Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Funfetti Cake Dip

Dessert dips are dangerous. If they aren’t proportioned, I end up hanging out by the dip and eating it during the whole party while somehow convincing myself that I didn’t really eat anything. I figure, if I only eat one tiny bite at a time and I don’t use a plate, the calories don’t count. That’s true, right?

Well, with this dip, you don’t have to feel guilty! It’s low in fat and calories and I swear you would never know. And for all you cake batter lovers, this tastes like the real deal. But it won’t give you salmonella so it’s even better! It is super sweet so all the kids at my party loved it but it was too much for some of the older women (my grandmother found it disgusting). By the way, when does that happen? What’s the magic age when things start becoming “too sweet”? It’d be nice for my waistline but I’m definitely dreading that day.

I served it with mini graham crackers and animal crackers. Nilla wafers would be good too! It reminded me of eating Dunkaroos when I was in elementary school. I used to eat all of the kangaroo shaped crackers plain. Then I would save the circular ones and use all of the frosting to make a couple GIANT cookie-frosting sandwiches. The good ole days!

Oh, and it has sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles never fail to make my day better. How can you not be happy when eating something so bright and cheerful? Try frowning and eating sprinkles. I bet it’s impossible.

Funfetti Cake Dip (24 ¼ cup servings – 105 cals) from Eat Yourself Skinny!
·         1 (18.9 oz) box Funfetti cake mix
·         2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
·         1 cup lite Cool Whip
·         Fat-free animal crackers

1.       In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, plain yogurt and Cool Whip until completely combined and you see no more lumps.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for about 4 hours. 
Garnish with additional sprinkles if desired and serve with animal crackers, graham crackers, and/or Nilla wafers! 

Why do sprinkles make everything better?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Edamame Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey Dressing

Pasta salads are one of my favorite summer foods. For me, pasta is a comfort food but, when the weather is hot, I don’t always want to eat a heavy and hot meal so I turn to pasta salads. My “go to” pasta salad is mayo based with celery, egg, peas, and tuna. My mom and grandmother both always have a big bowl of it in the refrigerator throughout the summer. It keeps well, everyone in my family loves it, and it goes perfectly with grilled meats and vegetables. However, you know I like to switch things up. I’m also very finicky when it comes to mayo. Sometimes, especially when it’s hot out, it makes my stomach feel a little weird. So I generally try to stick with more oil-based pasta salads when I’m experimenting.

This recipe uses lemon juice, olive oil, and honey. I think the flavor combination is absolutely wonderful. The lemon keeps it light, the olive oil keeps it from being dry, and the honey makes it just a little bit sweet. The goat cheese tones down the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the lemon and it all comes together perfectly. When you let the pasta salad sit for a couple hours, the liquids cause the goat cheese to break down a little bit, which creates a creamy sauce that coats everything. For vegetables I used edamame and cucumber for some crunch and tomato for some color. I think next time I would substitute the tomato for a red bell pepper because it would hold up better. But you can use any veggies that you like!

This can also be eaten cold as a pasta salad or slightly warmed. If you stick it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, the pasta will get a little warm and the goat cheese will melt but the vegetables will still stay crisp! 

Edamame Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Honey Dressing adapted from Sugarcrafter
  • 8 ounces pasta (I used penne)
  • 6 ounces frozen edamame, shelled and thawed
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
1.       Cook the pasta according to package directions. Let cool completely.
2.       Dice the cucumber and onion, and halve the tomatoes.
3.       In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
4.       In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Toss with the salad. Can be served chilled or slightly warm. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Frittata Frame

This recipe is for the basic structure of a frittata. I made my first frittata a couple months ago and fell in love with it. It’s a great option for a big breakfast, a healthy lunch, or a light dinner with a side salad. I like to make them when I know I’m going to be really busy because the leftovers keep for about a week and are easy to pop in the microwave or can be eaten cold!

The possibilities for frittatas are absolutely endless! You could use whatever types of cheese, meats, and vegetables you are craving, have on hand, or are on sale at the grocery store. They can be as simple as one cheese and one vegetable or you could load it up with a ton of ingredients for a larger and more filling frittata. I like to make frittatas when I need to clean out my refrigerator. I basically just dump whatever I have into frying pan, warm it up a little, transfer it to an 8x8 baking dish, 10 in pie plate, or 9x13 baking dish, pour the egg mixture on top and bake it for about 30-40 minutes.

Here are three creations that I took some pictures of. I’ve made other but, because I’m usually making them when I’m really busy and I use random leftovers, I didn’t photograph them. The first one is a simple asparagus and American cheese frittata. The second one is a spinach, mushroom, and ricotta frittata. And the last one is a Mexican frittata that contains red peppers, corn, canned chiles, onions, and Mexican blend cheese.

What egg casserole creations can you come up with?

Basic Frittata Frame
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
Add: ¾ cup shredded cheese of your choice. It could be Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan, Asiago, pepper jack.
Add: 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme or 1 tsp dried herbs, like parsley, rosemary, or an Italian mix. Choose one or mix a few together.
Add: 1 cup cooked meat, diced. This is a great way to use up leftovers, such as diced ham, chicken, or sausage. If you don’t have any meat on hand or don’t want to include meat, you can replace this amount with additional vegetables.
Add: 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fresh vegetables, diced. Sweet peppers, asparagus, squash, tomatoes, green onions, peas, shredded zucchini, eggplant, and broccoli are a few examples. Choose one or mix a few together.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat a 10 inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, salt, pepper until smooth. Stir in the cheese, herbs, meat, and the vegetables until combined.
4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle or golden on top. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

asparagus and cheese

spinach, mushroom and ricotta


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Here is the final piece of the Mexican-themed meal! I’m obviously obsessed with dessert so I couldn’t have a meal without it. I debated trying to make some sort of traditional Mexican dessert but decided against it in favor of some cupcakes in hopes that my family would be more likely to eat them quickly!

I decided on these strawberry-filled cupcakes with lime cream cheese frosting to go with the strawberry margaritas.  Feel free to compliment me on how well-planned and clever that was J

For the cupcakes, I just used my standard boxed cake mix with a can of diet soda. I know there are probably a bunch of people who haven’t warmed up to that idea yet. I generally only use it for cupcakes that are filled with something. I figure, if I’m going to be scooping out half of the cupcake anyway, there’s really no point in making something so labor intensive.

The frosting is the real focus here. The combination of cream cheese and lime reminded me of key lime pie. It was creamy and rich with a little bit of a tart bite. The only thing that I might try to do differently is play with the amount of sugar to change the consistency.  It was slightly runny, like almost somewhere between a buttercream and a glaze, so it had to be spread onto the cupcakes rather than piped. This was fine for these cupcakes because a little goes a long way but I’d be interested to see what a thicker frosting would taste like.

Make these, drink the matching margaritas, and be merry!

Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting (16 cupcakes)
·         1 box yellow cake mix
·         1 can diet lemon-lime soda
·         1 pint fresh strawberries
·         1 Tbsp sugar
For the frosting
·         4 oz cream cheese
·         2 ½ Tbsp butter
·         2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1 Tbsp lime juice
·         Zest of one lime
1.       Preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on the cake box. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2.       For the filling: Finely chop the pint of strawberries. Place in a bowl and mix with the sugar.
3.       For the frosting:  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest. Add in the sugar ½ cup at a time and mix until smooth.
4.       Mix the cake mix and the can of soda together until the batter is smooth. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake as directed.
5.       Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Cut out the center of the cupcakes and reserve the middles in a separate bowl.
6.       Fill the cupcakes with the diced strawberries. Cover with a small amount of the reserved cupcake.
7.       Frost the cupcakes.
8.       Chill until ready to serve.

it's like a margarita... in a cupcake!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Shrimp Fajitas

Here’s the main dish from my Mexican fiesta dinner! 

