Penne with Vodka Sauce

20 Jul

This recipe stems from a Weight Watchers recipe that I found online. My mom has been into Weight Watchers for a while so I got used to figuring out the points of my main dishes. I think this one was round 7 or so. When I first made it I loved it, but figured I could change it a bit so you could have more sauce with fewer calories… and I was right! I have worked my healthifying magic once again, and even on an already healthy Weight Watchers recipe! Don’t worry, this is amazing and will blow your socks off. My boyfriend LOVES this dish! And what’s not to like… You have pasta, heavy cream, wodka (ode to my German roommate in New Zealand 🙂 ) and fresh basil.

To healthify the recipe I used more tomato paste to make the base of the sauce, the same amount of heavy cream, but added milk to extend the sauce, and more shallots to semi bulk it up a bit.  This would be great to make the sauce and noodles separately and then combine them when you want to eat it. My problem is I work 5:30-10 a lot during the week and every other weekend so I barely get time to eat with my man. Often times I make the meal, package it up (aka add the pasta and sauce together then put in Tupperware in the fridge) and take it to work where I have to f**king microwave it… NOT ideal and NOT fresh. Also, when you refrigerate it the sauce soaks into the pasta and you are left with, seemingly, less sauce so give my suggestion a try! Just measure our how much sauce and pasta you make and divide by how many servings you want (this recipe makes 8 servings, 1 cup each… I’m not sure how many cups of sauce of noodles are separately).

By the way… yes I have noticed that the majority of my main dish posts have been pasta. Hope you like pasta and carbs!

Ingredients:

12 oz SmartTaste Penne

1 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp shallots (I used 2, but you can use more if you want), I love using shallots because they are a bit milder and very delicate tasting

2 medium garlic cloves

6 Tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup skim milk (you could probably just get 1/2 and 1/2 or fat-free 1/2 and 1/2)

1 tsp salt (or more… definitely more)

1/4 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp parsley

Fresh basil for garnish (a must!)

Directions:

Chop your shallots, garlic and parsley (get the chopping out of the way). Cook your pasta according to directions.

Add the butter to a large skillet (medium temp/flame) and saute shallots and garlic for 3-5 minutes NOT burning them.

 

Add the parsley, salt and pepper, and tomato paste and stir until everything is combined… like this:

 

Cook this for about five minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Here comes the good part: wodka:

Add the wodka, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the little yum yums detached from it and cook for about 5 minutes to release some of the wodka flavor. I will note that not all of the wodka will be evaporated, but that’s a good thing. The flavor it brings to the dish is amazing and I mean it IS Penne with Vodka Sauce so…

Add the cream and milk to the mix, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes (these times are estimates, go by how you feel). This is what it should look like:

 Drooling yet? No? Getting close?

Now all you need to do is add the pasta and top with basil! You can do this dish-by-dish or do it all and have left-overs (when you heat it up add a bit more milk/cream and you’re good to go!).

 Eat it!  Mmmm… this is what satisfaction looks like.

Now for the nutrition information… this dish serves 8, 1 cup each!

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 243

Fat: 7.75g

Protein: 6.5g

Carbohydrate: 39g

Fiber: 5g

Sodium: 422 mg

Healthy food doesn’t need to be bland or boring! I’m bringing you healthy dishes that excite your palate.

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Queen Frostine Cinnamon Rolls

18 Jul

  wait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiit..  

I remember the sweet, sweet smells of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven when I was younger. The intoxicating smell would drift up from the kitchen to my room. My mom would make cinnamon rolls on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes the random Sunday (“family day”). Over the years, once she started Weight Watchers to be exact, she started to change the recipe every so slightly and every time it was a bit healthier. Now each roll is around 3 points (I’m not a WW but I know that’s good for a cinnamon roll!) but they are still so soft and perfectly sweet! Sometimes cinnamon rolls are too icky sweet for me… yes, they are amazing, but after one bite I can’t take it any more!

I’ve made these for friends and family the past few years and always had good reactions. Although one time after my first 1/2 marathon my boyfriend was in charge of putting them in the oven and for some reason he thought I said 450 instead of 350 for the oven temperature… but even then they were damn delicious! I’ve been toying with the idea of making a cream cheese frosting next time or maybe making pumpkin cinnamon rolls (AND cream cheese frosting!).

