Posted in Dessert, Vegetables

Sweet and Satisfying…


Here’s a last minute dessert idea that is easy, sweet and satisfying.  The bonus is that it includes carrots making this dessert a little healthier too.

Sorry – no picture tonight:(

Enjoy and happy baking!

Carrot Cupcakes Light

Preheat oven 350o

Serves 12

Prep time: 10 minutes + 10 minutes of frosting time

Cook time: 55 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 145                                              Fat = 4 grams

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup low fat sour cream

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 cup shredded carrots

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. 
  2. In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sour cream, oil and egg until smooth.  Stir in carrots. 
  3. Combine dry ingredients with wet.
  4. Spoon into 2 – 6 cup cupcake pans.
  5. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until cooked through (insert a toothpick if it comes out clean, the cupcakes are cooked).
  6. Cool cake on wire rake before icing

Frosting Ingredients:

4 ounces low fat cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl beat cream cheese on high speed for 30 seconds. 
  2. Lower speed, add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and meat for 30 seconds.  Raise speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Frost cooled cupcakes.
Posted in Fish, Shrimp

Fishy…


Mahi Mahi with Shrimp Stuffing

Since it’s just Nick and I at home, I had extra Mahi Mahi from last night, and decided to try something a little different.  The Mahi Mahi topped with shrimp stuffing  recipe came out really tasty and Nick said that the shrimp stuffing reminded him of lobster bisque (from the sherry that is put into the stuffing mixture).

Anyway, here it is and I encourage you to try this fish, it is so good.

Happy fishing!

Mahi Mahi topped with Shrimp Stuffing

Serves 4

Preheat oven 425o

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 340                                              Fat = 7

Ingredients:

½ pound (8 ounces) shrimp – shelled and  deveined with tail removed

1 tablespoon chives – chopped

1 tablespoon cream sherry

1 teaspoon Worcester sauce

1 tablespoon fresh parsley – chopped

½ teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons low calorie mayonnaise

¼ cup egg substitute

7 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs

4 – 6 ounce Mahi Mahi fillets

4 teaspoons low calorie butter spread

Directions:

  1. Place shrimp in a pot with water and boil for about 5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Rinse under cold water and place in a food processor.  Pulse for 4 – 5 times until finely chopped.
  2. In a small bowl combine chives, sherry, Worcester sauce, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise and egg substitute and whisk until combined.  Pour mixture into food processor with shrimp and pulse for 5 – 7 times until well combined.
  3. Pour shrimp mixture into bowl, add breadcrumbs and stir until combined.  Set aside.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add fish fillets and cook for 2 – 3 minutes on each side until browned but not cooked through.
  5. Remove fish fillets from sauté pan and place on a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Spoon even amounts of breadcrumb mixture on top of each fish fillet.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of butter spread on top of stuffing.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes or until fish fillets are flaky and white in the center.
Posted in Blackend, Fish, Grilling, Spices

Something’s Fishy…


Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tequila-Lime SauceI am not used to cooking a wide variety of fish since it isn’t Dean’s favorite thing to eat.  But since Dean is away on business and Nick loves eating fish, I decided to go for it.

I had bought some Mahi Mahi steaks and wasn’t sure what to do with them so I started looking through recipes on the internet and everything seemed a little weird for my taste.  I check out a seafood cookbook that I’ve had for years and forgot about and saw a recipe for blackened fish.  The spice combination looked like it would be a good match for Mahi Mahi so I used their dry rub recipe.  I then made up the sauce based on the spice combination they suggested for the dry rub. 

This recipe came out really good and I was impressed with the texture and flavor of Mahi Mahi.  It is one of those very mellow fish that tastes like you can do almost anything with it.  The texture was really flaky and also moist.  Since I am not used to the cooking time, I periodically used a fork and poked at it to see if it was flaky (which is how you can tell it’s done).  I have to say that after poking it about 4 – 5 times, I was really glad that it held together for a picture.  All worked out well and I will definitely be creating other meals with this fish.  Don’t be fish shy like I was, go for it and try this.

Enjoy and don’t be afraid to get something fishy going on…

I am not used to cooking a wide variety of fish since it isn’t Dean’s favorite thing to eat.  But since Dean is away on business and Nick loves eating fish, I decided to go for it.

