Recipe Round Up: “The Big Game”

This Sunday is kind of a big deal.

I mean there’s Groundhog Day. Obviously we’re all pumped for that – who doesn’t love chubby little Phil?

There’s also the Super Bowl – which I am always pumped for, since it combines one of my passions with my profession (that would be football and marketing).

Both are probably marked on your calendar for grocery shopping and wardrobe planning, but do you know what else happens Sunday? This little blog celebrates 2 years!

Obviously a day this epic deserves a recipe round-up – so if you’re looking for some snacks to whip up for “The Big Game” – you have come to the right place. Should I even mention the fact that this might be the best blog to come to for all things buffalo, which is like, a staple for Super Bowl Sunday? That and the game is being played in close proximity to the origin of “Buffalo Wings“. Boom. Droppin’ knowledge.

I’ll stop now.

The Game Plan

The Warm-Up

Warm Up - Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Hummus

Buffalo Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Sins

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Faux Fried Pickles

The Big Game

Big Game

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Game Time Chili

New York (close enough) State of Mind

I had to put this in there because I’m a sucker for a theme. When I think New York – a few staples come to mind. Italian delights – mozzarella sticks and pizza. And of course salmon, bagels and cream cheese, which comes to you in flat bread form below! Maybe I’ll drum up my own creation with some pastrami this weekend!

New York State of Mind

Faux Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Pizza Soup

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

And let’s be honest, I could LIVE off snack foods along – so don’t be ashamed if you just make a bunch of appetizers and call it your meal. That may be exactly what happened in my household last year…and I certainly did not hear any complaints!

Hope you find something you enjoy! Have a great weekend and enjoy the festivities!

 

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Hot and Sour Soup

So I’m learning that in order to shrink my waistline, sometimes it means I have to expand my horizons.

That thought deep enough for you?

I am one of those people who likes variety. Sure, we all have our foods that we say we could eat every day (although I really do feel that way about popcorn) – but how practical is that? Variety truly is the spice of life. In order to have fun with cooking and losing weight, I love to come up with new things to try or finding new ways to cut caloric-corners…like using fiber cereal as breading in my delicious Buffa-faux Chicken Tenders. I am just not one of those people who can eat grilled chicken with a side of lettuce every day – I would be completely miserable – and this is cooking on the bright side people!

A few weeks ago, my husband happily  came with me on a post-holiday shopping adventure. We grabbed lunch  at a place neither of us had tried before – an Asian place called Stix. I settled on my sushi and he was going with some noodle-based dish, but he asked if I liked Hot and Sour Soup since it only came made for 2, so I agreed to try a little.

Y’all, it was straight up delicious! How has it taken me so long to try this? The husband said it was one of the best he’d had and I loved the flavor! I have always been a Won Ton Soup girl – but I may be a convert now.

So clearly, I needed to try my hand at making this new-found favorite! I looked online for some recipes but some of the ingredients just seemed like too much to deal with – until I stumbled upon this beauty from “The Bald Chef” – it seemed perfectly easy to tackle! I substituted and modified a few of the ingredients but it still has that balance of spice and sour with plenty of protein from the chicken…and okay, the tofu – which graced my kitchen’s presence for the first time ever! Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Hot and Sour Soup (4 servings / 6 WW points per serving)

Adapted from The Bald Chef’s recipe found here.

Ingredients - Hot and Sour Soup

8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. white pepper

3 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

3 oz. canned Bamboo shoots

3 Tbsp. Sambal Oelek (Chili paste – you can also substitute Chili Garlic Sauce)

5 oz. firm tofu (if you can find “light” – go for it, but it wasn’t offered at my store)

1 egg

4 oz. Rice Vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 green onion, chopped

Begin by cubing chicken breast. Add soy sauce and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. I used that time to prep the rest of my goodies!

Prepped and Ready

Heat the sesame oil in a medium saucepan and add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes before adding chicken breast. Stir chicken and cook 4-5 minutes over medium heat.

Sprinkle chicken with white pepper and pour in chicken broth. Stir in mushrooms, bamboo and chili paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and cook 10 minutes.

Cut tofu into cubes and add to the soup, along with the vinegar. Bring back to a low boil.

Step by Step - Hot and Sour Soup

Whisk your egg in a small bowl. Pour into the soup in a steady, circular stream. The point here is to cook the egg to thicken the soup, but not have it all in one lump. Once you have poured it, whisk it slightly to incorporate.

Mix 1/2 cup water with your cornstarch and pour into the soup. Whisk and cook another 3-5 minutes over medium heat.

Serve hot and top with green onions.

Hot and Sour Soup - Overhead

We each had one bowl and were satisfied – but this would be great paired with some vegetable fried rice, orange chicken, chili-mango shrimp or stir-fry shrimp. A little home-made take out for a quiet night in!

Hot and Sour Soup

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

A Week of Celebration

Do you know what tomorrow is? I mean, other than the day that adorable little Phil will tell us when Spring is set to arrive.

Tomorrow is my blog’s birthday! Or is it anniversary?

