Monday, June 25, 2012

Red Potatoes

This is my newest favorite recipe.
It's only two ingredients.  Baby red potatoes and seasoning.  I used these ones:
 Wash potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch slices (or quarter them if the potatoes are large.)
 Toss them into a glass or microwaveable bowl.
 Dump in a bunch of the delicious seasoning.
 Toss seasonings with your hands to coat potatoes.
 Cover with plastic wrap.
 Microwave for eight to ten minutes on high.  I like ten minutes because I like them a little more mushy than al dente.
 Serve with green salad.  That leaf lettuce is straight out of my garden with Salad Toppers crunchy seasoning and ranch dressing.  Best lunch!
Don't you LOVE potatoes?

Friday, June 1, 2012

FAST Microwave Oatmeal

I used to buy those little packets of oatmeal in the store and tear them open, dump them in a bowl, add water, and then throw them in the microwave.  Many times the water I added would be too much and it would overflow the bowl.  I finally realized that I could just make this myself for SO much cheaper (especially since I had a 25 pound bag of oats to use up!)
I make my oatmeal in the microwave because it's fast and easy.  I'm busy in the mornings. It keeps me full until lunch (especially if I eat a banana on the side) and it's just over 100 calories (breakdown at the end).

1/4 cup Quick Oats
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon-Sugar (or just cinnamon, if you wish)
1 Tablespoon Honey (I actually was comparing online on My Fitness Pal and using brown sugar is less calories because you don't need as much of it. I use 2 teaspoons of brown sugar as a replacement for honey.)
Small handful of crasins
1/2 cup water
I keep the baking stuff all in one cupboard, so I don't have to open and close a bunch of cupboards.
 Sprinkle cinnamon on top of oats.
 Add honey or brown sugar. (I don't actually measure.  That takes too long and dirties dishes.)
 Throw in some crasins (or raisins, coconut, almonds, apple pieces, whatever you like in your oatmeal.)
 Measure 1/2 cup of water and pour it in on top (then put it right back in the drawer because it only had water on it.)
 I don't even stir it before putting it in the microwave for one minute on high. (Use that minute to put on makeup or take care of something else.)
Unstirred straight out of the microwave.
 When it comes out it's still a little runny, so if you have something else to do for two or three minutes, now is the perfect time.
Many times, I make this just after I get out of the shower when I'm still in my robe and go get dressed while it cooks.
Nicely thickened, just the way I like.  If you add milk or anything else, do it now.
 Now is also when my toddler comes over and tries to make me share my breakfast.
1/4 cup Oatmeal 37 calories
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon 1 calorie
1 Tablespoon Honey 64 calories (or 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar 30 calories)
1/12 cup Crasins 33 calories
1/2 cup Water  0 calories

Oatmeal with Honey option = 135 Calories
Oatmeal with Brown Sugar option = 101 Calories

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chocolate Covered PB Cookies

You simply cannot go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter (unless of course your kid is allergic and there are no clues that there is PB in something.... I always warn!)
Here the cookie just looks like a chocolate cookie rolled in sugar.  Not so.  Once you bite in, there is a lovely peanut butter surprise.
 Here's how to do it.  Recipe came from here.  I made a few small changes.


For the Chocolate dough-
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Margarine (her recipe said butter, but margarine did great too!)
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Baking Cocoa
1 1/2 cups Flour

For the PB dough-
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Extra granulated Sugar to roll dough balls in.

-Preheat oven to 325ยบ F or 350 (my oven is too hot, so I use 325.)
-Recipes always say to mix the dry ingredients together, but I hardly ever do that.  I just add the salt and baking soda first and then the chocolate and then the flour last.  It all works out.
-Make chocolate dough first. In a mixer (or large bowl) beat together sugars, butter and 1/4 cup of peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg, beating to combine. Now add the baking soda and salt to the wet dough.  Now add the cocoa. Mix well before adding the flour. Stir to combine, blending well. Set aside.
-Make PB dough now. In another bowl, mix together powdered sugar and peanut butter until smooth. I used a fork and then my hands to make it really stick together.
-Make PB dough into small teaspoon size balls.  You could put them all on a plate or extra cookie sheet or just a piece of wax paper. This will save some time later.
-Now to assemble: Pull off a heaping tablespoon of cookie dough and flatten with your hands.
Take the peanut butter dough ball  and place it in the center of the chocolate dough.

Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter center, pressing to seal.

 Roll the cookie into a ball and roll the cookie in the sugar.
-Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each cookie to about a 1/2 inch thickness.
-Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes. Let stand on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
Some cookies are less surprises than others, but they are all still delicious!
The irony of taking a picture of a cookie above bowls of fruit is not lost on me. =)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

German Chocolate Oatmeal

Pinterest is so good at sharing healthy food and exercise ideas right next to treats that are full of way too much stuff that's delicious, but not super good FOR you.  
I keep seeing pictures of this and this and so many others while I'm starting to count calories and am weaning myself from so much sugar and treats.  I'd look for more yummy treats, but I can't eat any more food tonight, so I'd better stop!
Here was my solution to this problem.  I tried this recipe for microwave blueberry oatmeal (like cake in a cup, but healthy) and had to make it over a little.  I added some coconut and chocolate chips.  It was so good and filling because of the oatmeal.  
I'd like to say that this was just as good as the other treats that I'd still love to eat, but wouldn't be able to control myself, but it's not.  It IS good, but it was probably 'just enough' sugar when I'm still accustomed to too much sugar.

Here's what I did:

Put these ingredients right into a mug:
1/4 cup Quick Oats 
1 Egg 
1 Tablespoon Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Coconut
1 teaspoon Honey (or brown sugar)
1 Tablespoon Milk

Microwave that for two minutes and it's done.  

I tried a recipe with Hershey's Chocolate syrup just after this one, but it didn't work out quite like I hoped.  I might revisit that idea another time.  Maybe Chocolate syrup instead of chocolate chips and in place of the honey and milk???

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

BEST Asparagus

I finally discovered the BEST way to keep asparagus fresh.  Actually I think I read it somewhere, but I can't find it in my google reader (I searched!) or in the magazines I read last week (without rereading the whole thing...)  Anyway, I FINALLY learned it.
Normally, I buy asparagus because we all (except Andy) really like it.  Then I decide to make it wait a few days and it's yucky and I throw it away.  What a waste!  Friday I bought two bunches of asparagus and put them in my pantry cupboard and later that night I read that the best way to store them to keep them fresh so the ends don't fall apart and they taste good is this:
 If you put it in a cup with water and cover loosely with plastic, it stays fresh.  We ate one bunch Monday night and one on Wednesday and they were still in excellent shape!  I just used a wide cup and filled it with water and then used a fold down sandwich bag to cover it.  I didn't have to refill the water or anything.  I just scooted it back behind the milk.
Here is how I cook asparagus.  It's super easy and delicious.  (I actually learned this from my father in law a year or two ago.)  First you obviously wash it and then cut or snap off the rough ends.
Then I put it in my glass pie plate because it's just the right size for them to lay down in.
 I put about half a cup of water in so the asparagus is mostly steamed and not covered all the way.  Then I shake on the salt and pepper.  A lot of the salt and pepper stays in the bottom of the dish at the end, but it's just enough to season it well.  Here's what it looks like before cooking.
 I put it in the microwave (covered with plastic wrap) for FIVE MINUTES on high and then it's perfect!
 Beautifully steamed and delicious.  ALL of my kids like asparagus just as much as I do.  I hardly ever have leftovers.

I started a little celery plant with the end of the celery in a mug next to my sink.  See the middle there? It's already starting to sprout up a little.  Super exciting!
I'm loving fresh produce right now and can hardly wait until I get to plant my garden (very soon!)

Also, I'm working on losing some weight this year, so I hope to post some healthy recipes and little tips.  I'm walking way more than ever and counting calories and fat and avoiding sugar and junk and all that.  I'm on My Fitness Pal and would love more friends.  My user name is NaDellR.  Any great weight loss tips???

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Filled Pasta

Tonight I used my new Ravioli maker that Abby gave me for Christmas (obviously it was something I bought for myself-it was filler to get the super saver discount on Amazon...;) to make homemade pasta. It was easier than I expected. I had hardly ever thought about making my own noodles until Halloween when a friend invited a bunch of people to come by her house for homemade chicken noodle soup that was actually homemade! Amazing gal. Then I saw this ravioli maker and a few blogs that I follow posted about homemade pasta and it was done. I was doing it! I had everything except for the semolina flour already in my kitchen and I found that in the bulk section at our local Winco and it's cheap!
Recipe from here. She has a great tutorial on how to make the dough if my directions are confusing. Elizabeth (my almost nine year old) took most of the pictures.

Pasta Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Flour (and more to roll)
1 1/2 cups Semolina Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Water (this was just the right amount, but you may need to add a tiny bit more.)

To mix the dough you can use the counter or a bowl. I chose a big bowl. I mixed the two flours with the salt and then added four eggs. I mixed it all together with my hands until the egg was combined with the dry stuff and then added 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and 2 Tablespoons Water and mixed it until it looked like this:
Divide the dough into four sections and cover with a wet smooth towel for 20 minutes. You can make the filling then and put it in the fridge until you need it.
After 20 minutes, roll out one section of pasta dough with your rolling pin (or a pasta roller if you are fancy.) Use a little flour so it doesn't stick to the pin. (I think this picture has a little too much...)
And then roll, baby, roll! Flip the dough over and go both directions until it is thin enough. I like thick pasta (and my wrists were starting to hurt a little. And yes, you can see my poor wintery hands in these pictures. I'm keeping it real.)
I stopped when the pasta was about this thin. Can you tell how thin it is? It's thicker than tissue paper and thinner than cardboard. I hope that helps.
You could slice this pasta up to make regular pasta or continue on to make ravioli.
This is where I used the ravioli press. I made my pasta twice as large as the press so I could flip it over when they are filled. You just lay the pasta over it, use the plastic egg carton type thing that came with it that I didn't get a picture of and then the little indents are ready for filling.Here they are all full of the filling. The filling I used was from this site.
Filling ingredients:
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (I used the real shredded stuff this time and it was great.)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (I added that in.)
Optional: Spinach, shredded carrots, meat, etc.

Here is the pasta all filled up. (If you aren't using the fancy ravioli maker, just spread them out and seal them with a little brush of water around the edges and then cut them apart.)
And then you flip the extra dough over to cover it. I didn't make it quite big enough on the corners here, but I borrowed some extra that was hanging over the top and rolled it into this when it was still on my big cutting board. (Do you see the scraggly edge on the bottom left?)
Then with this ravioli maker, just use your rolling pin to seal the edges and cut the excess. I did have to use my fingers here to divide the dough a little. I think my rolling pin might be getting worn out or warped. I did use the extra dough on the edges to make another ball and put it under the towel with the other balls.
Then carefully peel the edge of the ravioli out of the metal tray and place to the side. They aren't super delicate, but be careful.
I put all 56 raviolis on my cutting boards (still raw) and covered them with a wet towel (just like the dough) until I was ready to cook them. (I needed to wait just a little while until Andy was home from work and with the snow and ice I wasn't sure exactly when that would be.)
When it was time, I put them into boiling water 14 at a time for 4-5 minutes. They sink to the bottom first like this.
And when they are all at the top, scoop them out with a slotted spoon onto plates.
We enjoyed ours with some meaty spaghetti sauce. (Andy's mom made sloppy joe's a few Sundays ago and had extra of the sloppy, so she gave it to me and I mixed it with four little cans of tomato sauce and froze it in two gallon ziplocks.)
Abby ate her ravioli like this:
I now wonder why and how I ever bought frozen raviolis filled with the stuff it says on the side of the bag for $2-3. These are so easy to make (although a little time-consuming) and worth it! You should have seen and heard how impressed my kids (and husband) were with this dinner!