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Friday, March 25, 2011

S'more Popcorn

It was time for another cheat meal, but I had no time to get to the store. I had a bulk size bag of chocolate chips with no desire to bake cookies. I had some heavy cream that I needed to use up quick before it expired and thought well I can melt some chocolate chips with the cream, but then what? I'm not going to eat the chocolate melted by itself!!! Back into the pantry I went looking for something to create. Right in front of the chocolate chips as I grabbed them was popcorn!!! I thought, yes!! I will pop the corn and drizzle the melted chocolate on top!! Almost like moose munch from Harry and David, except homemade! Then I thought, no that is too boring, I must get even more creative. I saw a big bag of marshmellows and ground graham crackers. All the ingredients to fix up S'mores, and why not melt it all over popcorn? YUM!

So here it goes:






Ingredients:

  • 1.5 C Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C Heavy Cream
  • * marshmellows* I used large, but next time I'm going to do it with mini's, so I'm suggesting you get mini's and about 3 Cups, enough to cover your popcorn overall
  • 3 tbsp of ground Graham Cracker
  • 1 pkg plain popcorn


Directions:

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water with the heavy cream, I actually melted some marshmellows into the chocolate for more flavor. Pop your popcorn in the meantime. When the chocolate is ready, take off stove to cool. Once popcorn is popped and cooled down a bit, spread out onto a baking sheet over parchment paper. Layer your marshmellows on top of the popcorn. I only had large marshmellows on hand so it worked, but definitely go for the minis!! Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until slightly melted over the popcorn. Once out of the oven, drizzle the chocolate sauce all over, as much or as little as you want for your snack. Sprinkle the ground graham crackers over that and eat up!



S'more Popcorn Snack!!




If you do opt for the large marshmellows you get larger pieces to eat, so either way you go-large marshmellows or mini's it's going to be super yummy.

ENJOY :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cream Cheese Baked Oatmeal



Ahh good old fashioned oats, the healthy way to eat your oatmeal. Did I mention I can't stand oatmeal cooked? There is something about cooked oatmeal that makes me feel like I'm eating mush so I just cannot stand it. It's really good for you though, so I do try. I throw it in my burgers, meatballs, homemade protein bars etc Anyway I can get them in my system without the mush texture.

I've been paying attention to professional figure and bodybuilder competitor, Jenny Grothe. She wrote the book '75 ways To Love Your Oatmeal- Great Tasting Recipes That keep you Lean'

So here we are- Baked Oatmeal. I figure it's another step in the right direction for me to get my oats down. I played with the cream cheese recipe today.




Torani is a sugar free, carb free, calorie free flavored syrup used in baked oatmeal, protein shakes, and yogurts. All the flavor without the guilt!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Oats
  • 1/8 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 5 tsp Fat-Free Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 tsp liquid egg whites
  • sugar substitute to taste
  • 2 tbsp Torani Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Syrup

Mix everything together and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. UNLESS you are like me, and you need the texture crunchy- I baked for more like 45 minutes and broiled at the end to give it a golden brown crust. It's also optional to add some almond milk on top once it's baked. If this is a post workout meal, I might add some mini chocolate chips to it as well :) yum











Nutritional Info:
Calories 211
Fat 3.33g
Sat. Fat 0.75 g
Cholesterol 3.33mg
Sodium 179.12mg
Carbs 34.58g
Fiber 5.25g
Sugar 5.08g
Protein 12.17g

French Toastwich



One of the keys to a healthy life is to eat breakfast. There is no way around it, starving yourself so you can have a large lunch or dinner wont do you any good. You've just fasted for a good 6-8 hours depending on how long you sleep and your body is craving energy to get going for the day. This is the most important meal of the day, and deserves some good carbs, lean protein, and good fat. You can definitely go a little higher in calories if you'd like with breakfast since it's the first meal of the day.


I believe in 5 small meals ranging 200-300 calories per meal, ending up having had about 1300-1500 calories total for the day. When I'm wanting to drop a little weight, I usually will eat 1300 on a workout day and 1100 on a rest day. I switched to egg substitutes about 3 years ago, I still have eggs every once in a while, but I find egg substitutes to be cheaper and less calories. They all taste the same to me, so it works well. Scrambled Eggs became my famous breakfast...every single day for months on end. It does get old, so one day I came up with a healthy French Toast recipe to have when I crave a sweet morning treat for breakfast.


