Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slow Cooked Chicken Teriyaki

I was plesantly surprised on how easy and delicious this recipe came out. This is another recipe for a slow cooker/crock-pot, but I think it could easily be done on the stove top on low heat, making sure you stir occasionally to prevent burning.

I served this with brown rice and snap pea salad for a healthy weeknight meal. I will definitely be making this recipe again soon.  Hope you enjoy.

Slow Cooked Chicken Teriyaki
Serves 4

1 tbsp canola oil
8 Bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (I removed the skin myself)
1 clove garlic-minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger-grated
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2  tbsp water
1/3 cup soy sauce (I would recommend using low-sodium)
1/4 sherry, white wine or apple juice
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp dark molasses
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp dark sesame oil-optional
Scallions for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides; about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Drain off excess fat, leaving 1 tbsp in the pan.  Add garlic and ginger to the pan over medium-high heat; cook 30 seconds. Add in 1/4 cup of water and scape all the brown bits from the bottom of pan. Add in soy sauce, sherry, rice wine vinegar, molasses, honey and stir to blend.

3. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker and cook on low 5-6 hours or high 2-3 hours, until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and set aside. If you would like to, you can place the chicken under the broiler in the oven to get a crsipy top (I skipped this step)

5. Pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan on the stove top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Dissolve cornstarch into 1 1/2 tbsp of water and add into sauce. Stir until slightly thickened; about 1 minute. Serve chicken with sauce and scallions to garnish.

(Adapted from The Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss)

Monday, January 30, 2012


Tom and I ate out this weekend ( a very rare occurrence these days). We went to Mosaic in St. James, NY. As always, it was incredibly delicious. If you have never been there before, it is a small restaurant that offers a 5 course chefs tasting menu, which changes daily. The food is unlike anything you usually see around town. The chef's create beautiful, inventive and most importantly delicious plates of food. They offer a $59.00 per person prix fix menu. Although you do not get to order off a menu, the chef's will accommodate any allergies or food you may dislike. I really enjoy being surprised on what amazing combination of food they will present to you each course

Some of the combinations we had this past weekend were crispy Mackerel with cilantro marinated tomatoes and a mini pepper stuffed with grits and cheese (yum), grilled ribeye with graham cracker butternut squash and they always end with 6 or 8 small dessert tastings (my favorite part of any meal).

If you have not tried this restaurant yet, I would suggest you do so in the near future. Check out their website below:


Super Bowl Strawberries

Less than a week until the Superbowl..Go Giants!!!!!!!

Here is a fun dessert to make for a Super Bowl party . My only suggestion is to make sure to use good quality white chocolate. I unfortunately only has poor quality white chocolate on hand and it made it very hard for me to pipe on the football design. Next time, I will be sure to have better quality white chocolate, it will be make it A LOT easier!

Super Bowl Strawberries
Makes 15-20 strawberries

1 pound strawberries-rinsed and dried
12 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I like to use Ghiradelli)
6 oz good quality white chocolate

1. Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in a microwave for 1 minutes, stir, then continue to cook in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. Do not over heat or the chocolate with seize up.

2. Dip each strawberry into chocolate and place to wax paper.

3. Using the same melting technique, melt the white chocolate until smooth,. Using a piping bag, or plastic zip-lock bag (cut the a small piece of the corner to create a piping bag) pipe on football design. Refrigerate until ready to serve,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cranberry-Ginger Upside Down Cake

Here is a seasonal winter recipe for when fresh cranberries are easily available. This recipe creates a moist cake with a sweet and tart cranberry topping. I would recommend this cake for either dessert, or breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee. Delicious!

Cranberry-Ginger Upside Down Cake (recipe from Cooking Light)
10 Servings

3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
3 cups fresh cranberries (1 bag)
1 1/2 cups flour (6.75 oz)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter-softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
2/3 cup whipped cream-optional
Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat a 9" round cake pan over medium heat and coat the pan with cooking spray. Add in brown sugar and 2 tbsp of butter, stir until melted. Stir in ginger; cook 1 min. Remove from heat and arrange cranberries on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.

3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

4. In a stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer, beat 1/4 of butter and 1 cup of sugar until fluffy. Add in egg yolks one at a time; beating well after each addition. Add in flour mixture and 1/2 cup of milk alternately into butter mixture, ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla. Pour batter into a large bowl.

5. In a stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tarter until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter until fully combined. Pour the batter over the cranberries in prepared pan.

