Monday, January 31, 2011

Stop Drop & Roll Chicken Tenders

this recipe plays homage to my love of dipping sauces-polynesian, zax sauce, ranch, mcdonald's ketchup {yes, it is different then other ketchups}, arby's sauce, cholula hot sauce, salsa, sweet & sour sauce...the list is endless. and anytime we eat fast food, i manage to bring home 1 or 2 extra little cups of my favorites...which usually take up space in my fridge before i toss them and have a "what the hell was i thinking...what other use would i have for polynesian sauce?"moment.

these chicks make for a great dinner, topper for a salad or sliders. come to think of it...i'll make them for a super bowl party and serve with little cocktail picks & side of ranch & spicy mustard!


Ingredients (in order of use)
*serves 2; great recipe to double for a larger group!
  • 1 lb. of chicken tenders (usually comes with 8 tenders so freeze any you don't want-i ate 3, my husband ate 4)
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 tbspn honey
  • 1 tspn spicy mustard
  • 2 tspn of garlic powder (divided-i.e. 1 now, 1 later)
  • 1 tspn onion powder
  • 1 1/2 c bread crumbs (i like italian b/c it has great flavor already!)
1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. in a small mixing bowl, combine egg, honey, mustard & 1 tspn of garlic powder.
3. in another small mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1 tspn of garlic powder & 1 tsp of onion powder.
4. dip chicken fingers in egg-mixture. stop, drop & roll chicken tenders in crumb coating.
5. place coated chicken fingers on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
6. bake for 15 minutes, or until tenders take on a golden tan!

serve these tasty fingers with your favorite dipping sauce {mustard if you want to stay on the healthier side!}

Irresistible Italian Meatballs of my first true loves! i can remember growing up eating the most amazing baseball-sized meatballs at gargano's - always with an extra side of marinara! a few years ago my grandmother shared her recipe and it's been everywhere with me - DC, NYC and it's now made it's way back to GA. if you've lived with me or in the same town, you've probably shared in my love of these little guys. i make a few different versions, but this is my go-to italian recipe.

i also use an amazing sauce in this recipe, which i credit as making it even better - Rao's marinara sauce. it's about $8.99 for a 32 oz. jar but worth the $$$ & luckily for us in GA, they sell it at most grocery stores.

{i had the pleasure of dining at Rao's NYC in 2007 which was a a once in a lifetime opportunity}

Per Wikipedia-
Rao's is an elite restaurant where people trying to get in have a small chance of eating there. There are table "owners" that are regulars there, so unless you are invited as a guest, the wait for Rao's could be many, many years. Even when you call their phone number, it is an answering machine almost always saying they are booked for the year and not taking any reservations at the moment.

*serves 4
*freeze any leftover meatballs and re-heat for an instant dinner down the road

Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 12 oz. reduced-fat sausage
  • 1 1/2 c italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese {plus extra for serving}
  • 4-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced {pus extra for serving}
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic OR 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of italian seasoning {easy to find in the spice aisle}
  • salt & pepper {to taste}
  • 2 jars of 32 oz. marinara {your choice, but i prefer Rao's}
  • 1 box pasta {i prefer whole wheat angel hair}
1. mix all ingredients except the marinara sauce {i like to use a mashed potato mixer to ensure an even mix}.
2. in a crockpot {cooks approx. 3 hrs} or in a tall stockpot {cooks approx. 30 minutes}, pour 2 jars of marinara and set to low heat.
3. roll meatballs into ping-pong sized balls & gently place in crockpot or stockpot and "braise" them - {allows the meatballs to cook in the sauce and soak up the flavor} - on low heat, or until brown throughout. toss ever so gently as to not "break the balls" but ensuring all receive the same amount of TLC with the heat source.
5. boil pasta, drain.
5. plate-serve over pasta, top with parmesan, basil and enjoy!
*i also served with red pepper flakes for a kick.

Make it a Meal-
Appetizer-Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Side-Tuscan-Style Slice & Dice Zucchini or Toasted French Bread from your local grocery store bakery

*this delicious dinner was made in honor of my MIL (mother-in-law) - she is having surgery on wednesday so i wanted to send her into the OR with a full tummy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tuscan-Style Slice & Dice Zucchini

this is one of my absolute favorite sides to make-it's simple, reminds me of NYC and i get to use my beloved mandolin slicer! kit meyer, the gorgeous mother of 4 boys that i babysat for in NYC, shared her home-garden-grown version with me, and it's been a staple since.

{i just doubled the recipe and made it for a 6-person dinner party in our neighborhood-and it was instantly a hit!}

*serves 2

Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 10 oz. box of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 basil leaves, *cut chiffonade style
  • shredded parmesan cheese
1. heat olive oil in a skillet over low-medium heat. cook garlic in skillet until it becomes translucent (do not burn).
2. toss in sliced zucchini and turn heat up to medium-high. season with salt and pepper. continue to sauté until zucchini cooks through.
*i like to cook mine until it browns a little.
3. time to add the tomatoes! squeeze each tomato half over the sautéed zucchini and toss shell into the skillet. cook for another 10 minutes (or until tomatoes soften).
4. transfer to a bowl, top with shredded basil & parmesan cheese.

