Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mini Peanut Butter Cheescakes

Saturday, totally opted out of a 5k I was thinking of running (Hey, it was at 8:00 a.m. in a town 30 min away and it was 20 stinkin' degrees outside!). I made my wal-mart run at about 7:45 a.m.. 'Twas a nice long, enjoying-not-being-trampled-on-by-crazy-weekend-shoppers trip. Seriously. I was there for like  1 1/2 hours. I still managed to spend way too much. Darn walmart. Darn it. Gets me every time. Pretty confident of other Americans feel the same way.

Afterwards, I came home to make this yum-tum dessert. I had been searching for a non-chocolate, easy-to-eat, widely liked, yet with a twist, dessert to take to a Christmas party on Saturday. Hmmmm........What shall that be? To be honest, sometimes (okay, usually), I tend to "over-think" what to make for others. I want it to be something people will like, yet pretty...Oh the pressure!*wink*

It started when I remembered this Caramel Drizzle Pie recipe I had seen (I know Caramel Pie=PB Cheesecakes...HOW? Hang in there with me). I was 'surfin' the net' for my recipes. Then, I thought, maybe not caramel pie, maybe caramel cheesecake. Most people really like cheesecake, right? (Well, it's only "okay" for me. I'd rather have gooey chocolate-y-ness or cake). I thought of doing a traditional cheesecake, too. Wanted different, but not too different where people would be scared to try-hard to believe that not everyone is such an adventurous eater like me :). Found this good ol' Paula Deen recipe per http://www.bakeorbreak.com/. Perfect-o -a "normal" dessert, with a small twist, and the bonus of individual servings!

The recipe is a traditional cheesecake with a mini Reese's cup inside. Like a little happy golden nugget. Imagine receiving THAT happy suprise.

The only 2 drawbacks to this recipe:
1) It was that it was not "pretty" after it cooled. I could see little divets where the the pb cups were. Grrr. Think think. Got it! So, I topped with nuts and graham cracker crumbs.
2) I think I needed to pack my crust a little better. Crust was a bit crumbly. Duly noted.

Turns out, there were a few cheesecake lovers at the party! It went with the roast chicken, mashed 'taters, broc-n-cheese casserole, baked beans, crescents, and apple spice cookies. We all enjoyed a night of the game "True Colors" (I lost) and Wii. Also, heard some good funny stories!

Oh, and even though I missed my 5k, a friend called and we went for a 4 mile walk-jog (10 min mile each). Yeppers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I LOVE Ooey-Gooey Flat and Chewy {Cookies}!

Behold the Yum.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Something people may be specific about. Thick, Thin, Chewy, or Crispy? Me, I like 'em thin and chewy. Yep. Mine are intinially thin-promise! My mom-in-law makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies-which are thin and chewy. *Sigh* I try to strive to make my cookies just like hers. These were pretty close!
Delish.
oh. yeah.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lemon Chicken Piccata - An Attempt to be Fancy-ish

Idea: Me. Chef Hat. Cooking with my Fancy white wine, adding capers, wisking my sauce to completion as I seemlessly saunter around my cooking station....

Reality: Me, in PJ's, with an icky cold & feeling like doo-doo, using my whole $8.00/bottle wine, not-so-gracefully following step-by-step cooking instruction hoping to goodness this recipe is as great as I had hoped, with hubby in the background peering over my shoulder in anticipation.

Well, like I said this recipe was my attempt  to be fancy. Probably my reality is the same as many. I like the term, "Real-Life Cook." Can I get a what what?

I eyed this recipe in Granny's "Cuisine At Home" recipe booklet. Lemon Chicken Piccata, eh? Always wanted to try it. Totally had purchased some wine to cook with. Oh, what the hay. Let's give it a go.

The "go" went. The verdict of my fancy-smance meal? Just so, so. Not bad, but not Uber-great. Little bland for us-'course we like lots of flavor. This would be a recipe for the "safe" (i.e. boring) eater. So, if you ever have one of those guests over. Maybe you should make this *wink wink*.

Here's the Recipe:




Chicken PiccataSource:  Cuisine at Home, complimentary issue
ingredients:2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded into cutlets
salt and black pepper
all-purpose flour
nonstick spray
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. drained capers
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
fresh lemon slices
chopped fresh parsley
instructions:1.  Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray, add oil, and heat over medium-high.
2.  Saute cutlets 2-3 minutes on one side.  Flip cutlets over and saute the other side, covered, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter; pour off fat from the pan.
3.  Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic.  Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
4.  Add broth, lemon juice, and capers.  Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.  Transfer cutlets to warm plates.
5.  Finish sauce with butter and lemons.  Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.
6.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Makes:  2 servings

Nutritional Information:  calories 449, fat 28g (10g. saturated), protein 41, carbohydrates 3, fiber 0g, cholesterol 129mg, sodium 259mg

P.S. Totally apologize for the crummy pics. My camera was stolen a few months ago. Maybe Santa will bring me a better one?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Alfredo Sauce - Cream Cheese Style

I know I have posted a previous Alfredo Sauce, but this is a new one....tastes better, quite easy, and not as healthy (hence the better taste) but this one still avoids the heavy whipping cream often present in alfredo sauce. However, hubby actually said he "loved it" and this was so easy....Looks like I have a definite "keeper" recipe.