Fajitas are great because you can make them however you want! They are perfect for a crowd so that people can pick and choose their toppings and how much they feel like eating. If you don’t like anything, just leave it off! Don’t feel like using a tortilla? Put the toppings over some lettuce for a taco salad or make it into a rice bowl. I like this recipe because it’s light and it uses shrimp, which is a little more interesting than the typical steak or chicken.

Personally, I load mine up with a ton of everything… especially the optional condiments. Salsa, guac, sour cream (I’ve actually made the switch over to Greek yogurt and am LOVING it), cheese, jalapenos, and hot sauce… of course. I can’t get enough! It usually ends up being a total embarrassing mess because I try to pick it up and eat it and everything goes spilling out the back and the juices are running down my arms.  Attractive, right? Note to self: Do not order fajitas until after at least 5 dates. After that, I figure the guy has probably already realized that he’s not exactly getting a prim and proper lady so I might as well enjoy my grub.

Grab some tortillas, pull out all the Mexican condiments in your fridge, and build yourself a delicious fajita!

Shrimp Fajitas (2 servings – 330 cals) from Skinnytaste
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt + fresh pepper
 For the Shrimp
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined (weigh them after you peel them)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • salt + fresh pepper
  • pinch of chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 4 tortillas
1.       In frying pan combine onions, peppers, 2 teaspoons oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Cook on the stovetop tossing occasionally until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
2.       Season shrimp with chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper. While the onions are cooking, heat a large frying pan on high heat. Add oil. When the oil is hot add the shrimp and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from heat. Add juice from the lime and cilantro. Toss well. Combine with the cooked onions and peppers and serve with tortillas.

the veggies

ready to be stuffed in a tortilla and smothered with condiments :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fiesta Lime Rice

I’m not a huge fan of just plain rice. It bores me. So when I was looking for a side dish to go with my Mexican-themed meal, I knew I wanted to have something a little more exciting than plain white or brown rice.  I found this recipe that I absolutely love. You can use less rice because the recipe is bulked up with corn and beans, so it cuts the carbs. And the boredom. As indicated in my blog name, I tend to be bored and hungry so I try to cook things that fix that :)

I don’t have a ton to say about this recipe but you should give it a try as a slightly different and more colorful, tasty, and nutritious alternative to plain rice. You won’t be disappointed!

Fiesta Lime Rice (4 1 cup servings – 153 cals) from Skinnytaste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and heated
  • 3/4 cup cooked corn, heated
  • 1 large scallion, diced fine
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt to taste
1.       In a large bowl, combine hot rice, heated corn, heated beans, scallion, cilantro, lime juice and salt if needed. Toss and serve.

jazzed up fiesta lime rice!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Go To" Guacamole

I absolutely love avocados. It’s a combination of the taste and texture… it’s just perfect. I put them on sandwiches with meat and/or eggs. I mash them up or chunk them for use in tuna, taco, and egg salad. I like to fill the space where the pit is with things like the previously mentioned salads, cottage cheese, or other veggies.

So, naturally, I love guacamole. I eat it in tacos and burritos, on nachos, and with chips. Or just a spoon. I also am a firm believer that guac is a great dip that doubles as a wonderful condiment for slathering on sandwiches instead of mayo or eating with grilled chicken, steak, or fish.

After a lot of experimenting, I have found that this is my “go-to” guacamole recipe. I definitely love putting crazy spins on it by mixing in different ingredients on occasion, like corn, peppers, raspberries, mango, pineapple, etc. But this is the base that I use for the majority of my creations. The same rule applies as with my pico de gallo. I generally double the jalapeno and cilantro if I’m making it for myself.

So make this guacamole and feel free to add your own crazy creations!

Guacamole  from How Sweet It Is
·         4 ripe avocados
·         1/2 red onion, chopped
·         1 jalapeno, chopped
·         1 small tomato, chopped
·         1/4 cup chopped cilantro
·         1 lime, juice
1.       Scoop out avocado meat and mash it. Add chopped vegetables to the mix. Squeeze in fresh lime juice. Serve with… anything. 

maybe a green bowl wasn't the best photo choice but it's still delicious!