Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Scallopini with Broccoli Rabe

From Cooking Light Magazine.  This dish is quick and easy and tastes great!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 lemon slices (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Combine breadcrumbs and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
  • Add wine, broth, juice, and butter to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in broccoli rabe; cover and cook 3 minutes or until broccoli rabe is tender. Stir in parsley and capers. Serve chicken over broccoli rabe mixture. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Burgers

I got this recipe online for the black bean burgers, and only changed a few things to up the flavor. They taste really fresh and John and I really like them. 

1 16oz can Black Beans
3 pieces roasted read pepper from the jar (1 if they are full size red peppers)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 sweet onion 
1 small bunch cilantro
1 tsp crushed red pepper or 1Tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Mash black beans in a large bowl. In a food processor,  blend red pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro until fine. Mix in with the mashed beans. Next, mix the egg, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, salt and egg until combined. Pour over bean mixture. Then drain any liquid from mixture by either setting over a colander, or squeezing with cheese cloth. Once liquid is removed, add 1/2 cup bread crumbs and stir.

Form patties (makes about 5). Roll patties in the leftover bread crumbs, and place in a skillet with olive oil. Cook until heated through, browned and firmed up. Serve with desired toppings. 


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Low Calorie Pumpkin Pie Muffins

I came up with this recipe today because I had some pumpkin pie mix left from the parfaits I made yesterday. I wanted a nice low fat and calorie muffin I can eat for breakfast. A lot of the recipes online were just too high in fat for me. These have a moist-spongy texture and are very mild in pumpkin flavor and sweetness. It actually reminded me a little of a corn muffin. Not the best, but good enough!

Hope you enjoy!


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 cup pumpkin pie mix (either left over from scratch or canned like lazy me!)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup splenda
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
(1 t cinnamon and 1T sugar mixed together for sprinkling)

I honestly just dumped everything with the exception of the sprinkling sugar into my Kitchen Aid and whipped it. Once it was all combined and smooth I put it into 12 GREASED muffin tins (this is important) and sprinkled it with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. 

Whaala! Yum!

Calories: 110 
Carbs: 22 
Fat: 1g 
Sugar: 3g 
Protien: 3g

Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

This was inspired by a food network recipe. It is by no means, a low fat recipe. I am going to try to alter it next time and use Free Cool Whip instead of the heavy whipping cream. I'll let you know if it turns out!

Regardless of how awful these are for you (especially for those of you with lactose intolerance like myself!) , they are a crowd pleaser.




  • 13 gingersnaps
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


1. Put 7 cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a heavy pan. Brush the bottoms and about 1 inch up the sides of 6 parfait glasses with the butter. Add a spoonful of crumbs to each and roll them around the insides of the glasses reserve some for topping. Refrigerate the prepared glasses. 

2. Put the pumpkin mix and melted chocolate chips into a food prosessor and pulse until smooth. (To melt chips: in a microwave-safe bowl  microwave at 50% power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway. Add to the pumpkin mixture and process until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.)

3. Beat 1 1/2 cups cream with a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form; fold into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Divide among the prepared glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream with a mixer until foamy. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 a tsp cinnamon and beat until soft peaks form. Top the parfaits with the whipped cream, reserved cookie crumbs and the remaining 6 cookies.

Invasion of the Freezer Friendly Soups!

With fall in full swing, it's time to to stock my freezer with some winter soups and comfort foods. John and I like to spend our free time cross country skiing once the snow hits, so I like to have meals ready to go. 

Below are a few soups I've made in the past two weeks which are really freezer friendly, and honestly, get better with age!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
I got this recipe from my friend Marie two falls ago. It is by a guy named Michael Chiarello. It has since become a staple in our freezer. This soup is great for fall and into the winter. It's flavors intensify with time, even while freezing. The toasted walnuts are a must in this recipe!


