Friday, October 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

This morning, Adam and I had to scrape the ice off my car's windows. I don't care that it was ridiculously early in the morning -- it is still October. Which means ice and snow are not allowed.

Better yet, there is a forecast of snow/rain for early tomorrow morning. Which just so happens to be when my Halloween 5k is. Awesome. I mean, 2 miles straight up, then 1 mile straight down in the snow and rain sounds like fun, right? Or not. Why oh why did I sign up for this race again?

This simply ensures that I will need a huge mug of Russian Tea when I finish. Although that would entail needing a thermos. Problem.

Maybe just a hearty bowl full of risotto will suffice when I get home? It's warm, filling, and fall-like. FALL, people, FALL. Not winter. Go away snow.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Adapted from: Cooking Light, October 2011

3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash, divided
2 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, add 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender (or transferring carefully to a food processor/blender), puree mixture until smooth. Add broth to pan, place back over heat and bring to a simmer; then reduce heat to low.

In a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, add the rice. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1 cup squash, 1 1/2 cups squash mixture, and salt. Cook 2 minutes, or until liquid is almost completely absorbed; stirring constantly. Add 1 cup squash mixture, stirring constantly, until that also is almost absorbed. Add remaining squash mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, reserving 1/4 of a cup, while stirring constantly and letting the liquid almost fully absorb before adding more. Remove from heat and stir in reserved 1/4 cup squash mixture and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle each serving with bacon.

Serves: 5

Butternut squash is one of those things that I really really wished I liked, a lot. Sadly, I'm not really it's biggest fan. The squash flavor in the risotto was there, though not overly pronounced, as the actual squash flavor isn't all that strong. Yet the big mushy chunks of squash hiding out underneath the piles of creamy rice kind of threw me off a bit, and several ended up picked off the side of the bowl.

Honestly, the bacon is really what carries the flavor in this dish. Without it, the risotto turns kind meh, and so-so. Next time I try my hand at a butternut squash risotto I'll probably try a different recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 478g
Amount per serving
Calories 482Calories from fat 116
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.9g20%
Saturated Fat 5.0g25%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 1123mg47%
Total Carbs 71.0g24%
Fiber 3.8g15%
Sugars 1.9g
Protein 18.9g
Vitamin A 180%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium 17%Iron 12%

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Italian Pepperoncini Pork Sandwiches

I've warned you. I'm on a slow cooker streak here. Mostly because I'm lazy we've had soccer practice, which has left little time for meal prep and cooking when we get home. And when we get home, we are usually hungry.

No, starving.

That is why it is of the utmost importance to have something that is practically ready to go (or maybe 5 minutes of work) once we do get home. Hungry hubby = cranky hubby. And nobody likes one of those.

Pulled pork can definitely bring on a big yawn-seen-that-a-million-times factor, but the fact that pepperoncinis were added caught my eye. Spicy pulled pork? Now that's something I hadn't thought of before, well without the addition of spicy barbecue sauce that is. Count me in.

Italian Pepperoncini Pork Sandwiches

Adapted from: The Meat and Potatoes Foodies

1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
2 (1 ounce) packages dry Italian dressing mix, such as Good Seasons
1 (16 ounce) jar pepperoncini peppers, whole or sliced
6 slices Provolone cheese
6 hamburger buns

Line a slow cooker with a liner. Place the pork in the slow cooker; sprinkle with dry dressing mix. Pour the jar of peppers with juice into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the pork shreds easily.

Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks, discarding any extra fat and bone. Place shredded pork in a large bowl. If whole pepperoncini are used, remove the stems and slice. Mix pepperoncinis into the pork.

Serve on hamburger buns topped with a slice of Provolone cheese.