I researched sugar free syrups and so far my favorite is this one here, Cary's. Cary's is an American Diabetic Association sponsor :) It's just 30 calories per serving which is 1/4 of a cup, just enough to cover your French Toast!




Ingredients:


2 Slices Double Fiber Bread


STOP! Let's talk Double Fiber Bread real quick: My favorite brand is Healthy Life, they have a 60 calorie per slice or a 40 calorie per slice which has 13g of Whole Grain per slice and 40% of your daily fiber intake- oh and no high fructose corn syrup! If you choose to go with the 40 Calorie per slice, you also get Omega-3 and flaxseed in it, bonus!)


Ok back to Ingredients:



  • 2 TSP Nutmeg

  • 2 TSP Cinnamon

  • 1 Cup Egg Substitute, or 4-5 Egg Whites

  • 2 pcs Canadian Bacon

  • 1/4 C Car's Syrup



Directions:


Pour your cup of egg substitute into a bowl, add cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together.

Spray your pan with some Pam or good cooking spray. Take 1 piece of bread and dip into egg mixture, once fully covered put into the pan, cook on high for 1-2 minutes each side. Once you have your 2 piece of bread done, I always pour the leftover mixture into the pan to cook up and 2 piece of Canadian Bacon. If you want to add butter to your French Toast I suggest Smart Balance to keep healthy! Put your Canadian Bacon on top or in the middle of your French Toast along with the leftover cooked egg, pour Cary's syrup on top and eat up!!




You can see here the bacon under the leftover cooked egg mixture. It's yummy!!!


Your total calories for this breakfast if eaten with the 40 calorie Healthy Life Double Fiber bread and butter is 260 (210 without butter, 300 with butter and 60 calorie Healthy Life Double Fiber bread), and it has your lean protein, good fat, and fiber. A well balanced sweet treat for breakfast!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bailey's Oreo Irish Cream Pie

I LOVE Bailey's Irish Cream. I have it once or twice a year because I dont drink much. BUT, it's St. Patrick's Day, therefore it's a day for Bailey's Irish Cream. PS: My puppy was named Bailey :) See a trend?

Anyway, I wanted to make an Irish Cream Pie for St. Patrick's Day. I had Irish Cream Pie in an Irish Pub a couple years ago on St. Patrick's Day and it was amaze as the Kardashians would say. I really wanted to create the same tasting pie for dessert. This one has a couple twists, surprise surprise! The original recipe calls for a specific crust recipe, and an overload of chocolate. I wanted to make it easier, cheaper, and less chocolatey.






Ingredients:

  • 1 Oreo Crust (from the grocery store- it's cheaper than buying a package of Oreos to make the crust!)
  • 1/2 Cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 2 Pkgs Jell-O Instant Pudding, Vanilla Flavor
  • 1.5 Cups Milk
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips




Directions:

Prepare Instant Vanilla Pudding Packages together following box directions, but instead of 2 C of Milk add 1.5 C of Milk and 1/2 C of Baileys

Put your whipping cream into your mixer, and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form.

You can choose to fold the pudding into the whipping cream once it's mixed up or you can mix both on a medium speed. I find mixing it helps take the lumps out of the pudding mix.



Pour your batter into the grocery purchased crust and set in the refridgerator for at least an hour.




Garnish the pie with the Mini Chocolate Chips





So creamy, and yummy!






A slice of Irish heaven





If you love Baileys, you will love this pie, and it's super easy.
Enjoy and again, Happy St. Patricks Day!!




Chocolate Chip Irish Soda Bread

I know I'm a health nazi and I owe this blog many healthy recipes that I make, but for now we'll go with what I do for my cheat meals :) I do enjoy them after all! In honor of St. Patricks Day I decided to make a full Irish dinner and dessert! I have corned beef, cabbage, and red potatoes cooking in the crock pot and Bailey's Irish Cream Pie w/ Oreo Crust setting in the fridge!

