Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas

I'm a huge fan of cheese. Especially when it's oooey gooey and melty like in these Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas!

I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and some extra Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa (Recipe Here) and some fresh corn tortillas. Quesadillas seemed like they were destined to be my dinner. 

And of course I had a HUGE brick of cheddar cheese in the fridge. I am a midwestern country girl at heart afterall. 
That's where the inspiration came from. I added a little black bean for added fiber and some black olives just because I love them. And does anything really not taste fantastic with a little Chilola sauce? Not to mention the yummy Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa!

And voila! I put it all in a hot skillet and let it simmer just like I would a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and there it was. 
Instant yummy Chicken and Black Bean Quesadilla on my plate! Delicious and nutritious!

There's nothing wrong with a dinner that takes only 5 minutes to prep and another 10 minutes to cook. And it doesn't matter what you have in your fridge. You can use leftover ham or turkey and green olives, chili peppers. Add some salsa and it's the Perfect Fast Weeknight Meal! 
All you need is tortillas and cheese. The rest is history!

Now on with the recipe!

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas
2 cups Shredded Chicken; rotisserie works great
1/2 cup Black Olives; sliced
2 cups 2 % Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Black Beans; Rinsed
8 Corn Tortillas
1 cup Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa
1/4 cup Cholula Sauce
1. Start by shredding the chicken, slicing the black olives, shredding the cheddar cheese, and rinsing the black beans.
2. Then heat a large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Then add one corn tortilla and layer the salsa, chicken, black olives, cheese, and a sprinkle of Tabasco sauce and add a little more cheese for good measure.
3. Top with the second tortilla and allow to cook over medium low heat for 3-4 minutes, then carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook for another 5 minutes or so. I heated the oven to 200 degrees and placed the completed quesadillas in the oven to keep them warms while I finished making the other quesadillas.
4. Slice and serve with low fat sour cream and sliced peperochinis! Delicious! Just look how ooey and gooey and cheesey it looks! Yummy-licious!

Servings: 8 (half a quesadilla)

Nutritional Skinny:

260 calories / 12 g fat / 18 g carbohydrates / 4 g fiber / 21 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: This recipe is a lesson in balance. At least that's how I look at it. Beans are an amazing source of fiber, so are tomatoes. These quesadillas are also jam packed with protein from the lean chicken breast, the cheese, and the beans. But there is still the ooey gooey-ness that makes this warm quesadilla mouth-watering. So, the quesadilla's achieve a balance between yummy and nutritious. Balance... isn't that what we are all striving for? 

Here's to you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

These are pretty amazing and a total mouth full in more ways that one.

Just try to say it three times fast... Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich.... Okay. I give up.
Oh, how delicious it is though. And to be honest the Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuit really steels the show. It was my main inspiration for the sandwich to begin with. I brought these biscuits to a friend's birthday barbeque and they were an amazing hit. 

I was smart enough to make a double batch so we would have some left at the house.
That's where this breakfast delight came into play. I woke up inspired and nearly tripped over my dirty clothes on the floor to get to the kitchen and whip this up this morning.

Talk about a new reason to get out of bed. It's almost as good a reason as fresh brewed coffee.

I love coffee.

And I love these biscuits.. I mean straight up delicious and easy. You can eat them plain or you can put egg and ham in the middle (like I did) or you can top them with gravy. Why not?

And you won't believe me when I tell you that they aren't bad for you! I mean it! Just look at the inside! Doesn't it just make your mouth water?
They are delicious and lower in fat then their cousins you find at the fast food joints.

Still not a beleiver? 

Just read the recipe and stop by the Nutritional Skinny at the bottom. I don't lie. Ever. This recipe shaves off nearly 100 calories, 17 grams of fat and adds almost ten grams of protein. Now that's the right way to start the day!

Plus, if you prefer Blue Cheese dressing or Cesear Dressing over ranch go ahead and use those. But, really? I've never met anyone who doesn't like ranch dressing. Come on. It's RANCH DRESSING! You can also use those new yummy yogurt dressings!

However, there are delicious variations like using fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and sprinkling rosemary instead of parsley... Yum! My mouth just started watering...

But enough about me.. let's get on with the recipe!

Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuits

1 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tbs Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt

2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 1/4 cups of Low Fat Buttermilk (It may need a little more like 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup Low Fat Ranch Dressing
1 cup 2% Cheddar Cheese; Shredded

1. Spray a baking sheet with canola oil cooking spray and preheat oven to 425. 
2. Combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
3. Now comes the fun part... add the garlic powder and dried parsley in a large bowl. Stir together with a wire whisk to combine the ingredients.
4. Then add the buttermilk and ranch dressing. Stir to combine and then add the shredded cheese.  It will be a thick and moist dough.
5. Turn the dough onto a clean and floured surface and roll out using a floured rolling pin until it's about 1 inch thick. Then use a floured pint glass and cut out circle biscuits. It should make 12 round biscuits. Continue to roll and combine dough until it's all used. Then place each biscuit onto the cookie sheet. 
6. Brush each biscuit with egg whites and sprinkle a tiny bit more of the dried parsley and any left over cheddar cheese you may have on the top. Bake for 15 minutes.

7. Remove and serve immediately! These little beauties are something to be treasured warm and go great with anything!

Servings: 12

Nutritional Skinny:

 123.2 calories / 2.7 g fat / 18 g carbohydrates / 1.2 g fiber / 5.7 g protein

Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich
1 Cheddar Ranch Buttermilk Biscuit
2 Pieces Fresh Lower Sodium Ham
1 Egg

1. Slice your biscuit in half.
2. Heat a pan and add the two slices of ham and sizzle on each side for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set on top of one half of the biscuit.
3. Add the egg to the pan and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes depending on how you like your fried egg. Add to the top of the ham and top with the biscuit.
4. Eat immediately with some orange slices and juice!

Servings: 1

Nutritional Skinny:

273 calories / 11.1 g fat / 18.8 g carbohydrates / 1.2 g fiber / 17.3 g protein

Mental Health Tip: When we think of biscuits we think ooey gooey and bad for us. Not necessarily so. These add a little extra fiber with the whole wheat and by using reduced fat cheese and ranch dressing we save some unnecessary fat without shaving flavor. You can add some protein and fiber by using those new and delicious Yogurt Ranch Dressings. You can also use fat free cheddar if you want, but I think a little fat in the cheese goes a long way! And this is the perfect start to a long busy day and is sure to give you the protein and good carbohydrates that will easily carry you to your next meal!

Let's get this day started right, shall we?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa

Before I leave for Lake Charles for a little chick-weekend extravaganza I had to share this extremely delicious Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa recipe with you all.

I love salsa, especially when the sun comes out and warms the earth. There is nothing better than fresh salsa in the sunshine with a cold beer. Am I right?

Not to mention this salsa is roasted. Yeah... I said it. It has roasted peppers, corn, and garlic! Yep! Roasted garlic! Can anything with roasted garlic be anything short of breath-taking? 

I didn't think so! This recipe may take a little time, but most of the time is spent softening the peppers, garlic, onion, and corn in the oven so you have free time to move about the country. 
And it is worth the time to slow roast these vegetables... Totally fresh flavors that are deep charred and perfect with a yummy chip.
Or on top of tacos...
Or inside a quesadilla. You decide how you want to eat this salsa. Maybe just with a spoon or over eggs. You name it, the reward is that after you make this Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa you get to eat it any way you want... no judging allowed!

And the great thing is that you can use any kind of pepper you have on hand. If you don't have a red pepper, use a green or orange. You can also roast a serano if you don't have a poblano.. the world is once again your very own oyster.

Now on with the recipe and excuse me while I have another bite!

Roasted Pepper and Corn Salsa
1 Red Pepper
2 Jalapeno Peppers
2 Poblano Peppers
1 Large White Onion
2 Ears Corn;De-Husked
1 Bulb Garlic
Juice of half a lime
1 (14 ounce) Can Roasted Tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) Can Minced Green Chilies