Serves: 6

While I had high hopes that these would be nice and spicy, the pepperoncinis let me down a bit. This is definitely more spicy than regular ol' pulled pork, but if you're going for spicy, this was more on the mild side. Adam said he got a bit of heat, but I didn't really notice any. Next time I think I'll switch up which peppers I'm using.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 269g
Amount per serving
Calories 584Calories from fat 305
% Daily Value
Total Fat 33.9g52%
Saturated Fat 14.2g71%
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 1831mg76%
Total Carbs 30.2g10%
Fiber 2.0g8%
Sugars 2.9g
Protein 38.0g
Vitamin A 5%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 30%Iron 17%

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Torte

As promised, here is the delicious Peanut Butter Torte that went with the virtual "Date Night In" bridal shower we threw for Steph over at Steph's Bite by Bite last Friday. I figured if you were going to go for the gusto on the meal, you might as well have an outrageously good dessert to accompany it.

You know, because that feeling of stuffing your face until you can't eat any more feels just so good? Or not. But it doesn't matter, either you will save room for this knowing it's hanging out in the fridge, or you will find room for it somewhere. Maybe your leg?

Peanut Butter Torte

Adapted from: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 cups finely chopped lightly salted peanuts
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
36 Oreo cookies, finely ground
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons 1% milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray and set it on the baking sheet; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter, stirring with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Transfer crumb mixture to the spring form pan, pressing the crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides about 2 inches. Freeze crust for 10 minutes, then bake for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer crust to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In the large work bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of heavy cream on medium-high until it holds medium peaks. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and continue to beat until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Transfer the cream to a medium bowl and place in the refrigerator until needed.

Wipe the mixing bowl out well with a dry paper towel (do no wash). Switch to the paddle attachment (or regular beaters for a hand mixer). Beat together on medium speed the cream cheese with 1 cup powdered sugar until satiny and smooth. Add the peanut butter, 1/4 chopped peanuts, and milk. Beat until well incorporated.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/4 of the prepared whipped cream. Fold in the chopped peanut and spice mixture followed by the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared and cooled crust, smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cover with plastic wrap as soon as the filling sets.

Once the filling is properly chilled, prepare the ganache topping. Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and gently stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the ganache becomes fully blended and glossy. Pour ganache over the top of the torte, smoothing the chocolate to the edges with a offset spatula. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup chopped peanuts over the top of the torte. Place the torte back in the refrigerator until the topping sets, about 20 minutes.

To remove the spring form pan, warm the sides of the pan with a hairdryer, then remove the sides. Refrigerate torte until ready to serve.

Serves: 16

While this torte is definitely rich and full of peanut butter flavor, it isn't quite as heavy as some I've had in the past. I wasn't a huge fan of the added cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, but others loved it -- so, do what you will with them. If you're a peanut butter and chocolate purist, such as myself, leave them out, otherwise, include them for added layers of flavor.

Now, don't get me wrong when I say this isn't as heavy as other pies. It is definitely filling and for sure calls for a large glass of milk to accompany it. So for those of you scratching your head on the 16 servings... just trust me on this. I was not able to take down a normal 8-serving-size piece in one sitting. Which is truly saying something.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 136g
Amount per serving
Calories 615Calories from fat 407
% Daily Value
Total Fat 45.2g70%
Saturated Fat 17.4g87%
Trans Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 415mg17%
Total Carbs 43.5g15%
Fiber 4.1g16%
Sugars 29.3g
Protein 15.0g
Vitamin A 13%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 7%Iron 14%

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cider-Roasted Pork Loin for Steph's Virtual Bridal Shower

A couple months ago, my friend Steph from Steph's Bite by Bite announced that her and her fiance had to move up their wedding date by 9 months. I don't know about you, but my wedding planning took a full 9 months or so to get all of it in. I couldn't imagine having to squish it all down to two months! Yet due to circumstances out of their control, they moved the date from June 30, 2012, to October 29, 2011. What a champ! I would want to just throw my hands up and cry. Yet Steph hasn't, and you should really go and check out some of the really awesome (and cute!) wedding ideas she has, as well as all of her mouth-watering sweets and great looking dishes.

With the nuptials coming up right around the corner, Kita from Pass the Sushi came up with the great idea to surprise Steph with a "virtual" bridal shower of food bloggers, featuring great "date night" dishes for those times when they want to kick it up a night a home. Of course I was in.

