Saturday, March 23, 2013

Buffalo Wing Burgers

                                 Buffalo Wing Burgers

Blog friends-
I'm not sure if you are a fan of the Bravo TV series, Top Chef, but Tom and I absolutely love that show!  We are always very impressed with the level of talent from the chef contestants.  We also really enjoy the judges and always like to hear their opinion on the food that's made.  Because we're such big fans of the show, Tom's mom got us a cookbook a while back from a contestant we were particularly fond of, Carla Hall.  She got pretty far in the competition a few seasons back and was even on Top Chef All Stars.  Her cookbook that we now own, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You, has a lot of great comfort foods with a modern twist.  She really knows how to get your mouth salivating for the food she makes in her cookbook!  We haven't tried too many  of them (mostly because of time) but we really want to make more of her food in the future.   One recipe we tried a few weeks ago was her Buffalo Wing Burgers.  If the title itself doesn't entice you, let me then tell you how delicious they were!  The burgers had a great kick and also had great crunch because it was prepared with a celery and blue cheese slaw. I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese, but this slaw was to die for!  It was light, crunchy, and very flavorful.  In addition to the slaw on the burgers, we also made the mayo that she also recommended putting on the burgers.  Really easy to prepare, and it had a great kick because of the hot sauce that went into it.  She mentions in her cookbook that she first prepared these while living in Paris.  She craved "good ol" American food so she enjoyed eating her friend's sweet and spicy wings.  What ended up as wings are now delicious burgers.  :) What's also great about these burgers is that they're made with chicken or turkey so it's on the healthier side of things.  Just an FYI- Tom and I ended up making sweet potato fries as a side to go along with the burgers and those were quite tasty as well.  All we did was sliced two sweet potatoes, spread a little bit of olive oil on them, sprinkled salt and pepper, and put them in the oven for about a half hour at about 425 degrees.  A great little side to go with your burgers.   Enjoy!

Spicy Mayo
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for frying
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds coarsely ground turkey or chicken (we used turkey)
4 brioche potato buns, toasted if desired (Tom and I used whole wheat buns to cut down on calories)
Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw (Recipe below)

1. To make the mayo: In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, honey, and cayenne until smooth.  Refrigerate until needed.

2. To make the burgers: In a small skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.  When the butter is almost melted, add the onion and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic.  When the onion is golden and tender, stir in the hot sauce, thyme, chile flakes, and pepper.  Transfer to a large bowl and cool and room temperature.

3. Combine the chicken with the cooled onions using slightly damp hands.  You want it well mixed, but you don't want to squeeze i and make it tough.  Form the mixture into four burgers 1/2 inch larger in diameter than the buns.  Use your thumb to dimple the center of each patty.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the burgers and cook until browned, about 3 minutes, then carefully flip them.  cook until the other side is browned and the meat cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.  The burger will feel firm and the juices will run clear.

5. Slather the spicy mayo on the buns.  Divide the burgers among the bun bottoms and top with the slaw. Sandwich with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw
4 celery ribs, thinly sliced at an angle
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

In a large bowl, combine the celery, onion, and parsley.  Add the vinegar, oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and toss well.  Gently toss in the blue cheese.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Apple Braised Chicken with Cauliflower Mash

                                                          Healthy, Light, and Delicious! 

Last Sunday Tom, my sister, and I wanted to make a dish that was healthy, easy, and tasty.  We knew we wanted to make something that didn't require a lot of ingredients, or at least ingredients we may already have at home.  The apple braised chicken was a great suggestion that my sister had given since she has made it in the past.  But what to have with it?  Mashed potatoes sounded like a great combination, but we weren't convinced this was the healthiest route to go.  Well, we ended up finding a great substitute- cauliflower mash.  It was absolutely delicious and really had a great texture, similar to that of scalloped potatoes.  The flavor was great, and we made a few tweaks to even add a little more depth of flavor.  See the recipes below.  You won't be disappointed!

Apple Braised Chicken



1. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, warm oil over high heat. Toss chicken with flour in a medium bowl, patting off excess. Place chicken in skillet and brown well on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

2. Reduce stove temperature to low and add onion to skillet. Sauté, stirring often, until onion is tender and lightly browned.

3. Stir in apples, cider, chicken broth, salt, ginger and chicken. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken, onions and apples to a serving dish.

