Friday, February 28, 2014

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yup, a tasty, healthy (ish) cookie. And chocolate chip to boot. Now, I use a lot of butte in my house and I'll be the first to tell you, this recipe will not become my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. But, for those times when I want a sweet treat and want to not spiral down the sugar-guiilt road, these cookies will come into play just fine. Plus, they are good recipe to have on hand when you want to take a sweet treat to a gathering but don't want to be harassed for "making everyone fat" (I feed because I love, not because I want you to buy bigger pants). Either way, I was thrilled with how this recipe turned out. Dave thought the chewy inside was tasty, but he said that they definitely tasted like a healthy cookie. But I thought they were nutty without actually having nuts in them and liked the crisp edge surrounding the chewy center. And for a healthy cookie, they taste great. Clearly, Dave hasn't endured the flavorless, dense cardboard that can be a healthy cookie.

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brownie Biscotti

After making the Very Vanilla Biscotti and enjoying it so much, I knew a chocolate version wouldn't be too far behind. So I took on this brownie version and holy crap. Yes, this biscotti is that good. Now, I'm not a coffee person, but I would imagine this would be the perfect pair with cappuccino or espresso. A wonderful chocolate flavor from cocoa powder and chocolate chips is exactly what I was looking for as the ultimate yang to the Very Vanilla Biscotti's yin. Again, despite the double baking, this biscotti is uncomplicated. I omitted the nuts from the original recipe, but I would imagine it would be wonderful with added walnuts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Cups

I spent some of these snowy weekends recently filling our freezer with portioned meals that would be easy to pull together on a week night after work, particularly since the drives home have been a little rough lately between the rough weather and the standard commuter traffic. While I've made Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf before, I like this version because it was portioned out (so I could freeze it in meal sized packages to defrost as needed) and that it was stuffed with cheese, which was just plain awesome. Cheese, a crispy topping and a nice saucy flavor make this a delicious dish and great for a crowd, or for freezer-packing like I did. Serve with pasta or potatoes and make dinner easy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's play a game where you try to jam as many things as possible into one cookie. Ready? I'm going to start with these sweet, soft, nutty cookies with peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Boom. Jam packed cookie for the win. At first glance, this may seem like a pseudo-monster cookie, but really it's different in texture and in flavor because it doesn't have the M&Ms, nuts or some of the other things indicative of a monster cookie. These peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are soft and the chocolate chips dot a peanut butter based oatmeal cookie so each element has a clear part to play in flavor and texture. Yes, these cookies are all good down to the last crumb.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pizza Dip

Cheesy, gooey, flavorful pizza with all your favorite toppings just went crustless. But then you dip other crunchy things into it, so I guess it's not completely crustless. Unless you just want to eat it with a spoon. Which is totally an option. No seriously, I won't judge. But the crusty bread or chips or crackers really do go well with this dip, so maybe not so much with the spoon. I love dips for parties (and subsequent dinners from the leftovers) and this might be one of my new favorites. I made two versions--a veggie lovers with sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms and a classic pepperoni. Both were fantastic on their own, but Dave thought they could have been combined for one ultimate pizza dip party. This dip is perfect in that way though because you can customize it exactly to your liking with your favorite toppings, or divide it up and have different flavors based on your crowd and preferences. Either way, it's a big bowl of pizza flavored yum.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Baked Confetti Mini Donuts


Confetti = celebration. I mean, you don't through confetti when someone has bad news, right? And mini donuts are just plain fun. So of course these cakey mini donut speckled with rainbow sprinkles are just the thing to make a fun celebration out of a random day off like President's Day. Or make them on a Thursday to get you through the rest of the week. Or celebrate the weekend with these tasty, cakey, tender glazed bits of yum on a Saturday. I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Strawberry Almond Brownies

Here's a decadent, twist on chocolate covered strawberries. Forget the cold, slimy, overpriced version and toss those chopped up strawberries into a fudgy batter, add some almonds and bake those suckers into chewy brownies. Boom. Valentine's Day classic reinvented. I took these to work for a training and everyone loved them. There weren't a lot of people there, but I still only came home with a few of these guys--everyone needed seconds. The strawberries add a subtle sweetness and the almonds are a great change of pace to the regular walnut dotted brownie. A bit of amaretto adds an extra layer of flavor that really brings these brownies together. I may never go back to dipped strawberries.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Need a last minute Valentine's treat? Want it to be chocolatey, delicious and holiday-themed red velvet? Oh, and you want it to be quick and easy? Well, since you don't ask for much, I'll share these perfect soft and chewy red velvet crinkle cookies, super easy because they start with a prepackaged cake mix. Just a few ingredients and you'll turn that cake mix into a fun cookie perfect for after school treats, classroom parties, pot lucks or just to tell your Valentine you're in love. My cocoa snowflakes are one of my favorite fudgy cookies, so this red velvet interpretation is a definite winner for a twist on the flavor, with the same perfect texture.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snickerdoodle and Cream Ice Cream

Because making ice cream during a polar vortex/snow storm/nor'easter makes complete sense. But seriously, ice cream is welcome in this house no matter what the weather is like. It's the cure that ails you in my family and this snickerdoodle ice cream loaded with chunks of snickerdoodle cookie pieces is definitely one that will cure my winter blues. Creamy, sweet and deliciously speckled with cinnamon, this ice cream is awesome even without the chunks of cookie. Don't be afraid of making ice cream. I know a lot of people have an ice cream maker collecting dust in the back of a pantry or cabinet. Bring it out! You'll be shocked how easy this is--people will be wondering what brand started making a snickerdoodle flavor.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chocolate Covered Cherry Bombs

These truffles/cookies/cake balls are so yummy! And they'd be an adorable and easy little Valentine's Day treat. A twist on a traditional chocolate covered cherry, fudgy cake wraps around a sweet maraschino cherry and is then dipped in milk chocolate for a crisp coating, sealing in the deliciousness. I thought I had enough cherries with stems (the wick of the "bomb") but must not have been paying attention to the second jar since some of my treats are without the stems. But still equally yummy and fun. My cousin Angela messaged me almost immediately upon trying these, looking for the recipe. Yup, they're that good.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Fried Rice

Homemade take-out time! And I promise, with a little prep you can have this from fridge to table is about 15 minutes--faster than calling for take out and running to pick it up. Loaded with veggies and flavor, this is a simple dish that's sure to please. We get take nearly every time we order from the local Chinese restaurant, but I think we might have found a replacement. Make your rice a day or so before to chill and toss the chicken in the crock pot early in the day or in advance and this dish practically puts itself together. The key flavor comes from the sesame oil, which is now a pantry staple in our house (hello, beef with broccoli). Add in more veggies or swap in your favorites, use white or brown rice, even substitute pork if you have it on hand. This is an easy, customizable, super quick dinner that will have you tossing the take out menu in the trash.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shredded Teriyaki Chicken

We have probably too many containers in our freezer of shredded meats--buffalo chicken, taco chicken, pulled pork, shredded beef--all for quick meals put together with a handful of ingredients. We'll toss them on salads or pizzas, make burritos or sandwiches or mix them with rice and veggies for a healthy, tasty, and most importantly, quick, dinner. So adding an Asian-inspired flavor to the mix opened up lots more dinner options. There is some wonderful flavor in this chicken as in marinates in a sweet and salty sauce. Once you shred up the chicken, you'll hang on to some of that au jus for drizzling over a big bowl of brown rice, broccoli and this delicious and moist chicken. And hello, it's from the slow cooker, people. Dump, walk away, shred, eat. Plus, stay tuned for an awesome and fast chicken fried rice recipe featuring this shredded teriyaki chicken.