I've moved! Follow me over to The Balanced Baker.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I've only had gnocchi twice in my life... the first was in our trip to Italy this past spring, and the second was at home, with some store bought gnocchi. I wasn't sure if I was brave enough to try making it by hand. When I came across this recipe in my latest issue of Clean Eating, it sounded too easy to pass up! It definitely was not hard to make, but it was time consuming. I ended up cooking all the gnocchi and we ate this for lunch throughout the week. Perhaps we are sauce hogs, but I didn't have anything resembling 4 cups of leftover sauce. These weren't quite as good as the ones from Italy, but on my first try I didn't expect them to be! They were still delicious and I loved the twist with the sweet potato.

On a side note, this was part of a budget friendly section of the magazine, and they claim the whole dish costs $9.46, with the cost per serving being $2.37.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009
Serves: 4, plus 4 cups of leftover sauce

Traditionally, gnocchi is made with regular potatoes, while bolognese sauce can include whole milk or even cream. By using sweet potatoes, lean ground turkey and skim milk, we've not only taken some of the heft out of this dish, but we've also added a but more nutritional interest.
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium Russet or Idaho potatoes
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour, divided, plus additional flour for dusting on hands and cookie sheets
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 28-oz can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a fork to poke holes in all potatoes. Bake on a cookie sheet, lined with foil, for 45 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven, let cool, remove skins and slice. Add potato sliced to a food processor fitted with a standard blade and puree for 3 minutes or until smooth.

2. To make gnocchi, put potato puree in a large bowl and mix in 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup at a time, (you will get a very sticky consistency). Dust hands with a bit of flour and form puree into teaspoon-sized oval shaped balls. You will periodically need to dust your hands with more flour while making balls. Once all balls are made (you will have 90 to 100), take a fork and, pressing lightly, made indentations around the circumference of the balls, being careful not to flatten them. Dust 2 plates or a cookie sheet with flour and place gnocchi on them to air dry so they will not be quite as fragile.

3. While gnocchi are drying, fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over medium high eat. Once dry, add gnocchi to stockpot in small batches of about 10 to 15. When they float to the surface, after about 3 minutes, remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon.

4. To make sauce, heat a medium saucepot over medium high heat. Let heat for 1 minute, then mist with cooking spray. Add onion , celery, and carrots and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add turkey and stir, breaking meat up into pieces with a spoon or spatula as it cooks, about 5 minutes.

5. Once turkey is cooked, add remaining 2 tbsp of flour. Whisk in milk and stir until thickened.

6. Pour in tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat to medium low and stir. Add Italian seasoning and basil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cook or another 5 minutes.

7. To serve, place 1 cup gnocchi in a bowl and top with 1 cup sauce. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Serving size: 1 cup gnocchi with 1 cup sauce

Calories: 430
Total fat: 2 g
Sat fat: 0 g
Carb: 79 g
Fiber: 13 g
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 27 g
Sodium: 410 mg
Cholesterol: 30 mg

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BB: White Pizza with Arugula

I love pizza and my husband loves white pizza, so I knew this would be great for us! However, I don't love arugula. In fact, I hate it. I have tried many times to like it to no avail. So we skipped the arugula and vinaigrette, and topped it with artichokes, red pepper, and kalamata olives instead! It was a beautiful weekend, and heating up the oven just seemed wrong so we cooked it on the grill.

See how everyone else liked the pizza, over at Barefoot Bloggers.

White Pizza with Arugula
Source: Ina Garten Back to Basics on page 82
Chosen by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen

For the dough:
* 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
* 2 packages dry yeast
* 1 tablespoon honey
* Good olive oil
* 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
* Kosher salt
* 4 cloves garlic, sliced
* 5 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
* 3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
* 1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
* 11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

(For the vinaigrette:
* 1/2 cup good olive oil
* 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 8 ounces baby arugula
* 1 lemon, sliced)

We added roasted artichoke hearts, chopped red bell pepper, and chopped kalamata olives!


Mix the dough.

Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

Knead by hand.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.

Let it rise.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make garlic oil.

Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Portion the dough.

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Stretch the dough.

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Top the dough.

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Make the vinaigrette.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.

TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.

TIP To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whole Wheat Bagels

Oh, I'm in love! This is another whole wheat bread recipe from Peter Reinhart's book, and they are absolutely fabulous. I was getting tired of english muffins with my breakfast, so I couldn't wait to try making bagels. My only complaint is that the recipe only makes 6 to 7 bagels (I got 8). Between my husband and myself, we'll polish those off before the week is out! These involve a very similar pre-dough process to the whole wheat hearth bread recipe, but I think the bagels are fantastic and worth the wait! If you want to avoid the white flour in traditional bagel recipes, definitely give these a try!

My breakfast:

1 sesame bagel
+ 1 egg lightly beaten and microwaved for about 1 minute
+ 1 chicken sausage patty=

Whole Wheat Bagels
Source: Rewritten from Whole Grain Breads, Peter Reinhart

Day 1: Make the soaker and biga
1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (142 grams) water
2 tablespoons (35.5 grams) barley malt syrup, dark or light (for most authentic flavor), or honey

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl for about one minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. (If you need more time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 days, but leave at room temp 2 hours before continuing with bread).

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (142 grams) filtered or spring water, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)

Mix all the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. With wet hands, knead dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should be tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again with wet hands for one minute. The dough will be smoother but still tacky. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge two hours before making the dough.

Day 2: Make the final dough, and bake

Final Dough:
All of the Soaker
All of the biga
5/8 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (28.5 grams) water, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)
7 tablespoons (56.5 grams) whole wheat flour
bagel toppings
2 teaspoons baking soda
beaten egg white for toppings (optional)

1. Chop the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces (sprinkle flour over pieces to prevent sticking).

2. By hand: Dissolve yeast in water in mixing bowl, then add biga, soaker, and salt and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 3-4 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly integrated. Add the flour and knead for 2 more minutes, the dough should be firm but not sticky. If not, add more flour or water as needed.

By stand mixer: Dissolve yeast in water in mixing bowl, then add biga, soaker, and salt and mix on low speed for one minute with hook. Add flour and mix on medium-low speed for 3-4 minutes until dough becomes cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is firm and not sticky. This is a stiff dough, so turn the mixer off if necessary to avoid stressing the motor.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, the roll the dough in flour to coat. Knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes, incorporating only as much flour as needed to form a stiff dough that is supple enough to shape. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

4. Resume kneading for 1 minutes to strengthen the gluten and make any final water/flour adjustments. Dough should have the strength to pass the windowpane test, yet feel supple and satiny. Form dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size. Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet with parchment or silicon mat dusted with whole wheat flour or cornmeal.

5. Transfer to lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 or 7 four ounce pieces (I managed to get 8). Roll each piece into an 8 inch rope, shape a circle around your hand. Sela tight at the point where the ends overlap by squeezing or pressing it into the counter. There should be a 2-inch diameter hole in the center. Place on prepared pan, cover loosely with a towel, leave at room temperature.

6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment (dusted with cooking spray) or silicon mat. Bring 4 inches of water to a boil in a wide pot, add the baking soda to the boiling water. Lower the head to maintain a steady simmer.

7. The bagels should be read to boil within 20-30 minutes of shaping . Drop one in the boiling water, if it doesn't float within 30 seconds, boil it until it floats and then remove it, but wait 5 minutes before testing another. When they pass the test, boil 2-4 bagels at a time, gently turning them after 30 seconds so they boil for a total of one minute. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove them from the water and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Apply toppings, using an egg wash to help them stick, if necessary.

8. Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce to 450 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes more until bagels are nicely browned on top and bottom. Remove and cool on cooling rack for 20 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information:
The book claims these to be 25 calories. This has to be wrong so I will estimate the calories based on the macronutrients.
Calories: approximately 230.
Protein: 1.14 g
Carb: 53.43 g
Fiber: 8.63 g
Sugar: 0.28g
Fat: 1.33 g
Sat fat: 0.24 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 478 mg

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread

So this was my first time jumping into the bread making pool. I heard that Peter Reinhart had a book out, based solely on whole wheat breads, and immediately looked it up in my library's catalog. They had it so I picked it up that day! In my recent efforts to eat clean, I am staying away from white breads (not that I haven't anyway for last few years) and this book provides me with a plethora of homemade whole wheat bread options.

This is one serious bread making book, and these recipes are involved. I see a lot of recipes that are... dump all ingredients together, rise, shape (and perhaps rise some more), bake. This is a little different. There are pre-doughs to be made, overnight waits, regular dough to be made, rising, shaping, more rising, then baking! Definitely a very involved process, but I couldn't wait to get started!

I began with the whole wheat hearth bread because we were having sweet potato gnocchi and that seemed like the best thing to go with it. I added some agave nectar, but still think it could be more tender. There is certainly some room for improvement in my technique, but I think I'll go with the butter too, next time.

Whole Wheat Hearth Bread
Source: Rewritten from Whole Grain Breads, Peter Reinhart

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl for about one minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. (If you need more time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 days, but leave at room temp 2 hours before continuing with bread).

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant yeast
3/4 cup (170 grams) water

Mix all the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. With wet hands, knead dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should be tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again with wet hands for one minute. The dough will be smoother but still tacky. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge two hours before making the dough.

Final Dough:
All of the Soaker
All of the biga
3 1/2 tablespoons (28.5 grams) whole wheat flour
5/8 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons (14 grams) honey or agave nectar (optional)
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil, or olive oil (optional)

1. Chop the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces (sprinkle flour over pieces to prevent sticking).

2. By hand: combine biga and soaker into a large bowl with all the remaining ingredients and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 2 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly integrated. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky, if not, add more flour or water as needed.

By stand mixer: combine biga and soaker with all the remaining ingredients into mixer bowl and mix on low speed for one minute with paddle (preferred) or hook. Switch to hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes until dough becomes cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, the roll the dough in flour to coat. Knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes, incorporating only as much flour as needed, until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

4. Resume kneading for 1 minutes to strengthen the gluten and make any final water/flour adjustments. Dough should have the strength to pass the windowpane test, but still be soft, supple, and very tacky. Form dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

5. Transfer to lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a boule, 2 to 4 batards or 4 mini baguettes, being careful to degas as little as possible while shaping. Place the boule onto a parchment lined baking sheet and mist the top with pan spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cloth towel and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size.

6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone inside; prepare for steam baking by placing a walled cookie sheet on the top rack and boiling some water. When the dough is ready to bake, place it in the oven and add 1 cup of hot water to the steam pan. Turn down the oven to 450 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the bread and continue baking 15 to 30 minutes more, until bread is a rich brown on all sides, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and a thermometer inserted registers at least 200 degrees F. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least one hour before serving.

Nutritional Information
Per serving (1.5 ounces or 42 grams)

Calories: 87
Total Fat: 1 g
Sat Fat: 0.4 g
Carb: 17.6 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 0.6 g
Protein: 3.4 g
Sodium: 172 mg
Cholesterol: 1.5 mg

Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan with Bulgur and Pine Nuts

I am loving Clean Eating Magazine. I got my second issue recently and discovered a ton of recipes I couldn't wait to try. I loved the sound of the eggplant parmesan - it looked easy to make, didn't take that long, and actually had a great presentation. Best of all, it was delicious! I don't have bulgur, so I used couscous instead.

Eggplant Parmesan with Bulgur and Pine Nuts
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009
Serves 6

Olive oil cooking spray
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole wheat panko or bread crumbs
6 tbsp low-fat parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 globe eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds total)
1 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup bulgur (or cous cous)
2 medium tomatoes (about 14 ounces), cut into large chunks
1 tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
12 large basil leaves, divided
1 cup part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place egg whites in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine panko, parmesan, oregano, garlic powder and salt. Trim ends off eggplants and cut each eggplant crosswise into six 3/4-inch slices. One at a time, dip eggplant slices in egg whites, then panko mixture, arranging coated slices on prepared baking sheets. Bake until eggplant is tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in bulgur, cover, turn off heat and set aside for 30 minutes. (For cous cous: Add cous cous to a bowl, pour in boiled chicken broth. Cover with a cloth or large plate, let sit for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.)

4. While eggplant is cooking and bulgur is softening, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and 8 basil leaves in a food processor and pulse to make a chunky sauce. Transfer to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Remove eggplant from oven and preheat boiler. Arrange an oven rack about 8 inches from heating element.

