Friday, October 30, 2009

CEiMB: Pumpkin Pie Muffins

I adore pumpkin pie.  Just ask anyone in my family, especially my mom.  We like to buy extra pumpkin pie from Costco around the holidays so we can eat it for breakfast have more leftovers. 

I really do like making muffins, especially Ellie Krieger's.  I know they are a healthy treat that I can eat with my cup of coffee in the morning or as a snack later in the day.  I usually make a big batch, individually wrap them in wax paper, and store in a big plastic bag in the freezer.  Just take one out the night before and place in the refrigerator and they will be ready and thawed in the morning.

Earlier this month I made Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes.  They got rave reviews from family and coworkers, so I was excited to see how Ellie's would match up since they have half the amount of brown sugar and no butter.

They tasted great - super moist thanks to the pumpkin puree.  My only recommedation is to not put them in cupcake liners.  I'm not really sure why I used them, but half of the muffin stuck to the bottom liner.  Muffin tops anyone? 

Thanks Amanda of Oddball Oven Mitt for such a great Craving Ellie in My Belly pick!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see my new Ellie Krieger cookbook in the mailbox. Her new cookbook is called So Easy - and she doesn't lie.

She breaks the book into 4 main sections - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Within each section she has two categories - one quick section (recipes you can make ahead of time or recipes that take less than 5 minutes to make) and one longer section (recipes that take 20 to 30 minutes to make).

I really like the recipes too. I've tried 5 or 6 so far and one of my favorites is the Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Can you believe this whole recipe rolls in around 460 calories? Full of flavor and it only took 20 minutes to make - my kind of meal.

Pork Piccata with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pg. 131-133)
Ellie Krieger
Pork Piccata
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch thick medallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsle
Combine the flour and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a sealable plastic bag. Place the pork medallions in the bag and shake until well-coated.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillt (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook the pork until it is browned on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the garlic to the same skillet, then immediately add the wine and cook over medium-high heat. As the wine reduces, stir to dissolve the small bits and juices remaining in the pan from the meat. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, capers, and remaining salt and pepper and cook until the mixture has reduced slightly, an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Return the medallions to the skillet along with the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat until the sauce thickens and the meat is cooked to medium doneness, about 3 minutes.
Serve over the Express "Steamed" Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and top with the parsley.
Express "Steamed" Spinach
5 ounces pre-washed baby spinach leaves
Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly. Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 1/4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, left unpeeled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the potatoes and garlic in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until the potatoes are knife tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan on the stove or in a glass container in the microwave. Remove the steamer basket and drain the water from the large pot. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to the pot, add the oil, salt, and broth, and mash until smooth.
Definitely a dinner worth trying. The lemon in the piccata sauce is refreshing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Vacation..

So no posts for a week or so!! Hope everyone else is doing well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

This Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club recipe was chosen by Kim of What the Whisk. I had very good intentions of making these for an after church potluck last Sunday, but couldn't find time with all of the festivities on Saturday for the UW vs. Arizona game. I ended up making the cupcakes late Sunday night. I started at 9:30 and climbed in bed by 11:00 or so. On Tuesday I finally found time to make the frosting. I decided to color the cream cheese frosting green to resemble the patch in 'pumpkin patch' cupcakes. I didn't have any time at all to figure out how to make / buy marzipan to shape into pumpkins. Although I do someday want to use marzipan, I decided to buy the Branch's mixed candy bag with candy corn and pumpkins. I picked out all the pumpkins and ate the candy corns.

My husband and I ate these cupcakes hot out of the oven on Sunday night without the frosting and they tasted great - almost like dough because they were so moist.

On Monday I brought in a couple unfrosted cupcakes as a morning snack for myself and a coworker and she really liked hers.

On Wednesday (after I made the frosting and frosted the cupcakes Tuesday night) I brought in a whole plate full to work. I sent out an email at 9:30 and within 5 minutes I had the first person stopping by. By the time I left work around 6:30 I had 2 of the 17 I brought.

I would definitely make these and recommend them. I wouldn't recommend making the mini ones.. for some reason I couldn't taste the pumpkin or spices as much and they weren't as moist.

