Recipe Review: Please Cheese Me (i.e. Healthy Mac N Cheese)

I’ve been making this for several years now and my husband and I both love it.  It’s originally from a website called Hungry Girl but I make it slightly differently.  It’s delish!  It’s also quick to make so it’s great for weeknights.

Please Cheese Me - a healthy alternative to mac n cheese (note - for picture source, click the Hungry Girl link above)

Please Cheese Me – a healthy alternative to mac n cheese (note – for picture source, click the Hungry Girl link above)

Please Cheese Me

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boxes of frozen cauliflower in cheese sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked whole wheat spiral (rotini) pasta, uncooked
  • 4 wedges Laughing Cow Original
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare pasta according to the instructions on the box, and then drain well and set aside. While pasta is cooking, place cauliflower in microwave and cook according to manufacturers instructions (note: it may take longer than suggested on the packaging).  Make sure to stir your cauliflower every few minutes to prevent burning.
  2. Put cooked cauliflower (with sauce) and Laughing Cow in a food processor and process until smooth.  Add any salt or pepper at this time and re-blend.
  3. Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine.

THOUGHTS

  • If you want to change up the flavor, you can use a different kind of Laughing Cow (other than the Original).
  • This is not going to replace Kraft Mac N Cheese like you ate growing up.  However, it’s much healthier and contains about half the calories and less than half of the fat of the packaged kind.
  • Note: this photo shows the pasta topped with parsley.  I’ve never served it this way and probably wouldn’t.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

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Recipe Review: Pecan-Crusted Catfish

So I’ve had some leftover catfish filets in the freezer for a while now and decided to use it up on this recipe.  I’m fairly certain I found this in a Cooking Light magazine a while back but I couldn’t find it online.

Pecan-Crusted-Catfish

(note: this picture is not mine – the source can be located here)

Pecan-Crusted Catfish

Serves:  4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup pecan meal*
  • 4 (6-ounce) catfish filets
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 lemon wedges

* note:  I couldn’t find pecan meal so I did some research and it turns out that it’s really just finely chopped up pecans.  I pulsed some pecan pieces in my food processor until they looked small and similar to whole wheat flour.  Make sure you don’t over process or you’ll end up with pecan butter (i.e. peanut butter made out of pecans)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish; stir well.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs and pecan meal in another shallow dish.
  4. Pat fish dry.
  5. Dip fish in egg mixture and dredge in breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to coat.
  6. Spray fish with cooking spray.
  7. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Serve with lemon wedges.

THOUGHTS

  • I had everything I needed on hand except the lemon which made this dish quick and easy.  Oh… and it’s also really, really yummy.
  • I served this with some steamed broccoli and both my husband and I really enjoyed it.  This will definitely be served again at my house.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: P.F. Chang’s Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Remember when I told you a while back that we made our first trip to Trader Joe’s?  Well, one of the things we bought while we were there was some chicken and vegetable potstickers.  They’ve been hanging out in our freezer since then and we decided to cook them up the other night and make this dipping sauce to enjoy as well.  I have no idea where I originally found this recipe – I just searched for a copy cat of P.F. Chang’s Dumpling sauce years ago and found it.

P.F. Chang’s Dumpling Dipping Sauce

(note: this image is not mine – the source can be found here)

P.F. Chang’s Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Serves: not listed, but this made enough for probably 6 servings for my husband and I, perhaps more.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 oz white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 oz sugar
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • sesame oil, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients.

THOUGHTS

  • My husband loved this – I thought it was waaaay too salty.  I added a lot more sugar to mine and it was much tastier that way (for me at least).
  • I’ve recently found a post on the P.F. Chang’s website that shows their recipe for their sauce.  I think I’ll be trying this sometime soon.  However, after looking over the ingredients I don’t think they were 100% forthcoming.  We’ll see.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Asian Spaghetti

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time successfully cooking Asian food for some reason.  I have no idea why, but that ability eludes me frequently.  However, the other night I made this dish from Taste of Home and it was delicious.

