Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lettuce Wraps

I love lettuce wraps; veggie, pork, chicken, you name it, I love it. So I saw this recipe in--where else--Cooking Light and decided to give it whirl. It's a little different in that the pork is not ground, but rather sliced tenderloin. I already had two tenderloins in the freezer from when they were on sale last month, so the timing was perfect. The tenderloin was--for lack of a better word--so tender. It sliced like butter. They were amazing, the will be a favorite around here for sure.

I made a lot of changes to the recipe for this one, some based on what I had in the house and some based on wanting more in the slaw/salad poriton. It's an easy recipe and really healthy too. I paired with some brown rice.

Lettuce Wraps:
1/4c. Pineapple juice
2 tbsp. Sake (I used rice wine vinegar and I doubled this)
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce (I used reduced sodium and I doubled this)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, sliced (I eyeballed it)
1 lb. pork tenderloin
1 green mango, shredded (I cute the sides off and cut them as small as I could, shredded was just too small for my taste)
Shredded carrots (I used some cole slaw mix)
1/4 c. shredded red cabbage (My addition)
Handful of bean sprouts (Omitted)
1 head Bib lettuce (if you're making this for more than 2, get extra lettuce)
Thai peanut sauce for topping (My addition)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large zip lock bag, fork the tenderloin and add to the bag. Refrigerate 1 hour (I did about 2). Grill tenderloin for about 25 minutes. (I saved the marinate and basted the tenderloin when I turned it).

Combine mango, slaw mix, and cabbage and toss. I microwaved the rest of the marinate for 3 minutes--to a boil--then tossed some in the salad mix. I tossed the rest of the marinate on some brown rice.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Maple Salmon

I've been trying to add more fish servings to our weekly meals. Sometimes I manage two, but at least one a week. I'm not a huge salmon lover. I've tried it several ways and I always have the same reaction... blah. But I found this recipe in my Cooking Light mag a few months ago. I've made it twice so far and it's pretty good. The first time I cooked it perfectly, this time my piece was really small so it got a little dry and overcooked, but still not bad.
Maple Salmon:
2 tbls. lemon juice
1 tbls. cider vinegar
2 tbls. maple syrup
1 tbls. EVOO
Combine in a zip lock bag and add fish. Seal and marinate for 20 minutes. I usually marinate a little longer than that.

Salt & pepper the fish on both sides and then sear one side in a hot skillet for two to three minutes. Meanwhile microwave the rest of the marinate for one minute and then baste the fish with it. Flip and cook another two to three minutes, basting all the while. Then put the whole skillet under the broiler for three minutes. Make sure your skillet is oven safe. Mine is Kitchen Aid and it can withstand up to 400 degrees.

I served it with the most amazing honey mustard potatoes. I only had three, so I added some peppers and frozen peas. I can't remember where the potato recipe came from, but it has evolved so much by now that it doesn't really matter anymore.

5 medium to large gold potatoes
1 tbls. EVOO
1 tbls. Garlic Expressions
5-10 garlic cloves, unpeeled.

Toss sliced potatoes in EVOO and garlic expressions. Spread out on a sprayed baking sheet. Sprinkle unpeeled garlic around the tray. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

In a serving bowl combine:
1 tbls. EVOO
3 tbls. Honey Mustard Dressing
Salt & Pepper

When potatoes come out of the oven, pull the garlic off and squeeze the roasted cloves into the serving bowl. Mash them with a fork, then whisk everything together. Add potatoes and toss.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Iced Coffee Comparision of 2009

I got myself a BK Mocha Joe the other day and I was completely addicted to them for several days after that. That lasted until I checked out the nutrition facts. WOW! They are terrible for you. So I was sad, because I was loving them so much. Today, I decided to try making my own and running the nutrition facts for it. Turned out pretty dang tasty and healthy enough to drink one every day.

Here are the facts on the competition:
BK: 22 oz: 380 cal., 10 g fat, 63 g sugar (Yowza)
McD's: 16 oz: 310 cal., 13 g fat, 35 g sugar
Starbucks: 16 oz: 350 cal., 20 g fat (ouch!), 27 g sugar (this one probably has whipped cream on top so that adds their fat content)

These were pretty close comparisons, they are all specifically the mocha iced coffee, and close in size. The Starbucks has the whipped cream on top, so you could remove that to reduce each category a little bit. And I will give props to McD's and Starbucks because you can sub for skim milk, so that will reduce things a bit too. But as you can see, these are not something anyone should be drinking daily.

My recipe: This is the only one I've tasted so far
95 cal., .5 g fat, 10 g sugar
1/2c. skim milk
1 tbls. Hershey's Syrup
1 c. coffee

Sugar Free Version:
60 cal., .3 g fat, 0 g sugar
1/2c. skim milk
2 tbls. Hershey's Sugar Free Syrup
1 c. coffee

Creamier Version:

79 cal., 2 g fat, 0 g sugar
1/2c. skim milk
1 tbls. Half and half
2 tbls. Hershey's Sugar Free Syrup
1 c. coffee

All of the chain nutrition facts came from and my calculations were done on

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

White Chocolate Coconut Bars

After I made those delicious coconut cupcakes for mother's day, I had a lot of left over shredded coconut. I've been looking for a while now for a simple cookie bar. I tried the lunch lady bars that everyone was talking about several months ago. They were good, but just not what I wanted. So I was searching around the other day and found these chocolate chip bar cookies. The recipe was so simple that I decided to try it and sub out ingredients for what I already had--enter white chocolate and coconut--they are pefect. They are really more shortbread-like in their consistency. They are rich, because of all the butter, but you only need one little square to get the perfect taste of sweet. I also added a teaspoon of salt. I personally like a touch of salt in cookies and the original recipe didn't call for any. It was the perfect amount of salt.

My Revised Recipe:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 handfuls of shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla, add egg, add flour. Stir in chips and coconut. Spread into a sprayed 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 25 min.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

I like baking, but I don't do it too often. I'm a much better cook than baker. I think it's probably just because I cook all the time, but only bake once and a while. I was looking for something summery to take to the IL's house for Mother's Day and I found these cupcakes--where else--but in my Cooking Light. I love things with lemon and lime in them, so I thought they would be perfect. They were super easy and came out really nice. Really spongy and soft. And the frosting is to.die.for.

I will sprinkle them with lime zest or green sprinkles before serving to people. I'll try to snag a better picture on Sunday.

1 cup flour
3 tbsp potato starch (I could not find this at the store, and I had corn start, so I used that. I was worried, but it worked just fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 egg white
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp flaked coconut, sweetened
1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp half n half
1/2 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice (I put in about an extra half tbsp)
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk, then beat butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, add dry mix and milk alternately. Fold in coconut and vanilla. Bake at 350 for 18 min. (Mine needed about 3 extra min for some reason).

Frosting: Beat butter, half n half, lime zest, & juice. Slowly add powdered sugar until frosting is a good consistency.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Goat Cheese & Corn Quesadillas

I spent the last few evenings going through three months of Cooking Light magazines that I haven't had time for because of school. I've now got a list of about 10--probably more--recipes on my to-do list. So tonight I started with goat cheese and corn quesadillas. They were really good and super easy. I served them with a tex-mex salad on the side.

4 tortillas (recipe called for corn, but I used flour)
1 cup whole kernel corn
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (I had an open jar of black bean/corn salsa so I used that)

Saute corn in a small amount of EVOO. Mix heated corn with cheese. Lightly butter the tortillas, place butter side down in a warm skillet, top with corn mix and a spoon full of salsa, top with other tortilla. Cook two min on each side and slice with a pizza cutter.

Salad: (not from the magazine)
Spring mix
Roma tomato, chopped
Black beans
Bell pepper, chopped
Avocado, sliced
Salsa, on the side

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Compost Pail/Hole Update

As promised, I'm updating now that I've recieved my bamboo compost pail. It got here super fast and I love it. It sits on the counter next to my sink and it looks nice, it's convenient for dropping things in, and it doesn't smell at all, even if I leave things in it for a couple days. If you compost, it's worth the money for sure.

Cinco De Mayo

It's no secret by now that we love Mexican food and I love trying new recipes, so last night we opted to stay in and avoid the crowds. I have also been dying to re-create a dish I had at the Border Cafe in Boston; Black Bean & Corn Empanadas.

I made them with pre-made cressent roll dough this time for ease, so that I could see how the filling turned out. We had Spanish rice and margaritas with them. They were really fantastic, so I think I'll try them again with puff pastry, then maybe venture to making the dough by hand. I had enough filling left to make a whole additional batch, so I froze it.

1 can black beans
1 bell pepper, I used orange
Cilantro, chopped
Shredded cheese
Red pepper flake
Cressent roll dough, 1 can

Saute the beans and pepper for a few min. Then mix with cilantro, cheese, and seasoning. Fill dough and pinch together. Bake at 375 for about 15 min. I made four empanadas, and had enough filling left to make four more. I froze it.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
1 roasted red pepper, from a jar is fine
Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon Juice
Red Pepper Flake, I used a lot to make it spicy

Mix together in a food processor until you like the consistency. For more than two people, double or even triple this.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just Ordered A Copost Pail

As you know, I started a compost hole last spring. It was super easy, I dug the hole, put some fencing in to stop burrowing creatures from finding their way to a meal.

The only thing that has been frustrating is not having anywhere to keep my goodies until it's time to go to the compost hole. I finally broke down and bought this:
It's a compost pail, I got it from for $34.99. I saw it in a magazine for a higher price. Bare Green had the best price with the same shipping as everywhere else and it looks like I should have it by Friday, I ordered it Monday, so not too shabby. It's made from bamboo and recycled plastic, so it's pretty eco-friendly. You put your veggies scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc... inside and then the plastic pail pulls out for easy transport to your compost hole. The lid has a carbon filter to eliminate order (aka kitty temptations) so that you don't have to dump every day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

For Jene...

My good friend, Jene, has been bugging me to post some delish food for her to look at for months. I know I completely suck and haven't posted in forever. I got a new job and between that and a rough semester, I've just been too busy lately.

This was something I just decided one day that I would try out. Ryan freaking loved it, talks about it all the time. Tells people about it the day after I make it. Comes in and dips bread (and his fingers) in the food processor to taste it. There is no source for this recipe, I kind of just found out what was in most pestos and tried some things until it was perfect.

So, without further adieu, I give you Pasta with Pesto Sauce:

Basil, about 1 1/2 cups fresh
Toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup
Garlic, 4-5 cloves
Salt & Pepper
Add 1/2 cup parm cheese
Add extra virgin olive oil while processing until it reaches a consistency that you like.

Sometimes, if I'm feeling spicy, I'll add some red pepper flake. Pour over a pasta with lots of cracks and folds for the pesto to hide in. I usually serve it with bruschetta.