Saturday, May 21, 2011

Roast Chicken Chimichangas

I've rediscovered a fantastic Cooking Light cookbook I've owned for quite awhile...The Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites. Everything I've tried from it has been awesome.

I flipped through it back for Cinco de Mayo to find some kind of Mexican entrée we could have. This looked really easy and didn't require a lot of ingredients which are two automatic pluses in my book!

Roast Chicken Chimichangas
Source: The Best of Cooking Light Everyday Favorites

2 1/2 cups shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup bottled green salsa

Preheat oven to 500°.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.
Spread 1/4 cup beans down center of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 2/3 cup chicken mixture; roll up. Place rolls, seam sides down, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of chimichangas with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 7 minutes. Serve with salsa.

Calories: 380
Calories from fat: 23%
Fat: 9.7g
Saturated fat: 3.1g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.1g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g
Protein: 28.8g
Carbohydrate: 42.5g
Fiber: 6.5g
Cholesterol: 55mg
Iron: 3.8mg
Sodium: 728mg
Calcium: 157mg


Instead of using some roasted chicken I threw a couple chicken breasts on the grill while my family was swimming then just shredded the meat once they were cooked (the chicken, not my family). These were so easy to make. Throw everything in a bowl, spread some beans on a tortilla, spoon some chicken mixture down the middle, fold, and bake. I was kind of surprised that the serving size was just one, but they were really filling.

We all really liked these. REALLY liked them. The husband actually asked if we could have weekly chimichanga night. I loved how easy these came together and that we all loved them. This will definitely be in regular rotation in our house.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rocco's Chicken Picatta

A few weeks ago I decided to use Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This as my cookbook of the week. One of the dishes I made was his Chicken Picatta recipe. I've always liked picatta dishes...the tangy lemon and capers together...yum! I was excited to find a low cal version of this, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with Rocco.

Rocco's Chicken Picatta
Source: Now Eat This by Rocco DiSpirito

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 ounces each), pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat 2 large nonstick saute pans over medium heat.

2. While pans are heating, season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Put the ½ cup flour in one shallow dish and the egg substitute in another shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then in the egg substitute, to coat completely.

3. When pans are hot, add ½ tablespoon of the butter to each pan. Allow the butter to melt completely and brown slightly. Then add 2 coated chicken breasts to each pan. Saute the chicken until it is golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, and tent it with foil to keep the chicken warm.

4. Raise the heat under one of the saute pans to high. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Add garlic and sweat for one minute. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons flour into the butter. Whisk in the lemon juice and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low-and continue to cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it has thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, and serve.

Fat 7.4g
Calories 241
Protein 31g
Carbohydrates 12g
Cholesterol 81mg
Fiber 2g
Sodium 459mg


I left the sauce off my kids' pieces because I just didn't know if they'd like it, and I'm all about avoiding potential issues and fights at the dinner table. The husband and I loved it though. The crunchy breading, the lemons and capers...great combination! This is definitely something I'll make again, and since I don't use capers very often a jar lasts me awhile and I pretty much always have them in my fridge.

Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs

I have to say, I'm on a roll with the new Cooking Light recipes I've been trying. So much so that the husband said we should have Cooking Light Month at our house. I gotta say, I'm not opposed to the idea. Three of the six recipes I still need to post about are CL recipes and were all tasty. I don't remember how I came across this one. I think it was an article on their website about 101 ways to cook chicken or something. Boy #1 LOVES chicken legs, and they were on sale last week, so I thought this would be good. It's pretty funny because he calls them "chicken bones." Let me tell you, it took awhile to figure out what he meant when he was asking for chicken bones.

Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs
Source: Cooking Light website

1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons basil oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 1/4 pounds), skinned
Cooking spray
Green onion strips (optional)

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 3 minutes. Place chicken on grill coated with cooking spray; grill 30 minutes or until chicken is done, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Garnish with green onion strips, if desired.

Amount per serving (2 drumsticks)
Calories: 215
Calories from fat: 31%
Fat: 7.5g
Saturated fat: 1.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 2.8g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
Protein: 30g
Carbohydrate: 4.4g
Fiber: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 97mg
Iron: 1.5mg
Sodium: 339mg
Calcium: 18mg


I figure since the nutritional info was there I might as well include in case anyone else is counting calories like we are.

This chicken was REALLY good. The only thing I left out was the basil oil because I don't have any and didn't really want to buy any for the small amount that is used. Although in hindsight I probably could have just bought some fresh basil and made my own. Oh well. I used sriracha for the hot sauce and was worried I'd added too much, but it wasn't spicy at all. Dodged a bullet there because Boy #1 does not like spicy and would have been very disappointed if he couldn't eat the chicken bones.

