Veal Piccata: Lightened Up

Happy 2014 everybody! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and enjoyed ringing in the new year…whether you were doing it while “resting your eyes” on the couch or toasting champagne at a fabulous party!

Now, it has come to my attention lately that several people (ahem, my husband) aren’t a fan of the whole New Year’s hype and find the whole ordeal “anti-climatic.” To this I say for shame!

I will be the first to admit, it’s not as big of a priority as it once was for me. Planning out an outfit, making sure I had a big-ticket party to attend, staying out too late, etc. However, I still love getting together with friends to celebrate – whether it’s a big festive gathering or a few of us eating dinner, putting on PJ’s and playing games!

I just love the idea of a fresh start – a new chapter if you will. Some may say if you want to have a goal or if you want to do something, just do it. But honestly, it’s nice having that reset button programmed on my calendar. For me it’s like having a brand new notebook on the first day of school (I am a huge nerd and still get excited over new notepads, pens etc.). It’s clean, it’s new and it’s just waiting to be written on – so what mark will you make on 2014?

One of my major resolutions is to focus on myself. That sounds really selfish when I put it out there like that…but I mean more about my “self”. I ate with reckless abandon over the holidays and putting on work pants this week showed me that I’m definitely paying for it. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the eye doctor. I have lived our house for about 4 years and still haven’t really put anything up on the walls. I want to make our house a home. I want to stop squinting when I’m driving at night. And I want to shed my holiday weight (plus a few pounds I’ve picked up from the past year) – I want to be content in my own home and in my own skin.

So – there you have it. I’m going to be cracking down on myself, but y’all will get to benefit because I have some cooking to do!

It’s 2014 people. Time to get to it and make some changes…starting with a favorite recipe of mine that has been changed into a delicious, light and healthy dish! You can use this for any special occasion, or just a Saturday night meal with a glass of wine watching a movie. It’s easy. It’s elegant. But best of all it’s not loaded with fat and calories.

Veal Piccata – Lightened Up (WW points / 10 per serving + pasta)

Ingredients for Veal Piccata

2/3 pound veal scallopini (basically the thin cutlets of veal – I find mine pre-packaged at the grocery store)

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour

Salt and pepper for seasoning

1 Tbsp. canola oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp. capers

Lemon slices for garnish

Begin by sprinkling veal slices with salt and pepper. Then press into flour, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add veal cutlets and cook 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. You may need to work in batches – they do cook down quickly.

Step by Step Veal Piccata

Remove cutlets and set aside. De-glaze pan with white wine and add garlic. Swirl and let heat for about 1 minute. Add butter, allowing it to melt, and then adding chicken broth and capers. Stir and allow to thicken for about 2 minutes, then add in lemon juice, lemon slices and veal. Allow veal to reheat in the sauce for 2-3 minutes and for the sauce to thicken slightly.

Plate veal and pour sauce over top, adding lemon slices for a little visual appeal. I serve this with whole wheat spaghetti (about 1 1/2 oz. uncooked for 2 people) sprayed with a little butter and sprinkled with some garlic salt and reduced-fat Parmesan – making this meal 12 points total. I call that a good way to start off the new year…

Veal Piccata

Have a great weekend y’all!

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Smoked Salmon Flatbread

I know I’ve said before that I have kind of a weird memory. But like, y’all don’t even know the extent.

An example:

I remember the first time I ever ate a caper. It was the summer after 7th grade and my mom and I were in Florida with my best friend, her mom, and her sister and two of her friends. We all went out to eat before the mothers headed back to the condo and the rest of us went to a club for some sort of teen night – which turned out to be hilariously sketchy.

For dinner, I ordered Chicken Picatta. I was hesitant about the little green pod looking things, but figured, meh, what the heck. I ate one and loved it. It reminded me a little of a green olive (I also love all things olives). In that moment, I fell in love with capers. I’m not even sure how to describe them other than “like a green olive, but not as potent.” Yes, they are salty. Maybe with a hint of citrus?

Anyways, I feel that they are underutilized. I mean, other than my eating them straight of the jar (hey – this is a judgment-free zone) – what else do I really use them with other than my “picattas”?

Smoked salmon. But I never actually make that at home. I do love it when I’m out for Sunday brunch somewhere and there’s a table with smoked salmon and all of the fixings. Chopped egg, red onion and, obviously, capers. Any excuse to load up on capers/olive/pickles in public and you can count me in! (Again – no judging!)

So the other night, after attending my workplace’s annual chili cook-off at lunch, I needed something a bit lighter for dinner. I decided on smoked salmon flatbread and I think I have found a new favorite! This version is super easy because I went with a pre-made version but I am sure you can trim off some WW points making your own dough!

Smoked Salmon Flatbread (1 Flatbread = 13 WW Points)

1 piece whole wheat Naan

Olive oil spray

Garlic salt

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped red onion

2 Tbsp. capers

1 1/2 oz. smoked salmon

Dried dill

Salt and pepper

This is so embarrassingly easy that I didn’t even take step-by-step shots! Spray the flatbread with olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 5 minutes.

Spread cream cheese on top, sprinkle onion and capers evenly on top of the cheese. Bake another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and layer the salmon on top. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper.

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Slice, serve and devour. I enjoyed this deliciously light meal with a glass of crisp chardonnay and liked it so much I did it again 3 nights later.

Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Have a great weekend y’all!

Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce

Dear October,

Where did you go?

Y’all, seriously. I just looked at my calendar and freaked out a little. I have been a very very bad blogger! It has been absolute chaos (the fun kind!) in our house these past few weeks. Just a little overview:

  • Wrapped up Sept. with a church community service project and then drove to Oxford, MS for a cousin’s wedding and some family birthday celebrating.
  • Then finished our bathroom (woot woot!).
  • Rang in October by celebrating our 2nd anniversary which included a delicious meal cooked by my husband and one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life at a restaurant I’d been dying to try. I may have made reservations in July to make sure we got there.
  • Hosted a couple’s shower for some friends – I love throwing parties, but they leave me exhausted. At least we had leftovers to eat for 3 days before we packed up again!
  • Headed to Orlando for another wedding – this time one of my best friends from college. Spent a day with Mickey and the gang, ate our way around the world at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival (which was AMAZING), got some girl time with my besties (sadly minus my Punk – but gotta keep her baby safe!) and celebrated the marriage of two wonderful people.
  • And this past weekend we celebrated another wedding – one of the husband’s best friends from college. He was in the wedding – so a whole weekend of festivities.

So – all of that to say. Hi. I’m back. And happy to be back in my kitchen cooking meals for 2 people for a little while. In order to get back in the swing of things, I needed a super easy recipe with stuff I had on hand and I found this little gem on the Cooking Light website.

Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce (Serves 4 / 7 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

Original recipe found here.

4 (5 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I buy thin sliced or cut a big one in half)

1 tsp. olive oil

Garlic powder and pepper

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

16 slices Turkey pepperoni, chopped

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Heat a large saucepan to medium. Coat with nonstick spray and add olive oil.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with a little garlic powder and pepper on each side. Add to skillet and cook 3-5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Steps

Add garlic and chopped pepperoni to pan and cook about 2 minutes. Pour in marinara sauce and stir in Italian herb seasoning and garlic salt. You may want to add a little more salt or some pepper depending on the sauce you purchase – I like to cut the sweet a little.

Pour sauce over the chicken breasts and add 2 Tbsp. cheese on top of each piece. (To make this an easy one-pan meal – I pushed the sauce to one side and then added the chicken back in.) Cover for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted.

Close Up

This was super easy and required ingredients I usually have on hand – so it worked out perfectly, I didn’t even have to make a run to the store! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Chicken Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce

Have a great weekend y’all!

Deviled Egg Spread

My sanity has been less than even-keeled this week.

Okay, that’s a lie. For the past 3 weeks. And okay, while we’re being honest – even-keeled went “bye-bye” a while ago.

As I have mentioned, we tackled our first “DIY” project this month: re-doing our half bath off the kitchen. You know, the bathroom all of our guests see. It is almost done – barring any more unforeseen issues. And we’re hosting a couple’s shower at our house in 8 days.

8 DAYS PEOPLE!

As in, I’ve been so busy with the reno – that I almost forgot I needed to like, plan a party. You know, invitations, food, beverages, decor. Oh, and we’re heading out of town in a few weeks and need to plan our itinerary. Oh, and we’re attending 3 weddings in the next 4 weeks.