To go with my Irish meal I wanted to make Irish Soda Bread, but one problem.... I hate raisins! Did I mention I am a picky eater? Yes, I'm not a raisin, fish, or mayo fan! There are more items on that list, but for now we'll move on. I got my Irish Soda Bread recipe out and thought what can I replace the raisins with... looked into my pantry... and sure enough I found chocolate chips! Why not right? Every can use a little chocolate in their bread, after all if you visit France you will find the best Chocolate croissants. The Chocolate oozes out of the croissant, so imagine this being a French twist on Irish Soda Bread.

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray your bread loaf pan with a good cooking spray. It's important to use a loaf pan for this recipe.

2. Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another, melt the butter separately


Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, melted
  • 1.5 Cups Chocolate Chips

3. Mix the Chocolate Chips into the dry ingredients
** this keeps them from falling to the bottom of your bread**

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the melted butter and mix away with a good spatula until everything in incorporated.

5. Pour into your loaf pan and bake for 60-75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
** You might find some melted chocolate on your toothpick, which is okay





This is yummy goodness :)




Fresh out of the oven!


Slice it up and serve with dinner! It's almost like a dessert, but on St. Patricks Day you must get your Irish Cream Pie~ that's my next blog :)
YUM, Enjoy! Happy St. Patricks Day!



Friday, March 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Call me a sinner, because aren't we all? But whoa this one is a bit over the top even for me! I really am a health nazi, that is no joke. But I also believe in refeeds also known as cheat meals, and you better believe when it's my cheat meal, I enjoy it!

That being said, we have family in town this weekend, and everyone is getting together for dinner so I thought- ahh opportunity to make another sweet concoction! See the other trick to experiment and bake with all my fun kitchen toys is giving away the sinful treats I make. I have one or two and the rest go to other people, saves me my figure, but gives me the chance to be creative.

This recipe is very versitile. You can use all kinds of combinations with this. I stuck to the basics.

Oreos, Cheesecake, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough- YUM!




RECIPE:

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 C. finely ground Graham crackers
  • 1/4 C. Sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted

Mix together in a bowl, and press firmly against your 8X8 sprayed pan.



Cookie Dough Recipe

  • 2 1/4 C Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

Mixed together in a bowl

  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 Pkg Jell-0 Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 2 C Chocolate Chips

In your mixer, cream the sugars, butter, pudding, and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry Ingredients slowly while mixer continues at a med speed, add chocolate chips

Take cookie dough mixture and spread on top of graham cracker crust, followed by the cream cheese mixture



Cheesecake Filling
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/3 C. Sugar

Mix together, and like I said spread over cookie dough mixture. I highly suggest very soft cream cheese, makes it much smoother to spread.


Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, take out of oven and crumble Oreo cookies on top (Yellow creme spring edition again of course!) Put back in oven for 3-4 minutes



The top might look undercooked, but dont let it fool you, this is a super chewy cookie dough recipe. In fact if you make the cookies by themselves you will also find yourself having to work out like 3X that day to make up for the yummy goodness you just ate :) I got that recipe from my mother in law by my husbands request like 3 years ago, and have tried taking ownership of it. It is the BEST chocolate chip cookie dough recipe out there!



I wanted to show the layers close up! See the cookie dough surrounding the cheesecake filling with the graham cracker crust on the bottom and the ever so awesome Oreos on top!



YUM!
This can serve about 10-15 small bars, or 9 large bars!




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

For over six months now if not longer, I have been dreaming up this recipe. I LOVE meatballs. I'll take a meatball over sausage any day! In fact I love them so much, that when we are out for Italian, you better believe no matter what I've ordered I always ask for a side of meatballs.

I found a super healthy route to meatballs since they are high in fat and calories with regular beef, bread crumbs, and the other goodies mixed in. I have switched all my ground beef recipes to ground turkey or bison. Then to trick myself I add spinach and rolled oats to my ground meat recipes. This gives me a great boost of iron, fiber and all the other healthy adds to the mix. Did I mention I even throw some egg substitute in over a regular egg? Call me crazy, but I am married to the pickiest flavor eater ever! He notices simple changes, but when it comes to this recipe, he LOVES it :)

I thought now why not stuff the meatball with a big ball of cheese? How fun would that be!