This recipe came about when I was trying to decide what to make for dinner...hubby is back home from a family visit and I asked him what he wanted for din-din. He thought Alfredo sounded yummy. I told him I'd have to buy the sauce and he said, "Can you just make it with stuff we already have?" "Well,yeah, guess so," I responded. Onto the web I went. Found this and only tweaked just a tiny bit, I swear!

One bite of this and the hubby stated this was the best alfredo sauce I had ever made. Then, later preceded to make comments such as, "We can't waste this sauce," "I love it," and "Yes, I WILL eat the leftovers tomorrow". Glad he liked it so much!

This recipe re-enforces my belief that everything is better with either cream cheese or sour cream!

Alfredo Sauce:
1 (8 oz) pkg Cream cheese (lowfat)
1 stick of Light butter
1 cup Milk
3/4 Parmesan cheese
2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp B€asil, dried
Pinch of nutmeg
Pepper, to taste
Juice from one lemon wedge (okay, that was the part I added)

Directions:
In a saucepan on low, combine all of the ingredients (except lemon juice). Stir until melted and combined. Simmer on low until ready to serve. 
***Helpful Hint: If sauce gets too thick, simply add water to loosen (I used my pasta water).







Friday, June 24, 2011

Oooh Ommm Omelet


Check. It. Out. Yep, its my "Oooh Ommm Omelet." I came home from work the other night starving (as usual, 'cause it seems I am always hungry!). I really didn't know what to cook. The hubby was out of town, so, I was cooking just for one. Which means I can cook whatever I like, but also means that I am not as apt to cook a "big" meal.
Well, looked in the fridge and what did I see, fresh, brown farm eggs staring back at me. Like the rhyme, don't ya. Don't lie, you know you do. 
Well, hmmm, what to put IN the omelet? I pulled out some frozen onions and mixed peppers, threw in some fresh spinach that was hanging out in the crisper, a French Onion Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge (so creamy!), and MY very own FRESH GARDEN TOMATO! *Sigh* So proud of my little plants! Might I add that garden tomatoes taste SO much better than store-bought. Love 'em. 
I also added some herbs...Rosemary, Basil, wee bit of Thyme and Garlic Powder, and Salt and Pepper, of course. 

Mmm Mmm Mmm. That was Tasty, Fast, AND Filling! 3 very important traits...quick getting in my belly and my belly is oh so happy and full.
I also toasted an english muffin with strawberry jelly. Oh yeah, Love me some "Brinner" (aka BReakfast for diNNER). 

Here's the Recipe, Yo:
1 Egg Yolk & 2 Egg Whites
1/4 frozen Onions and Peppers (or fresh if you have them)
1 Handful of fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge (Your choice of which kind)
Herbs, Salt & Pepper, just a pinch of each

Directions:
1) In a non-stick skillet, saute onions and peppers until soft. Season with salt & pepper
2) Add in spinach leaves. Cook until wilty-looking
3) Scramble the egg yolk & whites, herbs, salt & pepper in a separate cup.
4) Then, in another non-stick greased skillet (or simply remove the veggies from your first one), cook eggs. Flip once.
5) Add in veggies and cheese wedges.
6) Top with tomato. Serve and yum!



Okay, I swear I have been cooking...just not blogging. Been so darn busy! I will try to do better. I have made Tilapia, White Chocolate and Almond Cookies, Oatmeal Pancakes (totally going to blog later 'cause I think I may be in love), Chickpea and Red Pepper Salad, and stuff. See, I have been cooking...Promise! Now...only to blog more...


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In-Law Broccoli Salad

       
Yep. It's official, I have now been deemed worthy to make my in-laws broccoli salad. Oh, I am so humbled! *Wink*
No, really, this is a recipe that my mother-in-law makes (most of the time - sometimes the dear ol' auntie-in-law makes it, too). I have always enjoyed her broccoli salad, but have never made it myself. Well, now, I am trained. Watch out, y'all!!!

The skillful learnings began this o`ver this past "mega-cake" *ahem* I mean, "mega-party" weekend.
S I D E   N O T E: But to me, now, and to those I hold dear to my heart, Party=Cake (or does Cake=Party? Hmmm...to ponder....).
Well, back to the story. As most parties go, we were in a time crunch. The host was super busy, my mom-in law (maker of the broccoli salad) was enduring a long drive from the upper states to attend the par-tay, AND we were awaiting the arrival of the necessary ingredient-broccoli.  In addition, we also weren't quite sure this dish would be made in time. Well, solution! The mummy-in-law suggested I prep the dressing while we wait for the broccoli. "Well," I paused, "I have never made that before!" She assured me no worries...she would talk me through it.

I did have the help of a couple of taste-testers. I didn't exactly measure....just tasted as I went. It was a success! Even got a compliment. Yipee!!! I will DEFINITELY make this again. Especially since it's an "in-law" recipe. 

Broccoli Salad 
Ingredients (Guesstimate):
2/3 Cup Miracle Whip
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/8 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Diced Red Onion
1/2 Cup Chewy Bacon Bits (i.e. Hormel)
1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Crumbles
2 Heads of Broccoli Florets (aka: No Stems!)

1) Mix first 3 ingredients together
2) Add in Red Onion. Sire
3) Add in Bacon Bits. Stir
4) Set in refridgerator until ready to serve.
5) Right before serving, stir in cheese. Yum! 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Naan Pizza Pie

                                                                                                                   

 Yep. These are some yum-a-licious pictures of homemade pizza! Doesn't it look delish? I have been on a pizza kick for a while know. I use to never crave it, but for the past month, I have really wanted to eat it! I generally by the lean cuisine pizzas to help balance the calories and try to relieve the conscience (mega calories are often present with "da pie"). But, I decided it was time to make my own.  A compromise between pizza-chain pizza and lean cuisine-  a happy medium :).