6. Spoon tomato sauce over eggplant slices, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella over tomato sauce, dividing it evenly. Use a spatula to place 6 eggplant slices on top of 6 others, making six 2-slice stacks on 1 baking sheet. Broil until mozzarella is browning on top and melted in the middle, about 3 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, chop or thinly slice remaining 4 basil leaves. Stir basil and pine nuts into bulgur. Serve alongside eggplant parmesan.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties

My favorite breakfast, as of late, is a whole wheat english muffin with an egg. I decided to add more protein to the dish with a chicken sausage patty. I looked around at a few different recipes and settled on a savory one from recipezaar for turkey sausage. The reviews said it was very spicy, so I cut back the black and cayenne pepper by half. With those amounts, I found it to be not at all spicy, so I might increase them for the next batch. I was pleasantly surprised to find that fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts, in place of the turkey, were easy to grind up in my mini food processor, and held together very well!

Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties
Source: Adapted from recipezaar
Yield: about 13 patties

1 lb ground chicken
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice

1. Combine all ingredients (use less pepper if you don't want a spicy taste) and blend well. If time permits, refrigerate overnight to let the meat absorb the flavor of the spices.

2. Form into patties. Heat a non-stick griddle or pan over medium heat. Spray pan with cooking spray. Add chicken patties and cook until brown on one side, about 5-10, then flip and cook through, about 5 minutes. Freeze leftovers. Don't overcook or they will dry out--remove from the heat as soon as they're no longer pink inside, but still juicy. (if you prefer a moister texture, you add a splash of olive oil or an egg to the mixture just prior to cooking).

S'mores Cupcakes

If you are looking for a cupcake to impress - this is your cupcake. I made these for a party, and everyone was floored by them (they might have even beat out the oreo cupcakes!). These are some pretty outstanding cupcakes, for reasons that escape me still. It must be divine intervention because, well, these are divine!

Even though it's a two step process, the cupcakes actually come together easily. My favorite part is the chocolate batter - after adding the water, it is actually pourable! I just loaded up my big measuring cup and poured the batter into the cupcake liners. So easy! I did end up having a problem with the frosting. I wanted a beautiful piped tower of marshmallow buttercream atop the cupcake, but I just couldn't get it stiff enough and ended up with marshmallow oozing down the sides. I suppose that is more true to form for a cupcake modeled after s'mores, and the party guests didn't seem to mind one bit.

One final note, I pitty those that do not have access to marshmallow fluff. This stuff is heaven on top of a mug of hot chocolate in the winter! I didn't expect to see it out here in the midwest, but a local grocery store, through some miracle, had it in stock!

S’mores Cupcakes
Source: Domestic Pursuits
Yields 30 cupcakes

For the graham crust:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 - 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.
2. Combine 1/4 cup sugar,graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Spoon 1 tablespoon of graham cracker mix into the bottom of each muffin cup. Press crumbs firmly, using the bottom of a small glass. Save the remaining mixture for topping. Top graham cracker mix with several bittersweet chocolate chips.
3. Bake graham mixture for about five minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
5. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until well blended.
6. Add flour mixture to large bowl and beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full with batter (about 1/4 cup). Sprinkle batter with small amount of remaining graham cracker mixture.
7. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely, then frost.

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
Source: Hello, Cupcake! via Heather Drive

- 1 container (16 oz.) Marshmallow Fluff
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus additional sugar, if necessary

1. Spoon the Marshmallow Fluff into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low.

2. Gradually add the butter pieces, beating well after each addition, until smooth.

3. Add the vanilla extract and the confectioner's sugar. Scrape the bowl well to incorporate. Add more confectioner's sugar, if necessary, to adjust the texture.

Friday, August 14, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, ok. I grew up on chocolate chip cookies. I know these aren't chocolate chip cookies, but they certainly make a fine substitute if you are trying to make better choices about your food! I saw this recipe in the September/October 2009 issue of Clean Eating magazine and thought they looked like minimal effort for a potentially sweet outcome (pun intended). There is no baking involved, making them a perfect treat for summer. In fact, I've even kept mine in the freezer. It helps them stay together and provides a cool snack.

They are naturally sweetened by raisins and dates, with just a minimal amount of agave nectar or honey to hold the cookies together (on this first attempt, I think I was a little shy on the agave so mine didn't hold well unless I froze them). The cinnamon is a delight, waving hello to you from the background. I haven't had a chance to check out my local health food store for cacao nibs (has anyone ever seen those?), so I just used mini chocolate morsels (definitely not clean, but it was all I had). You could probably also just use some squares of really dark chocolate, chopped fine. I think these would be good in a ball shape, formed with a cookie scoop for easy release onto a tray, then frozen.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009

~1 1/4 cup raisins
~1/2 cup pitted Deglet Noor dates
~2 cups whole oats
~4 tbsp agave nectar or honey
~2 tsp cinnamon
~pinch of salt, to taste
~1/2 cup cacao nibs

1. Place raisins and dates in your food processor and chop into small pieces. Add oats, agave or honey, cinnamon and salt. Process to mix well. Empty into a mixing bowl and add cacao nibs. Mix well.