We all really liked this. I wished I'd thrown a few more legs into the marinade so I could have had another and/or some leftovers. This will definitely be a go to recipe for chicken bones in the future!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baked Camembert Pasta

I happened to be grocery shopping with my friend Jen recently and saw a marked down package of camembert cheese in the deli section. I turned to her and said, "Didn't you use camembert for something recently?" To which she replied, "Why yes I most certainly did." Or something along those lines in the way of an affirmative answer. She said it was like a decadent, grown-up mac and cheese. Sold! That was all I needed to hear to throw the package in my cart. I know I've professed my love for mac and cheese before, so I won't bore you with the details of it again.

I'm copying the recipe from Jen's blog but she found it from a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

Baked Camembert Pasta
Source: Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

a box of Camembert Cheese (250g)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
100g grated Parmesan cheese
400g dried rigatoni
150g fresh spinach

1. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back to the wooden container.

2. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.

3. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.

4. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.

5. Bake the cheese in a preheated oven of 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until golden and melted. (***May take a little longer until the cheese is melted***)

6. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.

7. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan – it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.

8. Drain the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt.

9. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.

10. Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted Camembert on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.


I forgot the spinach when I was getting the other ingredients I needed. Oops. And I used whole wheat rotini instead of rigatoni. This was indeed a decadent, grown-up mac and cheese. So much so that I tried to ration the amount of cheese I gave my kids on their pasta so that the husband and I could have more. When I pulled the cheese out of the oven it smelled AMAZING. And the cheese was all gooey and melty with yummy slices of garlic and bits of rosemary on top. Oh man. I seriously could have stood there and eaten it with a spoon.

I don't know how often I'd make this just because camembert is not an inexpensive cheese, so it would have to be a special occasion. Or if I happened to find it marked down again. But if it's in your grocery budget, I say give this a try. But only if you look gooey, melty, awesomeness.

I would advise putting your cheese on a baking sheet of some sort. Just in case something like this happens. It would 1) be a shame to lose the cheese and 2) suck to have to clean that mess up from the bottom of your oven.

Rocco's Mushroom Lasagna

I have a bit of a celebrity crush on a handsome chef...Rocco DiSpirito. Haven't heard of him? here's some eye candy:

Handsome fella, don't you think? I found his most recent cookbook, Now Eat This! Diet at Costco and had to get it. I really like his first Now Eat This cookbook. I had seen this mushroom lasagna on his Facebook page and really wanted to try it. I slated it for last Friday night's dinner for just the husband and me.

Rocco's Mushroom Lasagna
Source: Now Eat This! Diet by Rocco DiSpirito

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups reduced-fat ricotta cheese, such as Sargento
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces (about 8 sheets) no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles, such as Dalallo
10 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
4 ounces white button mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat the inside of an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, basil, parsley, and ¾cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix with a spoon until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Line the bottom of the prepared baking pan with two lasagna sheets. Top with ½ cup of the cheese mixture. Using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture so that the noodles are covered. Top with a layer of mushrooms. Repeat the procedure two more times. On the last layer, place two lasagna sheets on top of the mushrooms. Spread a layer of the remaining cheese mixture on top. Scatter the mozzarella and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.

Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Raise the temperature of the oven to 425°F, and bake for another 15 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

388 calories 15g fat (8g sat / 2.6g mono / 1.2g poly) 57mg cholesterol 510mg sodium 34g carbohydrates 3g fiber 28g protein


I wasn't able to find the no-boil whole wheat noodles, so I just went with regular no-boil noodles instead. It worked out okay because the husband was doing an open water swim race the next day, so he was happy to have the carbs. I followed the cooking directions exactly for mine...and it came out pretty dry. I think I could have reduced the amount of time at 425 and it would have been fine. It was still good, just a little dry.

This is definitely something I'd make again. The 8x8 dish yielded four very generous servings and at only 388 calories each, that's pretty good! Oh, Rocco, you did not disappoint!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mexican Pizza

I'm so far behind on my blog I figure it's easiest to just start with what's current and go back as I have time. Otherwise I'm going to end up overwhelmed and nothing will ever get done. I looked through my pictures today and realized I have been making a lot of new stuff and have a lot of catching up to do. There are nine things on my list that I want to do posts on. Sheesh!

I had a really yummy sounding dinner planned for one night this week, but then it turned out the meat I needed for it wasn't as much on sale as I thought it would be when I went to the store, so I had to come up with a new plan. I was catching up on blogs I follow and went to Meal Planning 101 for some ideas. One of the first posts on there was ideas for ground beef. I recently purchased 10 pounds of ground beef, so I was open to ideas. I saw this taco pizza recipe and had everything on hand for it, so it was a go!

