Friday, December 2, 2011

{Black Bean} Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

You will never believe that these brownies are made with black beans! I baked these last night for a wonderful wine & paint party a la Lisa Jordan and waited until half of them were gone before I revealed my healthy secret. All the ladies were wondering how they were so dense and moist - no one would believe that black beans were the secret ingredient. Just like the diet soda cake, you can choose any brownie mix of your choice to bake your favorite, guilt-free brownies!

  • 19.8 oz box dark chocolate fudge brownie mix
  • 15 oz can black beans

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Drain black beans and rinse well. Put beans back in the can and fill the rest with water. In blender or food processor, pulse black beans and water until smooth.

Mix pureed beans with brownie package mix (no eggs, oil, etc.).

Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Bake brownies according to package directions.

Yield: 20 brownies

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baked Onion Rings

Adapted from Skinny Taste

If homemade potato soup wasn't enough, we ate it with a side of onion rings! Who doesn't like onion rings?! And the great thing is, they're baked!

  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch rings
  • 2 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil baking spray

Place onion slices in a bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Refrigerate and let soak for approx. 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.

Place the bread crumbs in a bowl and add a little salt (you can divide the breadcrumbs into 2 bowls to reduce clumping when you dip the onions in). After the onions have soaked, dip each ring into the bread crumbs then place it on the baking sheet. Once all the onions are on the baking sheet, lightly spray them with olive oil baking spray. Bake for about 12 minutes or until brown.

Yield: 3 servings

Potato Soup

Adapted from Skinny Taste

A delicious and filling soup, perfect for a cold day! We couldn't stop talking about how wonderful this soup was! Better than any potato soup we've ever had at a restaurant. This will for sure be a winter staple!

  • 2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • cheddar cheese

Pierce potatoes with a fork and microwave for 5 minutes. Turn potatoes over and microwave for another 5 minutes. Let potatoes cool, then peel them.

Steam cauliflower until tender, drain, and return to pot. Add the chicken broth, milk, and potatoes and bring to a boil on medium heat. Once the soup has reached a boil, remove from heat and pour into a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour back into pot and add sour cream, bacon crumbles, salt, and pepper (taste to see desired amount of salt and pepper). Cook on low for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

Yield: 5 servings

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chicken with Shallots in Red Wine Vinegar

Adapted from Skinny Taste

You need to have some time to cook this meal, but it is worth the effort! A delicious fall dinner full of flavor. We added a side of wild rice, which was especially tasty with the extra sauce.

  • 2 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, and thawed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vingear (we used 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 large shallot (we used 3 small), sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley


In a medium sauce pan, combine vinegar, honey, 3/4 cup chicken broth, and tomato paste. Boil for about 5 minutes or until mixture reduces to approx. 3/4 cup. Remove from heat.

In a large skillet, melt butter over low heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then cook chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and add the shallots and garlic. Cook on low until soft. Add the chicken back to the skillet, and add the wine and remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the skillet, add the sour cream and stir the sauce well.

Serve the sauce over the chicken, topped with parsley.

Yield: 3 servings

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cranberry Curry Quinoa with Roasted Veggies

Adapted from: Peas & Crayons

Cauliflower, butternut squash, and dried cranberries flavored with curry and garlic combine to make a fall favorite and a great option for cooking quinoa. We recommend serving this as a side dish to complete a fall dinner.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 head of cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Chop cauliflower and squash. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat veggies with olive oil spray, salt, and pepper. Roast veggies for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, rinse quinoa (unless pre-rinsed already) and boil in 2 cups of chicken broth for 15 minutes. Once quinoa has spiraled out and is nice and fluffy, add dried cranberries, garlic powder, curry powder, and lemon zest. Finally, stir in your roasted veggies.

Yield: 6-8 side servings

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Light Chocolate {Pumpkin} Cupcakes

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

I would call these {hidden pumpkin} chocolate cupcakes. The pumpkin puree serves to moisten the cupcakes, but once baked you can hardly tell it's in there. These cupcakes are simple and light, but taste rich and will satisfy any chocolate fix!