Plus, I really wanted to use the Naan Recipe I had made a few weeks ago as the vessel to carry my yumalicious indulgence (see the prior posted Chicken Tikka Masala for the Naan recipe). To add further, Aaron has requested the making of the Naan , oh, about 3 times in the past month  -so, I figured I better get my butt in gear and make it! Yeah, apparently, he really likes it. Really. Like, he ate just Naan as his whole dinner one night. Just Naan. What can I say, the man likes his bread.

Okay, back to "da pie". I had prepped the Naan the night before - meaning, I had mixed, kneaded (only a tad), and let rise the night before. Then, I wrapped is in saran wrap and stashed is in the fridge for the next day's (tonight's) dinner. It happily awaited my rolling pin upon my arrival home from work today. So, all I had to do tonight was pretty simple. I would definitely make this again. Definitely a good idea to use the Naan. Thank you, Naan! Plus, I "healthed it up" by using Turkey Pepperoni-which I highly recommend. It is way better for you, plus, still tasty. Easier on the digestion, too since they are not so greasy.

Here's my "Process":
1) I rolled out my prepped Naan. Placed on a Baking Sheet. Brushed the dough with tad of olive oil, garlic powder, and basil. Then, baked the crust only until lightly browned.
2) Then, I removed from the oven. Added my tomato sauce. 
(I will use a different brand next time. I had Kroger's in stock, but I will use either the Walmart Traditional blend (don't knock it, it is really good, promise!) or another brand.)
3) Topped sauce with mozzarella cheese, McCormick Garlic and Red Pepper seasoning, and Italian Seasoning, Wee bit of Parmesan, Turkey Pepperoni, and Green Olives.
4) Let bake in oven until melted and gooey and lightly browned and until I was drooling. Okay, maybe I wasn't drooling...noticeably, at least, but....
5) Dining time! Of course, I served mine with pepperocini rings.

Drool Shot!


 I know, wipe the drool away now.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crock-Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Well, I have heard of Italian Beef in the crock-pot, but had never yet tried it. Probably due to my feelings toward beef-I am not "in love" with beef, but I like it just okay. I totally favor chicken and fish more. Howver, one of the ladies at work mentioned she had made it the other night and that it is just tasty AND easy. Tasty AND easy? Sweeeet!

The crockpot is a major time-savor with the added bonus of me NOT having to really make the dinner once I get home and wait on it. Just so easy-peasy!

Well, the giver of the recipe, said she uses onion dry soup mix, beef roast, and pepperocinis in a crock pot. Then, cooks for 6-7 hours on low and serve as sandwiches. Really, super easy. Of course, I complicated things, and thought I it was suppose to be Itialian dry soup mix...which I didn't have....so, I stubbornly made my own. *sigh* You know me, always doing things the hard way...

Yes, probably would have been quicker and easier if I had just drove to dang wal-mart and bought the Italian Soup Mix, but, in my defense, I know have a super-duper seasoning blend consisting of spices I generally already carry in my cabinet. Plus, all of the knowledge I have gained. Knowledge = Power! Okay, cheesy, I know.

But this turned out sooooo good. Makes me reconsider my indifference toward beef...almost...not quite. Nah, I still like chicken and fish better, but this IS GOOD! I will definitely make this again.

I have to give some major credit to the husband. He is the co-cooker of the meal (a rarity, but welcomed!). I was responsible for the ingredient list, but he really did all the measuring and watching. Since, in a rush for work, I simply only put the ingredients in the crockpot. Well, having never made this before, I did not really know how much seasoning to add. Good ol' hubby of mine took care of all that for me. He did so good! It was and is yummy! Totally scored leftovers for lunch! Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 Tbs Au Jus (or Beef) Base (like beef bullion cubes, but SO much better...promise on this!)
Italian Seasoning/Soup Blend (recipe below) or 2 envelopes of Dry Italian Dry Soup Mix
2 lb Beef Roast
8-16 oz of Pepperocini Rings
Bread (Subs, Hoagie Rolls, Etc) of choice

Directions:
1) Add the first 4 ingredients in the crock-pot.
2) Cook on low 6-7 hours.
3) Right before serving, shred beef with a fork and add in pepperocini rings.
4) Service on Bread as sandwiches! Enjoy!


Dry Italian Seasoning Mix:
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp basil
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp italian seasoning
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs sugar (I substitued 1 of the Tbs with Splenda)

Mix all together. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Greek Veggie Toss

I was having a craving for some yummy Greek salad I have had a couple of times while visiting my in-laws in the northern states. I was having dreams of feta, beets, tomatoes, onions, and all that jazz piled on a hug bed of lettuce. Well, since I am about, oh, 9 hours from that Greek restaurant, I was going to have to find an alternative. So, I made my own version. It was yummy, healthy, and sufficed my craving. Also, this is a very fresh, light, filling, and good-for-you recipe. This would be a good one for potlucks-make ahead and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Here goes...

Ingredients:
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4-1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup of pepperocini rings (Olives would be better, if you have them.)
1 can of beets, quartered and drained
1/4 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1/2 of lemon
2 Tbs of red wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Combine all. Serve! (Even better if you let this marinate in the refrigerator overnight).


