Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe Swap Roundup - Healthy Recipes

I know it's cliche to make one of your New Years resolutions to eat healthier meals, exercise more and just generally take better care of yourself. But let's be honest, those types of resolutions are popular for a good reason - they're important. Taking good care of our bodies is important, but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice flavor when we cut calories. When I chose Healthy Recipes for the latest recipe swap it was my hope that it would provide others looking for healthy, flavorful meals a few new recipes for their arsenal.

Melissa's recipe for Chicken with Gruyere & Sage was more low-carb then low-fat, but still a delicious and easy dinner:

Jaida's Scallops with Asian Green Bean Salad was the perfect all-in-one meal, with great flavors:

Heather has been trying to eat healthier meals lately so she was excited to add Healthy Turkey Chili to her list of favorite chili recipes:

Nicole, who is a dietician, was skeptical of her recipe for Healthy Lasagna, but was converted after just one bite:

Jenna doesn't like bacon so she opted to turn her recipe into Chicken Fettuccine with Broccoli:

The Cookaholic Wife combined ground turkey and ground beef for her Asian Meatballs with Lime Dipping Sauce:

Leanne had never cooked spaghetti squash before, but she loves the sweet and savory flavors of Moroccan cooking so she couldn't wait to try Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash:

The Cooking Nurse loved the short-cut tip of buying coleslaw mix for her Crispy Baked Egg Rolls:

Ashley used fresh-caught pike her husband brought back from ice fishing for her Baked Pike with Moroccan Vinaigrette:

Mary Ellen had only used her crockpot once before, to warm meatballs for a party, so she was hesitant about her recipe for Crock Pot Asian Pulled Pork, but it ended up being a delicious and easy meal:

Melissa's Lemon Pepper Salmon was an easy, tasty way to prepare salmon:

Cathy was a bit skeptical of her Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies once she realized they didn't contain any sugar, but after one bite she realized they made the perfect breakfast snack:

Coleen and her husband absolutely loved Spicy Asian Chicken with Carrots and Brussels Sprouts, a recipe inspired by one of her (and the recipe submitters) favorite restaurants:

Lisa had been wanting to make this recipe for Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce, so she was thrilled when I submitted it for the swap. It didn't disappoint:

Turkey cutlets were a new thing for Jey, but her recipe for Turkey Cutlets with Parmesan Crust helped get her back to eating healthier:

Kristina isn't usually a fan of salads with fruit, but she enjoyed her Holiday Salad with Berry Vinaigrette:

I've realized that I'm not a big fan of salmon, but the sauce for my Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce was good and would work well with another type of fish:

Initially Melissa was hesitant to make her recipe for Warm Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad, but she ended up really liking it:

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta

This is another recipe I found through Pinterest - Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta. I've been wanting to try the Philly Cooking Cremes anyway and the recipe sounded right up our alley.

I had planned to make this on Sunday but the day got away from us and I had to push this back to Monday. This is a heavy meal so I recommend eating it on a day when you haven't eaten much. As luck would have it, a friend of mine made this on Sunday so I was able to pick her brain about it. She recommended cutting the soup down to one can and adding garlic to the sauce. I thought some fresh tomato would lighten it up a bit as well.

I was really glad we talked because I cannot imagine making this with two cans of soup. There was a ton of sauce with just one can and I imagine the flavors of the Philly Creme would have been muted with an extra can. We both loved this with the changes and it was just as good the next day. I subbed Panko for the cornflakes because I had a big box of Panko on hand already. It was a fine substitution. I also opted not to cover the chicken because steaming it would result in a soggy crust and the whole point was for the chicken to be crispy. I pounded the chicken a bit thinner to compensate.

Baby Girl loved the sauce and ate quite a bit of the pasta. Win!

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta
Modified from Jamie Cooks It Up!

3 large chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups Panko
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 10 oz container Philadelphia Cooking Cream (Italian Cheese and Herb Flavor)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh tomato, chopped
1 box bowties (farfalle), cooked according to package directions

Place chicken breasts in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and seal the top. Pound the chicken flat with a meat mallet. Add flour and salt to the bag and reseal. Put the bag in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Place the Panko and milk each into separate pans. Remove the chicken from the freezer and dredge each piece in the milk and then immediately into the Panko. Add the olive oil to a hot non-stick skillet. Carefully lay each chicken piece into the hot oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until the underside of each piece is nice and golden brown. Turn the pieces over and cook another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil.