Cauliflower Mash



Cook cauliflower in water & 1cup chicken broth for flavor until fork tender then drain & mash. Stir in the cream cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-15min or until cheese is completed melted & mash is hot. Can sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top (be sure to add the points in the recipe).  
**If you are opting to add regular sour cream and fresh chives, you can add this in with the cream cheese before adding it to the cauliflower.***  

Hearty Tomato Basil Soup

                                     A Great and Hearty Lunch Idea

As another favorite from Bob Harper's book, we can honestly say that this soup really lives up to its name as "hearty".  I normally wouldn't characterize a tomato soup as hearty but this soup is definitely a filling and appetizing lunch option.  We have made this soup twice, and each time Tom took this as his lunch for an entire week and surprisingly didn't get sick of it!  What makes it a great lunch meal is the fact that it's easy to prepare, especially in large quantities, and it has a pretty easy ingredient list. In addition to its easiness, the soup is actually quite filling because it has beans, carrots, onion, and tomatoes.  All the ingredients are healthy and add great texture to what is usually a watery type of soup.  This soup is very unlike other tomato soups because it has a nice kick and has lots of texture as mentioned.  Now, I did mention that it's easy to prepare, but keep in mind that you do need a food processor for blending.  The recipe calls for a blender OR food processor, but we found that is was much easier to use the food processor because it blended the carrots and beans better.  Because we did make large quantities both times making the soup. keep in mind that if you do this you'll need to big pot for boiling and simmering.  In addition, our food processor is on the small side so we had to add scoop fulls of the soup to the food processor, so that was a bit time consuming.  Other than that, this soup makes a perfect lunch meal and lasts a while as well.  Tom and I prepared it the weekend before and then just put it into smaller containers each day he took it to work.  If you'd like even more texture, you can always add some crackers to the soup.  I'm always a fan of Cheez-its- some "food" for thought!

We hope you will try it out, and be sure to let us know what you thought!

**Note** As mentioned, we multiplied this recipe.  The serving size below is for one. but my suggestion would be to multiply it by 4 or 5. :)

Olive oil spray
1/4 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium diced canned tomatoes
1/2 cup low-sodium canned white beans (cannellini, navy, etc.), drained and rinsed
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (Tom and I just used dry basil)

1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil.
2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion and carrot are tender. (If you are multiplying the recipe it will take closer to 15 minutes.)
3. Add the tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat to let cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf and add the basil.
5. Pour into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
6. Reheat int he same pan and enjoy.  (If you are preparing it ahead of time, skip this step and pour into individualized containers for the week!)

197 calories, 11g protein, 36g carbs, 2g fat

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Black Bean Brownies

                                                               Black Bean Brownies

You're probably wondering if I meant to title this delicious dessert with brownie and bean in the same title?  Well, yes, yes I did!  I know you're thinking that this sounds like quite an interesting combination, but Tom and I would argue that this combination ended up being absolutely one of our favorite desserts.  The brownies were dense and rich, but not too sweet.  One piece left you satisfied and also wanting more for the next time! In addition to its tastiness, these brownies are easy to make! The only modification we made to the recipe below is that we used a bar of semi-sweet chocolate chunks to put on the top of the brownies and the recipe calls for chocolate chips. We came across this recipe last week when we were craving something sweet but something that wouldn't be too high in calories or in fat. Now, don't get me wrong- these are not diet brownies!  They definitely have sugar and other unhealthy things, but the recipe did come from January's edition of Healthy Cooking, so it is a healthier version of your 'run-of-the-mill' brownies.  You will not be disappointed if you try these.  They are so yummy, and most of the ingredients, if not all, will be found in your pantry.  You  might even find yourself making them on a spontaneous craving for some chocolate one evening.  Go ahead and indulge yourself- it's "healthier" than some other desserts for sure!  (I didn't want to admit this, but I did serve my brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Tom fought the urge to do this and seemed equally as satisfied, but anyone who knows me knows I need my ice cream, haha.)


  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Place the beans, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and oil in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Add the eggs, brown sugar, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and salt; cover and process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 1 dozen.

Nutritional Facts1 brownie equals 167 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 53 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.

