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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meatball Stromboli

Welcome to Day 4 of my Superbowl appetizers week. Today is a recipe that is so good and simple to make. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it two ways. The "semi-homemade" way or the "from-scratch" way. 

The "from-scratch" way is to make your own dough, mix and brown your own meatballs, use homemade sauce and shred your own cheese. Though this way is good, it isn't a time saver. 

The "semi-homemade" way is to use frozen or fresh pizza dough from your local supermarket or pizzeria, frozen pre-made meatballs, jar sauce and already shredded cheese. This is what I call the "Oh crap, I've decided to have a last minute get together and have nothing to serve as an appetizer" way because it's THAT easy and quick to make!  

I realized I hadn't made a meatball stromboli before on the blog and thought it would make a fun appetizer for the Superbowl theme this week. So I used a combination of both methods. Frozen pizza dough (which I always have in the freezer), some of those frozen pre-made meatballs (after Rachael's birthday party, the restaurant sent us home with some of the leftover food), homemade sauce (again, I always have some in the freezer) and already shredded mozzarella cheese. Yes, they are a little messy, especially when first coming out of the oven. So allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing into it. 

Meatball Stromboli
1 lb. Pizza Dough
5 oz. Italian Meatballs, sliced
1/4 c. Marinara Sauce
1/2 c. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (I used part skim)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
2. Put a little oil on your hands (make sure they're clean!) and spread out the dough on a lightly greased flat surface into a rectangle about ¼” thick.
3. Spread the sauce on top of the dough, leaving a 1/4" border around all sides, then top with the sliced meatballs and cheese. 
4. Gently roll from left to right, sealing the ends by pinching the dough together; then place seam side down on lightly greased baking sheet. 
5. Brush top the top of the loaf with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing into 1" thick slices. Serves 14.  

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 108, Carbs 16.1g, Fat 2.3g, Protein 5.4g, Fiber .7g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate. 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Low Fat Ranch Dressing (Copycat)

After those Hooter's Chicken Wings, I needed to have a snack that was a little healthier. And when I saw this recipe for Better-for-You Ranch Dressing from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen a few weeks ago, I printed it right away and couldn't WAIT to try it. I mean really, who doesn't like veggies dipped in Ranch dressing? Ann has such a wonderful site this recipe did not disappoint...delicious! 

There are so many different vegetables you can use in your crudite like peppers, broccoli, jicama, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, asparagus, cucumbers, baby radishes, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms to name a few. Ann didn't specify which brands she used in her recipe so for nutritional data purposes, I used Hellmann's mayonnaise and canola oil in mine. 

Low Fat Ranch Dressing (Copycat)
1/3 c. Low Fat Buttermilk
3 tbsp. Chobani 2% Plain Yogurt
3 tbsp. Hellmann's Mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp. Canola Oil
1/2 tsp. Kosher Sal
Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. Chives, minced

1. Whisk all ingredients together and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Makes 1cup; serves 8. 

*Nutritional Information per 1oz Serving: Calories 62, Carbs 1.2g, Fat 5.9g, Protein 1.1g, Fiber 0g


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hooter's Buffalo Wings (Copycat)

Warning! This is by no means a healthy recipe; however, every once in a while you crave greasy, fried foods. Well, at least I do and I'm sure millions of others do as well; especially during the Superbowl. 

Which brings me to today's recipe for Hooter's Buffalo Wings. I have to say, I've never eaten them there myself, but my nieces and nephews say they are fantastic. Hubby hasn't been there in a long time, but said they were pretty darn close from what he could remember. I'm not a huge fan myself of spicy foods, so I did make mine more on the mild side. If you like them hot, you can add extra hot sauce to yours. I'm good with 1-2 wings, then I go for the celery dipped in bleu cheese dressing. :)

Hooters Buffalo Wings (Copycat)
Adapted from Copycat Recipes
2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Paprika
2 1/2 lb. Bag Frozen Chicken Wing Segments, defrosted, approximately 32 wing segments
2 Sticks Butter, salted
1/4 c. Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
Canola Oil, for frying

1. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. 
2. Rinse the chicken, pat dry then coat the chicken in the flour mixture. Refrigerate wings for 1 hour; then coat the wings with the remaining flour mixture. 
3. Heat butter, hot sauce, pepper, garlic powder and salt in a medium saucepan until the butter melts; then let simmer on low to keep warm. 
4. Deep fry chicken 8-10 pieces at at time in 375 degree oil for 13-15 minutes. (You can use a deep fryer or a pot on top of the stove). 
5. Immediately toss fried chicken in the butter mixture and remove with a slotted spoon; repeat with remaining chicken. Serves 10-12. 