Why did I just now discover that Wine Ice Cream exists? I still haven’t tried it…but I’d be surprised if I made it home without a pint (or 5) to add to my freezer. I need it in my life now – I’m lookin’ at you Chocolate Cabernet.

Needless to say (silly phrase, since I’m about to say what is needless to say) – I haven’t been whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen lately. However, I do have a recipe I forgot to blog about a while back to share with you. Who knew my absent-mindedness would save the day?

This is a great snack to serve for a small group – but beware if you have deviled egg lovers like my dad. This could disappear quite quickly!)

Deviled Egg Spread (Serves 4-6 / 7 total WW points for the spread + cracker of choice)

Ingredients

3 medium eggs

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. curry powder

Paprika for topping

Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar (helps seal the egg in case of a crack!). Bring water to a boil and allow to boil about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, allowing the water to simmer 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover and sit 10 minutes. Once the eggs have cooled, tap shell on a hard surface and peel the shell off the egg. Repeat, and then slice hard-boiled eggs in half.

Remove yolks and add to a mini food processor. Add 3 halves of the egg whites in with the yolks. Add mayonnaise, mustard, dry mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pulse the processor a few times until the ingredients are blended well. Begin with half of the measurements above – and just add as texture and taste dictate. (Example – I usually start with 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise add if the mixture needs to be smoother).

Step by Step

Take the remaining halves of the egg whites and give them a coarse chop. Add to small bowl, then stir in the yolk mixture.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, sprinkle with Paprika and serve! I used the Everything Pretzel Crisps and found them to be the perfect pairing…

Deviled Egg Spread

Have a great weekend y’all!

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Sooo, here’s the thing about our not-so major DIY project:

I have zero patience.

As in, I am annoyed that it’s not just done. As in, I found myself wanting to just stay home from work in order to get stuff done at home. Pesky jobs. You know, other than funding the project.

The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Which is good considering we’re throwing a party in 2 weeks and well, the half bath is kind of crucial for that type of event.

I am loving watching everything come together and to see the fixtures and miscellaneous items we’ve ordered arrive. I always panic when I pick out things that aren’t “meant” to go together – like at my wedding, thought I had a theme in my head but was so freaked out it would just look like a bunch of random crap. It did not. So I think I need to have a little faith in myself. And my husband. And vice versa. *Wink wink.*

Luckily we have lights on for now and barring a few more hours of allowing paint to try, we should have lights from here on out – which is fantastic for my sanity! It means I don’t have to come home and chop and prep like a mad woman with the daylight hours waning.

So obviously, that means we need to celebrate. And you know how we celebrate on this blog, right? Buffalo chicken.

I figured if my buffalo chicken tacos turned out to be a hit, these had to be. Y’all. They are delicious – I highly suggest them for a delicious dinner the next time you just want to park on your couch and watch a big game. Super easy and they do not take long to throw together. I know you might think I’m ashamed of my love for all the buffalo things – but I’m not. Not even a little.

Close Up

Give these a try and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (5 WW pts. per enchilada)

Ingredients

5 whole wheat and/or high fiber tortillas

1 cup shredded chicken breast

1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

2 green onions, chopped

1 medium stalk celery, chopped

1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together enchilada sauce with 1/3 cup hot sauce. Adjust as your heat tolerance dictates.

Mix cheeses together in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix shredded chicken with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, green onions, celery, 2 Tbsp. hot sauce and about 1 Tbsp. of the enchilada sauce mixture.

StepbyStep

Add a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased casserole dish.

Add 2-3 Tbsp. chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll lengthwise and fold ends under and place seam-side down in the casserole dish. When all of the tortillas are filled, pour remaining enchilada sauce over top. Add remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with blue cheese and cook another 5-7 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted…yeah baby.

Baked

Add to your plate…

Ariel Shot

And of course, devour.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Have a great weekend y’all!

 

Hoisin Plum Chicken

So it has been interesting in my house for the past week.

Well, more like in the half bath and kitchen. You see, the husband and I decided to re-do our half bathroom downstairs right by the kitchen. So for the past few weeks, our kitchen table and counter tops have been covered with cabinets to be painted, hardware to be replaced and lots of other goodies like paint trays, brushes, and tape.

