Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chipotle Shrimp Scampi

We are big pasta lovers. The same is oh so true about shrimp. You put the two together, and you have an irresistible combination! We found this dish especially inviting. We enjoyed the contrast between the delicate angel hair pasta and the bold spicy flavors of the chipotle.

I never look forward to peeling shrimp. In fact, the task, has often kept me from preparing meals that involve shrimp. Lucky for me, my third son, in the rank of 4 has assured me that if I make a shrimp dish he will gladly peel the shrimp. And so it is. We recently had a shrimp war, to find, who can peel shrimp the fastest. I'm embarrassed to say—he won. There WILL be a rematch.

Even with the task of peeling the shrimp, this dish comes together quickly. Great for any week night meal.

Chipotle Shrimp Scampi

  • 12 oz uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb large uncooked shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle rub (substitute any spicy rub)
  • 2 limes
  • 1 cup dry white wine (substitute more chicken broth)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring salted water to a boil in covered pan. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, chop cilantro; reserve 3 tablespoons for garnish. Drain pasta; toss with remaining cilantro.
Meanwhile, add oil to skillet, heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Combine shrimp, pressed garlic and rub, in bowl, toss to coat. Arrange shrimp in a single layer over bottom of skillet; cook 2-3 minutes or until browned on one side and edges are pink. Remove skillet from heat and turn shrimp over, let stand 1-2 minutes or until centers of shrimp are opaque. Remove shrimp from skillet, set aside and keep warm.
Juice limes to measure 1/4 cup juice. Add wine (or broth) to same skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes or until wine is reduced by half, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add butter, juice, broth and salt; cook 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Drizzle pasta with sauce. Top with shrimp; garnish with reserved cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cinnamon Mini-Muffins

We woke up to snow again this morning. No school for the kids in our county. My own boys enjoyed sleeping in, and waking up to the smell of cinnamon. When they got up, they made some scrambled eggs to go with these little gems.

These muffins came together so easily. They almost reminded me of a healthier version of a donut hole. The nutmeg in them really came through and made them so tasty. I changed the recipe a bit from the original. Whenever I can, I try to substitute whole wheat flour for white. For this recipe, I did half whole wheat and half white. If you only have white flour, that will work fine.

There's a whole lot of flavor in these minis!

Cinnamon Mini-Muffins
Adapted from

3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine four, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and allspice. Combine the egg, milk and butter; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon into greased or paper-lined mini muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until muffins test done. For topping, combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush the tops of warm muffins with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Yields: 24 mini muffins

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce

All I can say is - YUM!! For those of you who know me well, you know that one of my all-time favorite desserts is a White Chocolate Blondie from Applebee's Restaurant. The first time I tasted one, my mouth had quite a party. The wonderful dense "white brownie" served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a wonderful, hot, melt-in-your- mouth buttery maple sauce poured all over. Accented with some tasty crunchy walnuts! For this girl, it is the ultimate in desserts!

A few years ago, I tried a copy-cat recipe and I was, well . . . unimpressed. So, I kinda gave up my quest, and resigned myself to the fact that nobody could duplicate the Applebee's Blondie. I was curious but skeptical when I ran across this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen. Oh the joy when my husband exclaimed "you nailed it." It's all in the sauce. If the buttery, yummy sauce isn't right, the whole thing is a failure.

You'll want to make this! It's a great dessert for "just the family" or when your table is really packed with company!

This post has been linked to Eat at Home.

White Chocolate Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 10 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cups Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup (pure) Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, mix melted butter with brown sugar until well-blended. Add in beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir well.
Slowly add flour mixture to butter, sugar and egg mixture. Stir thoroughly but take care not to overmix your batter. Fold in nuts and chocolate. Batter will be thick.
Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray, then pour batter into 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
For the sauce:
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat (do not allow butter to burn). Then add heavy cream, maple syrup and corn syrup. Allow this mixture to simmer over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. Do not boil, just a nice soft simmer. Stir occasionally. Once it has reduced by about 1/3, it's ready.

To serve: You can heat up blondie on a cast iron skillet, serve with vanilla ice cream and chopped walnuts, sauce poured on top.

Note: If using a glass pan, adjust heat to 325 degrees. You may need to bake slightly longer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Slow-Cook Tuscan Sausage and Bean Soup

This is a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Recipe Girl. I have been following her even before she had a blog. She has a great site full of wonderful recipes.

We eat a lot of soup in the winter. I am always on the prowl for great, healthy soup recipes. This one appealed to be because it looked healthy, easy and yummy. It really lived up to my expectations. This recipe originally came from a Weight Watchers cookbook, the points for a serving of this soup will be listed at the bottom.

I did not make this in my slow cooker. My day got away from me, as it is so prone to do. So, I threw it together on the stove top about an hour before we ate. I served it with the Whole Wheat Baguette that I still had on hand. The meal was hearty and perfect for a cold winter's night. You will want to make it too! It was delicious. The whole family loved it!

Slow-Cook Tuscan Sausage and Bean Soup

  • One (12-ounce) link of turkey kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped

  • 1/2 medium bunch kale, stems removed, & leaves chopped (about 4 cups)

  • 3 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

  • One (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

  • One (15.5-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed & drained

  • One (14.5-ounce) can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (or water)

  • 1 tsp. dried basil

  • shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients except Parmesan. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 hours.

Yield: 6 servings (1 1/2 cups per serving)

Nutritional Information (without Parmesan): calories 241, fat 5g (sat 5g & trans fat 0g), cholesterol 37mg, sodium 1,258mg, carbohydrates 31g, fiber 8g, protein 19g, calcium 158mg

WW POINTS: Points Plus: 6 Old Points System: 4

*If you are preparing this recipe as Dairy Free, skip the addition of Parmesan cheese.
*If you are preparing this recipe as Gluten-Free, make sure you add in sausage that is free of gluten.

Source: Adapted slightly from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blueberry-Almond French Toast Bake

After years of perusing other blogs and dreaming of my own - finally! Welcome to my blog. I am so excited to be sharing with you what goes on in my kitchen and around my table. My very packed table!

I received a great cookbook for Christmas from my mom. So Easy by Ellie Krieger. I love her recipes and her healthy approach to cooking and eating. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so its quite appropriate that I start my blog off with a breakfast dish. This recipe for Blueberry-Almond French Toast Bake, was simple, I threw it together the night before and it bakes for 50-60 minutes the following morning. I loved this because it wasn't too sweet, although my kids did add syrup to it.

The recipe calls for using a whole-wheat baguette. Unfortunately, I do not live near any store that would carry that. So, I made my own the day before. They tasted great! I love whole-wheat anything! Feel free to use a regular white baguette. Also, I had no fresh blueberries on hand, so I tossed some frozen blueberries on before I threw it in the oven. I also added the almonds and brown sugar at that time, instead of the night before.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 whole-wheat baguette (about 18 inches long, 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the baking pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

This post has been linked to Eat at Home.

Per Serving:
Calories 270; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 2.5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0.75 g) ; Protein 16 g; Carb 35 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 220 mg; Sodium 280 mg
Excellent source of: Protein, Riboflavin, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium
Good source of: Fiber, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc