Friday, May 28, 2010

Is your life Peachy? Try this out this Memorial Day!

What could be better to celebrate a long Memorial Day weekend then a delicious peach pie. Hopefully you all are having better weather than we are here in Northwest Montana. I have got cloudy skies with lots of rain, but I'm not worried. Rain just makes for more opportunities for rainbows and nourishing the plants that we just put in the ground.

I am sort of a glass half full kind of chick in case you all haven't noticed. Today, we decided Just Peachy Pie would be the ticket to success here in the west. This is a tremendously easy recipe and is absolutely delicious paired with some vanilla ice cream, or if you live in my house, whipped cream. It was so delicious that my boyfriend ended up each 2 slices and we didn't feel bad about it because it is fruit and is virtually sugar free! You can't go wrong. This is the perfect dessert to bring to a picnic this weekend or enjoy with your family at home.

I hope you all have a wonderful long holiday weekend and please enjoy yourselves and as my mom always says. Be safe, be smart, and have fun!

Just Peachy Pie

2 pounds sliced peaches (they can be frozen)
1/4 cup splenda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons all spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 prepared pie crust

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine and coat the peach slices with the flour and sugar.

Place the prepared pie crust in a pie plate and pour the peach mixture inside.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.

Mental Health Benefit: Is your life peachy? If it isn't, why not? I think you deserve to be happy and peachy just like the rest of us. You get to decide how happy you are in each moment. Don't you want to choose joy? I know I am choosing joy, love, and a life filled with rainbows. Why don't you join me? The view is pretty beautiful from here! And the peach pie is out of this world! So come on and meet me at the end of the rainbow. I think I may have even found the pot of gold and I'm willing to share!

Here's wishing you rainbows in your kitchen and outside your homes!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Making Peanut Butter Banana Bread and Finding Balance

I need to get back on the wagon, do something in the kitchen that I am familiar with so that I can get over my tragic Hot Mess last week. I decide my old stand-by Peanut Butter Banana Bread is in order. We also call this Elvis Bread because his favorite was a peanut butter and banana sandwich and my mom happens to love him.

Plus I was starting to feel the way these banana's look. You know what I mean? A little wilted and sad. But as they say, when life gives you old banana's... mash them and make banana bread! 
I have been doing this with my mom since I could stand in the kitchen so this seems like the perfect way to find my shoes again and help me get out of my own way. After all, I am the light at the end of my own damn tunnel, so I better get my flashlight out or in this case, my spatula.

Now a little about me, cooking has been my hot mess therapy since I can't remember when. It has brought me through breakups, let downs, fights, disappointments, and fits of rage. What can I say? Cooking is just what I do to calm my nerves and clear my head.

I am back in the kitchen with my mom and we are typing up the recipes and cooking together. It is so much more fun having a comrade to cook with. It takes some of the pressure off. Everything isn't up to me this way and I am a 'talk it out loud' sort of person and when my mom is there to hear what I am saying, I look slightly less crazy.

And after looking at my pictures, I realize that most of them are HORRIBLE! So, I am working on my picture taking skills too. Me, my mom, my banana bread, and my camera. I am creating a perfect union between us all today.

And wouldn't you know? It worked. I am back in control, I am breathing a little deeper, and my shoes are securely on my feet with the laces double knotted. I am back in my bubble as I like to say swimming around and smiling. I feel so good that I actually feel like taking a swim. So even though the water was 52 degrees and it was 60 degrees outside, I was inspired to persevere and take a leisurely dip to celebrate my successful recovery. Check out the video below and please excuse the profanity... It was pretty damn cold!

Hey, when the kitchen is hot, why not start cooking and when the water is cold.. Dive IN!

Plus this bread saves you over 50 calories, half the fat and nearly half the carbohydrates of regular store bought varieties. Plus it packs twice as much fiber and protein! Now that's something to celebrate!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread (AKA - Elvis Bread)

2 Ripe Bananas
4 Egg Whites (or 2 Eggs)
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Splenda (for baking)
1 cup Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt
2 tbsp. All Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 cup Milled Flax Seed
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. All Spice
1/2 cup Walnuts; chopped
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Take some of your oldest, brownest, saddest bananas (we freeze ours when they start looking sad so we always have some ready). Peel them and using a large fork, mash the banana's until they are creamy and have a pudding like consistency. 
3. Place the eggs and the mashed banana in a large bowl and mix using a fork or whisk. 
4. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, and splenda and continue stirring until combined.
5. In a separate bowl combine the whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, milled flax seed, cinnamon, and all spice. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. 
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together using a spatula. The batter will be thick.
7. Add the chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips and stir to combine.
8. Spray a 9 X 5 inch bread pan with vegetable oil cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour checking after 45 minutes using a toothpick inserted into the bread. If the tooth pick comes out clean your bread is ready! Slice and serve as a snack, along with breakfast, or dessert with whip cream on top!

This is such a healthy and delicious bread to serve to your family and they won't even know how many vitamins and minerals you have packed in there for them! It will be our little secret! ;)

Servings: 14

Nutritional Skinny:

113 calories / 5 g fat / 14.7 g carbohydrates / 2.7 g fiber / 4.1 g protein
Mental Health Benefit: When life throws you challenges, it's okay. This too shall pass, as I always say. When you hit turbulence, buckle your safety belt and keep your arms and legs in the vehicle at all times. Remember that joy isn't found at the end of the journey. It is found along the way. Create your own JOY moment and live in it completely! Oh and keep breathing and remember profanities can be helpful... sometimes..

Cheers from my Hot Mess cold behind to yours!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting out of my own way..

So, I have a true confession of a hot mess. The hot mess was me, the place was my kitchen in Dayton, MT and the time was last Friday. I had decided I was going to make dinner for my grandma and mom. I had been working my butt off all week driving myself crazy, which turns out to be a full time job. I decided I was going to make a healthier Salmon Alfredo with low fat cream cheese, and artichokes which is a family favorite.

Now to preface this, I will start by saying, I was completely exhausted and teettering on the edge of my own emotional cliff for various reasons. Instead of telling anyone or being reasonable and asking for help, I kept my yapper shut and my butt in the kitchen. This will turn out to not have been the wisest of decisions. I popped the salmon in the oven to bake and started the sauce. I was frazzles and exhausted, but kept on moving forward. Then I started the water for the pasta and placed the artichokes in a pot on the back burner to steam.

As dinner progressed things were less and less fluid and I knew things weren't turning out well. The phone rang, I answered distracted and handed it off and returned to my pots. I kept cooking and got close to serving time when my mom came in to check on my progress. She taste tested everything and discovered that I had undercooked the noodles, overcooked the salmon, and almost ruined the artichokes. The news of the near fatal dinner sent me on a swan dive over my emotional cliff, which landed in a bell flop on my bed in a puddle of tears. Yeah, not my proudest moments.

My mom came to the rescue and fixed the meal. It turned out delicious and I managed to pull myself together long enough to eat.  I have included the recipes (fixed up) below, but more importantly I am going to share my mom's dinner rescue tequniques that ended up saving dinner. It just goes to show, that although the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, it's important to find your damn shoes before you start walking!

Mom's Fixes:

Undercooked noodles already dressed in alfredo sauce:

Add milk to the pot and cook over low heat until the noodles soften. Continue to add milk until the noodles are at the desired doneness. This worked like a charm.

Overcooked salmon:

Wrap in foil and add the juice from one lemon and a tiny pinch of olive oil and wrap in the foil and leave in a warm place to sit and absorb the juices. This also worked like a charm and made the salmon return to it's juiciness!

Undercooked Artichokes:

Cut in half to cook faster and place in a microwave safe steaming bowl with a lid. Add water to the bottom of the bowl and cover. Microwave on high for 5 minutes and check. Continue to microwave on high until middle leaves pull out easily.

Frazzled cook:

A couple of tissues, a helping hand, and a nice big glass of Cabernet!

Now on to the recipes that will work for you!

Salmon Alfredo

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
1/4 cup parmesean cheese

Add olive oil and garlic to a medium saute pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until garlic become fragrant. Add the cream cheese, cream, parmesean cheese, and italian seasonings and continue to cook until the mixture is creamy and melted down. This will be added to the linguini noodles.

Cook the linguini noodles according to the package directions and strain. Add the sauce to the noodes.

For the Salmon:

1 filet of salmon
2 tablospoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill
Pinch of salt and pepper

Place the salmon on a foil lined baking dish. Pour olive oil, lemon juice, and dill over the top and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Make sure to watch carefully. You will know it's done when it begins to sweat white beads out of the top of the flesh.

To serve: Dish a plate of the linguini alfredo and top with a healthy chunk of salmon. This is simple and delicious!

How to Steam an artichoke:

Go straight to the microwave and don't mess with anything else. Cover the artichokes completely either with plastic wrap or microwave safe bowl with a lid and place about a 1/4 of a cup of water at the bottom. For 4 artichokes microwave on high for about 12 minutes. This should do it, but always test by pulling on the inner leaves and making sure they come out easily.