I did get to use my Halloween cupcake liners - so much fun.

Happy cupcake baking, photographing, blogging, and eating!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UW vs. Arizona... and the food that made the day.

This last weekend we were faced with a small dilemma. We didn't have a RV for tailgating. We usually always tailgate before the Husky football games in my father-n-law's RV. We couldn't resist the thought of missing out on all the pre-game good eats, so Kyle and I decided to invite everyone over to our house before the game.

We had French Style Grilled Potato Salad, Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, the Bacon Explosion, no bake cookies, and root beer floats. We also grubbed on some cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, and salmon spread with wheat thins. Oh, did I mention we also had steaks? Well, not all of us decided to have a steak after the mountain of glutenous eating, but some us did. Hint: Kyle and I actually decided to pass. I know, right? Big surprise. Seriously.

So, here are some pics of the French Style Grilled Potato Salad I made, courtesy of Bobby Flay.

This was a really good potato salad if you like mustard. I'm a big fan of mustard (especially on hot dogs with relish and onions) so this salad hit home. I liked the idea of grilling the salad and let me tell you, its what made the salad.

This is the perfect dish for a potluck or picnic. To view the complete recipe, click here.

... and then there was the grill.. and meat...

A whole plethora of chicken drumsticks.. slowly cooking away on the grill for the Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

I was really drawn to this recipe because the chicken is cooked at a lower temperature on the grill for around 25-30 minutes. The end result is a moist, flavorful piece of chicken with a crunchy skin. Yum.

What makes this dish fabulous is the tangerine-maple glaze. I had to be a little creative this week because Kyle couldn't find Orange-Tangerine juice. I used Orange-Pineapple instead and I think it tastes near the same.

Garnish with green onions and a grilled slice of tangerine and you're good to go!
If you want to view the recipe, check out the post here.
... and then there was the Bacon Explosion. Kyle's ultimate tailgating food that he insists he has to make every football game.

I'm going to have to admit, this weekend the Bacon Explosion tasted great! Kyle bought hot Italian sausage from the market and it really gave the kick I love.
To see more detailed post on how to make / smoke the bacon explosion, click here.
And how could I forget the chocolate?

Although I bought vanilla ice cream and root beer for root beer floats, I couldn't resist making some quick no bake cookies.
I grew up eating these as a kid and I L-O-V-E them! My mom always would whip up a batch on the fly.
No Bake aka Mountain Bar Cookies
12-15 cookies (depending on size)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup or one stick of butter
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (hehe Jen, thanks for the reminder!!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats, plus more for setting
Heat the sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa on high heat over the stove. Once the mixture begins a rapid boil, start the timer for ~ 1 minute, 8 seconds, or 1 minute, 15 seconds if you're my mom :)
After the mixture cooks for 1 minute and 8 seconds, turn off the heat and add the vanilla and peanut butter. Stir in quickly and immediately add the oats. Stir until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a strip of wax paper and let dry (or set). If when you are stirring the mixture looks a little too loose or glossy, add a handful of oats.
Note: if you make mondo cookies like I do... they need to set for a lot longer.
Oh, and as for the Husky football game... we won!!! Yipee!! Seriously, the most amazing, well, second most amazing game I've been to this year. Well, I've only been to two home games, but they were both great!

Check out my post on the USC game here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

I haven't felt too good the last few days, so I've been at home with a little extra time to watch the Food Network than normal. I usually cook solely out of Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave, and occasionally I cook out of Cooking Light, but I try my best to stay clear of Paula and other chefs who cook with a lot of fat.

This time I was watching Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay. I couldn't help but drool over this Tangerine-Maple Glazed Drumsticks & Thighs recipe. He also made a french potato salad that I'm going to try this weekend, but last night I was craving some good grilled food.

I actually never, never buy chicken with the bone in and skin on. Major no-no for healthy eating, however, I haven't been feeling well, and comforting, real flavorful food sounded good.

I was surprised to find I only needed to buy a few things at the store for this recipe. Let me warn you, this recipe is off the hook!! Kyle was raving when he got home about the smell of the house and the flavor of the chicken.

