Sunday, August 7, 2011

Irish Cream Rice Pudding

Irish Cream Rice Pudding:

This is a recipe I came up with the other night when my husband asked me if I could make him some rice pudding with the leftover rice from dinner.  I realized we only had a little bit of half and half and or course his favorite coffee creamer (Bailey's Irish Cream- found in the refrigerated section where the creamers are stored).  So I thought I'd give it a whirl and it turned out really tasty! :) Phew!! So here's how I made it...

You'll need:

leftover rice or you can of course make some (we had around 1 1/2 cups of  cooked rice leftover)
1/2 cup half and half (we used fat free)
1 Cup Bailey's Irish Cream
raisins or if you're us just pick the dried cherries out of your existing trail mix LOL ;)  (as many as you like - we just use a little bit)
couple tablespoons of rum to soak the dried raisins or cherries (soak for around 15 minutes and discard leftover rum)
1 teasp. vanilla
whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish (OPT.)
1 egg ( I beat the egg and only used half of it! )

Add the creams to the rice and bring to a low boil and then turn down to simmer for around 20 minutes (watch carefully and stir occasionally)
When there is around 1-2 minutes remaining, add the egg to the rice.
Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.
The rice pudding will thicken as it sits - serve warm or chilled with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if desired! :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

wedge salad with creamy bleu cheese viniagrette

I went to the Ocean with some friends this spring and one of them ordered a delicious wedge salad!! She so sweetly shared it with all of us and it was divine!!! I have been meaning to try to make one similar but kind of forgot about it until this week. Lucky for my husband bc he about fell out of his chair in delight when he tasted it! Anyone who knows him understands this - He describes food like no one else! I think one of my pleasures in cooking is just to see his reaction! Always PRICELESS LOL ;) Anyway, here's how you make it ! 
You will need: 
1 head of iceburg lettuce cut into wedges
tomato (i used cherry tomatoes) 
 bleu cheese
balsamic vinegar (drizzle)
For the dressing you will need... 
1 T sugar
bleu cheese (1/4 cup or more)
1/4 C  sour cream
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/2 cup mayo (light is fine!!) 
salt and pepper
1 t garlic (jar kind is fine) 
1/3 C red fat buttermilk

1. Combine all dressing ngredients and mix in a blender or a hand blender (my new fav. toy!!! ) ;) 
2. Assemble the salad by sprinkling fresh bleu cheese, tomatoes,  and pecans on the wedge (most of it falls off but it's ok you'll still get to eat it ;) 
3. spoon the dressing on top and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar (don't leave this out!! so good!!)  and ENJOY!
Note: some other toppings for this that would be delish are crispy chopped up bacon, red onion, candied walnuts or plain but it was fabulous with the ingredients above! We will def. have this again in our house- YUMMMM!!! :)

My husband and I go to the OBX of North Carolina every summer now and one of our favorite things to do there is EAT!! ;) We feel they have some of the BEST restaurants around! None of this chain junk- they have the real deal here! They have the freshest fish dishes we've tasted! Anyway, we visited one of our go to places there which is called the Kill Devil Grill. The place looks like an old RV... BUT don't judge a restaurant by it's cover??... wrong saying... but you get the point! ;) The food is incredible. You know when you go out to eat at 5:00- yup you read that correctly 5:00 we eat with the oldies but goodies! ;) But you know when you go @5 and there is a 30 minute wait it's a good place!! So we waited patiently and then ordered the SPECIAL which I have recreated for my hubby and I! Ours had tuna steak on top but since tuna is a tricky little fish to grill we went safer and bought grouper. We were not disappointed!