Rosemary Lemon Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

                                  Rosemary Lemon Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Just like the last two blog posts, this recipe also comes from Bob Harper's book, The Skinny Rules.  This recipe was very tasty, but I'm not sure I would rank it as high as the southwest chicken or the sweet potato and black bean burrito.  It's definitely on the lighter side and I should probably say that I was only full because Tom and I doubled up on the asparagus.  This is the kind of recipe that might be good if you've had a big lunch or as a late dinner if you're not looking for something too heavy.  I think next time I'll probably make this with some brown rice as well.  In addition to that small modification, Tom and I agreed that next time we'll bake the salmon and asparagus on two separate cookie sheets. Bob's recipe has you putting the fish on top of the asparagus, but when we ate the asparagus it tasted a little too "fishy" for our liking.  Other than these two modifications, the meal was very flavorful and delicious.  I hope you will enjoy!  Oh, and remember....this recipe is only for one serving so be sure to multiply it accordingly. :)

6 large asparagus spears (Tom and I doubled up on this)
Olive oil spray
freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces wild salmon, deboned
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (Tom and I used dried rosemary- it seemed to work just as good)
2 lemon slices

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus (about 1 inch from the bottom) and place the spears on the baking sheet. Coat with olive oil spray. Sprinkle a dash of black pepper over the asparagus and toss. Line up the spears in a single layer.
3. Place the salmon on top of the asparagus. Drizzle with lemon juice. Place the rosemary sprig on the salmon and top with the lemon slices.
4. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is flaky and the asparagus is deep green.

237 calories, 31g protein, 7g carbs, 9g fat

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito

                                                 Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito

Blog friends-
Here is another recipe from Bob Harper's book, The Skinny Rules (explained in last blog post).  Just like the southwestern chicken with kale, this is also a really delicious recipe.  It's also very hearty and had a very unique flavor.  As you'll see from the ingredients below, it calls for cinnamon, cayenne, and cumin.  An interesting combination, right?  But, for some reason it really works!  It has a sweet and spicy flavor in every bite.  The recipe calls for tortillas and that is how we ate the sweet potato and black bean burrito, but you really could eat it without the tortilla or even put in a pizza as your pizza topping.  If you decide to put it on as your pizza topping, let me know how it works out!   I hope you'll give it a try.  It couldn't be easier, and because the recipe is mostly spices, all you'll really need to buy is a sweet potato, tomato, onion, black beans, chicken, and tortillas.  These are all simple ingredients that I would probably guess you use often to cook with or that you may have already in your pantry.

I hope you enjoy it!  As I mentioned in the last post, be sure to multiply it accordingly since this recipe is for one serving only.  :)

Olive Oil spray
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup cubed (1/2-inch dice) sweet potato, unpeeled
3 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup low-sodium canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10-inch whole-wheat tortilla

1. Spray a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until soft.
3. Add the spices and yam.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. (Hint- Tom and I needed to cook the sweet potatoes for more like 15 minutes).
4. Mix in the tomato, chicken, and black beans and heat through.
5. Spoon in the tortilla and wrap like a burrito.

396 calories, 29g protein, 61g carbs, 4.6g fat

Southwestern Chicken with Kale

                                                       Southwestern Chicken with Kale

Hello blog friends-
I am just getting back to this food blog!  If Tom were still in charge I'm sure you would have seen some more updates!  But nonetheless, I'm finally getting around to posting some of the recipes we've made in the last couple of weeks.  In January Tom and I started an eating plan from Bob Harper's book, The Skinny Rules. It is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and I've been quite impressed with the recipes in the book.  Bob Harper talks a lot about daily "rules" you should live by including what types of food you should be fueling up on during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Tom and I really been enjoying the lunch and dinner recipes in the book.  They're healthy, but very tasty. No one wants to compromise taste right?!  That's exactly what we thought, so these recipes definitely don't do that.  As you'll see, Bob makes sure to keep the flavor there with lots of different spices.

One of the recipes was a southwestern chicken and kale dish.  We had our friends, Laura and Ruben, and my sister Jen, over for dinner and used this recipe. They absolutely loved it!  What's so great about this recipe is that it's so filling!  The kale, beans, and chicken add enough substance to make it fulfilling and leaving you full and satisfied.  The quinoa is also a great touch because it adds to the texture of the dish and is a much healthier choice than rice.  I hope you'll give it a try too. You won't be disappointed, that's for sure!

