Friday, January 16, 2009

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Sometimes, no matter how often you tell yourself you shouldn’t do something, it just makes you want to do it more. I told myself I wasn’t going to bake, but I had a sudden attack on Saturday that said “YOU MUST BAKE COOKIES”. I’m blaming it on hormones.

I went in search of a recipe I had all the ingredients for, and I ended up with a Martha recipe. Sadly I had already returned her Cookie cookbook to the library, but I am pretty sure this recipe for Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies was in there. I’m so glad I found it, because it was a really great cookie. I didn’t even feel that guilty about these cookies. It uses some whole wheat flour and rolled oats, so you’re getting some healthy whole grains; and it has a mashed up banana in it, so your cutting down on eggs but not losing moisture. I scooped these smaller than she suggests, and according to my loose calculations (it’s hard to count how many this made, because *some* of the dough disappeared, and also my friend & I ate some before I counted them all!) these are around 100 calories each! I think my cookie size yielded around 50 cookies, Martha said 3 dozen, so even if you made them bigger, they still wouldn’t be a total calorie-overload.

This is a DELICIOUS and somewhat complex tasting cookie. You instantly smell the banana and the chocolate; at first bite you can taste the chocolate chunks & banana. I’ve made lots of cookies with whole grain flour, and with these I really couldn’t tell. The best part is, if you use the coarse Kosher salt, you’ll get a little kick of the salt, which, as I have been learning, really enhances the flavors of sweets. I’m definitely adding this to my cookie regulars!

Print
Print

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

from Martha Stewart Cookies Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt (like Kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks (I used a Ghiradelli bar I chopped)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces), toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes (I cooked mine around 8-10 minutes because they were smaller). Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup


Last winter I wanted to finally cook a lentil dish. I found this recipe for what seemed like a healthy, filling, vegetarian soup. One of the best things about lentils is they don’t take long to cook. This soup comes together really fast. It’s great to make a big pot on Sunday, and then eat it for lunch all week. One of my favorite things about this soup is the colors! I love brightly colored food. The Boy took one look at it and sniffed up his nose and said “I ain’t eatin’ that.” He’ll eat a lot of what I cook, but I think he draws the line at lentils. And honestly, that is fine because MORE FOR ME!

Print
Print

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

from Good Housekeeping as seen on Delish
Makes about 7 1/2 cups.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
1 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can(s) (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup(s) dried red lentils
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
1 bag(s) (5-ounce) baby spinach

Directions:

In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium until hot. Add carrots and onion, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, broth, lentils, 2 cups water, salt, and pepper; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in spinach.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs


I think sweets took up too much of my attention this holiday season. Now that it’s a new year, I’ve been trying to focus more on healthy, flavorful dishes. The kind I enjoy not only for their taste, but for my conscious. I can’t remember how I found this recipe, but I sure am glad I bookmarked it. Just as the first blogger says, the glaze is really incredible, and replicates the skin. This was a great mix of sweet & spicy. I kicked up the heat & added the full amount of chili powder, and used crushed red pepper flakes instead of ground red pepper, because it’s what I had. If you can’t handle heat, I suggest you tone it down a little. Mmm mmm good. The Boy said this one is a definite keeper. I even think it would be good to serve company. I served ours with brown rice, & a frozen veggie blend from Archer Farms (Target). They were the perfect sides!


I’m also submitting this to a blog event, Joelen’s Culinary Adventure’s Tasty Tools Measuring Tools. One measure tool I have is my Pampered Chef Measure-All. This is a great thing to have. I use it more often than one might think. For this meal alone, I used the liquid pouring end of it to measure the water for my rice, flipped it over to the dry ingredients side to measure the rice, and most importantly, the honey for the glaze in the recipe. This recipe calls for 6 Tbsp of honey. My first thought was, “Crap, how am I supposed to measure that much honey with my measly little measuring spoon? It will be a gloppy mess!” This Measure All has your standard cups & ounces, but also has markers for tablespoons! It has the thing you push & pull for sticky ingredients like mayo, peanut butter, honey, pumpkin, sour cream (all things I’ve used it for!). It made measuring the honey so easy, with much less mess than trying to use a measuring spoon!
*Photo from Pampered Chef website

Print
Print

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

from Cooking Light, as seen on Columbus Foodie

Ingredients:

2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (I used 1/4 tsp.)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat broiler. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.

Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done (ours took about 4-5 more minutes - check internal temperature with a meat thermometer to be sure). Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My coworkers and I sometimes make fun of really long television show titles, well this is a really long title for a recipe, but oh man, it’s worth it! Like practically everyone else, I’m trying to trim down in the new year. I am going to be a bridesmaid on April 4th, and I want to look good in that dress! I was really excited when I saw Picky Palate‘s post on healthier recipes. It was just what I needed! I zeroed in on this recipe because the ingredients seemed really simple. I found the broccoli slaw & butter lettuce at our new Trader Joe’s. This recipe seemed easy to cook. I honestly can’t say whether or not it was easy because… (ladies & gentleman) THE BOY COOKED DINNER! He didn’t want to, he complained a little, but I really needed to go on a jog (in the rain too!) so he complied.

This is a super simple, fast, super tasty, & low calorie dinner. I highly recommend it! We found it sometimes necessary to double up on the lettuce leaves, because it can get a little messy to eat.

Print
Print

Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

adapted from Picky Palate

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup finely chopped onion
1 lb ground turkey breast
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 12 oz bag of broccoli slaw
1 small can drained water chestnuts
½ Cup teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Approximately 15 butter lettuce leaves (you can also use iceberg lettuce leaves)

Directions:

Place oil into a large 5 qt skillet or other large pan over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Brown and crumble until cooked through. Chop water chesnuts.

When turkey is cooked, stir in broccoli slaw, water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve. Serve spoonfuls inside lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More than you need to know!

I’ve been tagged! My good friend over at Liesl’s Confection Dissection has tagged me to share 7 interesting facts about myself. Quite frankly, I don’t know that there are 7 interesting things about me! But I’ll give it a shot.

1) For three years (2002-2004) I worked during the spring at a Prom/Pageant/Bridal shop. We arranged our dresses by size, and then by color. They were arranged in ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) order. I loved the way this looked to the eye, and ever since then I have been arranging my closet like that. The funny thing is, while working at this shop, we were required to wear black, and I didn’t own ANY black clothes. I had to go out and buy clothes specifically for work. Not long after that I went through a natural color phase, and wore a lot of tan/brown/green. Within the past year or so, I’ve been wearing LOTS of black & grey. So now, I have a closet of half black & gray, and half colors (arranged ROYBGIV of course!).

2) I’m currently dieting. 😛 I’m mainly counting calories, and trying to get back into working out & actually enjoying it. One reason is I am going to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding April 3. The other reason is, I want to get back to where I feel better about myself!

3) My hometown does not have any stoplights or caution lights. There are lights at the railroad crossing, and that’s it! It’s teeny tiny.

4) I love pictures, and I love looking at pictures at other people’s houses, but I don’t really like decorating with pictures at my place. I have no way to explain this.

5) I have the coolest, most unique set of friends in the world! It just sucks, that we all live in different cities, (Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, and one in our hometown). I’m the furthest away, so I see everyone the least. 🙁

6) No one who is friends with me here in Nashville can believe it when I tell them I grew up on a farm. I’m SUCH a city girl now! I’ve ALWAYS dreamed of what city I would live in.

7) I love love love coupons. I clip them ALL the time. I clip them WAY more than I use them, but I love that I have them in case the opportunity arises.

For this I’ll tag 7 people, if you want to share 7 facts, go ahead, and if you don’t, no big deal! 😀 These are just great blogs, so that’s why I tagged them.

1. KMAYS over at Food all Puttanesca
2. Maris at In Good Taste
3. Lovestoeat
4. Dinner & Dessert
5. Cate at Cate’s Kitchen
6. Cook Like A Champion
7. And a Cookie for Dessert

And, because I couldn’t have a post without a shot of food, here’s a pic of my dad’s Hoppin’ John. It’s a traditional southern dish eaten on New Year’s Day. The black-eyed peas are supposed to signify money, to bring you wealth in the new year. There are many different variations on Hoppin’ John. While I don’t know my dad’s recipe, I do know it has sausage, rice, & black-eyed peas, and it’s REALLY good.