I use a bread machine to make the dough, but you can make it by hand… it’ll be a pain in the ass, but if you like doing it that way then go for it! Here is a site that I love that may be able to help http://www.breadexperience.com/index.html They have different recipes for cinnamon rolls, but you can use the process and my recipe or use their recipe MY RECIPE ONLY! Hehe

Time: More than you would like, BUT you can make the rolls the night before, refrigerate them, take them out 1 hour before putting them in the oven and not have to deal with making it all in one morning!

Servings: 12 kickass rolls

Ingredients:

Dough

1 ½ C milk

1 egg

2 T butter

3 C white flour

1 C whole wheat flour

1/3 C sugar

¾ t salt

2 ¼ t active dry yeast

What’s inside:

2 Tbl melted butter (or a bit more)

¼ C sugar (try using both granulated and brown)

2 t cinnamon (less or more depending on your taste)

Glaze:

Powdered sugar + vanilla extract + milk (and cream cheese if you want!)

Add the dough ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed or in the order the company prefers. Turn it to the dough cycle and relax for an hour and a half/do something else. You can also do this by hand using the site I included above. Once it’s done, take it out, knead the dough so there aren’t a bunch of air bubbles and let it rest for around 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out to a 15×10 rectangle (or just a big ass rectangle… it’s what I do, screw measurements right!). With a pastry brush (or your clean fingers I guess) spread the melted butter in the dough. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Roll it up so you have a long log and cut 12 rolls from it (start with making 2 longs, then 4, etc…). Put them into a greased 13×9 baking pan and cover with a towel for 30 minutes or until they get nice and fluffy. OR you can refrigerate them overnight, take them out 1 hour before putting them in the oven so they can rise. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes. Top with a glaze, no measurements needed, but don’t add too much!

 —>  —>  —>

 —>  —> 

 YUM!

Since this is an occasional treat don’t sweat the calories, they’re 3 WW points each if you don’t make a shit ton of glaze so enjoy!

Jalapeño Popper Pasta with Bacon

18 Jul

I want to preface this post by saying, when you work with jalapeno where gloves! I sadly (and stupidly) did NOT know this and went ahead slicing up my jalapenos, taking out the seeds and ribs with my bare hands. I washed my hands several times, but never experienced any burning or pain so I didn’t think anything of it. So I was like, I guess I was right… they aren’t that hot to cause any issues! WRONG. A few hours later while I was at work I made a big mistake… I touched my eye. And ooooooooh shit did it burn! If any of you have contacts and use the hydrogen peroxide solution with the red tip and the warning that says “Do not put directly in eye”… that’s what it felt like.

I stopped touching anything that might burn, aka I was soooooooo careful when going to the bathroom, and figured it would go away soon. However, that night when I wasn’t doing anything except trying to get a good night’s sleep I started to notice more burning! I was getting pretty damn annoyed at this point and jumped out of bed to figure out how I could relieve my pain. There were all sorts of home remedies… rub your hands with Vaseline (check), wash your hands with dish soap (check), use a diluted bleach solution (check). So of course I tried them all! Then I went back to bed… 2 seconds later they were burning again! I turned to my boyfriend and tried to get him to help me.. and when he couldn’t I freaked out because my hands were STILL burning! Then I figured it was probably because of the diluted bleach solution… maybe I didn’t dilute it enough or I kept my hands in there for too long. So I looked up some home remedies for that too. I soaked my hands in cold milk for 10 minutes, went back to bed, woke up with burning hands and did it again then rinsed my hands in cold water for as long as I could stand. My hands still tingled when I went to bed, but when I woke up they weren’t nearly as bad as they were before. So………. the whole purpose of this story is to warn you to WEAR GLOVES WHEN WORKING WITH JALAPENOS! Don’t make my dumb mistake.

Although I suffered a bit to make this dish, the outcome was amazing! The pasta tasted just like jalapeno poppers! The bacon on top added a nice crunch and some extra flavor. Next time I make this though I’m going to finish it off in the oven with toasted bread crumbs on top to emulate a fried jalapeno popper. I hope you enjoy this!

Time: takes about 30 minutes total

Servings: 8 (6 if you’re hungrier or a man 🙂 )

Ingredients:

12 oz SmartTaste spaghetti

2 jalapeno peppers, halved and de-seeded (using gloves for crying out loud!)

