Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Recipe: Bodacious Blueberry Crepes!

As some of you may know, I've been on Weight Watchers on and off since 2008. Sometimes I have great success with it, other times I am too lazy to put in the work to lose weight.

What most people think about WW is that it’s a diet and I have to say, it isn’t. At least, it isn’t a diet in the sense that you cut out certain things, or fixate on others. Essentially Weight Watchers teaches portion control, emphasis on eating fruits, veggies, and lean meats, and other lifestyle changes like working out, and drinking water. It’s a great program if one is willing to take the time to plan and track.

That being said, you can eat almost anything when “on plan.” For example, these amazing blueberry crepes I made for Jeff and me after dinner tonight. Fresh blueberries simmered on the stove with powdered sugar, grated ginger, lemon zest and a pinch of cinnamon is our filling. Our shell is a crepe, a thin pancake that is quick cooked on the stove-top. Both recipes I modified from existing Weight Watchers recipes.

Who says a girl can’t have her crepe and eat it too?

Blueberry-Filled Crepes

Serves 2 or 4 (depending on how hungry you are!)

For the filling, you will need:

2 cups, or one pint, fresh or frozen blueberries

½ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons water

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/8 teaspoon (just a dash really!) ground cinnamon

1) In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and water on medium-low setting.

2) Cover.

3) Gradually add in the zest, and ginger.

4) Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.

5) Continue to cook until berries are soft and the sauce thickens slightly.

6) Remove from heat and stir in dash of cinnamon.

7) Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave for 90 seconds, stirring often.

For the crepes, you will need:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup fat free milk

2 eggs or 6 egg whites (I used one egg and 3 egg whites)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1) In a bowl combine all ingredients listed. The batter will be thin, almost watery.

2) Heat a large (12”) skillet on medium and spray very liberally with cooking spray.

3) Pour ¼ cup batter in hot skillet and immediately swirl the pan, distributing the batter to the edges of the pan.

4) As the edges start to curl, slowly run a rubber spatula under the crepe to loosen.

5) You can flip the crepe once the underside is slightly golden brown.

6) Cook the other side, and slide onto a plate.

7) Repeat with the remaining batter, 4 crepes total

To serve, lay one crepe flat on a plate and spoon 2 tablespoons of warm or chilled blueberry sauce up the middle. At this point you could also add 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese or some other sweet cheese filling. Fold the crepe and top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, an additional tablespoon of blueberry sauce, and/or vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.

Yields 1 crepe shell and 3 tablespoons blueberry sauce per serving.

Simple, delicious, done!


Shauna E!

Quick and Dirty Q & A

Q. What are some other fillings I could use in this recipe besides blueberries?

A. I chose blueberries for their color, flavor, and texture. I love warmed blueberries and they way they pop in your mouth! I also chose blueberries because they have very few seeds as opposed to their other berry counterparts. That being said, one could use any sort of berry-fruit such as blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries. One could also use pears, peaches or mangos as well. As always make sure your fruits are blemish-and-bruise free! If you do choose to use a seedier berry, you can push the warmed sauce through a mesh strainer to catch some of the hard seeds. The sauce will be less chunky in this instance, however.

Questions? Comment below!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Recipe: Positively Pop-able Mini Quiches

I have a problem getting up before ten in the morning. I guess it’s leftover from my college days when I strategically picked classes that started at noon, coupled with my love of staying up all night burning my eyeballs on the computer monitor.

My shifts at work normally start at eleven, so very rarely do I get up in time to both get myself ready AND have a healthy breakfast. Breakfast for me is normally a cup of drive-thru Dunkin Donuts ice coffee! But since it is a new year, I’ve been trying hard to cook more and, in turn, eat more breakfast.

These miniature quiches I made today are definitely going to help in my quest for that first meal of the day. Adapted from this quiche recipe from the Egg Beaters website, it combines crisp bacon, creamy mozzarella cheese, and fresh, chopped broccoli for a unique weekday treat or even something worthy of company for a weekend brunch! Pair these with skillet hash browns, or even a small salad or fresh fruit.

