Monday, September 22, 2008

Banana Pudding Squares

This recipe is courtesy Summer Perrero

30 reduced fat Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
4 Tbsp margarine, melted
1 pkg low fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 8oz container fat free Cool Whip
3 medium ripe bananas
3 cups skim milk
2 pkg (4 serving size) Jello vanilla pudding
1/2 square baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, grated

Mix wafers and margarine. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. Spoon evenly onto crust. Spread carefully. Cut banans in half crosswise and then cut each piece lengthwise. (I dipped them in orange juice just to keep them from going brown faster.) Arrange over the cream cheese mixture.
Pour milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Spoon over bananas. Spread with remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle chocolate on top.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

I was a little nervous to try this recipe because of the eggs. I wasn't exactly sure how it would turn, but it ended up being very good. I didn't buy the Pecorino Romano cheese I just added a cup of Parmesan instead. I also did not add all of the extra-virgin olive oil - I just put a little in the pan, since bacon is so greasy anyways. Brad also said he thinks that there should be chicken in it - so next time I will probably add chicken along with the bacon.

3 large eggs
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 slices bacon, chopped fine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound spaghetti

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a large serving bowl on the rack, and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the spaghetti.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cheese, and garlic together and set aside.
Cook the bacon and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover.
When the water is boiling, stir in 1 Tbsp salt and the spaghetti. Cook, stirring often, until the spaghetti is almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the spaghetti, leaving it slightly wet. Remove the warm bowl from the oven and add the spaghetti. Immediately pour the egg and bacon mixtures over the spaghetti and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce before serving.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chicken Fajitas

This recipe, like many of my recent recipes that I've posted came from my new America's Test Kitchen cookbook - that I love!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 red or green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
1 red onion, halved and sliced thin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 to 4 Tbsp water
1 tsp Tabasco
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then slice it into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the lime juice.
Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until simmering. Add the peppers, onion, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 Tbsp of the water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. (Add the remaining 2 Tbsp water as needed to prevent the pan from scorching.)
Return the chicken with any accumulated juice to the skillet. Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Stack the tortillas, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until hot, 40 to 60 seconds.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, avacado, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and lime wedges.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bacon and Cheddar Potato Skins

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
8 ounces bacon (8 slices), chopped fine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh chives or scallions
1/2 cup sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Thoroughly prick the potatoes with a fork. Microwave the potatoes on high for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes. Carefully transfer the potatoes to the oven and cook until a skewer glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a papertowel-lined plate.

Slice the hot potatoes in half lengthwise and cool for 5 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch later of potato on the inside of each skin.

Brush the potatoes inside and out with melted butter. Season the insides of the skins with salt and pepper. Arrange the potato skins, scooped side facing up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the potatoes are light golden brown and crisp, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the potato skins evenly with the crisp bacon and the cheddar and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and add dollops of sour cream before serving.

Broccoli Cole Slaw

2 bags (3 ounce) Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 bags (12 ounce) broccoli cole slaw
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Dressing Mix:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noddle seasoning packet

Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Melt a little butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.