Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creamy Dill Sauce

This sauce is fantastic. I made it to go with the Easy Salmon Cakes, but it was so good I decided to make it a post by itself, because I'll definitely make this again to go with several types of dishes.

*1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
*1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
*2 scallions, thinly sliced
*1 tablespoon lemon juice
*1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, or parsley
*Freshly ground pepper, to taste

*Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, scallions, lemon juice, dill (or parsley) and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

*Spoon over Easy Salmon Cakes, another dish, or even serve with veggies! 

Mixing ingredients up

Last ones are in!

Perfect amount of lemon flavor

Simply delicious over salmon cakes!

Easy Salmon Cakes

As the title suggests, this recipe is easy. And delicious. And light on calories. How much more can you really ask for in a meal? Well, I'm sure a lot, but trust me on this one.

I found this recipe on Eating Well. Hmm...starting to realize it's been awhile since I've used my cookbooks. Eh, I'll save that for next week. No point in changing my entire meal plan for the week this late in the game. Plus, after I sent the hubby to the store for me, and it took him 2 hours and several manager checks to find everything, I think I've used all my grace for the week.

So, about these salmon cakes...YUM! I changed the recipe, shocker, because I misread it for one, made too much salmon and ran out of bread crumbs. To be honest I was grateful I ran out of bread crumbs because I think the salmon would have been too dry with so much. I even think it doesn't need as long in the oven if you already cooked the salmon, for fear of it getting dry.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to use my recipe or the original, I'm sure you'll find these delicious! Oh, but you must make them with the Creamy Dill Sauce!

*3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
*1 small onion, finely chopped
*1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
*1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
*1 stalk celery, finely diced
*3 cups cooked salmon (what I used) or 15 ounces canned salmon, drained
*3 large eggs, lightly beaten
*3 tbsps Dijon mustard
*1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs, (I used Panko)
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
*Creamy Dill Sauce
*1 lemon, cut into wedges

 *Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

*Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and celery. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

*Place salmon in a medium bowl. Flake apart with a fork; remove any bones and skin. Add egg and mustard and mix well. Add the onion mixture, breadcrumbs and pepper, mixing well. Shape the mixture into 8 patties, about 2 1/2 inches wide.

*Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 4 patties and cook until the undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn them over onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining patties.

*Bake the salmon cakes until golden on top and heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Dill Sauce. Serve salmon cakes with sauce and lemon wedges.

Salmon plus dijon and egg

Out of the oven!

Perfect size salmon cakes

You must make the creamy dill sauce to go with these!! It is a perfect balance of taste!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Super Hearty Chili

First, YUM. Second, YUMMM. Third...do I really need to say it again?

As is every recipe from How Sweet It Is, this is absolutely delicious. I don't know how she does it! I have been looking for a really good chili recipe to try out, and this is it. You must try it.

I made some modifications to this based on our (read John's) taste preferences. John hates beans. Just hates them. So I can never make anything with beans. So I only used one can of them so it would be easy to eat around them (or hopefully start to like them!) I also took out the jalapenos because of my heartburn. I know, I sound like a middle-aged man. But trust me it's no fun to take medicine daily for it. Alas, no jalapenos.

I also halved the original recipe, but you could easily double my version (or use her whole one!) and freeze your leftovers. Or try some of the other great recipes with chili she has. Whatever you do, make this. And then thank me (or Jessica, the creator of it!). You're welcome in advance.

PS: If you're making this you might as well go all out and make it with these amazinggg Cheddar & Brown Sugar Cornbread Muffins

*1.5-2 tablespoons of olive oil
*1 pound of beef chuck roast, cut into cubes
*1/2 pound of boneless pork short ribs, cut into cubes
*3/4 pound of lean ground beef
*1/2 onion, chopped
*1/2 green pepper, chopped
*2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
*1 28-ounce can of tomato puree 
*1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
*1 6-ounce can of tomato paste (use half)
*1 15-oz can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
*6 ounces of beer (Upland Wheat!)
*2 3/4 tablespoons of chili powder
*1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
*1/4 tablespoons cayenne pepper
*1/4 tablespoon black pepper
*salt for layering flavor and seasoning
+ your favorite chili toppings

*Season beef roast and pork ribs with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of a large stockpot. Add beef roast and pork ribs and sear on high heat on all sides for 1-2 minutes, until color develops.

