Archive for ‘Healthy Bites’

July 29, 2013

Culinary triumph.

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything food/recipe-related on this blog.  But, you guys… this one can’t be overlooked.  I need to share it with you.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, usually “winging it” and throwing something quick and easy together.  Nothing too complicated, typically.  Often times if I follow any sort of recipe, it’s someone else’s.  I always wondered how people came up with recipes.  I still wonder that for the most part, but the other night I experienced a culinary triumph.  I came up with an idea in my head, and executed it that night for dinner.  I almost did a victory lap around my kitchen (which is nearly impossible in an NYC apartment, but that’s a story for another time.)

So here it is, folks.  My very first Brittany Robles original recipe.

skilletmac

Skillet Sausage Veggie Mac & Cheese*
Serves 2 (very hearty portions)

1 1/2 cups cooked pasted (I used gemelli)
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium to large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion (I used vidalia)
2 links Applegate Farms Sweet Italian Chicken & Turkey Sausage, chopped (I cut it lengthwise into quarters, then slice)
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp (approx.) all purpose flour
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
Dash cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add zucchini and onion to the skillet until almost fork-tender, then add the chopped sausage.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the veggie and sausage mixture and set aside.

Using a paper towel or clean dishcloth, wipe the skillet out (doesn’t have to be spotless, but just try to remove any excess liquid/oil).  Over medium heat, melt the tbsp of butter and add the flour, whisking continually (this is making a roux).  Once the roux is smooth and thick and is just turning color (it will start to brown), add the milk and keep on whisking!  You want the milk to combine with the roux and thicken.  This shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes in my experience.

Once the milk mixture is thick, throw in the shredded cheddar cheese, mixing to combine/melt.  At this point, add the salt, pepper, mustard powder and cayenne pepper.  Give the cheese sauce a taste and adjust the spices to your taste.

Turn the stove to low.  Add the cooked pasta, veggies and sausage to the cheese sauce, mixing well to combine.  Cover the skillet and let heat for a few minutes.  Remove the cover and give everything one final stir.  Dinner is served!

*This recipe is husband approved.  In fact, I made it again the next night.

August 30, 2010

Not the D-word?!

Yes, the “D-word”… Diet.

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to eat healthier, more balanced meals.  I also failed to update this blog… at all.

+10 points for healthy eating
-10 points for lack of blogging

At least I’m still on a level playing field, right?

In light of my re-discovered healthy eating, I’m posting a recipe that is both delicious and nutritious, not to mention FILLING.  I know it sounds super cliché, but eating healthy really doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless.  I need to be reminded of this often, otherwise it’s easy to get bored and discouraged.  For me, part of it is learning to “fake” the good stuff.  This recipe is a perfect example of that.  I came up with it on my own, just by getting creative with what I had on hand one night.

Chicken Veggie Spaghetti in Parmesan “Cream” Sauce

1 generous serving (but can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc!)

1 Perdue Perfect Portions Italian Chicken Breast, cubed
1 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets
2oz dry whole wheat spaghetti (approx 1 cup cooked)
1/2 cup (approx) fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup (approx) pasta water
1 tbsp half and half
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1.  Boil water with a touch of salt and cook spaghetti until al dente.  While the spaghetti cooks, spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and saute chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through.  Remove chicken from pan.

2. Use chicken broth to “unstick” seasonings from the pan and add broccoli florets.  Cover and allow the broccoli to steam until fork tender.  Add chicken broth as necessary to prevent sticking.

3. Add chicken to the cooked broccoli along with the cooked pasta.  Add chicken broth, pasta water, half and half and parmesan cheese.  Mix everything together in the pan as it continues to cook over medium heat.  The “sauce” will thicken slightly.  Remove from heat after about 5 minutes.  Let sit for another 1-2 minutes as sauce continues to thicken.  Mix thoroughly to coat, and serve!

I’ve also used this recipe with sliced baby portabella mushrooms and sweet vidalia onions (which was SO tasty).  Feel free to use plain or home-seasoned chicken as well, I just really love the flavors in the Perdue Perfect Portions (not to mention how easy and convenient they are).  Get creative with this and ENJOY it!

July 17, 2010

Berry, berry good!

It’s summertime, and something about summer just makes me crave all things FRUIT!

I’m a huge fan of watermelon and berries, but also find them to be some of the hardest to find perfectly ripe.  For instance, once blueberries lose their firmness, I refuse to eat them as is.  I know, I’m a spoiled brat.  Being that I can’t possibly eat 2 pints of blueberries before at least some of them soften (they’ve been 2 for $5 on my dear, sweet Fresh Direct), I’ve been looking for new outlets for my fruit.  Both the fruit that is overripe and the fruit that’s a bit bruised and just doesn’t look pretty.

One of the perfect options is, of course, fruit smoothies.  Not only are they delicious, but they’re easy to make, versatile and are a healthy option (when I say healthy I’m assuming they’re made fresh at home.  I can’t vouch for the ones you buy at smoothie bars.  In fact, some of those ones are surprisingly terrible for you.  Proceed with caution!)

I’m giving you this “recipe” as more of a guideline than anything else.  Feel free to use the fruit of your choice and switch it up and have fun with it!

Berry Banana Smoothie

1/2 medium frozen banana
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 4oz yogurt (I used Activia Light Strawberry)
Ice cubes (use as many as you need to reach desired consistency)

Put all of the above in a blender and blend until smooth.  The above yields about 2 servings.

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Next on the list is… Blueberry pancakes!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love breakfast food.  I’m particularly fond of pancakes.  I used to always buy the complete mixes that required you to only add water.  I still do that on occasion when I’m feeling a bit lazy or don’t have all the necessary ingredients for pancakes from scratch.  However, when I’ve got the time, engery and ingredients, nothing beats homemade pancakes.

Homemade Fluffy (and might I add, delicious) Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
(Adapted from Fluffy Pancakes recipe at AllRecipes.com)

3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking sode
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

  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. Stir in fresh blueberries.
  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.

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Now, if you’ve managed to stick around this long, you’re in for a real treat.  Every Tuesday night I have bible study, and I always either bake or buy cookies for refreshments.  This past week I wanted to try something new, and since I’ve been on a fruit kick as of late, I decided I’d try raspberry bars.  I have to tell you, this was one of the easiest recipes to make and yet it got one of the biggest reactions.  I had a few people offer to pay me their entire salaries if I would just cook and bake for them every day.  I think I’ve got them fooled into thinking that this baking stuff is pretty hard work, but I’m telling you, it was easy as pie! (Ahem, pun intended.)

Raspberry Bars
Recipe from Sewfordough on Tasty Kitchen

Now I ran into a bit of a snag when I made this.  I have a problem with reading directions thoroughly sometimes.  It’s something I need to work on.  I had a 9×13 pan on hand.  Well, the recipe called for a 9×9 pan.  This meant that the dough I needed to press into the bottom of the pan was not going to cut it.  What I ended up doing (since I didn’t have a smaller pan, nor did I have the ingredients to make more dough) was reserving only a half cup of dough for the topping and adding more chopped pecans to it to make a little go a long way.  These ended up tasting just as good as they would have with the correct pan size!  The more time I’m in the kitchen the more I’m learning: you’ve gotta learn to improvise!  Thankfully this was an easy error to work around.

For those of you troopers who made it to the end of this post, what are your favorite fruit-based recipes?