this is me now

April 26, 2009

Covered in Pollen

Filed under: cooking,nutrition,recipes,weather — by heatherdc @ 10:04 pm

Spring is, quite literally, in the air.

My car was completely covered in yellow pollen today, and the temperatures were around 90 allllll weekend. Whoa.

Every weekend this month has been spent visiting a friend or with a visitor. In other words, I’m completely baffled that it’s almost May, pumped that the Fam will be here in about one month, and beyond excited that two months from TODAY I’ll be done with the internship.

Oh, happy dayyyy.

I’m suddenly very interested in cooking for myself. No frozen meals this week!! Usually I allow myself  just one, because there’s at least one night where I just don’t feel like making something. A sudden desire to use the stove and oven does Not coincide nicely with stifling heat and no AC.

But! I’m determined to use the 2 lbs of chicken I bought last week (on sale like whoooa!), the extra shredded cheddar I have from breakfast burritos, and the random things in my pantry. For the first time in quite a while, my grocery list was well planned out to provide actual Meals – not just the random weekly necessities. I’m very proud of this accomplishment.

On the menu for this week, a la Kraft Magazine (my first Foodie looove):

Easy Tomato Baked Chicken
easytomatobakedchicken
(found here –> KRAFT Foods!)

I’ll admit it doesn’t look extremely appetizing, but its “Easy!”, uses a lot of ingredients I already had (also Easy!), and it’s a “Healthy Living” recipe. Yes yes and yessss!

Cheddar, Chicken and Rice Skillet
cheddarchicken-rice-skillet
(
also found at KRAFT)

This one stood out because it uses Cheddar, and I need to get rid of some Cheddar! I’m not a big cheese person, so it’s very likely that the shredded stuff will sit in my fridge for the next month and I’ll wonder what to do with it. I’d probably make a quesadilla here and there. But I know it has more potential, sooo, I’m goin’ all out. Again, this is a “healthy living” recipe that incorporated many things I already had. Budget and nutrition, good stuff!


February 3, 2009

Hotdogs don’t keep

Filed under: cooking,decisions,food — by heatherdc @ 11:15 pm

I have been making this false claim for at least two weeks now:

I’m going to COOK this week!

I’d like to think that sticking a potato in the microwave and “grilling” chicken on a skillet qualifies as cooking. Or that home-made Rice-krispie treats sprinkled with chocolate chips could count for a made-from-scratch dinner. I’d also like to think that the two boxes of pasta that I’ve accumulated (thanksss coupons) will just cook themselves, along with a tasty sauce and a seasoned meat to make a well-balanced tasty meal.

Ehhhh.

On Sunday (our “grocery” day), I refrained from buying frozen meals. I did buy ground beef, and chicken, and the usual fresh veggies. All with very good intentions to make real meals, and loooots of them so that I’d have leftovers and I do not have to cook again. Yes, I was totally on a roll.

Then, we went to a Super-bowl party. The host sent us home with leftovers, and we were like THANK YOUU! In our fridge we currently have two containers of chicken wings and hot-dogs. Yes, hot dogs. I like them, and I (sort of) know whats in them, I eat them every now and then, and I am a Nutritionist. Don’t judge me.

Obviously this threw the cooking plans right out the window…..for at least a few nights. Sunday – super-bowl food. Monday – chicken, salad, potato (see above. does not count.). Tuesday……left-over Super-bowl food? Ummm, yup.

Guess what? Hot dogs don’t keep. They don’t taste so “good” after being grilled, chilled, and reheated. Gah. Who knew.

It’s a blessing in disguise! Tomorrow night I will return to Plan A, and I WILL COOK. My logic is that declaring it online will be effective (and encouraging).

So. Here, you have my word!

Please hold me to it. My pantry and stomach will greatly appreciate it.

October 23, 2008

If I’ve said it once

Filed under: cooking,parents,recipes — by heatherdc @ 11:06 pm

I’ll say it again…..

This dinner is.amaaaazing.

Green Chile-Chicken Casserole

Green Chile-Chicken Casserole

Best part, it’s from Cooking Light. GO!
Down in the South-WEST, we know do green-chile. And we do it So well.
It’s spicy, it’s tasty, and it makes all things wonderful.

Tonight we decided to cook dinner in the apt, so after work the parents took me to Target and the grocery store. Which means I stocked up, and we also got a few items to make a nice little dinner with.  I picked this recipe, that I love, and that I will absolutely never take the time to do by myself. Even if it only takes all of ~40 minutes. Total. And it’s on the healthy side. Add some salsa, and oooh, it’s amazing.

Thought I’d share it with you, even though I’m sure somewhere on here I’ve posted it before. Yup. I love it that much. And figured maybe on your weekend you’d feel adventurous and try somethin’ on the wiiild side. And by wild, I mean home-made Mexican food. Cause really, you never know how that will turn out.

