Sunday, April 30, 2017

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

Sue and I had a bacon theme going on for our Easter dinner celebrations this year. Even the desserts were bacon filled. Have you tried the sweet and salty thing by adding bacon to your dessert? You really should. It's pretty hard to beat. 

I made Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies (Link HERE), Chocolate Dipped Bacon, and Maple Bacon Ice Cream. Sue made even more bacon desserts - and we will be posting those soon as well! (Pineapple Bacon Upside Down Cake, and Bacon Pecan Pie Squares, to name a few). 
Maple Bacon Ice Cream is incredibly decadent and reminiscent of Maple Walnut with a hint of smokiness. A little goes a long way so one batch is good for a crowd. 

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

5 egg yolks
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half & half cream
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1/2 tsp sea salt
5 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the maple syrup until combined. Place over medium high heat and slowly whisk in the half & half and heavy cream. Continue slowly whisking for 10 to 15 minutes, until a smooth custard forms and mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
Remove from heat, stir in the salt, then strain the custard into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cool - at least 5 hours. 
When completely cool, pour mixture into the container of your ice cream maker. 

Process according to manufacturer's directions. 
When machine is done, pour ice cream into a pan and sprinkle with the crispy, crumbled bacon.

Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. You can serve scoops directly from this pan OR you can scoop into a cute bowl or container to serve from.

Keep ice cream covered and frozen until serving time.

As I mentioned earlier, it is very rich. One or two scoops is plenty!

Make sure your bacon is cooked until crispy. You don't want chewy bits of bacon in there. You want them to be as crunchy as possible - mimicking a walnut texture. 
Be sure to stop by Carole's Chatter for more fun and tasty links!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad (Take 2)

Way back in 2012 Sue and I posted our recipe for Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad (Link HERE)
At that time we were still in the beginning learning stages of our blog so we only got 2 photos of the salad and...well....they are just not good. Go ahead, click the link, check it out. It's pretty sad.
Anyway, I was looking back through old posts for something to re-shoot and this recipe jumped out at me. It was so good and was one of the few recipes that Sue and I actually agreed on as being delicious. 
I started out just going to remake the recipe as we had written it and take some new pics. But then, seeing as how I am focused on trying to eat a much healthier diet this year, I decided to play with the recipe to see how much more healthy I could make it. 
I only made a few changes but enough that I thought it was worthwhile reposting as a new blog. According to MyFitnessPal 1 serving (recipe makes 4) is: 378 calories, 46 carbs, 11 fat, 29 protein, and 5 fiber. 

Spicy Chinese Chicken Salad (Take 2)

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Chinese chili garlic paste
1/3 cup light mayo
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 bag coleslaw mix (approx 6 cups)
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup snow peas, trimmed, cut in half
4 small mandarin oranges
1/2 pkg Mr. Noodles noodles (or Ichiban), crunched up
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Prepare dressing - In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, garlic paste, mayo, and ginger. Whisk until well combined. Whisk in soy sauce and rice vinegar. Scoop 1/4 cup of the dressing into a container and add in the chicken thighs. Close lid and shake to coat. Let marinade for at least an hour. 
Place remaining dressing in a saucepan over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water and then whisk into dressing in pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 minutes. 
Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool - at least an hour. 
Prepare chicken - Preheat oven to 350. Remove chicken from marinade and place in shallow baking dish. Bake approx 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and cut into strips - or shred if you  prefer. 
Assemble salad - Toss the coleslaw mix with 1/3 of the dressing.  

Line 4 servings bowls/plates with 1 cup spinach.
On each of the 4 servings, place 1 1/2 cups of the coleslaw mix.

Top each with 1/4 cup snow peas, 1 orange (broken into segments), and 1/4 of the crunched noodles. 

Place sliced (or shredded) chicken on top, drizzle with a bit more dressing, then sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.

It's a big serving. Trust me, it won't leave anyone hungry. 
You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs for a few less calories/fat but I prefer the thighs. 
Sometimes tweaking a recipe to be healthier doesn't mean losing any of the flavor or fantabulousness or the original. This is definitely one of those times! 
Also, please note - the Chinese chili garlic paste is super spicy. You can definitely use more if you like the heat but I would start at 2 Tbsp and go from there. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Broken Glass Dessert

Some people call this dessert "stained glass" and others call it "broken glass". We've always called it broken glass. It's one of our mom's favorite desserts and we've had it around our house since we were kids. It is a pain in the patootie to make - simply because it dirties so many dishes - but is totally worth the effort. 
When you need a light dessert for after a heavy meal, this is the one you want. You can use your favorite Jello flavors and colors to customize it. It's also great because it can be made a day ahead and refrigerated so you have that much less to do during a get together.'s no bake. Seriously... the only downside is the dishes. 

Broken Glass Dessert

1 pkg (85 gr/4 serving size) red Jello
1 pkg (85 gr/4 serving size) orange Jello
1 pkg (85 gr/4 serving size) lime Jello
1 pkg (85 gr/4 serving size) peach Jello
6 cups boiling water

Step 1
1 envelope (approx 7.2 gr) Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
Step 2
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Prepare the 4 pkgs of Jello - Dissolve each package of Jello in 1 1/2 cups of the boiling water. Pour each into a separate shallow pan and refrigerate until set (pie plates work great).
Prepare crust - Mix together the graham crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Reserve 1/3 cup off the crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into a 9 X 13 pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray. (FYI - you can also divide the mixture into 2 - 8 X 8 pans if you would like to share it with someone, as shown below!)

Chill crumbs in fridge while waiting for Jello to set.
Lastly, prepare the unflavored gelatin. Mix the package of unflavored gelatin with the 1/2 cup of cold water first. Stir in the 1/2 cup boiling water and stir well. Pour gelatin into a dish and refrigerate for about 1 1/2 hours - until set a little bit but not completely set
Assemble dessert - Whip the whipping cream with the 1/2 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat in the gelatin mixture and the pineapple juice. 

Cut the colored Jello into cubes and gently fold into the whipped cream mixture.

Spread over the crust.

Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top.

Chill until ready to serve - at least 5 hours but even better overnight. 

So pretty.

Like I mentioned above - use whatever flavors of Jello you like. I used cherry for the red, orange, lime, and peach. You could use lemon or strawberry or berry blue or raspberry or...well.... I'm sure you get the idea. 
Oh, also, I've made this several times and sometimes I have forgotten to get to the unflavored gelatin before it completely sets. Never fear, it's not ruined - I have a solution! Simply place the set gelatin and the pineapple juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Then continue mixing it in the whipping cream! Sue told me - once it sets there's no coming back. Ha! I showed her. Blending it takes away the lumps and the dessert will still set (albeit just not quite as firmly), just so you know. 
We're sharing over at Carole's Chatter. Be sure to stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Asparagus and Beet Salad with Feta and Pumpkin Seeds

I'm really not one for salads. And by salads I mean big boring bowls of lettuce. 
But make it look pretty, fancy it up, and *voila* suddenly it's not just a salad it's a magical dining experience. I mean.... who would have thought roasting veggies makes them magic? Not me. Not until now. 
Completely by accident I discovered the secret of the tastiest salad in the universe. 
I realize I say that a lot; the whole "best in the universe" thing. Bear with me. It's just that it's kind of true. Unless the martians have come up with an even more amazing dish. Which may or may not be something that exists. Who am I to say?
For now though, until we have proof otherwise, this one rules the universe. 

Asparagus and Beet Salad with Feta and Pumpkin Seeds
and Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette 

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
salt & pepper

2 cups coarsely chopped beets, peeled
4 cups chopped asparagus
2 thin slices onion
4 Tbsp crumbled feta
2 Tbsp unsalted pumpkin seeds (shelled) 

Prepare vinaigrette - whisk together minced garlic, oil, lemon juice, broth, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Set aside until ready to use. (Can be made a day ahead for flavors to get stronger, if desired. Simply whisk again just before serving.)

Prepare beets and asparagus - Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Peel and cut beets and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake in 425 oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir the beets on the cookie sheet. 
Place chopped asparagus on cookie sheet with the beets. Bake at 425 for approximately 10 - 15 minutes - until asparagus and beets are done. 

Assemble salads - When done, remove from oven and divide the beets and asparagus between 2 serving bowls. 

Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp of the dressing. 
Top each with 1 slice of onion, 2 Tbsp crumbled feta, and 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds. 
Lastly, drizzle each again with another 1 Tbsp of dressing. 

Look at all that craziness....

FYI - You can serve this warm or cold. I ate half the recipe for lunch on one day, warm, and then put the ingredients in the fridge until the next day. I assembled it the next day, cold, and it was also really good. 
Personally though, warm is the way to go. 

How gorgeous is that? I mean.... for a salad
And the good news just keeps coming - according to MyFitnessPal, one serving (recipe makes 2) is - 360 calories, 15 protein, 9 fiber, 24 fat. 
(Keep in mind you will have some of the dressing left over. You only use 2 Tbsp per salad.)
Of course, as always, you can add more or less ingredients as you please - it will just change the nutritional counts I have listed here. 
So, want a magic salad? Roast your veggies. Problem solved. 

