Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Crab Stuffed Prawns

So...I don't want to brag or anything...but...I invented the best appetizer ever.
No...I'm not even lying.
 I don't think you understand how amazing these are. They have bacon and crab and cream cheese and prawns. All together. In one super-de-duper-uber-amazing-once-you-eat-these-you-will-be-ruined-for-all-other-food appetizer.
Okay...those of you out there who don't like seafood - you might not be a fan of this recipe. Everyone else though - be prepared to eat the most delicious thing ever. In the entire world.
Maybe I'm hyping this up a bit too much?

Bacon Wrapped Crab Stuffed Prawns

1 can (120 gr) chunk crab meat
1 pkg (8 oz) light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 tsp parsley
pinch sea salt
30 jumbo prawns
30 strips bacon, thin sliced

In a medium bowl,  combine crab meat, cream cheese, onion, parsley, and sea salt. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Slice prawns down the back and gently spread open a little.
Carefully spread a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each prawn.

Cover and chill prawns in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When prawns have chilled for at least 30 minutes; par-cook your bacon until it is about half done (edges may be a bit brown but bacon is still very flexible.) Drain par-cooked bacon on paper towel and let cool to room temp.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
Take a piece of cooled bacon and wrap it around a chilled prawn. Secure bacon with a toothpick. Set on prepared cookie sheet.

Try not to leave any spaces when wrapping the bacon as, when the prawn cooks, the filling will bubble out a bit.
When all prawns have been wrapped, cook in 400 oven for 10 - 12 minutes.
Turn broiler on and broil 2 - 3 minutes to crisp up bacon a bit more.

Don't worry if the filling bubbles out a bit, you can either eat those bits yourself (do it, it's awesome, just don't burn yourself!) or you can gently spread it on the cooked prawn.
Gently twist the toothpicks to remove them. Place prawns on a serving tray and serve immediately.

I can make you want these even more.
I can tell you the nutritional values of these.
Calories - 51.7, Fat - 3.7, Carbs -  0.75, Protein - 4.9.
I know, right?
These are HUGE....I had 4 for dinner and was totally full! 204 calories and the whole time I was in cream cheese heaven. As an appetizer these will totally convince your guests that you are a super genius....well, if they haven't already figured that out.
Make these.
You won't regret it.

Visit The Chicken Chick and Adorned From Above and Carole's Chatter for tons of great links!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hot Chocolate vs Cocoa (Single Servings)

Know what the difference is between hot chocolate and cocoa?
I never really gave it much thought until just the other day. Sue and I got into a debate about what the chocolatey deliciousness is really called.
She called it hot chocolate, I called it cocoa.
Turns out we were both right.
Hot chocolate and cocoa are two different things. Kind of.
They both result in an amazing, smooth, chocolate drink but they get there using different ingredients. As the names would suggest, one uses chocolate and one uses cocoa powder.
I decided to try and make single servings of each to see how different they really were.
Oh, yeah, I know the pinch of salt may seem odd in these but don't leave it out. It helps bring out the chocolate flavor.
Single Serving Hot Chocolate
1 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp powdered sugar
pinch salt
Heat milk in a saucepan. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth, Whisk in vanilla, sugar, and salt. Heat to desired temperature - do not boil.
The milk pan is the hot chocolate - the pan with the whisk is the cocoa.
Single Serving Cocoa
1 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 Tbsp brown sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup 1% milk
In a small saucepan, stir together cocoa, sugar, and salt. Slowly stir in vanilla and water. Heat over medium heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium/low and slow boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in milk and heat to desired temperature. Do not boil once milk has been added.
The whipped cream topped cup is the hot chocolate. The marshmallow topped cup is the cocoa.
They looked almost exactly the same except that the hot chocolate version was a little foamier and a little creamier.
Which one did I like better?
They were both really good. The hot chocolate was definitely sweeter than the cocoa. Almost too sweet - if there is such a thing.
I think, if I HAD to choose - my pick would be the cocoa. I really liked it.
In case you try both and can't decide, the nutritional info might help break the tie.
HOT CHOCOLATE - 375 calories, 13.8 fat, 46 carbs, 16.5 protein
COCOA - 150 calories, 2.3 fat, 29 carbs, 6.5 protein.
The cocoa is less than half the calories and waaaaay less fat. Crazy! It still tastes very chocolatey - side by side with the hot chocolate it seemed a little weak BUT when made on its own I found it very chocolatey and satisfying.
You could, of course, use whole milk to make the cocoa as well. I decided to use water and 1% milk to lower the calories and fat and to see if it would affect the flavor.
I didn't think it did.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10 Healthy Desserts/Treats