Add the minced garlic into the same pan. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Pour in the chicken broth, Philly Cooking Crème, cream of chicken soup and milk. Whisk the sauce around and let it get all warm and bubbly. Should only take about 3 minutes.

Slice the chicken into strips and serve over cooked pasta and sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and tomato.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekly Menu - Week of January 29, 2012

Typing out the title of this post made me do a double take. I feel like we were just celebrating the holidays and now we're at the end of January already. This has been a mild winter for the East Coast so far, but I have a feeling Mother Nature will be sending some snow our way soon enough.

I've been printing out a lot (and I do mean a lot) of recipes lately, so menu planning has been easy. Once again I had this menu done very early, which is helpful for getting the grocery list out of the way. I'm excited for everything on this menu, especially the buffalo chicken tacos. I've been wanting to make them for awhile now and I can't wait!

Sunday - Buffalo Chicken Tacos: I've been looking forward to these for a long time. I hope they're as good as I imagine they'll be.

Monday - Buttermilk Soaked Parmesan Baked Pork Chops, Potato Bundles, green beans: I can't wait to try this recipe for pork and the potato bundles are my recipe for the Potato Recipe Swap.

Tuesday - Hoagies

Wednesday - Spicy Chicken in a Garlic-Lime Broth over spaghetti: I've made this dish before but I didn't serve it over spaghetti to sop up the sauce. I think that's going to make it much better.

Thursday - Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese, steamed broccoli: I love mac and cheese and I love roasted garlic so the two together have to be amazing. I'm still deciding if I want to bake it the way the original recipe states or do a stove-top version like Cassie did. I think it'll come down to timing.

Friday - Homemade pizza
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Recipe Swap - Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce

Want to see what other Healthy recipes were made during the swap? Here is the link to the Healthy Recipe Swap Roundup

Since many people make one of their New Years resolutions to eat healthier and/or lose weight, I thought a Healthy Recipe Swap would be a good idea. I've been trying to lose some weight myself and have been very successful so far, although admittedly it isn't because I'm buying low-fat foods or using whole wheat pasta. I'm just eating less of the full-fat things I like. I know, I know, that isn't the best choice. But I just can't deny myself the things I love and I love food.

The recipe I received for the swap was Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce. I was planning to sub the salmon for cod or halibut, but when SP went to the store he told me both cod and halibut were way too expensive ($30/lb for halibut? Seriously? I can buy filet for that much money). So despite not being a huge fan of salmon, we went that route.

This was definitely an easy recipe to make and I'd venture it's pretty healthy since you're poaching the salmon instead of pan-searing it (which is the only way I've liked it in the past). The sauce was really good, but a little thin. I think some cornstarch would have helped to thicken it up a bit. And no, I didn't use reduced-fat sour cream. I also subbed parsley for the dill since I don't cook much with dill and didn't want to have the leftovers go to waste.

Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce
Cheese Curd in Paradise

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skin removed and cut into 4 portions
1 cup dry white wine, divided
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or parsley

Place salmon in a large skillet. Add 1/2 cup wine and enough water to just cover the salmon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, turn the salmon over, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine; boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and capers; cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and salt. To serve, top the salmon with the sauce and garnish with dill.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

My friend Melissa posted these Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting recently and it seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something when SP found our missing jar of Nutella the same night. My aunt was in town this past weekend and had offered to make dinner, so I thought I'd bring these cupcakes over for dessert.

I asked SP and my mom and they both agreed that regular cupcakes with Nutella frosting would be more to their liking, so I just whipped up a batch of cupcakes using a boxed mix I had on hand. The frosting couldn't have been easier and the slice of banana on top was a nice touch. Just a word of warning, though - if you use the sliced banana only slice and top as many cupcakes as you plan to eat. The banana got slimy and ruined the last few cupcakes we had saved.

Nutella Frosting
I Was Born to Cook

1/2 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
5 tablespoons heavy cream

Mix all ingredients together until fluffy. Add a bit more cream if necessary. Frost cupcakes once they are completely cool. Garnish with a banana slice, if desired.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taco Rice

I feel like a broken record when I say I found a recipe on Cassie's blog. As I've said before, she and I share a similar cooking style so it's only natural that we'd make each others recipe often. Whenever I make tacos SP wants rice on the side, so when I saw this Taco Rice I figured it was a win-win.

I promise the rice is in there somewhere. Not my best food styling moment but I was experimenting with the lights from my new light box and ended up overdoing the plate a bit.

I was a little disappointed by this dish. It lacked oomph. There wasn't any sauce, which is a big no-no in our house since we love our sauces. And SP told me he really missed the taco shells. After talking it over with Cassie she said her husband often adds crushed tortilla chips to his serving, so I modified the directions below to reflect that. I also changed the ingredient list a bit so there'd be some sauce. I'll definitely try this one again because I think it has potential.

Taco Rice
Cassie Craves

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream,
4 cups steamed rice
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips and shredded mozzarella for topping

Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions are barely soft. Add the ground beef and break it into small chunks. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and tomato paste. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes. Combine salsa and sour cream. Stir into the ground beef.

Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of the steamed rice on each plate. Top with the seasoned beef. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, crushed chips and cheese.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chicken

I finally joined Pinterest. So far I'm not quite getting the addiction many people have, but I have found some yummy looking recipes, like this one for Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chicken. Jamie's blog is new to me but it looks like she has a lot of great recipes.

We both really enjoyed this take on Chicken Parmesan. I used jarred sauce since we had some in the pantry and it was easy, but this would be truly amazing with some of SP's homemade sauce. The only thing to remember is that you need to marinate the chicken overnight, so plan ahead. I had to thaw my chicken breasts in water so they could marinate since I forgot to take them out of the freezer early enough.

I ate my leftover chicken for lunch the next day with a salad made with mixed greens, shredded carrot, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion and balsamic vinegar and oil.

Crispy Parmesan and Garlic Chicken
Jamie Cooks It Up

1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 chicken breasts
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Cooked pasta
Spaghetti sauce of your choice

Heat garlic, olive oil and poultry seasoning in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 1 minute.

With a sharp pair of kitchen scissors cut each chicken breast in half. Then cut a couple of long slits in the top of each chicken piece. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Put chicken in a plastic food storage bag and pour the warm marinade over the top of it. Seal the bag, toss it around to coat the chicken, then put it in your fridge to marinate up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and take the chicken out of the fridge. Pour panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese into a loaf pan. Smash them together with a fork to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the cheese and bread crumb mixture. Press it into the chicken with your fingers.

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with spaghetti sauce and cooked pasta.
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekly Menu - Week of January 22, 2012

Things have gotten a little hectic around the THC household lately. Thankfully I came up with this meal plan early in the week and I'm actually done with next week as well. I love when that happens. It's the exact opposite experience of what I posted about last week, having trouble making a plan because nothing sounds good.

UPDATE: I've had to make some changes to our weekly menu. Like I said, it's been a crazy time in the THC household.

Sunday - Homemade pizza

Monday - Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta, Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli: I saw the chicken recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to make it. I'm planning to use Panko instead of corn flakes because I have a HUGE box in my pantry already.

Tuesday - Hoagies after exercise class. :)

Wednesday - we have an appointment after work so we'll get something out.

Thursday - Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce, roasted potatoes, green beans: This is my recipe for the Healthy Recipe Swap and I'm very excited. The cod or halibut were incredibly expensive ($30/lb for halibut, what the heck?) so I decided to stick with salmon.

Friday - Homemade calzones stuffed with pepperoni and olives

Saturday - Spicy Chicken in Garlic Lime Broth over Spaghetti: I love this recipe of Mary Ellen's but haven't made it in awhile.

Sunday - Potato Rosemary Soup, turkey, tomato and cheese panini with herbed mayo for dipping: I love a good soup and I'm excited to make sandwiches to dip instead of plain bread.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce

When you are part of a community of food bloggers you tend to notice when a recipe becomes popular. Suddenly you see everyone making it and you start to wonder what all the fuss is about. If you're lucky, the recipe is outstanding and you're happy to add it to your arsenal. I've seen this recipe for Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce on a few of my favorite blogs lately. The ingredient list alone drew me in and the rave reviews sealed the deal.

You know me and my love for cream sauces so this one was guaranteed to be a winner. I didn't use reduced-fat sour cream so my calorie count was a bit higher, but otherwise I stayed true to the original recipe. I'm not exaggerating when I say I loved this meal. The sauce. Oh the sauce. I do love sauce and this one was perfectly creamy without being overly rich. The bite from the Dijon was perfect to accent the nice, mild onion flavor from the chives and shallots. You definitely want to serve this over mashed potatoes to soak up that delicious sauce.