  • 18.25 oz Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1.4 oz sugar free, fat free instant chocolate jello pudding mix
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/3 cups water
Chocolate glaze:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2-1 tbsp 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

Combine canned pumpkin and water in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add chocolate pudding mix; mix well.

Add chocolate cake mix and beat for 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 25 - 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Chocolate glaze:
Combine all dry ingredients, add vanilla and 1/2 tbsp milk, adding more 1/4 tsp at a time if needed until smooth.

Add to a piping bag or use a zip lock bag and cut the corner off, drizzle onto cooled cupcakes.

I then used some leftover cream cheese frosting from another Halloween treat for an extra taste of sweetness, but the cupcakes should be great with the chocolate glaze alone!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paula Deen Pumpkin Bars

Adapted from: Paula Deen

These pumpkin bars are a true fall treat. Perfect for a UNC tailgate and a Halloween spent in our night class. Friends at both enjoyed this delicious dessert!

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread batter into 2 greased 13x10-inch baking pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

Combine cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Yield: 48 bars

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

This is probably one of our favorite pizzas that we've made! Quick and easy and so delicious! ... maybe better than Brick's.

  • 1 cup raw spinach leaves (enough for a single layer across the dough)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz. pizza dough (we used Trader Joe's brand)
  • corn meal


Preheat oven to 350° F. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven at this time so it will warm with the oven. Set the pizza dough out on a counter and let it sit for about 20 minutes.

Boil the chicken until cooked, then shred it using a fork and knife. Once chicken is shredded, mix with barbeque sauce.

If using a pizza stone, now spread corn meal on a cutting board. If you're not using a pizza stone, a cookie sheet will work and you can spread corn meal on it as well. After the dough has sat out, spread the dough on the cutting board or cookie sheet. Then layer the ingredients in this order: spinach, chicken, onion, cheeses.

Bake for appox. 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, October 17, 2011

Zucchini and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

This is a great meal for a weeknight meal with a side of steamed veggies, or alongside garlic cheddar biscuits, lima beans, and sauteed squash for a heartier meal. The zucchini mixture with the lemon zest and cheeses rolled into breaded chicken makes for a fancy and delicious twist to baked chicken.

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 skinless boneless chicken tenderloins
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil spray on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for a minute, or until golden. Add zucchini, 1 tbsp Parmesan, salt, and pepper and saute about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. When cool, add mozzarella, mixing to combine.

Lay chicken onto a cutting board and spread zucchini-cheese mixture on each tenderloin. Roll each one with seam side down.

Combine breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan in one bowl. In another bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper in another bowl.

Dip chicken in lemon-olive oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tenderloins. When finished, lightly spray with olive oil spray.

Bake for about 25 minutes and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Adapted from: Everyday Health

For our second week of having a night class, this is a follow-up to our baked ziti as a make-ahead-of-time meal that's leftover friendly. If you're a mushroom lover like me, I would recommend adding mushrooms to the dish but for those who have a slight mushroom aversion - like Lauren! :) - you might have to get a little more creative to spice up this one.

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken tenderloins, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 8 oz fat free sour cream
  • 10 3/4 oz cream of chicken soup, reduced-fat and reduced-sodium, condensed
  • cooking spray
  • 10 saltines, crushed
  • 6 oz egg noodles (may be called "extra wide" noodles)

Preheat over to 350°F.

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Combine chicken, salt and pepper, sour cream, poppy seeds, and chicken in a large bowl. Stir until blended well. Once noodles are finished cooking, drain and stir into the bowl. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and spoon contents of bowl into the dish.

Top with crushed saltines. Coat with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homemade Pretzels

Adapted from Good Eats

To start off the semester with our Bible study, we had a pretzel making night! This is a fun treat to enjoy preparing and eating with friends! However, you will need a mixer with a dough hook, and make sure you remember to make the dough ahead of time since it has to sit for almost an hour.


  • 1 1/2 cups really hot water (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
  • vegetable oil
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • sea salt
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon


Combine hot water, sugar, and 2 tsp. sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or more, until the mixture beings to lightly foam.

Add the flour and butter, and using a dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Changed to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit it in a warm spot for approx. 50 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.

Bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a boil in a saucepan.

While the water is boiling, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces on a slightly oiled surface. Roll out each piece into approx. a 24 inch rope. Make the dough into a pretzel shape by making a U-shape, crossing the ends over each other, and then pressing the ends into the bottom of the U.

Place each pretzel, individually into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a spatula and place on the parchment paper cookie sheets.

Brush each pretzel with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle sea salt on top if desired.

Bake until brown, approx. 12-14 min.

Let pretzels cool. If you didn't sprinkle salt on them before cooking, you can mix a little brown sugar and cinnamon together to sprinkle on top of the cooked pretzels.

Yield: 8 pretzels

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Adapted from Cooking Light

Our class schedule for this semester includes a night class on Mondays, so we've had to rethink our evening cooking. We've found some great recipes that we can make in the afternoon and then take to class to heat up. The great thing is we also have leftovers the next day. Making meals ahead of time and in large proportions is teaching us what it will be like to be moms one day!

  • 1 (1 lb.) box of ziti
  • 1 lb. ground sausage
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine pasta, sausage mixture, and basil. Pour half into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta on top and cover with the rest of the cheeses.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling.

Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pasta Salad

This is one of my family's favorite side dishes at Thanksgiving. Amy and I recently made it over the weekend to enjoy for lunch the next week and to add some variety to our typical turkey sandwiches. This pasta salad has many ingredients, a great taste, and makes enough to serve a big family or to eat all week long!


For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 12 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 bag frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cup in half


Whisk dressing ingredients together. Combine salad ingredients without tomatoes. Toss the dressing and salad together, then add tomatoes and toss.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cookie Surprise!

My dear friend Melissa taught me this recipe, which she dubs "Cookie Surprise". Simple and using only 3 ingredients, it has Melissa's name written all over it. She always manages to simplify and perfect any recipe she comes across. It's a crowd pleaser for sure - it was the first dessert to disappear at the Camp Downes dinner tonight!

  • 1 package chocolate chip cookies (Chips Ahoy or any generic brand)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 container cool whip
For the first layer, individually dip half of the cookies into evaporated milk and cover the bottom of an 8x8 dish.

Spread 1/2 of cool whip over the layer of cookies.

Repeat with the rest of the cookies, and spread remaining cool whip over second layer.

Top with chocolate chip cookie crumbs.

Freeze dessert for 2-3 hours, or overnight.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sinfully Delicious Toffee Bars

Adapted from: Family Bites

These fudgy, chocolate chip cookie toffee bars are to die for. Graham cracker, toffee, chocolate, cookie dough... baked to perfection and cut into squares for everyone to enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (32 squares)
  • 2 symphony bars, crumbled
  • 1 roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Grease 13"x9" baking dish and heat oven to 350°F.

Let the cookie dough sit out for around 10 minutes to soften up.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of toffee bits. Pour mixture into the greased pan and press evenly until mixture covers bottom of pan. Refrigerate for around 15 minutes.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the milk, chocolate chips and the tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Stir frequently until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Spread the mixture over the graham cracker crumb mixture.

In another medium bowl, break up the cookie dough and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs until blended. Crumble the mixture evenly over the chocolate layer and sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of toffee bits on top.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Before cutting, let cool for up to 2 hours.

Yield: 24 squares

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pasta with Asparagus

Adapted from: SkinnyTaste

This dish reminds me of spaghetti alla carbonara with asparagus added and minus the ham and cream. The egg yolk and Parmesan mixture coats the pasta well as a sauce. It involves minimal preparation for a great result!

  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
  • 6 oz uncooked pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes, until tender and crisp. Drain asparagus and reserve 1 cup liquid.

Fill the same pot with salted water, cover and boil. When water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add asparagus, salt, and pepper and sauté for 1-2 minutes, tossing with e.v.o.o. and garlic.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, Parmesan, 1/4 cup reserved asparagus liquid, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Once pasta is drained, return to pot and stir in egg mixture. Cook on medium-low for 2 minutes, until sauce thickens and coats pasta. Toss in asparagus and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. If pasta seems dry add more reserved liquid, one tablespoon at a time.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Edamame, Cashew, and Chicken Stir-fry

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

I was able to visit two of my best college friends in Houston over our "summer break." Elisa and I made this wonderful dish one night while I was there, so of course I had to come back to school and share it with Amy. We have made a couple stir-fry dishes in the past, but this one is definitely our favorite. The edamame and cashews make for delicious, unique ingredients. You can feed more people with this dish by serving it over rice as well.


