Friday, September 28, 2012

Brilliant Brunch: Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnuts

I know, I’m obsessed with doughnuts lately!!!  But, I love how easy they are to take around with you.  They’re fun to eat, they aren’t too high in calories, and they are always a whimsical treat to end the meal (or to eat for breakfast – hey don’t look at me like that)!

They are also (I’ve found) good portion control.  Which I need around anything with bananas and chocolate chips!  Especially a new twist on my favorite muffin.  I swear I could eat 6 of these things without even batting an eye.
Oh wait, aren’t I being healthy?  That’s right...back to my healthified doughnuts.  Baking, not frying, makes them taste a little more cakelike but they are still delicious.  Overall, all of my doughnuts have been a success (red velvet, mango upside down).  I don’t see this trend stopping anytime soon.  In fact, this weekend, I’m working on an caramel-apple doughnut.  Coming to a blog near you, shortly!
Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnuts 
Serves:  12 (12 doughnuts)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
1 banana (about 3/4 cups crushed banana)
1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.  Then, slowly beat in the baking powder, baking soda, and flour.  Crush the bananas into small pieces.  Stir in the bananas and once well-mixed, stir in the chocolate chips.  Grease two doughnut pans.  Evenly divide the batter amongst the doughnut pans, filling them about one-half to two-thirds of the way through.  Place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. 

 Until the next time my oven is on...
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Slow Cooking Supper: Chicken Taco Chili

If you don't love a messy, delicious, want to slurp up your dinner, then sorry, skip this post.  Lately, I have been working for 10-11 hours every day which leaves little time to make dinner.  I'm lucky at this point to have John home to help out.  I'm not sure what I'd be doing without him normally, of course, but especially the last two weeks.  

That's when the crockpot becomes my best friend - John is happy to put a few things into the pot.  He then enjoys the smells that waft out of the kitchen (and maybe a couple of tastes too!) throughout the day.  Then, the minute I get home - tired, cranky, and in general, very hungry, we can sit right down to dinner.

This is a Skinnytaste chili, so we didn't serve it with cheese or sour cream.  And you know, it hardly needed it! Since it was the first night of football when I served this, we couldn't go completely healthy!  Nope, I served multigrain baked tortilla chips (13 a piece - right at the serving size) which gave it a nice salty taste and felt like it was the old days (when we didn't count calories, tortillas, or pounds for that matter).
Chicken Taco Chili (adapted from SkinnyTaste)
Serves:  4 (1 1/2 cups)
1 onion, diced
1 16-ounce can kidney beans
1 4-ounce can tomato sauce
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 jalapenos, diced
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 chicken breast (about 6-8 ounces)

In a large crockpot, combine onion, beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, paprika.  Place the chicken on top and cover.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred.  Return to the crockpot and stir in well.  Divide evenly over 4 servings.  Serve immediately. 

Until the next time my oven is on...
Monday, September 24, 2012

Stand Out Sides: Sweet Potato Chipotle Fries

Ever since I read that John shouldn't be having white potatoes if we're going to lose weight, he has been missing out on some of his favorite things.  My homemade french fries, mashed potatoes, oh wait...all things that aren't good for you!  I guess they were right about skipping starch.

Anyway, one of the best foods for him to eat was said to be sweet potatoes.  You should have seen his face when I told him I was swapping out his favorite potatoes for sweet potatoes.  He was adamant about his disgust of sweet potatoes, but much to his chagrin, they are still a featured member of our weekly menu.

I've tried to disguise them, hide them, spice them up.  And, amazingly, John has come around.  Maybe because it isn't the marshmallow topped sweet potatoes he remembers as a kid, and instead they are knew and different.  I'm not sure what it is but if he's not complaining, then I'm not complaining!  One of my most successful swaps for my normal baked french fries, were these.  We had them a few months ago from a frozen package of Omaha Steaks.  As you know, if I can get anything spicy enough, John will eat it happily; these were no exception.  If you're looking for a healthy swap - these are it!
Sweet Potato Chipotle Fries
Serves:  4
2 large sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 tablespoons chipotle spice seasoning
2 tablespoons canola oil 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Wash the sweet potatoes well.  Cut the sweet potato into 6-inch long, strips (about 1/2 inch thick).  Toss the potatoes with canola oil and then season with salt, pepper, and chipotle spice seasoning. Spread in an even single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.  Serve immediately.
Until the next time my oven is on...
Friday, September 21, 2012

Date Night Dinner: Chicken Tikka Masala

Today is a special day.  You might not know about it – but it really is.  Actually, as I write this, I realize that probably every day is a special day to SOMEONE, we just don’t often hear about it.  Because this is my blog though, I’m going to let you in on my special day.

Three years ago, today, I met John for the very first time.  It was a chance meeting – in a stadium of tens of thousands of people, we happened to find ourselves next to each other.  It wasn’t too long thereafter that I really felt he was going to be one of those few meaningful people in my life. 

Of course by then (although still young) I had kissed my share of frogs and dated my share of “bad” boys.  But they were boys...quick to judge, love, leave, repeat.  John was, from the first day, a true gentleman.  He has a heart as big as this city itself and demonstrates his love not just for me, but others that he cares for in innumerable ways, large and small. 

We’re definitely not perfect, and over the last 3 years have faced unemployment, deaths, and births.  I’ve had 4 different jobs, and moved 4 different times (wow, I really need to get this under control – for the next 3 years I hope for more stability).  And we’ve done it all together. 

Nothing says Happy Anniversary like this chicken tikka masala.  It’s a lot like our relationship – comforting yet exotic, tantalizing but familiar, healthy yet indulgent; but most of all, warm, cozy, and made with love.
Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from SkinnyTaste)
Serves:  4
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
4 ounces fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons garam masala
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions, cooking until golden.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add ginger, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, and salt.  Mix well until fragrant, about 90 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, yogurt, and milk.  Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Serve over basmati rice or homemade naan.  Top each bowl with fresh cilantro. 
Until the next time my oven is on...
 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time-Out: Naan

This isn't the first time I made Naan.  Two years ago when John and I were living far away, we came home to visit the family.  Mom was always happy to give up the kitchen to me for an evening, provided of course, that I didn't cook anything too spicy so that she could eat it.  It worked out well - I got to try out my burgeoning skills on my family, and Mom got a night off from dinner making!

John helped me and in a fit of last-minute inspiration, we made Naan to accompany our Chicken Tandoori.  It came out so delicious that I remember being upset we hadn't photographed it for the blog before we all devoured it.  And now (of course!) I can't remember what the recipe was that we used.  I just remember it being so cool that I pulled off something that seems so intimidating.

It isn't intimidating though, so don't stop reading!  Despite the rising time (like any bread), the naan bakes up so quickly, it's amazing.  And, it really lends an authentic air to any Indian dish.  A special Indian dish just in time to celebrate a very special day on Friday.
Naan (adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
Serves:  6
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup warm milk



In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt.  Make a well in the center and add oil and yogurt.  Add the milk and mix well, until a ball forms.  Your dough should be soft and if you poke it with your finger, it leaves an indentation.  Knead for 6-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl.  Keep covered and in a warm place for 2 hours.  The dough will rise but will not double.  It should be sticky to the touch.

Divide the dough into six balls.  Roll each ball into the shape of a teardrop using extra flour, if needed.  Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.  Brush one side of naan with water and place the water side down into the skillet.  Cover immediately.  After a minute, turn the pan upside down so the naan is exposed to the direct flame for 3-5 seconds.  Continue with each dough piece.  Serve immediately.

Until the next time my oven is on...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weeknight Dinner: Chicken Mei Fun


Ever since I made Sesame Chicken, John has been talking about HIS favorite chinese food dish.  It's not found on a lot of menus (surprisingly), but when we went out to dinner with Awa a few months ago a local restaurant here served it. John was so excited to find it, I literally thought he was going to keel over in anticipation.

While he acknowledged it was good, it wasn't up to his normal Maine standards (whatever THAT means).  His first introduction to this dish was in a small Chinese restaurant that he used to go to frequently, just for this dish.  Now that this favorite Chinese restaurant is hundreds of miles away, I guess it falls to me to make up for it. And if there is anything I love to do, it's make him happy.

The best part of this dish (we pronounce it My Foon) is that it is so light and easy!  There is a small splash of sauce, and that's it, which is great for any low-sodium or low-fat diet!  I love the variety of vegetables and each one gets to sing a little bit when you bite into it.  Distinct, yet incorporates fully into one delectable dish.  Do I even need to tell you that it's already on the menu for next week again?
Chicken Mei Fun
Serves: 4
8 ounces thin Chinese noodles
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 green pepper, julienne
1 red pepper, julienne
2 carrots, shredded
2 eggs
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain.  Over high heat, drizzle the oil over the bottom of a wok.  Add chicken cubes and cook until golden on all sides.  Add green pepper, red pepper, and carrots.  Cook until crisp.  Push the chicken and vegetables to one side and add the eggs.  Scramble quickly and incorporate into the chicken and vegetables.  Add the drained noodles, chicken broth, soy sauce, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until everything is warmed through and mixed well.  Serve immediately.
Until the next time my oven is on...
Friday, September 14, 2012

Slow Cooking Supper: Chipotle Pork Sandwiches

The air is getting cool, the windows in our apartment are wide open, and there is applesauce simmering on the stove.  Yup, it's fall!  I always complain that the one problem with this season is it's followed closely by winter.  But then, my mom reminds me that the winter is cozy.

She's right - winter is all hot chocolate, snow, and crockpot dinners!  And then I start to think about just how much I love living in a place that has all four seasons.  In fact, I think we are pretty lucky that when football comes, it gets chilly and the leaves turn orange and red!  When Christmas arrives, we are blanketed with snow; and by the time it hits my birthday, well, spring is right around the corner.

I'm looking forward to the delicious meals we'll be making as we spend our first winter in one place!  Without the commuting between each others' apartments, I have found all the time we used to spend on commuting to each other, we now spend with each other!  And I love every minute!!  With shorter days, the crockpot becomes my go-to; otherwise I feel like we're eating dinner in the middle of the night.  It also really hampers my photographing abilities (what little I have over here).  But don't let the photos fool you, this tastes AMAZING.  In fact, we've made it twice...and it's perfect to enjoy on a blustery Sunday watching the game!
Chipotle Pork Sandwiches (adapted from Taste of Home)
Serves: 4
1 onion, sliced
1 pound pork loin
16 ounces salsa
1/2 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 cup beer
2 tablespoons Beefy Onion Soup Mix
4 rolls, split and toasted

In the crockpot, combine sliced onion, pork loin, salsa, chipotle hot sauce, beer, and Beefy Onion Soup Mix.  Cook on low 6 hours, until pork is falling apart.  With two forks, shred the pork and return to the crockpot, mixing the pork with sauce for about 5 minutes more.  Serve on toasted rolls.
Nutrition Information Per Serving, based on 6 servings, from MyFitnessPal.com
Calories:  409
Fat:  11g
Carbohydrates:  39g
Sodium:  1,009mg
Protein:  28g
Sugar:  6g



Until the next time my oven is on...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time-Out: Make-Your-Own Beefy Onion Soup Mix

The recipe I am making on Friday has been in my binder for a few months now.  Every week when we sit down to plan the week's meals, John inevitably brings it up.  I usually make whatever he wants (within reason, health, and budget) but the ingredient list kept me from making it.

In particular, beefy onion soup mix.  I grew up in a house where my mom made dinner every night, without the help of any type of mix.  So to say I am wary of them, is the least of it.  Finally this week, I decided to make John his most desired dish from my recipe book.

What changed?  It was finding this homemade onion soup mix that finally sealed the deal.  Knowing exactly what was going into flavoring the meat and filling our bellies made it too hard for me to say no!  The mix is really easy and we now have a huge jar of it stored in our spice drawer.  I have been looking high and low for more recipes to use it in, too!  I have a feeling it will be making an appearance a lot this winter!


Make-Your-Own Beefy Onion Soup Mix (adapted from here)
Serves:  1/2 cup
1/3 cup dried, minced onion
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small spice jar, combine all the ingredients.  Shake the jar well.  Use four tablespoons of the mixture in place of 1 packet of beefy onion soup mix. 

Until the next time my oven is on...


Monday, September 10, 2012

Sassy Sweets: Mango Upside Down Doughnuts

We're headed off to the cabins this weekend with family (as always) a week later than normal due to extenuating circumstances.  I always mark the cabins with the start of the fall since we go apple picking!  Because of the tough spring and summer, we're all unsure if we'll actually bring home any apples, but we will spend a good portion of Saturday trying to find some.

Is it sad I have already picked some apple recipes?  Ah, the joy of being a food blogger and food lover!  I am lucky John shares that love with me.  Anyway, fall means baking to me; and this, is the best way to combine your late summer with crisp fall. It was raining today (as I write this) and it made me yearn for the warm summer but at the same time, I readied myself to the autumn.  At the very least, we can look on the bright side and more baking delights to come!

Plus, we always eat better when I have football as an excuse to stay in all day Sunday tending to the kitchen and cheering on my favorite teams!  Speaking of eating better, when I saw this recipe, I immediately pulled it out because of Sister M.  She loves all mango-flavored things, but not mango itself.  We cut the mango very small so we really only just got the flavor, and she loved them!  I couldn't think of a better adaptation than making them hand-held in doughnut form for just a few people (instead of a large cake).
Mango Upside Down Doughnuts (adapted from Pencil Kitchen)
Serves:  12 (12 doughnuts)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mango, finely diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, combine boiling water and cocoa.  Whisk until smooth.  Let mixture cool  In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.   Set aside.  In a 3rd bowl, cream butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy (about 3 full minutes).  Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture, ending in the flour mixture.  Coat the doughnut pans with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mango into the bottom of each doughnut mold being careful not to clump the pieces together.  Pour batter over the mango pieces into the doughnut pans.  Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes until the tops look slightly dry.  Cool before removing from the pan. 
Nutrition Facts per Serving, based on 6 Servings, from MyFitnessPal.com:
Calories:  67
Fat:  3g
Carbohydrates:  9g
Sodium:  178mg
Protein:  2g
Sugar:  1g

Until the next time my oven is on...
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sassy Sweets: Strawberry Crisp

Last weekend, John and I spontaneously took a trip to Maine to see his family.  Of course, everyone else in New York City also spontaneously took trips to Maine.  After sitting in traffic for 4 hours and getting just to Massachusetts (a drive that should have taken 2 hours), we pulled off to eat and fill the car with its own food.

There, John found a surprise - a flat tire.  Of course, we have been talking about getting the car new tires for a few weeks now but money and time kept us from doing it (wait, isn't this ALWAYS the way?!).  So, on a doughnut, we drove the remaining 100+ miles to Maine.  Eight and a half hours later, and we were there.  The next day, we immediately went and got 4 tires; an expensive spontaneous trip to say the least.

By the time we got home Monday, I was almost glad to be going back to work and decided we should end the weekend on a sweet (and inexpensive) note!  Some leftover strawberries and quick topping, and we had a delicious dessert to end the last weekend of summer.
Strawberry Crisp
Serves:  4
2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice into a 9x6 baking dish.  Let sit about 10 minutes while you make the crisp topping. In a small food processor, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and brown sugar until mixed well.  Cut the butter into tablespoons and using two forks (or a pastry blender), cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is tiny peas.  Spoon the mixture over the top of the strawberries.  Bake in the oven for 25 - 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the dish is bubbling up on the sides. 


Until the next time my oven is on...
Monday, September 3, 2012

Weeknight Dinner: Inside-Out Bacon Cheeseburgers

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!  We're thrilled that our hometown favorites, the NY Giants are kicking off the football season against division rival, the Dallas Cowboys.  If you are anything like, well, any member of my family, you will be glued to the TV in anticipation.

To celebrate, I wanted to feature one of my favorite recipes from this summer.  We used Ellie Krieger's recipes a lot this summer, mainly because she is so nutrition-conscious. Just because something is calorie-conscious doesn't always mean completely healthy though, and these cheeseburgers were sinfully delicious.  In fact, they definitely fooled John!  By using ground turkey, a smaller amount of meat and cheese, but stuffing it inside the burger, John felt like he was eating a downright delicious dish.  And why tell him any differently, right?

Wednesday night for dinner, I will be making some bean chili, sitting down on the couch in my Giants jersgey and ushering in the fall!  I've been pinning a host of recipes that I want to make for football and can't wait to share them with you!  First up, are some jalapeno poppers like I made a few years back.  My grandma, Awa, has never had jalapenos before - EVER.  John and I are going to enjoy introducing her to them!
Inside-Out Bacon Cheeseburgers (adapted from Ellie Krieger)
Serves:  4
2 slices of bacon (we like reduced sodium)
1 pound ground turkey
4 teaspoons horseradish
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cook the bacon on a cookie sheet for about 4-6 minutes, until done.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Crumble the bacon.  In the meantime, divide the turkey into 8 small patties.  Spread 1 teaspoon horseradish on 4 of the patties.  Top those 4 patties evenly with cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles.  Top with a plain meat patty and pinch around the edges to seal the burger closed.  Season the burgers with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill and cook the burgers over medium-high heat, until the cheese is melted inside and the meat is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).  Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup, if desired.

Until the next time my oven is on!
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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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