8 oz + 2 Tbl 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese

1/4 cup (or more) skim milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese you want)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4 pieces turkey bacon (I like Butterball or Oscar Meyer, Jennie O doesn’t have enough fat in my opinion)

Directions:

First, start cooking the pasta and make sure the water is salted (add salt AFTER the water is boiling). Then either grill your jalapeno halves or roast them in the oven (425 for about 15-20 minutes depending). I thought I would need more than 2 jalapenos for this dish… then I realized I’m weak when it comes to spicy food so I laid off, but if you want more of a kick feel free!

Once the peppers have a nice char on them, take your softened cream cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese, peppers, and seasonings and blend them together. Blend until… blended! Boom! Done 🙂

Crisp up your bacon (you can do 1/2 or 1 piece per serving, the nutrition information is for 1/2 a piece). Add the jalapeno popper sauce to the cooked spaghetti and top with bacon crumbles!

     Delicious, right? Right.

Nutrition Information (8 servings):

Calories: 246

Fat: 9g (4.7g saturated)

Protein: 9.8g

Carbohydrate: 36g

Fiber: 4.8g

Sodium: 564mg

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

6 Jun

It all started one week night after my boyfriend had a few beers and decided he wanted something to eat. We didn’t have anything, and he was craving something sweet… so he decided to make chocolate chip cookie dough! It turned out pretty good, but it just wasn’t right. Let me just say, that it is pretty damn funny to see him in the kitchen telling me what to do for him and stirring up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough with a beer in his hand!

So…I first found this recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog and had to make this right away! It was a smashing success! However, I never got the dough to the ball stage… never. Honestly, this is the first time they’ve made it this far! At first I made it and was like, “Hey, everyone! Have some cookie dough!”. And they would eat some, but I would usually finish it within a few days (shame). Then I would start making it while I was alone, telling myself I would tell everyone and share it with them… well that didn’t happen, I just hid it in the fridge and ate it myself! I would text my boyfriend: ‘I caved and made some cookie dough… again’ and he would just laugh at my lack of self-control. Then I told myself, ‘well, what if I put it in the freezer and stick a note on it saying “Only one spoonful, Sonja!”‘… that didn’t work either. So, I wrestled with myself for a while about what to do and decided I just couldn’t make it anymore!

My boyfriend’s brother just got engaged to the woman of his dreams, both of whom we are in contact with regularly and spend time with them as often as we can. So I said to myself, “Holy shit, their engagement party would be the perfect time to make the cookie dough balls! But, I won’t have any… maybe just one spoonful… and then I’ll have to try the finished product…” AND I wanted to put this up on my blog for a while and was waiting for an excuse to make these so I could pass them off to someone else, that way I didn’t have to deal with them being around and me stuffing my face! The good news is that I healthified Joy’s recipe so instead of using a whole stick of butter (eek!) I only use 2 tablespoons! You can also consider using white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour to increase the whole grain content. I like the amount of sugar in the recipe, but if you don’t have that much of a sweet tooth you can decrease it too. I want to add that I don’t have the full nutrition information, because it depends on how big you make your balls and how many chocolate chips you want and if you decide to dip them in chocolate or do something else with them. For one small ball it’s around 70 calories, just a ballpark figure.

Ingredients:

2 Tbls butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup non-fat yogurt (I like Dannon Light and Fight, vanilla or Greek yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup and 2 Tbls all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda (for the flavor as Joy says, and she is damn right)

¾ tsp salt

Mini chocolate chips – as many or as little as you like, I don’t like a whole lot in there so 1/3-1/2 cup works for me

Nuts – I don’t add these, but if you like nuts in your chocolate chip cookie dough then you better put them in

Directions:

Directions:

Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the yogurt and vanilla. Separately combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and sift into the batter and stir to combine. Then add the chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Put that shit in the freezer right now! You can only like the bowl and spatula!

           Goal: get to this last stage!

After a few hours in the freezer, take the dough out, roll them into balls, placing them on wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put back in the freezer so they harden before dipping in the chocolate.

If you have a double boiler use it, if you are poor and frugal like me use your own makeshift double boiler (small pot of water with a glass other type of bowl on top, then put in the chips).

     Stick a toothpick in the hardened balls (hehe) and dip in the chocolate. Drop on the wax paper you just used (may want to flip it so it’s completely clean) and refrigerate them all!

And Voila! You have delicious, party-friendly, healthy—-er, chocolate chip cookie dough balls! My boyfriend and I brought them to the engagement party and they were almost all gone in minutes! SUCCESS!

