May 21, 2012

... Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

Let it be known that, as of right now, this recipe will be known as "The recipe with the longest name ever."  It's ok, though, and let me show you why...

If that doesn't scream SUMMER BARBEQUE!, I don't know what does.  Except maybe this, paired with a grilled burger, potato chips, fresh fruit, and a cold beer.  


Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado
serves 12

1 cup halved heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3 ears shucked corn
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 diced peeled avocados

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Let stand 10 minutes.

Brush corn, onion, and jalapeno evenly with oil.  Place vegetables on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill corn for 12 minutes or until lightly charred, turning after 6 minutes.  Grill onion slices and jalapeno 8 minutes or until lightly charred, turning after 4 minutes.  Let vegetables stand 5 minutes.  Cut kernels from cobs.  Coarsely chop onion.  Finely chop jalapeno; discard stem.  Add corn, onion, and jalapeno to tomato mixture; toss well.  Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and next 4 ingredients (through kidney beans) to corn mixture; toss well.  Top with avocado.

Taylor's Notes:
The only bad thing about this salad is that it's not too easy to make ahead of time, but the grilled vegetables are totally worth it.  It makes a lot - definitely serves more than twelve as a side - and is best the same day, but not too shabby the next.

Notice anything different down there??  Yep, I'm now going to add nutritional information to the ol' blogaroo.  Well, at least to the recipes that already have it listed... let's not get all crazy and think I can come up with this stuff on my own.  Why recreate the wheel when Cooking Light does such a bang-up job?


Nutritional Information...
Calories 141  |  Fat 6.4g   Protein 5g   Carbs 18.2g  |  Fiber 6.8g  |  Sodium 211mg

May 14, 2012

... Open-Faced Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula, and Fried Egg

What comes to mind when I say "BFD!"?  If you're thinking "Breakfast For Dinner!", gold star for you.  If you're thinking something else, well... double gold star.  Because, in my book, breakfast for dinner is a BFD.

Creamy ricotta with crisp arugula and a fried egg?  How could you go wrong?  

serves 4

4 (2-ounce) slices whole-wheat country bread
cooking spray
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 large eggs
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat broiler.

Coat both sides of bread with cooking spray.  Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.  

Combine arugula, 2 teaspoons oil, juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss gently.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Crack eggs into pan; cook 2 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until whites are set.  Remove from heat.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and thyme; spread over bread slices.  Divide salad and eggs evenly over bread.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Taylor's Notes:
Delish!  This is great for dinner, but I'm sure would be just as tasty for breakfast or lunch... somehow, though, BFB and BFL don't have quite the ring that BFD does.  Amiright?  

I left out the lemon juice and thyme because I didn't feel like running to the store (lazy much?) and it still disappeared quickly.  


May 13, 2012

... Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

You always want what you can't have.  I've been waiting a while for peaches to be in season so that I could make this pizza.  It's not a normal combo: peaches, chicken, and stinky cheese, but it sure is a good one.

It'll be difficult to not eat it all in one sitting, but if you save some for leftovers you'll be very glad you did.  The good news is that if you do indulge, you can feel a little less guilty as this is another terrific recipe from Cooking Light.

serves 4

1 (10-ounce) prebaked thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
cooking spray
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 medium unpeeled peach, thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pizza crust on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Brush 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil evenly over crust.  Top evenly with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, Gorgonzola cheese, and peach slices.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella.  Bake at 400 degrees for 11 minutes or until crust browns.  

Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).  Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza.  Cut pizza into 8 wedges.

Arugula Salad
serves 4

Combine 1 teaspoon minced shallots, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a large bowl; gradually whisk in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.  Add 4 cups loosely packed arugula and 1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion to bowl; toss gently to coat.

Taylor's Notes:
I used a canned pizza dough instead of a prebaked dough.  You could also use your own homemade dough if you do that or purchase premade dough from your favorite pizza shop.  Just adjust the baking time accordingly.  I ended up baking my pizza for about 20 minutes.  

I actually completely forgot about the balsamic reduction until I just typed it out in the recipe.  Dang!  Good thing I have leftovers and can whip that up later today... see, it all works out in the end.


... Spicy Basil Chicken

I'm becoming quite a fan of Thai food.  Although I haven't gotten extremely adventurous when ordering out,  it's always fun to try new things at home.  This is a safe (it's chicken and veggies which are definitely not scary), but tasty and spicy (look at those chile flakes!) dish you can make anytime you're in the mood for something a little different.

As it was my first Friday night at home in a while, I tried a new recipe, rented a couple movies, opened three bottles of wine (ahem*), and made a few observations...

1.  Guys like Channing Tatum (The Vow) and Zac Efron (New Years Eve) don't exist... they're just too nice (and way cute).  If you disagree, prove it.

2.  It's very sad to discover that two bottles of wine have gone bad and you have to pour them out. 

Thank goodness for one last (unopened) bottle that saves the day.

3.  After a spicy homemade meal, sometimes the simplest sweet dessert is best.  Haagen Dazs Mango Sorbet topped with Smucker's Chocolate Magic Shell.  