Melt a little butter on the side with garlic and Italian seasonings to dip and these are my all time favorite thing! I realized how much I loved these when I was in college and realized that I could buy whatever I want at the grocery store and found myself buying artichokes almost every time!

Mental Health Benefit: Do yourself a favor and give yourself a break every once and a while. Do what I didn't and admit that you aren't superman or superwoma (at least all the time). We all have our own kryptonite. Ask for help and accept it. Don't ever let your self get as ragged as I let me get. It wasn't a pretty picture!

I am still recovering from my kitchen disasters, but at least I can laugh about it now!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in our kitchen

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring Fest 2010

With summer fast approaching, we are doing a lot more entertaining. Living on the lake in the most beautiful place on earth kind of makes that a no brainer. So, I am boning up on my appetizer recipes and trying a few new things. We had our annual Spring Fest party last weekend where we invite all the nieghbors and I made these delicious Crab and Salmon Toasts. I made some on toast and put a few in phyllo cups. You can find the phyllo cups in your freezer section and people just raved about them. They were all gone within an hour after our guests arrived and we had several other appetizers, but these were the winners.

We also slow cooked our Chipotle Pork Chops all day long. It was an all day process, but it was worth it. At one point my mom and I ran to the post office on our bikes and we had to walk by the grill on the way to our bikes and we nearly cried they smelled so good. We were so afraid that people driving by would just stop in, but we made an enourmous pile of them so we knew that we would have enough no matter how many people ended up swinging by. We also made my grandmother's famous Fiesta Potatoes. These are so easy to make and everyone loves them. It is a favorite that we make for almost every large gathering becuase it is very easy to make into a very large batch. Now keep in mind. These recipes are huge becuase we fed an army, but you can half everything and still get the jist. You can also just do two pork chops the way we did them and cook them exactly the same and have a dinner for two that will knock anyone's socks off!

But if you are getting into some summertime entertaining, my advice to you is to do easy recipes like the ones I have below so that almost all of the cooking is done before your guests arrive and you can relax and enjoy your guests instead of slaving over the stove or hiding in the kitchen.

Everything was a rave success and these recipes are easy and you can halve them if you aren't feeding your entire neighborhood like we did!

Crab and Salmon Toast

2 cans crabmeat (8 oz)
1/2 cup cooked shrimp; diced
1/2 cup cooked salmon; broken into peices
1/2 cup black olives; diced
1 can artichoke hearts (14 oz)
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients until smooth and creamy. I microwaved the mayo, olive oil, and cream cheese to soften them.

1 cup mayo
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 packet cheese sauce mix
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chives; minced
1 tbsp. dried minced onion

Combine the two mixtures together until all incorporated.

Next take your favorite sandwich bread and cut each peice into four squares. Pray each peice of bread with olive oil. Then place a small layer of crab and salmon spread on the top and place on a cookie sheet. This will make an enourmous batch so make as many as you like! Top with a sprinkle of cheese and bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Leftover Tips: With any leftover stuffing you can make seafood quesadillas by simply spreading the mixture between two whole wheat tortillas for an easy dinner later in the week! I also added a little milk and a few more whole shrimp to the left over cream cheese mixture in a sauce pan and it made a great seafood alfredo that I served over whole wheat pasta. It was a great meal that stretched our leftovers and made new creations!

Chipotle Pork Chops

Spice Rub:

1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup dried basil
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup dried oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp. kosher salt

Mix all spices above. This will make a generous portion of rub. You can save any leftover and use on chicken, fish, pork, or beef later on.

30 large thick cut, bone-in pork chops

The night or morning before generously sprinkle the spice rub on both sides of each pork chop and press in with you finger tips to seal in the rub to the flesh of the meat. Place each coated pork chop in a large bowl and seal with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or the pork chops can sit overnight.

Now it is time to get grilling! Turn your gas grill up to high heat. Place each pork chop on the grill for 3 minutes a side, just to seal in the moisture and create grill marks. We aren't wanting to cook the meat through we just want to sear the outsides.

To make the barbeque sauce:

3 (18 ounce) jars of Stubb's Barbeque sauce
2 tablespoons Worchester sauce
Juice of one large lemon
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 (12 ounce) jar of chipotle salsa (We have also used chopped up chipotle peppers out of the can - approximately 4 peppers, but we couldn't find it in the store and we loved the substitution of the salsa!)

Mix all ingredients above in a large bowl using a whisk.

