Monday, June 11, 2018

Coconut Chocolate Cookies


Coconut Chocolate Cookies

I was given a simple task, find a recipe for a cookie or dessert that was healthier than the normal fare that we might get at a grocery store or, let alone, out at an ice cream place.  Something to enjoy after dinner that is satisfying as a dessert.  Well, I did not have a great deal in the house, but I found an amazing recipe at Cooking Light for Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  Using the coconut really was fantastic.  I will play with this recipe some more - but I love the flavor that the toasted coconut gives to the cookie.  This is definitely a keeper and you likely have all the ingredients right now in your kitchen (maybe you will have to pickup the coconut).  Very easy and delicious.  The batch is around 20 large cookies - with my guess that each has around 100 calories.

Ingredients (Makes around 20 large cookies)

1 cup Flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp Table salt
3/4 cup Light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup Unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Arrange coconut in a single layer in a small baking pan. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring after four minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Into a mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and table salt.  Stir with a whisk until blended.
4. Place sugar and butter in a mixing bowl or mixer.  Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add  vanilla and egg and mix until blended. Slowly add flour mixture, beating at low speed, until combined. Then add the toasted coconut and chocolate also at low speed.
5. Drop mix by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper. 6. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown (one sheet at a time).  Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire racks.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Baked Shrimp Egg Rolls


Baked Shrimp Egg Rolls


This fall, I tried out a recipe for Baked Apple Pie Rolls that used egg roll wrappers as a crust.  These were so excellent, that I started digging around and looking for a lower calorie egg roll that uses the same basic steps.  I also drew inspiration from a few other recipes including one from the Spruce on making low calorie baked egg rolls and one from Dashing Dish. I loved, loved, loved the way these came out and they are very simple to use, especially if you start with a Asian Chopped Salad.  I am not sure how many calories are here - but they are way better than restaurant egg rolls - so we can start with that.  I probably need to get a picture of them open!  But these are really great.

Ingredients (makes 8 pie rolls)

Olive oil spray
4 oz Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup Shrimp, cooked and chopped into 1/4" pieces
10.5 oz Asian chopped salad (around 3 1/2 cups)
1 tbsp Soy sauce
8 egg roll wrappers

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray pan with olive oil spray and place over medium-high heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute for 7-8 minutes.
3. Add chopped shrimp and Asian chopped salad to the pan.  Mix thoroughly and saute for 1-2 additional minutes.
4. Add soy sauce and saute for one minute more.  Remove from heat.
5. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet - and lightly spray with olive oil.
6. Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean work surface with one corner facing you. Brush the edges of the egg roll wrapper with water. Using a large slotted spoon, place around 1/3 cup of the egg roll filling in the center of the wrapper. Take the corner facing you and fold it over the filling.  Then fold both sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll up as tightly as possible. Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
7. Lightly spray the top of the egg rolls with olive oil.
8. Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn over and bake for 10 more minutes.

Enjoy with plum sauce or Chinese hot mustard.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I have had a long-standing desire to eat healthier and mix up more vegetarian meals into the mix.  One of the best options in this environment is quinoa, a great hi-protein grain that is part of a great vegetarian diet.  I have played with a few recipes including this one for what I called Summer Quinoa Salad a few years ago.  I wanted to play with it a bit to get rid of the tomatoes for the Mrs. and add in some other flavors.  I made this the first time and it came out great.  I loved adding in the roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. These are nice parts of the Mediterranean diet - so that is how this recipe got its name. Even the Mrs. loved it!  While it does have a good deal of protein per serving (sorry I did not figure that out), but as made, the salad has around 211 calories per cup.  That might seem lot a bit much. but quinoa adds protein and calories to the mix.  Serve it on a bed of spinach for a more filling lunch or side.

Ingredients (Serves 8-10):
1 cup Quinoa (white or tri-colored)
1/2 cup Pine nuts
1/3 cup Olive oil
4 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp Black pepper (adjust to taste)
1 Cucumber, peeled and finely diced (if using a seedless cuke - leave the peel on)
2 Roasted red peppers, diced
14-16 Kalamata olives, chopped
1 small or 1/2 medium Red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup Parsley (fresh), chopped

Directions
1. Rinse quinoa under running water to make sure it is clean.
2. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for around 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove pot from heat and let cool in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a small saute pan over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts (shaking the pan often so they do not burn) for around 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add pine nuts to the mixing bowl with the quinoa.
4. In a small bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
5. In the large mixing bowl (with the quinoa and pine nuts), add diced cucumber, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, red onion, and parsley. Add olive oil mix and thoroughly blend the salad.

Enjoy as a side or as an entree with a bed of spinach or greens.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Baked Apple Pie Rolls


Baked Apple Pie Rolls

Well...this is amazing!  I found this recipe for Fried Apple Pie Rolls from Eating Well and it looked too good NOT to make.  I am not someone that has made apple pies at home - but since it is harvest season and there are apples everywhere.  I love this recipe because it is relatively low calories for a baked good.  Following one of the comments under the recipe who suggested baking it instead of frying it, I thought I would give it a shot.  I played with the recipe, lowered the sugar a bit and I have to figure this new version is probably around 170-180 calories each (the original was around 207 calories).  That is just an estimate - but it is good enough for me.  These tasted great.  I might need to put in a little less filling or spread it over to a 9th pie roll.  We heated them up in the microwave for around 15-20 seconds to give it a bit of warmth before eating.  I am sure they would be great with ice cream - but we are trying to watch calories!

Ingredients (makes 8 pie rolls)
2 tbsp Butter
4 Apples, peeled & diced (I used granny smith and honeycrisp apples)
2 tbsp & 4 tsp Sugar, divided
1 3/4 tsp Cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp All-purpose flour
2 tsp Lemon juice
8 egg roll wrappers
Olive oil spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted.
3. Add diced apples, 2 tbsp & 3 tsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and Kosher salt. Mix thoroughly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened, 8-9 minutes.
4. Add flour and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
5. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet - and lightly spray with olive oil.
6. Place an egg roll wrapper on a clean work surface with one corner facing you. Brush the edges of the egg roll wrapper with water. Place around 1/3 cup of the apple filling in the center of the wrapper. Take the corner facing you and fold it over the filling.  Then fold both sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll up as tightly as possible. Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
7. Lightly spray the top of the pie rolls.  Combine remaining 1 tsp of sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the pie rolls.
8. Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn over and bake for 10 more minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Avocado Egg Salad


Avocado Egg Salad

So I have been really working on losing weight and eating better.  One of my favorite comfort foods is egg salad - but it can be really bad when you get it in a restaurant.  I have my recipe that I shared a bunch of years ago, but I saw a recipe that looked intriguing.  I had seen a number of recipes for pulling an avocado into egg salad (including this one) as a way to reduce mayo and get some healthy fats in your diet.  So I took a few recipes and played with it a bit.  This is my first attempt and I really like it.  It makes around five 1/2 cup servings and they clock in at around 164 calories.  Avocado gives you alot of calories, but it gives you lots and lots of nutrients.  Ditto on the Chia seeds.  So it is a good trade-off.  Anyway, I love the way this came out and will be a great lunch and snack.

Ingredients (five 1/2 cup servings at 164 calories each)
1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
5 Eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped
2 Celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tbsp Mayonnaise (olive oil or light)
1 tsp Lemon juice
1 tbsp Diced onions (dried)
2 tsp Chia seeds
1 tsp Parsley (dried)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Celery seed
1/4 tsp Black pepper

Directions

1. Mash avocado with a fork in a medium bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients (eggs through pepper) and mix thoroughly until blended.

Enjoy!  You may need to add a bit of mayonnaise if it gets dried out.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Flounder and Sauteed Mushrooms


Flounder and Sauteed Mushrooms

This is a new dish that I developed from a variation of one of our favorites, sauteed mushrooms (as inspired by Agostino's Ristorante Italiano (or Agostino's By The Sea) in Capistrano Beach, California.  We want to eat more fish, and it dawned on me that this was a good way to do it.  The fish came out very tender and flavorful.  I believe that you can use virtually white fish here, say tilapia or whitefish (you may want to adjust the cooking time for thickness).  We had flounder.  Even though it was a bit freezer burned - but it came out great!  As a kid growing up in New Jersey, flounder was our everyday fish.  Things are definitely not that way in the Midwest.

I do not have the calories figured out - or even estimated, but I have to figure this is a pretty good meal for a low-calorie dining plan.  While you can serve this beautifully with a baguette, having a green vegetable to go with this would also be great.  It is a very nice way to prepare fish that is very different that what we normally do at home.  And it came out great.

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Butter
2 oz can Anchovies (with most of the oil drained)
2 cloves (or tsp) Chopped garlic
1 Shallot (small), chopped
1 tbsp Parsley, dried
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp Black pepper (adjust to taste)
16 oz White mushrooms, stems trimmed and larger ones halved
1/2 cup Chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup Sherry or cooking sherry
2 Flounder fillets (or other thinner white fish such as haddock or tilapia)

Directions
1. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes (or until the butter is melted).
2. Add anchovies, garlic, shallot, parsley Kosher salt and black pepper.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, breaking up the anchovies.
3. Add mushrooms and saute until they are blended with the anchovies-garlic mixture.
4. Add the broth and sherry.  Saute for 5-7 minutes.
5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the pan (leaving as much liquid as possible in the pan).  Put a piece of foil over the mushrooms to keep warm in a serving bowl.
6. Place the flounder in the pan.  Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.
7. Lower the heat to medium and add the mushrooms back to the pan.  Cook uncovered for around 2-3 minutes.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mushroom and Sausage Mini-quiches



Mushroom and Sausage Mini-quiches

We have made these a few times and they are wonderful!  I adapted this recipe from Eating Well (one of my favorite sites).  We added more sausage to match with the package sizes we can easily get here.  These have (I think) around 150 calories and lots of protein.  We have one or two for breakfast or lunch - they reheat very easily - around 30-40 seconds for one and 60 seconds for two.  This recipe makes 12 mini-quiches (a full muffin pan's worth) and they are pretty sturdy.  These are great to have on hand for a quick breakfast or snack!

Ingredients (makes 12 mini-quiches)

12 oz Turkey breakfast sausage (removed from casing and crumbled into small pieces)
2 tsp Olive oil
8 oz Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, finely shredded
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
6 Eggs
1 cup Skim milk

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until golden brown, breaking it up as it cooks, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. 
3. Add olive oil to the pan. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl with the sausage. Let cool for 5-7 minutes. Stir in Swiss cheese, Kosher salt and black pepper.
4. Whisk eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups (to around 2/3 of the height of the muffin cup). Spoon in a heaping tablespoon of the sausage and mushroom mixture into each cup. 
5. Bake in oven for around 27-29 minutes, or until tops are just beginning to brown.  Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. The easy way to get the mini-quiches out is to flip the pan over a rimmed baking sheet and they should pop right out.

Enjoy!