Be sure to visit Carole's Chatter for lots of fun food links! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rice Paper Burger Rolls

This recipe started because I was wondering how to use up some leftover rice. I have no idea how it lead to this crispy, tasty, unique roll. 
I'm glad it lead here but I still don't know how it morphed from leftover rice. 
Rice paper is my new favorite ingredient to play with. I love "the usual" rice wraps such as these raw veggie ones:

But I really, really, REALLY love them baked until they are crispy. They are a great alternative to bread plus they are super fun. They take a little rehearsing as they are a bit sticky to work with. Practice makes perfect! 
You could deep fry them for even more tastiness but I was trying to take the healthier route by baking them. FYI - they are super-de-duper lovely baked. 

Rice Paper Burger Rolls

Burger Logs
1 lb extra lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/4 of a purple onion, sliced thin
1 cup brown rice, cooked 

8 rice paper wraps
2 - 3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Dipping Sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
4 Tbsp rice vinegar

green onions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
Prepare burger logs - Mix together beef and garlic in a bowl until well combined. Form into 8 log shapes and place in a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat. 

Cook, turning to brown all sides, until meat is done. Let cool at least 15 minutes. 
Prepare wraps - soak a rice wrap in water as per package instructions. Lay on a work surface. Place 1/8th of the red pepper, onion, and rice in the center of the wrap.

Top with one of the cooked hamburger logs. I ended up cutting mine in half to lay flatter! 

Fold in sides of wrap to cover ends of the hamburger, then roll up rice wrap. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all the hamburger logs are used up. You should have 8. Using a basting or pastry brush, brush the tops of each roll with a little water then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. 
Note - Try not to fill them too full or they may split while cooking. 

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Gently flip the rolls over and bake at 400 for another 10 - 15 minutes. 
While the rolls are baking, prepare the sauce - in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, and rice vinegar. Serve with the Rice Paper Burger Rolls. 

Sprinkle with the green onions, if desired. 

Best served warm but they are pretty good just out of the fridge - they just lose some of the crunchiness. Great for lunch or as an appetizer. 

Stop by Carole's Chatter for tons of fun, foody links!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Healthified Loco Moco

Ever since Sue introduced me to the Loco Moco (See post HERE) I have been obsessed. Rice + gravy + burger + egg = a ridiculous amount of deliciousness. 
Thing is.... I'm trying to healthify my lifestyle by eating a bit lower calorie, lower carb, etc..etc... and the Loco Moco is a bit heavy. But, good news! I have healthified the recipe to make it more friendly to my lifestyle goals. Swapping out a few ingredients lessens the calories and such but does not lose any of the tummy pleasing goodness. I also used the "blend and extend" method from the Mushrooms Canada website (Visit them HERE). This is a fabulous way to cut calories and not taste! 
It is still a hearty and delicious meal that is sure to satisfy!
Try our regular Loco Moco (HERE), or give this one a try! Let us know which one you prefer.

Healthified Loco Moco

1/2 lb mushrooms
1 lb lean ground chicken
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup oats
1 egg
1/2 cup dried tomato, finely diced

Tomato Gravy
2 Tbsp cooking sherry
1 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 slice onion, diced
1 cup dried tomatoes
1 1/3 cup vegetable stock
salt & pepper

3 cups cooked rice
6 eggs, fried

Prepare burgers - Place mushrooms in a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely chopped. Place mushrooms into a separate bowl, add in the ground chicken, onion, garlic, oats, egg, and dried tomato. 

Mix together well and form into 6 patties. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat. (The reason I lined mine with plastic wrap is I chilled them for several hours because I was prepping ahead. I just flipped them from the plastic wrap onto the silpat when I was ready to cook them!) 

To cook - preheat oven to 375. Cook at 375 for 15 minutes, flip the burgers over, then cook for 10 - 15 minutes more (until cooked through). 

While burgers are cooking, prepare tomato gravy.
Prepare tomato gravy - in a small sauce pan, place cooking sherry, oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and salt & pepper.

 Cook over medium heat until bubbling - about 5 - 8 minutes. Pour sauce into a blender or food processor and process until smooth (be careful, it is hot!). 
Pour back into saucepan and keep warm over low heat until ready to use. 
While burgers are cooking you can also prepare your rice and your fried eggs!
Assemble the loco moco - Place 1/2 cup cooked rice on a serving plate. Top with 1/6th of the tomato gravy. 

Top with a chicken burger patty.

Lastly, top with a fried egg. Serve immediately. Repeat with remaining 5 servings.

Soooooo good!

This is the perfect way to enjoy a filling comfort food meal without worrying too much about nutritional counts. You can make it even more healthy by using brown rice or cauliflower rice! 
I developed this recipe after my boss at work gave me some lovely dried tomatoes she had done.

The burger patties and gravy are a great way to use up dried tomatoes! 

Looking for more fun foody links? Pop by Carole's Chatter!