P.S. I added a can of tuna to 1/3 of the recipe in order to make this a lunch!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fluffy Pancakes

It's so fluffy!!!! Behold, the fluffy pancakes! Ta da! This officially one of my easy "go-to" pancake recipe. I have made these twice now, and both times, they are just so darn fluffy!

I arrived home from a brief a.m. outing to a few rummage sales when Aaron asked, "Why don't you make me some breakfast?" Challenge taken. He decided pancakes sounded yummy. I also made bacon to accompany -We don't need lonely ol' pancakes by themselves! Alas, I turned to my good "old faithful" recipe. So easy and so wonderful.

These babies possess the 2 necessary traits of pancakes: Texture and Taste. While I have stuck with the plain ol' version, I am positive these would be awesome with the addition of blueberries or chocolate chips, if that is what works for you. The husband prefers his plain-jane style.




<---The plate I originally fixed for the hubby








<---His "re-fixed", bigger version...








Ingredients
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbs vinegar 
1 cup all purpose flour (Option to substitute up to half of AP flour for whole-wheat, only if you want)
2 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbs of melted butter (Totally forgot to add this time-oops!)

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala with Homemade Naan and Raita


Welcome and travel with me to the flavors of India! That sounds a bit nerdy, but, what the hay! Let me start by saying that we love Indian food. However, Indian food is not really available in "our neck of the woods." In order to obtain some of this tastiness, you have to travel quite a-ways away from our town. Not really an ideal situation for us. So, here's my attempts to make-up for the lack of accessibility.

I was first introduced to Indian fare by my in-laws - from my dear ol' step-father-in-law, to be exact. He spawns from the curry-loving country. Yet, he has never personally cooked Indian for me. The audacity, I know. No worries, the good ol' mom-in-law has made some for us. Yay!!!

Now, Indian cooking definitely has its own flavor profile: strong, dominating, and distinct. Traditional Indian cuisine can be quite spicy, but not always. Common ingredients are tomatoes, garlic, ginger, curry, garam marsala (a spice), cilantro, yogurts/milk, paneer (a cheese), chutneys (kind of like jellies, sometimes savory or sweet), and so much more! It is so yum, but it not for the "safe" eater; more for the adventurous with a tendency toward stronger flavors. To me, it has a uniqueness unlike other cuisine...you just have to try it to see for yourself.You will either love it or hate it.

I have tried prepackaged spices, sides, and sauces in attempts to satisfy my cravings. However, most of the time, they don't replicate the authentic Indian flavors that I would like. Like, the last spice mix I tried was so spicy, it kind of nauseated me...the husband on the other hand liked the spiciness. Won't do that one again! So, I decided to try and make my own. The results was pretty darn good-not the same as if made by an Indian cook, but a pretty darn-good substitute. Plus, Indian can be healthy if you know what to look for.

For this one, I actually followed the recipe, with the exception of a few instances. *GASP* I know, abnormal, but it happens sometimes. Probably because I am not well-experienced in Indian cooking. But, I would love to learn and practice more! Next time, I will make this in a crock-pot or let it cook all day to better develop the flavors. The chicken tikka masala is kind of like chili in the way that the longer it sets, the better it gets. BTW, this a Cook's Illustrated recipe which I really admire. Cook's Illustrated really tests recipes for the best preparation and flavors. Here goes...don't be scared, just try it!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (Which is ground, dried cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used Extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press,about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated) ( used 1/4 tsp dried)

Masala Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed through a garlic press, about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated) (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 serrano chili, fresh, ribs and seeds removed, and flesh minced (I substitited ground red/cayenne pepper) ( I substituted ground red/cayenne powder)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (I used plain yogurt and milk instead)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped) (I used dried)
  Directions:
  • FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  • FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  • While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  • Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve. 
  •   Serve with rice.
I also made Naan, which is an Indian yeast flatbread (Taste like Pizza dough) with Raita (a cucumber-yogurt sauce). 
Naan                                               
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbs white sugar                                     
  • 1/4 cup white sugar                                 
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (I used All-Purpose, since that was what I had)                                                                                            
  • Garlic Powder, to taste                                                  
  • Onion Powder, to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and 1 Tbs of sugar. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared. (I used my indoor George Foreman since I, sadly, have no outdoor grill-But I really want an outdoor grill!)
Raita
  • 1 cup plain yogar
  • 1/3 of a cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion Powder, to taste
  • A bit of water to thin out
Directions:
1) Mix all. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with Tikka Masala and Naan.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

OBG Salmon



O to the B to the G Salmon! Oh yeah! This was is a "winner winner (not a chicken dinner though)"! Here's the breakout, yo...
O is for Orange
+
B is for Balsamic
+
G is for Garlic
=
Fabulous!

Can a got a "wha, what"? Okay...fine...I'll chill (just a wee bit). As you may already tell, I liked this recipe. So much, in fact, I will make again and have already passed it along to a fellow fish-lover.

Well, I have been slackin' in the cooking department since we have been out of town visiting my in-laws and busy with other stuff. But the time came that I was wanting something different from what I had been having that was healthy and yum.

So, I splurged and bought some awesome fresh salmon at our local Kroger (with my coupon..heck, yes, I do coupon!). Hmmm...what to go with? Decided on two of my favorite veggies, Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus. Also, the hubby likes the hollandaise with his salmon, generally. So, I totally cheat and buy the package kind. I need to make it from scratch one day, I am sure it is waaaaay better, but until then...package works.

I went on the hunt for a good salmon recipe. I narrowed it down to two choices and let the hubby pick (might save the other for a later date). He picked the Rosemary Balsamic Salmon. So, into the kitchen I went. Well, I began exactly following the recipe, being careful to get everything according to the directions, and ....NOT! What are you thinking?? Of course, I changed it. ha ha. BUT I'd like to think it is for the better. So, I'll stick with mine. A happy little recipe tweek that turned into a wonderful semi-creation.

The flavor breakdown: Hard to describe. I was afraid the vinegar would make it too tart, but not so! The sweetness of the OJ balanced the tartness of the vinegar wonderfully. Plus, add in the hint of rosemary and the awesomeness of garlic and...voila! It was a great combination. This did not have a "heavy" or overwhelming flavor, just perfectly balanced. There was not "one" dominating taste, just..well, very pleasant. Don't know how else to describe. Guess you'll just have to try it for yourself. (Yes, that's a challenge).

For the sides:
1) I simply made sweet potatoes the good ol' fashioned way - wrapped in foil and baked in the oven (served mine with cinnamon).
2) As for the asparagus, I seasoned with fresh garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Then, I roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 15 min (stinkin' yum...I think I have garlic in my pores, now).

Now to the salmon (my version)...
Ingredients for Marinade:
1/4 cup Juice of an Orange
2-3 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary leaves (not the powder, if you use powder, I'd probably use about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 Tbs Olive Oil (extra-virgin for me)
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1) Combine all ingredients. Marinade in fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes.
2) Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork (wish I had a grill for this!)
3) Serve and yum!

P.S. The hollandaise, if choose to make, is drizzled (or in the husband's case-poured), over the asparagus and fish. Really recommend it, but so not good for you. It's basically egg yolks and butter and milk.

  
Doesn't it look so yummy?
Nom. Nom. Nom.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza on Honey Wheat

Well, this one came about by the need to use up some Rotisserie Chicken given to use by Granny. Upon our last visit home, she had given us A LOT of leftover rotisserie chicken. Well, it was a lot for two people. In the beginning, Aaron may himself chicken caesar salads and I made a buffalo chicken wrap and such. But after a couple of days, we were a little burnt out. So, I stuck the chicken in the freezer for a later time.

The later time came. I had been thinking of converting the chicken into bbq sandwiches, but decided on pizza instead. FYI I really really love Mr. Gatti's BBQ Chicken Pizza. This wasn't Gatti's but it still was good, nonetheless.

Now, I do not have the best experience with recipes that require yeast-Most of the time, they do not turn out just so. Trust me, I check my water temp., but maybe I over-knead? Who knows...bread-making is a challenge I hope to eventually master. But, I found a very quick and healthy pizza dough recipe I thought I'd try. It is a honey wheat crust which I thought would complement bbq chicken very well. Did I mention is was healthy?

I mixed up my dough and noticed it was quit a wet dough....not fluffy. Odd. But, this is made using whole wheat flour, which is denser than all purpose flour, so, I added more flour when I kneaded a bit. Ready for baking. Well, the baker is then suppose to pre-bake the dough for about 10 minutes before putting on the toppings. Well, silly ol' me put on the bbq sauce THEN remembered to prebake. So, it was prebaked with the bbq sauce on. Not ruined, but the crust was not exact.

I then added my toppings and baked longer. I had to end up baking the pizza until browned a bit much in order to correct my pre-baking misstep. Oh, well, accidents happen. It's all a part of learning about cooking, in my opinion. It still tasted good (just not perfecto, as I desire)!

At first bite, I was not sure if I was going to like it. But this pizza had that sort characteristic that, the more I ate it, the more I liked it. The hubby agreed on this. Something about this, we both really liked. I think it was the combination of flavors and textures: the slightly sweet yet hearty and dense whole wheat crust mixed with the sweet, smooth barbecue sauce, plus the zip and crunch of the onion, addition of the "goo" (cheese), and the yumminess of the rotisserie chicken.  Need I say more?

So, next time, I'll work on perfecting a crust, (or just buy one - yes, sometimes I do choose the easier option) and add more cheese. Besides that...yum!

P.S. You can totally buy your own pre-made crust and use the bbq chicken toppings listed below. Sometimes convenience wins!


Whole Wheat and Honey Pizza Dough
1 (.25 oz) package of dry active yeast
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 Tbs honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ (I used milled flax seed instead)
1 tsp salt

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2) Combine dry active yeast and warm water in bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes until creamy-looking.
3) In a separate bowl, combine whole wheat flour, wheat germ/flax seed, and salt.
4) Make a "well" in the flour mixture. Pour the honey and yeast mix into the "well".
5)Stir slightly until combined. Let set in warm place for about 10 minutes (dough should rise some).
6) Roll out on lightly floured pizza pan. 
7) Prick holes in dough using a fork.
8) Bake for 10 min. Remove from oven. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza
1 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken, pulled/shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzerella cheese (or any other kind you prefer)
3/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1 cup bbq sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's-the BEST bbq sauce)

Directions:
1) Pour and spread bbq sauce evenly on pizza.
2) Top evenly with cheese, onion, and chicken (I had combined my chicken with a couple of Tbs of chicken for extra flavor). 
3) Bake for about 10 min or until lightly browned. Cut and serve. Yum!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mamma Mia Manicotti!

Ha ha. That's what I'll call it, at least. However, the "real" name was Meat-Filled Manicotti. Boooring! Especially when it is super yummy! This was  "new" recipe for me. Well, sort of. The ingredients are pretty much the same as any Italian, baked dish, however, I had never actually made wondrous version.

