Monday, June 30, 2014

Black Bean Spaghetti Salad

I'll tell you that it was pure joy and excitement when I found this black bean spaghetti in the store. I was like a kid in the candy store, I'm a goofball like that. Woo Hoo! A new pasta to get my creative juices flowing. Guess what? I nailed this recipe on the first try, I just love that. So this is not only tasty but healthy too. I also found it to be filling and it keeps you fuller longer but not feeling bloated. Dare I say it? Even though it is made from beans it does not cause a gas problem. So eat your beans pasta style. Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. black bean spaghetti
  • 1 sweet yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips and then cut in half
  • 8 oz. bag Sugar Snap Peas, cooked according to package instructions and cooled
  • 6 green onions washed, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 12 oz. jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, freshly chopped

Dressing
  • 1/4 cup aged white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions but add 1/2 tsp salt to the boiling water. Meanwhile cook sugar snap peas and mix together dressing and set aside. Now prepare the spring onions, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts and fresh basil.

As soon as the pasta is cooked drain in colander and rinse under cold water until cool. Let pasta drain well. In a very large mixing bowl add pasta,  prepared veggies and dressing. I found this very hard to mix so I washed my hands well and tossed it bare handed.

Chill for 8 hours or over night in an air tight container. Serve cold.

Calories in Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

Nutrition Facts

Explore Asian - Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

  1. 1    50g dry
Calories 160 Sodium 4 mg
Total Fat 2 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 1 g Total Carbs 16 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 11 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 5 g
Trans 0 g Protein 23 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 0% Calcium 10%
Vitamin C 1% Iron 30%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Bake Lemon Cheese Pie

I am so excited about this recipe because I love lemon and I hate to bake when it is hot outside. This a great easy no bake pie that is delicious. There is nothing better than a cool refreshing lemon pie on a hot day. Lemon lovers unite! May I be able to convert a few more lemon lovers with this one. Make your fat cells sing and your sweet tooth happy! Enjoy!


  • 1, 10 oz box of Lorna Doone Shortbread cookies by Nabisco
  • 8 lemon drop hard candies
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 8 oz. packs of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 11.3 oz. jar of lemon curd
  • 1/8 cup extra fine dessert sugar
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 9 inch Pyrex pie pan


For this recipe you will need lemon zester and a food processor, using the whirling blade. Place lemon drop candies into food processor and whirl until they look like sugar. Now add both sleeves of the cookies to lemon drops and whirl until you have an even crumb mixture. Place mixture into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix well.

Spray the pie pan with Pam cooking oil spray and press crumb mixture into bottom of pie pan and onto side as well, keeping it evenly covered. Refrigerate for now.

With an electric mixer on high speed mix together lemon curd, sugar, cream cheese, zest and juice of one lemon.

Remove prepared pie crust from refrigerator and slowly pour lemon cheese mixture into pie pan, filling just to the top. You will have some left over do not use all of the mixture. If you do not want to waste extra pie filling you may want to purchase a few small graham cracker mini pie shells and fill them up. Freeze pie for 4 hours or more.

To serve remove pie from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving and set on counter, you may want to heat the knife up with hot water for easier slicing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sushi

Ingredient lists: I have three different recipes for sushi.

#1 Spicy Vegetable
  • spring onion
  • red bell pepper
  • carrot
  • avocado
  • Sriracha hot chili sauce

#2 Salmon Roll
  • smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • capers, drained
  • 1/3 less fat cream cheese

#3 Crab Roll
  • imitation crab sticks
  • spring onion
  • 1/4 cup mayo, Hellman's light
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. yellow mustard
  • Old Bay seasoning

You will need these ingredients for all three:
  • Nori sheets
  • Sushi rice, or, if you prefer a brown rice I use brown sweet rice
  • rice vinegar
  • salt
  • Garnishes: soy sauce, picked ginger slices and wasabi powder mixed according to package instructions to make a paste.

