Saturday, September 13, 2014

That Time I Made Pasta Alfredo...

This recipe was created for the current #20sbcookingchallenge: Homemade Fettucine Alfredo with Italian Breadsticks. It was my first try at alfredo sauce and, damn, if it wasn't a zillion calories, I would make it all the time. I thought I wouldn't care for it because the only time I'd had alfredo sauce was somewhere I used to work and it was just bland and tasteless which is redundant but that's how lacking in flavor it was.

Chicken & Mushroom Pasta Alfredo
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients:
8 oz pasta of your choice (I used fettuccine)

Chicken:
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 chicken tenders (uncooked)

Sauce:
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 (4 Tbsp) butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup half & half or light cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
pinch salt and pepper


Directions:
1) Cook pasta according to directions on the box, strain, and set aside in a large bowl.
2) While pasta is cooking, set a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil.
3) Coat chicken strips in bread crumbs.
4) When oil is shimmering, add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
5) Remove from pan and set aside.
6) Using the same pan, combine the butter, oil, and heavy cream and stir until all is melted and mixed well, then lower heat to medium.
7) Stir in the mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally. If sauce starts to stick to bottom of pan, lower heat to medium-low.
9) While sauce is simmering, cut chicken into 1" pieces. 
10) Once sauce is done, mix in the chicken pieces, then pour it over the pasta and chicken.
11) Toss to combine and serve!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

That Time I Lived Off Bread Ends...

I used to work in a cafe in town where the only thing we could eat for free was the bread ends that would have otherwise been thrown away anyway. The discount for other food was only like 20% or something so I embraced eating the bread ends for free.

I think we were only supposed to use butter or jelly as a topping but, being the rebel that I am, chose to go with cream cheese. After a few weeks I decided that I was going to go one step farther and add some bacon. It was that chintzy pre-cooked kind which could not have cost all that much so what was the harm really? And I just used a couple of slices. I thought I was going to hate it but I really wanted the added protein so I would actually not be really hungry every time I worked.

Turns out I found this sandwich to be delicious. For calorie counting purposes, I started making it on pita bread. Give it a try, you might just love it too!

Bacon-Cream Cheese Sandwiches
 

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf pita bread
  • 2 Tbsp 1/3 fat cream cheese ("neufchatel")
  • 2 slices pre-cooked bacon


Directions:
1) Cook bacon in microwave.
2) Lightly toast mini pita and set on a plate. If you don't have a toaster oven or are using pitas too big for a toaster you can skip the toasting.
3) Spread cream cheese on surface of pita bread.

4) Add bacon to one side, breaking in half if needed in order to fit better.

5) Fold in half and enjoy!

Nutrition facts:
Total Calories: 200
(Nutrition info calculated using MyFitnessPal.com)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

That Time I Made Pesto Cream & Artichoke Tortellini...

This is a menu item at a bar in town that I just adore (the tortellini, the bar I could take or leave). What I don't love is the $10 price tag so I decided to make my own at home.

Once the pasta is cooked it's really quick to make and I'm sure much lower in calories than the dish I've been ordering.


Pesto Cream and Artichoke Tortellini
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients:
  • 2 c cheese tortellini, cooked*
  • 2 c artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1/4 c heavy cream or half & half
  • 1/4 c pesto
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese


1) Cut artichoke hearts in half.
2) Put pesto and heavy cream in a saute pan and simmer until slightly thickened.
3) Stir in Parmesan cheese.
4) Add tortellini and artichokes.
5) Toss to combine and serve. Optional: sprinkle some extra Parmesan cheese on top.

(Nutrition info calculated using MyFitnessPal.com)
*For a lower calorie version, use a regular pasta of your choice!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

That Time I Ate Some Tofu...

I was in Japan visiting my brother and he bought some sort of crispy-thing-on-a-stick that he said was fried soy something-or-other, which was really tasty, so I've wanted to try to make crispy tofu ever since. When I came across this recipe for Mushroom & Poblano Vegetarian Enchiladas (made with tofu), it sounded like something I could incorporate crispy tofu into so that I actually would like the recipe. So I decided to give it a try, making a few modifications.


Crispy Tofu & Mushroom Enchiladas
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 oz firm tofu
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4-6 corn tortillas

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400º
2) Combine oil, lemon, cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
3) Measure 1/2 Tbsp of the mixture into a small baking pan and use a brush to spread around.
4) In a small skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
5)Drain tofu and cut into small strips.
6) Dredge in corn starch and place in skillet.
7) Flip tofu after 3 minutes, move to one side of the pan, and add the mushrooms.

8) Cook for and additional 6 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms and are tender and tofu is cooked on all sides, turning occasionally.
9) Remove from heat and set aside.
10) Mix remaining spice mixture with greek yogurt.
11) Mix 1/2 cup of the cheese and all but about 2 Tbsp of the yogurt sauce into the tofu and mushrooms.
In this photo, I'd forgotten to add the cheese so it will be more saucy.
12) Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until warm and softened.
13) Spoon mushroom filling into tortillas, fold the sides over, and place seam-side-down in prepared baking pan.
14) Brush remaining yogurt sauce sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
15) Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned and spice mixture is bubbling.
16) If desired, serve with salsa, hot sauce, or additional sour cream.


Nutrition infromation:


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Please, Sir, I'd like S'mores Cookie Bars

Summer is just around the corner and I wanted something summer-feeling to take to a couple of parties my friends were throwing, so s'mores cookies felt like an appropriate treat. Enjoy them this summer with all of their marshmallow-y, chocolate-y, graham-cracker-y deliciousness!


S'mores Cookie Bars
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup ground graham crackers (9 crackers), divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, divided
1 cup mini marshmallows, divided

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350º
2) Combine flour, 1 cup ground graham cracker, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
3) In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
4) Add in vanilla and then one egg at at time.
5) Mix in 1/2 c of the flour/graham cracker mixture until it is all incorporated.
6 Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup marshmallows.
7) Spray 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray and sprinkle remaining ground graham crackers, shaking gently to coat evenly.

8) Drop blobs of dough onto into the baking pan and gently flatten dough over the layer of graham cracker. A cooking-spray-coated spatula does this well.
9) sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over, and press remaining marshmallows into, the surface of the dough.
9) Chill in freezer for at least 1 hour or overnight. *Because of this step I recommend not using a glass baking pan, as it could break when it hits the oven.
10) Bake for 25-30 minutes.
11) Cool completely then cut into bars.

Nutrition information:

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