So, I know. No picture! I have to get my butt in gear! Por favor, forgive! My batteries were dead and my tummy was rumbling. Priorities, people!

The hubby and I do not eat a lot of pasta in general (or rice either-we are more of bean and 'tater people) but I have a want for it more than he. As such, whenever I have a craving for Italian fare, I often partake of the freezer sort. So, it is a rare occasion I actually cook Italian. Alas, I had a craving and a new challenge to take on!

Well, dinner was on the agenda, but I really wanted to do some yard work after I arrived home from the office. Now, I had a dilemma. Manicotti is not a "throw together" dish in that it takes time to assemble. I knew that if I made the dish when I got home, I wouldn't get to do my yard work (will post pics of the pretty flower later, maybe). What to do, what to do....I decided I would take a "rest day" from the gym this a.m. and prep my Mamma Mia Manicotti. Good thing I did. This sucker took me like 50 minutes to assemble....plus, like lasagna, the dish takes about another 45 minutes in the oven. I would have been a starvin' marvin'! But this was sooooooo worth it. Really. Really. Good.

Pros: 1) A good "make ahead" dish
           2) Hearty and filling
           3)a "safe" dish that almost all will like
           4) Stinkin' yummy!
Cons: 1) A little time consuming (that's all I have on the negative)

So, I may or may not have over-cooked it a tad....Hey! I was outside gardening (and my flower are so pretty and I can't wait for my tomato plants to grow!!!!)! No worries, it wasn't too brown...just more than we would have liked. I will also add more herbs to the meat, which I will include in the recipe below. Here's the recipe (Feel free to Google "manicotti" if you are unsure of what it looks like). FYI, this makes quite a bit...like 6-7 servings. Yep...we totally had leftovers! Sweet!

Meat Mixture
1 lb Ground Beef (I used 93% lean)
2 oz of Italian Sausage
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cheese-Filling
1) 1 1/2 cups Ricotta or Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Egg Whites
1/2  Tbs dried Oregeno
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 cup Mozzarella, shredded

Other
1 (32 oz) jar of Pasta Sauce (Prego for moi)
1 pkg of Manicotti shells (14 in a package)
1 cup Mozzarella, shredded

1) In a boiling pot of water, cook manicotti until about halfway cooked (cooking halfway well help stuffing them). Drain. Let cool.
2) Brown both meats in skillet. Drain. Set aside to cool.
3) In a bowl, combine all ingredients of cheese mixture. Once combined, stir in cooled meat mixture. Set aside.
4) Pour about 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.
5) Place meat and cheese mixture in a sandwich baggie. Snip off one of corners of the baggie using scissors. Pipe the meat/cheese mixture into the manicotti.. Place in the casserole dish.
6) Continue until all manicotti are filled.
7) Pour remaining pasta sauce over manicotti.
8) Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
9) Bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Serve and yum!

Monday, April 11, 2011

MM's Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

No...NOT M & M's...Geez, get your mind out of the chocolate! MM's means "Maxie's Mom's". One fine day, I arrived at work and behold a FREE of pan of enchiladas. Yes, FREE. Mind you, enchiladas are another food I loooovvvve. I want to hug them, squeeze them, kiss them...okay...really, I just want to EAT them. Well,  Maxie's mom is a phenomenal cook (like, everything I have ever tasted she has made is perfect). Now, enchiladas are not typically a type of food her mom prefers (she does "country" cooking), but Yippee! for me...Maxie's Mom had a craving for some enchiladas. Well, Maxie's mom had made a whole pan for only two people. Luckily, we were blessed to partake of the extras.

Yes, they were slammin' and jammin'!!!!  Meaning, they were stinkin' YUMMY! Well, those darn enchiladas haunted my cravings, so, I had Maxie get the recipe for me. Well, since Maxie's mom has been cooking for a long time, she doesn't really measure (a trait of a "real" cook, in my opinion). So, basically, I got a list of ingredients. Of course, my enchiladas were not as good as her mom's and I changed it a wee bit -like I didn't roast a whole chicken, just chicken breasts. I know, *sigh* the whole chicken would have been tastier, but they were still really good! And, mine ended up a littler "saucier" than MMs'.

I had been searching for a "tweek" to my current enchiladas recipe-which have earned a slot in my dinner rotation. These were almost the same as the one I had been using, only "amped" up, which it what I was looking for.

One more picture...
Now, the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cooked and shredded (I used chicken breasts, but trust me, the whole chicken is better!)
1 jar of salsa
4 oz (lowfat) cream cheese
1 large can of red enchilada sauce
1/2-3/4 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped
8-10 tortillas (I used Tumaro's Gourmet Tortillas-5g net carbs, 6g protein, 7g fiber, 60 cal="healthy" tortilla)
1/2 cup-1 cup shredded cheese

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2)In a saucepan on medium heat, combine salsa, cream cheese, spinach, and 1/2 can of enchiladas sauce. 
3) Stir until cream cheese has melted and spinach is wilted/cooked
4) Toss in cooked, shredded chicken. Stir to combine
5) Pour 1/4 can of enchilada sauce in bottom of a 9x13 pan (prevents the enchiladas from sticking!)
6) Fill tortillas with chicken mixture. Roll up. Place seam-side down in the dish. 
7) Once all tortillas are filled, Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.Sprinkle with cheese.
8) Bake 15-20 min or until warm and bubbly. Serve and yum!


