Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spinach Tortellini Soup

I'm still dieting and I was tired of eating the same thing OVER and OVER again until I found this bad boy! Spinach Tortellin Soup, light, refreshing, low fat, low cal and HUGE on the flavor level. This soup is easy to make and perfect for anyone who is looking to eat well without losing great taste and flavor in their meals.

2 cans of chicken broth
garlic, minced
onions, chopped small
1 bunch of spinach
1 package of tortellini (I use 3 cheese tortellini)
1 teaspoon of dry basil
salt & pepper

Optional: Franks Red Hot Sauce

First things first, dice your onion. I use 1/2 of a yellow onion.

Add your onion and garlic (1 tablespoon of garlic) to your pot and let the heat sweat out the liquids in the onion.

Add your chicken broth.

Add your basil, salt & pepper.

To add some color, I use one big dollop of tomato paste, freeze the rest.

In another pot, bring water to a boil and add your tortellini cooking them for only 5 minutes, do not cook them longer than 5 minutes as you are going to add them to hot soup which will do the rest of the cooking for you.

Your soup base should be at a boil now, add your clean spinach to it.

As you can see, the spinach adds lots of color and taste to the broth.

Now add your tortellini to the broth.

For additional flavor, I highly recommend adding a splash or two or three or four to the soup. I did and it added lots of extra taste!
As with any soup, add more, add less just make sure you taste taste taste as you go. This soup is AWESOME the next day.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Homemade Manicotti Shells

This is the easiest recipe ever for homemade manicotti shells, sooooo delicious. I've been to restaurants before where their manicotti shells are so delicate and I've always wondered how in the world they got their shells to be sooo good when the shells I use at home seem so, gross. You can even use this recipe to make the pasta sheets for lasagna as well. You'll love it as much as my family does! Enjoy!
Four eggs
1 and a half cups of flour
1 and a half cups of water
3/4 teaspoon of salt

Take your eggs, flour, water and salt and mix until blended. As you can see in the above picture, the blend is very watery, don't be alarmed, you want it this way!

Lightly oil a frying pan and then heat the pan for about a minute over medium high heat. Spoon in the batter or use a dry measuring cup to pour the batter into the middle of the pan.

Quickly and carefully tild the pan in a circular motion until the batter forms a round, thin layer in the pan. (Similar to a crepe).

Cook about 1 to 2 minutes until the shell surface appears dry.

Carefully turn the manicotti shell over using a spatuland cook for an additional 20-30 seconds.

Stack cooked shells on a plate between waxed paper for later use.

Now it's time to assembly the Manicotti. Take one of your shells and add cheese in the center.

Spoon a generous helping of the ricotta cheese. (Add 3 eggs, salt and cheese to the ricotta cheese at least 30 minutes prior to assembling the Manicotti).

Now fold like a burrito and place in baking pan. Repeat steps until your pan is full of manicotti shells filled with cheese mix.

Pour sauce over the shells.

Top with cheese. Cover with foil. Put into pre-heated oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Finished dish!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Upside-Down Chocolate Chip Cake

I found this on Rookie Cookie's blog and even though I do not love chocolate cake, I had to make it, it looked delicious. I am a huge fan of coconut and chocolate chips so I tried this one out. It was so yummy. It was fun to make too. I couldn't wait to flip it over onto the cake plate and see all of that yummy gooey chewy goodness. Once you sprinkle the chocolate chips on, they start to melt all over the top...OH MY...you have to try this. And because I need to lose a few El Bees (lbs)...I sent the rest of the cake over to my mom and dad's house and they loved it.

Upside-Down Chocolate Chip Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
4 tsp water
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Set oven to 350. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a 9 inch round cake pan in the oven. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar and water. Sprinkle coconut and walnuts into the pan. Set pan aside.In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir to combine. Add milk, 1/4 cup butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir in by hand. Spread batter into prepared pan.Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cake feels firm when touched. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and turn out onto a cake plate. Immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Let stand for 30 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lemon Chicken (Low Fat Version)

Jaime and I are big fans of blogger, Mandy. When you have time, check out her cooking blog as well: Home with Mandy
We both came across this recipe for Lemon Chicken, Jaime and I both tried it. Because I'm still on the "gotta lose this baby weight" diet, I made my version low fat and added a few other ingredients. My family loved it, in fact, I made it twice this week so far. It's delish. Thanks Mandy and thanks Cindy (Mandy's mom) for creating this dish!