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a foil baking pan.
2. Place the red pepper, jalapeno peppers, and poblano peppers in the foil pan whole. Then slice the onion in half and peel the outer layers off the onion. Place the onion in the pan as well. Husk the corn and lay them on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
3. Then cut the top off the bulb of garlic. Lay on a foil sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic up in the foil. 
4. Place the peppers, onions, corn, and garlic in the oven and roast for 90 minutes. Turn the peppers over using tongs halfway through the roasting. The skin should begin to bubble and blacken. Turn the corn halfway through cooking as well. It will begin to blacken the kernels and the house will smell amazing!
5. After 90 minutes, remove the peppers, onions, garlic, and corn from the oven. Peel the blackened skin off the peppers and scoop out the seeds. Place the peeled peppers into a food processor. Then peel the outer layer off the onion and place it in the food processor. Remove the garlic from the foil and squeeze the garlic cloves out of the top of the bulb into the food processor as well. Process for 60 seconds pulsing until the salsa is smooth.
6. Then add the lime juice, the can of roasted tomatoes and green chilies and pulse for another 30 seconds. 
7. Cut the corn off the husk using a sharp knife. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the sliced corn stirring with a spatula until the corn is mixed in evenly.
8. Serve immediately with your favorite tortilla chips! Ole!

Servings: 16 (approx. 1/4 cup... I really like salsa!)

Nutritional Skinny:

25 calories / .2 g fat / 5.4 g fat / 1.2 g fiber / .8 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: The great thing about this salsa isn't just the rich and spicy flavor it's also got double the fiber of most salsas. Not to mention how great spicy peppers are for you. They help you reduce excess fat by increasing your metabolism because peppers are loaded with capsaicin. Who knew Capsaicin? This little magic thing can also help protect your heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides, and platelet aggregation. So many cultures around the world use hot peppers in meals to help prevent heart attacks and heart disease. They also help fight inflammation and lower blood pressure. 

Are you in yet? That's what I thought!

Roasted Pepper Salsa on Foodista

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Buttermilk Lemon Pound Cake

I've been sort of crazy busy lately. I bet you've noticed and felt a little neglected. Please, let me explain...

It all started when my computer crashed and I was without for almost 2 weeks! I know! It was a scary moment in my world, but I kept a positive attitude and got a new hard drive and things are back to normal.

Then, I moved. Uh huh, you all know how much fun that is.

Then I went to Las Vegas. Now that was some fun. And now I'm getting ready to head out on another trip to Lake Charles, LA. 

But I had buttermilk in the fridge and I had lemons that would all go bad if I didn't make something delicious with them. So, after the move, but before Las Vegas I whipped up a really easy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake. It was delicious and easy.

AKA - I made it while I was unloading my car and moving...

The best part is that the frosting comes out of a jar and is totally delicious!

And because I was about to travel I sliced up some of this yummy Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake and gave some to my friends who were taking car of my car while I was gone. See! Everyone ends up a winner. I don't loose my buttermilk or lemons and my friends get Pound Cake!

Don't worry though, all my stuff is still in boxes and suitcases. I decided that eating this delicious cake is way more important. And it is so delicious that while I'm eating it, I had to share the simple recipe with you. 

Unpacking can wait until the cake is gone! And just wait until you read the nutritional skinny on this dense, moist, and mouth-wateringly rich cake! You won't believe your taste buds! We shaved over half the fat, calories, and carbohydrates from other lemon pound cakes!

Now on with the recipe.... enjoy!

Lower Fat Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

1/2 cup Butter (I prefer salted)
6 ounces Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt
2 cups Baking Splenda sugar
4 Eggs
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Low Fat Buttermilk
Grated zest of 2 Lemons
Juice of 2 large lemon (about 3 tablespoons) 

For the Glaze:

1 (10 ounce) Jar Lemon Curd
Powdered Sugar for Sprinkling
Extra Lemon Zest for Sprinkling (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the softened butter, vanilla yogurt, and splenda. Combine with a wooden spoon until creamy and incorporated.  Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wire whisk until eggs are incorporated and batter is smooth. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together with a wire whisk. 
4. Then add a third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, then add half of the buttermilk, then another third of the flour mixture, and then the rest of the buttermilk and the rest of the flour stiring in between each addition.  Fold each addition gently until the batter looks well blended. 
5. Then add the lemon zest and juice and stir until well incorporated. I used even a little more lemon juice to give it an extra little kick!
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow cool for 10-20 minutes. 
7. Now comes the really easy part! Place the jar of lemon curd uncovered in the microwave for about 30 seconds just to soften it. Invert your lemon cake onto a pretty plate. Then spread about half of the jar of curd over the top of the cake using a butter knife or small rubber spatula. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar liberally and then top with a little bit of extra lemon zest for color and pop! 