Steph: Hope your wedding day goes off flawlessly and is everything you wanted! Congrats to you both!

For my "Big Night In" meal, I opted for the appetizer, entree and a side, and dessert route. Whew! Definitely some work, but totally worth it!

First, we start with one of my favorite appetizers of all time -- Spin Dip (better known as Spinach & Artichoke Dip). I may or may not be known to walk into a restaurant and order this solely and an entree. I can neither confirm or deny. However, I am one of those people who do not like mayo, so it took a bit of hunting to find a recipe that looked promising. I think this version proves that mayo is definitely not necessary for this dip, it's fantastic the way it is.

Next, we move to a Cider-Roasted Pork Loin with Pommes Anna. The pork has a nice kick from the peppercorns with a sweetness from the cider reduction -- great for a nice fall or winter evening. Just make sure you brine that sucker for a long, long time to prevent it getting dry while cooking. As for those Pommes Anna, which is supposed to look like a lovely little potato cake with rings of potato slices (not just a heap of potatoes). Well, we'll just say the taste was fantastic. I might have some work to do in the looks department on that dish.

To finish things off, I opted for a fantastically rich Peanut Butter Torte (which can easily be made the day ahead). This delicacy will come next week my friends. Mwahaha. So mean, I know.

Spin Dip

Adapted from: Blog is the New Black

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning (such as McCormick's, or make your own)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
1 (16 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, flour, garlic pepper, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon Romano. Warm mixture in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the mixture is hot and slightly thickened. Add spinach, Asiago cheese, and artichokes until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread evenly across pan. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and Romano over the top. Bake, uncovered, 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and turn heat to broil. Once oven is heated, place under the broiler 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Serves: 8 as an appetizer

Cider-Roasted Pork Loin

Adapted from: Cooking Light, October 2004

3 cups water
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
2 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed
2 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon dried rosemary1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, bring the first 6 ingredients (through bay leaf) to a boil. Stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour brine into a large ziploc bag with pork. Seal bag and place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours (preferably overnight). Turn bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups of cider to a boil. Continue to cook until cider thickens and is reduced to about 1/4 of a cup. Set aside.

Meanwhile, remove pork from bag and discard brine. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, oregano, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Rub herb mixture over pork. Place pork on the rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. During the final 20 minutes of cooking, baste the pork at least twice with the cider reduction. Remove pork from oven and baste pork with cider reduction a third time. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with any remaining cider reduction.

Serves: 8

Pommes Anna

Adapted from: Food Network

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled, placed in a bowl of water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in 20 second increments. Once melted, set aside.

Slice potatoes into thin rounds with a mandolin or a very sharp knife. Pat slices dry. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Arrange 1 layer of overlapping potato slices over the bottom of the pan in concentric circles. Drizzle with 1/3 of melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Repeat twice more, for a total of three layers. Cook potato cake on low 25-30 minutes, or until the bottom potatoes are golden and crisp around the outside. Shake pan several times while cooking to prevent potato cake from sticking.

Using the lid of the pan to hold potatoes in place, pour off the excess butter into a small bowl; reserve. Place the same lid (the same size as the skillet) over the potatoes. Holding the lid in place, flip the pan over (the potatoes should now be on the lid and not in the pan). Pour the reserved butter back into the pan. Slide the potatoes back into the pan, uncooked side down. Place skillet in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Shake the pan several times while baking to keep the potatoes from sticking. Potatoes are done when the bottom is browned and crisp.

Pour off any remaining butter left in the pan. Slide potatoes onto a serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves: 6 (as a side)

Check back next week for this!

Congrats again Steph!

Check out all the other Date Night Dinners for Steph's Virtual Bridal shower!

