Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers

Happy Football Sunday!! I just love spending my Sunday afternoons in the fall watching the football games with family, firing up the grill, and enjoying some delicious grub...


These Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers are super tasty! They are a great low-fat, low calorie alternative to your standard every-day cheeseburger... and there is nutrient-rich spinach cooked right into the patty! The feta and spinach doesn't overpower the other flavors in the turkey burger, they just add to the juiciness and overall deliciousness.


Topped with Provolone cheese and warm sauteed mushrooms, these Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers are definitely a crowd-pleaser! 


I can also say, these Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger patties are great without a bun! The grilled patty topped with cheese and mushrooms makes a good low-carb meal option.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
with Sauteed Mushrooms and Provolone
based on a recipe from allrecipes.com
makes 4 patties

Ingredients:
4 cups spinach, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
1-2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
20 ounces (1.25 lb) ground turkey, lean
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices Provolone cheese
4 whole wheat buns

Directions:
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.

While grill is heating, heat a large pan over medium-high high. Spray with non-stick spray, then add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 min. Transfer cooked spinach to a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture.


While the grill is preheating, mix together egg, garlic, feta cheese, breadcrumbs, worchestershire sauce, cooked spinach, and turkey in a large bowl. Add pepper and red pepper flakes and mix until well combined; form into 4 patties.



Cook on preheated grill until patties are no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through cooking).


While burgers are on the grill, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and sautee for about 5 min.


When patties and mushrooms are cooked, assemble patty on bun (I like mine toasted!). Place a slice of Provolone cheese and the sauteed mushrooms on top of the patty.


I added a bit of steak sauce on top of my Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger too and it was top notch!!! I will be making these again... Yum.

Enjoy!!

- Janel

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies

Last week I whipped up a batch of birthday cookies for Sister #2 of Sisters Do Food and Fitness. The Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies I made from a recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction were truly AMAZING... Amy and I loved everything about them! They were probably the softest, chewiest, sugary-ist, buttery-ist cookies I've ever eaten. With that being said, I set out on a mission to make the original (butter and sugar-loaded) recipe "healthier"...


To lessen the fat and calorie content of these cookies, I replaced 1/2 the amount of butter the original recipe called for with unsweetened applesauce. To cut down on the sugar, I reduced the amount of white sugar from 3/4 cup down to 1/2 cup. I also decided the sugary sprinkles could be replaced with poppyseeds... and then by swapping the vanilla extract out for almond extract, I could create a whole new flavor profile! 


These Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies turned out absolutely delicious! Even though they are lower in butter and sugar than the original recipe, they are still pillow-y soft, moist and chewy. My cookies are just a little less rich and sweet... but that's a good thing, right? Now you can feel less guilty enjoying one (or three) of these cookies! 


True confessions: I may have eaten 3+ cookies in one sitting. Oooops! What can I say? They are really yummy...

Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies
based on a recipe from sallysbakingaddiction.com
makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (cannot be omitted)
1 tablespoon poppyseeds, plus more for sprinkle on top before baking

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in applesauce, egg and almond extract. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand. Once combined, fold in 1 tablespoon poppyseeds. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop sections of dough (about 1 Tablespoons of dough each) and roll into balls. Make sure the balls are taller, rather than wide. Place balls on baking sheet, then add a few more poppyseeds on top of each ball dough.


Bake chilled cookie dough for 8 minutes, no more. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 1 minute and move to wire rack to cool completely.


I might add a little orange or lemon rind next time just to give the cookies a bit more "POP"!

Note: These cookies become more moist the longer you let them sit. Right out of the oven they will have a different texture; they are much more puffed up and dry!


These Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies are like little pillows of delicious-ness. And I just love that they have half the butter as a normal cookie recipe, yet they are just as soft and chewy. Unsweetened applesauce really does make a great healthy substitute! Good to know...

Enjoy!

- Janel

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tangy Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Today might be the first day of Fall, but it sure doesn't feel like it yet. We are still dealing with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s in San Diego... which means we are still doing a lot of outdoor cooking! Tonight we fired up the grill and threw on some chicken kabobs for dinner... 


I make kabobs a lot during the summer, they are super easy to make and cook quickly on a grill. Plus, kabobs are a healthy, protein and veggie packed meal! You can mix up your proteins and vegetables for kabobs too... there really is no right way to make them. I like to use chicken for my kabobs, but you could use steak, smoked sausage, or even fish! Kabobs are also a fun food project to do with your friends or family since everyone can make their own kabob loaded with all their favorites!


I used a very simple marinade for these Tangy Grilled Chicken Kabobs... it's just mayonnaise and Italian dressing! 


The mayo in the marinade keeps the chicken and veggies nice and moist, while the Italian dressing gives it a yummy tangy flavor! Using light mayo and light Italian dressing in place of the full calorie stuff keeps the calories and fat down... making this an healthy, easy, and delicious marinade that you wouldn't feel guilty using on anything. These Tangy Grilled Chicken Kabobs will definitely be a crowd-pleaser!

Use whatever veggies you have on hand, they are all optional...

Tangy Grilled Chicken Kabobs
based on a recipe from kraftrecipes.com
makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup light Italian Dressing
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1 small each red and green pepper, cut into chunks
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
1/4 red onion, cut into chunks
16 oz. whole mushrooms, cleaned
20 cherry tomatoes
10-12 skewers

Directions:
Mix first 2 ingredients until well blended. Remove 1/2 cup of the dressing mixture; refrigerate for later use.

Thread chicken and vegetables onto 10-12 skewers*; place in shallow dish. Pour remaining dressing mixture over kabobs. Refrigerate 30 min. to marinate.


Heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove kabobs from marinade; discard marinade. 



Grill kabobs 15 to 20 min. or until chicken is done, turning after 8 min. Serve with the chilled, reserved dressing mixture.



* If using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak the skewers in water for 10 min prior to threading.

YUM!!!! These Tangy Grilled Chicken Kabobs are so good, so easy...

I'm going to miss my grill and outdoor cooking, but looking forward to trying some new fall recipes!

- Janel

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Fingers

Today was Football Sunday so we decided to do a healthier, homemade version one of our all-time favorite football finger-foods... Buffalo Chicken Fingers!


Who doesn't love Buffalo Chicken Fingers!? They are spicy and crunchy... and dipped in ranch dressing they make the perfect finger-food or appetizer. You can cut the chicken fingers up and put them on salads or use them on a sandwich, so they make awesome leftovers!


For this Buffalo Chicken Fingers recipe, all you need are a few ingredients and a few minutes. They are so easy to make, you'll never need to go out for your favorite finger-food again! There is no frying required... these Buffalo Chicken Fingers bake in the oven. Also, since you can control the amount of hot sauce on the chicken fingers they are much healthier than your restaurant version. The light layer of panko breadcrumbs crisps up nicely, giving this crowd-pleasing favorite a great crunch and texture! 

Oh so good... we love this easy homemade version of Buffalo Chicken Fingers!

Buffalo Chicken Fingers
recipe from allrecipes.com
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into finger-sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with a nonstick spray.

In a bag, mix together flour, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. On a plate, mix the bread crumbs with the rest of the garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Shake the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour. 


Beat egg whites with 1 tablespoon water, and place egg mixture in a shallow dish or bowl. Dip seasoned chicken in egg mixture, then roll in the seasoned bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet.


Brush or drizzle Frank's Red Hot sauce on top of pieces. 


Bake for about 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Use tongs to turn pieces over. Brush with Frank's Red Hot sauce on other side of chicken. Bake 8 minutes longer, or until chicken juices run clear. Brush with more Frank's Red Hot sauce before serving, if desired.


So YUMMY!!!! 


These Buffalo Chicken Fingers are just as good as your restaurant version! I couldn't believe how easy they were to make too. Served with some of our Oven Baked 'French Fries', it was the perfect Football Sunday meal! Don't forget the ranch dressing for dipping.

Enjoy!

- Janel


Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies

Sister #2 of Sisters Do Food And Fitness has a birthday coming up this week! I asked Amy what she wanted me to bake her for her special day, and she said "anything FUNFETTI"! She really loves her sprinkles...


We have made plenty of funfetti cakes and cupcakes, but I hadn't tried a funfetti cookie recipe yet... 


I searched Pinterest and found a delicious-looking Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookie recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. If you are searching for a new cookie recipe to try, go check out her blog! So many great ideas...


Let me tell you, these Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies are AMAZING!!! They are so soft and chewy... just the way I like my cookies. The sprinkles add a colorful, festive and fun look! These funfetti cookies are a buttery, sugary, little piece of heaven. Wow.

