Saturday, May 31, 2014

Banana Split Smoothie

Lately I have been called the "smoothie queen" because I have had lots of practice making them in the past year with my kids cooking classes. It's fun to play around with different flavors and get people excited to drink something that can pack a lot of nutrition.

My dad recently had oral surgery and he can only drink liquids so he requested some smoothie and shake recipes from me. Understanding my dad's eating habits, I know he has a sweet tooth and banana splits are one of his favorite desserts. I wanted to come up with a recipe that includes all those yummy flavors but with way less sugar and calories. The result - a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert that all ages can enjoy! 



1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process for 30 seconds, or until very smooth.




2. Pour into glasses and top with whipping topping, chocolate chips and cherries, if desired. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Smoothie
Serves 4

All you need:
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or skim milk)
1 (5.3 oz.) container nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana
2 tablespoons honey (or stevia)
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Light whipped topping, mini chocolate chips and frozen dark sweet cherries, for garnish (optional)

All you do:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process for 30 seconds, or until very smooth.
2. Pour into glasses and top with whipping topping, chocolate chips and cherries, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 146, Total fat 2g, Saturated fat 0g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 103mg, Carbohydrate 30g, Fiber 3g, Protein 4g

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sautéed Pork Cutlets with Mango Sauce

I'm trying to get back into my fitness routine, so today I went running after work (I may or may not have needed to be lifted off the couch after this long day...). After a workout, I like a protein-rich meal and these pork chops were a perfect fit. Sautéing is my favorite way to cook chops because they become super juicy and have a wonderful caramelized flavor. The sauce (an added bonus) is a combo of sweet and spicy and includes my favorite fruit - mangoes. 

Serve this delicious dish over rice to soak up all that yummy flavor!



1. Season pork with salt and pepper.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.



3. Turn heat to medium and add onion. Cook until caramelized, 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Add wine, cornstarch, curry powder, Chinese 5-spice, cayenne pepper, mustard and apricot preserves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.

5. Finish sauce with mango and cranberries. Place pork chops in the pan (as well as any pork juices from the plate) and spoon sauce over.



Sautéed Pork Cutlets with Mango Sauce
Serves 4

All you need:
4 boneless pork cutlets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. apricot preserves
1 cup mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Season pork with salt and pepper.
2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
3. Turn heat to medium and add onion. Cook until caramelized, 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. Add wine, cornstarch, curry powder, Chinese 5-spice, cayenne pepper, mustard and apricot preserves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.
5. Finish sauce with mango and cranberries. Place pork chops in the pan (as well as any pork juices from the plate) and spoon sauce over.

Adapted from: Gazette Cook Club

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tempura Fried Avocado Tacos with Chipotle-Orange Mayo

If you know me, you understand my love for avocados. I constantly try to keep up with food trends and when I saw fried avocado on a menu this weekend, I knew I had to give it a whirl.

Avocados provide so many nutrients, including heart-healthy fats and fiber. In this recipe, they are lightly fried in a tempura batter which provides great flavor and crispness. Because I love a spicy kick, I decided to top this taco with chipotle-orange mayo for the perfect creamy-crunchy bite. If you want to add meat, simply add some shredded chicken...but because the avocado is pretty hearty, I think this taco is filling and fabulous as is.


1. In a blender, combine the mayo ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl.


2. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees in a large dutch oven or saucepan.

3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, egg, cornstarch, club soda, water and salt in a bowl.

4. Dip the avocado slices in the batter, then drop gently into the oil. Fry until crispy, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.



5. To assemble, place 2 avocado slices onto each warm tortilla and top with pico de gallo and leafy greens. Finish with a drizzle of chipotle-orange mayo.

Tempura Fried Avocado Tacos with Chipotle-Orange Mayo
Serves 4 (2 tacos each)

All you need:
Mayo
3/4 cup light mayo
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

4 avocados, peeled, pitted and quartered
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup club soda
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups canola oil, for frying

8 (6-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
Fresh pico de gallo and leafy greens, for garnish

All you do:
1. In a blender, combine the mayo ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees in a large dutch oven or saucepan.
3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, egg, cornstarch, club soda, water and salt in a bowl.
4. Dip the avocado slices in the batter, then drop gently into the oil. Fry until crispy, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
5. To assemble, place 2 avocado slices onto each warm tortilla and top with pico de gallo and leafy greens. Finish with a drizzle of chipotle-orange mayo.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Red, White and Blue Overnight Oats

My Memorial Day weekend was full of excitement and fun with old friends. It also was loaded with comfort foods! I'm starting the week off right with these overnight oats. Not only are they extremely simple to make, but they provide you with a quick and yummy breakfast for the whole week. This version is packed with sweet cherries and blueberries with a touch of flaxseed for added heart health. Feel free to add your favorite garnishes, but I chose bananas for sweetness and toasted almonds for the perfect crunch! Cheers to happy mornings :)


1. Combine oats, flaxseed and salt in a large bowl.

2. Add almond milk, yogurt and honey and stir to combine.


3. Fold in cherries and blueberries and stir until well incorporated.


4. Transfer mixture to 6 (8 oz.) mason jars, leaving a little room at the top for your garnishes. Secure each jar tightly with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.



