January 2009


Quaker True Delights

Quaker True Delights

Have you seen these yet?  Better yet, have you tried them?  I got hooked up with a few samples of each flavor through FoodBuzz’s Tastemaker program and I must say that I am sold!

My goodie bag included:

  • Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond
  • Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut
  • Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry

And yes, while the names are a mouthful, you know what to expect in the product just by looking at the labels. Speaking of labels, I immediately turned to see the nutritional information, 140 calories per bar.  How keep the calorie count so low with such rich flavors and the perfect amount of dried fruits and nuts in each bite is beyond me.

Picking a favorite was tough, but I must say that the coconut lover in me sided with the Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut.

Oh but this gets better.. you can get your own free samples too.  Simply visit the Quaker True Delights website and click on the “Get a Free Sample” button.

Now on to figure out what else I can do with them…

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This recipe is so easy that you will find yourself making it over and over again. Not sure I should even call it a recipe, but more of “an alternative to the traditional gyro”. Though, my college roommate is probably rolling her eyes as she reads this. You see, in the brain of a Greek person this does not compute: gyro~pork.

The recipe I will share here is the one for the tzatziki. I also learned to make this in college, and the trick here is to strain the cucumbers and eliminate as much of the water as possible. This guarantees the dip to stay creamy. I like to place the grated cucumber in a piece of cheese cloth, tie it, and let it drain over a strainer.

One last thing, chicken works very nice as a substitution to the pork.

Roasted Pork Pita

Roasted Pork Pita


Ingredients:

2 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chicken broth
Sliced cucumber
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced onions
1/2 cup tzatziki
Crumbled Feta cheese
Chopped cilantro

Method:
1. Season pork chops with salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Place in a pan with chicken broth, and simmer in low to medium heat for 1 hour. Cut up into cubes and set aside.
2. Prepare tzatziki per instructions below, set aside.
3. Toast pita bread in a toaster oven or a skillet for a minute to warm up the bread.
4. Assemble pita by starting with the pita bread, followed by tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, pork, tzatziki, feta and chopped cilantro.

For the Tzatziki:
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 cup light sour cream
2 cloves of garlic
1 TB lemon juice

Grate the cucumbers and allow them to drain for an hour if possible. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, crushed garlic and lemon till well combined. Then fold in the grated cucumber, and there you have it! Fresh tzatziki to enjoy in this recipe and use as a great dip for pita bread and fresh veggies.

Wraps were always a last resort for me. However, as the food industry started to lighten them up, they quickly became a favorite; and replacement for bread when given the option at the sandwich shop. At home, they are my go-to alternative when I am not in the mood for the heaviness of bread.

I wanted to add some tasty crunchiness to this wrap; so I used panko and parmesan to “bread” the chicken before oven frying it. Avocado slices provide a smooth contrast to the crunchiness of the chicken. A simple “salsa” of black beans, corn, jarred jalapenos, cilantro and fresh lime juice make the perfect side dish for this light dinner option.

Crunchy Chicken Wrap

Crunchy Chicken Wrap

Ingredients:
6 chicken tenders, about 1/2 inch in thickness
Salt and pepper
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups of panko
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 haas avocado, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup shredded colby jack
Sliced tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
Romaine lettuce leaves
Soft tortillas, burrito size

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, set aside.
3. Prepare two dipping stations for the breading process. The first one for the half and half, the second one for a mixture of the panko and parmesan cheese.
4. Dip the chicken in the half and half, then in the panko mixture. Place on a metal baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
5. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, turning twice.
6. In the meantime, prepare the other components of the wrap by peeling and slicing the avocado; warming up the tortilla, chopping the cilantro, and pulling out a few romaine lettuce leaves.
7. To assemble the tortilla, once the chicken is cooked, start with warming up the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. To keep the tortillas pliable. place in between two paper towels, sprinkle lightly with water, and then microwave.
8. Lay the tortilla on a plate, then place the lettuce followed by the chicken, cheese, tomato slices, avocado and cilantro.
9. Tuck ends of the tortilla and wrap!

This recipe combines a traditional store bought pesto with my home made roasted red pepper pesto. I really like the way these two flavors meld together, and the jarred pesto is a nice alternative in the winter months when fresh basil is not readily available.

Double Pesto Pasta

Double Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 TB basil pesto
3 TB roasted red pepper pesto
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 lb shrimp (21-25 ct)
Shaved parmesan

Method:
1. In a large skillet, heat up olive oil and cook onions till softened.
2. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add pestos and chicken broth and cook for an additional 3 minutes allowing the flavors to blend. Mixture should be thin enough to coat the shrimp; add broth as needed.
4. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, turn shrimp, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
5. Served over cooked whole wheat rigatoni and top with shaved parmesan.

For the Roasted Red Pepper Pesto:
In a food processor combine a large jar (12 or 14 oz) of drained roasted red peppers, half of a parsley bunch, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, and 3 TB of extra virgin olive oil. Puree and use in this and other recipes. This works great as a spread for sandwiches too.

This makes quite a bit of pesto, which you can keep in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.

My laptop fell ill to what my techie-friend described as “one of the smartest viruses I have ever seen”. Luckily he outsmarted the virus, and I have a healthy laptop again.

Like half, or maybe more of the people out there, I have been working on lightening up some recipes. With that in mind, stay tuned for:

  • Two Pesto Shrimp over Whole Wheat Rigattoni – I am so excited about this one, as it is yet another way to use my homemade roasted red pepper pesto.
  • Panko Crusted Chicken Wrap – Since discovering Panko I have not gone back to traditional breadcrumbs. The breading for the chicken tenders in this wrap is just the right thickness and super crunchy, thanks to Panko.
  • Roated Pork Pita – I love love love Greek food. I was spoiled by having a Greek roommate in college which gave me first hand exposure to real Greek food. Her sister made the best tzatziki in the world, which is a key ingredient to this lightened up gyro.

I had really planned on a healthy recipe to ring in the New Year on the blog.  And I have that recipe, but the excitement of Sticky Toffee Pudding is taking precedence.

The plan was to make this last Sunday, as we were entertaining some friends from out of town.  The menu changed, this morning I still had dates mocking me; and well, I just had to take care of that.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The recipe is from Epicurious and can be found here.  I did make a couple of adjustments as I wanted a gooey consistency.  I cut back to 3/4 cups of flour, and added an additional 1/4 cup of dates and 1/4 cup of cream to the mixture.  Do notice that although not listed on the ingredients list, the recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

happy-new-year

Here’s to a New Year that finds you in good health and brings happiness, joy and lots of good eats to you and your family!