Utensils needed:
  • bamboo roller
  • clean hand towel
  • bowl of warm water
  • flexible spatula

Instructions:

I found that 2 cups of raw rice will expand enough to make 7 rolls. Cook rice according to package instructions. As soon as it is cooked mix in some salt and about 2 Tbsp. of rice  vinegar. Cover and set aside to cool for an hour or so.

Clean and slice veggies into slivers, cut imitation crab sticks lengthwise, mix mayo, mustard powder and mustard together for sauce for Crab Rolls.


Prepare your rolling station with your bamboo roller, a clean hand towel along with a bowl of warm water, a spatula and the above prepped ingredients. Place hand towel folded in half on counter and top with one nori sheet on top of bamboo, you will see some faint lines on the nori roll and make sure they run horizontally.


This is where the bowl of warm water is crucial. The rice is very sticky and to keep it from sticking you must keep dipping utensils and fingers into the water as to not let the rice cling. I add about a 1/2 cup or so of rice to top of nori roll and spread evenly and pressing down with flexible spatula I press it firmly but uniformly down. At the end that is closest to you you add your ingredients according to what flavor you are making, read below.

#1 Spicy Vegetable: add spring onion, pepper, carrot and avocado slices. Squeeze some Sriracha sauce on top if you want it spicy before you roll it up.

#2 Salmon Roll: add the smoked salmon, a thin line of cream cheese and sprinkle capers on top of that.

#3 Crab Rolls: add crab sticks, spring onion and a layer of the mayo mixture, then lightly sprinkle some Old Bay before rolling up.




Wet the end of the nori roll to help seal edge after rolling it up. Starting the roll forward keeping the ingredients in place and tightly rolling it forward, sealing the edge and the bamboo roller helps you roll and stabilize your sushi. Once it is rolled firmly squeeze roll from ene to end to compact.

You can wrap these individually in plastic wrap to serve a few hours later but make sure you label them. Dinner prepared in advance. I just love that! Just before serving I unwrap and cut the rolls into 1/2 and then cut each half into 1/3. Set each flavor on a different platter and label them. Serve with prepared wasabi, soy sauce and pickled sliced ginger. Enjoy!!!

Cleaning tip: I wash my bamboo roller in the dishwasher.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spice Shopping Bargain Style

I love to cook and always want quality ingredients, but I know where to save a buck or two when I can. Let me talk to you about the prices of spices. There is one brand spice in the grocery store that seems to Bogart the aisle not only with quantity but in pricing. I won't name any names but it's easy enough to figure out which one is priced way too high. On the other hand I want to share with you the one that has a quality spice for the right low price. The name is BADIA. I use their spices alot and love it. You can find these in any grocery store that has an extensive ethnic section. You will not find them in a regular spice aisle, that is where they try to fool you. Trick me not! I suspect the big brand name pays for their spot to hog up the spice aisle. So I took some pics and compared some spice prices for you to see the difference.
                                           
BADIA                                            Big Brand Name                                      Store Brand
White Pepper, $3.29 for 2oz      White Pepper, $7.59 for 1.75oz           White Pepper, $4.79 for 3.17oz
Paprika, $1.79 for 2oz                  Paprika, $7.39 for 1.62oz                     Paprika, $4.79 for 2.11oz
Garlic powder, $1.79 for 3oz      Garlic powder, $7.79 for 2.25oz          Garlic powder, NA
Cayenne, $1.79 for 1.75oz           Cayenne, $5.99 for 1.75oz                    Cayenne, NA
Red Pepper, $2.69 for 4.5oz       Red Pepper, $5.99 for 1.2oz                Red Pepper, NA
Oregano, $2.19 for 2.25oz          Oregano, $5.59 for .05oz                      Oregano, NA
Meat tenderizer,$1.79 for 4.5oz  Meat tenderizer, $5.59 for 3.37oz      Meat tenderizer, NA
Bay leaves, $1.89 for .17oz         Bay leaves, $8.99 for .18oz                    Bay Leaves, $4.79 for .10oz

Make sure you compare ounces along with price. Think how much money this can save you per year. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I watched this grow in  popularity over the years until almost everyone has at least heard of it or tasted it. It has highly nutritive grain value and is one of the latest healthy foods crazes out there. It has an odd little beady ball consistency on your tongue and an earthy like flavor. I think you either love it or hate it but I'm here to share my recipe to help you love quinoa. The flavors of this recipe are not only really tasty but it is a healthy one as well. Quinoa love!                         

Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup raw Quinoa
  • 1 15 oz. can black soy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup aged white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic from jar
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with shredded Parmesan or crumbled fat free Feta
Cook Quinoa according to package directions and cool down. This will make about 4 cups of quinoa.

Add remaining ingredients and chill over night to let the flavors meld. Garnish with Feta or Parmesan just before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ½  cup fat free sour cream
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • ¼  tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½  cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
  • ½  cup finely diced sweet yellow bell pepper
  • ½  cup spring onions sliced thin (green tops too)
Bake potatoes in microwave. Set aside and let cool for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice potatoes in half length wise. Scoop inside of potato out with a tablespoon leaving about ½ inch of potato layer on top of potato skin. Place the scooped out potato meat into a large bowl. After all potatoes are scooped out place potato shells in a 10 x 13 inch glass pyrex dish  sprayed with cooking spray.

To potato meat add butter and mash well with a large meat fork or potato masher. Then mix in sour cream, salt, & black pepper, mash & mix together well. Stir in cheese, yellow pepper, & spring onion until well blended. Divide potato mixture evenly into potato shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

If you want a more buttery flavor to your twice bakes use a yellow meat potato, but cut baking time to 35 minutes. You may prepare these a few hours ahead and keep them covered and chilled in refrigerator until ready to bake. Makes 6 servings.

These are absolutely delicious. It is still very tasty with fat free sour cream and low fat cheese. I use  margarine that is heart healthy. If you are lactose intolerant I recommend grated cheddar soy cheese and plain yogurt instead of the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Use your imagination you can add bacon, crab meat, shrimp, etc. Refrigerate any leftovers, they microwave well. These are well worth the effort.
  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon Rolls = Love. I don't know what is better, the aroma of these sweet treaties baking or actually eating them. I take that back, eating them is better. The anticipation of their sweet aroma baking will make your mouth water and your tummy rumble, but eating them is heaven. This is a fairly easy recipe since you do not have to make the dough. I think that is the hard part. So whip up these sweet treaties for the special people in your life. Satisfy your sweet tooth.

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 lb. loaf frozen white bread dough
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • ½ cup pecan pieces, optional
  • 1 clean kitchen towel
About 12 hours in advance remove frozen dough from freezer and coat with cooking spray and place inside of a plastic bag overnight in refrigerator.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 170° F. Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a 6" × 12" rectangle. Cover dough with melted butter on top of dough (I use a pastry brush), saving  a little butter for sealing the edges and basting the tops later.

Blend together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over top of dough, leaving a slight edge to seal, Then add raisins evenly over top of cinnamon sugar mixture, saving a little cinnamon and sugar for tops of rolls.


Roll up dough starting on the 12" side of dough and brush edges with butter, reserving some for the tops of the buns. Cut bread roll into 12 even slices and place in a greased 8" × 8" pyrex dish. Brush the tops of the rolls at this time with the rest of the butter.


Wet a kitchen towel and wring out excess water until it is damp but not dripping. Fold in half and cover buns. Place into the preheated oven along with a 2 cup measuring cup filled with boiling water. The dough loves a warm moist location to rise faster. Close oven door and turn off oven, after 30 minutes remove water and rolls, rolls should be doubled in size.

Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile brush the tops of the rolls with the rest of the butter and sprinkle on the remaining sugar and cinnamon, now sprinkle the pecans on top. Cover up again with damp towel while the oven is preheating.

When oven is ready remove towel and bake rolls on center rack for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove form oven and immediately invert from pan onto a plate, then tip over onto another plate so the pecans are on top. Prepare icing below and spread immediately onto warm rolls.

Vanilla Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract