Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Soy Ginger Edamame

I've been gone for too long.

My computer was broken. 

Please don't panic. It's fixed now. I called my 'support team' which consists of my boyfriend and the sweet man in town. Between the two of them, they got me up and running. And I didn't even panic even though my life's on this computer.

You'd be proud. Although I did pace around the phone a little like a nervous teenager without a prom date two days before the prom waiting to hear the repair results. 

But that's behind me now. And I'm back!
Just in time to talk about Edamame. I've talked about it before, but never on it's own as it is in this amazingly flavorful Soy Ginger Edamame. The flavors of soy and ginger pair perfectly with the garlic and onion to make a glaze over our Edamame Pods. 
This is one of my favorite snacks because it's loaded with fiber and protein and it's super fun to eat. You just scrape your teeth along the outside and out pops these little bursts of chewy goodness. 

Plus it's great for entertaining because it literally takes about 15 minutes to pull together. From freezer to plate, just 15 minutes! That's the kind of efficiency I'm talkin' about!

So, what are we waiting for! Let's get started!

Soy Ginger Edamame
2 Cups Water
1/2 tsp. Salt 16 Ounces Frozen Edamame in the Pod
1 tsp. Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic; minced
1 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onion
1/3 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Dried Ginger
1 tsp. Roasted Cumin
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds
1. Heat 2 cups of water to a rolling boil with the 1/2 tsp. salt. Once boiling add the frozen edamame. Heat for 2-3 minutes or until the water returns to a boil. Then drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, approx 1-2 minutes. Add the minced dried onion, soy sauce, ginger, and cumin. Cook for 4-5 minutes. The flavors will combine and the soy sauce will start to reduce.
3. Turn the heat down to low and add the edamame to the skillet. Stir to coat the edamame and cook for another 3-4 minutes. 

4. Pour onto a serving platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Can also be prepared ahead of time and served cold if desired!

Servings: 4

Nutritional Skinny:

102 calories / 3.75 g fat / 11 g carbohydrates / 6.8 g fiber / 7 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: These cute little pods are loaded with fiber and protein! Just for one serving of this snack/appetizer their is 6.8 grams of fiber! That's almost unheard of! Not to mention these are delicious and your guests and family will love them! Plus, you usually don't find a lot of protein in appetizers, right? Well, these pack a whopping 7 grams of protein! These should keep your family and guests happy while you whip up the next course...

Dig In!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our Famous Slow Grilled Spicy Chicken Wings

I've been on a grilling kick lately. And there's good reason... I'm ready to be outside. And these Spicy Chicken Wings are AMAZING!

Chicken wings.... on the grill.

Move over Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings, and all those other 'famous' wing places. This is where the money is at!


My dad perfected this recipe through years and years of trial and error and I have been devouring these delicious little wings my whole life. 
The key to success for this recipe is a slow and low cooking approach.

We baste the chicken wings with our own spicy recipe (below) let it marinade for a few hours in this succulent sauce. Then slow cook them on the grill turning them often to cook that spicy marinade into the wings. 

Yes, the skin of the wings actually ABSORB the marinade! It is nothing short of miraculous!

The result is the most delicious wings you have ever had. 

Get ready. 

We are not messing around with the recipe and I beg you. If you don't try any other recipe.. try this one! 
You won't be disappointed!

Plus you can't imagine how much fat and calories you save by skipping the battering and frying! Don't believe me? Check out the Mental Health Benefit below!

Now let's get on with it!

T &  A's Famous Chicken Wings
2 lbs. chicken wings (approx 16-18 wings)

Chicken Spice Rub mix:

2 tbsp. Szeged Chicken Rub (find it HERE)
2 tsp. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Smoked Cumin
3/4 cup Valentino's Hot Sauce (find it HERE)
1 tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1. Take all the wings out of the package and hook their little elbows around making a sweet little triangle.
2. Place all chicken wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with the chicken rub, chili powder, smoked cumin, hot sauce, and soy sauce. Stir to coat all of the chicken.

3. Cover the chicken and allow to marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, but it can marinade overnight as well if you want to prepare them a day ahead of schedule.
4. To cook, turn on the grill and clean. Let grill heat up to 215 degrees. Once it has leveled out at 215 place the wings on the grill. Reserve the marinade for basting. Close the lid to the grill and ensure the temperature remains at 215, but no higher than 250. Set an alarm and turn the chicken wings every 20 minutes. You will cook the wings slowly for 2 hours turning them every 15-20 minutes. This might seem like a long process, but the outcome is magical to say the least. With each turn of the wings, spread the remaining marinade over using a brush until the marinade is gone.

5. Once the 2 hours has passed, the meat will be crisp and falling off the bone. The flavor will be out of this world and you may have to fight people off as you make your way to the table. We always place the wings in a large pot with a lid so they remain hot throughout dinner!

Servings: 6 (approx 3-4 wings)

Nutritional Skinny:

240 calories / 18 g fat / 0 g carbohydrates / 0 g fiber / 20 g protein 
Mental Health Benefit: These little wings are nothing to feel guilty about. Usually when we talk about wings we are thinking of things battered and deep fried. These wings we are saving over 200 calories, 10 g of fat, and about 20 grams of unnecessary carbohydrates because we aren't battering anything! Plus you get all that yummy spicy chicken flavor without all the grease. You won't miss the batter and they are just as finger lickin' good as their cousins that jump into the fryer!

Let's Get Grillin'!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grilled Pork Kabobs with Apple Balsamic Glaze

I love kabobs. 

Whenever I make them it makes me feel like I am in the tropics.

Even when it's cold and snowy outside. 

It makes me want to get my leis out of storage and wear them. Okay, I am actually wearing the lei right now.

We've covered that I'll do about anything to make me happy right? 

That's what I thought.

Right now, I need a little sunshine. I want to feel like I'm in the tropics. This spring is really having a hard time gettin' goin' you know?

And these Grilled Pork Kabobs were just the ticket. They got me laughing and dancing again. 

It really doesn't take much.

And the great thing about kabobs is that you can do anything you want with them. You can add any vegetables that are your favorites. Squash or zucchini would be a great addition to these sweet little Grilled Pork Kabobs
Plus, you can use whatever meat you want. Chicken would have been great and fresh tuna steaks would have worked great with this marinade also.

Not to mention, we get to fire up our grills! This could be the best day EVER!

Uh Huh, I'm pretty jazzed about these succulent and delicious Grilled Pork Kabob. Not to mention their as easy as slicing bread. 

Well, almost.

They are loaded with fresh vegetables and lean protein, so there's nothing to hesitate about!

Get your grills fired up!

Now on with the recipe...

Pork Kabobs

1 Lb. Pork Loin
1 Medium Green Pepper
1 Medium Red Pepper (or orange)
1 Large Red Onion
7 White Mushrooms
1. Take the skewers and submerge them in water while we prepare the veggies and meat. This will prevent them from burning up on the grill. 
2. Dice the red onion, mushrooms, and peppers into nice big chunks. 
3. Then cup the pork fillets into nice big bite sized pieces as well.
4. This is the fun part. Now we get to 'string' the pork and the veggies onto the skewers any way you want. Alternate the colors and it looks like a gorgeous spring time display! Then brush the kabobs with the apple balsamic glaze (recipe below). Go ahead and be heavy handed with this. Reserve a little for basting while you grill.
5. Heat your grill to medium high. Place the kabobs on the grill cooking each side for 4-6 minutes. Bast each side as you turn. 

6. It's that easy! Take off the grill and eat!

Servings: 6

Nutritional Skinny:

185 calories / 4.5 g fat / 11.7 g carbohydrates / 2 g fiber / 24 g protein

Apple Balsamic Glaze

4 Tbsp Paul Newman Light Balsamic dressing
4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Minced Garlic
4 Tbsp. Unsweetened Applesauce

1. In a small bowl, combine the Paul Newman dressing, balsamic vinegar, ground ginger, and applesauce. Whisk together until incorporated. Then smear on any type of meat or vegetable.
Note: You can double or triple this recipe if you are doing more kabobs or want extra glaze!

Servings: 6

Nutritional Skinny:

32.5 calories / 1.3 g fat / 4.6 g carbohydrates / .3 g fiber / .2 g protein

Mental Health Tip: These kabobs are limited only by your imagination. The great thing about this recipe is that you can't screw it up! I promise! Just start with a great cut of meat, some of your favorite vegetables, and slather this delicious glaze over the top and between you and the grill dinner will be ready in a snap!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy Breezy Country GURL Chicken!

I live in the country. 

I'm a girl.

This Country Gurl Chicken is a no brainer. 

The recipe is easy and breezy just like living out in the country.

Every once and a while I miss living just outside of Chicago. 

Here are the things I miss the most:

1. My sister

2. My friends

3. Walking to the grocery store.  

If I want to walk to the store here I have to pack for a two week treck there and back. Yeah, not happening.

That's another great thing about this Country Gurl Chicken recipe. Everything you need you most likely already have in your refriderator or cupboard. 

No journey to the store necessary.

When I moved here (to the middle of Flathead Valley Montana almost 2 years ago) everyone said, "Really? She's coming here from Chicago? How will she entertain herself? It's really quiet here?"
I think most figured I wouldn't last and I'd end up back in Chicago.

Well, you know what happened?
I fell in love.

No not like you are thinking, I fell in love with the mountains first. They had me at purple mountain majesty. 

Then I fell in love with the quiet easy breezy way of living out here.

I switched my stilleto's for flip flops and boots. 

Okay, They still have a little heel. A gurl's gotta be a gurl.. you know?

And I swapped my million ingredient meals for simple, delicious, and nutritious ones like this Country Gurl Chicken.
This chicken is amazing. It shreds like pulled chicken, but has that sweet bright taste of summertime fresh tomatoes!

Enjoy this Easy Breezy Country Gurl Chicken!

On with the recipe!

Country GURL Chicken

1/2 Large Red Onion
2 cups White Mushrooms
8 Cloves Garlic
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 (26 ounce) Jars Hunts Garlic and Herb Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1. Dice the onion, mushroom, and mince the garlic. 
2. Then slice your chicken breasts in half to create 4 ounce pieces.
3. Add the vegetables and chicken to a 10 quart crock pot set to high. 
4. Then add the tomato sauce and Italian Seasonings and stir to combine. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or turn down to low and cook for 7-8 hours. Low and slow is the key to success with this recipe! 

5. Then grab a big bowl and a fork and dig in!

Servings: 6

Nutritional Skinny:

208 calories / 4.6 g fat / 19 g carbohydrates / 10 g fiber / 26 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Okay so not only is this delicious but also packed with a ton of healthy fiber (10 grams!) and tons of get up and go protein (26 grams!) Not only will you have a chance to recharge relaxing while your meal is cooking in the crock pot, but you also can feel good about the low fat and calories paired with the fiber you are going to nourish your body and soul with. Plus the lycopene that are loaded in the tomatoes help us trap free radicals with it's high anti-oxidant powers. This has been shown to help us ward against cancers, heart disease, and helps us lower our cholesterol. 

So, get to eatin!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Cobb Salad

The sun finally came out. 


After a winter blizzard dropped about 2 inches of snow overnight.

But the sun came back. 

After a long long winter's nap. 

And a delightful fellow wrote an article listing the Top 40 Entertaining and Party Blogs and he decided that I made the cut! Pretty sweet really. I am listed with a lot of other great food bloggers. You can read the article HERE.

I thought I should celebrate the sunshine and the kudos with a Delicious Cobb Salad.
I know it sounds kind of wimpy, right? Celebrating with a salad.. 

You might want to know what happened to the chocolate and champagne. 

Well, I ate the chocolate last night and the champagne has been gone for a while.

The Cobb Salad is one of my favorite things on the planet. 
Call me what you will, but it's the truth, just ask any one of my friends.

I love the blue cheese, the egg, the bacon, the avocado, and the yummy chicken. 

It's all of my favorite things in one bowl dressed with salad dressing.

However, it isn't always that great for me. It may be a salad, but it's not always as calorie concious as we might think.

But we can still have bacon because I discovered this! The Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon has only 25 calories per serving!
With warm weather threatening to arrive I need to focus on getting myself back into my itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini... So I worked this recipe for Cobb Salad over. 

I didn't have chicken or I would have added it, so please do if you have some. I also added jicama for a little extra special crunch.

This salad just plain made me happy. Hope it brings a smile to your face too! 

The Cobb Salad

3 Eggs
4 Cups Fresh Spinach
1/4 Cup Bacon Bits
1/2 Large English Cucumber
1/2 Cup Fat Free Feta Cheese Crumbles
1 Cup Jicama; shredded
1. Let's start by hard boiling our eggs: Place the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to simmer for 8 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to continue cooking in the hot water for another 10 minutes. Then cover with cold water to cool. Peel them and slice them using dentil floss. 
2. Now take a jicama and shred it. It is a watery deliciously refreshing little vegetable that makes this salad extra special.
3. Lay a healthy portion of fresh spinach across three plates. Top with equal amounts of bacon bits, cucumber, feta cheese, and jicama. 
4. Now lay the sliced egg on one side and presto chango! We're ready to eat!

