Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sweet Turkey Chili with Jack-Corn Muffins

Welcome back chili; it has been a long time. This recipe from Cooking Light magazine instantly caught my eye because of the turkey, but it wasn't until I read the ingredients that I knew I would love it. I mean, chocolate? In a chili? It is so tasty! The hint of cinnamon and melted chocolate add a richness and sweetness that is delicious. If you have a dutch oven, you can brown the turkey meat directly in the dutch oven then add the remaining ingredients. Otherwise, you may have to do a little pan switch-a-roo. The corn muffins are just icing on the cake! I hope you enjoy!

  • 4 oz. uncooked spaghetti (if you'd like to serve it over spaghetti)
  • 8 oz lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1 tbsp bottled minced garlic (or 4 cloves, minced)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup fat-free less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)

Jack-Corn Muffins:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) package corn muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese (or similar)
  • 2ish tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  1. For chili, while pasta cooks, add turkey to a large skillet; cook for 3 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; saute 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and allspice; cook one minute.
  4. Transfer to larger pot (unless using a dutch oven) and add broth, beans, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2o minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, for muffins, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Divide batter evenly among 6-8 muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until browned.
  6. Remove chili from heat; stir in chocolate and salt. Serve over spaghetti. Top with cheese if desired.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light for this month, I instantly ripped it out. With the "cooler" weather, I begin to crave apple pies, pumpkin things, and nutty flavors. This dish does not fail your expectations (minus the pumpkin). Substitute any nut you have on hand (I used almonds). I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 (3.5 oz) bag boil-in-a-bag brown rice
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 lb chicken breast cutlets (about 4)
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or other)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan; drain.
  2. While rice cooks, melt 1 tsp butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2-3 minutes or until syrupy. (I add flour to thicken mixture because I was impatient).
  3. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Melt remaining 5 tsps butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt; toss well to coat.
  5. Serve rice with chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

Serving size: 1 cutlet and 1/2 cup rice. 333 calories.

Look at my cute new salt and pepper shakers! Woo pigs!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slow-Cooker Tropical Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

I feel like I should name my slow-cooker, so I know who to thank at the end of each meal. Any name suggestions? Anyways, this is another crowd-pleaser! A one-pot meal that tastes delicious. I hope you enjoy!
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice, drained and juice reserved
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tsp Jamaican jerk (or Caribbean Jerk) seasoning, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes (I just used chopped onion)
  • 3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated lime peel
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, slightly crushed (or just ground cumin)
  1. Place sweet potatoes in slow-cooker. Add water chestnuts, raisins, and pineapple tidbits. Mix well.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with jerk seasoning. Arrange chicken on top of potato mixture.
  3. Combine reserved pineapple juice, onion flakes, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, lime peel and cumin in a small bowl. Pour mixture over chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW 7-9 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours or until chicken and potatoes are fork tender.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Slow-Cooker Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

This dish is yet another example of the joy of slow-cooking. I especially enjoyed how simple they were to assemble (no pre-cooking anything!). I think I over-cooked mine just by about an hour because the peppers became a little wrinkled; it still tasted great. Make sure to buy peppers that sit up on their own to avoid them hitting the slow-cooker walls and burning. I hope you enjoy!
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded pepper jack cheese (or similar)
  • 3/4 cup medium salsa
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Cut thin slice off top of each bell pepper. Carefully remove seeds and membrane, leaving pepper whole.
  2. Combine beans, cheese, salsa, corn, onions, rice, chili powder and cumin in a medium bowl. Spoon filling evenly into each pepper. Place peppers slow-cooker.
  3. Cover; cook on LOW 4-6 hours (before peppers begin to get "wrinkly").

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Yum..the joy of slow cooking! I am so excited to begin slow cooking again because I got a timer which turns on the slow cooker at a certain time. Therefore, no more over-cooked meals; it cooks for exactly the time I want! I love how this recipe uses dried kidney beans- much less expensive and easier to keep. I hope you enjoy!

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 (14-oz) package turkey smoked sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions.
  1. Combine first 12 ingredients in electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Discard bay leaf; stir in salt. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with green onions.

Also good over cornbread. For recipe click here

From Cooking Light April 2003.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lemony Blueberry Cupcakes

Yum! I haven't tasted them yet because I'm taking them to Bible study tonight, but if they taste as good as they look then we're in business. Fruity and relatively low-calorie dessert for any occasion. I hope you enjoy!

