Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

My newest fave...

I can't claim that this is the healthiest recipe on here, but it is SO WORTH the indulgence! And another thing that's really nice about this recipe is that it can be entirely prepped the night before, if you're serving it for breakfast. Your overnight guests will be dazzled by how effortless you make breakfast look! And pretty much nothing could be better than the warm flavors of apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup on a chilly morning. (Not that it's chilly in California yet, because it isn't. I love this state!)

As always, you may want to double this so it feeds more people.

Preheat to 400.
Grease an 8x8 dish with cooking spray.
Slice French bread into 1-inch thick slices, and place in baking dish.

Mix together:
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pour mixture over bread slices, and turn the slices to coat.
Peel and slice two apples, and layer over the bread slices. (I like Fuji apples.)

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples.
Using 1 Tablespoon of butter, cut into small pieces and place randomly over the apple/cinnamon mixture in baking dish. (See picture)

It's best if it sits in the fridge for a few hours, or even up to 8 hours. After you remove from the fridge, let it sit for 15-30 minutes before baking. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean.

You could sprinkle individual portions with powdered sugar to garnish, or give each serving a dollop of whipped cream. (Mmmmmm!) If you try it, let me know what you think!

I know I just made this last night, but I seriously want to make it again for dinner today! Someone stop me!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Last night was one of Ryan's favorites, Barbecue Chicken Pizza with oven roasted zucchini.

Lately I've been grilling up some Cajun seasoned chicken, shredding it, sticking it in a ziplock in the fridge, and finding all kinds of uses for it later. (I'm Robin Miller from Quick Fix Meals!) I use it for wraps, fajitas, BBQ pizza, tortilla soup—practically anything! I used it last night on the pizza, and it tasted great combined with the cilantro, red onion, and gooey mozzarella.

This is the pizza crust recipe I have memorized. I got it from the cooking class I took at BYU. It's a fantastic recipe because (a) it's hard to mess up, (b) it doesn't require much rising time, and (c) with a little alteration, it can also be used for breadsticks and focaccia breads.

Preheat the oven to 425, with pizza stone on lowest rack.

diced or shredded chicken
red onion
BBQ sauce (We like Sweet Baby Ray's)

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Add sugar, salt, and 2 1/2 ups flour. Mix to form dough.
3. Add more flour (up to a 1/2 cup) if needed to pull together. Mix about 3 minutes.
4. Let rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough's resting in the bowl, I prep the toppings... Shred the mozarrella, rough chop a red onion, pull the cilantro off the stems, shred or dice the chicken. (As I said, my chicken is prepped days before this. So convenient!)

I can't say enough about the virtures of a pizza stone. It makes fabulous pizza with a firm or crispy crust that tastes like it came straight from the restaurant. (Of course, if you don't have one yet, you can always use a cookie sheet.)

Dust the stone with cornmeal before placing it in the oven to heat up as the oven preheats. (Or, after the stone has preheated, use a spatula or something to brush some flour onto the stone. Stone is HOT!) Slide or toss your rolled-out dough onto the stone, and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove stone from oven and slather with BBQ sauce and toppings. Return to oven until cheese has melted...and voila!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Low Fat Cornbread

I'm a little obsessed lately with substituting applesauce for the fat ingredient in baked goods. Gingersnaps, banana bread, oatmeal cookies, and now, cornbread. The great news is that it works! I never substitute all of the fat, just most of it. Like in this recipe, which called for 1/2 cup of oil, I used 6 tablespoons applesauce and 2 tablespoons canola oil. And the cornbread is fantastic!

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs (I used two egg whites and one egg, to lower the cholesterol.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat to 400. Combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for five minutes. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.
If you already have a favorite cornbread recipe, you're welcome to share it in the comments! And you could always use your tried-and-tested favorite but try switching out most of the oil for applesauce. I couldn't even tell a difference!

If you're looking for an easy meal idea, tonight we served the cornbread with barbecue chicken and mushrooms. I often throw a couple chicken breasts in the crockpot, salt and pepper them and slather them with barbecue sauce, some shots of hot sauce (I use Frank's) and a few shots of Worcestershire. Cook on low for a long time to get the chicken fall-apart tender. Toward the end, I throw in some sliced or halved mushrooms. The moisture in the crockpot cooks them nicely, and it saves me from cleaning another pot!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finally...the Jalepeno Wraps

I can't get enough of these babies! They're packed with vegetables, and the sour cream/lime juice/jalapeno dressing keeps them moist and adds a little unexpected kick at the same time.

4 sandwich wraps (10-inch ones work the best, and we've tried tomato basil, chipotle pepper, and spinach wraps.)
3 cups spinach
3 cups shredded chicken (I seasoned two chicken breasts with Cajun seasoning and then grilled them. I would definitely recommend this!)
1 can drained and rinsed black beans
1 tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro

3/4 cup sour cream (we used fat-free)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons diced, canned jalapenos

Spread the dressing over the wrap, and layer the other ingredients.

