Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ten Foods that LIE!

My favorite website Cooking Light has a great article that I must share with you... "10 Foods That Sound Healthy (But Aren't)." Um... you should totally read it here because you WILL be surprised! Here is a rundown of the top ten foods that will trick you into believing they are good for your waistline. Who knew food could be a little liar!

1. Multi-grain and Wheat Bread
2. Prepared Salads
3. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
4. "Energy" Bars
5. Bran Muffins
6. Smoothies
7. Packaged Turkey
8. Foods labeled "Fat-Free"
9. Restaurant Baked Potatoes
10. Sports Drinks

Okay, here are some of my comments on this list....and then I want to hear yours!
  • I rarely order a salad from a restaurant with everything that is listed on the menu. And when I do order a salad it isn't always because I am trying to watch my figure. Usually there are some sneaky little guys in prepared salads that make the big bowl not so healthy.
    • For example, tortilla strips should never be put in a salad - they are high in fat.
    • Dressing should always be on the side - if your lettuce is drowning than you are ingesting nothing but a bowl of mayo.
  • I know reduced fat peanut butter isn't good for you b/c of all the sugar but I don't care. I love it!
  • "Energy" bars are a waste of time b/c they NEVER fill me up and always give me a tummy ache.
  • Muffins sold in grocery stores are the devil. They taste so good but they are SO bad for you.
  • Packaged turkey makes me nauseous - its slimy and so not fresh. Do yourself a favor and wait in the deli counter line and order something low sodium.
  • A fully loaded baked potato should be a meal in itself - not a side item. Sour cream, cheese, butter, bacon bits = heart attack.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Honey Peanut Butter Explosion

I have no idea what to call this creation other than an ooey gooey delicious mess. I made it last week while I was suffering from a migraine and nothing was sounding appealing to eat. Melted peanut butter and honey drizzled over a banana has always been a favorite snack of mine. When I sprinkled some Apple Cinnamon Cheerios over the banana mess I fell in love. I've also tried the sauce drizzled over sliced apples, Honey Nut Cheerioes or Plain Cheerios. Every combination tastes as good as the others.

1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon lite Smart Balance butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 cup Cheerios
1 banana, sliced

1. In a small bowl, melt together the first four ingredients in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 5-10 seconds. You want the sauce to be creamy, not bubbly/burnt.
2. Combine the Cheerios and banana in a bowl. Drizzle sauce over the top and mix with a spoon. EAT!

Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza

If I liked red onion I would be all over this Cooking Light recipe...potatoes + goat cheese + mozz... YUM! My version would use homemade pizza dough and maybe carmelized vidalia onions.

7 ounces fingerling potatoes (about 5 potatoes)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until just tender; drain. Cool slightly; cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

3. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, and sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

4. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 14 x 10–inch rectangle. Sprinkle cornmeal over a large baking sheet; place dough on baking sheet. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over dough. Arrange potatoes and onion over mozzarella; top evenly with goat cheese and garlic. Bake in lower third of oven at 450° for 15 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with thyme; cut into 12 pieces.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 314
Fat: 10.3g (sat 4.9g,mono 3.7g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 14.4g
Carbohydrate: 39.8g
Fiber: 1.8g
Cholesterol: 22mg
Iron: 2.4mg
Sodium: 599mg
Calcium: 173mg

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cheesey Green Pepper Breakfast Bake

8 slices white bread
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 cup frozen diced green peppers
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
non-stick cooking spray

*Assemble the night before*

1. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray. Break up the bread into bite sized pieces (they do not have to be equal sizes) and lay it on the bottom of the baking dish.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, milk, water, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Whisk together. Pour egg mixture over the bread in the baking dish. Use a spatula to make sure the egg mixture is distributed evenly.
3. Sprinkle the green peppers evenly across the egg mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate overnight.
4. Bake the next morning at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mexi-Rice ChickenBake