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 10 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking SODA
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat or fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp grated fresh lemon rind
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed


  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • fresh blueberries for decoration (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place 12 muffin cup liners into muffin cups.
  2. The prepare cupcakes, lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour intro dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Measure 1 tbsp flour; level with a knife. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour plus 1 tbsp, granulated sugar, baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Combine melted butter and egg in another large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  4. Add buttermilk, milk, and 1 tsp rind to butter mixture; stir with a whisk.
  5. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  6. Toss blueberries with remaining 1 tbsp flour. Fold blueberries into batter.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups; Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan and cool completely.
For frosting:
  1. Place cream cheese, 2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp rind, vanilla, and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed just until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar. Stir in juice. Spread frosting evenly over cupcakes. Garnish if desired. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

**Decorating tip: For fast cupcake frosting, simple turn the cupcake upside-down and submerge top of cupcake into icing bowl. Twist gently and pull straight up. It's that easy!

From Cooking Light

Monday, September 13, 2010

Easy Steak Tacos with Avocado Salsa

Delicious and simple, that's what I like about this dish. Unfortunately, I have a stove from like the 1970's, so I broiled the steak, otherwise an outdoor grill or grill pan would've added some flavor. I hope you enjoy!
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 medium limes)
  • 1 (1 lb.) skirt steak, trimmed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 cup diced, seeded plum tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp cilantro flakes)
  • 1 tbsp diced seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup diced avocado (about 1 medium)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 corn tortillas
  1. Combine 1/4 cup juice and steak in a shallow dish. Sprinkle cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and red pepper over both sides of steak. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  2. Heat grill pan or grill over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut steak into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Combine tomato and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a bowl. Gently stir in avocado and 1/4 tsp salt.
  4. Heat tortillas in microwave, and serve.

Makes 4 servings

From Cooking Light November 2009

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Garlic-Ginger Shrimp Stir-Fry

I have really enjoyed branching out of my comfort zone with the Asian dishes this week. I've added two new skills to my cooking repertoire: peeling and grating ginger root and sectioning an orange. Also, I've really learned the advantage of prepping food in prep bowls (thank you for the beautiful prep bowls, April!) so all you have to do is throw things together in a pan. I liked this dish, but I think the seasonings were off a little bit. On my last bite I thought.. "maybe I should've added salt & pepper." Also, the sauce didn't thicken up as it said it would. I really enjoyed the oranges in the dish to give a little sweetness. Fun dish to create and play with. I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 1/4 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped red bell pepper (or green pepper- it's usually cheaper)
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry (I used sherry)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 cup orange sections (about 2 oranges)
  • 3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
  • 1 cup (1-inch) cut green onions.
  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine oil, ginger, and garlic in a wok or large nonstick skillet. Place over medium-high heat; cook 4 minutes or until ginger and garlic begin to brown.
  4. Add shrimp and stir-fry 2 minutes.
  5. Add bell pepper; stir-fry 2 minutes.
  6. Add wine and vinegar; bring to simmer. Cook 1 minute or until wine mixture is syrupy.
  7. Gently stir in oranges. Serve over rice and sprinkle with onions.

Serves 4. Calories per serving: 417.

From Cooking Light June 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gingery Pork Meatballs with Noodles

So it's Asian food week in Abbey's Kitchen, and this first dish lives up to its name. I didn't heed to my own warning of using red pepper to taste, so, needless to say, it was very spicy. It was still delicious, and the meatballs were so flavorful! Yum! I couldn't find any rice noodles at my grocery store, so I simply substituted fettuccine. You could even use spaghetti noodles if you'd like. I bought fresh ginger root, which can be peeled like you would peel the skin off an apple. I enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone; I hope you enjoy!

Prep time: 35-45 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or 1 tbsp cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (or Panko)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten


  • 8 ounces uncooked wide rice noodles, or similar
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup julienne-cut snow peas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  1. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in oven. Preheat to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; stir gently just until blended. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Divide into 20ish equal portions. Shape each portion into a meatball. Arrange meatballs in single layer on preheated pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.
  3. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
  4. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, peas, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cook 5 minutes; stirring occasionally.
  5. Add noodles; toss to coat.
  6. Serve about 1 3/4 cups of noodles with 5 meatballs. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp green onions.

Serves 4.

From Cooking Light September 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seared Pork Chops with Orange-Chipotle Glaze

I have to admit that I have never cooked pork outside of the slow cooker. So in the spirit of branching out, this dish inspired me to step outside of my chicken comfort zone. I did it! It was wonderful. I especially love the smoky-spicy flavor with the sweetness of the orange marmalade. I hope you enjoy!
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp cilantro flakes)
  • 1 tbsp minced chipotle chilies in adobo sauce with 1 tsp of the sauce
  • 4 4-oz. boneless pork loin chops or similar
  1. In a medium bowl combine the orange marmalade, cilantro and chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tsps olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper to taste; add to pan.
  3. Cook 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from pan; set aside.
  4. Add orange marmalade mixture to pan. Simmer, stirring frequently, 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces slightly.
  5. Return pork chops to pan and cook 1 minute or until tender but still slightly pink in the middle. Spoon glaze over the pork.

From Fitness Magazine September 2010