Take two large deep foil pans and  put an inch of water on the bottom of each pan. This will ensure the pork chops stay moist during the long and slow cooking. Then take each pork chop and place in the foil pans pouring sauce over each one as you add it to the pan. Next pour the rest of the sauce over the top of each pan and cover tightly with foil. Each pork chop should be covered completely.

Turn the gas grill to low (about 200 degrees) and place the sauced pork chops in foil pan in the barbeque and slow cook for 5-6 hours. The pork chops will come out tender, moist and fall apart in your mouth. It will be worth the wait!

Fiesta Potatoes

3 pounds O'brien southwestern style cubed frozen potatoes
1 pint low fat sour cream
1 pound low fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 (8 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients listed above in a large bowl, then transfer to a large foil baking platter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes. The sides will be bubbling and the smell will be magical. You can also top this with the fried onions for added flair.

Leftover Tips: With the leftovers we added them to eggs for a great scramble and we still had some left so I added them into our next pot of chili that we made and it made the chili creamy and delicious!

Mental Health Benefit: Although entertaining can be a little bit taxing between the cleaning, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up afterwards, there is nothing more soothing that surrounding yourself with your closest friends, neighbors, and family. Catching up, talking about life over a shared simple meal is what keeping it simple is all about. This was a great meal shared with great friends and that is what makes the food taste even better. Treat yourself and your friends to some quality time together around the table.

Here's to spring and sunshine from our kitchen to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wonder and cheese proving I AM A REAL WOMAN

Today, I was back on my game and what helped the most was my hot pink cowgirl hat! If you don't believe me just check out how on it I am in this hat! The dentist fixed my tooth for less than I thought and I am back in the kitchen making the most delicious stuff with Philadelphia cream cheese. Have I told you yet that I have entered the "Real Women of Philadelphia" Competition with Paula Dean as our unwavering leader? Well, I have. That is what spurred the videos. I am having a blast and there are amazingly talented women all cooking their hearts out using Philadelphia cream cheese.

I have become rather obsessed. Let's just start with this morning. We ran out of cream for our coffee and my dad suggested cream cheese? Then we were on a walk and discussing how to make our famous Fiesta potaotes, naturally I suggested cream cheese. Then we discussed dessert options.. Naturally cheese cake, bread pudding with cream cheese are both great options. Pretty much anything we think about making we figure out a way to make it better with Philly cream cheese. Check out the competition you will probably be a little blown away by all the enthusiasm. I know I was, but I am pretty enthusiastic myself so I 'm hangin'.

So here are the latest Philly cream cheese creations from my kitchen. I did a Cowgirl Calzone that is kicked up a notch and a low-fat Apple Cupcakes! I paired the calzones with some easy Italian Style Sauteed Spinach to get our greens and it was the perfect healthy meal that didn't taste healthy, yet delivered lots of lean protein and vitamins from the tomatoes, spinach, and ground turkey! The dessert is virtually fat free with all the flavor of really delicious bakery style cupcakes!

I think you will love both of these recipes and stay tuned for more. This competition goes until June! And hey, why not join yourself? Okay, just a crazy thought.

Cowgirl Calzones
1 tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 cup of minced white onion
2 tbsp. of minced garlic
1 pound of ground turkey
3 cups of tomato sauce
1/3 cup of barbecue sauce
1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. of hot sauce
8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 tsp. of chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp. of dried Italian seasoning
6 ounces of tomato paste
1 package of phyllo dough
1/2 cup of sliced black olives
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the ground turkey meat and continue to saute for another 7 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season the meat.

2. Add 2 cups of tomato sauce (reserving one cup for later) and the Worcestershire, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Add the Philadelphia cream cheese, tomato paste, Italian seasonings, and chili pepper flakes. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes and the sauce will thicken.

3. Now it's time to build the calzones! Lay out 3 sheets of phyllo dough on a flat surface and spray with olive oil. Place 1/2 cup of filling in the middle and add a small handful of green olives and shredded cheese. Fold the phyllo dough over the filling making a triangle and spray the top with olive oil cooking spray. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat until you have 6 calzones.

4. Sprinkle the top of the calzones with more shredded cheese. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and top with the reserved tomato sauce and top with still more cheese and dive right into the middle! 
Italian Sauteed Spinach
 16 oz. frozen spinach
1 can artichoke hearts (14 oz)
1/2 cup minced black olives
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup minced white onion
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions become translucent. About 3-5 minutes. 