Nutrition Facts - Spin Dip
Serving Size 149g
Amount per serving
Calories 176Calories from fat 113
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.6g19%
Saturated Fat 7.8g39%
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 333mg14%
Total Carbs 8.9g3%
Fiber 4.0g16%
Sugars 0.8g
Protein 9.0g
Vitamin A 114%Vitamin C 36%
Calcium 25%Iron 13%

Nutrition Facts - Cider-Roasted Pork Loin*
Amount per serving
Calories 200Calories from fat 60
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6.6g10%
Saturated Fat 2.2g11%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 419mg17%
Total Carbs 9.2g3%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Protein 24.4g

Nutrition Facts - Pommes Anna
Serving Size 206g
Amount per serving
Calories 237Calories from fat 108
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.0g18%
Saturated Fat 7.5g37%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 687mg29%
Total Carbs 29.9g10%
Fiber 4.6g18%
Sugars 2.2g
Protein 3.6g
Vitamin A 7%Vitamin C 62%
Calcium 3%Iron 6%

*Nutrition Facts from Cooking Light

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

These cookies are special. They got a pass to jump to the front of the line, cutting in front of some sandwiches, risotto, an Asian stir fry, and lots of other tasty treats.

Why? Two reasons.

1) They are just that good. You must go make them now.

2) It's my birthday, and I can do what I want.

I think those are two fairly solid reasons, no?

Regardless, these are beyond easy to throw together, and I just can't come up with a good reason for you not to make them. Especially when the hubby is already telling me I need to make more -- before the first batch is even gone. Maybe if he quit eating them for breakfast they would stick around a little longer... but I digress.

Oh, and another reason:

3) It's October and these cookies are pink. Win. Now go make them for a bake sale or something (then decide you are going to keep half because they are so good).

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

Adapted from:

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg
1 (17.5 ounce) package sugar cookie mix
2/3 cup raspberry preserves (such as Polander's)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy with a mixer. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly mix in the cookie mix until fully combined. Stir in the raspberry preserves and white chocolate chips until mixed well throughout.

Using a size 50 cookie scoop (or a heaping tablespoon), drop balls of dough about 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Lightly flatten with the back of the scoop. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn lightly golden. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes: 30 cookies

Just trust me on these. I know they're made with a mix (and I am no fan of the sugar cookie mix by itself), but after the cream cheese and preserves are added, you can't tell at all. These cookies are true to their name. You definitely get the white chocolate, the raspberry, and the tangy cream cheese flavors. All in one little cookie. I mean, seriously, what more could you ask for?

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 36g
Amount per serving
Calories 122Calories from fat 38
% Daily Value
Total Fat 4.2g6%
Saturated Fat 2.0g10%
Trans Fat 0.6g10%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 87mg4%
Total Carbs 19.8g7%
Sugars 12.3g
Protein 1.8g
Vitamin A 2%Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 1%Iron 2%

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caramel Brownie Pudding

I love eating cookie dough, brownie batter, cake batter, you name it, if it's a dessert batter, I"ll probably love it. Raw eggs don't scare me. Well, in this context anyways.

So when I found out that there was such a recipe that was very similar to a brownie batter, yet cooked, I was all over it. I mean, until I forgot about it. How does one even do that with something so mouth-watering? No idea, but I found a way. And honestly, I truly regret waiting this long to make it.

I often shy away from desserts that are hard to share, unlike cookies or cupcakes, as they require plates/bowls/forks/spoons/ and are typically a mess to eat, therefore making it difficult for me to send it for Adam to share at work. Which is one of the reasons I hesitated when it came to making this. If I made this, then that would involve both Adam and I eating it. All of it.

More often than not, when this type of situation happens, one of us usually ends up eat most of it and the other one eats maybe one or two servings and that's it. We won't say who that usually is, but it's not me. I, for the life of me, did not want to get stuck with a huge bowl full of brownie-like pudding. Because I knew exactly what would happen. I would eat it. All. And totally regret it. Okay, I might not regret it, but my jeans sure would.

Yet how could I forget, brownies happen to be one of Adam's favorite desserts? One of the few he will go back for again and again? Every night after dinner, all I had to do was wait about 30 minutes, then I'd hear "Brownie Pudding time?". And that is how I know I've got a keeper of a recipe.