Even when I am trying to eat healthier and lose a few pounds I can't give up my sweets.
Plus, I shouldn't have to.
Over the past year or so Sue and I have posted lots of healthier treats to help when the gotta-have-sugar cravings hit. This list is the top 10 treats I have had the most requests for. These include lower calorie or gluten free or vegan or lower sugar or higher in fibre type goodies.
All very tasty. In fact, if you ask your tasters - I bet they will never know they are eating "healthified" treats.
Nutritional count: 105 calories, 0 fat, 27 carbs, 1 protein.
The most simple of all the recipes. Only 1 ingredient. It's true. Crazy.....but true.
Nutritional count: 48 calories, 0.8 fat, 7.8 carbs, 2.6 protein.
These are so chocolaty and fudgy and rich that any possible chocolate craving you have will be satisfied. If one doesn't do the trick...well...have 2! You will still be under 100 calories.
Nutritional count: 76 calories, 2.1 fat, 12.5 carbs, 2.5 protein.
Better than pumpkin pie? Decide for yourself. This is light and fluffy and sooooooo good. A nice, large serving for under 100 calories. Seriously.
Nutritional count: 288 calories, 16.7 fat, 36.2 carbs, 4 protein.
The nutritional count is for 1/12th of the tart. Trust me when I tell you - that is a lot of this tart. It is very rich. A little bit goes a long way. This is a vegan recipe that is full of vitamin B6, fibre, protein, magnesium, zinc and lots of other good stuff!
Nutritional count: 118 calories, 2.5 fat, 23 carbs, 2.2 protein.
Another chocolate treat. I love chocolate. Yes, I would marry it if I could.
The kids will never know they are getting veggies in their dessert with this moist, fudgy, chewy brownie.
Nutritional count: 107 calories, 4.4 fat, 14.6 carbs, 3.4 protein.
A cookie with no eggs and no flour? Whaaaaaaaaaat?
It's true. But you would never know!
Nutritional count: 10 calories, 0.4 fat, 1.9 carbs, 0.13 protein.
Perfect for hot summer days or when you just need a cheesecake-y treat without all the calories and fat. Make them in regular Popsicle holders or, for a mini-treat, make them in ice cube trays!
Nutritional count: 202 calories, 3.6 fat, 46 carbs, 3.2 protein.
You get to have 1/12th of a 9 X 13 pan for this nutritional count. I love being able to have a HUGE piece of dessert, especially when it tastes as good as this one.
Nutritional count: 64 calories. (I'm sorry I wasn't able to figure out the rest of the nutritional count as I got rid of the boxes! Eeep - when I make it again I will make sure to keep track) The 64 calories count is for 1/12th of the recipe. 
Nutritional count: 200 calories. (Once again, I didn't figure out the total nutritional values here. Sorry!)
For 1/8th of the pie it is 200 calories. That is a HUGE piece of deliciousness. This was originally our aunt's recipe from back in her Weight Watcher's days.  It is amazing. High in fibre, Vitamin C, protein, all that good stuff.
Sue and I have tons of other healthy desserts and treats under the "Healthier Choices" page at the top of the blog.
It is important to remember that just because you are trying to eat healthier it doesn't mean you have to give up on enjoying desserts. You can make healthy treats that are just as good, if not better, than a lot of regular, less healthy goodies.
Check out Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons and Six Sister's Stuff and My Turn (for us) for some fun links.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 10 Healthy Dinners

