Monday, January 24, 2011

Hungry Girl's Chicken Chipotle Panini

Just popping out of hiding for a minute to share with you a yummy and not too fattening dinner we had last night.  It's a Hungry Girl Recipe Swap for Panera's Frontega Chicken Panini.  As far as I know there's no Panera around here, at least not it my nick of the woods, so I've never tried their sandwich.  But apparently one of theirs has 890 calories and 39 grams of fat.  Which of course means it's delicious, I'm sure.  But if you're recreating it yourself at home, why not whittle that down a bit, right?

I just adored this sandwich, even though it's a messy thing.  And it gave me the chance to use my new panini pan I got at Ikea.  I burned the first one...woops!  But my hubby ate it.  We had these with a little spicy tomato and veggie soup, and I was a happy little clam.  

Here's the recipe from Hungry Girl:

1 1/2 tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers) or chipotle hot sauce (like the kind by Tabasco)
2 dashes onion powder 
2 dashes garlic powder 

One 100-calorie flat sandwich bun (like Arnold Select/Oroweat Sandwich Thins)
2 oz. cooked skinless lean chicken breast, shredded or pulled into pieces
1 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh basil
2 thin slices red onion
2 slices plum tomato
1 stick light string cheese, shredded or pulled into pieces

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce and mix well. Set aside.

Split bun in half and lay the halves flat, split sides up. Evenly spread half of the sauce onto the bun halves, leaving half of the sauce in the bowl. Set aside.

To the bowl with the remaining sauce, add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.

Evenly top one bun half with basil, onion, tomato, saucy chicken, and cheese. Place the other half on top, sauce side down.

Bring a grill pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Place sandwich in the pan. Using a spatula, press down gently but firmly to seal the sandwich. Grill until hot and lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side, flipping carefully and pressing down with the spatula to seal.

Nutrition info:  Calories: 256, Fat: 5, Fiber:  5.5   

I also wanted to mention a fun giveaway win I received not too long ago from Recipes of a Cheapskate.  

I admit, I love the Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, a lot.  And that foam hand just makes me smile.  Thanks Krystal!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Brief Interlude

I'll be taking a little break over the next week (or two or three), to try to un-focus myself a bit from so much food!

 Unless I can think of something else to blog about besides food, I'll probably be sitting on the sidelines here for a bit.  Although I'm sure I'll be checking in with all of you from time to time.  

So since this is an interlude, here's a little musical number for you to enjoy.
I sound just like her :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Swedish Visiting Cake

I had seen this lovely little cake all around the internet, but was inspired by Brenda of Brenda's Canadian Kitchen.  

I'm sure there's some quaint little history behind this cake and it's name, but I couldn't find it.  I can tell you, it's delicious, moist, and best of all, easy.  I know I'd be tickled if I was visited by Swedes bearing this cake.

Here's the recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, found at Brenda's site :)

1 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
grated zest of one lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract*
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
about 1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not)

*although the extracts are optional, I do not recommend leaving either one out.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch round cake pan or even a pie pan.

Pour the sugar into a medium bowl.  Add the lemon zest and blend the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended.  Whisk in the salt and the extracts, if your're using them.  Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour.  Finally, fold in the melted butter.

Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.  Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar.  If your're using a cake or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist, even, as Ingela says, "slightly damp".  Remove the skillet from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it.  You can serve the cake, warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.


The cake is good eaten warm or at room temperature. Either way, it is meant to be cut into small wedges and eaten sans forks - this is a finger cake.


The cake is an excellent keeper. Well wrapped, it will keep for about 5 days at room temperature or for up to 2 months in the freezer.

up close and personal

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lunch For One: Tomato Cheese Tart

 Lunch for one, that'd be me.  This tart is mostly based on one I saw at Lick the Bowl Good.

I was pretty sure no one else would be into this so I decided to scale it down to an individual serving.  I used the pre-made crusts from the dairy case and cut it down to the size of a large saucer.

After smearing the crust with olive oil,  I layered a few basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, salt&pepper, sliced mozzerella and little more basil.  Then I folded up the edges of the tart and baked it at  425 for about 25 minutes.  

It amazes me when such simple ingredients combine to make something that's so off the charts good.   Make one for yourself, soon!

I was tagged by Teresa of A Blog About Food to do this "4 things about me" thing.  Prepare to be fascinated! 

Four Shows I Watch:  
I don't  get (or want) to control the TV much, but when I do...
1.  The Tudors (the series is over now, and I'm still mourning it)
2.  True Blood
3. No Reservations
4.  Suns basketball  

Four Things I'm Passionate About:
Oh gosh, I'm not a really an "enthusiastic" person but...
1. family
2. avoiding conflict ;)
3.  chocolate

Four Phrases I Use a Lot:
1. Have you brushed your teeth?
2. Is your homework done?
3.  The *fill in the blank* is broken
4.  It's time for bed.   

Four Things I've Learned in the Past:
1. With most of the things I allow myself to worry about, the worry is way worse than the thing.
2.  Letting other people's behavior affect my emotions is a bad idea
3. Autism is not the end of the world. It's the beginning of a different one. 
4. Never trim your toenails in the dark. 