  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. almond butter (we used peanut butter)
  • 1 tbsp. grated, fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1 tbsp. safflower oil, divided (we used olive oil)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into one inch chunks
  • 2/3 cup cashews (we used unsalted halves)
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • 4 green onions, cut into small pieces


Whisk together soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger, honey, dry mustard, and chicken broth. Mix well and set aside.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, heat 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook the chicken and garlic until the chicken is cooked through. Then remove chicken from skillet and cut into bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, heat another 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the red pepper, cashews, and edamame and cook for 3 minutes. Then add in the chicken, onion, and sauce and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once at a boil, reduce to medium-low heat and cook for another 2 minutes. The sauce should thicken, and it's ready to serve!

Yield: 3 servings

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Barbeque Chicken

During our three week summer vacation, I copied down many of my favorite family recipes. One of which is my mom's famous barbeque chicken. All you have to do is prepare the homemade barbeque sauce, then bake the chicken for an hour. The chicken is so moist and tender and the sauce delicious- better than any barbeque sauce you can buy!

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.

Place the uncooked chicken in a greased baking dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cover the dish with foil. Bake for approx. 1 hour.

Yield: 2 servings

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wasabi Cucumber Salad

What is a great side dish for a summer cookout that everyone loves? When I posed this question to my family, my cousin Alan told me about wasabi cucumber salad. I was a little hesitant due to my aversion to all things spicy, but he reassured me that it is a manageable level of spiciness and that I would really like it. I made it for our back-to-school get together last night and came home with an empty bowl, so I think everyone enjoyed it! The sesame seeds and oil add a lot of flavor, as does the wasabi, both surprising complements to the fresh cucumbers.

  • 2 tsp. wasabi powder
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

In a medium-sized bowl, mix wasabi and 1 tsp. warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
After wasabi has thickened into a paste, stir in the vinegar and sugar.
Next, add in sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
Just prior to serving, add cucumbers, scallions, and sesame seeds. Mix well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lemonade Confetti Cupcakes

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

With so many birthdays in the past week, it was inevitable that we would find a delicious summer dessert to bake for a friend. This was the recipe we chose, light and sweet lemonade confetti cupcakes topped with sprinkles. They were a big hit in the clinic!

  • 1 18.25 oz box confetti cake mix, we used Betty Crocker
  • 2 1/2 tsp powdered Crystal Light lemonade mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 lemon, zest of
  • sprinkles of choice, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line tins with 18-24 cupcake liners.

Mix water and lemonade powder. In a large bowl, combine boxed cake mix, lemonade mixture, applesauce, lemon zest, and oil. Using a mixer, stir until all ingredients are fully combined.

Pour batter into cupcake pans. Top each with sprinkles. Bake for 22 minutes, or you can insert a toothpick in the center of a cupcake to see if it comes out clean.

Let cool and serve!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Basil Pesto Corn

My dear friends Billy and Joe shared their dinner with me a few weekends ago. This corn was so delicious, I had to make it so Amy could try it. Billy's mother is a wonderful cook and always keeps fresh pesto in the fridge. Oh how we would love to have fresh pesto always on hand! For now our slowly growing basil plant on our porch will do. Enjoy this quick and easy spin on traditional corn!

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/4 tbsp. pesto


Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Put the corn in a skillet and stir in the pesto. Saute over medium heat for approx. 5 minutes or until the corn is soft.

It's that easy!

Yield: 2 servings

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seafood Tacos

If you've ever been to NoDa in Charlotte and had the pleasure of eating at Cabo Fish Taco, then you've probably enjoyed some amazing fish tacos. This recipe is a simple feat with a delightful combo of Mexican-inspired tacos and perfectly seasoned seafood. Since our local grocer was out of tilapia this week, we used shrimp instead. We seasoned the shrimp in a southwest seasoning (see below, adapted from cdkitchen), which added a great flavor to the tacos.