Slice and Serve immediately!

Servings: 16

Nutritional Skinny:

181 calories / 7.4 g fat / 23 g carbohydrates / .75 g fiber / 5 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: Okay... here's the deal. Pound cake isn't great for you, this I think we can all agree on. And this recipe still has come fat and carbohydrates, but if you compare it to your friendly neighborhood coffee shop pound cake that weighs in with a whopping 500 calories, 23 g of fat, and 69 g of carbohydrates we more than halved the amount of fat and calories for this recipe! Plus if you are looking for ways to save even more fat you can swap egg whites for the whole eggs. The cake will end up a little lighter, but still just as flavorful and delicious!

Now who says we can't have our cake and eat it too?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oatmeal Protein Bread and French Toast!

I've told you that I have stopped buying store bought bread, right?

Have I also told you that sometimes life gets away from me and I run out of bread? And I'm about one lollipop short of jumping in my car and making the 20 minute drive to the store rather than make my own?

I have good news though! For starters, I usually don't even have time to run to the store and back. 

The other good news is that I found this really easy and fast Oatmeal Protein Bread recipe that I "Hot Messed" and it's the perfect easy bread to make in a pinch. No kneading, rising, or waiting required.
It is delicious with butter on it.
It's delicious plain.
It's delicious with butter and jam.
But then I got really creative and it's even better made into FRENCH TOAST! I know, I really out did myself this time, but see for yourself how easy this is to make your own fast bread. The High Protein French Toast recipe is below too! Don't miss the opportunity to make some High Protein French Toast for your family for Monday Dinner. 
Why not have breakfast for dinner? It's Monday and ANYTHING goes on Mondays!

Now let's get started!
P.S. One more thing.... I sizzled up a little bacon and served it along side. One word... Delicious!

Oatmeal Protein Bread

1 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Steel Cut Oats
1/4 Cup Milled Flax Seed
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar Free Maple Syrup
1 Egg
1 Cup Plain Fat Free Yogurt
1/2 Cup Fat Free Half and Half

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat an 8" X 5" X 3" loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Next in a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, oats, milled flax seed, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together using a large fork. 
3. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, egg, yogurt, and half and half. Whisk these ingredients together until smooth. 
4. Then combine the flour and the yogurt mixture to create a thick batter. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check on it after 30 and if a tooth pick inserted comes out clean you are ready to go! 
5. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and devouring!

Servings: 14

Nutritional Skinny:

117 calories / 2 g fat / 20 g carbohydrates / 3.7 g fiber / 5.6 g protein

High Protein French Toast
6 Slices Oatmeal Protein Bread
2 Large Eggs
3 Tbsp. Fat Free Half and Half
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Cooking Spray 

1. Slice the bread into nice thick slices. Then combine the eggs, half and half, cinnamon, and vanilla. Whisk together with a fork. 
2. Submerge the slices of bread in the mixture turning to coat. Allow each side to soak in the mixture for at least 30- seconds before turning.
3. Heat a large skillet and spray with Canola Cooking Oil. Once water sizzles ad bounces off the surface it is hot and ready. Place the soaked bread in the hot skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes a side. 
4. Remove from the skillet and continue cooking the rest of the pieces. Serve with butter and sugar free maple syrup!


Servings: 3 (2 slices of french toast)

Nutritional Skinny:

286 calories / 7 g fat / 41.5 g carbohydrates / 7.4 g fiber / 15.5 g protein

Mental Health Benefit:Not only is this bread easy to make taking less than 6 minutes to pull it all together and get it in the oven, but it's also nutritionally dense. With nearly 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per slice! You can feel really good about serving this to your family and friends. It makes a great sandwich too! Plus with the multitude of health benefits of oatmeal you are sure to get your soluble and insoluble fiber for the day. And fiber has been proven to reduce your LDL (the bad cholesterol) with out lowering your HDL (the good cholesterol). Oats are also proven to slow the digestion of starch which helps keep blood sugar levels from spiking. 

I'll bake to that! Cheers!