This Week in Yum

I’m still here, I promise! I’ve been slowly taking over my cooperating teacher’s schedule, so I’ve been getting more and more work (yay!). My time in the kitchen has mostly been spent recreating favorites and making quick meals. However, there have been a few noteworthy dishes I’ve devoured recently.

On Sunday, I sent my husband off to a Superbowl party with some Buffalo Chicken Dip, a true football party classic. He surprisingly brought some home, so on Tuesday I decided to use the leftovers to make grilled sandwiches, my family loves sandwiches, we typically visit the sandwich shop at least once a week so I thought it was a perfect idea. It was super easy, and really delicious – it tasted like it was a million calories, but I promise it wasn’t! All you need to do is make this buffalo chicken dip (second recipe listed), put about 3 tablespoons on your favorite bread, and grill away. Yum.

The next night, I made veggie burgers, but not just any veggie burger. A few weeks ago, Megan over at Running Foodie posted a recipe for eggplant burgers. As luck would have it, eggplants and burgers are two of my favorite things, and combining them was right up my alley. So, I bookmarked the recipe and finally made them. My husband isn’t a big eggplant fan, but he was pleasantly surprised when he found out the ingredients. The recipe makes 8 burgers, so I was able to enjoy some for lunch throughout the week. Double win. Unfortunately I was so excited to eat it all I didn’t snap a picture, but you should absolutely  make them.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge burrito fan, so I decided to add that to our menu for the week. This wasn’t just any burrito, though, it was  a grilled burrito, which is something I need to do more often. It was such an easy way to upgrade the burrito to a whole new level. If you can muster up waiting a few extra minutes before devouring your burrito, all you need to do is spray a pan with some non-stick cooking spray and heat it for about 2-3 minutes on each side. So good.

To round out my week of yum, I received some goodies I ordered from Pure Bliss Eats, and it’s been a struggle not to eat everything right away! I ordered the Chocolate Chip Dough Balls and some Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola. Almost all of the dough balls are gone already, and there is only a bit of the granola left, too. They are both SO good and since it’s healthy, I have no problem indulging frequently. If you’re in the market for some delicious healthy treats I would highly recommend checking out Pure Bliss Eats, especially because it’s a fellow foodie fitness blogger’s brainchild!

There’s plenty of yum on this week’s menu, and also lots of running. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October, so base training for that has begun! This round both the husband and I are planning to incorporate weight training into our plan as well, and we actually spent an extra hour at the gym today doing some leg work. I’m looking forward to making that a more regular occurrence, because I really believe cross training can help someone like me who’s so injury prone. Bring it on, running.

Leftovers: Crunchy Turkey Quesadilla

With the massive amounts of turkey left over (three Tupperware containers full, to be exact), I knew getting creative was necessary. Originally I was planning to make a simple turkey and cheese quesadilla on Sunday night, but decided to take it a step further. For anyone that’s ever been to Taco Bell, you know about the “Crunch Wrap Supreme,” which is folded over into itself in the middle, and has a nice crunch in addition to your typical quesadilla/burrito ingredients. I actually came across the original recipe from Hungry Girl awhile back, and decided to make it my own this time around.

In addition to the turkey and shredded pepper jack cheese (yum!) I sautéed some yellow onion with a chipotle in adobo. Once the onion was sautéed and the turkey was warm enough, I piled it into the middle of the tortilla, topping it with cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and a few pieces of corn tortilla chips. You then have to get your fold-on, folding from the outside in, making about 4-5 folds. You then just throw it on a pan (that you’ve already sprayed, of course) so the tortilla becomes golden brown, and each of the sides you’ve folded stick to one another. The entire meal took about 15 minutes to prepare, and when paired with a salad was perfect for dinner!

Prior to our lovely Sunday night dinner, after our 8 mile run, fiancé and I each devoured an ice cream float. During the entire second half of the run, all I could think about was food. Jamba Juice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milkshakes, etc. So on the very last leg of our run I announced my plan (albeit out of breath) – “I’m making an ice cream float!” to which my fiancé loudly responded “Oh $*%! Yes!” and immediately followed it with a “That was kind of loud… SORRY!” to anyone listening. As soon as we got inside I scooped some leftover ice cream into plastic cups, and topped it off with some soda left over from Thanksgiving. Oh it was heaven. My stomach didn’t appreciate it much later, and would have rather enjoyed a piece of bread and water, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Maybe next Saturday’s 10 miler will be followed up similarly.