Let’s go with birthday since that’s the theme of the week. On Monday I said farewell to my 20’s – so today, as a way of celebrating this lovely occasion, my blog will say farewell to something too. Have you figured out the surprise? Check the top of your computer screen:

www.cookingonthebrightside.com

My blog has its’ own domain name now! Very nerdy of me to be excited about, I know, but hey – if you’ve been with me for a year, you expect it by now, right?

Have no fear – any older links will still take you to your favorite recipe. Now it’s just abbreviated, which means it’s easier to remember for when you’re passing it along to your friends. (Wink wink).

In addition to tomorrow being a very special day for my blog – Sunday is a very special day  for football lovers (like myself) and for food lovers (um, duh) and for those of us who just enjoy fun celebratory occasions in general.

So if you’re hosting a party for 50 on Sunday or just getting together with a small group and maybe tuning in to the Puppy Bowl – here’s a little recipe roundup for your menu planning!

Pre Game

AppCollage

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffa-faux Chicken Tenders

Mexican Dip

Skinny Faux-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

The Main Event

Main Course Collage

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Soup

BBQ Chicken Stromboli

Cheeseburger Soup

Pizza Soup

Spicy Pulled Beef

Turkey Beer Chili

Of course, you can always jazz your party up with a fun theme. I’m talking about New Orleans. So serve up some festively Cajun recipes and throw back a Louisiana-brewed beer  (might I recommend Abita? Light and Amber are delicious!) and you’ll feel like you’re celebrating in the Big Easy!

Lagniappe (translation: a little something extra)

CajunCollage

“Fried Shrimp” with Spicy Sauce (or make some po boys cut up into sliders!)

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Creole Stew

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend celebrating – as they say in N’awlins…

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

Cheeseburger Soup

I think Mother Nature needs to go shoe shopping. I mean, I know I can tend to be indecisive occasionally often rarely sometimes, but this is getting a little silly.

It’s been a pretty cold and drizzly week, which just always puts me in the mood for soup. I’m sure you’re aware by now that pizza soup is a staple in our household. But, we do have some alternates that we love!

With the big game coming up and all, you may already be planning a menu. It’s always nice to have a big pot of chili, chowder, etc. to feed a crowd. Heck, I think pizza soup would be great – as would buffalo chicken soup.

But I’d like to introduce you to another favorite – cheeseburger soup. Intrigued?

It sounds really weird, but I assure you, it is quite delicious – and, of course, good for you! The best part is you can set out condiments for people to customize their soup! Now I kind of want to throw a party…

Cheeseburger Soup (4 servings / 6 WW points per serving)

Ingredients

8 oz. ground turkey breast

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1/3 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup fat-free milk

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Garnishes (mustard, ketchup, relish, diced onion, etc.)

First, cook the ground turkey. Drain any liquid and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine and add chopped vegetables and garlic. Stir and saute 4-5 minutes before adding cooked turkey and basil. Add flour and stir to coat, cooking 1-2 minutes.

VeggiesFlour

Over medium heat, pour in milk. Stir and cook 4-5 minutes. Then pour in chicken broth and stir. Add your diced potatoes and stir. Cover soup and when it starts to boil, reduce head to medium-low. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are softened.

MilkPotatoes

Stir in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cheddar

Once cheese has melted, serve your soup. Top with whatever you like on a regular cheeseburger – I like a little ketchup, lots of mustard and some dill relish. It’s also fun to toast a burger bun (sprayed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt) to dip in the soup!

Close up

Dig in and enjoy…

Happy Friday everybody!

Cheeseburger Soup Done

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup

Hey there friends – and Happy 2013 to you all!

Being that my last post was before Christmas (yikes!), here’s a little recap of what we’ve been up to:

Christmas was awesome – a full day of family time and good food. My family always picks a movie to see together – so the winner was Les Miserables. We laughed. And cried. I think the hubby was just happy my Biffer and I didn’t sing along the entire time. Then, we had to take down Christmas – the saddest thing ever. But, we were leaving town, so we didn’t want to come home to sad pile of needles hanging out under some barren branches.

We headed up north for my best friend’s new year’s eve wedding! The husband is a huge history buff and had never been to Philadelphia, so we went up a little early and spent some time downtown. We ate a cheese steak. We braved the snow to tour Independence Hall. And of course, we ran walked briskly up the art museum steps with the “Rocky” music playing from my phone. Such tourists, I know.

Cheese SteaksSnow at IHall

The wedding day was a full day of fun – and I have never seen a bride so full of joy! She was absolutely radiant and I was honored to be a part of such a special day. I made it through a reading and a speech without crying (I’m a crier) or throwing up (public speaking and I don’t get along). And I got to ring in 2013 with some of my best friends!

The husband got sick the day of the wedding, so he barely made it to the ceremony and skipped the reception all together. We got home, and then I woke up sick the next day. Miserable I tell you.

So between Christmas and today, it’s been a lot of fun, some sickness crud, and catching up from the fun and the crud. Sunday, I finally felt normal and was able to sit down and plan a menu. A menu that would maybe help me lose some all of those pounds I put on over the holiday season (you know, that time from like mid-November until January 1-ish).

I figured with the flu that’s floating around, what could be better to share with you than a delicious soup that’s also good for you?