I drizzled with my favorite Light Balsamic Dressing from Paul Newman. Low in calories and packed with flavor! Yummy!

Servings: 3

Nutritional Skinny:

165 calories / 7.5 g fat / 11.5 g carbohydrates / 3.4 g fiber / 13.3 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Let's talk a little about jicama. It's sort of a weird little fruit/vegetable that looks like a potato and tastes a little like a pear. But it's packed with a whopping 5.9 grams of fiber and in a world where almost none of us get enough fiber, I think that's pretty amazing. It's also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and is a powerful anti-oxidant helping us release inflammation. Plus it's low in calories and has zero fat, so helps us support our goal of getting back into that bikini! Yikes! ;)

Jicama... here I come!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red Wine Braised Beef Stew

It's April, but it's still dark, cloudy, and rainy here in Northwest Montana. I haven't seen the sun since July.

So, I am still eating big bowls of the most delicious Red Wine Braised Beef Stew with a tall glass of red wine. 
I'm still a huge fan of the crock pot. It makes everything easy, like for instance this succulent Red Wine Braised Beef Stew.

Did I say that already?
I love these little bowls almost as much as the tender Red Wine Braised Beef Stew. I found them at a local consignment shop and bought them simply because they make me happy.
Look how cute they are? I talked to the bowls while I did this photo shoot. 
My parents ignored me... "Crazy Abby at it again."

I prefer to call it the good kind of crazy.

Like the crazy that hugs trees, blows bubbles, and the only thing I can think to do for April Fool's Day yesterday was call my boyfriend and tell him "Hey Honey, I'm out, I found a new boyfriend."

So not funny, right? I have no idea what's wrong with me. The doctors are baffled.
But this Red Wine Braised Beef Stew is so simple, nutritious, succulent and worth the 10 minutes of effort.

But don't trust me on this one.. Make it yourself.

I had some kitchen helpers assisting in the kitchen for this recipe (which means my parents took over the kitchen and all I could do was wander around and take pictures. Here's what I came up with...
That's me (in a pool of red wine no less... go figure)!

That's my mom and me!
And you guessed it, there's dad! My hair looks horrible.. please focus on my cute kitchen assistants. Please.

If you are concerned about carbohydrates... just don't use the potatoes and you'll save about 12 carbohydrates per serving. Not a bad deal, right?

Now I must return to praying for sunshine. 

My prayers have gone unanswered. 

Can I get a little sunshine along with this Titillating Red Wine Braised Beef Stew?

Just a question.

Now on with the recipe...

Red Wine Braised Beef Stew
 1 (14.5 ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Cups Carrots; chopped
2 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes; chopped
1 1/2 Cup Onion; minced
4 Cloves Garlic; minced
2 Pounds Lean Stew Beef; cubed
3 Bay Leaves
1 Cup Red Wine; Cabernet works great
2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Herbs De Provence
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 (10 ounce) Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 Cups Frozen Peas
1. Get out a huge 10 quart crock pot and add the tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onion, and garlic to the crock pot.
2. Cube up 2 pounds of red meat and add that to the crock pot as well along with the bay leaves.
3. In a separate bowl combine the red wine, Worcestershire, herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, and cream of mushroom soup and stir to combine. This alone smells like heaven! Then pour this over the top of the meat and vegetables and cook on low for 6-7 hours or longer. The longer the better! 

4. In the last hour add the frozen peas to the pot and stir to combine.

5. Serve alongside some crusty french bread in a large bowl with a big 'ol spoon!

Servings: 8 (approx. 1 cup)

Nutritional Skinny:

231 calories / 4.3 g fat / 23 g carbohydrates / 5 g fiber / 20 g protein

Mental Health Tip: When in doubt you can never ever ever loose if you throw in a nice chunk of meat and some red wine, garlic, onions, herbs, and vegetables in the crock pot and cook it slow and low for about 7 hours. It's the perfect answer to a tired mother/father/brother/cousin/sister/uncle... etc. You get the point. When you have the option to throw ingredients together and "set it and forget it!" Why not? Give yourself a break and pull out that beautiful crock pot. I think a woman must have invented this.. and if she didn't, she meant to, but was too busy cleaning the toilets.

Cheers and Happy Spring!