(*Don't feel like you need to remove the fat if the meat is pretty lean; the fat will give it extra flavor. Searing may take a few bathes. Drain meat on paper towel between batches.)

*After searing the beef and pork, turn the heat on your large stock pot down to medium and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions and peppers with a sprinkle of salt, and cook for 5 minutes until soft.

*Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes while stirring every so often.

*Turn the heat up to medium-high and season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Add it to the pot and crumble it with a wooden spoon, then cook it for 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally until it browns through and the liquid cooks off.

*Turn the heat back down to medium-low and add the pork and beef roast back in, the beans, the tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes), paste, and puree, and stir to combine. Add in the beer and the seasonings (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tablespoon black pepper), stirring once more.

*Cover and let simmer for 1-2 hours.

*Once that time has passed, taste the chili and determine if you would like more seasonings.

*Turn the heat down to low and cook chili for an additional 2-4 hours, or longer.

My onion and peppers

Fresh meat! I did cut off the fat from the pork because it was too thick to cut through.

Softening the veggies

All the ingredients are in - just adding the spices!



Cheddar & Brown Sugar Cornbread Muffins

Oh. Oh wow. Oh, that's good. Something amazing is happening. It is the making of these muffins. These. Are. Good. I mean, real good.  

Whenever I find a recipe I want to try, but know it will be time-consuming, I save it for Sunday.
John has been great all weekend. Spending all day Saturday cleaning with me before heading out for our friend Corey's birthday. I figured I better send him off to the Colts game with love, since he may not get any at the game...(Hopefully my Bears fare better!)

Anyhoo, to accompany the amazing Super Hearty Chili recipe I spent my Sunday salivating over, How Sweet It Is came up with these muffins. Wow. They are perfect with the chili and great to have leftover for breakfast the next day. They're also great to dip into the chili. Or use in a casserole that you will also find on How Sweet It Is. Have I given you enough to do?

These would be great with or without chili, but somehow I feel it came together for a perfect meal. :)

I should note that my recipe differs because the hubby came home with Jiffy cornbread mix instead of cornmeal. I did my best to guess and alter to make these as yummy as they should be. Thus, below is my version of this recipe. :)

Ingredients: (14 muffins)
*2 8.5 oz boxes of jiffy corn muffin mix
*3 tablespoons brown sugar
*1/4 cup creamed corn
*1/2 cup butter, melted
*1/2 cup milk
*1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
*2 eggs
*1/3 cup freshly & finely grated cheddar cheese

*Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

*Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder together and mix with a spoon.

*Add the egg, corn, heavy cream, melted butter and milk, stirring until smooth.

*Fold in cheddar cheese.

*Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray (or use liners) and using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon batter into each muffin tin.

*Bake for 15-18 muffins, or until tops are golden and muffins are cooked through. Serve hot with cinnamon or honey butter.

Egg and Veggie Quiche Cups

I saw this recipe that someone pinned on the amazing Pinterest, and I was inspired to create my own version, knowing it would be great for an easy breakfast. Now, I've never baked eggs before - is that weird? I've always used my ever-trusty skillet to whip up sunny-side up eggs or scrambled eggs. And that's about where my egg cooking ends. Until now.

These egg cups were flavorful and fluffy and perfect for a light breakfast. You can freeze them, too, so next time I might make a double batch to freeze for quick weekday breakfasts. One of the best parts about this dish is that you can modify it however you'd like! You can add more veggies, different veggies, less veggies, add meat - whatever your heart desires!

*6 eggs, whisked
*1/4 onion, chopped finely
*1/3 green bell pepper, chopped
*1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
*3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/4 cup spinach, cooked
*salt and pepper

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Place foil baking cups in a muffin pan (9 total). Spray with Pam or nonstick cooking spray.

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Using a ladle, spoon mixture into each cup.

*Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.

All my ingredients

Whipped up

Into the oven

All done!

What a perfect breakfast!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is not the first post I've done for spinach artichoke dip. In fact I made up my own recipe awhile back, which has gotten excellent reviews at bachelorette parties I've been to. A fellow bridesmaid told me it tasted like pizza! It is a great dip if you want something hearty and made with all nonfat ingredients.