Four Places I'd Like to Go:
1. Maine
2. Florida Keys (not during hurricane season pls)
3. Ireland/ Scotland (I don't know the difference)
4. Sweden/Switzerland (also don't know the difference) 

Four Things I Did Yesterday:
I was at work so this could get gross
1.  Got up at 5:30
2.  Had to endure someone getting way up in my personal space during report.
3.  Wore navy blue...all the cool kids are doing it!
4.  Cleaned up a lot of  &*%@ 

Four Things I Love About Winter:
1.  Considering I'm in Phoenix, I don't have long to love it.  Love the break in the 100+ degree heat.
2. Our new tradition of driving north to be in the snow.
3. Comfort food!
4.  Not subjecting people to my ghostly white legs!

Now I'm supposed to tag 4 more people.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seven Sporadic Questions: A Duck In Her Pond

I let December slip by us with no Sporadic Questions.  No fear, I'm all geared up and ready to go with January's featured blogger...The Blond Duck (aka Miranda) of A Duck In Her Pond.

I'm sure most of you already know and love Miranda as the native Texan who weaves stories of whimsy and intrigue, and tempts your taste buds with all things bar-b-que and pie related.   So lets take a few minutes and get to know her better, shall we?

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

I'd been reading blogs during my senior year of college and was fascinated by the culture. Being naive, I figured I'd start a blog and write my children's stories and be J. K.Rowling within the year with a million dollar book deal. HA! It wasn't until I found food bloggers that people actually began to visit me! The mom blogs, teacher blogs, writer bloggers....I think they thought I was a bit crazy. I can't imagine why....

2. What's your favorite thing to make for a crowd?

My King Ranch Chicken was a huge hit this Christmas (recipe coming soon...) I hosted my relatives from New Mexico and my parents and sister and they loved it and the tamales. Otherwise, I love to make cinnamon rolls and chicken enchiladas. . If I have a lot of time, I love to make a brisket  or cook hamburgers (aka make Ben do it.) 

Remember, there's no 
diets in the pond. 

3. What's your favorite thing to make for just you?

Fish Tacos.  BBQ chicken tacos, breakfast tacos with broiled cheese, chicken quesadillas 

 fish tacos

Are you sensing a theme?

I also love to make this really easy chicken pot pie with biscuits or I basically just heat up peas and carrots with cream of chicken soup, milk and shredded chicken and lots of thyme, onion powder and garlic powder and eat it with biscuits or rolls for a quick dinner or lunch. It's healthy and comforting without all the fat and time. I'm making my mother in law's chicken pot pie soon....the real version.

And pizza toast. I LOVE pizza toast.

And Waffles. Lots of waffles. 

My latest obsession is whole wheat with honey and peanut butter....though I have an oatmeal based one I will be trying and posting soon...

4. If you could invite 3 famous people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be? Any particular reason?

Madeline L'Engle, one of my favorite authors; my grandfather, because I miss him; and Ben, because he's my favorite.

5. When you think of your childhood, do any favorite dishes come to mind?

My mom's spaghetti and meatballs, and this fabulous chicken alfredo fettuccine she made. And her chicken fried steak and gravy and fried chicken and creamy rice...oh sweet wounded wuffles.

6. What do you have in your kitchen that you just couldn't do without? (besides your stove/oven of course)

My waffle iron and little grill. The Cuisinart griddler is indispensable.

7. What's your favorite part of blogging? Do you think you'll keep doing it for a while?
All my Invisible Friends, of course! I've been blogging for more than five years now....I can't stop! I have to write and share!

 I had an awesome time reading Miranda's answers, and hope you did too.  Right now, I have GOT to find a waffle! 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cream Puffs

I know it's pretty late in the day for me to be telling you, but it's National Cream Puff day!  Just when you think all the hub-bub of Christmas and New Years was over, here's another holiday to contend with.  But don't worry, we'll make it through together.  In fact, thanks to this book I was given the chance to review, Food Fest 365 by Yvan D. Lemoine

 ...we'll know what food is being celebrated each day of the year!  Some of the tasty days we've got look forward to are Nutella Day (Feb 6), Empanada Day (Apr 8), and Roast Suckling Pig Day (Dec 18).  This colorful book is filled with many enticing pictures, and has 365 recipes, celebrating a different food each day.  

Today being January 2, we're celebrating the Cream Puff.

This is my first foray into trying to make cream puffs, and the first batch I pulled out of the oven ended up looking like this...

Not sure what happened, but the second batch turned out a little puffier, with pockets of airiness in them. 

my lovely Christmas Silpat :)

 Instead of pulling the second batch straight out of the oven, I opened the oven door for a few minutes to give them a slower cool down time, maybe that helped them keep their shape a little better.  

I'll put the recipe for you here, but I'll tell you I cheated and didn't make the pastry cream out of the book.  I used something faster with instant pudding found here.

 Makes 1 dozen
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
6 tablespoon butter
5 3/4 ounces all purpose flour (sifted)
4 large eggs and 1 egg white

Combine water, sugar, salt and butter in a pot and bring to boil.  When butter has melted, add sifted flour and stir with a wooden spoon until dough is form.  Cook on medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove pot from heat, pour dough into stand mixer and let it cool until lukewarm.  Mix on medium high, adding one egg at a time until you have a smooth mixture.  Pipe or spoon mixture onto greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 400.  Then lower temp to 325.

Glaze cream puffs with an egg wash, and return to oven until golden (about 10 minutes).  Remove from oven and leave out to cool (do not refrigerate).  Cut in half and fill with pastry cream.  

 And for your enjoyment/amusement, a little collage of our New Year's Eve eats.

Those Apricot Chicken wings were pretty dang good, in my opinion.  You can find the recipe here if you're interested.