As for the nutritional information on this one, I tried to figure it out, but since I can't determine how much oil is absorbed into the chicken and not all of the sauce is eaten. I did find the nutritional information for the frozen variety of Hooters Chicken Wings to use a guide. These facts are based on a 3oz (or 3 wing) serving size.  

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 230, Carbs 11g, Fat 15g, Protein 13g, Fiber 0g


Shared at Thursday's Treasures 1/31/13

Monday, January 28, 2013

Valentine's Day Giveaway with FIFW

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there’s no better time to show the ones you love how much they mean to you by preparing a healthy, home cooked meal for your family. That's why I've teamed up with Fatherhood Isn't For Wimps (FIFW), a blog dedicated to the healthy development of fathers, children, and families that come from divorce or the separation of families, to help prepare that special meal by offering you a chance to win a signed, hardcover copy of my latest cookbook, Carrie's Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean-Inspired Family Meals. 

In it, you'll find over 180 unique, easy to follow recipes in this 272 page book that will help answer your family's inevitable question, "What's for dinner?From the ingredients that you already have in your home, you can make a delicious meal that will impress your family and friends without digging through the obscure aisles of the grocery store or spending hours in the kitchen (or hurting your wallet)!

There are several ways to enter the contest and earn extra entries by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*One winner will receive a hard cover, signed copy of Carrie's Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean-Inspired Family Meals. The contest runs from 1/28/13-2/3/13. Winner will be announced on 2/4/13 and will be contacted by email. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be selected. 

Mac and Cheese Poppers (Reduced Fat)

This week, I'll be featuring some appetizers to start you thinking about the Superbowl next week. Many people are always looking to change up their food offerings for this once a year event, and of course there will be the usual suspects, like chicken wings, dips and salsas. This year, I'll be sharing a few new options for you to try. 

Today, I'm starting off with a healthier option. Not because I'm trying to watch my weight (which doesn't hurt!), but because last year, 43.3 MILLION women tuned in to watch the NY Giants vs. the NE Patriots (and yes, I was one of them). Football, especially the Superbowl, has become iconic for not only the game, but for the commercials, halftime entertainment and yes, food. So I thought I'd recreate some "picky food" favorites (as Gab likes to call them) a little healthier by using reduced fat ingredients and portioning them a little smaller. If you recall from my latest newsletter, one of the trends this year will be for restaurants to offer "small plates" or "me only plates" of food. So even if you have four of these, they're still under 100 calories, without giving up the taste. Also, smaller portions allow you to try a variety of different foods. 

Mac and Cheese Poppers (Reduced Fat)
1 lb. Barilla Plus Elbow Macaroni
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
2 c. Skim Milk
8 oz. 2% Velveta Cheese, cubed
1 Egg
Cooking Spray
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. 
2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large pot then whisk in the flour forming a roux (or a paste). 
3. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking as you go; then add in the cheese and stir until all of the cheese has melted. Let simmer on a low flame. 
4. In a small bowl, crack open the egg and whisk it with a fork, then add a little of the hot milk and cheese mixture to it to temper the egg. (You don't want to cook the egg. If it looks cooked or scrambled, you added too much liquid). 
5. Add tempered egg to the milk and cheese mixture; then add in the cooked pasta and mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
6. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray, then using a small kitchen spoon, add the pasta to the tin so that it's filled to the top. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes; then allow to set for 5 minutes. 
7. Use a plastic knife to release them from the pan (so it won't scratch it) and serve. Makes approximately 100. 

*Nutritional Information per Popper: Calories 24, Carbs 3.6g, Fat 4g, Protein 1.4g, Fiber .3g


You can also make these ahead of time, up to two days prior, refrigerate them on a baking sheet; then bake them in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes prior to serving. 

Another idea is to bake these in mini muffin cup liners...the kids will love them! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Seafood Frenzy Friday (Week 46)

I hope you enjoyed this weeks' recipe selections including Florentine Baked Cavatelli with Ground Turkey, Mixed Greens with Avocado and Beets in a Champagne Vinaigrette, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Leeks and Sage and yesterday's recipe for Standing Rib Roast. Feel free to comment below or let me know if there was a recent recipe you tried at home. I'd love to hear how your family enjoyed it! 

Welcome to Week 46 of Seafood Frenzy; which allows me to showcase seafood recipes from other bloggers, since I don't eat seafood myself and rarely prepare it. In these posts, I share the name of the blog, an image of their recipe and a link to the author's original post. I also write a comment on each person's blog with a link back to this post letting them know that I shared their recipe, as that is also the right thing to do. Plus, it's just nice to hear when someone appreciates your work and is willing to share it with others. 