First we visited the local fish market with fresh but kind of expensive seafood!!  (but have to say it was worth it for the tastiness of it- quality!! ) . It is simply old fashioned grits surrounded by a creamy corn succotash made with fresh corn off of the cob, lima beans a lil' butter and milk oh and some cute little tomatoes for garnish and finally a fresh piece of grouper slapped right on top!  Don't you love the paper plate's appearance in may of my posts?? that's how we roll- HATE,  HAAATE doing dishes!! The plate may be trashy but  the star of the show is what's on that Costco bargain plate. ;) 

Here's what you'll need to make this: 

old fashioned grits (not instant) - how ever many servings you need for your famiy
1 small can or frozen lima beans (only need around 1/4 cup for 2 servings)
4 ears of fresh corn boiled and slightly cooled to handle
3/4-1cup milk (fat free is fine)
1 tablesp. flour
4 small cherry tomatoes for garnish
1/2 lb fresh red grouper, or tuna steak or whatever fresh white fish you like  :)
salt and pepper to taste
little butter  (tablesp. ) and SALT for the grits

1. make the grits according to package (don't forget the salt while cooking and butter!!- don't leave this out)
2. melt around 2 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  Add around 1 Tables. of flour and combine with butter. Add around 3/4 cup milk and bring to a boil stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thickened (may need to add more milk if it gets too thick)
3.Cut the corn off of the cobs and add to a skillet along with the lima beans
4. Stir to combine with creamy mixture and keep warm and set aside. 
Grill fish with salt and pepper or sear on stove top and add to a preheated 450 degree oven for around 10 minutes or until flakes easily with a fork (my fish was around 1 inch thick so if it is thinner it will need less time)

Plate it up by spooning grits in the middle, add the succotash around the grits and place the fish on top of the grits. Garnish with tomatoes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tuna Stuffed Shells with Tomato, basil vinaigrette

Tuna stuffed shells with fresh tomato and herbs

This is a fabulous summer dish! I have been making it for my hubby and I since we were first married! :) It is so simple and delish!! The best part is you only need a few ingredients to make it.

Here's what you need to make this happen  for 2 people ;)

large shells (cooked)- 4 each
2-3 cans of tuna fish (depending on how much tuna you want)
olive oil (around 2 teasp.)
red wine vinegar (around 1 Tabl.)
cherry tomatoes or whatever FRESH tomatoes you have around (I quartered my cherry tomatoes)
BASIL  -  I HEART Basil!! ;) ( 5 or so leaves julienned or cut up finely)
* if you wanna be fancy and julienne just stack the basil leaves roll em up and slice across - easy peasy!
you can also use whatever other herbs you like - i used rosemary, oregano, and thyme bc my sweet friend had just given me some. ;) but you can leave this out too if you don't have it.

To assemble these make the tuna to your liking and  just stuff the shells with it. Then toss together the tomatoes, basil, oil, vinegar salt and pepper and herbs and spoon this beautiful mixture on top of the shells! You might wanna take a picture b4 you devour these bc they are THAT pretty! ;) or you can just dig in and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's A BLFGT??

What is a BLFGT?? Thought you'd never ask! ;) It's a Bacon, Lettuce, and FRIED GREEN TOMATO sandwich.  A twist on the oldie but goodie BLT sandwich... My husband and I discovered these last summer and finally made them again today! YUMMM!! If you have never tried a Fried Green tomato you need to do yourself a favor and give her a try ;) you won't be disappointed !Take yourself down to your local produce farm and get a nice green tomato- ripen it for a day maybe 2 in a brown bag and viola it's ready to tickle your tastebuds! IF you're lucky they will have a tomato ready to go - it should be mostly green but starting to turn a little orange - if you find one like this scoop it up and get to cookin'! 
Here's what you'll need to make these tasty sandwiches: 
1 large tomato (see above for description) 
1/2 cup corn meal ( we like the white corn meal - Indian head brand) 
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of cooked bacon
1 egg beaten
veg. oil for frying (just enough to coat the pan)
4 slices of toasted bread of your choice
Lettuce of your choice