I digress.  If you, too, find yourself digging Thai food, this is definitely a recipe to try.  It's even light, so you don't need to feel the least bit guilty about the sorbet and chocolate.  Wine and movies with dreamy men are optional.

serves 4

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless, chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced basil leaves

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add chicken to pan; cook 13 minutes or until chicken is done.

Combine fish sauce and the next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add fish sauce mixture to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring to coat chicken.  Remove from heat, stir in basil.

Sauteed Snow Peas and Peppers
serves 4

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
2 1/2 cups fresh snow peas, trimmed
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add snow peas and bell pepper to pan; saute for 4 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.  Remove pan from heat.  Drizzle vegetable mixture with remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well to combine.

Taylor's Notes:
When I'm using new ingredients, I always find it helpful to know what I'm looking for at the store.  I'd never bought Sambal Oelek before and wouldn't have guessed it was in a little jar like this. If you have Sriracha on hand, you could probably substitute that, but you won't get the great flakes and texture that the Sambal Oelek provides.  

I added the snow peas (actually I used snap peas because they were all out of snow peas at the store) and peppers to the chicken mixture instead of alongside and served it all over brown rice.  


May 8, 2012

... Chocolate Cake S'mores Cookies

There's something about s'mores that everyone loves.  Everyone.  I mean, really, have you ever met someone who doesn't like s'mores?  If you have, you're probably not friends with them anymore because, let's be honest, there's something not right about that.  

Oh boy, I got a little carried away there.  Sorry about that.  But, come on, look at those cookies and tell me you don't love s'mores.  Based on this recipe, I know Jenny over at Picky Palate does.

Chocolate Cake S'mores Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
3 Hershey's chocolate bars, cut into rectangles
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, cut up into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, eggs, brown sugar, and butter until combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Press cookies into little discs to flatten slightly.  On each cookie press a chocolate bar, a couple marshmallows, and a couple graham cracker pieces.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Taylor's Notes:
These couldn't be easier to make or more fun to share.  I crumbled a few graham crackers and sprinkled them over the cookies before baking them to add just a little more crunch.  I think it might be fun to torch the marshmallows a little bit after the cookies come out of the oven, but I'm that girl who loves to char her marshmallows over the fire.  ;)


... Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

I think I've made it pretty clear how much I love baked goods and my feelings certainly don't falter when it comes to blueberry muffins.  Especially if they're dubbed 'insanely good'.  I mean, who could resist that proclamation?  

When you pair that with something that's good for you... or at the very least not bad for you... (thankyouverymuch Skinny Taste!) you've got one great recipe and one insanely good breakfast treat.

Insanely Good Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
makes 12

1 1/2 cups Quaker quick oatmeal
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or skim milk)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons agave (or sugar, honey)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
baking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with oil.

Place oats in a food processor or chopper and pulse a few times.  Soak oats in milk for about 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, agave, applesauce, vanilla, egg whites, oil, and mix well.

In a third bowl combine whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and whisk to combine.

Combine oats and milk with sugar, applesauce mixture and mix well.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Fold in blueberries.

Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 22-24 minutes.

Taylor's Notes:
I have a sinking suspicion these will become a staple at my house.  Won't you join me?


... No Bake Nutella Cheesecake

Two no bake cheesecake recipes later and I'm officially a huge fan of Jamie over at My Baking Addiction.  You would have thought that her blog name would have clued me in, but actually it was her use of this...

aka the best.thing.ever.  Did you know that when you whip it with cream cheese it turns into this...

and when you combine it with a classic like this...

you get something super awesome, like this...

And so, my friend, welcome to the fan club.

No Bake Nutella Cheesecakes
4-6 servings (or 10-12 mini servings as shown)

For the Crust:
12 Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the Garnish:
whipped topping, optional
chocolate shavings, optional
toasted, chopped hazelnuts, optional

In a medium bowl, stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter.  Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.

Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, chocolate shavings, and/or toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

Taylor's Notes:
I've made these twice... in less than a week.  The good news was that I shared them with other people both times, the bad news is that I had to share them with other people both times.  I will say that they're pretty rich, so unlike Jamie's other cheesecake recipe  that I made, you'll probably only be tempted with one satisfying serving.  

I topped mine with more Oreo cookie crumbs... because you can never have too much of a classic.


... No Bake Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake

When I stumbled across these on Pinterest, I knew they'd be perfect for Easter.  Easter?!  Yes, Easter... so I'm a little behind on the blog.  What?

Ahem, as I was saying, Jamie over at My Baking Addiction nailed it with this one.  The raspberries are perfect for Spring, the light whipped filling doesn't put you over the edge after a big holiday meal, and the fact that you can spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen is never a bad thing.  (well, with most families... for sure with mine!)

No Bake Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake
6 servings

For the Crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup fresh raspberries, slightly mashed with a fork

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon of sugar and melted butter.  Evenly divide the crumbs between individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar becomes moist and fragrant.  Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add lemon juice and vanilla, mixing to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended, then fold in the raspberries.

Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  If desired, garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Taylor's Notes:
It's as easy and delicious as it sounds.  And you know, probably pretty easy on the figure, too, if you use light whipped cream and third-less-fat cream cheese like I did... and only eat one serving, which isn't as easy.  I won't judge if you don't.