I hope you enjoy this weeks' selections. Thank you to today's bloggers for allowing me to share their creations. Click on the name of the recipe below the image to be taken to the author's original post. 

Lisa is Cooking

Ally's Kitchen

Lisa Loves Good Food
Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen

Flying on Jess Fuel

Everyday Moms Meals

Salu Salo

Mia's Domain

Framed Cooks

Did you know? 
Not that I frequent McDonalds, but interesting to note that yesterday the chain announced that it will become the first U.S. national restaurant to serve certified-sustainable seafood at all of its locations. Big news out of the McDonald's camp today: the chain will become the U.S.'s first national restaurant chain to serve certified-sustainable seafood at all of its 14,000 locations. 
You can read more about it on Huffington Post. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Make a Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib)

I always make too much food, but when preparing a standing rib roast, it's almost inevitable! The smallest I've seen is two ribs (about 3-4lbs), but you really need to roast this with the bone to get the most flavor. I really like this rub on beef and I tend to use red wine in the bottom of my pan to give it even more flavor. When basting, allow the rub to form a crust before basting it with a liquid. By doing so beforehand, you will just wash off the rub prior to it being infused into the meat. 

As you can see, there really isn't a lot to making a roast other than being prepared to sit home for a few hours; which is why I generally make these types of recipes on a Sunday or special occasion, like Christmas or New Year's Day. I happened to make this one on New Year's Eve where we had 7 people and I liked having the extra meat to use afterwards to use in my Beef Barley Soup

Standing Rib Roast (a.k.a. Prime Rib)
1st Cut, 3 Ribs Standing Rib Roast (approx. 6lbs)
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 tbsp. Horseradish
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Liquid of Choice (wine, beef stock, water)
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
2. Allow meat to come to room temperature 30 minutes prior to placing it in the oven; then season it with salt and pepper. 
3. Combine the garlic, rosemary, horseradish and oil in a small bowl; then spread it onto the meat. 
4. Place the roast rib side down in a shallow roasting pan, and add your "liquid of choice" to the bottom of the pan just enough to cover the bottom (the meat should not be submerged in it). 
5. Roast the meat for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to cook for an additional 1-2 hours; depending on how you prefer your doneness (approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes for medium-rare).
6. Remove the roast from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. 
7. To carve, begin at the rib top and slice down along the curve of the ribs to separate the meat from the bones; then carve meat into 1/4" thick slices. Serves 10-12. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving (based on 3oz. portion size): Calories 280, Fat 21g, Protein 20g

*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

*The meat on the bone is deliciously moist, but if eating from the bone is not your thing, cover them in a pot of water with some chopped celery, carrots and onions. Allow to simmer for 1-2 hours and strain to create your own beef stock!

Shared on Thursday's Treasures 1/24/13

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Leeks & Sage

I'm always looking for new potato recipes and I try to change it up a little bit each time for variety. Gab isn't really fond of sweet potatoes though the rest of us love them. I've tried SEVERAL ways to get her to eat them, and she'll try them, but she's not crazy about them. At least she's now trying new things, that's all I can ask for! 

I really enjoyed these potatoes and since the #1 searched for word here on the blog is "leeks", I wanted to use them in this recipe too. I love the subtle oniony flavor that leeks bring to a dish and sweet potatoes and sage just go hand in hand in my opinion. These were delicious and as you can see, very easy to prepare. Just be sure to wash the leeks well so as to remove all of the grit that is commonly found between the stalks. 

 Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Leeks & Sage
3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 tbsp. Fresh Sage, chopped
1 c. Leeks, white part only, chopped
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Peel the potatoes, rinse under cold water; then cut into 2-3" chunks. 
2. Cut the tops off of the leeks, cut in half lengthwise then rinse well under cold water to remove any dirt; then chop. 
3. Add the potatoes, leeks, sage, oil and salt and pepper to a bowl and mix well to coat the potatoes. 
4. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes; turning once, until the potatoes have softened and browned. Serves 4. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 220, Carbs 23.2g, Fat 14.2g, Protein 1.9g, Fiber 3.2g


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mixed Greens with Avocado and Beets in a Champagne Vinaigrette

Mixed green salads offer you the opportunity to try different varieties of lettuce at the same time. This one had baby beet greens, mizuna and oak leaf lettuce. Baby beet greens have purplish-red veins and come from the top of an immature beet. Mizuna or otherwise know as Japanese greens, have a slightly strong flavor, but add a nice compliment to the other subtle flavored greens. Oak leaf lettuce resembles red leaf lettuce with the reddish tops, however they are shorter and have a softer texture. The combination of all three of these greens combined with the earthy flavors of fresh beets, avocado, pecans and the light champagne vinaigrette, makes for a tasty, light lunch or a precursor to a formal dinner. 