6. Bake cake at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool in pan for 15 mins, run a knife around the outside of the cake. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; invert cake onto plate.

7. Top each serving with whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Healthy Kale Chips

This is my favorite way to eat kale! These kale chips work as a healthy side dish to almost any meal. They are so easy to make and the result is a crunchy, salty, delicious and healthy bite. Even my meat loving husband likes these to munch on. They are best right out of the oven when they are hot and as crunchy as your favorite potato chip. This is definitely one to try.

Kale Chips
Makes 4 servings

1 bunch of kale
Olive oil

1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop into big bite sized pieces. Make sure to only use the leafy part of the kale, they stems tend to be tough and chewy.

2. Place kale on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil (do not saturate in oil, just drizzle over the kale) Toss to coat the kale and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake for 10-15 mins until the edges start to turn brown and the kale becomes crunchy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What to do with leftover cheese rind

When you buy Parmesan cheese from the store, don't throw out the rind. There are a lot of good uses for it to help boost flavors in all different ways. See below some of the ways you can use Parmesan cheese rind.

You can store them in your refrigerator for a few weeks, or freeze them for a few months.

1. Add them to soup, such as Minestrone or stew to impart flavor. Discard before serving.

2. Add them to tomato sauce for flavor. Discard before using.

3. Place them in a jar with olive oil and herbs or garlic for Parmesan infused oil.

4. Place rinds in the pot when cooking risotto, rice or broth.

5. If the rind has no wax, you can grill them until soft and chewy and place them on crusty Italian bread.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crispy Chicken Breasts with Herbed Butter

Here is a chicken recipe that is very easy, perfect for a weeknight meal for the family. I was very happy with how flavorful this dish came out. I came up with this recipe with the ingredients and herbs I had on hand that day, you can alter the herbs to what easily accessible to you. If you do not like a lot of lemon flavor, you can leave out the lemon slices underneath the skin.

I served this dish with herbed brown rice, using the same herbs as the chicken and a simple salad.  Hope you enjoy!

Crispy Chicken Breast with Herbed Butter
Serves 4 (1 chicken breast half per person)

4 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
1/4 stick of butter-softened at room temperature
2 tbsp fresh parsely-chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped
2tbsp fresh thyme-chopped
Olive oil
1 onion-sliced
2 lemons-1 lemon thinly sliced, 1 lemon quartered

1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine butter and half the amount of chopped herbs. Mix together. Set aside

2. Place chicken in a baking dish and spread butter underneath the skin, on top of the meat. You can loosen skin with your fingers to make it easier. Place 2 very thin slices of lemon underneath the skin on each breast. Rub the top of the chicken skin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with remaining herbs.

3. Scatter the sliced onion and quartered lemon around the chicken. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 mins to an hour, or until chicken is done ( 190 degrees F ) Check the chicken half way through, if there is not a lot of juices in the pan, add a little bit of water or chicken stock; to prevent onions from burning.

That is a picture of Tom, speeding away with dinner, before I can get a good picture. Oh well....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Classic Chocolate Chip Scones

This is about as good as it gets when it comes to scones. A very simple recipe that never fails to make a perfect flakey scone with the right amount of sweetness.

A tip for making these scones: when mixing in the heavy cream, the dough may seem very dry, keep working it together with either your hands or a wooden spoon until is forms a ball. It will still be a bit dry but thats okay. However, try not to over work the dough you want to keep the butter as cold as possible.

Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes 8 Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter- diced into 1/2" pieces
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream-divided

1. Pre heat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in diced butter until incorporated into flour mixture. You should be able to see "pea" sized pieces of butter. Add in chocolate chips and place in freezer for 5 mins.

3. Remove from freezer and pour in 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream, working dough with hands or wooden spoon until it comes together. Dough tends to be a bit dry.

4. Turn dough onto floured surface, or onto a sheet of wax paper and press into a 7" round circle and about 1.5" thickness. Cut into quarters and then again into 8 seperate triangles.

5. Place each scone onto the parchment paper.  Brush with remaing 2 tbsp of heavy cream and bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 mins until golden brown.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Facts For New Moms: Starting Solids

It is very important to speak to your pediatrician before starting your baby on solid foods. Solid food should never replace breast milk or formula feedings until the recommended age of 12 months. If you are a new mom, I hope you find this information useful.

Why homemade baby food?
Making your own baby food allows you to know exactly what is going into your baby. A lot of jarred food contains unnecessary additives, preservatives and thickeners. Another great reason to make your own food is being able to use seasonal ingredients, which contain maximum nutrition. Making baby food is very easy and can save a family money.

When do you know your baby is ready to eat?
Most of the time the pediatrician will let you know exactly when the baby is ready to eat. Here are some signs to watch for to know the baby is ready;
-Can sit upright with little support
-Can hold head upright on their own
-Will open mouth when food is offered
-Can swallow food instead of pushing it all out
-Baby seems interesting in what you are eating

Stages of feeding baby:
4-6 months: It is important to introduce one food every 3-5 days to make sure baby is not showing signs of allergies.
-Baby can have single-grain cereal such as rice, barley, oatmeal and millet. Usually, at the age the baby eats 1-2 tbsp of cereal thinned out with breast milk or formula. Cereals that are iron-fortified are recommended. You can mix in different fruits and vegetables at this age. The most common are; sweet potatoes, peas, squash, carrots, apples, pears, banana. All of these foods are low-acid.
**In the morning I like to mix in fruit with rice cereal or oatmeal and for dinner I like to feed Layla 2-3 tbsp of a vegetable puree.

7-8 Months:
-You can introduce a wider range on fruits and vegetables such as: peaches, plums, cherries, beets, asparagus, mushrooms and green beans.
- You can also start combining foods that the baby has had previously.
- If the baby can handle it, you can keep the vegetables chunkier to initiate chewing.
-Babies first meats should include purees of lamb (high in iron), turkey (easy to digest).
-Other foods to introduce: cooked lentils and split peas (high in protein)

9-11 months:
-Coarse or chunkier fruits and vegetables
- Small pieces of cooked vegetables and ripe fruit
-Whole milk yogurt, ricotta and cottage cheese
-Meats such as chicken and pork.
-Introducing herbs and spices (onions and garlic)
-Fruit Juice (100% juice only) limit for 1/4 cup a day.

1 Year and up:
-Table foods such as soups, stews, pasta cut into bit sized pieces.
-Honey, cows milk, fish, citrus fruits and small amounts of salt and pepper.

What foods are worth buying organic?
The best foods to buy organic are the ones that tend to have high pesticide residue.
Organic Vegetables: Bell Peppers, Celery, Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach or Lettuce
Organic Fruits: Peaches/Nectarines, Apples, Strawberries, Cherries

What are the signs of an allergic reaction to solid foods?
-Vomiting or Diarrhea
-Excessive gas
-Rash or hives
-Difficulty breathing
Most common food allergies come from milk, nuts, fish, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish

Below are a list of foods that are beneficial to your baby and the reasons why they are a good choice.

Cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, papayas: high in vitamin A, healthy for skin and eyes.

Spinach, Avocado, Broccoli, asparagus: High in folate, which helps with heart health and cell growth.

Whole Grains, oats, millet, brown rice, cereals, pasta, crackers: Iron fortified cereals help give the baby the iron they need for growth and development. They contain carbohydrates for energy.

Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, Peas, Lentils: High in protein and carbs. They also contain high amounts of folate.

Poultry Meats, Eggs, Lean Pork: Protein to help build cells, muscle and organs.

Red Meat, Beef, Lamb, Dark Meat Chicken and Turkey: High in protein, iron and zinc to support healthy immune system and growth.

(Source Baby and Toddler Cookbook-fresh homemade foods for a healthy start)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not your average Chicken Soup

Here is a recipe for chicken soup that came out really delicious. This recipe is from Anne Burrell's new cookbook: Cook like a Rock Star. So far everything I have tried from the cookbook has come out great. I will be posting another recipe from the book soon for Crispy Brussel Sprouts with walnuts and pancetta..yumm.

What I like about this chicken soup is how easy it was to make my own chicken broth and the little kick of spice from the red pepper flakes. If you don't love cilantro I recommend replacing it with flat leaf parsley.

Chicken and White Bean Soup
Serves 6-8

Olive Oil
1 large onion-1/2" dice
4 celery ribs- 1/2" dice
3 carrots- 1/2" doce
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves- smashed
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add less if you do not like spice)
1 bundle of fresh thyme
3 lbs bone-in chicken legs and thighs-skin and excess fat removed
2 bay leaves
1 lemon-halved
1 tsp cinnamon (I left this out)
Pinch of grated nutmeg-optional
1 (15 oz) can white beans- drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels- fresh or frozen
1 bunch of cilantro leaves-chopped

1. Coat a large pot with olive oil at medium-high heat and add in onion, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 mins, until vegetables are soft.

2. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh thyme bundle and cook for an additional 2-3 mins.

3. Add in chicken and bay leaves. Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

4. Cook for 30 mins, then skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Squeeze in lemon halves and then drop the halves into the soup. Add in cimmamon and nutmeg; if using. Season with more salt, if needed. Simmer for 1 more hour.

5. Take the soup off the heat and discard lemon halves, thyme bundle and bay leaves. Remove chicken from the broth and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the bones and pull the meat off into bite sized pieces, and place it back in the pot. Taste the soup, and add in more seasoning; if desired.

6. Add in beans and corn to the pot and cook on low heat until beans and corn are warmed through. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsely.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to make a latte at home without a machine

Here is a very easy way to make a latte at home without a espresso machine, or blender. If you cannot find instant espresso in your grocery store, you can find it at Italian markets (such as Uncle Guiseppes) or online.

At Home Latte
Makes one 8 oz cup

1 Tbsp instant espresso
1-2 tsp sugar or honey (plus more to taste)
1 tsp water
1 cup hot milk (non-fat latte-use skim milk)
Cinnamon or cocoa powder for dusting

1. In a coffee cup, add in instant espresso, sugar and water. Whisk together with a fork for 1 minute, to incorporate air. Add in hot milk. Dust the top with cinnamon, cocoa powder or both. Add more sugar to taste

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hot TomAli Chili

Tom and I came up this recipe a while ago and continue to make it all the time. It has become one of our go to recipes when we are craving something warm and comforting. Tom and I like to make this chili extra spicy, but you can adjust the spice level according to your taste. The key to making this chili taste great, is to keep tasting it while cooking and adjusting the spices to make it right for you.

We also prefer to use ground buffalo meat if available. To us, it tastes like a lot like ground beef but somehow tastes fresher. If you cannot find buffalo, use ground beef. This chili can be a healthy dinner, just don't add a ton of cheese like the pictures below and if using ground beef, choose 85% lean or higher.

This recipe can be prepared in the slowcooker or on the stove top. Either way it comes out great. Sometimes, like in the pictures below, I like to bake some cheese on top of the chili, but you can also just sprinkle the cheese on the hot chili and it will melt. Enjoy!

Hot TomAli Chili:
Serves 4-6

Olive oil
1 onion- chopped
2 jalopenos- finely diced
1 garlic clove-minced
1 lb of groung buffalo or beef
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika or smoked paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper- to taste
1 (15 oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
2-3 cups beef broth-divided
1 (15 oz) can of black beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto or kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can corn kernels
Hot sauce-amount to taste (I like to add 10-15 dashes, but it's spicy)*Optional
Cheddar Cheese-for serving
**You can adjust the amount of spices to taste, adding more or less**

1. In a large dutch oven or sauce pan heat olive oil over med-high heat. Sautee onions until soft;5-8 mins. Add in garlic and jalopenos and cook for another 2-3 mins.

2. Add in ground buffalo or beef, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until meat has browned.

3. Turn the heat to low and add in tomatoes, 1 cup of broth (add more to loosen chili as it cooks), beans, and corn. Add in hot sauce, if desired. **If you are using the slow cooker you can place the mixture in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. If you can cooking on the stove top, continue to cook on low for 45 mins to 1 hour; stirring occansionally.

4. Sprikle with cheese and serve with flour tortillas and sour cream; if desired.
*If you want to bake the chili with the cheese, scoop out chili into an oven proof dish, cover with cheese and broil in oven until melted.

Monday, January 16, 2012


A happy family after giants win last night. GO GIANTS!
In case you missed my post last week, check out the recipe for NY Giants Fried Chicken: http://souschefbaby.blogspot.com/2012/01/ny-giants-fried-chicken.html

Thanks Uncle Mike for making Layla her very own LT Jersey :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Profiteroles with Homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I decided to make these for New Years this year, and it was a success. I made the ice cream from scratch, but it would be just as delicious with any of your favorite store bought ice cream. This is a great recipe for entertaining, because you can make all the components ahead of time and assemble them quickly when you are ready for dessert.

Profiteroles are basically cream puffs filled with ice cream instead of pastry cream. They are usually served with a warm chocolate sauce. You can find the recipes for the dough, ice cream and chocolate sauce below. You have to try these!

Pate a Choux (Cream Puff Shells)
Makes 2 dozen


1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small saucepan, heat water and butter,bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and stir in flour; stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs one at a time. Continue beating until mixture is smooth. Drop dough using a spoon onto two ungreased baking sheets (1 dozen per sheet) Bake for 30 mins. If you are baking both baking sheets at the same time, switch half way through the baking time. Remove from oven and let cool completely on cooling rack.

3. Once the puffs are cool, cut them in half, place a small scoop of ice cream in the middle and replace the top. Top with warm chocolate sauce and a pinch of fleur de sel, or sea salt.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream: (Recipe from Barefoot Contessa)
Makes about 3 cups

2 cups sugar-divided intp 1 1/4 cups and 3/4 cup
2 3/4 cups heavy cream-divided into 2 cups and 3/4 cup
2 tsp sea salt, or fleur de sel
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1. To make the caramel:  Heat 1 1/4 cups sugar in a dry sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly. Once the sugar has melted, stop stirring and swirl pan so sugar continues to melt evenly. Continue cooking until it is a dark amber color.

2. Carefully add in 3/4 cup heavy cream (mixture will splatter) and cook, until all the caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and stir in salt. Place the bowl of caramel over another bowl filled with ice water and stir until mixture cools to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the ice cream base by heating the whole milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.

4. Prepare an ice bath by setting a bowl over a large bowl filled with ice water. Set strainer over smaller bowl and set aside.

5. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar until pale yellow color. Gradually pour in warm milk in egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Pour mixture back into the sauce pan you used for the milk. Cook 3-5 mins, stirring constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

6. Strain custard into bowl, over ice bath. Add in heavy cream and stir until cool.

7.  Combine the caramel mixture with ice cream base and add in the vanilla.

8. Cover the bowl with  plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

9. Freeze ice cream according to ice cream machines instructions.

Warm Chocolate Sauce:
Makes 1 cup

6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. In a sauce pan over med heat, heat cream until scalded, before boiling point. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit one minute. Mix chocolate and cream together until combined. You can make this ahead of time and re-heat in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Apple Pear Sauce

This sauce is very versatile. We like to eat this on pork chops, over ice cream or just by itself. I like to make this in the slow-cooker, but you could easily make this on the stove top. If you make this on the stove top, just make sure to stir occasionally and add more water when needed.

This sauce works very well for making baby food. If you are making this for baby, as well as yourself, add in the spices at the end. Apples and pears are both great foods the introduce to your baby early on. You should always introduce foods one at a time. Once they have tried both apples and pears, you can combine them, as I have in this sauce.

Pears and apples are both high in fiber and vitamins and help regulate the babies digestive tract. They have natural sugars, which makes this a favorite for most babies.
Below are pictures of Layla trying this for the first time.

Apple-Pear Sauce
Makes 3 cups

2 lbs apples (a variety of apples works best. Jonagold, Honeycrisps, Golden Delicious are some of my favs)
2 lbs pears (I prefer Anjou)
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (you can also add 1-2 cinnamon sticks in place of ground cinnamon)
Pinch of nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Peel and dice the apples and pears and add them to the slow cooker. Add in water. If you are not making this for baby, add in spices, sugar and lemon juice. If you are making baby food, add in spices later on.

2. Cook in slow cooker on high for 2-3 hours or low for 5-6 hours, until tender.

3. To make baby food, scoop out 1 cup (or as much as desired) and puree in blender or baby bullet.

4.You can now add in spices and lemon juice to the remaining apples and pears and mix together. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Favorite Healthy Cookbooks

As you can see in the picture below, I am slowly becoming a cookbook hoarder. I love reading cookbooks and getting new recipes and inspiration. I find that I gravitate towards cookbooks that offer healthy recipes. I try to cook healthy most week days and splurge a little on the weekends. In my opinion, these are my favorite healthy cookbooks:

1. The Best of Cooking Light: This cookbook has so many great healthy recipes for appetizers, breads, entrees, salad, soups, sandwiches and desserts. Every recipe I have tried in this book has come out really delicious and guilt-free. The serving sizes are pretty generous too. All nutritional information provided.

Some of my favorite recipes from this book are: Cinnamon
Apple Muffins, Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa, Chicken
Breasts stuffed with Artichokes, Lemon and Goat Cheese
(I substitute blue cheese in place of goat cheese, my own
personal preference), Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie,
and Biscotti.

2. Ellie Kreigers books: The Food you Crave, So Easy and Comfort Food Fix
All of these books offer healthy versions of great recipes. You never feel like you are eating "health" food when you cook from this book. I have not been disappointed in the recipes from any of the three books so far. All nutritional information provided in all three books.

Favorite recipes from The Food You Crave:  Peppercorn pork with wine sauce, Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach, Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs, Oven-Baked Onion Rings and Greek Style Stuffed Peppers.
Favorite recipes from So Easy: Taco Salad, Garlic Basil Shrimp, Salmon Florentine (I am not a fan of salmon, so I use chicken instead and it is delicious)
Favorite recipes from Comfort Food Fix: (Newest book): Apple and Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Broccoli and Cheese Calzones and Banana Pudding.

3. Cook Yourself Thin and Cook yourself Thin Faster: These books have great healthy recipes for breakfast, entrees and desserts. The beginning of each book provides a lot of useful information on eating healthy and all the nutritional information for each recipe. Again, I have not been disappointed by these books yet.

Favorite recipes from Cook Yourself Thin: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Healthy Potato Skins, Spring Vegetable Risotto, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Roasted Peach Crumble
Favorite recipes from Cook Yourself Thin Faster: White Pizza with Roasted Mushrooms, Chicken Cordon Blue, Mocha Mousse.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Compote

Every once in a while Tom and I like to have pancakes for dinner. I recently tried this recipe from cookbook: Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone. It has a few more steps then your regular buttermilk pancakes, but it was worth it. They are super fluffy and light and the warm blueberry compote is amazing. This recipe is best when fresh blueberries are available, frozen berries will not give you the same results. Whether you eat these pancake for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it will definitely satisfy your pancake craving!

Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Blueberry Compote
Serves 4 (Recipe from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone)

Blueberry Compote
18 oz fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 zest and juice of lemon
1 tsp fresh mint leaves- chopped *optional

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
4 large eggs-seperated
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 fresh blueberries
3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for serving

1. To make compote: combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 2 tbsp of lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and gently stir in chopped mint, if using. Keep warm.

2. To make the pancakes: whisk together ricotta cheese and egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk in buttermilk.

3. Sift flour, salt, baking powder into the ricotta mixture and stir until just combined.

4. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into batter in 2 batches.

5. Gently fold blueberries into batter.

6. Melt some of the butter onto a griddle pan, electric frying pan or non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Ladle battor on the griddle 3-4 pancakes at a time. Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until they become golden brown and are just cooked through.

7. Transfer pancakes to plates and top with blueberry compote and a pad of butter.

Monday, January 9, 2012

NY Giants Fried Chicken

We call this NY Giants Fried Chicken because we made this the first playoff game the season they won the 2008 Superbowl. Once they won that first playoff game we became superstitious and made the same meal every Sunday, wearing the same exact clothes while sitting in the same exact seats. We are hoping to have the same luck in this seasons playoffs. We'll see..keeping our fingers crossed. Go Giants!!

NY Giants Fried Chicken
Serves 6

2-3 lbs chicken parts (I prefer dark meat when frying)
3-4 cups buttermilk
10 dashes hot sauce (add more to taste)*optional
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt (add more to taste)
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh rosemary-finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme-finely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add more to taste)* Optional
canola oil, for frying
Lemon wedges-for serving

1. In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the chicken parts and marinate for at least an hour at room temperature. You can marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator and take it out 1 hour before frying.

2.Preheat oil in a deep fryer or in a large pot on the stovetop to 350 degrees. If you are frying on the stove stop make sure to fill the pot 1/2 of the way with oil so it does not over flow. Also, you can use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature. (We prefer to fry with a deep fryer outside, for less of a mess in the kitchen)

3. On a large sheet of wax paper, mix together flour, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne pepper.

4. Take one piece of chicken out of the buttermilk and shake off the excess. Place into the dry flour mixture and cover completely, shake off extra flour. Continue to coat all the chicken with flour.

5. When the oil reaches 350 degrees you can start frying. Test the oil by dropping in a small piece of buttermilk/flour mixture in the oil, if the mixture floats to the top and bubbles nicely, you can start frying the chicken.

6. Fry the chicken in small batches, around 4 pieces per batch, depending on the size of the deep fryer or pot. Fry for 12-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown, turning the chicken occasionally.

7. Drain on paper towels and place on a backing sheet, put the chicken in a low oven at 200 degrees to keep warm, while the other batches are frying.