Thursday, March 31, 2011

An apology

I believe I owe you all an apology. It has officially been two weeks since I've posted anything on my blog. Life has been busy and I've been a bit overwhelmed. I got to thinking this week about my blog and I realized why I am starting to really slow down with posting. Every single blog I write has always included a recipe. I don't know about you, but it just isn't realistic for me to post a brand new recipe every day. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to create new recipes all the time and it just isn't realistic to post a new recipe every day of the week right now with two kids, a husband and a household to run. What was I thinking?!?

All that said, I will need to make some changes to my blog. I love my blog and will definitely continue to blog as much as I can. I am still trying to decide if I will go to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule or if I will post daily and only include recipes when I have them.

Those of you who know me are well aware that I am never at a loss for words, so writing will never be a problem for me :)

Stay tuned for some changes coming up over the next few days!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thin Mint Truffles

I have Girl Scout cookies all over in my pantry right now. I was trying to come up with a fun treat for St. Patrick's Day and I had totally forgotten about this recipe! I cannot take credit for coming up with this recipe, it has been floating out there on the internet for years. There are many different variations of this recipe and I'm sure they all make a delicious truffle.

Thin Mint Truffles

  • 1 box Thin Mint cookies
  • 4oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 14oz bag dark chocolate mint candy melts
  • 1/2 cup dark green candy melts

Start by placing all of the thin mints in the food processor. Pulse the cookies until they resemble a fine crumb. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and the cookie crumbs. You can try to use a plastic spatula to incorporate them, but I promise you that it won't work. Make sure you have nice clean hands and get right in there and work the crumbs into the cream cheese just like it is bread dough. Knead the mixture over and over again until everything is throughly combined.

Scoop into heaping teaspoons and then roll into small balls. I was able to get 26 truffles from one batch. Once you have formed all of the balls, place them in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.

Heat water in the bottom of a double boiler. Melt the dark mint chocolate, stirring until it is smooth and no lumps remain.

I tip the pan slightly on its side while dipping the truffles in the chocolate. I found it easiest to use childrens chop sticks to hold onto the truffles. Shake off any excess chocolate and then place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow them to sit until the chocolate is set, about 10 minutes.

Melt the green candy melts either over the double boiler or in the microwave. You can put the melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and snip the corner to drizzle the chocolate, but I find it easier to just dip a fork in the chocolate and drizzle it. Have fun and play! Remember when you were a kid and you would dip your paintbrush in paint and then flick it all over the paper? Well, that is what we are doing with the fork here. I actually like that they don't all look the same!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast with a White Bean and Olive Salad

There are two magazines that I really look forward to getting every month. Better Homes and Gardens and The Food Network magazine. I know it sounds silly, but I instantly jump on the couch with a blanket and search for all the new recipes, tips and tricks that I find hidden within their pages. The March issue of Better Homes and Gardens had some really good healthy recipes! There are at least three or four recipes that I'll be trying out over the next few weeks. Both of the recipes I'm posting tonight are straight off the pages of Better Homes and Gardens March 2011 issue. Both were incredibly delicious and couldn't have been easier to make!

Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat feta)
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
I went to the butcher for my chicken breast, so the halves are very obvious and easy to cut in half. If you buy them at the store and they are gigantic, make sure to halve them. Each portion should be about 4-6oz each depending on where you get them. Mine were about 5oz for each half. Cut a small slit in the thickest part of the breast. You want a fairly deep pocket so the cheese doesn't ooze out, but don't cut through to the other side.

Mix the feta cheese and lemon peel in a small bowl. I used a microplane to zest my lemon and I had perfect little shreds of lemon peel. Once the feta and lemon peel is mixed, remove half of it (1/4 cup) and reserve it off to the side. You can add the extra to the chicken after it is cooked. If you want to you can just stuff all the feta now.

Stuff each of the chicken breasts with about 1/2 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Once the cheese is in the chicken, press the opening closed and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken for 18 minutes, flipping once during the cooking time. I usually flip it over when the cooked portion (the part that starts looking white, has crept almost halfway up the side of the chicken).

White Bean and Olive Salad

  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (1 cup) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
This recipe is simple!

Roughly chop the spinach

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half

Drain and rinse your white beans. We don't want slimy beans in our salad!

I bought pitted olives so all I had to do is quarter them :)

Use your trusty microplane and add 1 teaspoon lemon peel to the top.

Stir everything together and voila!!

I thought this salad was fantastic!!! Since this recipe did not call for any type of dressing, I didn't use one, but I think next time I will either drizzle it with a little olive oil or use a vinaigrette dressing. What an interesting salad! I haven't ever made one quite like this; it was delicious!

Calorie count for the chicken is 236. If you use the reduced fat feta it is even less!
Calorie count for the salad is 118 per serving. The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but I think it serves more like 6 people.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gimme "Samoa" That Popcorn

My daughter, Isabella, is a Girl Scout. You know what that means....Girl Scout cookies!!! Even though I am watching what I eat, I had to buy some Girl Scout cookies to support her troop. The girls have their next meeting on Friday and each girl was asked to make a recipe using Girl Scout cookies. I woke up this morning and knew what I was going to make. It was almost as if I had dreamt about it because I had never thought of this during my waking hours!

Gimme "Samoa" That Popcorn

  • 1 bag microwaveable popcorn (I used Smartpop 94% fat free...we'll add lots of fat later)
  • 10 Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips + 1 tablespoon crisco
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon crisco
Pop the popcorn in the microwave and dump it into a nice big bowl. Make sure you sift through and remove any unpopped would NOT want to accidentally bite into one later!

Cut up the Samoa cookies and mix them up with the popcorn.

Melt the butterscotch chips with 1 tablespoon crisco in the microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir. Continue to melt in 30 second increments and stir until the mixture is smooth. You only want to do this until it is just melted, otherwise it could seize up and get lumpy.

Spoon the mixture over the popcorn/Samoa mixture and stir with two spoons until all the popcorn is coated with the butterscotch chips.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Spread the popcorn on the paper in an even layer.

Melt the chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon crisco in the microwave for 1 minute and then stir. Continue melting in 30 second increments until it is smooth. Spoon the chocolate into a ziplock bag and snip a tiny corner off the bag. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the popcorn. Put the baking sheet in the fridge and let it set. When the chocolate hardens you can take it out of the fridge and break the popcorn up into pieces.