  • 2 servings of fish or shrimp
  • 1/2 lime, juice of
  • 1/2 tbsp. cumin
  • Southwest seasoning: combine pinch of salt, black ground pepper, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, and oregano
  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • cooking spray
Taco toppings:
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salsa of choice, to taste (we used mango peach)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • Shredded cheese, to taste

Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.

Spray another pan and turn to medium high heat; add tilapia or shrimp. Season with half the lime juice and spices. For fish, flip when one side is cooked, season again, and cook until golden. For shrimp, continue to toss in seasoning until cooked through.

Heat tortillas in microwave if desired to eat warm.

Fill tortilla with a portion of seafood and then top with onion, avocado, and salsa; sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 2 servings

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Goat Cheese and Rosemary Pasta

We had plans tonight to make a pizza, but when we were at the grocery store we realized the pizza dough was still in the freezer. A pizza was not happening tonight. With the pizza ingredients on hand and a few other staples added, this turned out to be a delicious pasta dish! We are always proud when we create our own meals without a recipe!

  • 5 small chicken tenderloins
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp. (or 1 sprig) fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups pasta (we used farfalle)
  • grated parmesan to sprinkle


In a medium skillet, coat skillet with cooking spray and cook chicken on medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and cut into bite size pieces. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until onion is soft. Add tomatoes to the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

While onions and garlic are sautéing, boil water and cook pasta.

Once pasta is cooked, drain, and add back to the pot (not on the stove). Add the goat cheese to the pasta and mix well until the goat cheese has melted. Then mix in the onion, garlic, and tomatoes as well as the chicken and rosemary. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.

Yield: 3 servings

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lime and Mustard Baked Chicken

Adapted from: The Skinny Taste

We thought mustard, garlic, and lime sounded like an interesting combination, but our doubts dissolved as this flavorful dish smelled up our kitchen. This chicken is packed with zesty flavor! Enjoy it with a side of boiled okra or your veggie of choice and a glass of ice water with the leftover slices of lime.

  • 6 chicken breast tenderloins
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed, and lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • salt
  • dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400°. Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt. In a small bowl, combine mustard, mayo, lime juice and zest, garlic and pepper. Mix well. Pour mixture over chicken; toss well to coat.

Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Place chicken in dish in a single layer and sprinkle dried parsley over the tenderloins. Bake until cooked through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Drizzle juices from pan over chicken and serve.

Yield: 3 servings

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

If you haven't discovered chicken patties yet, you should really go buy some and try out this great recipe. 4 ingredients! Can you get much simpler? The roasted chicken patties from TJ's are delicious, then paired with marinara and mozzarella on a fresh roll and you've got chicken parmesan in minutes - burger style!

  • 4 lean chicken burgers, we used roasted chicken patties from Trader Joe's
  • 4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 rolls, such as kaiser rolls

In a saucepan, heat marinara sauce. In a nonstick skillet, heat patties over medium heat on the stove until warm throughout. If using uncooked patties, cook patties on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Top with mozzarella slices. Once cheese is melted, put on a roll and top each burger with 1/4 cup marinara.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zucchini Sticks with Marinara

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Do you have an abundance of summer vegetables and don't know what to do with all of them? We have a LOT of squash and zucchini, so in looking for creative recipes, we came across zucchini sticks- a healthy and delicious snack, appetizer, or side dish. A homemade marinara sauce makes them even better!


For zucchini sticks:
  • 1 large zucchini or (2 small), cut into 3 inch sticks
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. cheddar cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For marinara:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. splenda or sugar


For zucchini sticks:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg white and season with salt and pepper. In another small bowl, mix bread crumbs, garlic powder, and cheese. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Dip zucchini stick into eggs, then into the bread crumb mixture, then set on cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For marinara:

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, splenda, and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Yield: 2 servings (as a side dish)

Shrimp and Couscous Paella

Adapted from Kitchen Simplicity

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish served with rice, vegetables, and optional meat or seafood. This recipe uses couscous in the place of rice, which creates a delicious form of paella. The recipe also calls for turmeric, which is the spice that gives paella its special flavor. Beware that the spice can stain your kitchen counter or clothing if spilled. Special thanks to one of my best friends, Elisa, for the beautiful plate on which this meal is displayed. She heard we wanted to start collecting fun plates to make our blog pictures more unique, so here's the start of our collection.


  • cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 bag frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 tbsp. light butter
  • sliced almonds, to garnish
  • dried parsley, to garnish


Coat a large skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Saute red pepper until softened. Then add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, stir in broth, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and add shrimp. (If shrimp are cooked, cook for a minute or until shrimp are heated. If shrimp are uncooked, cook for 2-3 minutes.) Leaving broth at a simmer, stir in couscous, peas, and butter. Once butter is melted, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork if needed. Garnish with almonds and parsley, and serve.

Yield: 5 servings

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shrimp Quesadillas with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Summer, how we love you! There is nothing like a meal made with fresh fruit, vegetables, and lots and lots of cilantro! These quesadillas were nothing short of amazing. Let's just say if they were on a menu at Mi Cabaña By the Hospital, prepared just this way, I would order them every time! But isn't it all the more satisfying when you can whip them up yourself?

  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red onion, finely minced
  • 12 medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 small tortillas

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Season shrimp with salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Add shrimp and scallions. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until shrimp is cooked though. Remove from heat and set aside.

Lightly spray skillet with oil. Add one tortilla, top with 1 1/2 tbsp cheese, 6 shrimp, and tomato avocado salsa. Once cheese is melted and the bottom of the tortilla is slightly crispy, place the other tortilla on top. Put a plate on top of the quesadilla and flip it over onto the plate. Then slide the other side onto the skillet. Cook another minute and remove using a spatula. Repeat for the second quesadilla. Cut into wedges and top with remaining tomato avocado salsa.

Yield: 2 servings

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tomato Pie and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Tomato pie adapted from: Food Network
Garlic biscuits adapted from: Skinny Taste

I had heard of tomato pie, but had never had it before this meal. If you love tomatoes, you will most definitely love tomato pie. As a side dish or a meal, make use of delicious, summer tomatoes. And just the name "garlic cheddar biscuits" tells you these are amazing!


Tomato pie:
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (9 inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
  • 1 cup grated part skim mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated low fat cheddar
  • 1 cup non-fat mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
Garlic biscuits:
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup skim milk


Tomato pie:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place tomatoes in a colander in one layer. Pat dry with paper towel (pie will be soggy if tomatoes aren't drained). Sprinkle with salt and pepper on each layer and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in the pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Garlic biscuits:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a small skillet melt butter on low heat, add half the garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add parsley.

In a large bowl, combine bisquick, cheese, and remaining garlic. Stir in milk and mix without overdoing it. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet (it should make 7 biscuits, so drop batter accordingly).

Bake for 10 minutes. Drizzle biscuits with melted butter. Return to oven until lightly browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

Tomato pie, yield: 8 slices
Garlic biscuits, yield: 7 biscuits

Caprese Pizza

Adapted from: Culinary Cory

We finally figured out perfect success with a pizza stone! Put the stone in the oven then preheat the oven (the stone needs to heat up with the oven). Use a cookie sheet without an edge or a large cutting board that has a slide edge to prepare the pizza. Cover the cookie sheet or cutting board heavily with corn meal. Spread the dough on top of the corn meal and prepare your pizza. When ready to bake, slide the dough off the sheet/board and onto the stone. Then wait for the perfect crust!

  • corn meal
  • 16 oz. pizza dough
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


To make balsamic reduction:

Bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan while stirring constantly for 5 minutes, or until the volume is reduced in half. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put pizza stone into the oven at this time. Spread corn meal and then dough onto cutting board. Layer dough with spinach leaves, basil, and tomatoes. Top with mozzarella. When oven is hot, carefully slide dough onto pizza stone. Bake for approx. 15 minutes.

Drizzle balsamic reduction over cooked pizza. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 3 servings