Archive for December, 2009

Mini Quiche

Here is another great party recipe.  I made several batches of this for my mom’s birthday party and they were a big hit.  There really is no right or wrong way to make this recipe.  Every single batch was a different combination of veggies and cheese and each one was great.  I think my personal favorite was with sundried tomato and jack cheese but the green onions and mushrooms with swiss cheese was also a hit.  I  made batches of them for weeks prior to her party and stored them in the freezer.  Several people asked for the recipe at the end of the party.  I think they would also go well on a brunch menu.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup crushed saltine or ritz crackers
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 eggs or ½ cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup  low fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing veggies
  • Tabasco if desired
  • 1 cup grated cheese such as cheddar, jack or swiss
  • 1 cup finely chopped veggies any combination such as mushrooms, sun dried tomato, red or green onion, tiny broccoli florets, or even veggie sausage crumbles

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter. Divide crumbs among mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with a nonstick spray. Divide cheese evenly over the cracker crust.  Saute veggies until just cooked in a little olive oil. Cool, and then divide evenly on top of the cheese. Beat eggs; add milk, and seasoning. Pour by spoonfuls on top of the veggies in tins. Fill about 2/3s full. Bake until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not over bake. This recipe can be cooked in advance and frozen.  Reheat in 350 oven 10-15 minutes before serving.

Taco Dip

I just realized that I’ve been making this particular dip for over 15 years!  It’s pretty much expected at any family gathering.  Chopping the veggies takes the longest but even with that the entire recipe takes under 10 minutes to prepare.  The mixture of chopped veggies gives it a very festive holiday type appearance.  I have even played around with the veggies one year shaping them like a Christmas tree.  If you’re bringing it somewhere else, you may want to keep the chopped veggies and cheese in separate containers and assemble it just before eating.  I’ve done this several times and it only takes a couple of minutes.  I served this on Christmas for my family and last night basically dipped off the leftover toppings for a pretty unhealthy but tasty dinner.

Taco Dip

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (light is fine)

1 cup medium salsa

1/2 cup chopped red, vidalia or green onions

1/2 cup chopped pepper (choose a color that best matches your theme, personally I alternate)

1/2 cup chopped roma tomato

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Tortilla chips

Preparation:

Place the 2 cream cheese in a pie or quiche dish and microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir the mixture well to remove lumps and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of salsa, stir well and microwave for 30 more seconds

Stir the mixture once out of the microwave and remove all the lumps, top this with a thin coating of the leftover salsa

Sprinkle the veggie mixture on top of the dish so that it is well coated and then cover with the cheese

Serve immediately with tortilla chips

Apple Pie Dip with Cheddar

I think I’m going to dedicate this week to dips and appetizer foods since many people are looking for something interesting to make or bring to a New Year’s Eve gathering.  Today’s recipe Apple Pie Dip is one I got from my friend Kathy.  She brought it to a pot luck at work once and we all devoured it.  I then asked her for the recipe to make for my mom’s surprise  birthday party and everyone wanted the recipe.  The original recipe is from Nabisco but I made a few changes to it and lightened it up a  bit.  In case I haven’t said it “Thanks Kathy” for giving us a new favorite recipe!

Apple Pie Dip with Cheddar

Ingredients:

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and a dash of cardamom or nutmeg

1 each: red and green apple, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 8oz package  light cream cheese at room temperature

1-1/2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar

1/2 cup lowfat Sour Cream

Reduced Fat Wheat Thins

Preparation:

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Combine brown sugar and spices in a bowl. Add apples and walnuts; toss until e

venly coated. Set aside.

MIX cream cheese and Cheddar cheese in medium bowl. Add sour cream; stir until well blended. Spread into 9-inch pie plate; top with apple mixture.

BAKE 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with cracker

Easy Enchiladas

This recipe is great after all the holiday rushing around and extra cooking.   It’s a quick throw together recipe with no true right or wrong way.  I make several variations depending on my mood and what’s in the house.  For my husband I always throw in a little grilled chicken which I buy the frozen variety.  This way i just grab a handful, defrost them and basically deal with on a minimal level.  His also go in a separate pan.  For my son I buy the largest soft tortilla’s because  that fits his appetite, but please  buy the appropriate size for your appetite.  He will eat 2 large enchilada’s and I will eat a half of one typically.  For all of the ingredients use as little or as much as you want.  The only specific part of the recipe is making the sauce which takes about 2 minutes.  This is almost too easy to call a recipe but is a dinner we all look forward to.

Enchilada Sauce

1 package of taco seasoning

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce

8 oz water

combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until heated through and saucy

Enchilada

1 package of tortilla shells

2 cans vegetarian refried beans

8-16 oz cheddar or jack cheese grated

1 package of yellow rice cooked

saute’d veggies such as onion, pepper and mushrooms

Spread refried beans down the center of a tortilla.

Layer with rice and veggies (chicken for non veg version)

Sprinkle lightly with cheese

Fold both sides into the center

Place folded side down on a greased baking sheet, cover with enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese

Bake 350 for about 15 minutes until cheese is nicely melted

Hot Cocoa

There are so many great recipes out there for Hot Cocoa.  Or if you prefer Hot Chocolate.  Whatever you call it, there seems to be no reason to purchase the boxed variety.  If you’re a vegetarian please remember to exclude the marshmallows unless purchasing a veg vesion.  Here are some links to a variety of different styles of recipes from around the world.  Please try some and let me know what you think.

The tried and true: http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipes/detail.asp?id=5265&page=1&per=25

Mexican Hot Cocoa http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=279

A variety of versions with spices such as chili or ginger: http://www.allchocolate.com/enjoying/drinking-chocolate/

For a French twist: http://www.famousfrenchdesserts.com/hot-chocolate-recipes.html

Vegan style: http://www.all-creatures.org/recipes/bev-carob.html

Peppermint Cocoa: http://www.containerstore.com/experthelp/recipes/hot_cocoa.html

White Cocoa: http://www.chewonthatblog.com/2007/12/06/white-hot-chocolate/

I’m adding this one for the over 21 crowd.  I told myself I wouldn’t use a recipe from Foodnetwork but this is Nigella Lawson and I really like her: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/alcoholic-hot-chocolate-recipe/index.html

Fettucini Alfredo

This recipe is a slightly lightened up version of the classic favorite.  It’s not a low calorie version but I cut a few corners while maintaining a rich and creamy texture.  The original recipe was one from Emeril Lagasse but I wanted a lighter creamier sauce so I made a few changes. I add some frozen peas for a little color.   For myself, this recipe was my entire dinner paired with a nice salad.  For my husband, I marinated a chicken breast in some Italian dressing and grilled it.  Alfredo sauce does not reheat particularly well for left overs, it comes out a little lumpy.  Personally I don’t mind it and plan on taking  a serving to work tonight for my dinner.

Fettucini Alfredo

1 lb fettucini pasta

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large or 2 small shallots finely chopped.

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cup fat free half and half

1 to 1 1\/2  cup parmesan cheese

salt, pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like)

a teeny tiny pinch of nutmeg (optional)

8 oz frozen peas

1 teaspoon cornstarch  mixed in 3 teaspoons cold water stirred until no lumps

Cook pasta according to package directions and your personal taste.  Add the frozen peas to the pasta during the last minute or two of cooking.   Once cooked drain well.   Heat the  butter on medium high and add the shallots.  Saute until lightly browned.  Add the cream and half and half and stir until well heated 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and seasoning mix well.  Add in the cornstarch mixture stirring and allowing to come to a light boil to thicken.  Once it reaches the desired consistency turn off the heat and toss with the pasta and peas.  Serve immediately

Vegetarian Dog Treats

During the busy holiday season I have to be sure not to forget or exclude my 3 wonderful canine companions.  Shana, Casey, and Rocki are all dogs we rescued and each one of them brings something special to our family.  Shana is ½ German Shepard and ½ Lab and is our protector.  She is constantly going room to room checking up on us and guarding our front door.  Casey is a Pit, Lab (who knows what else) mix that is our lazy, goofy, clown dog.  Last Rocki is ½ Shih Tzu and ½ Chihuahua and is the spoiled little lap dog that I never thought I’d want but can’t imagine living without.   All of my dogs have been rescued either by people who didn’t expect to breed or from rescue organizations.  I strongly urge people to consider adoption rather than purchasing an animal.  There are even many rescue locations for pure breed dogs if that’s what you have your heart set on.

I try not to give my dogs too much table food except for dog appropriate fruits and vegetables.  However, they all love their cookies, especially this recipe for homemade dog treats.  I like this recipe because you just mix all the ingredients together and either roll or smash it into a baking sheet.  The house smells wonderful with the scent of baking apples and whole grains.  Once baked I either refrigerate or freeze them since they are not made with preservatives giving them a short countertop lifespan.  Oh, and did I mention the recipe is vegetarian?

Apple Carrot Dog Treats

Ingredients

6 cups whole wheat flour

¾ cup cornmeal

2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs

4 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups cold water

2 apples grated  including skin

1 carrot grated

In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients, then add egg, oil, and water

Grate the carrot and apples into the bowl

Mix until it comes into a ball, the ingredients should still have a dry feeling but should stick together

Knead well

If you like rolling, roll on a floured surface until ¼ to ½ inch thickness- then place on 2 greased cookie sheets

If not, take sections and flatten into the greased cookie sheet and use a glass or can to roll to1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness (I use this method to avoid extra clean up)

Using a pizza cutter score into the desired sized cookies

Bake at 325 for 1 hour

Once removed from oven go over the score lines once again with the pizza cutter

Cool for a few minutes and break into cookies.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.