Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Easy Cheesy Dog Treats

The last few things I have made  have turned out only "ehhhh".  Not great, but not bad.  Except for a chicken dish that was pretty terrible.  Definitely not going to share any of those.  So to change things up I decided to make use of some staple kitchen ingredients and make my beloved puppy some new treats!  Like most dogs, he loves everything, so I thought these couldn't be too hard.

I guess I have to start out by saying that I have wanted a puppy for YEARS.  It was something that as soon as my husband and I started seriously dating, I seriously started talking about getting a dog.  You see, my Dad is allergic to dogs and cats, so growing up I envied my friends with four legged furry pets, and always envionsed that one day I would have a dog of my own.  My husband also didn't grow up with pets either... but he was much, much more apprehensive about the whole "getting a dog thing".

Four years later, I finally caught my husband in a weak moment backed up with lots of nerdy spreadsheets that contained research about different breeds and costs associated with owning a pup.  (Finance guys love spreadsheets).   But since we got our puppy our lives have dramatically changed for the better and we both agree that getting Charlie was the best thing we've ever done!


So why not make your dog his or her own special treats?  Of course any puppy of mine loooooves cheese.  (I actually wanted to name him Cheddar but was vetoed).  This recipe uses everything you already have in your pantry, and your puppy will love the treats!  I found a dog shaped cookie cutter while shopping for this recipe over the summer.



Ingredients
Source: Simply Yummy Goodness

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup low-fat cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 egg
3/4 cup water


Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl stir together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and corn meal.  Add in the cheddar and parmesan cheese.  Lastly add the egg and water.  Knead the dough until the ingredients are well combined.

Take half of the dough and place on a floured surface.  Roll out to a 1/4" thickness and use your favorite cookie cutter to make each treat.  Place on a sheet pan and bake until golden for 25-30 minutes.



I hope your dog loves these as much as ours does!  Nothing like spoiling your puppy silly... I mean he deserves it, right?

Follow me on Twitter @CheesePlease531

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pomegranate Marinated Tuna Medallions

I jotted down a version of this recipe years and years ago.  It has changed so much since then but has always been a crowd-pleaser and a favorite in our home.  It is really good!

What makes these tuna medallions stand out is the addition of a pomegranate vinegar.  Pomegranate vinegar is a ruby-red vinegar with a perfect balance of fruity sweetness and crisp acidity.  It balances out the olive oil and seasonings while adding a subtle sweetness.

Pomegranates also are a nutritional powerhouse!  Providing vitamins C and B5 and potassium, pomegranate juice has been shown to prevent bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidizing, which helps keep heart disease at bay.  (source: eHow Health)


Ingredients

1 lb wild caught tuna medallions 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Method

Combine all ingredients in a small sized bowl.  Whisk together and in a ziploc bag pour marinade over tuna medallions.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  
 
Grill tuna for 5 minutes on each side on medium high heat.  Enjoy!
 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lavender White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Have you ever bought something that got you really, really, really excited and then realized amidst your personal celebration that no one else probably would ever be as excited as you are over your purchase?  Yes, that was me last weekend when I stumbled across culinary grade Lavender in World Market.  I was practically giddy with my fragrant spice find, and immediately starting planning out all possibilities and flavor combinations my new purchase could take me.   I also picked up some vanilla beans which doubled my excitement as I gleefully skipped to the cash register.  (More to come on that)


Lavender is a member of the large mint family, and therefore lends itself to savory dishes as well as sweet desserts. There are many possibilities because lavender is sweet with a citrus note.  Lavender is also known as a calming and relaxing herb.  I have two friends who I immediately thought a Lavender recipe would be perfect for.   Both of their lives are going to get quite busy in the next few weeks and I thought a little bit of Lavender with its tranquil qualities would be exactly what they needed! 



Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter (8 tbsp or 1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp dried culinary Lavender
1 large egg
2 1/4 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup old fashion oatmeal
1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup white chocolate Ghirardelli chips (about half a package)

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl with a hand mixer blend butter, brown sugar and Lavender until smooth.  Then add the egg, skim milk and vanilla.

In another bowl mix oatmeal, flour and baking powder together.  Then add in the white chocolate.  Add all of these ingredients to the other bowl.

Mix both blends together until it forms a soft dough.  Spoon dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake 10-14 minutes until lightly golden!