Caramel Brownie Pudding

Adapted from: Ina Garten via Gingerbread Bagels

4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 cup chewy caramel candy (such as Chewy Werther's Originals or Kraft Caramels), roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart oval baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar on medium-high for 10 minutes. Mixture should be very thick and light yellow when done.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and flour. Set aside.

Once the eggs and sugar have finished mixing, mix in the dry ingredients and vanilla on low until just combined. Pour in the butter and mix again until just combined. Gently fold in the caramels with a spatula.

Transfer the brownie mixture to the prepared baking dish. Place the baking dish in a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with hot tap water (as hot as it will go) until the water comes halfway up the side of the oval baking dish. Bake for 1 hour. Dessert will more resemble a brownie closer to the edges and be very pudding-like in the center.

Serves: 16 (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Don't worry if the center of your brownie pudding is completely pudding-like. It is, after all, named Brownie Pudding for a reason. Ina claims that this only serves 6, but we found it very rich, and could eat maybe 1/2 cup at the most, so I've reflected that serving size change above. Keep this stored in the fridge and then reheat for about 20 seconds or so in the microwave when ready to eat. Ice cream would also go fabulously with this.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 70g
Amount per serving
Calories 287Calories from fat 132
% Daily Value
Total Fat 14.7g23%
Saturated Fat 8.8g44%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 121mg5%
Total Carbs 38.4g13%
Fiber 1.5g6%
Sugars 29.3g
Protein 3.2g
Vitamin A 8%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 3%Iron 5%

Monday, October 10, 2011

Russian Tea

Ever since fall hit (okay, ever since I had to sit around a chilly house) I started craving a warm satisfying drink from my childhood.

I am by no means a "tea" drinker. Quite the opposite in fact. I really can't stand it when it's by itself. However, when mixed with other flavors, by all means, count me in. I like to call this tea version fall-in-a-cup. Because that is exactly what comes to mind anytime I think about it or smell the mix with its cinnamon and cloves. It just doesn't seem right to bust this out in the middle of summer.

It's for comfy pants and sweatshirts.

And being wrapped in layers of blankets. While it's raining.

And smelling fall. Burning leaf piles and all.

Russian Tea

Adapted from: Family Recipe

1 cup powdered Tang
1/2 cup powdered lemonade (such as Country Time)
1/4 cup unsweetened instant tea
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large ziploc bag, combine all the ingredients. Shake well to mix. Pour into storage container. To use, stir 2 tablespoons powder into about 10 ounces (a coffee mug) of hot water.

Makes: 2 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)

Now I'm sure there are recipes out there for this same drink that are "all-natural"/"non-processed" -- basically they don't use the powdered beverages in the mix. However, that usually entails fresh items, and quite frankly, that involves time. And usually when I'm craving this drink, I am not in the mood to be putzing about the kitchen. So, this version of the drink works perfectly for me.

Believe it or not, I actually found the original recipe to be a tad on the sweet side. I know, I thought something was too sweet? What is the world coming to? In order to fix this, I scaled back the sugar by half and have reflected the change in the recipe above. If the final product doesn't taste sweet enough for you, simply add in up to another 1/4 cup of sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 25g
Amount per serving
Calories 83Calories from fat 0
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.0g0%
Saturated Fat 0.0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 57mg2%
Total Carbs 18.4g6%
Sugars 18.1g
Protein 0.1g
Vitamin A 28%Vitamin C 287%
Calcium 30%Iron 0%

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Thanks to everyone who wished me a quick fix for my furnace. I have good news and bad news. Bad news: It's not fixed yet -- they had to order a part, so it most likely won't be fixed until sometime next week. Boo. Good news: It's supposed to be in the high 70's and sunny for the next 5 days or so. Whew. No furnace needed for that!

Anyhoo, a couple weeks ago, after being frustrated with the amount of fast food we were eating and my lack of time and desire to be in the kitchen after soccer practice, I sent a shout out through twitter asking for any ideas for the crockpot.

