Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chewy Coconut Granola Bars

These granola bars hail from a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine.  Serve them as a quick and  healthy breakfast or an after school snack. I like them as much as my kids do! Enjoy!

2/3 c.  all-purpose flour 
1/3 c. whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granola
3/4 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots or pineapple are delicious) OR chocolate chips (you can guess which my family prefers!)
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour.

Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine sugar, oil, milk, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in granola and fruit OR chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Pecans

Thank you, Paula Deen, for yet another fantastic cake recipe! This carrot cake is super moist and the frosting isn't too sweet. It's jam-packed full of pecans, so, if you don't have a house-full of pecan-lovers like I do, then feel free to scale them back or omit them all together. Enjoy!

Butter, for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

I have to say I was amazed at how delicious this VERY simple, kid-pleasing/husband-pleasing recipe was to make. I think it was the sour cream noodles and the green onion- they gave the dish just a great, rich flavor. My kids and I ate the left-overs for lunch, too! Thank you to the Pioneer Woman for this recipe! Have you checked out her blog yet? It's amazing! Everything she makes tastes great! I served this with a side salad and crescent rolls. Enjoy!

1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can 15-ounces tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces, weight No Yolk brand egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream 
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions (less to taste)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook No Yolk egg noodles about five minutes less than cooking time suggests. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add noodles to a baking dish. Top with meat mixture, then sprinkle on grated cheddar. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

This recipe comes from the latest issue of Cooking Light. I changed it slightly by using chicken (instead of tofu), brown rice (instead of sticky white rice) and adding chopped peanuts to the filling (HELLO! YUM!). These wraps were a bit time consuming due to quite a few steps. But, the taste was worth the effort! Look out, P.F. Chang's!

1 tsp canola oil
1 Tbl shallot, minced
1/3 c. water
2 Tbl creamy peanut butter
4 tsp hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbl fresh lime juice

1 Tbl dark sesame oil
6 thinly sliced green onions, divided
1 large chicken breast, cooked and finely chopped
1/2 c. peanuts, chopped
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp dried ground ginger)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1/2 c. peanuts, chopped
1/3 of a cucumber, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 c. brown rice, cooked
8 - 10 Bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry

To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 c. water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and crushed red pepper. Stir with a whisk. Bring to boil; cook 1 minute only. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Set aside.

To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/3 green onions; saute 1 minute. Add chopped, cooked chicken and peanuts; cook for another minute. Add 2 Tbl cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and Sriracha; saute 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cucumbers, carrots and remaining green onions.

Spoon approx. 1/4 c. rice into each lettuce leaf. Top with about 1/2 c. chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1 Tbl cilantro. Serve with sauce. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sesame Chicken Dip

I served this Taste of Home recipe at a party I hosted recently.  The Taste of Home website claimed its taste-testers said things such as, "This dip is amazing!" "I LOVE this!" and "Please can I get the recipe?!" So, I thought with rave reviews like that, I'd give it a try! Well, as it turns out, my guests echoed all the same sentiments! I probably had about five friends ask me for the recipe and heard lots of "yums" and "delicious" comments throughout the night. So, I promised them all this would be the next recipe I posted! And here it is:
*Please note that I halved this recipe* 

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced 
4 cups cooked chicken breast, FINELY chopped 
3 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese
8 green onions, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts 
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach 
2/3 cup sweet-and-sour sauce 
Sesame rice crackers or wheat thins 

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic in a tupperware with a lid and add chicken, turning to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour. 

Spread cream cheese on the bottom of a platter.

Top with chicken mixture.


Sprinkle with onions, peanuts and spinach. 


Drizzle with sweet-and-sour sauce. 


Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Asparagus Chicken Quiche

I adapted this recipe from the Junior League of Austin "Austin Entertains" cookbook. For optimal quickness I used ready refrigerated pie crust, pre-shredded cheese and rotisserie chicken. This was super easy to make, but looked quite impressive on the plate! Would be great at a ladies' luncheon or as a savory dish at a brunch. I served it to my family for dinner tonight and it got a thumbs up from everyone (even my husband who usually scoffs at quiche). Enjoy!

1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends cut off
1 ready refrigerated pie crust (I like Pillsbury's)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 Tbl flour
1 tsp ground mustard (optional)
4 eggs, beaten
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped finely
4 slices of crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled

Preheat oven to 450F (you will reduce cooking temp after pre-cooking crust)

Cook trimmed asparagus in boiling water in a saucepan for 4 minutes; drain and set aside.

Fit the pie crust into a 10-inch pie dish. When the crust begins to cook in the oven it will slide down, so try to pull it up against the sides as high as you can.  Cover the pie crust with heavy duty foil. Bake at 450F for 8 minutes; discard the foil. Bake for an additional 4 minutes and remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325F.

Toss the shredded cheese, flour and ground mustard (if using) in a bowl. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the hot pie crust fresh out of the oven.

In another bowl combine the eggs, sliced green onions, milk, salt and pepper; whisk. Stir in the finely chopped chicken and crumbled bacon. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a spoke pattern over the top. Bake at 325F for 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Roast Beef & Cheddar Sandwich with Horseradish Sour Cream

The recipe comes from the latest edition of Cuisine at Home magazine. I served this sandwich for dinner with a side salad, potato chips and a pickle.  It was so delicious, I made myself another one for lunch the next day! YUM! Enjoy!
Sour cream horseradish:
1/2 c. sour cream
1 to 2 Tbl horseradish (depending on your love of horseradish)
2 to 3 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

4 slices of pumpernickel bread
1/2 lb of thinly sliced rare roast beef
4 slices of thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
approx 1/4 of a large cucumber thinly sliced

Combine sour cream, horseradish and Dijon in a small bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

To assemble the sandwich spread horseradish sour cream on one side of all four slices of bread. Layer roast beef, cheddar and cucumber on two slices of bread. Top with remaining two slices, horseradish sour cream side down. Cut in half. Enjoy!