Thursday, April 8, 2010

Back in the Kitchen... Right where I want to be!

Okay so I have unbuttered my buns, put down the biscuit and find myself back in the kitchen. Halleluhah! I am also in a swimsuit on the beach which can be a little scary after days of eating endless fried food and chocolate cake. I need to do some serious healthy cooking if I am ever going to find myself looking cute in a bikini again. Luckily, I am really good at cooking in unfamiliar kitchens. This condo on the beach feels just like home except that I have received confirmation that it is about 55 degrees warmer here. I think there might be snow on the ground back in Montana. At least that is what the report has been. Are people trying to scare me away? I hope not. I really dig Montana and that would be a shame for the state to loose me...

I am barefoot in my sundress a little crispy after a day in the sun and I am acclimating myself to this unfamiliar kitchen. Things are going well and the first night we decide to make Skinny Shrimp Scampi, Creatively Clean Collard Greens, and Slim Scalloped Potatoes. For dessert I re-created a Body-friendly Banana Pudding. It is sugar-free and low fat. Yes, I am back on track and cleaning up the deep butter drenched food that we ate in Savannah and Charlston. My family loved it and we all sat around eating and I felt good being back around the table with my loved ones sharing a meal I had prepared. It felt just like throwing the starfish back into the ocean, but this time I was throwing us all a healthier meal that I could feel good about serving to my family.

The next night I tried again. This time with the help of my aunt. By her helping I mean she broke a bottle of white wine on the floor and we had to mop it up! Oops. After we cleaned up and laughed about it and put our shoes on, I made Cajun Halibut Tacos with Creamy Coleslaw, and Fresh Mexican Corn and Bean Salad. Light and perfect for a hot summer day which we were having in April in Florida. It wasn't as easy getting everyone around the table though. The final basketball game was on and many people took their plates and sat at the table. They didn't hear my desperate cries from the table over the sound of the game but I was saying, "Hey, I'm trying to get everyone back to the table. A little help please? Really, I can't even get my family on board?" Pretty much. That is how it went. So I sat with my grandpa, mom, and aunt while everyone else sat on the couch and ate. I guess you can't win everytime.

I gave up after dinner and we all ate the delicious Creamy Chocolate Refridgerator Pie, that I once again made sugar-free and low calorie, sitting on the couch. Sometimes I guess it's okay to opt for the sofa instead. After all at least we were all doing it together. We were still unified so I learned myself a lesson there. Even if we aren't all around the table, if we are sharing in the experience together I guess it doesn't really matter where it happens. Let us eat cake on the couch as long as we are doing it together! Please enjoy the recipes that I spruced up from the great old south to make them a little bit healthier and whatever you do with your family, do it together. Even if it means you are all sitting on the couch. At least you are doing it together and that is what really counts!

Skinny Shrimp Scampi

3 lb. raw uncooked shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp. garlic
1 tbsp. butter
Pinch of salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. The shrimp will trun pink indicating that they are ready to eat. While cooking continue to stir the shrimp making sure each is cooked through. We peeled and deveined the shrimp before we cooked them to make consumption easier for our family!

Creatively Clean Collard Greens

2 large bags of collard greens; pre-cut and pre-washed
4 cups water
1 package black forest ham; diced
1 tbsp. balsamic vinagrette
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Combine the water and ham in a large pot and bring to a boil. This will flavor the water. Once it has bubbled add the collard greens and the vinagrette dressing. Bring the temperature down to low and slow cook for 5 hours. Slow and low is the ticket to the deliciousness of these greens. THis uses minimal oil and salt and is a perfect and healthy version of the greens we had in Savannah. It tasted just like the ones we had at the resturant and I felt a lot better about serving them because I knew they were healthy!

Slim Scalloped Potatoes

8 large baking potatoes
2 white onions
4 tbsp. garlic; minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh rosemary; minced
1/2 cup parmesean cheese; shredded

Wash the potatoes carefully and slice into thin circles leaving the skin on for extra nutrients. The skins are packed with vitamins and minerals. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble for 5-7 minutes. You are only partially cooking the potatoes so they should still be slightly firm. Drain the water off the potatoes and allow to cool.

Slice the onions into thin half moon shapes and spray a large square baking sheet with olive oil spray. Lay the slices of potato along the bottom creating a thin layer. Create another thin layer by placing the sliced onions on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with a small amount of the fresh rosemary, garlic, and parmesean cheese. Repeat the layering until you have used all of the ingredients.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes.

Body-Friendly Banana Pudding

2 large packages sugar free vanilla pudding
3 bananas
1 package sugar free butter cookies
3 cups fat free milk

Combine the milk and pudding mixture with a whisk until a pudding consistency has been reached. To assemble, place cookie pieces in the bottom of a large glass dish and place a layer of pudding on top. Place sliced banana peices over the pudding. Create another layer of cookies and top with pudding, then cookies continuing to layer until the ingredients have been used.

Refridgerate for an hour to allow flavors meld. eat immedieately before the bananas turn. This is a great version of the pudding dessert that we shared at Justine's in Charlston, but about a 1/3 the calories. Enjoy with your family guilt free!

Dinner the second night:

Cajun Halibut Tacos

3 lbs. halibut fillets
3 tbsp. blackened seasoning (ours had cayanne pepper, black pepper, garlic, oregano, red pepper, and onion powder in it)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. heart smart butter

In a large skillet heat the olive oil and butter until hot. Meanwhile, coat the halibut fillets with the seasoning rubbing it into both sides of the flesh. Place the fillets in the hot oil and cook both sides for 3 minutes. The fish should be flaky and white throughout.

Serve in a warm corn tortilla. We served with our famous guacamole, fresh salsa, and a sprinkle of muenster cheese.

Creamy Coleslaw

1 package shredded cabbage
1/4 cup low fat balsamic dressing
3 tbsp. low fat ranch (we used a garlic ranch)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro; chopped

Mix the two dressing together with a wire whisk until incorporated. Pour over the shredded cabbage and mix to coat the cabbage. Add the fresh cilantro and continue mixing. Serve immediately or refridgerate until you are ready to serve along side the delicious tacos!

Fresh Mexican Corn and Bean Salad

1 can black beans; rinsed
1 can yellow corn
2 tbsp. garlic; minced
1/2 cup cilantro; minced
1/2 white onion; diced
1/2 jalapeno; seeded and minced
1 tbsp. low fat balsamic dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients above and refridgerate until ready to serve. This is so simple, but I got raves about this from my family. It is just fresh and simple and I didn't add anything complicated to let the true flavors of the vegetables shine through and it was a hit!

I served this over eggs the next day topped with sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese, and shrimp for a breakfast Huevos rancheros that knocked everyone's socks off!

Chocolate Cheesey Refridgerator Pie

2 cups crumbled sugar free chocolate chip cookies
4 tbsp. butter or smart balance; melted

Mix the crumbled cookies and melted butter together and press into the bottom of the pie plate use your hands.

Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Set out to cool after the 10 minutes.

Meanwhile we will make the filling.

Cream cheese filling:

8oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 box sugar free chocolate pudding (1.7 oz)
1cup fat free milk

Combine all ingredients with a mixer until smooth. Set this aside

Whipped filling:

2 cups fat-free milk
1 box sugar free chocolate pudding (1.7 oz)
1 package of whipped topping (8 oz.)

Combine pudding and milk with a whisk and then fold in the whipped topping. Set aside.

Next the middle layer:

4 oz. dark chocolate
2.25 oz. pecans

Dice chocolate and pecans and combine in a bowl mixing with your hands.

To assemble:

Allow the crust to cool, then spread the cream cheese layer on top . Next sprinkle half of the chocolate pecan mixture on top of the cream cheese layer. Then spread the whipped topping layer on top and sprinkle the rest of the pecan mix over the top.

Refrigerate for an hour or it can be prepared the day before and refridgerated overnight. Delicious, healthy, and fabulous on a hot day. We are all a little crispy from being in the sun so this was perfect!

Mental Health Tip: I am switching this up this time. The truth is that I lost this blog and had to type it twice. Instead of throwing a tantrum which I have done in the past, I called on my sweet tech savvy boyfriend to help. He tried, but it was a lost cause. I took a deep breathe and redid it. There wasn't another option. My tip for you all is we all have choices. We can choose to blow a gasket or calmly move forward. I chose to calmly move forward and re-do and I got it done faster than I thought I would. The lesson I received was from my sweet boyfriend who pointed out, "If it were me, I would be saving it periodically. Just sayin." Okay, I get the message. I plan to save everything that I value often. Most of all my friends and family and okay... occasionally a starfish.

Here's to you saving those that you value most... hopefully yourself and those in your circle of trust! Prepare these healthy meals and you are sure to save yourself calories, and potential health issues down the road!

~ Your "Complete Hot Mess"  back in the kitchen!


jaklos said...

I'm so glad you had the patience to redo your article of April 8th!! I WILL be trying the recipe for Skinny Shrimp Scampi and Cajun Halibut Tacos! Thanks and enjoy your adventure!

Hot Mess Cooking said...

I am so glad that you got them and I can't wait to hear how it turns out! I am working on a way to cut down the recipes for those not feeding armies! Don't worry, I will come up with something great! Miss you!