Poor Mr. Bear hasn't been eating very well since I became sick last week. Migraines do not allow a person to do much of anything - so he's been fending for himself in the kitchen. After my trip to the doctors office and the pharmacy, I was feeling MUCH better and the need to whip up something different for dinner. I searched through our almost bare cabinets and came up with some rice, corn, and chicken. From those ingredients I came up with a Mexi-Rice Chicken Bake that received many hugs and kisses from the Hubs.
1 bag Mexican Rice (Knoll's is a great brand)
1 can Mexican corn, drained
1 can 97% fat free cream of chicken soup
4 chicken thighs OR 2 cups shredded precooked chicken **
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook rice according to directions on package, but for less time than instructed (3-4min). You do not want your rice to turn mushy while baking, so only cook the rice until it is partially soft and there is still liquid in the pan.
**2. If you are cooking the chicken thighs, place them in a deep skillet with 2 cups of water and simmer over medium heat until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
Take the thighs out of the stock and remove the skin. Then use a fork to shred the chicken from the bone. Strain the stock to remove any fat or skin that has fallen off of the chicken.
Add the chicken back to the stock and sprinkle in the cumin, chili pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside over low heat for 5 minutes.
3. In a casserole dish combine the rice, corn, soup, and chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Enjoy with a spoonful of your favorite salsa!

Note: I have no association with Knoll's - it's just my personal opinion!

Mrs. Bear is Sicky

While I am off trying to figure out what has been making me sick for over a week now... check out my next Yankee Challenge on The Hungry Southerner!

If you have any cooking tips about southern veggies PLEASE share!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aunt Ella's Macaroni and Cheese

I don't know who Aunt Ella is... but she sure knows how to make some New England mac n cheese!!
I found this recipe in my beloved The Cape Cod Style Cookbook by Jerome Rubin. I paired the cheesy goodness with some fresh corn on the cob and Turkey Meatloaf Muffins last night and let me tell you....Mr. Bear was a very very happy husband.

8 oz macaroni (your favorite shape)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (omitted)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (added)
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 cup milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated onion (omitted)
Paprika to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook the macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Drain the macaroni and return to saucepan. Stir in the butter and the egg.
2. In a large bowl, combine the mustard, salt, garlic salt, and nutmeg with the tablespoon of boiling water. Stir in the milk, 2 1/2 cups of the cheese, onion, and macaroni.
3. Pour the macaroni into a lightly greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 1 hour or until the top is all light brown and crusty. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Sorry folks - don't have a picture of this one! I made this recipe up back when the Bears were living together one summer and all they had to eat were the veggies from Mr. Bear's Mawmaw's garden! When you make this pleeeease send me your pictures!

4 large green peppers, caps, core, and seeds removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Assortment of diced veggies (carrots, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, etc)
1 1/2 c cooked brown rice
1 can tomato paste
2 TBSP Italian seasoning
Salt + pepper
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

1. Coat skillet with olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent over med-low heat. Add veggies and spices. Cook 10 minutes.

2. Stir in rice, tomato paste, plus 1/2 can water (use tomato paste can).

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat small baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Fill peppers with mixture - do not overfill. Sprinkle tops with parmesan cheese.

4. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the peppers are soft.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parmesan Dill Couscous

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 cup frozen broccoli, microwaved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Cook couscous according to directions on box. Add the rest of the ingredients.
2. Serve alongside your favorite fish!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shredded Chicken Burritos

Combine the following in a large bowl:
1 Rotisserie Chicken shredded (3 cups shredded chicken)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lime juice

Large Flour Tortillas

Use the following in amounts of your personal liking:
Mexican Rice - this one is pretty tasty:

Vegetarian Refried Beans (warmed in pan over stove top)
Shredded Cheese (used Mexican blend) 
Shredded Lettuce
Fresh Salsa
Lite Sour Cream
Black Olives

Warm tortilla between dampened paper towels in microwave for 20 seconds.
Layer beans, rice, chicken, cheese - cover with dampened paper towel. Heat in microwave for 20 seconds.
Top with lettuce, sour scream, salsa, olives.
Fold right and left sides in first. Roll from top to bottom.
Cover and microwave again for 20 seconds.
Cut diagonally and ENJOY!

Other add-ins: jalapenos, diced onion, hot sauce, green chiles, etc.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Easy Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 jalapeno, seeds/rib removed, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small tomato, seeds and pulp removed, diced

1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avacado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.

2. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the cilantro, garlic salt, salt, pepper, jalapeno, and lime juice. Mash the mix some more. Stir in the tomato last.

3. Cover with plastic wrap, directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation (green becomes brown), if not serving immediately.