*chiffonade cut basil is a fancy term for "cutting it into thin strips". roll basil leaves and cut with a knife (or scissors for ease!); thin strips jazz up this dish!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mini Meatloaf Cups

i love hors 'd oeuvres, appetizers, dips, finger foods, etc....anyway you spin it i love bite-sized bits of food! once a month, my 'hood hosts a supper club...well, it's evolved into BYOA-bring your own app {and beverages!}. it's such a fun time to visit, gain some decorating ideas, use those fancy wedding-gift serving pieces & enjoy tons of different appetizers.

in thinking about what to make, i love party food you can grab and gab with...and in thinking about what my guy would like, i decided on mini meatloaf cups. these mini meatloafs are made using a mini muffin tin-genius!

*makes 36 cups

Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • *3 cups bagged broccoli cole slaw, chopped
  • 1/2 c fat-free liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 c quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 c (+ extra for topping) ketchup
  • 1/2 pack dry onion soup mix
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional-for a kick)
*dry bagged broccoli slaw can be found in the produce section with bagged salad

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. grease 12-cup mini muffin pan with non-stick spray (or line with baking cups)
3. mix all ingredients above
*i suggest mixing with a mashed potato masher-does the job in a flash!
4. spoon the mixture amongst the muffin cups. top each with a pea-sized amount of ketchup.
5. bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. let stand for 5 minutes.
*convection oven is much quicker and only cooks for 15 minutes per pan

at only 35 calories and 1 g of fat per cup...this mini meatloaf is ahhhMazing!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Busy Girl's Turkey Bacon, Egg & Cheese

every weekday morning it's the same song and dance around our house-GCB. gym, coffee, breakfast! i'm constantly trying to find a great, filling food that will jump start my day and send my lunch into the 1pm hour. lets face it, once lunch has come and gone, i'm counting down to my favorite hour, happy! try this quick and easy {microwaveable!} turkey bacon, egg & cheese and you'll be thankful you passed on the drive-thru version-which is loaded with 420 calories & 23g fat!

*serves 1

Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 slice of 2% american cheese (substitute swiss if you please)
  • 1 8" whole wheat tortilla shell
1. place 2 pieces of turkey bacon on a plate (with paper towel underneath and on top to absorb excess grease). microwave for 2:20 minutes and set aside.
2. place egg whites in a microwaveable-safe bowl. microwave for 1 minute, stopping to "scramble" with a fork every 20 seconds. place cheese on top of eggs and melt for final 10 seconds.
3. cover your tortilla shell in a damp paper towel, microwave for 30 seconds.
4. plate-2 slices of turkey bacon, topped with scrambled cheesy eggs.

for 319 calories & 12g fat, this protein-packed breakfast is down the hatch!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Simple Pomodoro Sauce!

well, it's monday & still january...blah! but 53 degree weather today did get me thinking about the onset of delicious summer tomatoes & all their glory. so i combined seasons-spaghetti, because my heart still longs for comfort food (and sweats!) & a pretty fancy pomodoro sauce to fold in. and when i ran into two friends at the grocery today....they were having spaghetti for dinner as well....maybe next time they'll trade up the ragu and give simple pomodoro sauce a try!

*serves 2

Ingredients (in order of use)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 5 diced garlic cloves
  • 5 diced roma (or plum) tomatoes
  • 1/3 box of wheat angel hair pasta
  • salt & pepper-to season
  • 4 chopped basil leaves
  • shredded parmesan cheese
1. in a large sauce pan, pour 4 tbsps of olive oil and bring to medium heat. when OO is "runny", toss in diced onions and cook until soft! add garlic & cook for 5 minutes-don't brown!
2. add in tomatoes & season with salt & pepper. cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. bring your pot-o-noodles to a boil, drain and set aside.
4. fold in noodles with pomodoro sauce, fold in basil, plate & top with shredded parm!

*if you really want to KICK things up, brown 6 oz. of jimmy dean reduced fat pork sausage and toss in! purchase the 12 oz. tube and freeze half for later use with my meatball recipe!

voilà...what did you think?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Shugart? Why Spice?

with a middle name like shugart (like sugar, with a 't'), i was born to cook! well, not actually born with a silver spatula in hand, more like i went to college with a set of cookware and utensils that stayed dusty until i realized one could not sustain life (and that pre-freshmen figure) on the $2.95 chick-fil-a kids meal!

since then, my interest in the field of food has evolved to keep up with my busy lifestyle-i love quick & easy cooking & entertaining! i'm not a nutritionist, chef or doctor, but what i am is a girl who likes to make a hot {or cold} meal in a flash. recently married & cooking for 2, i decided something's gotta give-either we eat mcdonald's & mexican every night {with my easy-to-please husband} or i learn to make {disguised} turkey double cheeseburgers & tasty taco pie on a dime!

so when it's 12 'noon and your husband, wife, mom, dad, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, bunco club, supper club, guys your guy invites over, mil {mother-in-law} want to know "what's for dinner"'ll have a quick, easy option to serve in a flash!

{ goes!}

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