Slice the tomato (should give you around 5 slices) 
prep. one egg for dipping the tomato
prep. the corn meal in a small plastic bag for easy clean up
salt and pepper your tomato and dip in the egg then toss into the cornmeal bag. Shake it around and then gently place each tomato in the hot oil. Fry them for around 5 minutes over med. heat or until golden brown. Remove and sit on a paper towel lined plate to drain grease. Toast the bread and build your sandwich! Spread bread with mayo and layer the lettuce , tomato and bacon and DIG IN and enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skinny Chicken Chimichangas

SKINNY Chicken Chimichangas

I adapted this from a WW recipe in an old cookbook. My husband in particular loves them!!  Hope you will enjoy them too! The best part is you don't have to feel guilty for eating them ;)

Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 burrito size tortillas
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 T chili powder, 2 tsp. Adobo seasoning, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano, salt and pepper to taste
chopped green chilies (small can)
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Cup shredded red. fat cheese + 1/2 cup for topping

Saute the chicken and seasonings in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until cooked through.
Remove chicken and hand chop or use a food processor (much easier!!) until somewhat finely chopped.
Add chicken back to the pan and add a little more seasoning if needed
Add tomato sauce, cheese and green chilies
let boil for around 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens
Spoon around 1/2 cup of the chicken mix. into the tortillas and fold burrito style.
Place the rolled tortillas on a greased baking pan and then lightly spray them with cooking spray.
Bake in a preheated oven at  375 for  20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Sprinkle the  Chimichangas with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese 
Serve with your favorite Mexican condiments (Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro... )

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Non- traditional taco salads with BAKED shell

These are sooo good and not bad for you either so even better right? ;)  I have been making these for years and never thought of putting them on here until now. :) I hope you will love them as much as my family and I do. The dressing on these is a light or fat free thousand island dressing- sounds strange I know  BUT .... give it a try! It's actually a surprisingly tasty addition and makes it "non- traditional".

Serves 4


4 flour tortillas (I use burrito size)
cooking spray
1 1/2 lb. LEAN gd. beef or gd. turkey
1 Tbls. chili powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. red pepper, salt and pepper to taste
1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
2 tomatoes (diced)
1 avocado (diced)
1 chopped white or purple onion
1 head of iceburg lettuce (chopped)
1 Cup reduced- fat shredded cheddar cheese
Light or fat free thousand island dressing  ( I use just 2 Tbls. or so)
Optional- salsa, black olives, sour cream

To make shells-
Make a ball with around an 8x10 sheet of aluminum foil ( no need to measure LOL just an estimate ;) )
Spray tortilla on both sides with cooking spray and lay the tortilla on top of the foil
Bake at 350 for around 7 minutes  (as they bake the tortilla will form around the foil ball to make a "bowl" .

Taco salad-
1.Brown gd beef with chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper, and salt and pepper in pan coated with cooking spray.
2. Add kidney beans and cook around 5 minutes longer. set aside
3. In separate bowl, mix all vegetables, (except avocado) and cheese
4. In tortilla bowl add the ground beef mix, then salad mix on top and finally, top with avocado and drizzle with dressing and any optional toppings.
5. Enjoy! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Better for you Chick- fil-a Banana pudding milkshake :)

1 1/2 cups of slow churned light vanilla ice cream (Edy's or Giant brand)
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/2 small banana or 1/4 small banana
3 crushed reduced fat Nilla wafers
1/8 tsp. banana extract
whipped cream on top (optional) 

Blend all ingredients together except for the Nilla wafers until desired thickness. Stir in the crushed cookies. Add whipped cream on top if you'd like. Enjoy! :)

This is a small sized milkshake and the calories added up to around 380-400 cals. The Chick-fil-A version is a whopping 780 cals for a SMALL!! So while this isn't something to have every night , it is a nice special treat to have once in a while for around half the cals! :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie "cheesecake" bars

This is delish!! The best thing about it is how fast and EASY it is to make! I have made this a few times and it is almost embarrassing to give the recipe bc there is so little effort involved. ;) 