The up side to stayin’ in; now I have leftovers. Yummmm.

August 8, 2008

If life hands you chicken, you make…a Lot of stuff

Filed under: cooking,recipes — by heatherdc @ 10:11 am

You can’t make lemonade though.

Our dinner fiesta with the work people gave us two no-shows (um, rude) and three vegetarians (um. ooops!). We didn’t plan for that, as it was unexpected. So instead, we have a Looot of meat leftover. Our thoughts….”sweeet! we don’t have to cook all week!”. And it has been just as wonderful as we thought it could be.

So, what do you do with almost two pounds of left-over chicken? Well, let me tell you. ‘Cause we’re gettin pretty creative over here….

Grilled Chicken Salads, with French Fries (yup, doin’ it PA styyyle). Obviously this doesn’t require much instruction. Cut up the chicken, heat it if you want. Bake the fries (go easy, this isn’t meant to negate the fact that you’re eating a nice healthy salad). Cut up whatever veggies you want, and throw on a little dressing. Voila! You have dinner.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. Our meat was seasoned with a bbq-rub. The taste wasn’t too strong, but just enough to make this work. Buy some buns, throw on whatever toppings you would choose (or none, whateeeva), and whip out the bbq Sauce. Yummmm.

Chicken & Pasta. Okay, so you might be thinking “Uh, they put bbq chicken in Pasta? Ew”. Yah, I was a little weary of that too. But like I said, the taste wasn’t too strong, so I put some marinara sauce (with veggies!) in a pan to heat it up, threw in the chicken, and let it simmer for about 6-7 minutes. Not long enough to burn the sauce to the pan, because that sucks to clean up. Cook the pasta, and throw it together.

BBQ Chicken Pizza. We have these little mini pizza crusts that we bought a few weeks ago, they’ve just been sitting in the freezer. They’re like “personal pizza” size. So, we’re throwin on some sauce and cheese, and topping it with cut-up chicken and veggies (whateverrr you want. I chose mushrooms, onions, green peppers.).

And there we have it. Monday was chicken with baked potatoes and these aaaamazing dinner rolls that somebody brought over. And from there, we have 4 more dinners with little prep/cook time, and lots of Mmmmm. And yes, we seriously had that much chicken left over.

July 22, 2008

A twist on the Blues…

Filed under: cooking,recipes,things I Looove — by heatherdc @ 1:41 am

And by blues, I mean Kraft Macaroni & Cheese of course. (remeberrr?? “I got the blueees”. it’s the best stuff)

We were eager to cook something tonight. After days of eating out I love having a good home-made meal. I scanned the pantry for something easy and fun. My eyes are drawn to the Mac & cheese I bought a few weeks ago. I can’t lie, I Love this stuff. But I only buy the “Spirals”, they just taste better.

To make it seem more like a “home made” meal than a cheap “college meal”, I added a little twist. A twist in the form of two things; steamed broccoli and grilled chicken. I know, it sounds crazy, but don’t knock it til’ ya try it. ( unless of course you don’t like mac & cheese, in which case you will definitely not like it. so don’t try it.)

All you do is….

-Cook the mac & cheese as directed, using the “light prep”. It uses skim/1% milk and less butter-and still tastes the same!! Miracle, I know.
-Steam broccoli.
-Cut a boneless,skinless chicken breast into bit size pieces ( you could do this after you grill it, but if you’re using a skillet it will cook a lot faster this way). If in a skillet-use 1 tbsp Olive Oil and some salt & pepper for taste.
-Combine or eat separately. Whichever you prefer.

Either way you’ve got your lean protein, vegetable, and starch. And even a little dairy. Voila! Mac & cheese made with a little “healthy” twist. Yummm.

March 11, 2008

This is me Cooking, part 3

Filed under: cooking,food,home — by heatherdc @ 1:21 am

It was my first day home, and I was put to work.

With dinner plans in mind and options open for desert, I headed to the grocery store. The menu tonight:
Baked Penne Pasta w/ Italian (turkey) Sausage & Peanut butter cup Brownies

This pasta dish has become a family (and roommate) favorite. It’s easy, healthy, and oh-SO-delicious. On top of all that, it’s “training worthy”, meaning lots of protein and good carbs. Necessary at this point!

