Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Spinach and Bacon Salad with Sweet-and-Sour dressing

This is my favorite salad and salad dressing -- my mom has made it for years, and it really goes well with a wide variety of foods.


fresh spinach
crumbled bacon (amount to taste)
3 or 4 hard cooked eggs, chopped


1 Teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, chopped (can use ~2-3 Tbsp dried minced onions)
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (celery salt can work in a pinch)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1 & 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar

Mix torn spinach leaves, bacon, croutons, eggs in bowl (croutons get soggy if not being used right away).
In blender or a shaker, mix together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad. Serves 6-8 persons or more.
Dressing keeps well in refrigerator for several weeks.
Can make lots of good variations:
Can omit eggs and/or add sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, pecans, dried cranberries, dried cherries, onions, chicken, etc, etc!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chipotle Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I got this recipe from Coconut and Lime and made some adjustments to it to make it spicier and a little was indeed spicy but it turned out pretty well I think!
I also made this a little healthier by using low-fat (not fat-free) cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream. You really couldn't tell the difference at all, and the texture was still quite creamy.

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz defrosted frozen artichoke hearts, chopped
3/4 cup (1 box) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 shallots, sliced (or 1.5 Tbsp dried minced onion)
3 chipotle chiles in adobo with 1 teaspoon of the adobe sauce
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, blend together the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, onions, lime juice, salt, chipotle, and adobo sauce until very smooth. Stir in spinach, artichokes until just combined. Serve chilled, with pretzel sticks, crackers, carrots, or bread wedges.

Low Fat Black and White Chocolate Bread Pudding

I made this for Christmas Eve desssert and I don't think anyone could guess it was relatively "healthy" fact, everyone kept saying how "rich" it tasted.
The only thing I'll change next time is to do the sauce a different way. I think that you'd be better off with a gourmet ice cream topping chocolate sauce heated up (with some kahlua added in if desired). Forgot to take pics of this, but the regular and white chocolate chips also make it look kind of pretty too!

* 2 tablespoons butter, softened
* 4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond breeze milk (or any vanilla soymilk)
* 9 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Hawaiian bread
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 4 large egg whites
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup choc chunks
* ½ cup white chocolate chips

Sauce: (again, this didn't quite turn out -- it was too runny)
* 1 cup fat free half and half
* 4 oz. white chocolate
* 1/4 cup Kahlua

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare pudding, spread 2 tablespoons butter onto bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or just melt in the pan and coat evenly...or could cut more calories and just use PAM, but I think the butter adds something). Set aside.
Place bread in a large bowl; pour milk over bread.
Combine 2 cups sugar and next 3 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually the milk to the egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour over bread pieces. Stir in 1/2 of the chocolate pieces; pour into prepared dish. Pour rest of chocolate over top.
Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until browned and set.
To prepare sauce, heat half and half in a saucepan until simmering, stir in chocolate and kahlua until smooth (again, never got this to work -- better off using a ice cream topping sauce!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cherry Almond Cookie Bars

This recipe is so easy, and SO delicious -- from a Betty Crocker award winning recipe!

2 pouches (1 lb 1.5 oz each) sugar cookie mix
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs

1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
3. In large bowl, stir base ingredients until soft dough forms.
4. Press half of dough in bottom of pan.
5. Spread pie filling over dough.
6. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls over filling.
7. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown*.
8. Cool 10 minutes.
9. In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until thin enough to drizzle.
10. Drizzle glaze over warm bars.
For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.
*Cooking time varies widely! Start with 30min and check back every couple of may have to place foil around the edges to keep the edges from burning while the middle cooks. Can also use a Baker's Edge pan but might want to consider not using all of cookie batter if so because the bars can get *really* thick!

Cooking Time: 45 to 50
Servings: 24