Funny tid-bit, which I choose to express in a dialog below: 
I was a little concerned about the spinach and the husband. Green vegetable + somewhat picky meat eater = questionable success in terms of "hubby standards". BUT, after we were done,
Aaron said, "Well, that confirms my suspicion." 
"Of what?," I uttered.
"That just about anything tastes good in an enchilada." 
To which I replied, "Nuh uh, you don't like rice that much in an enchilada (I may or may not have sort of smugly mentioned)".
 "Well, That's because it's rice," he retorted.
"And, you don't like corn either in them," I replied (because I had totally tried that one before)
"True, but that's because it's crunchy," he said.
Yeah, bottom line is...he liked dang spinach in the enchilada! ha ha!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Teriyaki Tuna Steaks

This was my first attempt at making tuna steaks. I had planned on buying trout, but then the whim hit me to buy tuna steaks. Well, at first, all I seen at the store was frozen for like $10 for 2 steaks. Wha?? That's crazy! Well, I lucked out and found 2 steaks marked for quick sale! So, into my cart they went.

Now, I like tuna. Some of my favorite sushi has tuna and I like tuna salad sandwiches. I had always seen tuna steaks out and about but had only had one tuna steak sandwich outside of the good ol' canned sort. Well, I think I'll generally stick to the canned sort. I guess, with these, I just expected more. I always thought of tuna steaks has a "gourmet-ish" kind of entree...guess it was the high price and hoity-toity fancy-smansh surrounding the idea of the tuna steak.  I was a bit disappointed. It tasted just like the canned type, but a little dryer. Mind you, the dryness was due to the fact that tuna steaks are "ideally" to be served rare to medium-rare and I cooked ours about medium well, but really! Why would I pay a hefty price when the canned stuff is sooo much cheaper???? Guess I really shouldn't be disappointed that canned tuna taste just like tuna steaks! Ha ha!

Okay, this wasn't bad, but I won't be going out and buying tuna steaks, especially when they are in the higher price range.  I think the husband liked these better than me. I think it is kind of a personal thing. If you really  like tuna, hey, these might be just for you. They certainly look pretty :). Here's the  recipe, if you're feeling froggy. Of course, this is my version. You know, I had to tweek. Oh, FYI, I definitely recommend doubling the marinade recipe below.

Marinade:
1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 small can of pineapple, use only about 1-2 Tbs of juice & drain the rest
 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper 
1 lb tuna steaks

Directions:
1) Combine all ingredients. Marinate for at least 10 minutes.
2) Preheat grill (I only have an indoor grill)
3) Grill steaks until cooked through as desired. Serve.

These cool quite quickly, so, you would want to serve them close to when they finish cooking.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oh, How I Love Thee, Asparagus.

I know, the first thing you see when you look at this pictures is 'da burger. I challenge you, look beyooond 'da burger...oooooh. See that green stuff with a hint of red? Yeah that. Not the hunk of meat on a bun. That other stuff is asparagus with tomato. And, might I say, Yuuummmmmyyyyy! But, yes, the burger was good - although I still need to perfect that cooking process. Any ideas?

As for the asparagus, 'twas mostly a happy little accident/spur of the moment recipe. I had not planned on making this deliciousness. But, I had just come home from my long perils of roaming to and fro, searching and scrounging, and laboriously selecting and organizing...Or, more simply, grocery shopping. Hey! Cut me some slack! So what if I like to grocery shop alone most of the time to better "get in the zone" and focus. Plus,  I was coupon-ing (thus, more focus needed)). Yeah, after my grocery quest, I was hungry for a late dinner. I had been thinking about a burger all day. I had thought I would stop at a drive-thru, but decided to make my own since I had picked up the hubby some frozen hamburger patties for a later date. As I was shopping, I notice fresh asparagus was on sale! Yippee! I really love asparagus! Like, a lot. Probably second to sugar snap peas, which are my numero uno. Well, as I was preparing my burger, I thought to myself that asparagus would be super yum and be something healthy to eat along with the burger...to help balance it all out, ya know? I think it was rationalization for the burger...ha!

Well, I thought I would saute the 'sparagus in light butter. Then, I thought, what the heck, I'll through the ends of my roma tomato I had slice for the burger in with the asparagus. Then, I was like, well, hey, people are always putting parmesan on asparagus. So, that when in the pan, too. Well, if I had known it was going to be so tasty, I would have probably taken a better picture! But, I had starting scarfing, *clear throat*, I mean eating the asparagus, and well.......It's in my belly. Bottom line.

This recipe is another easy one! A keeper for me and it was fast-ready in about 7 minutes, depending on how well done you prefer your asparagus. Here's the recipe.

Sauteed Asparagus with Tomato and Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 1 lb)
1 roma tomato. chopped
3/4 Tbs parmasan cheese, shredded
1/2-1 Tbs butter (again, I used light butter)
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
1) Rinse asparagus to clean. Pat dry. 
2) Cut or break off the very ends of the asparagus (they tend to be slightly hard if you don't cut them off) and dispose of ends.
3) Melt butter in skillet. Season asparagus with salt & pepper. Saute asparagus in skillet until desired doneness (it will turn bright green (cooked but still a little crunchy) and then darken and get softer the longer it cooks). Serving the asparagus when it is bright green is the "proper" way to cook asparagus, according to chefs, but do it how you like it!
4) When asparagus is almost done, toss in chopped roma tomato. Cook 1-2 minutes longer.
4) Turn off heat. Sprinkle with parmesan, Toss & Serve warm. Yum!