2. Use a tablespoon measure to portion cookies. Enjoy immediately, or chill before serving for firmer texture.

Nutritional Information per 2 cookies:
Calories: 140
Total fat: 3 g
Sat. fat: 1.5 g
Carbs: 26 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 7 g
Protein: 3 g
Sodium: 15 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BB: Mango Banana Daiquiri

Finally! A recipe for Barefoot Bloggers that calls for booze! This is a delicious new option for our summer adult beverage repertoire.

Mango Banana Daiquiris
Source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics on page 47
Chosen by Veronica of Supermarket Serenade
Serves 4

2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup* (I used 2-3 tablespoons of agave nectar)
1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay

Mango slices, for serving

Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.

*To make simple syrup, heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lemon Oregano Chicken

This recipe is a nice contrast to some of the other grilled chicken recipes I've tried lately. This one is simple. It doesn't even require fresh herbs, or marinating! Make a paste, slather it on the chicken, and grill. Easy! The flavors here are great, even with the dried herbs. We found that pasta with a simple marinara paired quite well with this chicken. The only problem I saw was that there wasn't quite enough lemon/oregano to cover both sides of the 3 pieces of chicken that I cooked. I will definitely at least double those ingredients next time.

Lemon Oregano Chicken
Source: Cooking Light, July 2004

* 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 5 teaspoons grated lemon rind
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon water
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* Cooking spray
* 4 lemon wedges
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Prepare grill.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through minced garlic); rub evenly over both sides of chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge evenly over each chicken breast half. Sprinkle parsley evenly over chicken.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 226 (22% from fat)
Fat: 5.6g (sat 1g,mono 3g,poly 0.8g)
Protein: 39.6g
Carbohydrate: 2.2g
Fiber: 0.7g
Cholesterol: 99mg
Iron: 1.8mg
Sodium: 465mg
Calcium: 38mg

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baked Doughnuts

Doughnuts seem like one of those things that you can't skimp on. It falls in that category of - If you don't fry it, don't bother. I am never deterred by such claims because frying just doesn't appeal to me. It takes the fun out of things by making me and my kitchen smell... fried. Yuck. Heck, I don't even like pan frying anything, as seen in my search for a great crab cake. I've had this recipe for baked doughnuts bookmarked for quite some time now, and rediscovered it yesterday when I was organizing my saved recipes.

In my never ending attempt to avoid white flour, I did some substituting here. The recipe calls for 5 cups of flour, so I did 2 cups white flour, 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, and 1 cup whole wheat flour. I don't know what I was thinking, whole wheat flour does not belong in doughnuts! I should have stuck with equal amounts of the first two, but instead I just have extra hearty doughnuts. Also, the point of not frying is to avoid some fat, so I certainly wasn't going to finish them by dunking them in melted butter. No, no, pure sugar is a much better choice. ;-)

I made a glaze with a cup or so of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and enough milk until it was the consistency I wanted. After dipping a few doughnuts, I added cinnamon to the glaze. Yum! I like those doughnuts the best.

These certainly don't take the place of fried doughnuts, and the texture is somewhere between a cake doughnut and one of the really light and fluffy ones. True to form, I overbaked the first batch a bit (pulled them out at 8 minutes - I hate my oven sometimes!). Overall, not a bad treat!

Baked Doughnuts
Source: 101 Cookbooks

Don't over bake these, if anything, under bake them a bit - they will continue baking outside the oven for a few minutes. You want an interior that is moist and tender - not dry. Also, be sure to cut big enough holes in the center of your doughnuts - too small and they will bake entirely shut. Remember they rise, and they rise even more when they are baking. These really need to be made-to-order, but you can make and shape the dough the night before if you want to serve them for brunch. Instructions: after shaping, place doughnuts on baking sheet, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Pull them out an hour before baking, and let rise in a warm place before baking.

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments - if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people (like myself) don't have a doughnut cutter, instead I use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes - start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Crab Cake Comparison

I love crab cakes. My husband does not. This makes me sad, as I never get the chance to make them at home. But, alas! My chance as come! He had to go out of town for work, so I sat down and mulled over all the crab cake recipes I've saved, just for this very occasion. The problem was, I couldn't just pick one. How would I know which one I liked best unless I made them all? And what better way to compare than to make them all at once? I am a huge fan of Bridget's comparison posts and figured this would be a great time to copy emulate her.

How I Like My Crab Cakes
I don't quite remember if I've ever made them at home before. I've certainly had a nice sampling from restaurants over the years, though. I love a nice coating on the outside... something to break into with your fork. Also, I like there to be something there besides the crab. I kind of like a little filler. Of course, I still want that crab flavor... just, enhanced. On the cooking side, I'd love a recipe that works well being baked. Also, how well it holds together is important.

For sauce, I made a fantastic Paule Deen remoulade once but lost the recipe. The one I used here is all I could find of hers, but I don't think it's the right one. Anyway, this one is pretty good, and I used 2% greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise.

The Plan
I narrowed down my list of recipes to four, then scaled them all down based on 4 ounces (1/4 pound) of crab meat. This would be enough to get two cakes from each recipe: one for baking and one for pan frying. Here are the four recipes I chose to test:

1. Christine of Chronicles of a Fledgling Cook. I've had this recipe printed out and in my recipe box for years. Figured it was about time I made it!
2. Ellie Krieger of the Food Network. I definitely wanted to throw one in there from someone who stance is healthful food.
3. Cook's Illustrated. They seem to know what they are doing, right?
4. Katie of Good Things Catered. I've been drooling over hers since January!

The Process
I will warn you now - this experience was a true testament to the name at the top of this page. I have zero flipping skills, especially when it comes to delicate items. I am moderately embarrassed by the unfortunate demise of half these cakes, but hey - it's just me at home today. When I make them for company, I will be that much the wiser.

I only made one minor ingredient adjustment. I (really, really) don't care for fresh parsley, so I used cilantro in the three recipes that called for it. Also, I see no issue with using canned jumbo lump crab meat. Cook's Illustrated gave their blessing on that front, so that was enough for me. (Plus, I live in the midwest. Any "fresh" fish scares me!). One note about the canned crab - only got roughly 3.5 ounces of crab from each 6 ounce can, so plan accordingly! Also, all the cakes were chilled for 2 hours before cooking.

1. Christine's recipe (actually an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe) requires the most prepwork. red pepper, garlic, and shallots are sauteed before being combined with the other filler ingredients, then folded into the crab meat. I found the filler to be more of a paste, which was difficult to blend into the crab without overworking. Later I realized I didn't use the proper amount of egg, so that probably affected the mixing. It didn't seem to hold together well while handling, which made it difficult to coat with the cheese/bread crumbs mixture. Ultimately it was the easiest recipe to flip in the pan, holding together very well where it counts.

2. For Ellie's recipe, the filler ingredients are combined in a bowl, then added to the crab. Bread crumbs are added last, then the cakes are coated in breadcrumbs. This didn't hold together well, either. The pan frying was a disaster, it completely fell apart!! Flipping was a disaster. The baked cake was easier to flip, I think because since it's baked, the whole cake is cooking instead of just one side when pan frying.

3. The CI recipe threw everything together except the egg, which was folded in last. It had a good moisture level and held together better than the others before going into the fridge, but then was hard to dredge in the flour before cooking. The recipe is a little confusing, it calls for ground black pepper in the ingredient list, but the directions call for white pepper. I only have black, so that's what I used. This was another flipping disaster! And, like Ellie's, it fared better in the oven. I probably should have used more breadcrumbs, as the recipe instructs you to do if it isn't holding well.

4. Katie's recipe was had the best moisture level, not surprising with the bread soaked in milk. The directions didn't say what to do with the bread when adding it to the crab, so I just tore it into pieces before throwing it in. It seemed to hold together the best pre-chilling. While cooking, it was the second easiest to flip.

The Results

1. I loved the flavor of the red pepper in Christine's crab cakes, but I was missing something important - the crab! At first I thought that I had just chosen the wrong weekend to make these, as I have come down with a cold and my taste buds are sleeping. But after trying the other recipes, I realized that this recipe just falls flat. It takes the most work, and while it holds together the best, it just didn't work for me.

2. Ellie's recipe also had the great flavor from the red pepper. The hot sauce gave it a great, subtle kick in the background that complemented the other flavors. The crab flavor finally surfaced here, though it was not as strong as the next two recipes. The baked cake had a nice crunchy coating, but the pan fried cake completely fell apart during cooking. This one was my overall favorite. It is perfect for baking, had a moderate level of crab flavor with great complementary flavors.

3. When I got to the CI recipe, the first without red pepper, I expected to miss that flavor since I loved it so much in the first two. That was not the case at all! The crab flavor really came out in this one, accented by the green onion. Also, this cake had that certain je ne sais quoi that only mayonnaise can provide. However, I had a problem keeping it together while flipping in the pan. If you love crab cakes that really give great crab flavor and a hint of onion, this is a good recipe to try. Hopefully everyone else is better at flipping than I am!

4. My notes on Katie's recipe start with "pure, unadulterated crab." This is a great recipe if you have fantastic, fresh crab and love to let it shine. It held together better in the pan than it fared in the oven. Perhaps because it was the 4th one I flipped, I started to get better at being gentle. It's very similar to the CI recipe in terms of flavor, really just without the green onion. So if you love letting the real crab flavor shine, this is a fantastic choice.

The Bottom Line
My personal favorite is Ellie's recipe. I love the flavors and that it can be baked, holding together reasonably well. With practice I think I will improve upon that. For real crab loving company, if I can get my hands on some fresh crab, I'll probably make Katie's recipe and pan fry, since it was easier to work with than the CI recipe. If the CI recipe held together better (perhaps by following the directions?), it would also be a good choice for those without aversion to onions.

The Recipes

Crab Cakes
Source:Christine of Chronicles of a Fledgling Cook

extra virgin olive oil and butter
1/2 large red pepper, finely diced
1 shallot, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbl heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1 tbl italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp Horseradish Mustard
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb crab meat
lemon, cut into wedges

-Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the shallot, pepper, and garlic until the pepper is limp, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cream, mustard, 1 egg, parsley, old bay and 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Mix well and then gently fold in the crab meat. Form the mixture into 4 cakes, about 1/2-inch thick.
-In a separate mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs with the Parmesan. Pat this topping onto both sides of the cakes. Place cakes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
-In a medium skillet, combine more oil and butter (about a tbl of each) over medium heat. Saute the crab cakes approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Crab Cakes
Source: Ellie Krieger of the Food Network.

* Nonstick cooking spray
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* Dash hot sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
* 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
* 1 scallion, including green top, finely chopped
* 1 pound lump crab, picked over for cartilage
* 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Smarter Tartar Sauce, recipe follows


-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
-In a medium bowl mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning and hot sauce. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in the crab, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Put the remaining bread rumbs in a shallow dish.
-Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape 1 mound into a round and coat in bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crab cake to form a patty about 1-inch high. Repeat to form the remaining crab cakes.
-Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Maryland Crab Cakes
Source: Cook's Illustrated, July 1995
Serves 4
The amount of bread crumbs you add will depend on the moistness of the crabmeat. Start with the smallest amount, adjust the seasonings, then add the egg. If the cakes won't bind at this point, add more bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you can't find fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, pasteurized crabmeat, though not as good, is a decent substitute.

1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage or shell
4 scallions, green part only, minced (about ½ cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herb, such as cilantro, dill, basil, or parsley
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 to 4 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
¼ cup mayonnaise
Salt and ground white pepper
1 large egg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup vegetable oil
Lemon wedges or dipping sauce

1. Gently mix the crabmeat, scallions, herb, Old Bay, 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl, being careful not to break up the lumps of crab. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Carefully fold in the egg with a rubber spatula until the mixture just clings together. Add more crumbs if necessary.

2. Divide the crab mixture into four portions and shape each into a fat, round cake, about 3 inches across and 1½ inches high. Arrange the cakes on a baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. (The crab cakes can be refrigerated up to 24 hours.)

3. Put the flour on a plate or in a pie tin. Lightly dredge the crab cakes in the flour. Heat the oil in a large, preferably nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Gently place chilled crab cakes in the skillet; pan-fry until the outsides are crisp and browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately with lemon wedges or dipping sauce.

Real Maryland Crab Cakes
Source: Katie of Good Things Catered

1 lb. fresh lump crab meat
1 egg
1 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 slice bread, crust removed, soaked in milk
1 tsp old bay seasoning, plus extra for topping
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
3 Tbsp oil

-In large bowl, combine crab, egg, mayo, bread, 1 tsp old bay (or more if desired), salt, pepper, parsley and mix to combine thoroughly.
-Pat into 4 inch cakes and place into fridge to set for 20-30 minutes.
-In medium fry pan, add oil and heat over medium low heat until almost smoking.
-Place cakes into pan carefully, making sure not to break, and let pan fry until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
-Carefully flip cakes and let pan fry until other side is golden brown, about 5-8 minutes more.
-Carefully remove cakes from the pan and place on paper towel lined plate.
-Sprinkle tops of cakes with old bay and serve immediately.

Remoulade Sauce
Source: Paula Deen

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used cilantro)
1/3 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
1/4 cup capers, with juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise (I used 2% greek yogurt)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

To prepare sauce, place the parsley, green onions, capers, and garlic in a blender or food processor and combine. Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Blend well. Chill until ready to serve with seafood. This keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grilled Chicken with a Tequila Orange Marinade

This recipe is a little more work that I am used to for a marinade. I typically like the easy throw-together-a-few-ingredients kind. I saw this one from Cooking Light and I thought I'd see if it was worth the extra trouble.

We loved this recipe and I definitely thought it was better than any other tequila based marinade I've made before. It's definitely worth the extra work!

Grilled Chicken with a Tequila Orange Marinade
Source: Cooking Light, May 2001
Serves 4

For the marinade:
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 cups chopped onion
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
* 4 oranges, peeled and sliced
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 cup tequila
* 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
* 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

* 2 pounds chicken pieces, skinned
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* Cooking spray


To prepare the marinade, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes. Add jalapeño peppers and oranges; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add juice; cook 2 minutes. Add tequila; cook 3 minutes. Add rosemary, cilantro, and vinegar; cook 1 minute.

Place marinade in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade. Place remaining marinade in a large zip-top plastic bag.

To prepare the chicken, pierce with a fork. Add the chicken, chili powder, salt, and pepper to marinade in bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove the chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place the chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 12 minutes on each side or until chicken is done, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Note: For chicken pieces, use a combination of chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Look for packages labeled "pick of the chick" in the butcher case.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories: 324 (45% from fat)
Fat: 16.3g (sat 3.7g,mono 7.7g,poly 3.2g)
Protein: 34.1g
Carbohydrate: 11.9g
Fiber: 2.4g
Cholesterol: 120mg
Iron: 0.4mg
Sodium: 324mg
Calcium: 29mg

Monday, August 3, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Whiskey-Ginger Marinade

I was being lazy and didn't feel like going to the grocery store over the weekend, so I needed a good new grilling recipe that I could make with what I had on hand. I went off to peruse grilled chicken recipes from Cooking Light and found quite a few that fit the bill! I just spent a week traveling for work, so the recipe that called for bourbon floated right to the top of the list. Smileys

Hello, gorgeous!

This recipe calls for a quick one hour marinade, which I like. My chicken breasts were already thin, so no pounding was necessary and they still grilled up quickly. The chicken by itself was just ok, but adding the reserved marinade-turned sauce really made the dish. It was awesome! The whiskey gave a nice base, and the ginger and lime peeked through.

Grilled Chicken with Whiskey-Ginger Marinade
Source: Rick Rodgers, Cooking Light, October 2002
Yield: 4 Servings

* 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 1/3 cup bourbon
* 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
* 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
* 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* Cooking spray
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Combine bourbon and next 9 ingredients (bourbon through garlic). Reserve 1/3 cup marinade. Pour remaining marinade into a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium-hot using both burners.

Turn left burner off (leave right burner on). Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Place chicken on grill rack over right burner; grill 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Move chicken to grill rack over left burner. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until done. Slice each breast diagonally into thin strips; place chicken on a platter. Cover loosely with foil.

Combine water and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Place reserved 1/3 cup marinade in a small saucepan; stir in cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Drizzle sauce over chicken; sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Nutritional Information, per serving

Calories: 202 (16% from fat)
Fat: 3.6g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.1g,poly 1.1g)
Protein: 27.3g
Carbohydrate: 7.1g
Fiber: 0.3g
Cholesterol: 66mg
Iron: 1.3mg
Sodium: 610mg
Calcium: 27mg