Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quick Savory Crab with Rice

Yes, we have a lot of crab right now, so I decided to make a quick Crab Stir Fry. As a busy mom, I am always trying to find ways to cut down on time cooking, and here we go. This won't take more than 15-20 minutes! Serves 6.

2 pounds crab, cubed (imitation crab for me, but if you want real crab, go right ahead!)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped, your choice of color
1 can diced tomatoes (or about 30 grape tomatoes sliced in half)
1.5 cups rice (I just use minute rice to cut on time, but regular will do too)
1 can chicken broth
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Spray a pan with nonstick spray and, on high heat, saute the onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper till tender, just 2 minutes or so. Add the crab and saute along with the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes. Add the rice, and stir fry for about 2 more minutes, add the parsley and cayenne pepper, and pour in the chicken broth and cup of water. Mix everything together and let boil, cover and turn down heat to medium. Cook till rice is fluffy and done.

Serve! A healthy 6 points a serving! Not bad at all!

Peanut's Fourth Birthday

I can't believe my baby is FOUR! Just like yesterday that we had her. I still remember everything that went down, the good AND the bad. But in the end it was all worth it and we have this wonderful, bright, beautiful, outgoing girl who makes sure to keep us running around in circles.

Happy Birthday, Peanut Girl! Loving you more and more each day.

Peanut, 5 hours old

Peanut now at four!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baked Pork Chops with Apple Thyme Gravy

This I made on the spot because I wanted something different. And it's actually pretty good. I love the sweet-spicy gravy and how tender the chops are. The family loved it too. Serves 6

12 thin-cut pork chops (or 6 thick cut)
2 tsp garlic pepper
1 1/2 cups applesauce
3 tbsps flour or cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup water
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Rub the garlic pepper on the pork chops well.

Spray a pan with nonstick spray and brown the pork chops well. Spray an ovenproof dish with nonstick spray and set the chops in it. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the applesauce, dissolved flour, thyme and red pepper flakes. Add a little garlic pepper too if you wish. Mix well with a wire whisk. Pour over the pork chops in the ovenproof dish. Cover with tinfoil and bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 40 minutes.

Only 4 points a serving! Tastes great!

Here served with Collard Greens and Red Beans and Rice. Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

This is a different, interesting version of the classic pound cake. Of course you love chocolate! The buttermilk adds a nice richness to the flavor and you are going to want seconds! Serves 12.

3 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (just a little more if you wish)

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter until nice and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream together with the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing at medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and buttermilk and mix for a couple of minutes till everything is smooth. Fold in the milk chocolate chips. Pour batter into a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for about 80 minutes or so. Check for doneness by sticking the middle with a fork. If fork comes out clean, it is done.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then loosen edges with a rubber spatula. Invert onto a wire cooling rack.

About 10 points per serving! Here topped with Caramel Glaze.

Eat it!

Crab Curry Pasta Salad

This takes only about 20 minutes and my family loves it. My husband loves crab and curry brings out the flavor! Try it, it'll knock your socks off! Can be served hot or cool. Serves 6.

2 pounds Imitation Crab, cubed (if you want to use real crab, yes you can!!)
1 bell pepper, sliced, your choice color
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 oz pasta of your choice (I used Rigatoni)

For the Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise (I used Fat Free Miracle Whip)
3 tsps curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp parsley

Prepare pasta as directed on the box. Drain and set aside.

Spray a pot with nonstick spray and saute the bell pepper, onion and garlic till tender. Add the Crab and mix together well. Cover and let simmer on medium for about 10 minutes or so.

While the crab is simmering, in a small mixing bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, curry powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and parsley. Blend well.

In a big bowl, mix together the pasta, crab and dressing. Toss together, making sure everything is incorporated.

Only 7 points a serving! Dig in, and I mean it!

Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This is simple but rich. And it's called a "cold oven" cake because you do not preheat the oven before putting your cake in to bake. It does produce a more moist, delicate texture. Who wants a dry cake anyway? Serves 12.

3 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy, and add the cream cheese. Cream together for a minute or so. Add the sugar one cup at a time, mixing on medium speed. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Finally, add one egg at a time, mixing on medium speed. I scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula every so often to make sure everything is incorporated.

Spray a fluted or bundt pan with nonstick spray and pour the batter in. Put your pan in a cold oven and turn it on to 325F. Bake it for about 70-85 minutes. Check for doneness by poking the center with a fork - if the fork comes out clean, it is done.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then scrape the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula and invert onto a wire cooling rack.

About 9 points a serving! I guarantee, it tastes light and lovely and it will be hard to stop eating it.

Here shown with Caramel Glaze.

Here is a slice!

Caramel Glaze

This simple glaze really enhances your cakes and pastries. Pour over desserts you think need a shot of something extra special. Serves 12.

4 tbsps butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, turn heat on high and melt the butter. Add the sugar and stir to get rid of any lumps that form while sugar is dissolving. Add the milk and vanilla extract, mix, and let it simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Turn off heat, let cool for a minute, and spoon over dessert.