Erin, from the Spiffy Cookie sent a few ideas my way -- all of which looked fabulous. Of course, I had to start off with the easiest looking one to begin with.

No, really. Throw some chicken breasts in the crockpot (they can even be frozen) and cover with chick broth. Step away for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken. Mix with dressing and a few other goodies. Done.

Time needed? 10 minutes. Maybe.

Now that's the kind of quick meal I've been looking for.

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Caesar dressing
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup torn Romaine lettuce
4 hamburger buns

Cover a crockpot with a slow cooker liner. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with the chicken broth. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, draining as much chicken broth off as possible. Place chicken on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken; discard any fat.

Transfer the shredded chicken to a large bowl and toss with dressing, pepper, and cheese. If mixture has cooled, remove the liner and liquid from the slow cooker, replace with a new one, and reheat the chicken mixture in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes.

Place about 1/4 of the chicken mixture onto each hamburger bun, top with romaine lettuce, and serve.

Serves: 4

This is one of those recipes that are so easy you have to stop and think "why did I think of that?". But I didn't, some else did, and I am so glad. Especially when the hubby is ecstatic I just recreated one of his favorite sandwiches. Of.All.Time. apparently. Who knew? Well, if under 10 minutes is all it takes to make one of his favorite things, why then, put that up on the keeper list. Stat.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 234g
Amount per serving
Calories 428Calories from fat 145
% Daily Value
Total Fat 16.1g25%
Saturated Fat 4.1g20%
Cholesterol 107mg36%
Sodium 711mg30%
Total Carbs 28.8g10%
Fiber 1.6g6%
Sugars 8.2g
Protein 39.8g
Vitamin A 21%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 15%Iron 18%

Monday, October 3, 2011

Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Fact: It is 58 degrees in my house right now. And yes, my fingers and toes are super chilly. Everything else though, is buried beneath blankets, sweatpants, and a hoodie. It's one of the only times I'm glad my laptop runs on the hot side -- makes for a nice leg warmer.

The weather this past week and weekend has been absolutely dismal -- rainy with temps dropping down into the 40s, and it has insisted on carrying on in this fashion into this week. Need I say I'm not a fan? Especially when we thought we had our furnace fixed, only to find out that no, it is in fact, not. We may or may not have made a last minute space heater purchase late last night after discovering the bedroom was a mere 55 degrees.

Sometimes, there's only one way to combat such crap-tastic weather. Eating a nice warm rib-sticking meal. Which this soup totally is. Hot. Filling. Tasty. Sign me up. Then send over the contractor that was supposed to show up to fix the furnace at 8am and still hasn't arrived.

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Adapted from:

8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large leeks, sliced
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Add potatoes and chicken broth to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add bacon to a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat until cooked through, but not crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of drippings in the pan. Add leeks to the same pan, and saute for 8-10 minutes.

When potatoes are done, reduce heat to low and stir in 3/4 of the leeks and the milk. Using an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a regular blender), puree the mixture until soup reaches desired consistency. (Can leave as many or as few potato chunks as desired.) Stir in bacon, remaining leeks, and pepper. If soup becomes too thick, add more milk. Serve hot.

Serves: 8

My soup ended up a tad thicker than what I was originally aiming for, but it still hit the spot. Which is great, considering how few ingredients this soup has. Of course, you could always cut down on the amount of bacon this recipe calls for to help lighten things up a bit in the calorie department, but honestly, it carries a lot of the flavor in this dish, so don't go hog wild if that's what you decide to do.

Overall the soup was good, but I think I might prefer the cheesy goodness of my Potato Bacon Soup over this.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 443g
Amount per serving
Calories 483Calories from fat 218
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24.3g37%
Saturated Fat 8.0g40%
Cholesterol 64mg21%
Sodium 1565mg65%
Total Carbs 39.0g13%
Fiber 5.5g22%
Sugars 4.9g
Protein 26.4g
Vitamin A 9%Vitamin C 74%
Calcium 8%Iron 14%


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