I had bought some Mahi Mahi steaks and wasn’t sure what to do with them so I started looking through recipes on the internet and everything seemed a little weird for my taste.  I check out a seafood cookbook that I’ve had for years and forgot about and saw a recipe for blackened fish.  The spice combination looked like it would be a good match for Mahi Mahi so I used their dry rub recipe.  I then made up the sauce based what might  go well with their dry rub. 

This recipe came out really good and I was impressed with the texture and flavor of Mahi Mahi.  It is one of those very mellow fish that tastes like you can do almost anything with it.  The texture was really flaky as well as moist.  Since I am not used to the cooking time, I periodically used a fork and poked at it to see if it was flaky (which is how you can tell it’s done).  I have to say that after poking it about 4 – 5 times, I was really glad that it held together for a picture.  All worked out well and I will definitely be creating other meals with this fish.  Don’t be fish shy like I was, go for it and try this.

Enjoy and don’t be afraid to get something fishy going on…

Blackened Mahi Mahi with Tequila-Lime Sauce

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 240                                              Fat  = 5

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper

4 (6 ounce each) Mahi Mahi fish steaks

2 cloves fresh garlic – minced

¼ cup tequila

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup diced tomatoes from a can

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped

2 – 3 dashes Tabasco sauce

½ cup low fat sour cream

Directions:

  1. To make sauce: Heat a saucepot on medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add garlic.  Sauté for about 1 minute until browned.  Add tequila and cook until liquid is almost absorbed.  Add lime juice and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, cilantro, parsley and Tabasco sauce and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Pour sauce into a food processor and pulse until smooth, add sour cream and pulse a few more times until it is well combined.  Return sauce to the pot and heat on low until fish steaks are cooked.
  4. Grill Mahi Mahi fish steaks: In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme and cayenne pepper.  Rub spice mixture on both sides of fish steaks.
  5. Heat an indoor grill pan on high heat, spray with cooking spray and add fish steaks.
  6. Cook for about 5 – 6 minutes on each side or until flaky (check with a fork).
  7. To serve: pour a little sauce on the bottom of each plate and place a fish steak on top.  The fish may be topped with a little more sauce if desired or served on the side.
Posted in Beef, Main Courses

Comfort Food…


Braised London BroilWe had miserable weather today so I felt like making something that warms you from the inside for dinner.  I thought a nice braised beef would do the trick and come up with this.  This recipe is a cross between Beef Bourguignon and Pot Roast.  The flavors are familiar to most pallets so I expect that if you are a stew/beef lover, you will really enjoy the rich flavors of this meal.

NOTE: I did not have beef stock readily available so what I used a beef bullion cube and only used half the suggested water to make a richer broth.

Enjoy without the guilt!

Braised London Broil

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 to 1 ½ hours

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 395                                              Fat = 11 grams (based on 6 ounces of beef)

Ingredients:

1 – 1 ½ pound London broil

2 shallots – chopped

3 celery ribs – chopped

1 cup carrots – chopped

¾ cup red wine

1 cup low fat beef stock

½ cup tomato juice

½ teaspoon basil

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon pepper

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon gravy master

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup peas – defrosted if frozen

12 ounces small potatoes – cut in half

2 tablespoons flour

¼ cup water

Directions:

  1. Heat large skillet on high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add London broil and sear for 2 – 3 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add shallots, carrots and celery.  Sauté for about 5 minutes until browned.  Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Return meat to skillet and add beef stock, tomato juice, basil, pepper, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil then lower heat and allow to simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. While meat is simmering, heat oven to 425o.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray and add potatoes in a single layer.  Allow potatoes to roast for about 45 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, remove meat from skillet, stir flour and water in a small bowl and add to skillet.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Return meat to skillet and add potatoes and peas.  Cook for another 3 – 5 minutes.
  6. Carve meat, spoon sauce onto a serving platter then add meat slices on top and serve.
Posted in Pasta dish, Poultry

Smoky, Sweet and Savory…


Chicken Paprika

We had a relative for dinner last night and wanted to make something that takes minimal kitchen time so that we could catch up on our lives.  I decided on Chicken Paprika I can cook most of it in advance to the simmering step when she arrives.  This gives me about 15 – 20 minutes to talk, then I only need to cook the noodles and finish the sauce during the last 10 minutes.    So if you are planning a dinner party, you might want to try this. 