Crunchy Turkey Quesadilla
– Serves 1 –
[Adapted from HungryGirl]

1 flour tortilla (warmed about 10 seconds in the microwave)
½ cup shredded cheese
½ cup shredded cooked turkey
¼ onion
¼ cup shredded lettuce (iceberg works nicely for crunch)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 chipotle in adobo
1 Tbsp sour cream
2-3 corn tortilla chips

1. Sautee onion in oil until almost translucent, add chipotle and turkey when almost done just to warm.
2. Once cooked, add onion and turkey mixture to middle of tortilla, topping with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
3. Fold tortilla inwards towards the middle, in about 4-5 sections.
4. Spray and re-heat skillet on medium heat, and add the quesadilla folded side down, cooking until slightly golden brown (about 2 minutes), flip and cook other side until also golden brown. Serve immediately.

Christmas Gift Review 2: Hungry Girl’s 200 Under 200 Cookbook

As promised, I’ve picked my next foodie Christmas gift to review. This one is definitely a favorite, simply because it’s absolutely delicious!

I don’t remember how or when I came across Hungry Girl, but my meal options have increased tenfold since! There are so many great recipes and just general tips on the site, that when I found out there were cookbooks too, I just had to have them.

Before getting the book, I had tried out recipes such a “Buff Chick Dip,” “Chicken with a Kick Pack,” and “Wrappers Delight” to name a few. Each of them were not only delicious and healthy, but super easy to make!

Written by the Hungry Girl herself, Lisa Lillien, this particular cook book boasts 200 recipes, each under 200 calories! Now, I haven’t followed each recipe exactly just based on what I’ve had available, but no matter what they’ve come out delicious! There really is something for everyone in the book; pastas, wraps, burgers, dips, desserts… the list just goes on and on.

So far from this book, I’ve made the EZ Tomato-Basil Chicken, Smothered Pig in a Blanket, and BLT Quesadilla. I’m sure you’re thinking there is no way the recipes are under 200 calories… But they are!

The chicken recipe was super simple, but a poor choice in chicken left the dish only passable. It was quick and served with just some spaghetti was a great post-gym refuel. However, I’m more than willing to try the dish again, hopefully this time with better chicken.

A few days later I ventured back to the book, this time to try the BLT Quesadilla. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of all types of Spanish/Mexican food. I was a little unsure about mixing the staples of my favorite type of food with bacon. However, if I’ve learned anything from Wife Swap, it’s that “bacon is good for me.” Let me tell you; I was wrong about this combo. It’s delicious!! The great part about the recipe is you can easily use regular bacon, turkey bacon, or veggie bacon depending on your preferences. This is really one of those recipes that you pat yourself on the back for not changing a single thing about it. I’ll absolutely make this again and again!

I had saved the most unbelievable (in my eyes) 200 under 200 dinner dish for last. Now, I hadn’t had my first chili dog until only a few months ago. My boyfriend actually looked horrified when I first told him that blasphemy. I was always really afraid of just how bad they were for you. So, when I saw that there was a take on them in this book, I was ecstatic! Similar to the quesadillas, you really have the ability to customize the dish based on your preferences; veggie hot dogs, turkey dogs, beef dogs, vegetarian chili, regular chili, etc. I settled on some Oscar Meyer turkey dogs, because they were only 40 calories with zero fat, and pretty low sodium. I saw Hormel’s spicy bean chili, so I immediately grabbed that too. I then followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Even my boyfriend, a seasoned chili dog eater was really impressed. They were definitely knife and forkers, but worth the effort! We each had two and a salad, and were good to go for just a little over 400 calories!

I can’t stress enough the sheer deliciousness of this book. I really want to make everything in it. I think my next stop will be cupcakes in ice cream cones. If that doesn’t bring you back to your elementary school birthdays, I don’t know what will!

So check out the three recipes below, and also follow the links above to Hungry Girl’s site, and the other recipe’s I’ve made from there. I don’t care if you’re a girl or a boy; I know you’re hungry! Happy nomzing!

EZ Tomato Basil Chicken

1 LB raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes with basil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Spray pan with nonstick spray, and heat on high. Add onions & cook till they brown (approx. 3 minutes)
3. Pour 1/2 tomatoes into medium baking pan. Lay chicken in the pan and top with onions.
4. Pour the rest of the tomatoes over the onions and chicken
5. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through
Serves: 4

Smothered Pigs in a Blanket

1 fat free hot dog
1 serving of Pillsbury reduced fat crecent rolls (refrigerated dough)
1/2 slice of fat free cheddar cheese (cut on a diagonal)
1/4 cup of low-fat veggie chili

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Roll out triangle dough, stretching a little
3. Lay cheese on triangle at the base
4. Place hot dog at base of dough and roll up
5. Place blanketed pup in baking pan, sprayed lightly
6. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes (till dough is slightly brown and crispy)
7. Meanwhile, heat chili in microwave.
8. Once piggie is cooked, plate and top with chili
Serves: 1

BLT Quesadilla

1 large low carb tortilla
2 tbsp fat free shredded cheese
2 slices extra lean turkey bacon
1/2 plum tomato, diced
1/2 cup shredded lettuce

1. Cook bacon according to package, set aside to cool
2. Spray pan and bring to medium heat. Lay torilla flat on the pan, and top evenly with cheese
3. Once cheese begins to melt, cover 1/2 the torilla with bacon and tomato
4. Using a spatula, carefully fold the cheese-only side to the other half, press down to seal, and cook 1 minute.
5. Flip, and continue to cook 1 minute until both sides are toasty
Serves: 1

A Foodie Christmas

This Christmas couldn’t have made it any more apparent how incredibly obsessed both my boyfriend and I are with food. This is a fact that I am more than okay with. I actually think there are some realms that our obsession is lacking, and I plan to make up for that in the coming year.

At any rate, the abundance of food related gifts were abundant this Christmas. I purchased a first-timer beer making kit for my boyfriend, from Mr. Beer. I’ve been told it’s an average beer making kit, and some of the more seasoned beer makers laughed at my purchase. Not knowing much (read: anything) about brewing beer, I thought it would be a good starter kit. For under $100 my boyfriend is going to get to brew two batches of beer!

As for me, my boyfriend got me two cookbooks. I’ve been pining over both, and apparently made comments about them every time I saw one. The first is a cupcake cookbook, 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly. It boasts to be “the only cupcake compendium you’ll ever need.” I can’t disagree with that statement; not only does it have 500 recipes, it has a plethora of variations for each as well. I also received Hungry Girl’s 200 Under 200 book. This book details 200 recipes each under 200 calories! And let me tell you, there are some seriously impressive recipes in there; cupcakes, pizza, chips and dips, breakfast, desserts, shakes and smoothies… the list just goes on. I’m really looking forward to making them, since I’ve found a few of their recipes on the website and have been more than pleased with their outcome.

For both my boyfriend and I, we received quite a few appliances. One would think we were on a wedding registry! Together, we’ve stockpiled a giant George Foreman grill, a waffle maker, a four slice toaster, and a nice toaster/convection oven. We have so many appliances on our counter that we’re running out of space. While trying to make breakfast yesterday and running the toaster and microwave at the same time, I managed to short the circuit… whoops.

Not directly related to food making or consumption, but I also received a beautiful cupcake necklace on Christmas. When I unwrapped it, I thought it was a cupcake shaped keepsake box. Being inquisitive I opened it, to find a beautiful gold and diamond cupcake on an extremely thin gold chain. Nothing says “I love food” more than wearing a piece of food around your neck. Or, of course, simply writing it across your forehead.

Needless to say I’m starting to see great things in terms of food for 2010. This year really allowed me to delve into my foodie passion, and I hope to explore it more in 2010. Maybe I can even get a group together for more consistent foodie excursions!

I’ll be making Guinness with Bailey’s icing cupcakes for the New Year’s Eve bash I’ll be attending tomorrow, so look for a post in the near future about how they turned out!