I hope these bring tranquility and relaxation to you, they did to me!  Follow me on Twitter @CheesePlease531 for general cheesy updates and tweets!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maple Glazed Wild Alaskan Salmon


I made this dish a few weeks ago, after reading a quick blurb about it in Women's Health Magazine.  I realized when I went to make the recipe I unfortunately "donated" my magazine to the gym.  So when I went online to find it, I only came up with this salmon salad recipe, which had far too many ingredients!  This recipe is much simpler, but still strong on flavor.

Wild Alaskan salmon is the ideal, easy-to-whip-up protein for average busy person.  I always try to buy wild salmon as the mercury levels in farmed salmon supposedly tend to be higher.  But in general wild salmon to me just taste much better.   Salmon either way is so good for you!  It is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and can reduce your risk of heart disease.  It also pairs extremely well with spinach, as seen here.


Usually my go-to for an "asian-esque" salmon marinade is an OJ and soy sauce combo.  This recipe uses pure maple syrup as a base and is accented with freshly grated ginger root.  Similar to my standard but with a twist!


Ingredients
Serves 2

2/3 lb Wild Alaskan Salmon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp freshly grated and peeled ginger root
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
Few stalks of scallions, chopped finely


Method

In a medium sized bowl combine all the ingredients except the fish and scallions.   Whisk together until blended.

In a ziploc bag marinate salmon for at least 30 minutes. 

Place marinated salmon in a glass casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Top with scallions and serve with a side of spinach.  Easy Breezy! Enjoy!



Follow me on Twitter @CheesePlease531

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Chicken Roulade


I am always on a look out for new chicken recipes.  Chicken is healthy and easily available.  In fact, we usually buy a couple of large trays of chicken breast and store a couple of portions in a freezer bag.  That way it is super easy to pull out chicken the morning of, or the night before.  The problem then is what to do with it.  Unfortunately it is too easy to end up with a sub-par chicken dish that works because your hungry, but does little to entice you to eat any leftovers the next day!

This recipe is not only extremely tasty, you will fight your spouse for the leftovers!  Typically a roulade is a European dish consisting of a slice of meat rolled around a filling, such as cheese, vegetables or other meats.  By pounding out the chicken, it allows you to roll up several ingredients, essentially baking a sauce into the dish.  Here sun-dried tomatoes are perfectly complimented by sweet basil and melted goat cheese. 

Ingredients
Serves 4

4 medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
1/3 cup whole wheat  breadcrumbs
2 egg whites
4 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
12-16 basil leaves
4 large sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp parmesan cheese for topping

Method

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.  Pound each chicken breast with a meat mallet until 1/4" thick


In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil leaves, and goat cheese.  Spread evenly on each chicken breast and roll.  Secure with 2-3 tooth picks. 

Dip each roulade into egg whites, and then into a breadcrumb and garlic powder mixture.  Bake in a glass casserole dish for 40-50 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve with a spinach salad! 
Bon app├ętit! Follow me on Twitter @CheesePlease531

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas Two Ways

As you know, I have a long-time love affair with hummus.  Yesterday I went to clean out the pantry and discovered that we had over a dozen cans of chickpeas! Every time I'm at the grocery store I throw a few cans in the cart.  I mean, I make hummus almost weekly, but there was no way we needed that many cans of chickpeas on hand!  I knew that I could add some chickpeas to a few salads, but what else could I do with them?

I roasted them!  Roasting chickpeas is a healthy alternative to the fried chickpea recipes I kept uncovering.  They are a great protein source, but also a very good source of folic acid, iron, fiber & manganese.

Always a fan of the fantastic salty sweet combination, I tried out a garlic cumin sea salt with a dash of white pepper version, and a delicious honey cinnamon version.  It's hard to say which one I liked better.  My advice is make both and you will have options depending on your mood!



Ingredients - Garlic, Cumin & Sea Salt

These are approximate measurements.  Use your own judgement when adding these spices.  If you like cumin go heavier, or if not a big garlic fan, go lighter. 

1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 pinches white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil



Ingredients - Honey & Cinnamon

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
3-4 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse each can of chickpeas under cool running water in a strainer.  Some of the chickpea casings may come off.  That is okay.  You can try to remove them by lightly rubbing your fingers over each bean or leave them on.  (It won't affect the taste or texture, I left most of mine on).

You will need a separate bowls for each chick pea mixture.  In each bowl, add a can of chickpeas followed by the olive oil or honey.  Continue to add the rest of the spices for each chickpea mixture.

Evenly coat the chickpeas in it's mixture.  Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  I found it helpful to turn the chickpeas every ten minutes so they don't burn on one side!

Let cool to room temperature.  You will know they are done when you taste one and its crunchy all the way through! 


Enjoy!!  And follow me on Twitter @CheesePlease531