asian spaghetti

Asian Spaghetti

Serves:  5 (haha, yeah right – more like 2 to 3 if you’re eating this as your only side like we did)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, snow peas, carrots and onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar and cayenne. Drain pasta. Add pasta and soy sauce mixture to skillet and toss to coat. Heat through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

THOUGHTS

  • I purchased presliced mushrooms and matchstick carrots which meant the only thing I had to chop was 4 scallions – this dish came together in a flash!  Great for a quick weeknight meal.  We served this with chicken marinated in a 30-minute Asian marinade I found near the salad dressings and BBQ sauce at our local grocery store.
  • This dish is a bit strong in the soy sauce department in my opinion but my husband disagrees.  I am not a huge lover of soy sauce like he is however.  I think next time I’ll use ½ soy sauce and ½ water or perhaps try tamari sauce which is supposedly a less salty, richer tasting type of soy sauce.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

I found this recipe in a Health magazine (or perhaps on their website, I can’t keep it all straight anymore).  I have no idea what drew me to it but it’s easy and pretty darn yummy. 

Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Baked Ricotta With Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes

Serves:  4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 of a sourdough loaf
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 ounces part-skim ricotta
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Slice sourdough loaf into batons, brush with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake 8-9 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small cast iron pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic to pan and cook until bubbling and fragrant, about one minute more.
  5. Place ricotta in the pan, transfer to oven, and bake until bubbly (9-10 minutes).
  6. Remove.
  7. Toss cubed tomatoes with crushed red pepper; spoon over ricotta.
  8. Sprinkle with basil leaves and serve with toasted bread.

THOUGHTS

  • I served this the other night for girls night and the ladies seemed to quite enjoy it.  I thought it was rather tasty myself.
  • If you want to add the variety of color that you see in the photos you need to use different kinds of heirloom tomatoes.  Or, you can be plain and boring like me and just use red ones.  Haha.
  • This dish doesn’t reheat particularly well so I’d serve it in a setting where you think all of it will be eaten. 
  • I think 2 Tablespoons of oil is a bit much.  When I make this next time I might cut that in half. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

I think I’ve mentioned before that I stink at making Chinese food.  Sometimes, however, I stumble across a recipe that does most of the work for me, like this one

orange-chicken rice bowl

Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • ¼ cup chopped salted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry 5 to 7 min. or until done.
  2. Stir in dressing and juice. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook 5 to 7 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve over rice; top with nuts.

THOUGHTS

  • The flavor of this dish is great, but I prefer mine with more sauce so I think next time I’ll double the sauce contents (the dressing and orange juice). 
  • I’m not an enormously huge fan of broccoli in my Chinese food and most frozen stir-fry mixes are at least 50% broccoli.  I think next time I’ll use half a bag of stir-fry mix and half a bag of frozen bell peppers and onions. 
  • This is definitely a quick and easy weeknight meal. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes with Tarragon

Beautiful.  Easy.  Delicious.  Need I say more?  You can view this recipe here

Marinated Heirloom Tomatos with Tarragon

Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes with Tarragon

Serves: 8 servings (serving size: about 3 tomato slices)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons extravirgin olive
  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Arrange tomatoes on a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with salt and pepper; drizzle with shallot mixture.

THOUGHTS

  • Y’all this recipe is so easy and when I served it at girls night every girl raved.  This dish is super simple to make and would be a great dish for a potluck. 
  • This dish doesn’t do well as “leftovers” so I’d make sure that you feed it to a large group or cut the ingredients in half if you just want to feed 4 people. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

So I love this dish, like a lot.  It’s a Kraft recipe that you can find here.  If you happen to click on that link you’ll notice that it says that in France, they make this dish with 40 cloves of garlic instead of 20.  I might just have to make it with 40 next time.  I made this dish for girls night the other night and we were all calling “DIBS!” on the garlic cloves.  Soooo yummy. 

Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
  • 20 cloves garlic, peeled (I used the pre-peeled kind you can find in the refrigerated section of your stores produce department)
  • ¾ cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup creamy Caesar dressing
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 4 min., turning chicken after 2 min.
  2. Stir in broth and dressing; cover skillet with lid. Cook chicken 3 to 5 min. on each side or until done (165ºF).
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 min.

THOUGHTS

  • Using the pre-peeled garlic makes all the difference in the world with this dish.  You can cut your prep down to about two minutes by using this which means that you can pop this on the stove quick, fast and in a hurry on a weeknight. 
  • The picture shows this dish being served with roasted carrots and potatoes but I felt like this made for a really monochromatic dish so I served it with marinated tomatoes and the Buttery Almond Green Beans.  I’ll be sharing the tomato recipe soon. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups

I have a confession to make.  I have a bit of a condiment problem.  You see, I don’t really like them unless they’re tomato based (like ketchup or salsa).  I won’t eat mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, guacamole, or pretty much any dressing with the exception of something oil based (like Italian).  There’s something about that creamy consistency that most condiments have that just sends me running for the hills.  So, when I came across this recipe from Amazing Pinterest World I was intrigued, but nervous.  It contains ranch dressing and I just wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.  Man was I surprised!

*Please note that Amazing Pinterest World is not the originator of this recipe.  She just posts recipes that she finds on Pinterest.  I am not sure of the original source. 

Baked Cheddar-Broccoli Rice Cups

Baked Cheddar Broccoli Rice Cups

Serves:  4 (2 per person) or 8 (1 per person)… trust me, you’ll want 2.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (like Minute Rice)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10-oz. box frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and excess water squeezed out
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Prepare rice as directed on package, substituting stock for water. 
  3. Place cooked rice in a large bowl and let cool slightly. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, using only 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, and stir until combined.
  5. Transfer mixture to eight well-greased muffin cups–I like to use an ice cream scoop–and top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. 
  6. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until tops are lightly browned and edges are starting to get crispy.

THOUGHTS

  • OMG y’all these were SOOOO GOOD.  Surprisingly, however, my husband… who loves ranch dressing, hated these and asked me to never make them again.  I’ve decided that he’s broken.  That’s really the only explanation I can come up with.  Since he hates them I’m thinking very seriously about making them on Sundays for me to take to work for breakfast a few days a week.  I know it’s sort of a weird breakfast meal but you get your grains/fiber from the brown rice, your protein from the egg and cheese, and some veggie goodness from the broccoli.  That makes for a pretty good breakfast right?
  • I honestly can’t remember what I paired these with but I think it was baked chicken.  Then again, I could just make a meal out of these babies and forget the rest.  Sooooo yummy.  Go make them!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Amish-inspired Beefy Casserole Pie

Recipe Review: 

I found this recipe via an online booklet I received called Frugal Recipes: 26 Easy Ground Beef Casserole Recipes.  You can get a copy of this free ebook by clicking here.  This is the first time I’ve made a recipe from this booklet.  You can view this particular recipe by clicking here.

Amish-inspired Beefy Casserole Pie

Amish-inspired Beefy Casserole Pie

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small package cream cheese
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 1 cup canned corn with pimento
  • 1 package refrigerated biscuits

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brown ground beef in skillet; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Mix cream cheese, soup and corn in a seperate bowl.
  4. Pour into two quart casserole dish. Add beef.
  5. Top with biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes.

THOUGHTS

  • I originally picked this recipe because I thought it’d be something quick and easy that my husband could pull together on a night when I was working late or had other plans.  He likes “manly meals” and this sounded like one to me. 
  • At first, my husband liked this dish.  After a while, whoever, he changed his mind and told me he hated it and to never ever make it again.  Want to know what caused the flip?  It was the biscuits.  You see, after cooking them for 20 minutes, the ones towards the outside of the pan were cooked, but the parts towards the middle weren’t.  You couldn’t tell from looking at the top of the dish… everything looked uniform.  But underneath, the biscuits were still raw.  He took one bite of raw biscuit and gagged.  That was it for him.  Sadly, I’m not entirely certain how to fix this problem except for one way… take your biscuits, smush them together and then roll them out so that they resemble a piecrust.  Then top the casserole dish with your biscuit pie crust. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.