Mexican Pizza
Source: Meal Planning 101 blog

1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
Splash of water

Your favorite pizza crust
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
Grated cheese (cheddar, mozza or Monteray Jack would all work fine)
1-2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup lettuce, finely shredded or 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the beef with the onions and garlic. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salsa spice, salt and pepper (or sub out all these spices for your favorite taco seasoning). Mix and cook for about 30 seconds then add a splash or two of water to let the spices create more of a sauce for the beef. Turn to low and let simmer a couple minutes until the water has evaporated and remove from heat.

Put your pizza crust on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Mix together the salsa and sour cream and spread about 1/3 - 1/2 cup over your pizza crust. Top with the taco seasoned beef and shredded cheese. I bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then broil for 1-3 minutes to get the cheese on top a nice golden brown. You should note that I use the par-baked shells from the bakery, so if you use fresh dough adjust your cooking time and temperature accordingly.

Give the pizza just a moment or two to cool ever so slightly and then top with diced tomatoes and lettuce or basil. Serve with the rest of the salsa sour cream as a dipping sauce.


I didn't have any taco seasoning on hand, so I just threw in some chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. It was definitely a tad under-seasoned, but I didn't want to over do it. I also could have spread more of the sauce on my crust. Overall, though, we really liked this new take on pizza. The kids didn't have any toppings on theirs, but the husband and I both did and really liked it. I'd definitely make this again!!

Sprinkles Cupcakes' Strawberry Cupcakes

What a crazy morning!! My MOMS Club has a monthly birthday brunch party to celebrate the mommies having birthdays that month. My friend Laura coordinates it and asked if I'd host May's because two of my friends, Michelle and Cindy were both having birthdays. So I said sure. I forget how much I hate hosting events at my house until the morning of them. Really I just hate the running around getting my house ready for company. But it kind of pays off because now I have time to update my blog since my house is already clean. So I guess I can't complain too much.

Anyway, Laura asked if I could make some cupcakes for the party. The birthday girls--there was another one, too, Carissa who owns our fabulous local ice cream shop--wanted Funfetti and strawberry. I offered to make strawberry. I'm not big on mixes and ready made frosting because of all the gross stuff that can be in them (have you ever read the ingredients on a cake mix or tub of frosting?), so I did some searching for a recipe I could make. My Googling lead me to Oprah's website and a recipe for Sprinkles Cupcakes' Strawberry Cupcakes. I've heard of Sprinkles but never actually consumed one of their cupcakes, but since I know it's a popular place I figured this would be a good recipe to try.

Sprinkles Cupcakes' Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. Add a few more strawberries if necessary, or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles Cupcakes' Strawberry Frosting

1/2 cup frozen whole strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix, or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.


I needed more than one dozen cupcakes, so I doubled the recipe for the cupcakes but I left the frosting recipe as is. I can only deduce that Sprinkles Cupcakes must have a TON of frosting because I was able to frost 22 cupcakes (two little scoundrels each took a cupcake yesterday while I was upstairs getting dressed, so I had less than my original 24) with the single batch and had some left over. Even if I'd frosted 24 cupcakes I think I'd still have some left.

These were pretty freakin' fantastic. The husband had one last night after they were frosted and said it may be the best cupcake he'd ever eaten. The frosting was AMAZING--and I loved that it tasted like real strawberries, not strawberry flavoring and Red #40. The cupcakes themselves had a mild strawberry flavor, but the frosting really made it pop. The cupcakes were really dense which was so good. The only change I made was to use almond milk instead of whole milk. We don't drink whole milk, and I wasn't about to buy a container of it for just this recipe. I didn't think skim milk would be a good substitution, but I did have almond milk in the fridge that I thought would work.

Even as much as I don't like to bake, these were pretty easy to make. The end product is definitely worth making again!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Please excuse the dust

I'm playing around with a new look and format for my blog, so please be patient with me as I figure out how I want it to look. Basically, if this is your first time here please come back doesn't always look this weird and crazy and hodge podge, I swear. Sadly I don't have all the time in the world to get this figured out in one sitting (darn kids of mine, requiring things like quality time with their mom, clean diapers, and meals).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Food Flowchart

I need to get back to posting some of my long list of overdue blog entries, but I saw this earlier today on a website I really like, , Haven't heard of it? You should check it out. Great, short articles on commonplace foods and how gross some of them are or where food things come from or dispelling "health" and "nutrition" claims. I'm all about healthy eating and limiting the amount of processed foods my family eats, so I love reading the different articles and becoming more educated.

Anyway, I'm a fan of theirs on Facebook and read something they posted this morning then after clicking my way through a bunch of different "You might like..." posts I came across this food flowchart. I thought it was hilarious and very much worth sharing.

Source: Funny Flowchart for Choosing Food at the Supermarket

Probably dog food...hahaha! Too funny!