Friday, April 30, 2010

Red Pepper Dip

2 whole jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
6 ounces of feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
a pinch of cayenne pepper

In a food processor, boy do I need a new one!!, puree peppers and 3/4 of the feta, garlic and cayenne pepper. Serve a bowl topped with remaining feta along with pita chips.

* I buy pita bread and slice into 8ths. Place on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 12-15 min at 375.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bell Pepper Slaw

3 Tbsp suagr
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
6 bell peppers, 2 each of red, yellow & orange, cut in thin strips
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup of light mayo
2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste

Whisk sugar, salt and vinegar in a large bowl. Next add both celery and mustard seeds, black pepper, bell peppers, green onion and cabbage. Mix well and chill for one hour. Just before serving add mayo and mustard and mix well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paloma Margaritas

In 4 tall glasses with ice add 1/2 tsp. of grenadine. In a cocktail shaker add 1 cup of tequila, 1 cup of grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 tsp. of fine sugar and a pinch of salt. Shake well and pour into glasses. Top off each drink with a 1/4 cup of grapefruit soda.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Glaze

So now that I have a new "go to" ingredient, I often find myself in the jelly isle at the grocery store. I look over each flavor and decide how they could be incorporated with other flavors for a new dish. Today I went with pineapple preserves. This was very similar to my fruit salsa but made an excellent glaze and dipping sauce. I used this on chicken but it would also work well with pork and fish.

2 12oz. jars of pineapple preserves
juice form 1 orange
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 shallots, minced
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and reserve 3/4 cup for a dipping sauce. With the remaining marinade/glaze, coat meat before grilling for about 1 hour.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deviled Egg Dip

I know that Easter is well behind us but the next time you're wondering what to do with a surplus of eggs, this may help :)

8 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup light mayo
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. dill pickle relish
4-5 dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
chives for garnish

Puree eggs with mayo, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in pickle relish and top with chives. Chill for one hour and serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apricot Citrus Grilled Pork Chops

Being that Iowa is pork country and there is 1 pig to every 5 people here, I thought the blog was due for a pork chop recipe. Honestly, I wasn't a huge fanof pork until we moved here. "Iowa Chops" aren't your typical dried out chops and have become a huge hit in our home. I've found apricot preserves are a perfect paring with pork and decided to whip up a new marinade last night using Smucker's. Hope you'll like these as much as we did.

4 1/2" cut bone in pork chops
1 1/2 cup Smucker's Apricot Preserves
juice from 2 oranges
juice from 2 lemons
1 pinch of red pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder

Whisk in the juice, and spices into the preserves and coat chops. Marinade for at least one hour. Let the pork come close to room temp before grilling over low heat. Grill each side 12-15 min or until temp reads 160.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken Pesto Quesadilla

8 corn tortillas

1/2 cup pesto

2 (9-ounce) packages cooked chicken strips

1 cup shredded provolone cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons butter, softened

Sour cream mixed with additional pesto for dipping

Lay out 4 tortillas. Spread with the pesto, then top with chicken and sprinkle with cheeses. Top with remaining tortillas that have been spread with the pesto.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Spread butter on outsides of quesadillas. Add one filled quesadilla to hot skillet; cook, pressing down with spatula, until bottom tortilla is browned and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully turn quesadilla; cook 2-3 minutes on second side until crisp. Cut in half and serve with sour cream mixed with more pesto. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. You can keep all of the quesadillas warm in a 250 degree oven until you're ready to serve. Serves 3-4

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Asparagus Salad

This is the ideal time of year for fresh asparagus. It's so versitile in cooking methods. You can steam it, grill it, saute it, and what I've decided....shave it and make it into a salad.

Approx. 2 pounds of fresh asparagus, medium size stalks
juice from 1 large lemon
1/2 cup of extra light olive oil
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the asparagus. In a bowl combine lemon juice and cheese. Slowly whisk in oil. Add asparagus and toss into the dressing. Salt & pepper to taste.

Spring Sorbet Sandwiches

This is a result of trying to come up with a birthday treat for Em who's a huge sorbet fan. I wanted a fun and festive dessert that still had birthday cake-like qualities. So from the idea of ice cream sandwiches this new recipe was invented. It was so refreshing and is a perfect treat for Spring and Summer gatherings.

1 box of yellow cake, cook with needed ingredients, water, eggs, oil, according to pkg. directions in two 9in. square pans.
3 pints of sorbet, lemon, strawberry, blood orange
powedered sugar for dusting on top.

Allow cakes to cool for 2 hours before adding sorbet. Trim  cake tops so they are level. Loosen sorbet from containers by microwaving each one for 10-15 seconds. Slice sorbet from the more narrow end into 1/2 in. circles. Cover one cake with sorbet rings and fill in any remaining cake areas with soft sorbet by spreading with a knife. The sorbet layer should be level and top with second portion of cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and refreeze for 2 hours. Slice cake through the middle horizontally. Then cut 3 times lengthwise for 8 equal servings.

While this may not be a guiltless treat it is however healthier than ice cream cake or birthday cake. Sorbet has no fat and you can alter your cake batter with a reduced fat/calorie mix for a more healthier treat :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Penne with Spinach Sauce

I watched this recipe on TV Food Network and decided this will be our Good Friday meal. I've also have had several request for some healthy recipes. I thought this would fit the bill since it's whole wheat pasta and has so many vitamins in the spinach. can't wait to make this tomorrow and hope you'll try it too!


1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne

3 garlic cloves

2 ounces goat cheese

1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, reduced fat


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.

Cucumber Salad

Just had this last night and I could eat it just about everyday! By specail request from my friend Kim, who was looking for "lighter" recipes to compliment her new eating habits and workout routine. Hope you make this Kimberly :)

2 English cucumbers, sliced
1 Vadalia onion, or any other sweet onion, sliced thin
extra light olive oil, to coat
white balsamic vinegar, about 2 tbp.
garlic salt and black pepper to taste. I would guess I use around 2 tsp. of the salt and 1 tsp. of pepper.

This can be served right away or can chill in the fridge if you wish to make it ahead of time.

Here is the vinegar I use: