Friday, January 28, 2011

"Everything" Chicken Tenders

Let's face it, fried food is NOT good for you...even though it is really delicious. I bake everything instead of frying and I have never been disappointed with it. I was watching an episode of Rachel Ray yesterday when I saw her breading chicken with sesame seeds. I was instantly intrigued. I lloooovvveeee sesame seeds! While she was making them she mentioned that a friend of hers had made a breading "everything" style. You know, like an everything bagel. I knew that I HAD to try this and see what it was like.

"Everything" Chicken Tenders

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds (or as little or as much as you want!)
  • 1 tablespoon dry minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dry minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper (use as much or as little as you like)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

It doesn't get much simpler than this. You simply mix all the spices together and then roll the chicken in it and make sure all sides are coated.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken tenders), turning halfway through the baking time.

I served mine up with a baked sweet potato which has always been a favorite of mine!

I have to tell you, this was very flavorful and an AMAZING substitute for traditional breading.

Thank you Rachel Ray for the suggestion! Your friend is a smart man!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Healthy Angel Food Cake with Orange Essence and Agave Nectar

I was so happy when I saw this recipe! Just because I am watching my waistline doesn't mean that I should have to give up dessert! This cake was out of this world delicious and was completely guilt free!

Angel Food Cake with Orange Essence and Agave Nectar

  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 10 egg whites
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup light agave syrup (I used regular agave nectar instead of light and shaved off a little of the 1/2 can do it either way)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

You can use either a fluted or tube cake pan for this recipe. Spray with cooking spray made for baking (it contains flour so the cake won't stick to the pan).

Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and reserve the egg whites in a bowl. Discard the egg yolks.

Use a zester and remove the rind from the orange. You'll want to use a knife to break it down into small pieces so it isn't big strips of zest. You want little specs of it throughout the cake.

Sift the cake flour three times. Yes, you read that correctly...three times! This will make sure you have a nice fluffy and airy cake! Once the flour is sifted add the orange zest and set aside.

I always measure out all of my ingredients ahead of time, so this is where I measure the cream of tartar and vanilla so they are ready to add when I need it! This makes a big difference for me!

Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and begin beating at high speed.

Once the egg whites start looking frothy add the cream of tartar. It should only take a few minutes to get to the frothy stage.

Once you have added the cream of tartar, continue to beat on high speed until soft peaks form. They will look like this...

Once you have reached the soft peak stage, with the motor running, add the agave nectar in a steady stream. Continue beating until it begins to look glossy.

Now add the vanilla extract and beat a little more to incorporate.

On low speed add the flour and mix only long enough for it to mix in. Do not over beat or you will deflate your batter.

Spoon the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until it is just slightly golden brown and springs back when pressed with your finger tip.

***Very important******

IMMEDIATELY remove the cake from the cake pan, like AS SOON as you take it out of the oven. Have your plate waiting to flip it on. If you do not take the cake out quickly it will stick to your pan AND it will completely deflate. Even just the amount of time it took for me to photograph my cake slightly deflated mine, but it wasn't too bad.

This cake was so good! I wanted to make a strawberry syrup to go with it, so I took a shortcut. I had reduced sugar strawberry preserves in the fridge. I put about 1/2 a tablespoon in the microwave for about 10 seconds and that made a really good syrup base for my piece of cake! Topped that off with a little fat free cool whip and a fresh strawberry. All for only 147 calories per serving!

Source: Kitchen Daily

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spicy Orecchiette with Broccoli and Parmesan

No matter how hard I try I cannot stay away from pasta. It is one of those foods that I will never remove from my diet. I cannot fathom anyone being on the Atkins diet. Carbs are one of my favorite things, so I try to eat it combined with other healthy things and have it in moderation. Nothing is too bad in moderation, right? This recipe comes from none other than Martha Stewart. I altered it slightly to suite my taste and reduced the oil to make it a little healthier :)

Spicy Orecchiette with Broccoli and Parmesan

  • 14 oz orecchiette pasta
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cloves garlic (cut into thin strips if using fresh, if you are using minced go with 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used 1/4 teaspoon and it wasn't super spicy)
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (plus a little more to drizzle)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot boil water for pasta. Cook the orecchiette until it is al dente, about 10-11 minutes. Before you drain the water, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is just barely starting to brown.

Add the broccoli, mushrooms and the reserved pasta water. Reduce heat slightly, cover and steam the veggies for about 6-7 minutes. You don't want to overcook the broccoli or it will get mushy and lose its wonderful green color.

When the broccoli is done, add the pasta to the skillet and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and add salt & pepper to taste. If your dish seems a little dry you can add a small drizzle of olive oil when you add the parmesan.

For being a vegetarian dish, this was very filling! Mushrooms are always a great addition to a vegetarian meal! They add great flavor and are a wonderful substituation for meat.

Source: Martha Stewart

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chicken and Veggie Bake

I love to reinvent recipes and make them healthy. It really is a challenge sometimes, and who doesn't love a good challenge? I am an Italian girl through and through, so anything with tomato sauce is on my list of favorite dishes. This is kind of a twist on chicken parm and a Giada recipe that I had a few months ago that had roasted veggies with sauce and cheese.

Chicken and Veggie Bake

  • 1 cup boneless/skinless chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, large dice
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 a fennel bulb, chopped in wedges
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, cut in pieces
  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup Cabot 50% reduced fat shredded cheese (or whatever cheese you like)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Peel and chop all of your veggies.

Spread onto a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Toss it all together to ensure that everything is coated and won't stick to your pan. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and pepper. Bake in the oven about 40 minutes, or until the veggies are most of the way cooked but not mushy. They will bake a second time in the oven and you don't want to over cook them!

While the veggies are roasting you can make your own sauce! The one that I made was a fast and simple sauce with nothing to it.

I cooked up about 1/2 cup of diced red onion for 3-4 minutes in a pan and then added 2 (15oz) cans of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 cup of cooked chopped chicken, and a handful of fresh chopped basil to the pot. Stir everything together and let it simmer of medium-low heat until the vegetables are done roasting.

I decided to make individual servings, so I baked mine in 2 16oz soup crocks. I sprayed the inside of the crocks with cooking spray to ensure that nothing would stick.

Pour about 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of each container and then fill it about halfway with veggies. Scoop another 1/4 cup of sauce and then fill it almost to the top with more veggies. Top it off with a little more sauce and then sprinkle each crock with 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake them in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly hot!

This was fantastic and super filling. It really reminded me of a full fat Italian meal when in reality this dish had tons of colorful and healthy vegetables in it and was a mere 260 calories.