When I am really trying to make sure I eat healthier - meaning more vegetables, more protein, less fat, less carbs - dinner is one of the meals I struggle with.
I also struggle with breakfast and lunch.
And snacks.
And treats.
But, I digress....
I am focusing on dinners for this blog.
I thought I would make a list of my 10 favorite healthified dinners from the past year and a bit. Sue and I have a LOT more healthy choices on the blog - simply click on the "Healthier Choices" page at the top of the blog. These 10 are the ones I have made the most often over the past year.
Nutritional count: 264 calories, 13.3 fat, 17.1 carbs, 20 protein.
That is for 1/6th of the recipe. A huge serving size for those days when you just want to eat and eat and eat. It's win-win.
Nutritional count: 430 calories, 17 fat, 50 carbs, 25 protein.
You can eat 1/5th of the recipe for that. Again, a large serving! You have to love that. There is so many healthy ingredients in this your mind will explode.
True story.
Nutritional count: 117.7 calories, 2.7 fat, 14 carbs, 8.7 protein.
These taste like deep fried! They are so crunchy and delicious. I like mine with a side of veggies and a few baked fries. These freeze very well too.
Nutritional count: 136 calories, 3.5 fat, 15 carbs, 11.7 protein.
There is so many healthy, good-for-you ingredients in this soup it is crazy healthy. Acorn squash, apple, black beans, zucchini, spinach, Greek yogurt!
Nutritional count: 384 calories, 12.7 fat, 6.7 carbs, 58.5 protein.
A delicious stuffed chicken breast that is super simple to prepare. Totally satisfying with some veggies and rice on the side.
Nutritional count: 329 calories, 5 fat, 37 carbs, 33 protein.
The photo does not do this dish justice. It is very tasty, very filling, and - with all that chicken and quinoa and spinach - is a great healthy choice for dinner. The nutritional info is for 1/4th of the entire recipe!
Nutritional count: 304 calories, 11 fat, 24.5 carbs, 27 protein.
This is one of Sue and I's most viewed recipes - with good is amazing! You will not miss the pasta from this lasagna. And you get a huge portion!
Nutritional count: 115 calories, 2.5 fat, 15 carbs, 9 protein.
I decided to put another soup on the Top 10 list even though I am usually a soup-for-lunch kind of girl. This soup is so filling and sooooo tasty that I love it for dinner (or lunch).
Nutritional count (fries): 227 calories, 6.8 fat, 39 carbs, 3 protein.
Nutritional count (burger): 150 calories, 9 fat, 13 carbs, 7 protein.
I have made several different quinoa patties and these - so far - are my favorite. Now you don't have to give up your burger-and-fries when the craving hits. (The patties freeze well too!)
Nutritional count: (not figured out)
Sorry, I was not able to find out the nutritional info for this recipe. The noodles are onle 70 calories per cup so, if I had to venture a guess, I would put the approx count at around 150 calories for a 2 cup serving size. (But don't quote me on that). This is a favorite of mine because it is so adaptable to whatever veggies you have in the fridge.
I am starting to figure out that eating healthy doesn't have to mean boring and routine.
Took me long enough... 
Sue and I are looking forward to trying out and sharing many more healthy choices for dinner throughout the new year.
Be sure to visit My Turn (for us) for some great links.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 10 Healthy, Single Serving Recipes