 Mixed Greens with Avocado and Beets in a Champagne Vinaigrette
4 c. Mixed Greens
2 tbsp. Pecans, chopped
1 Avocado, sliced
1/2 c. Beets, cooked and sliced
1/4 c. Prepared Champagne Vinaigrette

1. Add the lettuce and pecans to a bowl, then add the dressing; toss gently to coat the leaves. 
2. Add the sliced avocado and beets to the top. Serves 2. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 384, Carbs 20.4g, Fat 34.3g, Protein 4.5g, Fiber 9.3g

Champagne Vinaigrette
1 Garlic Clove
3 tbsp. Champagne Vinegar
4 tbsp. Canola Oil
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor (I used a mini one) and pulse until it has emulsified and formed a smooth consistency. Makes 1/2 cup, store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

*Nutritional Information per 1 tbsp. Dressing: Calories 68, Carbs 1.8g, Fat 7g, Protein 0g, Fiber 0g


Monday, January 21, 2013

Florentine Baked Cavatelli with Ground Turkey

What a week I had last week! It started with a local book signing last Saturday afternoon and I want to thank the people that stopped by to say hello. It was so nice to see some old friends and familiar faces. I have to say, though I knew it was going to be a lot of work, I didn't realize how much time it would take to network and get my own book signings, though I'm happy to report I did manage to add another event to my calendar in February (visit the Announcements & Events tab for more information). From there, I had to go to a cheering competition at our local high school where Gab was competing and Rachael's squad was hosting (a.k.a. the parents had to work it). All was going well until my oldest daughter tore the muscle under her ribcage....yes, again. This is probably the third time she's done this and we know the routine. Ice. Alleve. Rest. Repeat. And they say cheering isn't a sport! The long cheering season (August-February) is taking it's toll on all of us, but thankfully the season is nearing to an end and we can see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. 

The kids had off from school for a snow day last Wednesday. We didn't have that much snow but it was that heavy, wet snow and where I live, if the buses can't get "up the mountain", there is no school for all.  Hopefully, the remainder of this winter will be mild; especially after losing 7 days during the Hurricane Sandy, so we won't be going until July! We had a wing at our local hospital named after us...just kidding! But we did make our 3rd visit to the ER in a month. This time it was Gab who sprained her finger in gymnastics. They had to splint it for a few days, but she's ok now...just a little bruised. To round out our weekend, we attended two cheering competitions for Rachael's squad where they took first place on Friday night, then took 3rd place on Saturday. The girls did a fantastic job and have been working so hard and it shows. 

We were supposed to go to another competition on Sunday for Gab's squad; however, some members of the team were either sick or injured so we had to cancel our appearance...there's always next time! It was actually a nice, unexpected break as we're all coming down with head colds.  We spent the day watching movies and had my in-laws over for dinner since we hadn't seen them in a few weeks. Don wanted me to make the Champagne Braised Chicken with Grape Tomatoes and Capers again since he enjoyed it so much the last time and because it was so easy, it was a wonderful choice; though I used a Chardonnay in place of the champagne this time. 

With all of this running around, I barely had time to cook, let alone sit to eat as a family; which brings me to today's recipe for Florentine Baked Cavatelli with Ground Turkey. I just love a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of pasta recipe that doesn't weigh you down and this one does just that. Cavatelli are a type of pasta that resemble miniature hot dog buns and though I know it's probably easy to make, I opted for the frozen variety to save on much needed preparation time. What I liked most about this meal is that it's loaded with some of my favorite flavors: garlic, spinach and tomatoes and by adding lean ground turkey, it was a complete meal that we could heat and eat when we had the opportunity to do so. 

Florentine Baked Cavatelli with Ground Turkey
1lb. Frozen or Fresh Cavatelli
1 lb. 99/1 Lean Ground Turkey
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/4 c. Red Onion, chopped
8 oz. Frozen Chopped Spinach
1-14.5oz. Can Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1-6oz. Can Hunts Tomato Paste
8oz. Water
1/4 c. Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
1 c. Part Skim Mozzarella, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving them on the al dente side; drain. 
3. Meanwhile, add turkey to a Dutch oven or large non-stick saute pan and brown; making sure there is no pink left. 
4. Next, add the garlic and onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes; then add the spinach, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and cheeses. Mix well then stir in the cavatelli. 
5. Place in an 8"x8" oven safe dish and bake for 45 minutes or until the sides are bubbling. 
Serves 8. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 321, Carbs 35.8g, Fat 7.4g, Protein 26.1g, Fiber 5g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.