I opted to make these in my mini muffin tins and regretted it. While the flavor was there (and if I do say so myself, this flavor combo is DELICIOUS), I felt as if I had to eat 5 or 6 to felt satisfied. I think next time I will definitely make them in my 12-cup instead, or even in a skillet like my sister does!

Mini Crust-Less Bacon, Broccoli and Cheese Quiches

You will need:

1 carton, 16oz, egg substitute (Such as Egg Beaters, I used cheddar and chives flavored)

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

1/2 cup crumbled bacon or 1/4 cup bacon bits (from the jar)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Generally grease a 24 or 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

3) Fill each cup 1/3 way with egg substitute.

4) In a bowl, mix cheese, bacon, broccoli and spices together.

5) Add 2 teaspoons of filling to each cup, and gently press in.

6) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until eggs appear puffy and golden brown.

7) Serve immediately or store in the fridge

Simple, Delicious, Done!


Shauna E!

Quick and Dirty Q&A

Q. I don't eat meat, or I don't like broccoli. What other fillings could I use?

A. The possibilities for fillings in any quiche are ENDLESS! Substitute broccoli for frozen, chopped spinach (make sure you defrost first!), or even mushrooms, zucchini, or tomatoes. Trade the bacon for ham, smoked turkey, or crumbled sausage. Skip the meat entirely and just use leftover roasted veggies. I just used ingredients I had on hand. For example, I was originally going to use Mexican Four-Cheese blend for the cheese, but found a small amount of mozzarella in the drawer that needed to be used up first.

The trick is to make sure everything is chopped small, and not to overfill the muffin cups!

Q. You say to use what's on hand, but I don't have any Egg Beaters!

A. To make this recipe sans Egg Beaters beat 6 large eggs with about a 1/4 cup of milk. I like the Egg Beaters because they require no work on my end, and they are forever on sale at my Publix. But I will always advocate using what is on hand before running out to the store for just one ingredient!

Questions? Comment below!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ridiculously Easy Recipe: Zucchini and Sausage Skillet

HAPPY NEW YEAR, READERS! I hope 2012 makes all your dreams come true!

Zucchini was on sale for less than a dollar a pound this week at Publix. I love this mild tasting, versatile squash! It holds up very well whatever way you choose to cook it, whether it’s baking, boiling, grilling, or frying. Pan-frying the zucchini in garlic and olive oil creates a crispy crust while the inside remains tender and sweet. Paired with Italian sausage, this simple dish takes mere minutes to prepare and is just delicious.

This dish would be perfect with other fresh, sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, summer squash or even green beans. I love making this with zucchini and sausage because of their similar shape when you cut them. Silly maybe, but it’s the little aesthetics that send some meals over the edge!

Zucchini and Sausage Skillet

Makes 2 servings

2 tbsp olive oil, separated

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Italian Sausage links, leftover or partially boiled*

2 medium zucchini squash

1 can diced tomatoes with basil and onion

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cooked pasta (I prefer linguini for this dish!)

*There is a little prep work involved in this dish. You will want to pre-boil the sausages for about 10 minutes or until they appear opaque (milky-white) in their casing. Allow to cool, then cut into “coins”, about ¼ to ½ inches thick.

1. Slice zucchini into coins, about the same thickness of the sausage. Toss with one teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat a skillet over medium heat, and add the reserved teaspoon of olive oil and garlic. Sauté until garlic is softened, about one minute.

3. Place the zucchini coins flesh side down and fry until golden brown, anywhere from one to two minutes. Flip over and sear other sides. You may need to do this in batches depending on how big your skillet is.

4. Add the cooked sausage coins and heat through. Plate the mixture over hot pasta (or omit for low-carb dieters!).

5. Heat the diced tomatoes in the same skillet, making sure to scrape up any garlicky bits from the bottom of the pan (extra flavor!)

5. Top the plated dish with heated tomatoes and serve.

Questions? Comment Below!