Well, once again it is that time of year.
Time to start thinking about New Year's resolutions and how we are going to make the new year a healthier year.
Well....for me it is.
I never wanted to admit to being a New Year's resolution maker. A lot of people don't believe in them. *sigh* I can't fight it anymore. I'm a resolution maker. I admit it.
That being said... I thought I would share some of my favorite single serving recipes from the past year that might help with the whole making-the-new-year-healthier thing.
While one or two of these might not be considered the best choices for healthy eating, I think - because they only makes a single serving, they still makes my "healthy" list. Moderation is key!
I love that I can enjoy these delicious recipes and still be working towards my New Year's resolutions.
For you non-New-Year's-resolution-makers out there - please simply think of these as tasty, healthy, single serving treats to enjoy in a totally non-resolution keeping way.
These 10 recipes are my picks for my favorites BUT we still have many, many more single serving recipes on the blog. (At the side of the blog simply click on "single serving" under "Labels" for a more complete list.)
Nutritional count: 225 calories, 2.9 fat, 43 carbs, 11.7 protein.
There is also pumpkin, blueberry, and apple versions - complete with nutritional breakdown for each one. Great for a hearty breakfast. Try it with your favorite fruit.
Nutritional count: 500 calories, 13.7 fat, 68 carbs, 25.5 protein.
This recipe is a little higher in calories and carbs BUT it is also high in protein and fiber. A very filling pasta dish for dinner or lunch.
Nutritional count: 174 calories, 9.7 fat, 7.2 carbs, 15.5 protein.
I love this for dinner but it is also great for breakfast! Eggs, spinach, bacon - or add your favorite veggies.
Nutritional count: 348 calories, 24 fat, 11.5 carbs, 22 protein.
The nutritional count on this is going vary depending on the size of the broccoli and the size of the steak you are using. This recipe actually makes 2 servings so the count is per serving.
Nutritional count: 346 calories, 13.6 fat, 49 carbs, 10 protein.
I love this with peaches but you can switch it up with your favorite fruit. Perfect for breakfast or lunch. Try quinoa instead of oatmeal for a nice change from the usual.
Nutritional count: 282 calories, 13.4 fat, 21 carbs, 18.7 protein.
Who doesn't love rich and creamy pasta with bacon? Enjoy a single serving for dinner for under 300 calories!
Nutritional count: 343 calories, 8.7 fat, 46.7 carbs, 20 protein.
This is an incredibly decadent treat for breakfast or, if you are like me, dinner. Pumpkin helps to up the protein and includes nutrients including vitamins C and E, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, lutein, and beta and alpha carotenoids.
Nutritional count: 100 calories, 5 fat, 17.7 carbs, 2.9 protein.
The original post didn't include the nutritional count so I figured it out using 1 medium zucchini, 1/4 cup pasta sauce, and 1 tsp oil to fry the zucchini. A very large single serving that tastes great and will fill you up.
Nutritional count: 300 calories, 10 fat, 37 carbs, 13 protein.
This makes 3 - 4 pancakes only. Perfect for someone like me who can eat pancakes until I explode. If I only make 3 then I only eat 3. You have to love that!
Nutritional count: 197 calories, 9 fat, 26 carbs, 6 protein.
For those times you need a healthy snack STAT! Whip this up in 2 minutes, let it chill for 15, and then enjoy. Quinoa flakes, flax, peanut butter - lots of good stuff in a single serving treat.
There you have it. My list of my 10 favorite, healthier single serving recipes from the past year. I hope to add many more over the coming year. I am a huge fan of single serving recipes that are easy, fun, and healthy.
Don't forget - you can find more single serving recipes (savory and sweet) under the "Labels" section on the side of the blog, under "single serving".
Good luck in the healthy eating struggle to all the resolution and non-resolution makers out there.
Be sure to check out The Mandatory Mooch and Adorned From Above for some great links!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Crackers

Having a party this season? Christmas, New Year's, blah-de-blah-de-blah?
Well, I think we all know that every great party needs a meat and cheese and cracker tray.
Why not fancy it up a little this year and make your own crackers?
It is super simple and they taste sooooooooooo good. Little bites of crispy, cheesey, bacony, spicy, crackerness.
It's a word now.

Bacon Cheddar Crackers

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Maple Bacon Sea Salt (optional - available from Epicure Selections)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup butter, cold
2 cups shredded, aged cheddar cheese
10 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, Maple Bacon sea salt (optional), cayenne pepper.
Using 2 knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese and bacon.

Mix in milk to form dough.

Using a small cookie scoop, place balls of dough about an inch apart. Using the bottom of a glass, dipped in flour, OR the tines of a fork - squish the ball so it is flat.