2. Add the rest of the ingredients listed above and continue to saute over medium heat for 20 minutes. The spinach will wilt and absorb some of the flavors of the artichoke and olives and it is a light and healthy side to go along with just about anything!

Luscious Low Fat Apple Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 eggs
1/3 cup splenda
1 tbsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 less fat)
1 cup shredded apple
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. all spice
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts; chopped

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk. 

2. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients including the shredded apple. Next mix the wet and dry ingredients together and add the walnuts if desired.

3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

4. The batter will be thick and lumpy. Place the batter in a muffin tin filling each tin fully. Bake for 20 minutes. They are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. While they cook, let's make the frosting!

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. low fat cream cheese
1 cup splenda (baking variety)
2 tbsp. butter (unsalted)
1 tbsp. spiced rum

1. Put the cream cheese, splenda, butter, and spiced rum in a food processor and mix until smooth.

2. To frost, using a small spatula spread the frosting over the top of each cupcake. For garnish, I combined some cinnamon and walnuts and sprinkled them over the top of my cupcakes! They were completely delicious and guilt free!

Mental Health Benefit: This meal is easy to prepare and still looks elegant and is extremely nutritious. You can feel good serving this to your family and it is elegant enough to serve to your guests too! It can also easily become two meals if you make extra cowgirl sauce. You can just cook some whole wheat pasta and serve the sauce right on top of pasta for another delicious meal later in the week! It is a two for one! Who doesn't love that kind of ingenuity! Just double the sauce recipe and reserve half for later. You can even freeze it for a really busy day and still put a healthy meal on your family's table for dinner!

Health and happy meals from our kitchen table to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" 'Hot Messes in the kitchen

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Steak Tostados with Spicy Coleslaw

I am back to cooking for three, my mom, dad and I. It has been a while since it has just been the three of us and I have to readjust my measurements for cooking for three instead of cooking for the two or fifteen I have been used to! Tonight I am trying my hand at re-creating a meal that I had for lunch at Taco Del Sol. I tried a fish burrito and it was delicious wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and packed with fish, spicy cream sauce, and crisp cabbage. In truth, I think it is that bite of cabbage alongside the spicy sauce that really took this lunch over the top for me.

I have been bragging about it so much that I decided to try my hand at re-creating it using steak instead. It turned out so good, that I had one of my, now all too familiar, food-gasms. The flavors in this recipe are spicy, creamy, and crisp. It was totally delicious and I pulled it together in under 10 minutes. However, I had cheated and pre-cooked the steak on the grill the day before, but still. It was a quick, healthy, and delicious meal that my family loved and it got them around the table. And it perfectly fed three! Mission accomplished.

Steak Tostadas
9 oz. Sirloin Steak (or your favorite)
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Chili Powder
3 corn Tortillas
1/2 Cup Salsa
1/2 Cup Fat Free Cheddar Cheese; Shredded

1. To prepare the meat, slice into 1 1/2 inch cubes and sprinkle with chili powder, cayenne pepper and set aside.

2. Heat a large saute pan with olive oil and garlic over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add the steak cubes and saute for 3 minutes per side. This will make a medium steak which is perfect for this tostado. Add the salsa to the top of the steak and cover and remove from heat to allow the steak to cool and continue cooking and the salsa to heat up.

3. In a separate skillet, heat the corn tortillas through on both sides; about 30 seconds a side.

4. To plate, place a tortilla down, sprinkle with cheese and add the steak mixture on the cheese. The cheese will melt and the meat with be perfectly tender. For the perfect meal, add the coleslaw from the recipe below on top and devour! It is the perfect combination of spicy, creamy, and juicy textures. Your family will love this simple meal and be begging for you to make it over and over again!

Servings: 3 (one tostada)

Nutritional Skinny:

350 calories / 14.7 g fat / 14.4 g carbohydrates / 8 g fiber / 33.1 g protein

Spicy Cabbage Slaw
1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 tbsp. Fresh Cilantro; Diced
Juice of One Lime
3 tbsp. Hot Sauce (Tabasco works great but you can use your favorite)
2 cups Shredded Red Cabbage
1/4 Cup Green Onion; Minced
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1. Combine the sour cream, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce. Mix it all with a whisk to create the dressing. 