Someone's hungry...

Red, White and Blue Overnight Oats
Serves 6

All you need:
2 cups quick oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
1 cup fresh blueberries
Sliced banana and toasted almonds, for garnish

All you do:
1. Combine oats, flaxseed and salt in a large bowl.
2. Add almond milk, yogurt and honey and stir to combine.
3. Fold in cherries and blueberries and stir until well incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to 6 (8 oz.) mason jars, leaving a little room at the top for your garnishes. Secure each jar tightly with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morel Mushroom Risotto

I had never even heard of morel mushrooms until culinary school and, since living in Iowa, I now know why they are such a luxury. The morels have been in full abundance this year and several hunters have been successful. I got lucky enough to have some given to me (a chef's dream!) so I thought hard as to what to make with them. 

Risotto is one of my go-to comfort foods. The mushrooms work especially well in this dish because the arborio rice really sucks up all that mushroom flavor. The smoky bacon, salty pecorino cheese and fresh flat-leaf parsley balance out this dish perfectly. A true gourmet treat! 





1. Place mushrooms in a bowl of salted water to clean off any sand or dirt. Let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Remove mushrooms to a second bowl of 4 cups lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, reserving the water for later.

3. Cut mushrooms into pieces and set aside.

4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a bowl.


6. Saute shallots in the same skillet until they are translucent, about 1 minute. Add arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in white wine and cook until fully absorbed.



7. Stir in 1 cup chicken stock; repeat this process with the remaining chicken stock until it has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add 2 cups reserved mushroom water as well as the chopped mushrooms, reserved bacon and thyme.




8. Finish the risotto with 1/4 cup pecorino romano, salt and pepper. Garnish each plate of rice with parsley and more cheese.



Morel Mushroom Risotto
Serves 8

All you need:
2 cups morel mushrooms
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
2 shallots, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups reserved mushroom water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Place mushrooms in a bowl of salted water to clean off any sand or dirt. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Remove mushrooms to a second bowl of 4 cups lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, reserving the water for later.
3. Cut mushrooms into pieces and set aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a bowl.
6. Saute shallots in the same skillet until they are translucent, about 1 minute. Add arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in white wine and cook until fully absorbed.
7. Stir in 1 cup chicken stock; repeat this process with the remaining chicken stock until it has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add 2 cups reserved mushroom water as well as the chopped mushrooms, reserved bacon and thyme.
8. Finish the risotto with 1/4 cup pecorino romano, salt and pepper. Garnish each plate of rice with parsley and more cheese.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

(Better-For-You) Biscuits and Gravy

Growing up in West Virginia, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to lots of unique dishes (hot dogs with coleslaw and chili...yes please!). One dish that always stands out in my mind are biscuits and gravy. When I texted my mom to tell her I was making a healthier version of biscuits and gravy in honor of my West Virginia trip coming up, her response was priceless: "turkey or squirrel"? Now that may seem like a strange question to most, but my neighbors were hunters and they often were known to make squirrel gravy. Back then I probably would've opted for a Pop-Tart or an Eggo, but nowadays I'd totally be up for giving it a try!

I made this dish lighter by making my own turkey sausage. I also added Greek yogurt to my biscuits for added moisture and used half the butter (you still need some in order to get the flavor right). The end result was so delicious. This is a perfect weekend breakfast that you can feel good about!




1. In a small bowl, combine the sausage spices.


2. Place the ground turkey in a medium bowl, pour the spice mixture over and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


3. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the cold butter, then add the yogurt and water. Stir until the dough is well incorporated. Transfer dough to a cutting board or countertop and form into a 3/4" thick rectangle.



4. Use a 3" biscuit cutter (or drinking glass) to cut 8 rounds (I made 6 and then patted the dough back out to make 2 more). Place biscuits on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet and cook to 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.


5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Cook sausage until golden brown and crumbly, about 5 minutes.


6. In a small bowl, combine 2% milk and 1/4 cup flour. Pour over the sausage and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.




7. To serve, split biscuits in half and top with gravy.


(Better-For-You) Biscuits and Gravy
Serves 8

All you need:
Sausage
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
Pinch crushed red pepper
Pinch ground cloves
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey

Biscuit
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 (5.3 oz.) containers plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup cold water

Gravy
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste

Nonstick cooking spray

All you do:
1. In a small bowl, combine the sausage spices.
2. Place the ground turkey in a medium bowl, pour the spice mixture over and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the cold butter, then add the yogurt and water. Stir until the dough is well incorporated.
4. Transfer dough to a cutting board or countertop and form into a 3/4" thick rectangle. Use a 3" biscuit cutter (or drinking glass) to cut 8 rounds (I made 6 and then patted the dough back out to make 2 more). Place biscuits on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet and cook to 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Cook sausage until golden brown and crumbly, about 5 minutes.
6. In a small bowl, combine 2% milk and 1/4 cup flour. Pour over the sausage and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
7. To serve, split biscuits in half and top with gravy.