Enjoy company more and being in the kitchen less…

Chicken Paprika

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 460                                              Fat = 1 gram

Ingredients:

Cooking Spray

6 skinless/boneless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons sweet paprika

¼ cup flour

4 cups onions – thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chopped tomato

1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups fat free chicken broth

1/4 cup fat free half and half

1 Tablespoon corn starch

1 package of yolk free noodles

Directions:

  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of paprika and lightly coat with flour.
  2. Heat a sauté pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Sear chicken pieces until brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a tray.
  3. Add onions to the pan and sauté, covered, for 15 minutes on medium heat until golden brown, stirring often.
  4. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste, tomato, and remaining 2 tablespoons of paprika. Stir until well blended. Add the thyme and bay leaf.
  6. Add the vinegar and wine and scrape any pieces from bottom of skillet. Add chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  7. Add the reserved chicken pieces and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Whisk half and half and corn starch in a small bowl and then add to pan.  Continue to simmer another 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  9. While simmering, cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Drain, rinse and transfer to a serving platter

10.  Transfer chicken to the serving platter.

11.  Pour sauce over chicken.

Posted in Cooking Styles/Techniques, Roasted, Side Dishes, Vegetables

A twist on a familiar side dish…


I have been cooking roasted cauliflower for a while and when we ate at a Tapas restaurant in Washington, I was delighted to see it on the menu and immediately ordered it.  It was served very differently than how I ever prepared it and I really liked the differences.  The restaurant had a few raisins tossed with roasted cauliflower which gave it a nice pleasantly sweet flavor.

I did a little searching to see if I could find what else may have been different and found a lot of variations on roasted cauliflower.  So I took ideas from several recipes to incorporate the spices and level of sweetness that I think I’d like.  It came out pretty good except I would put a little less thyme in it and have reflected this in the recipe below.

Happy roasting!

Check it out…

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins

 Serves 6

Pre-heat the oven 430ºF

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 54                                                Fat = 2 grams

Ingredients:

 ½ cup raisins

1 head of cauliflower – cut into small florets
½ teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

Soak raisins in boiling water for 1 hour.  Drain, chop and set aside.

  1. Combine cauliflower with thyme, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss.
  2. Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray and spread cauliflower in a single layer. 
  3. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and roast another 5 minutes until bread crumbs are browned.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in chopped raisins and olive oil.

 NOTE: It is important that the cauliflower roasts in a single layer so that all of the pieces can brown evenly.

Posted in Dessert

Delicious and Light Recipe Challenge


Lemon Rosemary Cake

When we were visiting our cousins in DC, we were talking about light and healthy cooking techniques, recipes and ingredients and I was given a “Lemon-Rosemary Olive Oil” recipe to try.  Not realizing that this was a low fat recipe, I modified it and later noticed the nutritional values.  The funny thing is that original recipe only had 7.9 grams of fat per serving but after my changes, brought it down to 2 grams per serving.

The cake is very flavorful and I was surprised when I tasted it after it was cooked because the rosemary really comes out in the baking process.  I had tasted the batter before baking (just because I am way too impatient) and thought to myself, “wow, you don’t even know there is rosemary in this”.  However, when tasting the baked cake, my reaction was, “wow, you can really taste the rosemary in this”.  It’s a great combination but if you are shy about rosemary, just cut the amount down to about ½ a tablespoon and see what you think. 

I am posting the original and modified version of this recipe for your comparison.  It’s definitely worth trying if you like lemon desserts.

Get in touch: I’d love to see recipes that you’d like lightened up, just send them through the comments section and I’ll see what can be done.

Happy baking!!

Light Lemon-Rosemary Cake

Serves 16
Preheat oven to 350°

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 45 minutes

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 110                                              Fat = 2 grams

Ingredients:

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
13.5 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
¾ cup egg substitute
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh rosemary sprig (optional)

Directions:

  1. Coat a Bundt  pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour.
  2. Weigh 13.5 ounces flour into a large bowl with rosemary, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat together olive oil, sour cream, milk, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon extract and egg substitute in a medium bowl low speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add to flour mixture and beat until blended.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Combine powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake. Garnish with rosemary sprig, if desired.

ORIGINAL RECIPE BELOW

Lemon-Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Yield:  16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
3 large eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Fresh rosemary sprig (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour. Weigh or lightly spoon 13.5 ounces flour (about 3 cups) into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

3. Place granulated sugar and next 7 ingredients (through eggs) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed 2 minutes or until smooth. Add to flour mixture; beat until blended.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Combine powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle sugar mixture over cake. Garnish with rosemary sprig, if desired.