Add a candle and a side of vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect birthday dessert. Who needs cake when you can have Birthday Cookies!

Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies
recipe via sallysbakingaddiction.com
makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (cannot be omitted)
1/2 cup sprinkles, plus more for sprinkle on top before baking

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand. Once combined, fold in 1/2 cup sprinkles.


Chill the dough for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator (this step will prevent spreading in the oven). 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop sections of dough (about 1 Tablespoons of dough each) and roll into balls. Make sure the balls are taller, rather than wide. Place balls on baking sheet, then add a few more sprinkles on top of each ball dough.


Bake chilled cookie dough for 8 minutes, no more. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 3 minutes and move to wire rack to cool completely.


Note: Cookies stay soft & fresh for up to 1 week at room temperature. Cookies freeze well. Cookies may be rolled into balls and frozen up to 3 months to bake at a later date. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled!



I think this is the perfect base cookie dough recipe to use for all sorts of recipes; chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, etc. These ingredients make the softest and chewiest cookies EVER! So good.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER!!

- Janel

Bears in a Bubble Bath

How adorable are these little treats?! These Bears in a Bubble Bath are super easy to make and fun to eat! Not to mention, they taste delicious...


Grab your kids and your mini muffin pan! The kids will really enjoy helping with this fun dessert... they can decorate the "bath" with the bubbles and bears.


When you bite into one of these yummy little treats, there is a chewy and gooey Rolo candy surprise in the middle!!


These Bears in a Bubble Bath would be perfect for a kids party or a classroom treat! 

Bears in a Bubble Bath
recipe via www.kraftrecipes.com
Makes 24 mini treats 

Ingredients:
1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
24 Rolo candies, unwrapped
1 cup mini marshmallows
48 Teddy Grahams, mini 
blue sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix cake mix, melted butter and egg together until combined (batter will be thick).

Using a 24 mini-muffin pan, place a spoonful of batter into each section. Push a Rolo candy into the center of each treat.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and add 3-5 mini-marshmallows on top of each treat. Bake for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and place 2 Teddy Grahams bears into each treat and top with blue sprinkles. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving (the Rolo in the middle gets HOT).



Enjoy!

- Janel

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spicy Crispy Fish Sandwich

I don't know about you guys... but all the football and beer had us craving a cheeseburger and fries yesterday! Instead of completely indulging in a greasy, calorie and fat loaded meal I decided to make a healthier version of a burger and fries for dinner to satisfy our craving. Using some mahi mahi filets we had in the freezer, I came up with a recipe for a Spicy Crispy Fish Sandwich and made a batch of my Oven Baked ‘French Fries’.


Mahi mahi was the perfect fish to use for this fish “burger” as its texture is firm and the taste is mild, but you could use any white fish! The panko bread crumbs give the fish a crispy coating, while the cayenne pepper and creole seasoning give the coating the perfect amount of heat. Baking the fish in the oven is easier and so much healthier than frying it!


Oh and to top it all off, I made a jalapeno mayo to use on our burgers. If you like spicy food, you’ll love this recipe… and if you wanted a milder fish sandwich, you could just use regular mayo or tarter sauce instead.

This Spicy Crispy Fish Sandwich was a great healthy swap for a burger and fries!

Spicy Crispy Fish Sandwich 
with Jalapeno Mayo
makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients -
For sandwich:
2 mahi mahi fillets (or other white fish)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. creole seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 hamburger buns

For mayo:
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tsp. jalapenos, finely chopped
splash of jalapeno juice

Directions -
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl mix the panko, cayenne pepper, creole seasoning, black pepper, and salt.

Pour the olive oil onto a small plate. Dip the fish fillets into the plate of olive oil to coat pieces, then dip fish into the bowl of the panko breadcrumbs, completely covering the fish with the panko.

Place fish on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the fish over and cook another 10 minutes.


While fish is baking, prepare the jalapeno mayonnaise. In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, jalapenos and jalapeno juice. Place in refrigerator to chill.


When fish is done baking, remove from oven and assemble sandwich (I toast my hamburger bun for some extra crunch!) and top with jalapeno mayonnaise.


YUUUUUUUMMMMM...


I served my Spicy Crispy Fish Sandwich with a side of Oven Baked 'French Fries'.


If you like some heat, this is definitely the sandwich for you! I might try this recipe with a chicken breast too... :)

Enjoy!

- Janel