Above is using a fork (dipped in flour). Below is using the glass.

It should be fairly thin but not too thin.
Bake at 375 for about 16 minutes. I baked for 8 minutes, rotated cookie sheet, and then another 8 minutes. The edges and top will be a little bit brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

The bigger one was squished with the glass, the smaller with the fork. Either way will work.

This recipe made 60 crackers with me using the small cookie scoop (about 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough). You can half the recipe if you want but, trust me, you will want to make lots of these. They will disappear quickly.
You can also add more or less cayenne pepper to suit your tastes. As written above I found them spicy (I'm a wimp) but Sue and the rest of the family thought they were "just right".
Now you can go and impress your guests and have them think you slaved over a hot stove all day making them tasty snacks when really, these only take about 30 to 45 minutes to whip up.
Oh, yeah, you can save even more time by using this tip - instead of using a cookie scoop you can roll the dough into 2 logs, chill for a bit to firm up, and then simply slice the crackers about 1/4 inch thick.
Tah-daaaaaaah! Homemade cheese and bacon crackers!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Single Serving Pie Crust

I think I figured out why I am so in love with single serving recipes.
I had a bit of an epiphany whilst standing in front of my toaster oven.
Remember the Easy-Bake oven?
That's what it's like making these little treats in the toaster oven. Single serving recipes in the toaster oven/microwave/oven are like Easy-Bake treats for adults. making only one little servings you can't eat more than that. I mean...if I bake a whole pie then I can eat a whole pie. Not that I have....noooooooo no no......never. If I only make a mini pie then I can only eat a mini pie - which, as it turns out - is far healthier for me.
Here is the rundown on this tasty little number:
(According to Fitday)
Crust only: Calories - 165, 11.7 fat, 12 carb, 1.8 protein.
Crust and filling: Calories - 199, 11.8 fat, 22 carb, 1.9 protein.
Single Serving Pie Crust + Apple Filling
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp sugar
pinch salt
1 tbsp butter, chilled
1 to 1 1/2 tsp ice water
Apple Filling
1/4 of a medium apple, diced
sprinkle cinnamon
1 tsp caramel sauce
Preheat toaster oven to 400. (Or regular oven) Place a small piece of parchment paper on tray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using a fork (or your fingers) smush in the butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Mix in water (starting with 1 tsp) to form dough.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. In the same small bowl the dough was in - mix diced apples and cinnamon. Place apples in center of rolled out dough. Top with caramel sauce.
Dip finger in a bit of water and wet along edge of dough. Gently fold dough over the apples and pinch to seal.
Place in preheated toaster oven on prepared tray.
Bake at 400 for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until crust is browned and apples are cooked, about 15 - 20 minutes.
This was so cute.
I mean...
come on...
come oooooooooon...
It makes one tiny little pie. (A pie that is under 200 calories by the way - yay!)
Oh, yeah, in case it matters....the crust is also flaky and very tasty. I am excited to try this with other fillings. If I can find a teeny tiny pie pan I'm so making a crust for a single serving lemon meringue pie.
Oh yeah, it's going to happen.
UPDATE: So I made myself a single serving strawberry pie.
The pie crust is the recipe above. The filling is:
Single Serving Strawberry Pie
1 recipe single pie crust (above)
6 - 7 large strawberries, diced
1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cornstarch
Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400.
Prepare pie crust as per recipe above. Roll out and lay into a small pie or tart pan.
In a bowl, gently mix together the diced strawberries, heavy cream, sugar, and cornstarch. Spoon into crust.
Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until crust is browned and strawberries are tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. (I didn't fill the pie up very full, forgetting that the strawberries will cook down. Feel free to add more strawberries so they are piled up a bit higher than I have them.)
I added a scoop of frozen strawberry yogurt so I wasn't sad that my pie was only half full.
Next time I will pile the strawberries higher.
Cute, right?
Stop by Ms. enPlace and The Chicken Chick and Blissful and Domestic for some great links!