CALORIES 265 ; FAT 7.9g (sat 1.3g,mono 5.3g,poly 0.9g); CHOLESTEROL 40mg; CALCIUM 20mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.1g; SODIUM 211mg; PROTEIN 3.9g; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 1.3mg
Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2009

Posted in Dessert

My First Delicious and Light Recipe Challenge…


Low Fat Lemon Tart

My girlfriend, Alison, sent me a recipe for a Lemon Ricotta Tart and asked if I could lighten it up.  I tried this recipe yesterday and it was mediocre; the tart didn’t have a strong enough lemon flavor.  So, I made a few changes to intensify the tartness by increasing the amount of lemon juice and adding sour cream.

I did not have a tart pan with a removable bottom so I used a spring form pan (cheesecake pan) and it came out perfectly except that I had to bake it for about 60 minutes, not 35.  If you are trying this recipe, check it after about 40 minutes to make sure it bakes correctly.

I am offering the original and the modified low fat recipe so you can compare.

I was actually lucky enough to get a second request on a different lemon recipe and will be following up on that one soon.  Keep submitting those recipes that you’d like to see transformed into delicious and light.

Enjoy and happy baking…

Lemon Ricotta Tart Light
Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

6 cups Frosted Flakes cereal

4 tablespoons low calorie butter spread – melted

1 cup fat free ricotta cheese

½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

½ cup fat free sour cream

4 ounces light cream cheese – softened

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup egg substitute

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

½ cup lemon juice

Confectioners’ sugar – for dusting (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 375o. In a food processor, pulse cereal until finely ground (to yield 2 cups). Add butter spread and mix well until crumbs are evenly moistened.
  2. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and transfer crumb mixture into pan. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. In clean food processor, blend ricotta, sour cream, cream cheese, flour, egg substitute, granulated sugar lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into hot crust in pan
  4. Bake until filling is set and browned in spots, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust top of tart with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 265                                      Fat = 7 grams

ORIGINAL RECIPE:

Lemon Ricotta Tart (from the cookbook Fresh Flavor Fast)
Serves 8

72 vanilla wafers (from a 12-ounce box)

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups ricotta cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons), plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse vanilla wafers until finely ground (to yield 2 cups). Add butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened.
  2. Transfer crumb mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. In clean food processor, blend ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour into hot crust in pan; bake until filling is set and slightly browned, about 60 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust top of tart with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

 Estimated Values per serving:

Calories = 310                                                 Fat = 18 grams

Posted in Shrimp

A Taste From Tennessee


Shrimp and Grits

Last month when we were in Tennessee, I had a the most delicious shrimp and grits dinner at a restaurant.  This dish inspired me and tonight I successfully re-created it while keeping it low fat.

Here it is, you have to check this one out.

Shrimp and Grits

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups water

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 clove garlic – minced

1 cup grits

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 pound shrimp – peeled, deveined and tail removed

1/3 cup egg substitute

1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs

3 slices turkey bacon – chopped

2 tablespoons parsley – chopped

½ cup scallions – green parts only chopped

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a large pot on high heat.  Add salt, pepper, garlic  and stir in grits.  Lower heat to low and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  3. While grits are simmering, dip shrimp in egg substitute then press into bread crumbs.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add bacon and cook 2 – 3 minutes until it is beginning to brown.
  5. Move the bacon to one side of the pan, then add shrimp into the pan in one layer.  Once shrimp is in, spoon bacon over the shrimp.
  6. Cook shrimp for 2 – 3 minutes until ready to be turned over and add parsley and scallions.  Cook shrimp with bacon, parsley and scallions until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  7. To serve, ad about ½ cup of the grits on the bottom of a shallow bowl, spoon grits and mixture on top and serve immediately.

NOTE: some of the breadcrumbs may fall off while cooking the shrimp, just spoon some on top when serving.

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 385                                                                    Fat = 6 grams

Posted in Misses

Too bland…


I cooked a grilled asparagus risotto tonight but unfortunately it lacked the flavor I was hoping for it to achieve.  So instead of giving you a mediocre recipe to try, I will have to pass for tonight and hope that tomorrow will be a more successful cooking experience.

Until then, try something from a past blog and let me know how it works.

Enjoy!