This dip, is not the same. It is creamy. Very, very creamy. The kind of creamy where the cheese stretches as you take a dip into it with toasted pita bread. This, was the kind of spinach artichoke dip I was craving today. While always great as an appetizer, I'm a big fan of making appetizers whole meals. If I did at my wedding, why not here? :)

It should not come as a huge surprise to you that this recipe came from Pinterest. It's impossible not to love because it bookmarks all your favorite things in one place, and doesn't crowd your toolbar! This recipe can be found on Joyful Abode. I made a few modifications for lighter ingredients (I'll shave calories wherever I can!), and for our taste preference. In retrospect, I would add a little more mozzarella cheese, and a little less artichokes, but that's just how I like my dip. Let me know what works for you!

*8 oz. light cream cheese
*1/4-1/3 cup light sour cream
*1/4 cup light mayonnaise
*1 cup spinach (I used fresh spinach, cooked, but you can use frozen, thawed)
*2 cans or jars of non-marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
*1 tsp garlic powder
*1 tsp salt
*sprinkle of chili powder (she says you can go all out, but I kept it minimal) 
*1 cup shredded skim mozzarella cheese 

*Warm cream cheese in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes to soften it. This will make it easier to mix in the other ingredients.

*Mix all ingredients together in a baking dish.  Broil in the oven (mine was 500 degrees broiling) until cheese is browned and dip is warm throughout (mine took about 20 minutes). 

Artichokes of choice


All ingredients in, ready to mix

Ready for the oven

Golden and bubbly


Perfect with toasted whole grain pita!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seared Scallops & Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce

Before I begin, does anyone want to take a guess as to where I found this delicious recipe? If you guessed Pinterest you are correct! I told you I was hooked, didn't I?!

Anyhoo, I saw one seared scallop recipe that looked amazing. Then I realized the recipe was designed to sell another product. Fail. So I searched for another recipe that was similarly based, and voila! A big thank you to My Bizzy Kitchen for this great dish!

Not only are scallops light and delicious, but so easy to cook. Add a little pasta and you have a whole meal in a matter of about 15 minutes, including the time cooking the pasta! I cannot argue with that, especially on days when I get home from work and don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen.

As is my usual, I did make a few revisions. I upped the garlic and butter - wanted it a bit creamier - and it was fantastic. I loved it. So did the hubby. No leftovers. And we always have leftovers. Hmm...maybe I need some more scallops tomorrow.

Seared Scallops & Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce
Recipe by My Bizzy Kitchen
Serves 2-4, depending on portions
Pin It  
*8 oz raw scallops (I asked the hubby to pick up 16 and it was just about 8 oz)
*1 tsp olive oil
*2-3 tbsp butter
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*3/4 cup white wine
*juice of one lemon
*1 tsp lemon zest
*salt and pepper
*a couple fresh basil leaves, cut or torn for garnish
*whole wheat pasta (about 2 cups, cooked, more/less depending on your preference)

*Cook pasta according to directions.

*Rinse and dry scallops thoroughly with a paper towel. Heat a nonstick pan to high heat.

*When pan is hot, swirl in the olive oil and add the scallops. (Be careful not to crowd them.) Let the scallops sit for 2 minutes - don't move them or you'll interfere with the sear. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

*Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Turn the heat back up and add the wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let the wine bubble and then scrape any bits in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

*Throw in the cooked pasta and scallops and toss to coat.Serve with fresh basil and parmesan cheese on top.

2 minutes later, time to flip!

I don't show this picture because the sauce is pretty, but so you know it shouldn't be :)

Adding pasta and scallops back into the pan - with sauce


Close up

One more

Yummm :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Garlic Avocado Aioli

I made this to go along with the Seared Ahi Tuna I made for dinner. It was so full of flavor and creamy that it perfectly matched the spice and seasoning of the tuna. I will definitely make this again, as it is a bit different than the previous Avocado Aioli recipe I posted.

*1 avocado, peeled and seeded
*1 tsp garlic powder
*drizzle of soy sauce
*lime juice (about half a lime)
*1 tsp scallions
*salt and pepper

*Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve on the side or on top of Seared Ahi Tuna (or any dish you want!). 

Topped on the ahi tuna! Yum!

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