Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

I saw these tiny compact Romaine heads in my local wholesale food club and I knew I needed to grill those babies up. It's like they were calling me...Grill Me...Grill Me. I was pleasantly surprised how tasty they were, the caramelized lettuce has a slightly sweet taste to it.  Feasty Fans be brave and grill up your next salad. Enjoy!

*Romaine lettuce, best using compact tight   lettuce 
*Olive Oil spray
*granulated garlic powder
*sea salt
*freshly ground black pepper

Dressing options of your choice but I recommend crumbled blue cheese and crisply cooked crumbled bacon








1 Prep the romaine heart by rinsing and pulling off any leafy leaves. Cut romaine in half lengthwise and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together.

2 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Spray both halves with olive oil spray, granulated garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
.
3 Grill the romaine hearts until browned and caramelized on all sides, turning after about 5 minutes on each side.
Serve immediately with your favorite salad dressing. I think the perfect choice is blue cheese crumbles with crisply cooked crumbled bacon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Weenies

I have noticed a lot of bacon talk going around these days. America does have a love affair with bacon and this recipe should help you love it even more. You will notice that I used lower fat hot dogs, bacon and cheese in my recipe. Sorry! I can't help myself, I'm always trying to cut back on fat but not the flavor. To be honest my Stud Muffin gave a big approval on this one.
  • 1 package of Hebrew National 97% fat free franks
  • 8 slices of center cut bacon
  • 8 toothpicks, broke in half
  • 1 pack of Martin's hot dog potato rolls
Toppings optional:
  • pickled jalapeno slices
  • Sargento 1/3 less fat shredded sharp cheese
Wrap each hot dog with a bacon slice securing each end with toothpick halves. Place in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. This is hands on cooking and you will frequently need to turn the weenies with tongs for even browning and crispness of the bacon. Also a splatter screen is helpful too.


Towards the end of the cooking time (about last 5 minutes), I noticed the toothpicks were not letting me cook the bacon evenly so I removed them by holding down the weenies with a spatula and pulling out the toothpicks with the tongs. The bacon will stay in place at this time and has adhered to the weenie. These take about 20 minutes to fully cook, yes 20 minutes. When bacon is crispy and evenly browned they are fully cooked Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess bacon grease and serve immediately.



You get to pick your toppings, but our favorite was cheddar cheese with some jalapeno slices.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pepper Slaw

I just love this vinegar base slaw. There is a party going on with your taste buds when you try this one. The sweetness vs the tart of the vinegar is perfect. Another bonus about this one is that you don't have to worry about it going bad in the heat like a mayonnaise based slaw. My Pulled Pork Bar B Q screams to be served with it too. Also if you are watching your sugar intake it is still delicious when made with Splenda. Why buy slaw when it is so easy and inexpensive to make?
  • 1 medium head of cabbage grated
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced, about 1 ½ cup
  • 1 green pepper diced fine, about 1 cup
  • 6 stalks celery, diced fine
  • 2 cups sugar*
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
Prepare first 4 ingredients and place in a very large bowl. Bring sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, celery seed, and mustard powder to a boil, pour over vegetables while hot.
You may also microwave this. Refrigerate over night stirring occasionally. Volume of slaw will shrink down to about half size. Make ahead one day in advance. Chill overnight.

*sugar free option: use Splenda instead of sugar. 

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!