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white parts only
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups peeled and roughly diced butternut squash
  • 3 cups peeled and roughly diced apples
  • 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
  • 6 1/2 cups chicken stock or 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 3 cups water
  • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • 1 cup chopped Spiced Candied Walnuts, recipe follows, optional


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook until it turns nut brown. Add the leeks and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly to release its fragrance.

Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Toasted Spice Rub and cook briefly to toast it, about 1 minute.

Add the stock or broth-water mixture, bring to a simmer, and partially cover. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes.

Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt.

Divide the soup among warmed bowls and garnish each portion with some of the walnuts, if using. Serve immediately.

Toasted Spice Rub:

  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup pure California chili powder (about 1-ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
In a small heavy pan over medium heat, combine the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Yield: about 1 cup

Spiced Candied Walnuts:

  • Peanut or canola oil
  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat about 1-inch of oil to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add walnuts and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer nuts to a medium bowl. While nuts are still hot and slightly wet, add confectioners' sugar and toss to coat nuts. Stir and toss until all the sugar has melted into the nuts; if bits of unmelted sugar remain on the nuts, they will not fry properly.

Stir the nuts again before frying. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer a few nuts to the hot oil, allowing the foam to subside before adding another spoonful. (Otherwise, the oil could foam over and burn you.) Fry in small batches until the nuts are medium brown, about 45 seconds per batch; be careful not to overcook. Scatter on an unlined baking sheet to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, stir together cayenne, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the pepper.

While the nuts are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle evenly with about half of the spice mix. Toss well to distribute the spices and then taste a nut. Add more spice mix, to taste, and toss well after each addition. When cool, pack in an airtight jar. They will keep at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.

Yield: 4 cups

Johnny's Tortilla Soup
If you are looking for a garden-fresh tasting soup in the middle of winter, this one if for you! Originally given to me by a neighbor, this soup is a winner! 


3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
64 oz. chicken broth
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 large white onion, quartered
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and stems removed
3-4 large cloves of garlic
4 Serrano peppers, cut in half, seeds removed (less pepper if you don't like spice!)
Hot Sauce
1 16 oz. bag frozen sweet corn (or canned or fresh)
1 14.5 oz. can black beans, drained
Corn tortillas (or tortilla chips)
olive oil
sea salt
sliced avocado
sharp cheddar, shredded
scallions, sliced

1. Put chicken into the bottom of a large soup pot, add a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute on high heat until lightly browned, with bits stuck to the bottom. 
2. Add chicken broth and stir making sure to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.
3. While broth begin to boil, in a blender or food processor, place cilantro, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peppers. Add about a cup of broth and blend. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
4. Once blended, pour into soup pot with the broth and chicken.  Add corn and black beans, and hot sauce to taste.  Once hot, you can turn off heat. 

I usually just use whatever tortilla chips we have in the house but when I'm feeling frisky I make them from actual tortillas. 

1. Cut tortillas into 1/2in strips and place on a cookie sheet. 
2. Sprinkle with olive oil ad sea salt.
3. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. 

Boom. Done. :)
Serving Instructions:
I like to top this soup with avocado, cheddar, and scallions. I also like to crumble the tortilla on top. Yum. 

Creamy Peanut-Pumpkin Soup
From Women's Health Magazine

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 can solid-pack pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 jar roasted red peppers (7 oz), drained, 1 tablespoon chopped and reserved for garnish
1/3 cup smooth reduced-fat natural peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp chopped scallion greens

1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.

2. Add turmeric, paprika, and chili flakes; stir. Add pumpkin puree, broth, peppers, and peanut butter; whisk to incorporate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with sour cream, peanuts, reserved chopped peppers, and scallion greens.

Makes 4 Servings.
Per serving: 270 cal, 18 g fat (4 g sat), 22 g carbs,
450 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein  

Back again

Well, not so good at posting to this blog!  I taught summer school this summer and am now teaching a brand new grade at my school for the 3rd year in a row. I have not been cooking as ofter as I'd like, but I'll throw some recipes on here I have cooked in the past two weeks.  Hope everyone is enjoying the first month of fall!