Chocolate- Chip Cookie "Cheesecake" Bars

You will need:
1 large cookie dough roll (the really big one) ;) - or- 2 reg. sized rolls will work too
1 8 oz. pkg of red fat cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar or spenda blend :)

1. Cut the cookie dough roll in half while still in the package.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar.
3. In a 13x9 dish press one half of the cookie dough all over the bottom of the dish (you can slice into cookie sized circles and lay all over the pan and press to spread/cover the pan)
4. Pour the cream cheese mix on top of the cookie.
5. Do the same thing with the other half of the cookie. This time you might want to cut into discs and lay all over the top bc you won't be able to press. It will bake together if you have spaces so no worries! :)
6. Bake in a preheated 35o degree oven for  around 40 minutes.
7. Let cool in pan for around 30 minutes. Then cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Spicy Red Curry with Chicken

This is so good! My friend Jen told me about this recipe and I am hooked! :)  You can add or delete items you don't prefer. It has a little kick to it but not too much. It's a great weeknight meal because it comes together in around 15 minutes! 

You will need...

1. 1 can of coconut milk (NOT the lite kind)
2. 1 small can of red curry (found in your asian section)
3. 1 red pepper (cut into long thin strips)
4. 1 yellow pepper (cut into strips)
5. boneless, skinless chicken cut into bite sized pieces (1 lb.)
6. cilantro (around 1/4 cup chopped)
7.1/ 2 bag (around 2 1/2 cups)  Frozen green beans ( I used Trader Joe's) 
8. sliced green onions

1. Heat a skillet with a little EVOO.
2. Then, add the chicken and cook with a little salt and pepper until done (remove from pan)
3. In the same pan saute the peppers  and onions until slightly tender but still crisp!
4. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk (shake the can first) and the red curry until combined.
5. Pour the red curry and coconut milk mix. into the pan with the peppers and onions.
6. Cook, stirring occasionally until a little thicker (maybe 5 minutes or so)
7. Add chicken- stir to combine and then sprinkle with cilantro
8. Serve over Basmati white or brown rice ! :)

Good for you creamy tortellini and prosciutto

Tortellini with Prosciutto and peas (WW recipe)

1 package whole wheat cheese tortellini (1/2 lb)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 lb chopped thinly sliced prosciutto (from the deli)
1 Cup  fat - free Milk
 chopped mushrooms (opt)

2 T all purpose flour
1/2 cup grated parm cheese
1 /2 t pepper

1. Boil pasta according to package directions
2. Add peas during last 3 minutes of boiling
3. In separate pan cook the prosciutto until slightly browned
4. Remove from pan.
5.dissolve the flour into the milk by whisking together in a small bowl
6. add to the same pan that the proscuitto was in- stir constantly until thickened (around 5 minutes or less)
7. Remove from heat and add parm cheese and pepper. Add the prosciutto and the pasta and peas- toss to coat. Add mushrooms here if you'd like.  Enjoy ! :)

Mel's Chicken Parmesean

Chicken Parmesean

4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
your favorite homemade or store bought spaghetti sauce
1/3-1/2 Cup powdered parm. cheese
 2 Cups Shredded mozzarella cheese (reg or red fat)
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

 Oven 350 degrees

1.Pound the chicken breasts one at a time with a mallet in between wax paper or plastic wrap to keep from splattering. 
2. mix parm cheese and breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl or plate
3. crack 2 eggs and beat in a shallow bowl.
4. dip each chicken breast in the egg and then dredge it in the parm mix. (set each breast on a plate once you have dredged it in the parm mix. )
5. Fry chicken 2 pieces at a time (don't crowd your pan) until crispy (around 4 minutes per side ish)
6. Once chicken is fried move it to the 13x9 pan (lightly grease your pan and pour a little sauce on the pan as well)
7. So by now you should have a greased pan, little sauce on the pan then top with the fried chicken pieces. Now, pour a little more sauce on top of the chicken (as much or as little as you like)- Then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken.
8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 25-30 minutes or until bubbly :)