Thursday, May 31, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Pin It I'm trying to be healthier.  Now these bars are not overly healthy by any means, but they are a healthier version of my original Chocolate Oatmeal Bars.  I made a few substitutions, using whole wheat flower, adding flaxseed and using applesauce in place of some of the butter.  I also made these for an 8x8 pan because Albert is not on the healthy train and I didn't want to eat an entire 9 x13 pan by myself.  The only major difference that I noticed was that the crust mixture  was not as crumbly as the orignal so I had to crumble it myself to make the topping.  Taste wise these are identical to the orignals.  I will be making this version from now on because no one will ever know that I tried to sneak something healthy into them. 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats (I used instant)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk (1/2 of 14oz can, or 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) (I used a glass measuring cup with ounce marks to measure mine.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugar.  Add oats, flax and flour and blend until well mixed.
3. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 pan.
4. Pour sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish.  Microwave on high for 1 minute stirring after 30 seconds, until all chips are melted.
5. Pour chocolate mixture over crust.
6. crumble remaining crust mixture on top of chocolate.  Feel free to sprinkle some extra oatmeal or brown sugar on top if you have trouble covering all of the chocolate.
7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool before cutting and serving.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Island Soyaki Stir Fry

Pin It I like meals that don't heat up my kitchen or require extensive amounts of preparation.  This gem is ready in about 20 minutes.  I love making stir fries in the summer because of all of the fresh veggies I can get at the farmer's market.  You can substitute any veggies that you want.  You could also play around with the protien.  This would be great with shrimp or pork.  I used Trader Joe's Island Soyaki sauce and Trader Joe's General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce to save time while providing excellent flavor.  Once you try these sauces you will always keep them around.  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!

Island Soyaki Stir Fry
4 cups vegetables/fruits, diced (or use frozen stir fry veggie mix)
I used pea pods, red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli,  pineapple, carrots, onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup Island Soyaki sauce
1/4 cup General Tsao's sauce
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice)

1. Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add olive oil, ginger and garlic.  Saute for 1 minute.  Add diced chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook completely.
2. Transfer chicken to a separate plate.  In the same skillet add all of your veggies.  Cook about 5 minutes or until tender.
3. Pour sauces over veggies and stir to coat.   Return chicken to the pan.  Cook about 3 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble.
**Depending on how much water is released from the vegetables, you might have to thicken the sauce using 1 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water.
4. Serve over rice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Pin It Having grown up in St. Louis my whole life I just assumed that everyone knows about toasted ravioli, frozen custard and gooey butter cake.  Apparently I'm wrong.  If you have never experienced a gooey butter cake you are missing out.  But the good news is you don't have to travel to St. Louis to taste this delectable treat.   You also only need 5 ingredients!!!!  This is definitely going to be my go-to dessert for summer gatherings this year.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs, divided
1 stick butter, melted
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Mix cake mix, butter and 1 egg.  Press mixture into the bottom of a greased  9 x 13 pan.
3. In a bowl combine cream cheese, 2 eggs and powdered sugar.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
4. Pour over cake mix crust and bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crock Pot Philly Cheese Steak

Pin It Albert LOVES Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches.  Whenever we go to a restaurant and they have a version of a cheese steak you can bet money that is what he will order.  I've been wanting to make cheese steaks at home for a while now and I just got this recipe from my mom.  It is incredibly simple and the result is as good as any local deli.  I think I also like this recipe because it allows me to use my crock pot.  You need to do a little bit of prep work involving your oven, but the bulk of the cooking is done in your crock pot.

Crock Pot Philly Cheese Steak
2-3 lb beef tenderloin
garlic salt
1 can beef broth
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
provelone cheese
hoagie rolls

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Season beef with garlic salt and pepper.  Place in a shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
3. Allow beef to cool slightly and slice into thin slices.
4. Place sliced beef and beef broth into a crock pot.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
5. Just before serving, slice onions and peppers and saute in a little butter for 2-3 minutes, until just golden brown.
6. Serve by slicing hoagie in half and layering beef, onions, peppers and topping with cheese.  I placed my sandwich in a toaster oven for about 3 minutes to melt the cheese.

**I do not like green peppers so I didn't use any for the picture.  You can also add mushrooms if you like.  Feel free to use whatever type of cheese you like the best also.**

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No Bake Granola Bars

Pin It Since it is officially summer it is too hot to turn on my oven very often.  Because of that I was looking for some no bake recipes.  These granola bars are chewy, filling and quite delicious.  They are great for breakfast, a snack or even dessert. 