4 chicken breast
2 cans of low fat cream of chicken
1 can of salt free pieces and stems mushrooms
low fat sour cream
lemon juice
sliced almonds
salt & pepper
garlic powder
olive oil
Take your chicken breasts and slice them thin, just like I did in the above picture.

Add salt & pepper and garlic powder to both sides of the chicken.

Lightly dust in flour.

Dust the other side too!

Becaused I sliced my chicken breast thin, I took 4 half breasts and created 8 breasts. Drizzle lightly with olive olive. In a preheated 400 degree oven, place the chicken in and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, take your 2 cans of low fat cream of chicken in a big saucepan and add your salt free mushrooms.

Add your low fat sour cream to the mix.

Stir really well.

Now this is where you want to taste, taste, taste. A lot of people like citrus in there food and some people find it overwhelming....squeeze a little lemon juice in the mix, stir and taste. Keep adding lemon juice until you get the "perfect" taste. I love lemon but I didn't want to overwhelm the dish with too much of the lemon juice so I was able to get it perfect to my liking. Remember, squeeze juice in, stir and taste.
Cook on low heat until the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes.

Now that the 30 minutes has passed, turn the chicken over and add the low fat cream of mushroom mix all over the chicken. Top it off now with your sliced almonds. Put back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

This is what the final product looks like.
Serve with white or brown rice and or a salad.
It's delish! It will be one of your favorite easy dishes to make because surely it's my family's favorite chicken dish to date!
Thanks Mandy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brie with Warm Honey and Toasted Almonds

This is one of my favorite appetizers to make for a party...it's simple, easy and oh so tasty. I buy the brie from Costco but you can get it from Sam's Club or Trader Joe's...I use the Baby Brie wheel. I buy a small container of honey at Trader Joe's and heat the honey up in the microwave. I buy sliced almonds and toast them in the oven. Place the brie on a platter, pour the warm honey over the brie (the warm honey actually softens the brie so you can cut into easily) and then sprinkle with toasted almonds. I serve this with water crackers, multi-grain crackers or you could serve it with baguettes. Any way you serve it, it's a hit at parties!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cinnamon Scones with Vanilla Drizzle

I have been dieting for a few weeks now. My meals consist of salads and grilled chicken, lots of fluids and 1 low fat yogurt cup a day. I haven't cheated. Last night my sweet husband looked at me and said, "I miss all your yummy desserts". I felt bad because when I started my diet, my "cooking" has gone down lots. So I surprised him with scones drizzled with vanilla icing this afternoon.

This was my first time making scones and it was delish according to my husband and my 7 year old son and beleive it when I say, I haven't had a bite of these scones I made because I have pretty good will-power.

I was told they are really good and they want more tonight.

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
4 teaspoons cinnamon
In one bowl, add 1 cup of sour cream and baking soda together and stir until mixed well.

In another bowl add flour, cream of tarter, salt and baking powder.

Add sugar to the mix now.

Add room temp cuts of butter to the flour mix and mix until the flour looks like bread crumbs.

I used me hands to mix it up...easier that way.

Now add 1 egg to the sour cream.

Add the cinnamon to the sour cream mix as well, stir until blended.

Add sour cream mix to the flour and FOLD it into the flour.

It should look crumbly looking like this.

Knead dough no more than 10 times. Cut the dough into two and using half the dough, pat into a 3/4 inch loaf. Use circle press to make perfect circle and add to a greased cookie sheet.
Cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once you take out the scones, let them set for 5-8 minutes before adding the icing. If you don't have time to make icing or devonshire cream, take half a cup of vanilla icing and microve for 20 seconds. The icing will then pour easily into a zip-log bag. Cut a VERY small hole at the tip and drizzle over the scones for that perfect drizzled look.
I froze the other half the dough for later use!