2. Thinly sliced the cabbage and red onion using a sharp knife. Toss in the cabbage and green onion and turn to coat all of the cabbage. Refrigerate until ready to plate. This is delicious alongside the tostada's above. It is the perfect combination and can even be made a day ahead if need be! And there will be left over for more later!
Servings:6 (1/2 cup approximately)

Nutritional Skinny:

39 calories / 2.4 g fat / 3.5 g carbohydrates / .9 g fiber / 1 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Do you ever have those days where you can't seem to do anything right? You piss of your best friend, break your tooth (and you don't have health insurance), trip over the cat, miss the picture of the sunset, and finally end up in a heap at the end of the day? Well, this is the perfect meal for THAT day! It is easy to prepare, fool proof, and people will think you are a genius. Go ahead and try it. Today isn't a day for something hard. Save that for tomorrow. Today give yourself a break and make this easy, healthy, and fool proof meal for your family. Tomorrow you can make up with your best friend, kiss your cat, forgive yourself for breaking your tooth, and have your camera ready for that sunset. Today is a day for something far more easy. Save the hard stuff for tomorrow.

Go easy on yourself from my kitchen to yours!

~ My little Hot Mess Self still in the kitchen!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Springin' Forward in the Kitchen

There was a special occasion last week and we decided to cook up some decadent food. It was my mom's birthday and I wanted to make everything special for her. We decided to cook up homemade Chili Relleno's. I had never made them before, but felt confident that I could do it. My mom even helped me video myself cooking it so that we could enter it into a cooking competition. Check out my step by step video below!
These were absolutely amazing. But they wouldn't be complete without the delicious Spring Tomato Tart I made and you can also check out the step by step video of me making that on my You Tube account!

Now get in your kitchens and get cookin!

Chili Rellenos

10 ancho chillies
8 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

~Lay chilies on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat source for 15 minutes. Turn every minute until the skin on the pepper begins to blacken and bubble. Remove from the oven and transfer immediately to a brown paper bag  and wrap in a towel and set sit to steam for 15 minutes. My mom and I actually took a joy ride to the local store for 30 minutes.

~Then carefully shake the brown bag to loosen the skin. Then carefully peel the skin from the peppers.

~Once the peppers have been peeled. Mix the shredded cheese, cream cheese, and chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder until smooth and creamy using a spatula.

~Next, slice a long slit in one of the peppers and stuff with the cheese mixture. Using toothpicks, close the slit and place on a plate. Repeat this for the remaining peppers. When this is complete you are ready to fry.

~First create a dredging station. Get out two dishes or deep plates. Place 1 cup of corn meal and 1 tsp. salt in one plate. Then scramble 3 eggs until light and fluffy and pour into the other plate. That is your dredging station. Now you are ready to fry.

~Heat a skillet with 1/4 cup vegetable oil. To test the oil, sprinkle a drop of water in the oil. If it pops and sizzles you are ready to go. Grab a pepper and roll in the egg wash and then lay in the cornmeal and coat the chili with the cornmeal. Then transfer the coated chili to the hot oil. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Repeat the dredging and frying for the remaining chilies. Serve with the Spicy Tomato Sauce recipe below.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 can chunky tomato sauce (28 oz)
1 can salsa de Chile Fresco (7 oz) by El Pato
1 can diced chilies (4 oz)
Juice one lime
2 tbsp. garlic
1 jar salsa (12 oz)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 can tomato paste (8 oz)

Add all ingredients to a large sauce pan and cook on low heat for 1 hour, but can be longer if you want. The longer it cooks the better it will taste!

Tantalizing Tomato Tart

2 cups cherry tomatoes; sliced
8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese; shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil; chopped
1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2 tbsp. capers; chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
Athens Phyllo dough sheets
salt and pepper to taste
~Place cherry tomatoes, capers, basil, and olive oil in a large bowl and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

~Combine cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasonings, and mozzarella cheese in a large mixing bowl until ingredients are well incorporated.

~To create the crust, separate phyllo sheets and grab 2-3 sheets per layer and place on a greased cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil, continue to layer phyllo dough creating a lip over the edge of the cookie sheet and continuing to spray with olive oil until a layer of 10 phyllo sheets have been layered.

~To assemble, crumble the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Then spread the tomato mixture over the top. Roll up the edges of the phyllo to create a crust for the tart. Spray the crust with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt along the crust.

~Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into thin squares and enjoy!

Mental Health Benefit: These recipes are easy to prepare and delicious! I took a risk creating something new that seemed difficult and I did it! It proves that we can do anything that we put our mind to. Whether it is to build a new shelf, make a million dollars, or make a difficult recipe. We can do anything that we have determination to accomplish. The only one getting in our way is ourselves! So get in your kitchen, get in your workshop, and get going! Accomplish what you really want! I am rooting for you!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes from my Kitchen wonderland!