Last week, in order to finish priming, we took out the light fixture in the bathroom. Which just so happens to be on the same circuit as our kitchen light (not appliances, thank goodness). Know what that means? This food blogger has been trying to squeeze in all prep work upon arriving home now that it’s starting to get a little darker out earlier.

Cooking in the dark. Probably not as much fun as dancing in the dark. (All 80’s fans – particularly my Biffer – you are welcome for that awesome reference.) The name of my blog now feels like a web of lies…

Anyways, I have managed to whip up a few things with enough lighting to give the people what they want – delicious recipes!

Twice this week, I’ve had people comment on some of my recipes having lots of ingredients – which I know can be overwhelming. Guess what – this one is super easy and has minimal prep work and just 10 ingredients (including salt and pepper!). It’s a surprising combo of flavors – a little sweet BBQ flavor with some tart from the fruit, and the green onion brings it all home for me. Try this one out and let me know what you think!

Hoisin Plum Chicken (2 servings / 5 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

2 thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw (4-5 oz. each)

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 medium scallions, chopped

1 small plum, diced

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

2 1/2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/2 lime, juiced

Begin by heating oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to skillet and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.

Saute and Sauce

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onion, plums and broth to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in hoisin sauce and stir. Cook 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened and stir in lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour sauce over chicken breasts.

Spoon Sauce

Serve and devour. Told you it was easy!

Hoisin Plum Chicken

Have a great weekend y’all – I’ll be working in our bathroom and hopefully getting the lights back on soon!

Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

Y’all, I was such a big girl this week.

I mean, almost a grown-up. And that says a lot being that I’m 29 and 1.

I have confessed to y’all that I have a bizarre perfectly normal fear of balloons. And needles.

This week – I faced both.

Wednesday we celebrated Baby Way’s (my youngest nephew) first birthday. So my 3 older nephews decided to put on a balloon show – which involved them throwing the balloons off of their 2nd floor into the entry way, with various spins and tosses. That part I handled like a champ.

However, you know that screechy sound balloons make when they have hands and feet on them? Like they are about to burst any minute? I heard that one a lot – because they didn’t want to put their balloons down and lose them. But you know what, Aunt Mary kept her cool. I survived!

Then, the next morning, I had my annual check-up and had to get my blood taken. Yes, as in with a needle. The past 2 times I’ve had this done, I’ve apparently gotten inept or brand new nurses who don’t know what they heck they are doing – so they’ve had to stab me with a needle twice. Which is one more time than I can handle without losing the blood in my face and my eyes rolling back in my head as I endured the torture. (I’d make a terrible spy – clearly I’m not to be trusted with government secrets). Thankfully, I had a pro this time around. I warned her I was a huge baby and she was nice. I still didn’t enjoy it, but at least I wasn’t reduced to a crumpled heap of Mary.

I know, I’m so mature.

So weeks like this one call for one thing – comfort food. For me, pasta is a great comfort food – it’s warm, usually has some form of cheese included and it’s super easy to throw together. Honestly, what good is comfort food if it takes forever to make and leaves a giant mess?

I discovered this dish on Pinterest (love) and it’s definitely in my comfort food rotation from now on! It’s easy, doesn’t make a giant mess, and it’s like a nice, big, warm hug that’s perfect for enjoying in your stretchy pants curled up on your couch – but also fancy enough that you can serve it to guests.

Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts (Serves 4 / 11 WW points per serving)

Adapted from original recipe found here.

Ingredients

8 oz. whole wheat orecchiette

2 1/2 links Chicken Sausage, Italian style (I used Archer Farms brand)

1/2 pound brussel sprouts, peeled and halved

4 Tbsp. store-bought Pesto sauce

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 400.

To prep your brussel sprouts, cut off the bottom “stem” and peel away exterior leaves. Then cut in half. Toss in a small baking pan with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 or so minutes.

While the brussel sprouts are cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet. Slice sausage into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices. Saute in olive oil over medium for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through.

Step by Step Collage

Boil the water for your pasta and cook according to directions.

When everything has cooked, drain pasta and stir in pesto. Add cooked sausage and roasted brussel sprouts, stir until incorporated.

Plate and top each serving with 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan.

Plated

All we needed with this dish was some yummy garlic bread and a glass of red wine. Perfect way to enjoy a James Bond movie night with my husband…

Pesto Orecchiette

Hope y’all have a great weekend!