Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I made these last night for our family night snack and I love them.  They have turned in to my favorite granola bar and I am planning on making them again.  My batch made 12 bars and I used Brown Rice Crispies instead of regular ones but I am sure either would work since they taste about the same.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
2 T. peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats (not rolled)
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I used what I had which were chips that were actually a little bigger than normal, I just tried to chop them up a bit, but did a pretty lousy job of it so I have big chocolate chunks)

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey, peanut butter and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes.  Take off the heat and pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan or cookie sheet and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness.  If you want to fill the entire pan, I would double the recipe.  I used a glass cake dish that was 14X9 and I filled it about half way.  Make sure you firmly press it together so that it is compact and looks like a large granola bar.  
Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a counter top to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Makes about 12 bars.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Menu Planning

I mentioned earlier that I am trying out some new recipes here and there and I have been doing pretty good about my menu planning, so I thought I would share my menu for this week here.  I will post the recipes as I make them.  Some of them I have used before but I am going to tweak them a little bit and then I will share the recipe and how it turned out.  Some of these are brand new recipes I am giving a go!  Happy Eating!

My menu is planned for the week:

Tuesday-Ham and cheese quiche with spinach salad and rasbberry orange scones
Wednesday-Mustard Roasted Fish with carrots, sweet potatoes and salad
Friday-Pizza night with salad
Saturday-Tilapia Piccata, carrots, sweat potatoes, salad
Sunday-Swedish meatballs with mushrooms, egg noodles, green beans and salad

Monday-Angel hair pasta with Alfredo sauce (It is a lower fat recipe but it is good) with spinach salad and roasted vegetables.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mexican Steak Tostados

Mexican Steak Tostados

3 spray(s) cooking spray
12 corn tortilla(s)
1 pound of thinly sliced sirloin steak (or buy it thicker and cut it thinly when it is done) or flank steak
1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt and pepper to sprinkle on steak
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup(s) salsa
1/2 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided
1/4 cup(s) shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican
1 medium plum tomato(es), diced
1 small avocado, diced
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 head of shredded lettuce
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place tortillas on prepared pan; bake until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning over half way

While those are crisping up, coat a large skillet or cast iron skillet with cooking spray; heat over high heat. Place diced red pepper in skillet and cook until edges are turning brown. Remove from skillet and place in small bowl. Next place the chopped onion in the same skilled (may need to add a little oil) and cook until caramelized then remove from skillet. Sprinkle steak with cumin, salt, and pepper. Make sure the skillet is nice and hot, Then place the seasoned steak on the skillet to get a nice sear. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn to sear other side. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, thinly slice steak into strips then cut them into inch long pieces.

Next, in a bowl, mash beans and salsa with a fork or potato masher until well-blended and most of the beans are mashed; stir in 1/4 cup cilantro and salsa.

To assemble chalupas, spread 1/4 bean mixture over each tortilla (slightly less than 1/4 cup); top each with about 1/3 cup of thinly sliced steak and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Bake until cheese melts and topping is hot, about 3 minutes. (Broil pizzas to brown cheese even more, if desired.)

Next, in a small bowl, toss together tomato, avocado, remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and lime juice.

Remove chalupas from the oven and serve with chopped lettuce, caramelized red peppers and onions, sour cream, and avocado mix.

We all loved these and agreed to add them into our regular food rotation!

Pictures show chalupa right out of the oven and then one topped with avocado and lettuce.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps

Another new recipe!

We had this on Saturday night and it was another hit!  Hope you like it, too!

I originally got this recipe from http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2009/09/chicken-cashew-lettuce-wraps/
and I followed it almost to the T.  Here is my slightly altered version below.  Also, I had some left over chicken so I pulled out my wok today for lunch and stir fried up some veggies and added the chicken, a little beef broth (like 1/3 cup) and a little more soy sauce and it was great with some leftover brown rice.

The recipe says this will make 6-8 lettuce wraps, so I doubled the recipe.

For stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon fresh red chili paste (I use Sambal Oelek--pictured below--by Huy Fong Foods, you find it in the Asian section but you could just use 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil

For Cashew Chicken:
2 raw chicken breasts (about ¾ lb. total), diced
8 leaves of greenleaf or iceburg lettuce
3 tablespoons canola oil (or oil of choice)
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ cup cashews, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
For stir fry sauce:
  1. Mix all stir fry sauce ingredients making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.
For Cashew Chicken:
  1. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Add diced chicken and brown (about 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks). Remove chicken from oil and set aside. Add onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to pan, saute until starting to caramelize and brown on edges. When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken, and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.
  2. Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves.   I served it with brown rice on the side.
Hope you love it!

Easy Peasy Tangy Chicken

I have been trying out a bunch of new recipes lately and here is another good one that I want to share.  What I like best about this recipe is that I can bake this with some veggies tossed in olive oil and dinner is all done at the same time in the oven and I am not having to be in the kitchen.

Easy Peasy Tangy Chicken (Dang, I forgot to take a picture!)

Turn oven on to bake at 425 so it will be to temperature before you put them in.

4 raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts either pounded so they are thinner that normal or cut so they are the same height all the way across
1 cup of sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or mayonnaise (I actually used a combo of low far sour cream and yogurt)
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (I used grated but the tiny bits would also work just fine)
1cup of Italian bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs and sprinkled in some Italian seasoning because that is what I had on hand.)

Take the Parmesan Cheese and mix it with the sour cream (or yogurt or mayo) in a small bowl.  Then take each chicken breast and coat both sides with the Parmesan mixture and then coat them with the bread crumbs.  You can either sprinkle on the bread crumbs on both sides or put the bread crumbs in a plate and lay the chicken down in them for a more thorough coating.  Play the chicken breasts in a baking dish (I used a glass cake dish that was 9X13 that I had lined with parchment for easier clean up) and put them in the 425 degree Fahrenheit (218 Celsius) and bake for about 25-30 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through and has no pink in the middle).

Now, just set your timer and wait!  I had chopped up sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus before I made the chicken, tossed them in olive oil, spread them out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled on some salt and pepper to roast them at the same time, turning them about half way through.

The chicken is really moist and has a nice tang from the sour cream mixture.  Everyone at my table, from the 6 year old on up, liked it!

Beautiful Basics

Life is about a journey, and you are the only one who can make yours... So, embrace life: the good, the bad, and the ugly...it is the only one you've got.

Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!