Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CEiMB: Emerald Stir Fry with Beef

Can you believe it? After almost six months of being a part of the Craving Ellie in My Belly group, it was finally my chance to pick the recipe!  Of course, like any other foodie blogger, I was eager to choose one that most everyone would like.  I hope I did a good job.  I've been eyeing the Emerald Stir Fry with Beef for a while now.  All of the fresh vegetables looked so good that I had to pick it.  I was so disappointed after making it the first time for my parents and husband.  I know think it didn't turn out so well because I over cooked the beef.  Although Ellie recommended so many minutes (I think it was 3 or something) I ended up cooking it longer because the meat was still pink and it freaked me out a little.  I'm used to eating my steaks medium rare, but because I cut the steaks into little strips there was pink on the outside (which is what freaked me out).  In the future I would probably grill the steak separately and slice after on a 45 degree angle against the grain.  Other than the texture of the steak, the flavor was good and I really enjoyed the vegetable blend.  As you can tell from the picture... I decided to make the recipe again!!  This time I substituted shrimp for the steak and added seasame seeds for a garnish.  The verdict.... awesome!  I love this recipe with the tender shrimp and this version instantly became a staple dinner at our house.  It's full of flavor and lower in calories than the traditional stir fry.  Shrimp is also lean, low in calories and high in protein.  It's the perfect substitute for steak and I didn't have to worry about how tender it would be because once they turn pink they are done. 

Unfortunately I don't have Ellie's cookbook in front of me because I'm in Dallas for the week on a business trip, but you can find the recipe here.

To make my version of the recipe, thaw the shrimp in cold water.  Peel and marinate the peeled shrimp in the sauce mixture (OJ, white wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water).  Let the shrimp take a swim, if you will, in the marinade while you stir fry the veggies.  After the veggies have done their frying for 3 or 4 minutes, add the shrimp with the marinade and cook for an additional 3 or 4 minutes until the shrimp is pink and the vegetables are tender, but still have some bite.  Add the cornstarch mixture and let sit on low heat for a few minutes to thicken.  Serve over brown rice. Mmmm.. enjoy!

Thanks to all my CEiMBer's who took the time to cook with me this week.  I really hope you liked the recipe and let me know how yours turned out / if you had substitutes of your own.

Happy Blogging!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

I participate in the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club blog group and this month the recipe was Coconut Cupcakes chosen by Jennifer of Cinema Cupcakes.  I was totally skeptical about this cupcake.  I like coconut, but I don't usually make anything with it.  I was super happy with this recipe and I will definitely make it again.  The cupcake is flavored with sweetened shredded coconut, unsweetened coconut milk, and coconut water.  Now, the recipe doesn't call for coconut water, but I decided to use it as a flavoring for my swiss meringue buttercream.  It was the first time ever that I made SMB frosting and I was afraid I ruined it, but it actually turned out just fine!  I also used the sweetened coconut as a garnish instead of the unsweetened coconut flakes that Martha called for.  If you love coconut... you need to try this recipe.  It rocks!  Thanks Jennifer for such a great pick! To view the recipe on Martha's site, click here.

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

Today I made one of the tastiest quesadillas I've ever eaten.  It's loaded with chicken, cheddar cheese, baby portobella mushrooms, red onions, cumin, chili powder, and oregano.  Here is the best part, it's healthy.  I've been eyeing this recipe in Ellie Krieger's So Easy cookbook for awhile now.  The lovely ladies in my Craving Ellie in My Belly group made it a few weeks back, but I didn't have the time.  Well, I'm glad I took to time to make it today.  I only modified the recipe slightly.  I did not have any spinach on hand (which would have been really nice in this) and I substituted baby portobella mushrooms for button mushrooms because I love the flavor.  I also ran out of dried oregano so I used dried basil and it worked just fine.  Dallop the serving with some lower fat sour cream and you're good to go.  Now.. go make this.  It seriously tastes so good.

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas
So Easy, Ellie Krieger (pg. 138)
Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces of white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups) -- I left them sliced and they were awesome
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked diced skinless boneless chicken breast (1 breast half)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 10-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom water has evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes (my portobella mushrooms did not have a lot of water so I only browned for a couple of minutes).  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.  Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir until all the spices are incorporated.  Stir in the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted, 2 minutes more. 

Lay the tortillas on a flat surface.  Sprinkle half of each tortilla with 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.  Spoon 1/4 of the chicken mixture on top of the cheese on each tortilla, then top each with 2 more tablespoons of cheese and fold the tortillas over into half-moons, pressing down slightly to seal them closed.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat.  Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until lightly browned and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes per side (I only did it for about a minute on each side).  Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.  Slice each quesadilla in half.  Serve with the salsa and sour cream.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I love cupcakes.  I bought Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook in September and joined the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club I love them so much.  So far I've made the Zucchini-Spice, Bananan-Pecan, Pumpkin Patch, Candied Sweet Potato, Gingerbread, and Coconut cupcakes.  They were all tasty and anytime I bake and bring Martha's cupcakes anywhere they all get rave reviews.  This recipe is my favorite so far.  I love snickerdoodles and meringue-esk frostings.  I actually made these for my grandma's 80th birthday and the whole family loved them.  You can view the recipe on Martha's Stewarts site by clicking here.  If you don't have her cookbook, I hands down recommend it. 


CEiMB: Sweet & Spicy Peanut Soup

Popsicles and Sandy Feet chose this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe.  I wanted to make it again, but had no time this week so please click here to check out the post from way back when.

Oh.. and apologies up front on the lighting.  It was night and I was too impatient to wait until the morning to take more pics with good lighting.  If only I knew about the Tungsten setting on my camera at that time.. oh well!!