No Bake Granola Bars
1 cup rolled oats, I used instant
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans ***optional
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

1. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  This just helps the bars come out of the pan easily.  You could skip this step, but you might have trouble getting the bars out in nice pieces.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, vanilla and honey.  Stir in oats, coconut, flax, pecans and chocolate chips.  **If the mixture seems too dry add a little more honey to bring it together.
3. Press mixture into the pan.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to let it firm up.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Slaw

Pin It This recipe was also found in the Penzeys catalog.  You can request your own catalog on their website.  It is always full of great recipes with appetizing photos.   I made this for our Mother's Day bbq yesterday.  It was quite the crowd pleaser and super simple to whip together.  It's sweet, tangy, spicy and crunchy.  Great for any outdoor gathering.

Sweet and Spicy Slaw
2 lbs green cabbage (1/2 large or 1 small)
3 carrots
1 medium white onion
**If you do not have a food processor you can use bagged slaw mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the cabbage into chunks.  Peel and cut the onion and carrots into pieces.  Using a food processor with the grater attachment, push the veggies through the chute and grate.  Toss in a large bowl.
2. Whisk the mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar and spices.  Toss the dressing with the veggies.
3. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Picnic Potato Salad

Pin It Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!  My sister and I are in charge of dinner this year.  She got dessert and salad and I got everything else.  Since the weather is so nice we decided on a bbq theme.  I found this recipe in the Penzey's catalog.  If you don't know about Penzey's Spices, check out their website.  They have every spice imaginable, plus some awesome blends, like Arizona Dreaming, that I used in this recipe.  This is a great recipe for anyone who doesn't like mustard potato salad.  It's tangy, sweet, crunchy, creamy all at the same time.  A great side dish for any summertime gathering.
Check out the Patriotic Weekend Potluck for some awesome recipes for any gathering!

Picnic Potato Salad
6 cups cubed red potatoes
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup  light Miracle Whip
1/2 cup dill pickles, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp Arizona Dreaming seasoning
1 tsp sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain and cool.
2. Meanwhile mix Miracle Whip, pickles, sugar, and spices.
3. Add pickles, eggs, onions and cooled potatoes and toss to coat.
4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fancy Baked Potatoes

Pin It Since Albert has such simple taste in food I am always trying to find interesting ways to cook the food he loves.  Potatoes are high up on his list of favorite foods.  I saw some pictures of these potatoes on Pinterest and decided to put my own spin on them.  These are elegant enough for a nice dinner, but easy enough to whip up on a week night.

Fancy Baked Potatoes
4 baking potatoes
2 Tbsp butter, melted
garlic salt**
Italian seasoning**
olive oil

1. Wash potatoes.  Cut 1/4 inch slices almost to the bottom, but not quite, so you get the fan effect.  (I had trouble not going all the way through on some of the potatoes so we had fanned potato chunks, but they were still pretty)
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Arrange potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Pour melted butter over potato tops, making sure it drips between the slices.  Generously season with garlic salt, Italian seasoning and pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (baking time will differ depending on the size of your potatoes)
** Feel free to season with any spices you want. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Viniagrette

Pin It Sorry for the delay in posting.  I've had some hail storm/car damage issues to deal with.  But no worries.  All is well and now I can get back to normal life.  Now that the weather is warm I like to eat more salads.  Number 1 to be healthy and number 2 to have lighter meals.  But don't worry, just because this is a salad doesn't meal it won't fill you up.  The warm dressing wilts the spinach just enough, the shrimp adds some protein and the onions and peppers add nice color. This is a great light dinner or you could make smaller servings as an impressive start to a meal.

Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Viniagrette
1 lb bag baby spinach
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 c roasted red peppers, diced
6 strips bacon, cubed
1/2 cup rice  vinegar (white vinegar would work too)
4 tsp sugar **or to taste
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 lb shrimp
garlic salt

1. Cut bacon with kitchen scissors into small cubes.  Place in a small saucepan and fry until bacon is cooked, stirring frequently.
2. Remove bacon and allow to cool on a paper towel.  Leave bacon grease in pan and remove from heat.
3. CAREFULLY add vinegar, sugar and mustard to pan. (It will bubble and sizzle) Season with salt and pepper.Whisk to combine.  Warm over low heat for 2 minutes.  Place dressing in a serving dish.
4. Sprinle shrimp with garlic salt and add to the same pan that the dressing was in.  Cook 3-5 minutes or until pink.
5. Assemble salad with spinach topped with peppers, onions, shrimp and bacon crumbles.  Drizzle dressing on top.
6. Salad tastes best when you allow the dressing to wilt the spinach a bit.  I usually pour it on and then get my drink or rest of my meal ready and it is perfect.