Enjoy:)

Banana Cake Balls

1 Jun

It was my boyfriend’s brother’s birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to make him something. I had some bananas, but a full on cake to a raging party didn’t seem sensible so I had the bright idea of making these little banana cake balls. I used Queen Frostine’s banana cake recipe whipped up some random frosting I made up on the spot and mashed it all together! I then rolled them in chocolate bits and some cocoa. I wanted to dip them in chocolate so they had a coating of chocolatey goodness, but didn’t have the time, or patience or…?

Any frosting with this will do, I wanted to do a cream cheese one but of course didn’t have any cream cheese around so I used Greek yogurt instead! Turned out pretty well… but you could experiment with a chocolate, cinnamon, cream cheese, or peanut butter frosting too!

For the cake recipe check out Queen Frostine Banana Cake. Then make your favorite frosting while the cakes are cooling. Once the cakes have cooled you can do this:

 Crumble it up with your hands and mix in your frosting (by hand or with a wooden spoon).

Then take a small handful of the cake mixture and roll in some chocolate, then sprinkle with cocoa. Get creative with your toppings too if you want like toasted coconut, peanut butter chips, walnuts or pecans, or sprinkles! Stick some lollipop sticks in then or toothpicks and you are set! Everyone loves these because you can just pop them in your mouth, no utensils of plate required.

Enjoy!

Fava and Feta Couscous Spinach Salad

1 Jun

So one evening when I went to work my stomach was unsettled, I was not feeling good, and all I had to eat for dinner was a steak and cheese sandwich. NOT something you want to eat at a time like that so I decided to hop over to a local co-op (Seward Co-op in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis) to grab some deli food for dinner. I found a couscous salad that had spinach, red pepper, fava bean, and feta in it along with a side of probiotic yogurt and fruit… I was set for the night. Little did I know that this couscous salad would change how I looked at couscous! The dish was so fresh and light I had to recreate it myself! So I did. And let me tell you… it’s f*cking great. I think I nailed it on the head and boy am I glad I did because the next week I stopped by the Seward Co-op to see if I got all the ingredients right from the label and it wasn’t there!

This is great for spring and summer and even in the fall and winter months to give you a little fresh boost, something other than your regular comfort food. The flavors are simple and clean, which is a breath of fresh air sometimes so please give this recipe a shot!

Ingredients:

1 cup dry couscous

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon and some zest (about ½ the lemon)

1 can fava beans or 1 ½ cups (in the Mediterranean/Ethnic food aisle or at your local co-op)

4 oz feta cheese cut into cubes (I like plain)

½  of a red pepper thinly sliced

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper)

Directions:

     +          =     

You can use left-over couscous or make some for this, but make sure it has been cooled. Add the oil and lemon. Chop your feta, pepper, and spinach. Add everything to the couscous and salt and pepper to taste! Refrigerate this for a few hours before eating to allow the flavors to sink in.

This recipe makes about 8-9 cups and serves 6 so everyone gets 1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cup!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

264 Calories

14g Fat

3g Fiber

8g Protein

Also, a serving of this dish provides you with about 94% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin K and 36% of you daily recommended intake of Vitamin A! Hope you enjoy this!

Egg Stuffed Tomatoes Wrapped with Bacon

17 May

This is a great breakfast to serve for brunch or in a more upscale setting (it’s a little too much to ask for during your busy week). I found this in a New Zealand magazine that had not only recipes, but a section for wine, travel, and events. I honestly can’t remember the name of the magazine, but it was similar to Food & Wine magazine here in the states.

I made this for my man one morning and we loved it! It’s great to switch it up sometimes… something different from toast, oatmeal, or cereal (all of which I love!). This is an example of how some of the simplest flavors create the most delicious food. Not only is it simple, but it looks elegant and sophisticated.

Makes 2 (you can easily make this for however many people you want)

Ingredients:

2 vine tomatoes, must be round

2 eggs

2 strips of bacon, turkey or Canadian… or regular if you want

2 tbsp basil finely chopped, and more for garnish

1 tsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove, minced (or to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Hollow out the tomatoes with a spoon, cutting the top off carefully with a knife first. Combine basil, oil, garlic and salt. With your fingers, spread the basil mixture on the inside of the tomatoes. Crack one egg into each tomato and top with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the egg is cooked. Top with parmesan cheese and more basil!

I’m not sure of the nutritional information, but it all depends on how much cheese you use, but overall it’s a healthy breakfast:) Enjoy!

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