Ingredients:

1 lb Ground Turkey (or meat of your choice)
1/4 Red onion, diced
1/4 C Rolled Oats
1/4 C Egg Substitute (or 1 egg)
1/4 C Spinach, chopped
salt and pepper, pinch of each
Parmesean Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

Mix your meat together with all ingredients, by hand!



Cut your cheese into small cubes




Make a patty, like a hamburger patty, press your cheese into the middle and wrap meat mixture around the cheese.




Brown each side of your meatballs in a little Olive Oil. Lookout these are HUGE meatballs!






Bake your meatballs at 375 for 20 minutes


Remove meatballs from baking sheet, put back into your browning pan over a med-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn heat to med-low, add your marinara sauce. Heat until sauce is warmed.






Cheesey Goodness






Even though I'm Italian, I'm not a big pasta eater. I will eat the meatballs in sauce all by themself! Add pasta if you would like, plate up with a couple meatballs, and sprinkle Parmesean on top!
YUMMY!!


Recipe makes about 8-9 large meatballs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BBQ Chicken Soup

BBQ Chicken Soup

Ready to eat in under 15 minutes!

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz Rotisserie Chicken, you know the premade stuff from your local grocery store!
  • 1 can whole kernel corn or better yet, grill up a cob and get the kernels from there :)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt (I used Tastefully Simple)
  • 1/2 Red Onion, diced
  • 1/2 C BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 24 oz Chicken Stock





Directions:

Pour olive oil into your pot at a medium heat, add diced onions and garlic, saute. Add corn and pulled apart chicken. Mix together. Pour in the chicken stock, add spices, bbq sauce, and cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes and eat!





I honestly wanted to add mozzerella cheese on top to make it more pizza like, but no need. It's amazing as it is!


Bad lighting on these pictures, but you get the idea :)

PS: This is husband approved. YUMMY

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beef Brisket from the Crockpot to the Grill

I'm not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to the kitchen and especially cooking. I am a much better baker than I am cook. My friend and I collaborated on a fun page on facebook called 'dumbestic divas lazy kitchen.' Our mission was to share the easiest, laziest recipes on the planet that even we could not screw up. She blogged about all of her kitchen adventures both good and bad. Every now and then she'd have food blowing up in her oven, but she also succeeded with many of her meals. Being a newlywed and trying to cook dinner 7 nights a week was quite the challenge for me. Especially since I am a health eating freak. I related well to her blog. Between the two of us we'd write out recipes and create some good and bad meals. We got super busy and that project really slowed down. That being said, I still am not the best in the kitchen. Our page is still up and running if you want to check it out!

There are plenty of days when I decide to create a meal off the top of my head and my husband has a full jar of peanut butter ready to go in case I burn it or the flavor just is not right. Peanut Butter takes all flavor out, and he can smile and say he ate a great meal no matter what!

My goal was to make an awesome smoked bbq brisket. But who owns a smoker? I decided my next best smoker would be my crock pot. I guess I could have thought about my oven, but the crock pot won. That being said, I grabbed a nice piece of brisket, which actually may be a corned beef brisket, we're not sure. HA! I had celery, onions, shallot laying around and some beef broth so I came up with this concoction I call beef brisket, which actually tasted pretty good!






Ingredients:

  • 1 slab of beef brisket
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 C chopped celery
  • 1 Onion of your choice, sliced
  • 1 C water
  • 1 box Swanson Beef broth/stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp dry mustard seasoning
  • BBQ Sauce

Directions

Pour the water into the crock pot, which should be on low set for a good 9-10 hours. Throw everything in the crock pot, I prefer meat in the middle with seasonings on top and sliced veggies all around it. They say to let the meat cook, fat side down, but I kept turning it every 2 hours. After 4 hours I poured in beef stock with a can of diced tomatoes. My can of diced tomatoes happen to have jalapenos in it. Wow- did I get a spicey soup from that!

Here is where the 'dumbestic' in me comes out.