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup (Serves 6 / 6 WW Points per serving)

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

3 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 medium lemon (zested and juiced)

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo

2-3 cups fresh spinach

8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 Tbsp. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp. water

6 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil on medium-low for 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, thyme and lemon zest and stir. Cook another 3 minutes.

SauteLemon Zest

 

Turn heat to medium and add orzo and spinach. Stir to coat in seasonings.

Spinach

 

Pour in broth and lemon juice and stir well. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small dish and set aside.

Broth

 

Cover the soup, reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a low boil for 12-15 minutes, until orzo is tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to low, allowing the soup to thicken slightly.

Pour soup into bowls and top with 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan

 

We paired a bowl of soup with a small Panini for dinner the other night, and it was truly a delicious meal. Awesome comfort food if you’re a little under the weather or just need something to warm you up a little!

Lemon Spinach Orzo Soup

Hope you all have a great weekend!

 

Potato and Corn Chowder

Um, hi. It’s November. As in I won’t run screaming logging into Facebook for much longer because the election is over next week. As in Thanksgiving is in 3ish weeks. As in 53 days until Christmas.

But most importantly…we gain an hour of sleep this weekend!

If you didn’t know that, you’re welcome. If you did know that, isn’t it just nice to hear anyways?

This Fall has been so awesomely chaotic – but I’m ready for things to wind down a bit! I’m ready for enjoy the cold weather and turn our fireplace on! I’m ready for sweaters and boots and coats and festive decor!

So Wednesday, it was Halloween and it was time to get down to celebrating! The husband and I carved our pumpkins on Tuesday night…

…and on Wednesday, I was ready to whip up a yummy, healthy Fall dish for us to enjoy between the doorbell ringing.

Obviously it was a night for soup – so I merged a few recipes into a corn chowder that’s low on points. Hey, had to be good with all of that leftover Halloween candy hanging around…

Potato and Corn Chowder  (Serves 3 – 7 WW pts. per serving)

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

3 oz. Turkey kielbasa, diced (I use Jennie-O brand)

2 cups baby potatoes

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. Tabasco salt

1 can yellow corn, drained

2 cups fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

3 Tbsp. fat-free cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Add potatoes to a roasting pan and bake about 20 minutes until tender. You can always microwave them if you prefer – just pierce them before you do!

In a medium saucepan, melt your margarine. Add chopped onion and kielbasa and saute 3-5 minutes until onion is tender.

Add your canned corn and stir with onion and kielbasa. Sprinkle in your salt, pepper and add a few glugs of Tabasco. Stir well.

Next, add your potatoes. They should be tender and chopped into bite-sized pieces. If you don’t want to bother with the little potatoes, one large russet potato should suffice!

Pour in milk over potatoes. Add turmeric and stir well – it will give your chowder a beautiful golden color!

 

Now you can turn heat to medium-low and let the chowder come to a simmer. Probably check on it around the 7-8 minute mark. You don’t want to bring it to a boil because it’s milk – and well, boiled milk just sounds nasty!

Once it’s at a light simmer, add in your flour and stir well. You can also mash down a little on the potatoes to help thicken it up a little. Allow to come back to a light simmer and then reduce heat, cause you’re ready to dive in!

Pour into bowls and to each with 1 Tbsp. shredded fat-free cheddar.

Yup, it officially feels like Fall!

 

 

Cheddar Ale Chowder

I love soup – like seriously love soup. So many varieties. Some people think that soup is only good when it’s cold out – but I disagree. I think it’s good any time of year. It’s good for the soul…

You know what else is good any time of year? Well, I’m sure a lot of things – like shoe shopping. Or chocolate. But I’m thinking beer. In the Fall for watching football. In the Winter for celebrating the holidays with friends and family. In the Spring and Summer with baseball and outdoor festivals. Mmmm I can almost smell the Pronto Pups.

So mixing the flavor of a delicious ale into a soup was something I had to do. And heck, why not throw some vegetables in there. Okay okay, some cheddar cheese too.

Yes kids, I’m talking about a Cheddar Ale Chowder…that won’t kill your waistline in case you’re prepping for some time on the beach around the corner!

Cheddar Ale Chowder (serves 2)

1 1/2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/4 small onion, chopped

1/2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

1 cup skim milk

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

6 fl. oz. beer

1/3 cup frozen corn kernels

3/4 cup diced potato, cooked

3/4 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

1 slice turkey bacon, cooked

Spray a medium saucepan with non-stick spray and heat, melting margarine and add onions. Cook 3-5 minutes. Add milk and stir. Gradually add flour and whisk to blend. Continue to stir mixture until it begins to thicken.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add in Worcestershire, mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Whisk and cook 5-7 minutes.

Now, pour in your beer. Oh no, you didn’t use it all? Whatever shall you do?! 😉

Stir in the beer. Now, add your corn and your (already cooked) potatoes. You don’t want to boil this enough to cook potatoes because of the milk – so cooked potatoes are a must.

Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Yes, your kitchen smells good right now.

Final step  – add the cheese. Stir it in until it’s melted, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve and add the bacon garnish…

…and maybe wash down with a cold beer, if you’re into that kind of thing!