(This is for one serving so you will have to multiply it accordingly)

Olive oil spray
1/4 onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 uncooked quinoa 
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 cups finely chopped kale
1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tomato
3 ounces cooked chicken

1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat with olive oil, add the onion, and sauté until mostly translucent and tender.
2. Add the spices and quinoa. Toast for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the broth, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed. 
4. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. 
5. Fold in the beans, tomato, and chicken and heat through. 

232 calories, 29g protein, 22g carbs, 3.5g fat 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Momma's Turkey Stew with Dumplings

Blog friends-
 This is a crock pot recipe that I honestly didn't have much hope in, but after it was all said and done, Tom and I enjoyed it very much.  Tom even asked when we would be having this again!  I don't think it hits a home run by any means, but it's a hearty and filling meal that again doesn't involve a whole lot of ingredients or preparation.  The only preparation that really took some planning was the dumplings that you made at the end and the cooking of the turkey prior to placing it in the crockpot.  25 minutes or so before serving this meal, you need to combine the milk and biscuit mix and place them in scoops on top of the turkey stew.  This was very easy to do, it just took some time management to make sure you weren't ready to serve until these were ready.  And I would definitely not leave these dumplings out of the recipe.  It was a great starch to have with the stew and turned out quite nicely!   One thing that I didn't use was the actual shredded turkey.  I had ground turkey already at home, so I substituted that instead. I think it definitely would have been better with the shredded turkey, though.  I even thought it might be good to have shredded chicken as well.   I know you won't believe it, but I found this recipe in "Taste of Home"!  I guess I can't get enough of this magazine.  But don't worry, I am currently making another crock pot recipe that is not a "Taste of Home" recipe.  I'm branching out! :)  

Enjoy this hearty crock pot meal!

  • Prep: 20 min. Cook: 6-1/2 hours
  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Spice Islands® Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup biscuit/baking mix
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk


  • In a 6-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 10 ingredients; stir in broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  • Remove bay leaves. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until smooth; stir into turkey mixture. Add corn and peas. Cover and cook on high until mixture reaches a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix baking mix and milk until a soft dough forms. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on top of simmering liquid. Reduce heat to low; cover and steam for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumplings comes out clean. Yield: 6 servings.

Orange Basil Chops

Orange Basil Chops Recipe

Blog friends-
Check this easy pork chop recipe out!  My brother, sister, Tom and I made this one of the evenings they came over.  It was a great dish that we ended up serving mashed potatoes with.  The orange juice added a nice acidity and, although I used boneless pork chops (a big "no-no" from my brother's point of view) the meat was still very moist from the sauce!  An easy evening dinner that won't take your whole night up!   I have to apologize for the image that I took.  My phone did not give this recipe justice!  It probably doesn't  look that appealing from the picture, so I decided to copy and paste the Taste of Home picture at the top so it gives you a better idea.  But nonetheless, very tasty and simple!

  • Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick and 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


  • Combine the first five ingredients; set aside. In a large skillet, brown pork chops in butter. Add orange juice mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°.
  • Remove pork to a serving platter and keep warm. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with pork chops. Yield: 4 servings.

Peach-Blueberry Crumble Tart

Hi Blog Friends!

Here is another sweet and easy recipe to do at home!  I found it in one of our "Taste of Home" magazines.  As a side note, I love this magazine!!  The recipes always turn out well (even with my minimal cooking skills, haha) and they're always so easy to do.  I almost always have all the ingredients I need, and if I don't, they are usually inexpensive and ones that I can use again for other recipes.  Okay, this recipe calls for a tart pan, but unfortunately I couldn't seem to find mine.  Even thinking I have put all of my kitchenware in an organized place in the kitchen, there are still things I'm missing!  So, instead of tearing down the kitchen to find it, I just used a regular old pie pan, and it turned out just as delicious!  I made this one of the evenings my brother and sister came over.  We made dinner together and this was our dessert.  As my sister put it best, "It's a very warm and fall type of dessert."  It calls for frozen blueberries and peaches so buying them in season didn't matter.  My brother and Tom commented on how good the crust was too.  Again, I'm all about simplicity, and this is another easy but delicious dessert!

  • Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 35 min.
  • Yield: 12 Servings


  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened blueberries, thawed
  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened sliced peaches, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter just until blended. Press onto the bottom and up the side of a 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, peaches and honey; toss to coat. In a small bowl, combine the first five topping ingredients; stir in butter.
  • Spoon fruit mixture into crust; sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.