Truthfully, you really need to smoke your brisket to get a good bbq brisket, and since I did not have a smoker. I chose to cook it, just like you would corned beef, and then bbq it. NOTE: Husband was prepared with peanut butter, like I said!

My goal was to get to a bbq brisket, which left this lovely pot of a beef soup if you will. Once the brisket was removed, I had no beef. This gave me the idea to make a second meal with the broth. I grabbed some stew beef and threw it in after I browned it to cook for a soup!

After 9-10 hours in the crock pot, (last hour was on high) I pulled the brisket out with plans to grill it. Ah, but of course we were out of propane! Thank God for the Grill pan I got for my wedding shower, I LOVE grill pans. They are the best.


I put Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce on my brisket, while I grilled it for about 10 minutes.




The preferred internal temperature of a full cooked brisket is about 200 degrees per the meat thermometer. Well, I broke both my meat thermometers by putting them in the dishwasher. OOPS!

My meat had a nice red center, and tasted great- so I'm not worried!




How gorgeous does that look? Tastes just as great too!



I decided some broccoli and cheese would be a great fit with my brisket, and really wanted garlic bread. I had about 10 minutes and no bread baked up in the house. Rather than sending my husband or myself out to the grocery store to get some, I grabbed regular bread, added butter and garlic, into the oven for 3 minutes on broil and got my garlic toast!
It's definitely a different approach to the brisket, but tasted great and gave me two meals in one. So all in all it's a winner! Take that Charlie Sheen.







Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filled Oreo Cheesecakes

Yesterday we went to Hal's friends house (fraturnity brother from Purdue) for dinner. I wanted to bring dessert. The day was rather interesting. It started with me at the gym working out, thinking about what I could make and bring. I get a phone call right as I finished working out. 'You have a house showing in 1 hour!' I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! All panic'd, I rushed home thinking this is no good, I have to clean up fast and wont be able to bake up something yummy for dinner tonight. Insert Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filled Oreo Cheesecakes. Lauren, is a food blogger that I follow on twitter whom posted this insane recipe and I thought to myself I absolutely love Oreos, Cookie Dough, and Cheesecake. Those are by far my favorite desserts. I ran home, and rushed to clean my house, literally walking out the door as the realtor walked in. I went to the grocery store and grabbed the 3 main ingredients I needed to make this recipe, still not sure I would have time to pull it off. I was still determined to make it. I got back home to a nice clean house and got to work. I do like to put my own twist on recipes, but did not have time to do that with this one, so until I do, it's Lauren's recipe. This is a recipe I would not even think to try to make healthier. This is what we call made for cheat meal night! If you are in a rush, you'd be surprised how EASY this is and the best part is you likely have ALL the ingredients in your cabinet already! You can check Lauren out, at www.laurenslatest.com


Cookie Dough Recipe: all mixed by hand/spoon
  • 1/4 C Butter, softened
  • 1/4 C Granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line a muffin/cupcake pan with cupcake papers. Make the Cookie Dough

2. First up, softened butter into a bowl, stir in sugars till well incorporated.

3. Stir in vanilla, flour, and salt, it might be dry, but it will come together

4. Once flour is incorporated, mix with your hands, add chocolate chips, and begin to form as a log diameter similar to the size of an Oreo cookie.

5. Slice the dough into 12 even slices, and put Oreos into your muffin pan. Place the dough onto each cookie, form on top to fit nice, if cookie dough overlaps just form around the cookie.







Before formed on top of and around cookie.



ONTO THE CHEESECAKE!!!!!!




Cheesecake Recipe:
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
1. Whip the cream cheese in your mixer, slowly pour in sugar and flour, scrape down the sides and mix more.
2. Whip in Vanilla Extract and Egg until incorporated, scrape sides and whip.
3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture onto each cookie. The mixture is super thick, so work with it. This should make just enough for 12 cookies.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheesecake is completely set. Cool to room temperature, and the refridegerate until completely chilled.
5. When ready to serve, remove paper cup liner and garnish with mini chocolate chips.





















I chose the festive spring Oreos, with a yellow cream filling.
YUM!!! They were a hit!