Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Heavenly Chocolate Cake

R's birthday was yesterday, so I decided to bake a cake, like I have done for the last three birthdays. This time, however, was different. In years past, I always baked birthday cakes from a box, but since I have discovered my love of cooking, I knew that I had to bake one from scratch. Little did I know how good this would taste. After his birthday dinner with his family, everyone had a second slice, and the birthday cake is now gone, a mere three days after I baked it. Yum!


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe courtesy of Eating Well

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oven Fried Chicken Parmesan

The former fat kid in me loves a good fattening meal sometimes. Since I don't like the attendant weight gain that accompanies it, I try to find healthy recipes that maintain the appropriate flavor. This recipe was one such lucky find. Serve with roasted asparagus, steamed broccoli, or spinach.


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup jarred tomato-basil pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; place egg whites in a bowl. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 breast half in flour mixture. Dip in egg whites; dredge in panko. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour mixture, egg whites, and panko.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes. Coat chicken with cooking spray; place pan in oven. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; top each breast half with 2 tablespoons sauce, 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, and 3 tablespoons mozzarella. Bake 6 minutes or until chicken is done.

Nutritional Information


Fat:16.9g (sat 6.4g,mono 7.6g,poly 1.3g)








Adam's Cinnamon Bananas

My brother is a wonderful cook. I'm a decent cook in that I can follow a recipe, but my brother is truly exceptional. He can take any set of ingredients and turn it in to a delicious meal. Sometimes his dishes veer into Paula Dean territory (think butter & extra cheese), but they are nonetheless superb. Over Christmas, my brother decided to cook a healthy snack for himself. He grabbed a banana, spray butter, cinnamon, orange juice and VOILA- heaven was created. This truly is the most delicious snack I have ever tasted. In the last month, I have easily consumed 30+ bananas thanks to this recipe. As someone who probably consumed fewer than 10 in the preceding year, that says a lot about this recipe.

Tip: Make sure the bananas are ripe. I don't mean just that they are yellow- they should be starting to soften some and should have a few black spots on the outside. While the recipe is still delicious when the bananas are not as ripe, the ripeness takes the recipe an extra step towards euphoria.

- 1 banana, ripe, sliced down the middle twice into four parts
- cooking spray
- spray "butter" (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
- ground cinnamon
- orange juice

Pre-heat the stove on medium. Spray the pan generously with cooking spray. Slice the banana into four equal parts. Lay the banana flat on the pan so that the inside of the banana is facing down. Spray the top with spray butter. Allow to cook for a few minutes until the banana starts to brown on the bottom. Flip over, pour cinnamon over the bananas. Allow to cook until banana browns on the bottom. Pour a splash of orange juice in the pan. Allow to simmer for 1 minute. Enjoy!

Southwestern Turkey & Bean Burger Wraps

Love, love, LOVE this recipe! It is the perfect weeknight dinner- healthy, delicious, and fast. As someone who is not normally a fan of leftovers, I attest that these leftovers were delicious. Normally, I give R any leftovers- this time, nary a leftover went home with him! This recipe was so delicious that I intend to make it this week . . . just for me! I liked this recipe so much that I am actually looking forward to four days of eating the same dish. Surprising!

Tip: This recipe goes perfectly with Southwest Roasted Asparagus and Corn!

  • 12 ounces 99% fat-free turkey
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa (I used Newman's Own medium pineapple salsa)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas, warmed
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  1. Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
  2. Gently combine ground turkey, beans, cilantro and jalapenos in a medium bowl (do not overmix). Shape into four 5-by-2-inch oblong patties and place on the prepared pan.
  3. Broil the patties until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 165°F, 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mash together avocado, salsa and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  5. Place tortillas on a clean work surface. Spread each with the guacamole, then sprinkle with lettuce and cheese. Top each with a burger and roll into a wrap. Serve immediately, with lime wedges.
Nutrition per serving (based on original recipe): 394 calories; 17 g fat (6 g sat, 7 g mono); 67 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 10 g fiber; 634 mg sodium; 810 mg potassium.

Original recipe courtesy of Eating Well: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/southwestern_beef_bean_burger_wraps.html

Red Velvet Brownies

For my annual Christmas party with friends, I decided to try out a couple of new recipes. One was a total hit. My dishes were the only ones that were annihilated by the end of the night. These were such a hit that I decided to make them multiple times more during the course of the Christmas season for various events & people. I highly recommend this recipe. It may not be healthy, but sometimes the calories are worth it, no?


  • 1 (4-oz.) chocolate baking bar, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnish: white chocolate curls


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

3. Bake at 350° for 44 to 48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).

4. Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles; gently remove foil. Spread Small-Batch Cream Cheese Frosting on top of brownies, and cut into 16 squares. Garnish, if desired.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

I made this casserole a week ago. It was delicious! I am not normally a fan of spicy food, but this was the perfect amount of hot sauce for me. R simply cannot get enough of hot sauce. The man adds it to everything. Rather than add more to the casserole, I gave him the bottle of hot sauce with his plate. Not five minutes later, half of the remainder of the bottle had been added to his plate. Needless to say, he loved it.

Modifications: The original recipe is courtesy of Eating Well, but I modified it slightly to account for what I had in the fridge and to accommodate my hatred of celery and blue cheese.

Tips: Be careful not to overcook the chicken. You don't want to cook it thoroughly before putting it in the oven.

Ideas: Next time I make this, I might add some sliced mushrooms, a full yellow bell pepper, and add slightly less pasta.


  • 10 ounces elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced thin
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1.75 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Frank’s RedHot
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta (about 4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring a Dutch oven of water to a boil. Cook noodles until barely tender, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add carrots, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and milk in a medium bowl; add to the pot along with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in hot sauce.
  4. Spread the noodles in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Top with the chicken mixture; sprinkle with feta.
  5. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Original recipe: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/buffalo_chicken_casserole.html