Though I've adapted it slightly, the recipe is originally from Everyday Food magazine. Basically, just use whatever veggies you have in the fridge! We recently served this with grilled asparagus and a fruit salad. Yum - it doesn't get any more fresh than that!

I added the picture of my baby just because I'm so proud of him. Isn't he handsome?!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Penne Rustica

Time to switch things up with a pasta recipe. This is a pretty easy meal to prepare and the end product is not only tasty but beautiful. If you ask me, it's the roasted red peppers that make this dish! Hmm-mmm!

(Sorry about the photo quality in this one...I hate it when I have to take pictures once it's dark... Oh well, that's what you get when your husband's in public accounting--lots of late dinners!)

1 box penne (I used a 12 oz. box)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, cut into big pieces
3 roma tomatoes, halves
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (these come in a jar)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
dash of basil
dash of oregano
salt and pepper
a drizzle of olive oil

Preheat to 400 degrees. Put the zucchini, red onion, and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and stir them around to coat evenly. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the pasta. Chop the roasted red peppers and basil; quarter the artichoke hearts.

When tomatoes are just cool enough to handle, slice into bite-sized pieces. Toss everything together with the parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.

Happy eating!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Almost Guilt-Free Gingersnaps

Goodness I love these cookies! I've been perfecting this fall favorite for weeks now, and I think I've finally got it where I like it. These cookies may be low in fat, but they sure don't taste like it!! Soft and chewy and delicious...

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar for decoration

Preheat to 350. Cream together the butter, applesauce, and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in the egg white and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda, and salt, and mix it into the wet ingredients. Roll balls of dough in sugar for decoration.

Bake for about 10 minutes on an ungreased baking sheet. Let cool for five minutes on baking sheet, and then remove to a wire rack.

The dough is pretty sticky, so add a little more flour if needed, and try spraying your hands with cooking spray. The recipe only yields about 12 cookies, because if we have too many cookies in the house, we'll eat them! (surprise, surprise) If you try this, you have to tell me what you think!

...Now I've got to go get me a cookie!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chicken Enchilada Soup

With the cold seasons approaching, this will make a wonderful chilly-day meal. The heat in both temperature and taste will warm you right up! I really liked this recipe and will be adding it to my regulars. I've heard that it tastes just like the enchilada soup at Chili's, but I can't say for sure since I've never had that dish. (I'm definitely adding it to my "to-try" list, though!)

1 1/4 cups chicken broth
10 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 cup green enchilada sauce
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I only used a half a teaspoon)
2 cooked, shredded boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 cup half-and-half
1 tomato, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Combine chicken stock and tortilla strips in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until strips soften and broth thickens somewhat.
  2. Stir in enchilada sauces and cumin. Stir in chicken and half-and-half; heat through.
  3. Divide among four bowls and garnish with diced tomato, jalapeno pepper, and cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.
My version was a little different than the original because I'm limiting my dairy intake while I'm nursing the little guy. Sadly, I had to omit the half and half and the cheese. Luckily, it was still plenty yummy and considerably healthier. By the way, if you're fortunate enough to eat dairy, did you know you can get nonfat half and half? Give that a try to keep the fat content down.

I used the crockpot to make life easy. I dumped the chicken broth, enchilada sauces, and green chiles right into the crockpot and tossed in a frozen chicken breast. I kept the crockpot on low until the chicken was ready to be shredded. Then I added the shredded chicken, corn tortilla strips, cumin, salt and pepper and simmered without the lid for about half an hour.

Using a little bit of canola oil in a skillet, I fried up some corn tortilla strips to add a little crunch. Top with avacados (soooo good in this kind of a soup), tomatoes, cilantro, onion, sour cream, and whatever else you please!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Asian Spinach Salad

I tried this recipe for the first time tonight, and it was a hit. I was curious to see if my husband, Ryan, would like it (sometimes he's a little skeptical when it comes to pasta salads), but three big servings later, I'm pretty sure it passed the test. :)

I couldn't get over the great sesame flavor in this dish. And the slight crunch of the bean sprouts...Trust me, this is worth a shot.

I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, This Week for Dinner. Thanks, Jane, for sharing it!

Here are my variations:
  • Because we always like a little heat, I added a 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • I didn't end up adding the water chestnuts, mostly because I forgot...But it was still delicious.
  • And I didn't feel like buying sesame SEED oil for one recipe...(I usually try to wait to buy a new random ingredient like that until I have a couple recipes I can use it in.)
  • Green onions would be a fantastic in this, so next time, I'm going to add them
Well, that was simple. If you give this a try, let me know what you think!!