2 points a serving. It's awesome!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Indian Chicken Curry

This curry is a little different in that you don't use actual curry powder. A variation of this recipe was handed down to me by a good friend living in the middle east, and I added my own touch. I will have to say, it is easy to make, and has a unique taste. Serves 4.

4 chicken breasts, cubed
4 tbsps finely minced garlic
4 tbsps finely minced ginger
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped, your choice of color
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water

Spray a pot with nonstick spray and saute the garlic and ginger together over high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper, and saute for another minute. Add the can of tomatoes, tumeric, chili powder, red pepper flakes and sugar. Mix together well. Finally add your chicken and coat well with the mixture. You can add a little bit more of the spices if you wish. Cover and set heat on medium. Let simmer for about 30 minutes.

After simmering, give it a good stir and add the dissolved flour. Mix everything together very well and cover again. Let simmer for about 5 minutes for everything to thicken.

Serve! Only 4 points a serving. It is oh so good!

Have some!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is one of my favorite things. This version is nice and creamy, and oh so easy to make! The kids love it and always ask for seconds (or thirds!). Serves 8.

1 pie crust
1 15-oz can pure pumpkin
1 12 oz can condensed milk
12 oz evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

Make your pie crust, like this.

Now in a mixing bowl, throw in the pumpkin, condensed milk, evaporated milk and eggs. Mix together thoroughly for a minute on medium. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Mix well for a couple minutes. Pour everything into the prepared pie crust and bake at 350F for about an hour.

Sweet and simple and just awesome! About 9 points a serving. If you substitute fat free condensed and evaporated milk, egg substitute for the whole eggs and Splenda for the sugar, you can probably get it down to about 7 points.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Crockpot Lemony Mushroom Chicken and Rice

This is just one of those meals that I whipped up on a whim when I am bored and nothing in my cookbooks appeal to me. I love the tang of lemons, so I decided, Why Not? Yum! Serves 4.

3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup uncooked rice, white or brown
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 can mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp parsley

Mix up the lemon, cream of mushroom soup, minced garlic, black pepper, paprika and parsley right in the crock. Add the mushrooms, rice and black eyed peas, mix well. Finally add the chicken on top, dust with black pepper, paprika and parsley. Now mix everything together, making sure everything is coated. Cook on high about 6 hours or low about 8 hours.

Delicious, different and simple! Great for busy mommy days when you just don't have enough time to cook. I like to serve this with a side of broccoli, or any steamed vegetable. About 9 points a serving. Help yourself!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Aloha Chicken

This dish was created on a whim, when I decided I was in a rut and I needed something easy. I like the blend of flavors and is excellent served with rice. Serves 4.

4 chicken breasts, cubed
1 bell pepper, chopped, any color
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 can pineapple chunks in its own juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your taste)

Spray a pot with nonstick spray and set on high heat. Saute the bell pepper, onion, garlic and ginger will veggies are just a bit tender, then add the chicken. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, making sure chicken is coated with the mixture. Add the red pepper flakes and mix well. Add the soy sauce and undrained can of pineapple chunks. Stir and wait for it to boil. Set on medium heat, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Uncover, give it a good stir, and turn up to high heat to cook off some of the liquid. Let boil for about 10-15 minutes till liquid is reduced to half.

Serve! Only 3 points per serving. REALLY!

My family now wants it to be a regular at our house. It is that good!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

2011 sure felt too short. What have I  accomplished in 2011?

Well, we had our youngest baby Acorn in April. She was 9 lbs 8 oz and very healthy. She is now a cruising, curious 8 month old. We are happy about that.

Our two older girls Peanut and Pecan are healthy and happy, learning more and more each day. It's wonderful to watch them grow and learn.

It can be challenging to have 3 kids 3 years old and below. I will not lie and say it is easy, it isn't. The tantrums, the mess they make. But it is very worthwhile and really touches my husband and my heart when they reach out to us for a hug, when they say "I love you Mommy, I love you Dada!". We love watching them interact with each other and how they describe each other as "my best friend". See, siblings don't have to be jealous of one another. You just have to be completely fair and make sure to give equal attention to each child. No favoritism.

It is funny how in a few short years our life has changed. I used to be much more selfish. I couldn't imagine having to give up a lot in my life. I would say I never really understood how it is to sacrifice my wants for the sake of another. But with our children, it is a pleasure to. We would go without first before they ever would. We cannot imagine life without them.

Peanut, Acorn and Pecan

I still can't believe 2012 is here. Time goes by too fast. I remember when I was little a whole afternoon seemed to drag on and on. Nowadays, I blink, and an entire year goes by. We hope to get to do a lot of things with our life this new year. Moving down south, meeting new people, watching our kids grow. Oh hold your kids, and cherish every minute, it really goes by so, so fast. Too fast.

So from our Family to Yours, we wish you a Happy 2012! We hope it would be productive!