Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kale Chips

If you haven't noticed by now, I have a thing for Kale.  It's really, really healthy and I can make it pretty darn tasty these days.  Kale is great sauteed, pureed, in a smoothie (in moderation) and as chips! I also have a thing for crunchy salty snacks. Hence the Kale Chip - crunchy, salty, delicious...oh & healthy! 

The Deets
1/2 Bunch of Kale (about 6 leaves)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Sea Salt

The How To
Preheat oven to 375
Cut Kale into large pieces (about 4 pieces per leaf)
Toss Kale in Olive Oil
Lay out on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375.
Enjoy your healthy crispy snack!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast

     The Weather is Lovely, it's warm and sunny, but not so hot that you don't dare cook.  I love this time of year, I love that things are growing, the bugs aren't too thick and it's just the right temperature to leave the door and windows open for a nice spring breeze. 
     This is a great recipe for a day like today, it's also great on too hot to cook days since you can toss it on the grill.  In case you haven't noticed I have a soft spot for Italy, I studied abroad in Rome one summer and fell even further in love than on my previous Euro-Tour. I love the lightness and freshness to Italian cooking, of course there are some great "stick-to-your-ribs" Italian meals, but I prefer the lighter side of Italian cooking most days. I'm sure you're thinking Prosciutto & Mozzarella are light? Yes, Yes they are if done properly. Now Let's get cooking.
The Deets
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Slices Prosciutto
4 Slices Fresh Mozzarella
4 Fresh Basil Leaves
1 TBS of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to Taste
The How To
Slice a "Pocket" into each Chicken Breast at the thickest spot - be careful not to cut all the way through
Wrap a slice of Prosciutto around a slice of Mozzarella & top with a Basil Leaf (what a lovely gift!)
Stick the Mozzarella "Gift" into the Chicken Pocket
Drizzle Each Chicken Breast with Olive Oil and Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper
Heat a Grill Pan (or your Grill) to Medium Heat
Cook Chicken for 6 minutes on each side, only turning once
Once Chicken is cooked through Remove from Heat, fix your sides and Plate. Today I served it with Whole Wheat Penne Pasta, a nice green Salad and Grilled Garlic Bread as sides.
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green - The Greenest Pasta You'll Ever Eat

Warning! This may not be the prettiest meal I've ever created! But it's healthy and delicious so go with the flow of the green and enjoy this veggie overloaded pasta dish. I love pasta! Normally I eat whole wheat, but occasionally, I'll buy something different - like spinach spaghetti.  Today's dish is chock full of healthy veggies, lean protein and flavor - that makes up for it not being pretty right?

The Deets
(for 4)
2 Chicken Breasts
One Package Spinach Pasta (Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 Cup Chopped Kale
1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
1 Cup Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 Shallot
4 Cloves Garlic
2 TBS Olive Oil
1/8 Cup White Cooking Wine
1/8 Cup Chicken Broth
Fresh Parmesan to Top
The How To
Cut Chicken Breasts in Half
Add 1 TBS Olive Oil to Skillet and Heat over Medium High
Add Garlic and Chicken
Cook until Brown
Remove Chicken from Skillet
Add Shallots and Mushrooms to Skillet
Once Mushrooms and Shallots are well sauteed Remove Garlic
Add Chicken Broth, Cooking Wine, Shallots and Mushrooms
Add Remaining Vegetables and cook until wilted
Cook Pasta According to package directions
Add Cooked Pasta to Vegetables and mix well
Top with Fresh Parmesan
Add Chicken
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Steak Quesadillas: A Quick Fix for the Midweek Rush

Quesadillas are a great quickie meal. There are so many varieties, cheese, veggie, chicken, pork, steak...  Quesadillas are great because you can do the prep work ahead of time and have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes total.  Today's version used extra steak from last night's dinner.
*Time Saving TIP* On nights that I have extra time in the kitchen I try to plan ahead for busy days and cook up a little extra, whether it's making extra servings of the entire meal for leftovers, chopping extra vegetables or cooking an extra chicken breast, chop or steak to add to the next days meal.  Planning ahead is way easier than you'd think and it saves so much time!

Back to the Quesadillas! Here is the simple version of a Quesadilla.

The Deets
(for 2)
4 Tortillas (I used Whole Wheat)
1/2 Steak cooked and seasoned to taste
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese
6 Mushrooms
1/2 Jalapeno
1/2 Tomato
add other toppings as desired

The How To
Heat Skillet over Medium Low Heat
Spray with Cooking Spray
Add Tortilla & Toppings
Cook until Cheese Bubbles
Once Cheese begins to bubble, remove from pan and place on baking sheet
Top with second Tortilla
Place in Oven and Broil on low until brown, about 3 minutes
Add some black beans & a salad and dinner is ready. (Yes, even on Quesadilla night you still need to eat your greens)

Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Coconut Cake

Happy Mother's Day to All the Mothers, Moms, Mommies, Mamas, Grandmothers, Grammas, Grannies, etc. 
Last month My Mom and Gramma came to visit, so I made them an early Mother's Day Dinner. We had a delicious dinner of Grilled New York Strip Steak, Seared Sea Scallops, Roasted Vegetables, Quinoa and PopOvers. After a Celebratory Meal you Must have Dessert! My Mom Loves Coconut, so I made the following cake. Mom says it's a winner, so on with the Cake!
*I apologize for the lack of step by step photos - too many backseat cooks in the kitchen*

The Deets for the Cake
3/4 Cup Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp Pure Almond Extract
3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1 3/4 Cups Flour Sifted (If you want a light & fluffy cake you must sift your flour!)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Shredded Coconut

The How To on the Cake
Cream Butter & Sugar until light & fluffy
Add Eggs & Almond Extract
Beat until Smooth and Creamy
Gradually add in Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and 1 Cup of Coconut
Once Dry ingredients ar incorporated, Slowly add Coconut Milk
Mix until Smooth

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
Grease and Butter 2 9inch round cake pans
Divide Mixture between pans
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown

Frosting Deets
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Egg Whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Pure Almond Extract

Frosting How To
Bring Sugar and Coconut Milk to a Boil
In Mixer Wisk Eggs until foamy
Slowly add in Cream and Cream of Tartar and Wisk until slightly stiff
With mixer running, Slowly add Sugar Mixture (Slowly as to not scramble the Eggs)
Add Butter and Vanilla & Almond Extracts and mix until Smooth

Assembly Deets
1 Cup Shredded Coconut - Toasted
12 Strawberries thinly sliced

Assembly How To
Trim Cakes
Spread 1/4 of the Frosting on bottom cake
Layer strawberries and sprinkle 1/2 of toasted coconut
Add top layer
Frost Cake and top with remaining toasted coconut and strawberries
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Citrus Sweet Pepper Salad

Every Meal Needs a Salad.  And Every Salad should have a little personality.  Today's Salad Creation is Citrus Sweet Pepper Salad. It's a little spicy, a little tangy and all around delicious!
The Deets
3 Sweet Peppers (Yellow, Orange & Red)
1 Mandarin Orange
Salad Greens (Spinach, Romaine & Watercress)
1 Handful of Raw Almonds
The Construction
Thinly Slice Peppers
Peel and Cube Mandarin Orange (reserve ends for juice)
Tear Salad greens to desired size
Chop Almonds
Mix together & squeeze Orange Juice over salad
Plate, Pray & Enjoy