The trick to this recipe is to cook the chicken on the grill on a low temperature for a long period of time, like 25 to 30 minutes. The skin is brushed with canola oil and it gets nice and crunchy. About 5 minutes before they are done, you brush with the tangerine-maple glaze.. mmmm.

Ok, so here is the recipe, you have to try this!

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs
Bobby Flay


5 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 quart tangerine juice or orange-tangerine juice, not from concentrate
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tangerine or orange zested
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 chicken drumsticks (I only cooked drumsticks)
8 chicken thighs
2 green onions, sliced for garnish
Grilled oranges or tangerinces, for garnish


Heat the grill to medium high.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat, add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the juice and thyme, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to approximately 1/2 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the syrup, soy sauce, and black pepper and let cool to room temperature. Can be made 2 days in advance and brought to room temperature before using.

Brush chicken on both sides with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through. Begin brushing with the glaze during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Remove to a platter and sprinkle with the green onion. Garnish with the grilled citrus.

To find the complete online recipe, click here.

Try this!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Chop Suey

My grandma could always get us to her for dinner by promising to make this dish. My version incorporates more fresh vegetables than she used and gets its crunchy topping from the baked wonton skins instead of canned fried noodles. The result is a sumptuous stir-fry of chicken, meaty mushrooms, and tender cabbage melded together in a thickened, mildly flavored sauce that would make Grandma proud. This recipe is a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or turkey.

Chicken Chop Suey was the Ellie Krieger recipe chosen this week by The Healthy Hostess in the Craving Ellie in My Belly group.

Don't you love my picture of the dish?! Ha. I'm not kidding when I say I really need to figure out how to take photos during the winter. By the time this was ready for dinner on Monday night it was dark outside. I then packed it for lunch on Tuesday and I was so not going to take a camera phone photo of the dish in my Glad tupperware dish!

So, please be satisfied with this shot of my cookbook. I think the best option for me is to start making the food after church on Sundays for an early dinner.

I really did enjoy this dish. I made quite a few substiutions and I have some recommendations. Here are the substitutions I made:
  • Beef stock for chicken stock (this was an accident! I totally grabbed the wrong can)
  • White button mushrooms for the shitake (still tasted great)
  • Water instead of the dry sherry (for the thickener)
  • Peanuts instead of wonton chips (I was too lazy to find the wonton papers and knew I wouldn't have the time to bake)
Some recommendations:
  • Don't use beef stock-ha!
  • Add salt.. I know everything is low-sodium, but Ellie wasn't lying when she said it was a mildly flavored sauce. I recommend adding some salt.
  • Add more scallions and garlic to enhance the flavor
  • Add something to kick up the heat-if I were making this at home again, I would add red pepper flakes. When I was at work on Tuesday I added some red chili sauce and that added the perfect spicy touch - mmmm.
I hope everyone else enjoyed this recipe and I'm excited to see what you all thought and how you changed it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

This soup has exotic African origins but the ingredients are all comfortably familiar; chances are you already have everything on hand you need to make it. Its sweetness, from sweet potato and carrot, is heightened with honey and balanced with the clarity of ginger and hot pepper. Peanut butter brings it all together and makes it extra rich and satisfying. And don't forget the fresh scallions. Much more than a pretty garnish, they add an essential zingy freshness and crunch.

This last week I made Ellie Krieger's Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup (recipe is on page 77). It's officially fall and I wanted to make some sort of soup I could bring for lunch. I've made Ellie's Curried Butternut Squash Soup in the past and was quite pleased with the thickness of pureed vegetables in my soup. It makes it hearty and I love that.

This soup is super good for you. One serving, about a cup and half, rolls in around 295 calories, 6.5 grams of fat, 56 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein. It has an excellent source (at least 20% of your Daily Recommended Value) of calcium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, protein, thiamin, vitamin a, vitamin b6, vitamin c, and vitamin e.

Don't be scared off by the peanut butter, honey, and vegetables. They surprisingly work well together.

I really need to figure out how to take photos in the winter or else this is going to be a long winter...

Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup (pg. 77)


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
One 14.5-ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)


Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Sitr in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in two batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Server warm, garnished with the scallions.