracha sauce.

Not gonna lie. We fought over these leftovers :)

You should be able to find the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce in the international aisle at your grocery store. Note: this is not the same as Heinz Chili Sauce. 

{Skinny} Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon coconut oil
6 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons Sriracha (or more, if you like it hot!)
3 green onions, chopped

Cook the angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and set aside.

Combine the cornstarch, paprika, salt, and pepper in a gallon sized ziptop bag. Add the shrimp, seal, and shake gently until the shrimp are well coated.

Heat the coconut oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp, stirring often, until pink and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, lime juice, and Sriracha. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and toss together. Add the shrimp and toss gently.

Serve topped with chopped green onions. 

Source: adapted from Skinny Mom (includes full nutritional info)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Grilled Naan Bread Pizza with Mango Chutney, Prosciutto, and Ricotta

An Indian twist on pizza! Fresh naan bread is topped with a mango chutney infused tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, and prosciutto before grilling. The tastiest pizza you'll make at home and it takes just 20 minutes to make!

I'm such an Aarti Sequeria fan, and I hate that her show isn't on anymore! She won Food Network Star a few years ago and her angle was bringing flavors of India into American food. Matter of fact, this pizza was from her time on Food Network Star before she even won!

Her version calls for baking the pizzas at a high heat but I'm a grill fan. Don't have one? Just bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes instead. My limited access (read: no access) to paneer meant I was therefore too lazy to make my own so I just switched it out with another cheese. Feta would be perfect but my husband isn't a fan so I used ricotta - also delicious! Really, you can't go wrong.

Fresh and/or frozen naan bread can be found in most grocery stores now, including Trader Joes. Mango chutney should be readily available in the international aisle at most grocery stores, too. I pick up prosciutto at the deli counter to save money!

Grilled Naan Bread Pizza
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons sweet mango chutney
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil
4 pieces of naan bread
4 slices prosciutto, diced

Preheat your grill to medium-high. 

In a small saucepan, combine the tomato paste, mango chutney, minced garlic, and water over medium heat, until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes and then remove the saucepan from heat and set aside. 

In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella, ricotta, red pepper flakes, cilantro, green onion, ground cumin and a tablespoon or so of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

Spread the tomato-mango chutney sauce evenly over the 4 naan pieces. Evenly spread the cheese mixture over top and then add the chopped prosciutto

Lightly oil the grates and place the pizzas on the grill. Grilling, rotating occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until the crust is crispy along the edges. 

Source: adapted from Aarti Sequeria

Monday, September 8, 2014

Coconut Cilantro Rice

Basmati rice is cooked in a mixture of cilantro, coconut, chiles, and spices resulting in a colorful, slightly spicy, and very tasty side dish perfect for Indian and Mexican foods alike! This is definitely not your momma's steamed white rice.

I adore both Indian and Mexican cuisine. Have you thought about how similar they are? I know, I know, the dishes really aren't similar but if you think about the spices and flavor profile they both have you'll see what I mean. Coconut, cilantro, and cumin are used in both cuisines which made this rice a total hit for our family.

I served this alongside an Indian dish one night and then used the leftovers in homemade burrito bowls two nights later. It worked perfect both ways!

Truth be told... we prefer this rice over Chipotle's Cilantro-Lime Rice. It's got loads more flavor!

Coconut Cilantro Rice
1 cup basmati rice
3 large handfuls of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
3 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed unless you like lots of spice!
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water

Rinse the rice and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the cilantro, coconut, jalapenos, and garlic. Pulse until it's a coarse paste.

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes or until the onions are browned and soft. Add the cumin and cloves and stir well, coating the onions. Add the rice, salt, and coconut-cilantro paste. Stir to coat the rice with the paste and then pour in the water. Stir and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Remove from heat, stir, and serve hot.

Source: adapted from Lisa's Kitchen

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash Pasta Salad

Still have lots of zucchini and squash at your house? This pasta salad is tasty way to use them up! Pieces of grilled zucchini and squash are tossed with toasted pine nuts, chopped olives, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Light, fresh, and a delicious way to eat your veggies. Simple... but delicious!

As soon as zucchini and squash hit the store, we are all over it. They are some of our favorite vegetables! If you're like me and love to grill them, step them up with this super simple salad. Oregano, pine nuts, and olives are the perfect accompaniment to the otherwise standard pasta salad.

Since it's not mayo based, this is especially perfect for a potluck or picnic!

Grilled Zucchini & Yellow Squash Pasta Salad
16 ounces farfalle pasta
1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped green or kalamata olives

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cool water.

Preheat the grill to medium. Thread the zucchini and squash chunks onto skewers, brush lightly with olive oil on all sides, and sprinkle with salt. Grill, turning occasionally, until very tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the grill and transfer the pieces to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining olive oil (about 1/4 cup), vinegar, and black pepper.

In the bowl with the vegetables, add the cooked pasta, oregano, pine nuts, olives, and dressing. Toss and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve warm or cold. 

Source: adapted from Sunset Magazine

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Indian Spiced Grilled Shrimp and Okra

Looking for a 10 minute weeknight meal? This grilled shrimp and okra is not only quick to make, it's delicious! The ~200 calories a serving doesn't hurt, either ;) A simple blend of curry, coriander, and serrano pepper coat the shrimp and okra before grilling to give big flavor without the hassle of a marinade.

Like all good southerners, we're fans of okra. My preference is deep fried while Jason loves his pickled. Neither of us had tried grilling it before! Most people love okra but are turned off by the slimy insides. Grilling it removes all slime! It makes them softer but still have a bit of bite to them. I picked up some fresh okra at the farmer's market and this was the perfect way to use them.

Shrimp is always an easy weeknight meal choice. It's extremely low calorie, relatively inexpensive, and cooks super fast. So fast, in fact, that you have to be careful to not overcook and turn them into rubber. Grilling is by far my favorite method to cook shrimp thanks to the gorgeous char marks they come away with. That, mixed with the okra, makes one delicious meal.

We love Indian cuisine and this spice blend is perfect. Not too spicy, especially if you remove the seeds and ribs from the serrano, and loads of flavor.

Indian Spiced Grilled Shrimp & Okra
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use mild)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed and minced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails in tact
1 pound okra pods, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt, to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Combine vegetable oil, curry, coriander, and serrano in a large mixing bowl. Add the shrimp and okra to the bowl, tossing to coat.

Thread the shrimp and okra onto skewers. Lightly coat the grates with cooking spray and then place the skewers on the grill. Grill 3 minutes per side, or until well marked and cooked through.

Sprinkle with salt and chopped cilantro before serving.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light June 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Homemade Ketchup

This homemade ketchup is easy, inexpensive, and tastes better than any store-bought version I've tried!  Perfect on burgers, hot dogs, or fries.

Speaking of burgers and hot dogs... Happy Labor Day! Are they on your menu today or are you cooking up something else? I hope that many of you have plans to soak up just a few more hours of summer before we launch all the way into September.

Awhile back, I hosted a children's event and we made this ketchup. I'd never made ketchup before and couldn't believe how easy it was! The kids devoured it and all claimed it to be 'the best ketchup ever', which is high marks considering they are ketchup connoisseurs...

Throw in the pot, whisk, simmer, done. Couldn't be easier!

At just 20 calories a tablespoon, it's also guilt free! 

Homemade Ketchup
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. 

Remove from heat, cover, and let cool. Once cooled, transfer to a storage container and store in the refrigerator until chilled. 

Source: Skinnytaste 

See Aimee Cook

Designed by:

Munchkin Land Designs Elements by Amy Teets
Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2012 • All Rights Reserved