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Recipe....Just a Funny Carrot

No, this is NOT an April Fool's Joke! It's for real!
No recipe right now...I've been too busy!! Grr. Busy-ness is interfering with my cooking aspirations! Darn priorities! Oh, the woes of being more responsible *sigh*. No worries though, I plan to do plenty of cooking in the near future. Yee haw! Oh, let me tell you...I have plans...Muaaahh. Okay. Sorry. Got a little excited.

Back to the carrot.
Totally picked up a bag of carrots the other day at Kroger's ('cause they are one of my favorite munching snacks!) and got this weird-looking fella in the bunch. I know sometimes carrots look funnier than others, but this one is particularly odd. Oh well, I'm still going to eat it. Yum!

I know, who in their right mind posts a picture of a carrot??? Well, me of course. Thought we all might use a little tiny laugh. Hope all has a happy day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Awesome Awesome Awesome Roasted Potatoes

Yes, that is awesome 3 times! They are that good! I loooovvve these things! This is a recipe that I generally only make when others are around. The reason? If I made these and I was the only one around..I would eat the WHOLE pan. Yes, I would shamefully and blissfully eat the entire darn pan of this yummy deliciousness. Don't judge me. You'll understand if you tried this (and it wouldn't hurt if you really like potatoes). 

This is another one of my simple recipes that require very few ingredients. If you like french fries, these are way better tasting and way better for you. I happened to serve these with Mamwich Sloppy Joes for dinner. Good ol' hearty meal (no worries, I use 93% lean beef). Oh, a word of very helpful advice relating to Mamwich, if you're going to do the short-cut route and buy the pre-made mix (which I do), DO NOT use the off-brand powdered sloppy joe mix. Use only "name brand" Mamwich in the can. Trust me on this. The package is not even close to the same. I shudder to remember....(okay, it wasn't that bad of an experience, but if I have a will, I will choose Mamwich).

 Serves 4
Ingredients:
1-1/4 lb of Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder 
1/4 tsp Paprika (optional)
1 Tbs Olive Oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil) 

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Wash potatoes. Dice into bite-size pieces.
3) Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss until potatoes are evenly and thoroughly coated with seasonings and oil. 
4) Spray non-stick spray to grease a baking sheet. Spread potatoes evenly on pan.
5) Roast potatoes in oven for 25-30 minutes. Turn/Toss halfway during cooking time (helps ensure even cooking).
6) Once potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, remove from oven.
7) This is the hard part...wait until potatoes have cooled some. Serve. 
8) You may now partake in the yummy deliciousness of the simple roasted potato.

P.S.Man, you can tell, I really like garlic from all these recipes...


Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken a la Alfredo & Blackened

Behold, the chicken of the alfredo & blackened. Ta da! Had to make it sound fancy! Har Har! Last night's dinner was one to fill my craving for a "hearty" meal. The "hubs" (aka Aaron) had been out of town on his "vay-cay" (ie vacation) last week. As such, I ate things I wanted...meaning not so "heavy" foods. For instance, I had really  been craving shrimp... Since the hubs thinks shrimp to be "not filling"...Really?... He's a guy so I guess when it is not a side of beef, he might have a *small* point. Okay, back on the subject at hand, bottom line is, I was starvin' like a marvin' for something yummy and filling. Well, as much as I wanted to "pig out", I still try and convince myself to not go all out and maintain some measure of healthy. So, the answer to my dilemma? Why pasta, I do say!

Alfredo is something that, when ordered out, can be super bad for you (Think heavy cream, butter, refined white flour, etc...you get the point). While, I shall not judge those who prefer dining of alfredo during a night on the town (because who are we kidding...it IS quite tasty), me being me had to "health-it-up", so to speak.

I had the bottle sort of alfredo. But, the homemade stuff is better tasting and better for you! Plus, Aaron requested homemade. And as this was for "dinner", dear sirs, I found the request appropriate. Off to cook I go. Keep in mind the recipe measurements are "guesstimate" since I didn't measure exactly.

I used Smart Balance Spaghetti. This is a brand I recommend for those who do not care for the texture of whole wheat pasta. I have found Smart Balance pasta to be quite close to regular white pasta. It doesn't have the undesirable toughness as some whole wheat pastas. We all know how to cook pasta. No instructions needed.

For the Alfredo Sauce: Saute onions and mushrooms in a pan with 1 Tbs light butter until soft. Then, add in about 2 Tbs flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Next, whisk in 2 1/2-3 cups of milk, 1 Tbs garlic powder, 1 Tbs dried parsley, 1 Tbs lowfat cream cheese, 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue whisking until sauce thickens. Once thickened, add the juice of 1/4 of a lemon for a swig of freshness.

*Helpful Hint: If you like your alfredo "extra saucy", double the alfredo sauce recipe. I found I almost always underestimate the amount of sauce I need, since the pasta really absorbs the sauce. Not enough yummy "goo" = a dry alfredo dish = not good.

For the Blackened Chicken: Season chicken breast tenderloins with salt, pepper, & Zataran's blackened season. I then grilled mine on the good ol' George Foreman until done. Then, cut up chicken into bit size pieces and add to the alfredo sauce.


 
Drain pasta. Add sauce & chicken to pasta. Stir and serve.

I served with Bisquick Cheddar Biscuits. These are similar to Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits. The recipes requires you to only add water and bake in the oven. If you are feeling frisk and want to amp up the flavor, add extra garlic powder and cheddar.