Here’s what you need:
6 cups Penne Pasta (I usually buy the “Plus” pasta. It has lots of protein and is made with whole-wheat)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups Marinara sauce (Amount: add more as you like. Type: your choice. We went with the “Garden veggie” kind tonight for some extra flavor)
1/2 onion, yellow, diced
1 tbsp Garlic, minced (canned or fresh, do what you do)
1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage (sweet or spicy, either works!)
1/2 cup Mozerella (Low-fat, part-skim)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cook the pasta as directed. Sauté onions and garlic in a large non-stick skillet, throw in some salt & pepper to your taste.  Add the turkey-sausage and cook until brown.  Combine the pasta and sausage-mix into a large casserole dish.  Mix in the diced tomatoes and marinara sauce.
Top with the mozerella and parmesan cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes, or until you like the way the cheese looks on top!

Eat & enjoy!! Throw in a side salad for some vegetables and leafy greens. You’ve got yourself a healthy & satisfying meal! This recipe makes about 4 servings.

I wish I could take credit for the amazing peanut-butter cup brownies, but all I did was add eggs, water & oil. Sometimes you take the easy route (boxed brownie mix), and mmmm is it delicious!

January 5, 2008

This Is Me Cooking, Part 2

Filed under: cooking,food — by heatherdc @ 8:56 pm

On the menu tonight:

Jalapeño Beer Bread & Mexico Tortilla Soup

My mom told me she wanted to make Beer Bread tonight (I thought of you LB 🙂 ) so then we decided to make a soup to go with it.  I searched Kraft’s website, as I often do, to find something to go with our bread and decided on their Mexican Tortilla Soup.

As usual, we are adding our own “twist” to the recipe. Simple stuff, nothing fancy.   When browning the ground beef, add Taco Seasoning to the meat.  Usually this comes in packets that can be a cheap as $0.50. All you do is add it to the meat when it’s almost done cooking and you’ll typically add it with some water (depends on the brand, each has it’s own directions).  These packets are usually found with the salsa, taco shells, etc.  I also use this seasoning when I make chili to add some extra flavor.

I’m also adding a can of diced tomatoes (undrained) with green chilies to the mix.  I think tomatoes are good in tortilla soup and my mom found the kind that comes canned with the chilies for some extra “spice”. Good stuff!

When we were grocery shopping I stumbled upon a dry mix for the Jalapeño Beer Bread. I was planning on just doing my regular bread, but this sounded too good! The company Desert Gardens makes great dry mixes for soups, breads, and a variety of dips. I only see them when I’m home (in the Southwest), so I stock up and bring some of the soup and dip mixes back with me. I had never seen bread mixes before, and this one was standing solo on the shelf. Perfect twist on beer bread for our Mexican meal! I can smell it baking right now…mmmmmm.

Beer bread has got to be the easiest kind of bread to make.  All you need is the beer of your choice, self-rising flour and sugar.  I’ve used Red Stripe, Yuengling Lager, and Miller Lite.  I normally wouldn’t use a “lite” beer, and don’t recommend it, because it won’t add as much flavor.  But we thought it would actually work better with the Jalapeño bread because we didn’t want something too sweet.

Beer Bread

3 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 12 oz. Beer (your choice!), at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375°. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the beer and stir until mixed. Do Not Overmix!
Place the dough into a greased 9×5 inch pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from pan and let it cool about 5 minutes before cutting.

Yup! That’s it!

I love that recipe because you only need 3 things and there’s basically one step: add it all together! 🙂 Simple and quick. And mmmmm it’s gooood!

Eat & Enjoy!

December 23, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Activities

Filed under: cooking,family,food — by heatherdc @ 5:25 pm

We are in charge of bringing desserts to the Christmas dinner, so guess what we’re doing today?? Baking of course! Today’s lineup includes preparations for a Cranberry Lime Tart, Mississippi Mud Pie, and the classic Pumpkin Pie.

My favorite is the “mud pie”. It was my idea to include this one, only because I feel like there should always be a chocolate option. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s so good! Chocolate cake topped with marshmellow cream, chocolate frosting, and coconuts. Yummyyyy.

The Cranberry Lime Tart is a little bit more complicated. I’m not participating as much in this production. I’m just sitting here writing about it and snacking on the dough of the crust: flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and almonds. Delicious! The tart is cooling in the fridge overnight and tomorrow we will put it all together. This recipe came from the cover of a December 2003 Bon Apetit. More on this later, when I can actually taste it.

Tonight I have a date with the family, Dinner and a Movie. The movie of choice tonight is “National Treasure 2”. I’m not big on the “sequel” movies, so we’ll see how this goes. Then we’re going to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Si Senor. It’s one of those places you just have to go to when you’re home. The chips & salsa come with their special dip, we called it the “white stuff”. We have yet to decide what’s actually in it, but it’s some sort of sour cream/ranch/green chile mixture. I think? Who knows, but it’s spicy and it’s gooood. They make their own tortillas, so if you order fajitas they come fresh from the kitchen. Still warm, soft, and amazing. I can’t wait to get my New-Mexican-food fix!

December 21, 2007

Mi Casa para Los….Holidays

Filed under: cooking,family,food,holidays,Lauren — by heatherdc @ 11:04 pm

(Anyone who knows how to say “holidays” en Espanol??)

Finals are over, and the semester is done.
I’ve traveled afar, to a place that sees sun.
Back in the Southwest with my family and friends,
to celebrate the holidays and bring the New year in.

It feels wonderful to finally be back in New Mexico for a nice loooong break from school! With no homework or tests to think about I can actually relax. Since arriving last night I have unpacked, finished Christmas shopping, and baked S’mores brownies. My sister is always baking something, so these were the first of many delicious desserts that I’m sure will be made over the next three weeks. She is a freshman in college this year, but already plans on getting a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, and then going on to Culinary School to specialize in Pastry Arts. Basically, we always have good desserts on hand. We love to go through magazines like Cooking Light (be weary of the cookies, but everything else is usually So good!), Kraft (of course!), and Bon Apetit. The recipes in Bon Apetit are usually a little more complex, but she’s learning and every time I’m home she is making something more and more complicated. Yummyyyy.

Today we went with something simple, the S’mores Brownies. This recipe can be found on the side of the box of Brownie Mix. As usual, we added a little “twist”. Obviously if you love s’mores, it doesn’t get any better than this! Except for the fireside golden-brown marshmellow melting the chocolate on the graham cracker. BUT, since most of us are spending out time inside during the winter, these make a perfect match!

S’mores Brownies

1 box Brownie Mix
3 cups Mini-Marshmellows
5 Honey Graham Crackers (crushed)
1 cup Peanut Butter Chips

Prepare the brownies as directed on the box. Bake for the time designated in the recipe (Or, if you prefer your brownies a little “soft” like we do…bake for about 3 minutes less). After they have baked and are still warm from the oven, add the marshmellows and peanut butter chips on the top. Place the browneis back in the oven for 2 minutes. Top with the crushed graham crackers.

Eat & Enjoy!!! 🙂

December 2, 2007

This is me, Cooking. Part 1

Filed under: cooking,food,nutrition — by heatherdc @ 2:32 am

This post will be the first of many, reviewing recipes from my beloved Cooking Light and Kraft magazines. Today’s will feature a delicious dinner and a decadent desert. Enjoy!

Creamy Basil & Red Pepper Pasta

Straight from my Recipe Box, on KraftFoods.com, this recipe is so simple and requires basically no preparation. Perfect for a night where you are a little crunched for time, but craving a tasty homecooked meal.  The total cooking time is only 25 minutes!

Incase I haven’t convinced you yet, this is also a Healthy Living Recipe. It’s a great source of Protein, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C,  and Iron!

Makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:
2 cups Penne  pasta, uncooked (feel free to substitute the pasta of your choice)
4 oz Fat-free Cream Cheese, softened (1/2 of an 8 oz package)
1/4 cup Fat-free Milk
1 jar (7 oz) Roasted Red Peppers, Drained!
1/2 cup FRESH Basil leaves
2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, place peppers, cream cheese, milk, basil and Parmesan cheese in blender; cover. Blend until smooth; set aside.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook on medium-high heat 3 min., stirring frequently. Stir in pepper mixture. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 min. or until heated through, stirring frequently.

Drain the pasta. Add it to your chicken mixture; stir until well blended.

Done! Eat and enjoy!

Time for dessert??

Butterscotch Blondies

These delicious treats can be found in December 2007 edition of Cooking Light magazine.  This recipe only consists of 6 ingredients, and yields 24 servings.  The end result is a moist, sweet and “light” butterscotch brownie!

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose Flour
2 1/2 cups firmly packed Light brown sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
10 tbsp Unsalted butter
3/4 Egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)

 ((I decided to throw in a little “personal touch” to my blondies; add 1 cup butterscotch chips to the final mixture.))

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lighly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, firmly pakced light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. 
Place butter in small skillet over medium (4-5) heat.  Cook 6 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.* Pour into a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Combine butter and egg substitute, stirring with a whisk.   Pour the butter mixture over flour mixture; stir just until moistened.  Spoon batter into a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray; smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Cut into 24 squares. (Yield=24 servings, 1 square each)

*Butter will begin to “bubble” and may brown sooner. Mine only took about 4-5 minutes.

At a mere 170 calories per square, this dessert packs less than 5 grams of fat per serving! Perfect for a light after-dinner treat!

While I was home for Thanksgiving my sister decided to bake these, and I was amazed at how great they turned out.  Healthier desserts can be tricky and sometimes turn out dry and tasteless, but these little blondies defy the odds!  I baked a batch today for me and my roommates.

So get cookin’ and bakin’ and let me know what you think!

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