I know I say this often but I apologize for the awful photos. I actually got a light box recently but haven't had time to set it up. I hate when I don't have good photos for a recipe I love because I don't want the lackluster photos to deter anyone from http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifmaking the recipe. I will definitely be rephotographing this either with the light box or natural light. For now, go to Prevention RD, who made this the same night I did, for some absolutely drool-inducing photos.

Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce
Slightly Modified from Gourmet Day to Day

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped chives, (about 1 bunch)

Cut each chicken breast in half length-wise to make two, thin piece. Alternatively, place chicken between in a plastic food storage bag and pound with a meat mallet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch.

Place 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup flour in a plastic food storage bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and toss to coat evenly.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recipe Swap Roundup - SRC-style

If you are a food blogger you've probably heard of the Secret Recipe Club (SRC). If you aren't familiar with the concept, your blog is entered into a pool and swapped with another blog. You have approximately one month to pick a recipe from the blog you're assigned, make it and write about it. I've been a member for a few months and it's a lot of fun. Some of the ladies on the cooking board have been trying to get into the club, but there's a very long wait list. It was suggested that we do a SRC-style swap as part of the recipe swaps I host to give everyone a bit more freedom and creativity. This was a very popular swap, judging from the number of participants, so I'm planning to do this type of swap every 2 months or so.

Jenna ended up making three recipes, but her favorite were Snickerdoodles, which reminded her of her love for cinnamon toast:

The Cookaholic Wife needed some appetizers for her New Year's Even party and the Bacon and Cream Cheese Jalapeno Bites were the perfect way to satisfy her love for jalapenos and cream cheese:

Jaida had some beef stew meat to use up, which meant the Beef and Guinness Stew was a perfect choice (and delicious, too, even for non-beer drinkers):

Swap newcomer Jenni got one of her "must cook" recipes made with Shrimp Fra Diavolo:

Katie and her daughter both enjoyed these flavorful and delicious Shrimp Tacos:

Allison had a bunch of bananas quickly becoming over-ripe on her counter, which lead her to these indulgent Banana Crumb Muffins:

Nicole was happy to use her husband's new immersion blender and add a new soup to her rotation with Roasted Squash Soup with Sweet Potato and Parsnip:

Carrie wanted something simple to ease her back into the kitchen and this Tortellini & Pancetta in Mushroom Walnut Sauce was the perfect choice:

Mary Ellen's Chicken in a Tomato-Basil Broth over Cous Cous was a delicious burst of summer in the middle of winter:

Ashley had a tough time choosing which recipe to make, but these Potatoes Romanoff were calling her name:

Melissa's family had a taste of summer with this Blackberry Peach Cobbler, using berries and peaches from the freezer stash she created over the summer:

Swap newcomer Eva made these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to share with her husband and his peanut butter-loving coworkers:

Melissa was able to use a bag of almond meal she had on hand for her Almond Tilapia with Wilted Tomatoes & Spinach:

Lauren was smitten with her German Chocolate Brownie Bites (which are part of two posts):

The chicken in Heather's Un-stuffed Chicken Florentine was too small to stuff, but the filling worked just as well as a topping:

Jey regularly orders Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps when she's out, so she was excited for a homemade recipe:

Cathy had an easy time choosing her recipe for Snickerdoodle Blondies since she loves both snickerdoodles and blondies:

Melissa had my blog and chose one of my favorite dishes, Chicken Sriracha Stir Fry:

Lisa really enjoyed how simple and tasty her Pretzel Bites were to make and eat:

My Hearty Ham and Potato Soup really hit the spot:

Coleen chose to make Stuffed Peppers since she hadn't made them before:

(Coleen had camera issues so this is the photo from Cooking for Fun)

Swap newcomer Kristina had some pork in the freezer that needed to be used up, which lead her to Pork Tonkatsu:

The Cooking Nurse had stocked up on pumpkin around the holidays, which made her choice of Pumpkin Cream Pie an easy one:

Lishie's husband requested stuffed peppers and she was able to find chorizo at a market in Manhattan, so Chorizo Stuffed Bell Peppers was a no-brainer:

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